Ukraine marks the 1031st anniversary of Christianization of Kyiv Rus' on Sunday, July 28. This feast has a rich history and its traditions. The religious procession solemn and worshipping ceremonies are held on this day usually.
What is it about?
In Ukraine, the holiday is officially called the Day of Christianization of Kyiv Rus' – Ukraine. This is a state holiday, which was established by the decree of the President Viktor Yushchenko for July 25, 2008. The holiday is being celebrated on July 28 annually.
This date has a reason behind it. According to the legend, on this day in 988, Vladimir the Great (the ruler of Kievan Rus' from 980 to 1015, - ed.) got a new religion and came back to Kyiv to christen people of Rus’. Actually, the exact day of the Christianization was not determined. It was indicated approximately as August 14 (under the old calendar) in 988.
History of the event
The conversion to Christianity was the standard practice of Byzantium in relations with warlike pagan nations. Later, the same tactic was applied to Kyiv Rus’, when Constantinople Patriarch Photios I sent missionaries to Kyiv. Some sources claim that at that time Kyiv princes Askold and Dir were baptized with “boyars” and a certain number of people. Others assure that the first Christianization in Kyiv Rus’ occurred at the time of Basil I (867-886) and Patriarch Ignatius (867-877).
It is noted that the first ruler of Kyiv Rus’, who officially adopted the Christianity of Byzantine rite, was Olga of Kyiv. She tried to achieve Christianity and recognition of Rus’ as an equal Christian empire by Byzantium. Olga was christened with the name “Helena.” Prince Yaropolk I of Kyiv also expressed sympathy for Christians and Christianity. He was killed by the Varangians on the orders of his brother Vladimir the Great, who later baptized Rus’.
It is known that Vladimir the Great decided to christen Rus’ due to political reasons, primarily hoping to unite warring territories and strengthen his power.
According to Tale of Bygone Years, Vladimir was proposed to convert to Muslimism, a Hebrew religion, Catholicism, but he chose Orthodox Christianity.
Vladimir was christened in Chersonesus and got a new name – Vasily. He also christened his children and the lieges and got married to Anna from Byzantium.
Mass Christianization of the people was held in Dnipro. However, not all the people were willing to refuse from paganism, but they were “convinced”. Sometimes, with the use of a weapon.
How will it be celebrated?
Ukrainian Orthodox Church od Moscow Patriarchate declared they were planning festivities on the Christianization Day.
A prayer service will begin on Saint Volodymyr Hill in Kyiv at 13:00 on July 27, after which it is planned to hold a procession with the wonderworking icons and relicts. The supposed route of the cross procession is Saint Volodymyr Hill -> Kyiv Pechersk Lavra.
A solemn Divine Liturgy will take place on the square before the Assumption Cathedral of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra at 09:00 on July 28.
Local Orthodox Church also announced a number of events on the holiday.
On July 27 there will be an All-night vigil at St. Michael's Golden-domed Cathedral; On July 28, the Divine Liturgy will take place in Refectory Church of Sofia, as well as a religious procession to the monument to Prince Vladimir and a prayer service,” the message of Orthodox Church of Ukraine says.
This will be the first religious procession for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It will be held by the Primate of the Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphany.
In 2018, the traffic was restricted on the holiday in the capital, and the country's authorities, including the former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, participated in the event.