Pope Francis expects that the commemoration of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine will provide UGCC with new impetus for evangelization and pastoral activity

Sunday, 18 August 2013, 15:28
The choice of Saint Volodymyr to accept Christianity played a significant role in the development and future direction of Kyivan Rus which eased the integration of people who lived within its boundaries both at that time and in the following epochs. Prince Volodymyr in this way made his fundamental contribution to the cultural and spiritual growth of his people. This contribution of the prince is a mighty challenge to people who are responsible for contemporary social life, to always make those choices which take into account the entire development of society, service for the general good and respect for the spiritual. Pope Francis addresses this issue in the letter of greetings written to His Beatitude Sviatoslav on the occasion of the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine.

Pope Francis underlined that the conversion of Kyivan Rus to Christianity took place “within the context of an undivided Church in which there continued to develop various church traditions, but in union with one another. This fact, in his opinion, serves as a reference point for an ecumenical dialogue among Christian communities who today rely on the spiritual heritage of Saint Volodymyr. “The celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus demonstrates that the road to full unity among all the followers of Christ -- is not a luxury, but a deep need, crucial for the consistent and active proclamation of the testimony of Christ, as well as for a real testimony of that union for which Christ begged the Father, in approaching the highest act of his sacrificial love,” he explained.

The Bishop of Rome wrote of his conviction that the commemoration of the act of Baptism of Rus-Ukraine becomes for UGCC a new impetus in evangelization and pastoral activities.  Then the Holy Father named the steadfast orientations of the Church in this sphere:  the Word of God, Holy Sacraments, Divine Liturgy, formation of the faithful and the clergy, development of charitable acts.

In concluding, the Roman Pope expressed a hope that the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus becomes a time of grace for the whole Ukrainian nation and for all people:  “May this commemoration become a call to the real feeling of responsibility from the side of state institutions and each person in particular, to follow the example of Saint Volodymyr to work for the common material and spiritual good of the nation; a call to ecumenical responsibility, to ask God for the gift of unity among all Christians and to oneself become the builder of this unity; a call to activate the issue of evangelization and pastoral activities in all of their dimensions.  I send His Beatitude Sviatoslav, UGCC Bishops, and all Holy God’s people in Ukraine, my blessing.  

UGCC Department of Information 


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