Stantsionny-Polevskoy, Sverdlovsk Province, Russia, August 7, 2023
A traditional mass Baptism was held late last month in the Chusovaya River near Ekaterinburg in which about 60 people were united to Christ in His holy Church.
The tradition of the mass Baptisms began at the same time as the consecration of the Church of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir the Great in the village of Stantsionny-Polevskoy in 2003. More than 300 people received the washing of regeneration that year, reports the Ekaterinburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.
All the candidates for Holy Baptism were prepared with a cycle of catechetical talks. Early in the morning of July 28, they gathered near the church on the banks of the Chusovaya and were baptized by Archpriest Sergei Rybchak.
The newly baptized then received the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time during the Divine Liturgy, after which a procession was held around the church.
Fr. Sergei congratulated the newly illumined, saying:
The Russian people have been baptized for more than a thousand years. Of course, we can say that having such a history, we could be proud. But, in fact, a person will not be saved by history, but is saved by the true state of his soul. As the Lord taught: Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (Mt. 11:29).
Holy Prince Vladimir found such a special grace after his Baptism. History helps us to look at mistakes, correct them, and, of course, strive for the future. We have one future—we all strive for the Kingdom of Heaven, to unite with our Lord Jesus Christ. But to do this, we need to travel a long and difficult path.
Fr. Sergei also called on the newly baptized to cultivate the virtue of gratitude, because “gratitude is the most important virtue of Christianity.”
The festive day on the river continued with a concert program by local folk ensembles.
A mass Baptism was also celebrated in the Neman River in Belarus on the Baptism of Rus’.