12:41 Jul. 28, 2016
Patriarch Filaret has called upon representatives of different faiths to take part in celebrations to consolidate Ukraine
Ukraine on July 28 celebrates Christianization or Baptism Day of Kyivan Rus, which took place in the 10th century under Kyiv's Prince Volodymyr the Great.
Volodymyr was an outstanding statesman and politician who ruled Kyivan Rus from the year 980 to 1015.
Kyiv was the first city in ancient Rus to adopt Christianity.
According to the Primary Chronicle, which tells th history of Kyivan Rus from about 850 to 1110, Volodymyr the Great was himself baptized in Chersonesus and proceeded to baptize his family and people in Kyiv back in 988.
In the next centuries Christianity spread across all Rus to become its core religion.
Ukraine has been marking this day as a public holiday since July 25, 2008. However, for the last two years the holiday has special meaning due to Russia's aggression in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called upon all the faithful to pray for those warriors who defended and continue to defend Ukraine.
"Let the patron saint of our Rus-Ukraine, Volodymyr the Great, join us in prayers to banish the intruders. Rising a cross in one hand, he is keeping hold on a sword in another hand – to defend Ukraine," the president said.
Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Patriarch Filaret urged everyone who supports Ukraine and its independence to join thousands in the traditional religious procession organized by the Kyivan Patriarchate.