“Today I embrace all,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav on Volodymyrska Hirka

Saturday, 17 August 2013, 16:31
On August 17th, the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) on the occasion of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Ukraine-Rus celebrated Vespers on Volodymyrska Hirka to the Saint Equal to the Apostles Prince Volodymyr.
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“With these celebratory Vespers at the foot of the monument of the Equal to the Apostles Prince Volodymyr – the Baptizer of Ukraine – we officially begin the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Ukraine -Rus,” stated His Beatitude Sviatoslav in his homily.

Joining the Head of the Church in these prayers to Saint Volodymyr were all the members of UGCC Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Audrys Juozas Bačkis, Papal Legate to the celebration of the Baptism of Ukraine, Thomas Edward Hallickson, Apostolic Nuncio for Ukraine and numerous clergy.

Over 6,000 people attended the service.

UGCC Primate in his sermon  described  how for a contemporary person not to lose oneself  but to  get to know oneself and to find one’s path in life, it is important to know one’s roots: whose child one is, what kind of a land gave one life. “For us Christians who in this Year of Faith want to renew our faith in God, it is so important to come to the sources.  It is here, on the banks of the Dnipro River, that we, Christian Ukrainians can find the spring of our faith.  It is especially here that we can understand who we are as Christians, and having taken a drink of water from that spring, we can be Christians both today and tomorrow,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav by the monument to Saint Volodymyr.

He reminded all that 1025 years ago, on the banks of the ancient Dnipro the Mighty River, our forefathers were christened.  However, this christening was very particular.  “Kyivans did not get baptized separately, privately, in their church – Kyiv was baptized in the Dnipro all together.  Its residents descended together into the christening waters.  Together, with one heart and lips they attested to their faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  It is here, in the waters of the Dnipro, that from various tribes we became one nation.   Therefore, today, we have gathered here from various countries, villages and cities of Ukraine, even from various confessions and Churches, in order to be once again together at this water spring of our faith,” emphasized the Father and Head of the Church.

According to his Beatitude Sviatoslav, it is to this unity of an undivided Church that the Equal to the Apostles Volodymyr is beckoning us.  “Therefore, today, I open my embrace to all who came from near and far.  My embrace is open to all: Orthodox, Protestants, and simply good people.  Let us all be together!  Let us renew our faith, let us together be Christians of the Third Millennium,” urged the Church Head.

He reminded all that tomorrow the consecration of the Patriarchal Cathedral on the Dnipro Left Bank, which is “seen so beautifully” from Volodymyrska Hirka, will take place.  “This cathedral will be the symbol of the unity of our Church.  A symbol which urges all the children of Volodymyr’s Baptism to unite together,” said he.

“May the All-Merciful God awaken in us this nostalgia for unity of Christ’s Church.  Saint, Equal to the Apostles, Great Prince Volodymyr, pray to God for us sinners,” beseeched at the end His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

 

UGCC Department of Information

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