Orthodox Church unites: Tens of thousands gather in Kiev, opposing war


July 28, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

Politnavigator – translated by Inessa Sinchougova 

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On July 28, 988 AD, Vladimir the Great Baptised Kievan’ Rus. In commemoration of this day, tens of thousands of believers have gathered in Kiev. 

Despite the threats of right-wing radicals – Nazis and dissidents supported by the official authorities – on 27 July a procession of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) dedicated to the Baptism Day of Kyivan Rus took place in Kiev. The celebrations gathered tens of thousands of people. Such a show of numbers is extremely undesirable for the ruling regime – after all, as is known, the Church condemns the fighting in the Donbass and calls for the immediate cessation of internecine war.

In the early morning people began to flock to the Vladimir Hill, where at the monument to Prince Vladimir a liturgy was held. 

Almost the entire center of Kiev – from the Post Square to the Maidan – was closed for traffic. Pilgrims who followed the prayer service underwent a security procedure, via with metal detectors. Towards noon, the amount of pilgrims grew more and more, people walked in an endless stream – they carried icons, sang prayers. There were many women, old people, children. 

By the beginning of the service, the famous mountain above the Dnieper was filled with believers. Many of those who did not fit on the asphalt avenues, just settled on the grassy slopes, among the trees.

The service was attended by the highest Ukrainian clergy, priests, deacons, monks and nuns, novices from monasteries.

At the end of the solemn service, the faithful, led by the clergy, passed with the iconic procession to the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, where shrines were also established for veneration.

It should be noted that the Ukrainian authorities ignored the service, where only a few Verkhovna Rada deputies attended – Mikhail Dobkin, Yuri Boyko, Alexander Vilkul. Mass media immediately accused them of “playing up to the Kremlin”, since for a long time the central core of Ukrainian propaganda was the accusation of the Church that it is supposedly in line with Russia’s policy for Ukraine.

As for statistics, the polls show that most of the citizens of Ukraine consider themselves to be believers of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Today, the Church has 12.5 thousand communities, 250 monasteries, it was and remains the largest confession in Ukraine. 

For the “war party” in power, it is certainly unpleasant that the Orthodox Church is the most numerous religious community in Ukraine. It stands for peace and the end of the conflict, which this “party of war” does not want at all. 

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