Nikopol, Ukraine; Gnesichi, Belarus; Ekaterinburg, Russia, August 1, 2019
The feast of St. Vladimir the Great, July 28, is one of the most important in the liturgical year for the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian Orthodox Churches, when their faithful celebrate the Baptism of Rus’ that united them to Christ in His holy Church in 988.
While the main celebrations are held every year in Kiev, where hundreds of thousands of Orthodox faithful process in honor of their Baptism and Baptizer, the day is also traditionally marked with mass Baptisms throughout the lands of Rus’, thus continuing the blessed work begun by St. Vladimir.
OrthoChristian previously reported that more than 100 people were baptized on the feast this year at the Holy Dormition Monastery in Novomoskovsk, Russia, while more than 190 others were baptized in the Dnieper River in Ukraine, the Neman River in Belarus, and the Chusovaya River in Russia.
Following the example of their pious ancestors, faithful and clergy of the Krivoy Rog Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered on the banks of the same river where the people of Kiev received holy Baptism 1,031 years ago. This year, 27 people received the holy Sacrament on the banks of the river in the city of Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk Province.
Among those baptized were infants, and adults who were immersed in the very waters of the river.
Relics of St. Andrew the First-Called were also brought out from the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in the city for the veneration of the newly-illumined.
The Sacrament of Baptism “is not received in order not to be sick, to have success in business, or to get out of troubles, but to inherit Eternal Life in God and with God,” Archpriest Nikolai Maruschak preached.
Following the service, all present were offered a charitable meal.
On the same day, 25 people, including infants, adolescents, adults, and elderly were baptized in the Neman River in the village of Gnesichi in the Novogrudok Diocese in Belarus, reports the Diocesan press service.
The Sacrament was celebrated by three area priests, include the dean of the Novogrudok Deanery Archpriest Anatoly Gerasimuk. Following the service, all were invited to a festal meal at the nearby Monastery of St. Elisha of Lauryshava.
Another mass Baptism was held the same day in the village of Stantsionny-Polevskoy in the Ekaterinburg Diocese of the Russian Church. This is the 16th annual mass Baptism in the village, reports the Diocesan press service.
The Divine Liturgy for the feast was first celebrated by His Grace Bishop Alexei of Serov and Krasnoturinsk in the Church of St. Vladimir in the village, with local clergy assisting, after which about 140 people from various cities and towns were united to Christ in holy Baptism in the Chusovaya River.
All those baptized had previously undergone catechism in preparation for the Sacrament.
Following the Baptismal service, all the newly-illumined partook of Holy Communion and processed around the church, after which they partook of a festal meal and enjoyed a concert program.