UGCC faithful celebrate 1,030th anniversary of Baptism of Rus-Ukraine by renewed vows and liturgies
The 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine was celebrated in the main cathedral of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church - the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv, by the Hierarchical Liturgy, renewal of ceremonial vows and water blessing on the Dnieper River. It is reported by the Department of Information of the UGCC.
According to the ancient tradition of the Kyivan Church, the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine in the Kyivan Metropolis is celebrated on August 14. Therefore, the UGCC celebrated this event on the Day of the Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord and the memory of the Holy Maccabean martyrs.
Bishop Joseph (Milian), Assistant Bishop of the Kyiv Archeparchy, led the Hierarchical Liturgy, as the Head of the UGCC Patriarch Sviatoslav is currently on a pastoral visit to the United States.
“As a nation,” said Bishop Joseph, “we always wanted unity with all good people. And in order to restore this unity with the Apostolic See, in 1596 we restored this unity with the Successor of the Apostle Peter. And perhaps this is also a great grace that, after the change in Ukraine, the representative of Successor Peter today represents his personality in our country.”
The Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, emphasized in the speech that Pope Francis was rejoicing at this jubilee and expressed gratitude to the Greek Catholics for their firmness in faith.
“The baptism of the nations,” said the preacher, “is never an ordinary event. This act is an event of extraordinary courage, it is also the distancing from everything that was in the past. And in this, we recognize the constituent part of the new people. In Baptism, we see the beginning of a new history of the people, the beginning of a new culture”
“Dear Greek Catholic brothers,” the Pope's legate addressed the faithful of the UGCC, “you resisted all the intentions that tried to bring your people back to paganism, especially during the Soviet Union. We thank you today for this. And the Ecumenical Church stands on its knees in front of you for this gesture and in front of those people who have been struggling that that water from holy baptism would not remain just an external sign,” said Nuncio Claudio Gugerotti.
Traditionally, on this day, the faithful, led by the clergymen, renew their vows given in the holy baptism.
After the Liturgy, a water blessing ceremony took place on the banks of the Dnieper.