MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. Russia and other countries where the majority of the population espouses Eastern Orthodox Christianity are marking the millennium since the passing away of St. Duke Vladimir, the medieval rule who brought Orthodox Christianity of Kievan Rus and baptized its people.
In Russia, this feast is marked by both the state and the Church as the Day of Baptism of Rus.
Festivities and official functions in Moscow will be centered around the Cathedral of the Savior where a festive liturgy will bring together representatives of all the fifteen 'local' (national) Orthodox Churches — Constantinople, Alexandrian, Antioch, Jerusalem, Georgian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Cyprian, Hellenic, Albanian, the Church of the Czech and Slovak lands, the Orthodox Church in America, and the Autonomous Orthodox Church in Japan.
"These festivities give us an opportunity once again to feel deep in our hearts the unity of the Orthodox Church in spite of numerous political upheavals and conflicts," the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia in an address welcoming the high foreign guests.
"We’ve gotten together in Moscow to venerate Duke Vladimir who took a wise decision an gave the peoples of Russia a chance to assimilate the profound and rich values of Christianity," Bishop Timothy, the head of the Jerusalem Church delegation told TASS. The Jerusalem Church is the oldest Christian congregation in the world today.
In the afternoon, President Vladimir Putin will give a gala reception in his name to Russian and foreign VIPs.
Particular events are destined to take place in Crimea, which is home to the ancient Chersonnesus. It was there that Vladimir was baptized in 988.
A Cross-bearing procession will take place in the St. Vladimir’s Cathedral in Sevastopol. It will be followed by an open-air concert.
A mass baptizing of people in the Black Sea and in mountainous rivers is also envisioned. Several hundred people who have decided to become Christians and who have gotten ready for accepting the sacrament of baptism will be able to join this rite in Yalta, Sevastopol, Eupatoria, Sakki and in the Belogorye district of the region.