Kiev, July 28, 2020
July 28 marks the annual feast of St. Vladimir the Great and Equal-to-the-Apostles and the Baptism of Rus’, one of the most important feasts for the faithful of the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian Churches, commemorating the conversion of the people of Rus’ to the holy Orthodox faith.
While celebrations are more modest this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the feast is nevertheless being joyously celebrated throughout the Church.
In Ukraine, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine celebrated the All-Night Vigil for the feast at the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra, concelebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, the abbot of the Lavra, and a host of hierarchs and clergy of the UOC, reports the Information-Education Department of the UOC.
During the festive Matins service, the Ukrainian primate anointed the faithful with consecrated oil and congratulated them with the feast.
His Beatitude also released a video address on the eve of the feast, noting that the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called sowed the seeds of faith that blossomed centuries later with evangelization of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and the conversion of Rus’ to holy Orthodoxy, led by St. Vladimir the Great and his grandmother St. Olga.
“May the Lord grant each of us the strength, courage, and determination to be like the holy Prince Vladimir, who before his Baptism was a cruel, harsh, dissolute prince, but when he was baptized, became a ‘beautiful sun,” His Beatitude urged the faithful.
If we want to be children of St. Vladimir, we must live by faith, after his example, Met. Onuphry emphasized.
His Beatitude also celebrated the Liturgy for the feast today on the square in front of the Holy Dormition Cathedral at the Kiev Caves Lavra. The service was broadcast by the channel Inter, and can be watched below:
This year, instead of the traditional cross procession on the eve of the feast, the Baptism of Rus’ was marked by a moleben and the celebratory ringing of the bells in all churches throughout Ukraine. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill also blessed all churches of the Russian Orthodox Church throughout the world to ring their bells today at noon local time to mark the joyous event.