Religious leaders from Russia and Georgia are uniting to celebrate the Christianization of ancient Russia. They are in Ukraine, where at the end of the tenth century Prince Vladimir forced thousands to convert.
The ceremonies will be attended for the first time by the top hierarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II. He is due to meet with his Russian counterpart to discuss the strained relations between the two states, which cut off diplomatic ties more than five years ago.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrived at the solemn liturgy in front of the Prince Vladimir monument in Kiev – the central monument dedicated to the adoption of Christianity in this part of the world. He was greeted by tens of thousands of people. This shows the attitude towards the Russian patriarch in Ukraine is still very warm.
Recently, Kiev was named one of the synodal capitals of the Russian Orthodox Church together with Moscow and St. Petersburg.
This year Kiev has prepared massive celebrations to mark the pivotal moment when Russia became part of the world’s Christian community in 988AD. The mass Christianization of Georgians took place at the beginning of the 4th century AD.