The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine addressed the faithful on the eve of the great spiritual holiday, the 1033rd anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine by St. Volodymyr the Great. Metropolitan Epifaniy called the date “the cornerstone of our spiritual and state independence.”
He reminded that the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine in 988 was preceded by almost a thousand-year history of the spread of Christianity across our lands. In the first century, the word of God was brought to our ancestors by Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. Widely known is also a story of the first Christians in Crimea, the first Christian communities in other parts of present-day Ukraine, and the Scythian Orthodox Diocese, whose head was member of the First Ecumenical Council.
“And so in 988 a truly tremendous event of historic significance occurs – Rus officially becomes a Christian state. What did Christianity offer to the then Kyiv state? First of all, it was knowledge of the God-revealed truth, the joining of the one and only Church of Christ, and revival through the preaching of the Gospel and the sacraments, i.e. a strong spiritual foundation for life and development. The buildup of the state based on Christian values allowed Rus-Ukraine to reach a new level of international relations and interact equally with the European world. Enlightenment spread in the Kyiv state, while opportunities opened to gain access to the treasures of world civilization – books, scientific achievements, architecture, monumental art, and singing. Law and legislation were being reformed based on mercy and philanthropy. Positive changes have taken place in all spheres of public life – both at the national level and at that of each individual family,” Metropolitan Epifaniy wrote in a Facebook post.
According to the head of the OCU, the further history of Ukraine has only consolidated these crucial aspects of our statehood’s creation.
“In difficult times of the lost independence, the Church continued the tradition, preserved self-identification and spiritual and cultural uniqueness of our people. Faith inspired our Cossack ancestors, Ukrainian educators, and fighters for freedom to work and win for a better future of Ukraine. From the depths of centuries and to the modern days, the Ukrainian Church has testified in word and deed that faith is a strong spiritual foundation for our independence and over a thousand years of existence of our people as a Christian and European people,” the top cleric stressed.
Metropolitan Epifaniy urged the faithful to approach with prayer the celebration of the 1033rd anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine, realizing what deep and glorious roots we have.
All-Ukrainian prayer will be heard in every corner of our independent Ukraine, the glorious heiress of the Kyiv state.
“Unfortunately, due to the threat of a new wave of the pandemic, this year we will celebrate in Kyiv without setting up a pilgrimage and a traditional large-scale procession. But I believe that on this important day, we all, no matter the distance, will thank our Lord with all our voices as one for all His good deeds. We will pray for a fair peace in Ukraine, united by love for God and neighbor, for the native Church and for the Ukrainian people. And may the Lord do what we ask for, for good. Glory to Jesus Christ!” the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine concluded.
It should be recalled that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine invited the faithful to celebrate the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine in Kyiv.