by Kostas Onisenko
The 1033rd anniversary of the Baptism of the Rus in Ukraine was celebrated with special brilliance today in Kyiv.
Metropolitan Epifaniy, Head of the Church of Ukraine, performed the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael with the golden domes. Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, and the Church of Cyprus concelebrated with him.
On behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, was present, who conveyed the wishes of the Ecumenical Patriarch for the celebrations.
The Bishop of Babylon Theodoros read a greeting on behalf of the Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa, while the Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Kyrenia attended and read the greetings on behalf of the Church of Cyprus.
Metropolitan Epifaniy congratulated the high priests, the clergy, and the faithful on this important spiritual anniversary, on the day of remembrance of St. Prince Vladimir and the Baptism of the Rus, which took place in Kyiv.
He thanked the representatives of the Holy Churches who came to Kyiv to share with the Ukrainian Church and ordinary Ukrainians the joy of this great day.
At the same time, the head of the Ukrainian Church stressed that the Ukrainians are looking forward to the visit of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Ukraine.
As part of the celebrations, Metropolitan Epifaniy prayed on the banks of the Dnieper River, from where Prince Vladimir performed the Baptism of the Rus 1033 years ago.
In his sermon, Metropolitan Epifaniy -among other things- spoke with words of Christian love for the parishioners of the Russian Church in Ukraine, saying that yesterday, when the Russian Church held a cross-procession (litany) on the occasion of the celebrations of the Baptism of Rus-In Ukraine, there were many who entered the Monastery of the Archangel Michael, which is the main temple of the Autocephalous Ukrainian Church, to pray and light a candle.
“But we believe that with God’s help, these brothers and sisters will learn the truth, and the truth will free them from the shackles of Moscow’s delusion. We were pleased to see how many supporters of the Moscow Patriarchate – priests and laity-came yesterday to the Monastery of Saint Michael, lit candles, and prayed. “The doors of our Church and our hearts are open to all,” said the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.