1025 Years—and Counting

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A quarter-century ago, in the year 1988, much attention was focused upon a historic event: the millennial anniversary of a mass baptism of a growing society of Slavs, orchestrated by their leader, Grand Prince Volodymyr of Kyivan Rus'. The thousandth-year achievement was too momentous to be overlooked, especially by descendants of the people-unifying movement that had, in ten centuries, permeated other lands near and far through generations of moving and migration, forming enclaves, though separated by great distance, were united through a common bond of faith and tradition.

With varying degrees of outward expression, the commemoration of that “Christianizing” event was observed on every inhabited continent on Earth. Large cities, rural villages and small towns were the venues for prayers of thanksgiving for the ability to practice faith, or petitions for freedom to express it, and appeals to a loving God for the Gift of Grace to spread the Good News of salvation to a world in strife.

In twenty-five short years the world has changed in so many ways—with new circumstances and opportunities everywhere. Additionally a whole new generation is among us, deserving a way of connecting to their spiritual patrimony. Using the Millennium experience as an example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, worldwide has hearkened to the call of Patriarch Sviatoslav to review the Baptism of Rus'-Ukraine—and see it not in an historic context, but rather as an on-going part of the life of each baptized person.

In keeping with His Beatitude's wish, the Eparchy of St Nicholas has encouraged each parish to provide a time for reflection on the gift of faith and an opportunity for “renewal of baptismal promises”. In addition, an invitation went out to all who could participate to attend the celebration of the Akathist to Equal-to-the-Apostles Grand Prince Volodymyr the Great. This was done September 14 at the Cathedral of St Nicholas. To this was added the Lesser Blessing of Water  as well as a ceremony of renewal of Baptismal Promises—to reject and renounce Satan, and to accept and follow Christ.

Several hundred people made their way to the cathedral from near and far. Clergy from Illinois, Indiana. Michigan and Wisconsin joined in the day's program. There were homilies delivered by three priests: Mitred Archpriest Victor Poliarny, Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United States and Canada; Fr Bohdan Kalanyuk, Ukrainian Orth-odox Church of America;  and, Fr Basil Salkovski, OSBM, dean of the Chicago Deanery, St Nicholas Eparchy.

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