Moscow, July 29, 2015
July 28, 2015, the feast-day of the Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, became the culmination of the Church and state celebrations dedicated to the 1000th anniversary of repose of the Baptizer of Russia.
On this day His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia served a Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, reports Patriarchia.ru.
The permanent members of the ROC’s Holy Synod: Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau and All Moldova; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan; Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Paul (Pavel) of Minsk and Zaslavsk; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk; heads of the delegations of Local Orthodox Churches: Metropolitan Apostolos of Militos (the Patriarchate of Constantinople); Metropolitan Nicodemus of Memphis (the Church of Alexandria); Metropolitan Timotheos of Bostra (the Patriarchate of Jerusalem); Bishop Vakhtang of Nikortsminda (the Georgian Orthodox Church); Metropolitan Amphilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral (the Serbian Orthodox Church); Metropolitan Niphon of Târgovişte (the Romanian Orthodox Church); Metropolitan Dometian of Vidin (the Bulgarian Orthodox Church); Bishop Nektarios of Arsinoi (the Church of Cyprus); Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavryta (the Church of Greece); Bishop Nathaniel of Amantia (the Albanian Orthodox Church); Bishop George of Siemiatycze (the Orthodox Church of Poland); Archbishop George of Michalovce and Košice (the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia); Archbishop Irenaeus of Ottava and Canada (the Orthodox Church in America); clergy from the delegations of Local Orthodox Churches; hierarchs and clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate concelebrated with the patriarch.
The Russian Federation’s Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Central Federal District Alexander Beglov, Chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State-Building Andrei Klishas, and head of the Russian Federation’s State Duma Security and Anti-Corruption Committee Irina Yarovaya were present at the service.
Since 2002 St. Vladimir has been the patron-saint of the Internal Troops of the Russian Ministry for Internal Affairs, and that is why Commander of the Russian Internal Troops Colonel General Viktor Zolotov together with the command and soldiers of the Internal Troops prayed at the Liturgy as well.
The choir of clergy of the Moscow region’s Diocese (conducted by Priest Sergy Golev) and the Patriarchal choir of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (conducted by Ilia Tolkachev) sang at the Liturgy.
The service was broadcast live by the Rossiya-1, Rossiya-24, RTR Planeta, Soyuz Russian TV channels. Alexei Svetozarsky, Professor of the Moscow Theological Academy, commented on the event throughout the live broadcast. Also live transmissions were organized from the Kiev Caves Lavra in the Ukraine (where Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All the Ukraine officiated) and from the St. Vladimir’s Cathedral in the Chersonese (where Metropolitan Alexander of Kazakhstan and Astana headed the Liturgy).
An icon and a reliquary with a small portion of relics of the Holy Prince Vladimir were installed inside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Antiphons to the Day of Baptism of Russia, composed in 1988 by the 1000th anniversary of this great historic event, were sung at the service. At the Great Litany and the Litany of Fervent Supplication special petitions of gratitude for the Baptism of Russia and the Holy Prince Vladimir were offered up. After the Litany of Fervent Supplication Patriarch Kirill prayed for the peace in the Ukraine.
Following the Gospel reading primate of the Russian Orthodox Church delivered a sermon to the faithful.
Before the Communion head of the Administrative Secretariate of the Moscow Patriarchate Bishop Sergy of Solnechnogorsk read out the message of Patriarch Kirill dedicated to the 1000th anniversary of repose of St. Vladimir.
After the Liturgy a prayer with petitions was sung to the Holy Prince Vladimir:
“In fear and trembling we, Thy unworthy servants, give Thee, our merciful Savior, Lord and Master, thanks for Thy bounties, which Thou poured forth on our land from its Baptism even to this day, and draw near, offering our praises to Thee as God, and with tenderness we cry out to Thee: deliver Thy people from all misfortune, and send down Thy mercies, and in Thy goodness hearken to our petitions, we pray Thee, hear and have mercy.”
“Let us also beseech Thee, our Savior, Who, through the right-believing Grand Prince Vladimir, have chosen our people as Thine inheritance, and in the Font of Baptism has granted us the Holy Spirit, to keep Thy Holy Church from all schism and discord, establish it in the oneness of Faith, and guard it in peace, we all pray Thee, hear and have mercy.”
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said a prayer to the Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles.
Then the patriarch blessed the church banners depicting the Holy Prince Vladimir which will be handed over to all the dioceses of the Russian Church. “This church banner has been made with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in the sixth year of his primatial ministry in memory of the 1000th anniversary of repose of the Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, and blessed by His Holiness in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Christ the Savior in the year 2015 after the Christ’s birth” – the inscription on each church banner reads.
Many years was proclaimed for “Our Great Lord and Father Kirill, the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and Archimandrite of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, for the President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, whose name day is today, for the most reverend metropolitans, archbishops and bishops, for our country protected by God, its rulers, its army and its peoples, for this holy assembly, for the teachers and strugglers after piety, for all who live out their Orthodox Faith in our land through preaching, writing, and leading diligent and God-pleasing life, and for all Orthodox people”.
Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna addressed His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church: “Your Holiness, from your baptismal font you have been spiritually connected with the Holy Prince Vladimir and, becoming the first hierarch of our land, you have been continuing his heroic deed. May the Lord through your labors and archpastoral prayers give peace to our land and prosperity to our nation! And may He keep and bless you for many years!”
Representative of the Russian President in the Central Federal District A. Beglov passed along greetings to the patriarch and all the participants of the festivities from President Vladimir Putin.
Addressing Patriarch Kirill, Metropolitan Apostolos of Militos said: “Your Holiness! One man said that a course of human life, if it has no festivals, is like a road with no hotel or shelter standing along it. Today, with your blessing, representatives of Local Orthodox Churches have gathered inside this wonderful cathedral in order to honor liturgically the great enlightener of the Russian nation – the Holy Prince Vladimir. All the festivals and holidays that Vladimir established before his Baptism are now forgotten. But his own Baptism, along with the Baptism of the whole of the Russian nation, left an indelible mark on the world history and the Russian history alike. Thus, the nation that was going unto the death-shade, saw the great light, thanks to St. Vladimir. The Russian people on their long way finally found a shelter. This “shelter”, this “hotel” is the Church. The hotelkeeper is Christ Himself, Who made sacrifice for salvation of the mankind. All of us, the representatives of Local Orthodox Churches, are rejoicing today, because the Liturgy that we have celebrated has given us spiritual strength, inspiration and energy so that we could continue in our spiritual path and labors in the Church.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople together with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom you are bound by the ties of a close friendship, are rejoicing at the great spiritual fruit of the Russian people. He is rejoicing because you were providentially elected to the Moscow Patriarchal Throne and have been leading this chosen nation to salvation”.
Metropolitan Apostolos has also shared his memoirs of the meetings with the ever-memorable Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All the Ukraine, stressing that the late archpastor was notable for his deep inner word and his ability to preserve Church unity amid numerous trials.
At the end primate of the Russian Church once again addressed those gathered at the cathedral: “I heartily thank Metropolitan Juvenaly for his greeting on behalf of the Holy Synod and the Fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church; Alexander Dmitrievich Beglov, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Central Federal District, for the greeting on behalf of our country’s President, who is celebrating his name day today. I also thank Metropolitan Apostolos, sent here by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. We take your words with a particular joy. We remember that the light of the truth of Orthodoxy came to us from the shores of the Bosphorus, from Tsargrad, and this link, despite all the difficult historical circumstances, has never been severed. This link still works today and I believe it will work on in the future for the sake of strengthening of the universal Orthodoxy.
I also express my gratitude to representatives of all the Local Orthodox Churches for their participation in the today’s service. Please, convey my respect and thanks to heads of the Local Orthodox Churches who kindly sent you here. Today we have performed an all-Orthodox prayer, an all-Orthodox Liturgy. More than that, all the saints of the universal Orthodox Church were together with us, because we are the Church on the earth, but there is the Heavenly Church beside us, the Church in glory, the Church that has already won the struggle of this world and (today and in the eternity alike) is by the Throne of God.
That is why the prayer of the Church on the earth is so strong: because those who are by the Throne of God are praying together with those who are praying on the earth. We believe that our humble prayers, embracing the whole of the God’s creation, - for peace and prosperity of the heritage of the Holy Prince Vladimir, for peace and prosperity of all the Orthodox nations, for peace and justice in the world – are offered up straight to the Lord’s Throne. May the Lord keep His creation, may He preserve His Orthodox Church, present in many countries, may He keep the Russian land and our Church that has preserved the faith among the Russian people throughout the millennium. Through the prayers of the Holy Grand Prince Vladimir may God bless our way in the history. Amen”.