Kiev, July 27, 2018
About 250,000 faithful Orthodox Christians from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Romania and elsewhere have gathered in Kiev today for the celebration of the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’, Bishop Clement of Irpin, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department announced on live TV, according to the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
This number far exceeds the expected 100,000, and that in spite of the attempts of nationalist-schismatics to prevent the faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church from attending the day’s services.
The day’s celebrations began with a moleben on Vladimir Hill before a monument to St. Vladimir, the Baptizer of Rus’, in which representatives of the 13 of the world’s 15 Orthodox Churches participated. Then began a procession to the Kiev Caves Lavra, which recently ended. A video of the festivities is available here.
The day continues with the All-Night Vigil in honor of St. Vladimir the Great.
As Archpriest Viktor Zemlyanii, responsible for the settlement of inter-confessional conflicts in the Rivne Diocese told the Union of Orthodox Journalists, the actions of authorities in attempting to block people from attending the cross procession in Kiev backfired, and more people than originally intended ended up going.
Reporting on his diocese, he noted that 20 buses full of pilgrims were initially set to head to Kiev, but in the end 22 went, plus they had to rent out train cars.
“That is, more people went,” Fr. Viktor said, adding that more buses had to be ordered in other provinces as well in order to take everyone who wanted to attend.
In the end, it seems most believers were able to make their way to Kiev, though provocations continued even on the road. 9 buses full of pilgrims were stopped in the middle of the night in the Zaporozhye Province by private cars, the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reports. Fr. Gennady of the Zaporozhye Diocese noted that the men were armed. The police were called and the buses were eventually allowed to pass through as the pilgrims only continued to calmly pray.
Another 5 buses in the same area were stopped by representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine, claiming there had been reports of bombs on their buses, the Church site also reports. However, the police scattered when pilgrims took out their cell phones to shoot videos of the incident, and the buses were eventually allowed to pass through.
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