Today Russia’s Orthodox believers are celebrating Russia’s conversion to Christianity 1,020 years ago. The religion was brought from Constantinople (now Istanbul) by Prince Vladimir. At first it was met with great resistance by the pagans but over time was broadly accepted and came to define the soul of the nation.
Orthodox Christian leaders from around the world are in Ukraine to mark the 1,020th anniversary of ancient Russia’s conversion to Christianity. Patriarch Alexy II of all Russia and Bartholomew, the Patriarch of Constantinople, held a joint liturgy in the country’s capital Kiev – the cradle of Russian Christianity.
The main celebrations took place on Sunday, with religious leaders from fifteen Christian countries taking part.
During the festivities, the most senior figures in the Eastern Orthodox Church joined forces to reject a bid by the Kiev patriarchy to join the three branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and move it out of the Moscow Patriarchy’s orbit.
Both Alexy II and Bartholomew called for unity amid an ongoing dispute which has seen some Ukrainian religious leaders calling for a separate Orthodox church of their own with the backing of the country’s President Viktor Yushchenko.
Alexy II had stated that he would not serve a liturgy alongside the Raskolniki – the Dividers. Earlier Patriarch Bartholomew rejected the plea to create a separate Ukrainian National Church under Constantinople’s jurisdiction.
Today I offer to watch a very beautiful
St. Liturgy on Volodymyr’s hill in Kyiv:
comments always welcome.