The Orthodox Church of Ukraine has underlined the fact that Christianity on the Kyiv hills dates back to the sermon of the Apostle Andrew the First Called in the 1st century.
“We can say that after the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine in 988, the Kyiv Metropolis was finally founded, but our Ukrainian Orthodox Church, its roots and origins, really go much deeper, to the time of the sermon in the Ukrainian lands by St. Andrew the First Called,” the OCU press service wrote on Facebook.
It is stressed that the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine became the moment of spiritual birth of Ukraine and therefore it is impossible to underestimate the merits of St. Prince Volodymyr the Great, thanks to whom Christianity became a national religion, stimulating the rapid development of spiritual life, cultural and trade routes, education, science, writing, as well as diplomatic contacts with the whole Christian world.
“Saint Volodymyr the Great became the godfather of Rus’-Ukraine, but he wasn’t the first to bring Christianity to Ukrainian lands. A few decades before him – or rather, in 955 – his grandmother, Holy Co-Apostolic Princess Olha, was baptized. Long before the Baptism of Rus, temples were built all over the then pagan Kyiv state at her command, while Olha, being a zealous Christian, would spread the word of God among the people,” the Ukrainian Church said.
Princess Olha was not the first believer among the rulers of Kyiv. A century earlier, the Christian faith was adopted by Prince Askold, who suffered for his faith, becoming one of the first martyrs of Kyiv. In the same 9th century, the holy co-apostolic educators Kyrylo and Mefodiy preached in Zakarpatia, while during a trip to Chersonesos in 861 St. Kyrylo saw with his own eyes the Psalms and the Gospels, in “Rus writing”.
“So, in fact, Christianity had been widespread in the Kyivan state long before 988. The baptism of Rus’-Ukraine was the result of a long process of Church’s growth among our ancestors and marked a new stage of its existence and development,” the Local Church concluded.
It should be recalled that the OCU invited the faithful to celebrate the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine in Kyiv.