Today, on July 27, Ukraine is celebrating the Day of Christianization of Kievan Rus.
Religious processions, public prayer services and other attributes of the Christian holidays are in all spheres of life in Ukraine today. The former President Victor Yushchenko established an official holiday to be celebrated on July 28 back in 2008.
Things to know about Christianization of Kievan Rus:
- Kievan Rus – is a factitious term created by historians in the 19th century for an ancient state in Eastern Europe, which emerged from the Eastern-Slavic and Finno-Ugrian tribes.
- Christianization of Kievan Rus – is a term by which in modern historiography meaning the introduction of Christianity as a state religion in Kievan Rus.
- Paganism prevailed on these lands until the mid 10th century. The mentality of Slavonic pagans was based on the plurality of gods.
- Christianity started spreading all over Kievan Rus long before the official date of Baptizing of Rus. Prince Volodymyr’s grandmother Olga was the first ruler of Rus to convert to Christianity in the middle of 10th century. Moreover, even before 988, the year of the baptism of Rus, many Kiev residents have embraced Christianity by Byzantine model.
- Political strengthening of the state required the adoption of a single faith. Eastern Christianity, being attractive because of in the aspect of the mutual integrity of religious and secular power. Prince Volodymyr chose Christianity and converted the entire nation to Christianity.
- 988 is considered to be the date of Baptizing of Rus. This year Prince Volodymyr accepted Christianity in Korsun, and on his return to Kyiv initiated a process of baptizing the whole country, starting from his close warriors, nobles, merchants.
- The same year citizens of Kyiv were baptized in rivers Dnieper and Pochaina. Then Christianity spread to other lands of Kyiv Rus quite quickly.
- After 988, Rus, being a Christian State, was able to pretend for a higher status in its relations with other countries in Europe, which strengthened international ties. One of the major consequences of the Christianization was the gradual consolidation of the society and softening of morals and manners.
- For the development of the culture of the country, the event was a significant landmark as well. Accepting Christianity.
- In 1988, the faithful of the Eastern Orthodox celebrated a millennium of Eastern Slavic Christianity. It was the first time since 1917 when numerous churches and monasteries were destroyed, religious communities and religion itself were banned by the communist atheistic regime, that prayer services were held officially and the mass opening of formerly closed churches set in.
- The present-day holiday was introduced by President Victor Yushchenko in 2008.
Historians sip their knowledge from original sources – ancient chronicles, the most famous is the Tale of Bygone Years (or Primary Chronicle, or Povest’ vremennyh let, Nestor's Chronicle, Nestor's manuscript), the Ioachim Chronicle, the Radziwill Chronicle (or Konigsberg Chronicle), as well as other manuscripts and chronicles.
As we reported earlier, in 2016 religious procession started in Ternopil and Donetsk regions, brought the two groups of believers to enter Kyiv on July 26, meet on July 27 in Kiev at St. Vladimir's Hill, and together with the Orthodox Kyiv citizens and pilgrims proceed to Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The expected number was 30 000 participants, however, there were more than 4,500 pilgrims at Volodymyrska Hirka a year ago and around 6 000 people took part in the celebration of Baptism of Rus last year. Law enforcers expected a high number of provocations by pro-Russian activists or Kremlin-backed militants, tightening preventive measures, however, there were no serious violations reported.