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Christians Celebrate 1,027 Years and Pray for Peace

Vladimir the Great
Christians Celebrate 1,027 Years and Pray for Peace
This Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 18:00 at St. Michael’s Square, hundreds of believers representing all Christian denominations in Ukraine are expected to gather for a Prayer Concert to thank God for 1,027 years of Christianity in Rus-Ukraine and to pray for their country.
In the 10th Century, Volodymyr (Vladimir) the Great’s conversion to Christianity and its values transformed him from a conquering tyrant infamous for misogyny and cruel barbarism, to a peaceful ruler who supported justice, abolished the death penalty, and was known for his piety and generosity to the poor. Ukrainian Christians call for a return to morality and peace in Ukraine.
Ukrainian’s popular Christian singer Roman Vashchuk, who sang on Maidan in December of 2014, is one of the artists scheduled to perform. He invites all to come: “Today, more than ever, our nation needs your prayers to God, that here would not be the ruins of war and destruction, but that here would be peace, welfare and prosperity. So come and pray together, with all, for the fate of our country.”

Historical Note:

* Volodymyr the Great wanted to unite his kingdom around one national religion, and sent out his counselors to research the different religions of the nations nearby.  The following excerpts from the article 988 Vladimir Adopts Christianity at tells us several reasons why he chose Christianity:

“He opted for Orthodoxy because of its beautiful worship. Orthodoxy was also the religion of the most powerful, wealthy, and civilized.. Impressed by Orthodoxy’s beauty, he also was impressed by another beauty: Anna, sister of Byzantine emperors Basil II and Constantine, who offered her to Volodymyr as a bride with the condition that he be baptized.

In 988 Volodymyr was baptized. In 989 he married Anna.

Significant for church history, Volodymyr then ordered all the inhabitants of Kyiv to appear at the Dnipro River for baptism or be considered enemies of the kingdom. This doesn’t mean that the Slavic nation became a Christian society overnight. But with the help of monks, always a prime force in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the new religion began to make its influence felt.

As for Volodymyr himself, his lifestyle was clearly affected. When he married Anna, he put away his five former wives. Not only did he build churches, he also destroyed idols, abolished the death penalty, protected the poor, established schools, and managed to live in peace with neighboring nations. On his deathbed he gave all his possessions to the poor.”

Editor’s note: Excerpts edited to use Ukrainian proper nouns

Roman Vashchuk on Maidan in 2014
Roman Vashchuk at the Maidan Revolution, December 2014
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