Kiev, July 30, 2018
The foundational historical event of the Baptism of Rus’ in 988, and the memory of St. Vladimir the Great, the Baptizer of Rus’, were festively celebrated in Kiev this weekend, with representatives from 12 Local Orthodox Churches from throughout the world uniting with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the celebrations.
As previously reported, the feast began with a moleben on Vladimir Hill in Kiev and continued with a cross procession to the Kiev Caves Lavra. 250,000 faithful came out for the service and procession, marking the largest celebration of the Baptism of Rus’ yet.
Once the procession reached the Lavra, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine led the All-Night Vigil in honor of St. Vladimir the Great on the cathedral square in front of the monastery’s Dormition Cathedral, reports the site of the Ukrainian Church.
His Beatitude was joined by 9 bishops and other clergy representing visiting Local Churches, as well as bishops, clergy, and faithful from throughout Ukraine.
The relics of St. Vladimir the Great, Pope St. Clement of Rome, St. Andrew the First-Called, St. Vladimir of Kiev, St. George the Victorious, and St. Seraphim of Sarov, as well as the miraculous Zimnensky Icon of the Mother of God were available for all to venerate during the Vigil.
The Divine Liturgy was celebrated the next morning on the cathedral square by Met. Onuphry, with the concelebration of numerous bishops and clergy from the 12 represented Local Orthodox Churches, as well as the assembly of bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and a number of visiting clergy.
The service was also attended by thousands of pilgrims from throughout the world.
A prayer for peace in Ukraine was offered during the service.
Following the Communion verses, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary read the address of the bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the occasion of the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’.
Following the Divine service, Met. Onuphry congratulated all the faithful of the Ukrainian Church and the gathered pilgrims, encouraging them to follow in St. Vladimir’s footsteps, turning away from sin: “The holy Prince Vladimir gave us the chance to walk the path to Christ. We must, as children of the holy Prince Vladimir, protect ourselves from sin, no matter how difficult it is, and move towards Christ.”
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