Pope Francis Appoints Special Envoy to Attend 1025th Anniversary of Baptism of Ukraine-Rus Celebrations
Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Audrys Juozas Bačkis, Archbishop Emeritus of Vilnius, as his special envoy to attend the celebrations marking the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Ukraine-Rus, scheduled for August 17-18 2013 in Kyiv, Radio Vatican reports.
The celebrations will include a meeting of the Synod of Bishops, a national pilgrimage, which will be attended by faithful of Ukraine and the diaspora, and the consecration of the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.
As the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) Information Department reported earlier, Greek Catholics will celebrate the anniversary of the baptism in August, not July. This was explained at a press conference in Kyiv by Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who said the tradition of celebrating the two events together – the feast day of Prince Volodymyr and the anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine – is a tradition of the Russian Church.
“Combining these two events was intended to emphasize the state nature of the state religion of Moscow Orthodoxy. We are heirs of Volodymyr's baptism and the Church of Kyiv. And we kept the ancient Kyivan tradition, according to which the Baptism of Ukraine-Rus is celebrated every year on August 14 – the day of the Holy Maccabean Martyrs when Dormition Fast begins and the day of the so-called Augustivskyi water blessing. We honor the tradition of the Russian Church, but in our church we uphold the traditions of the Kyivan Church, so our celebrations coincide with this date,” said the head of the UGCC
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]