ROCOR First Hierarch To Serve Liturgy In US To Celebrate 1,035 Years Since Baptism Of Rus

ROCOR First Hierarch to Serve Liturgy in US to Celebrate 1,035 Years Since Baptism of Rus

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 25th July, 2023) First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR) Metropolitan Nicholas (Olhovsky) will head celebrations of the 1,035th anniversary of the baptism of Rus to be held from July 29-30 in Jackson, New Jersey, archpriest Serge Ledkovsky told Sputnik.

The celebration will take place at St. Vladimir Cathedral, which was built in 1938 to commemorate 950 years since the baptism of the Kievan Rus by the Grand Prince of Kiev St. Vladimir.

"We will serve the Vigil on Saturday night and the Liturgy Sunday morning. God willing, the services will be led by Metropolitan Nicholas, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia," Father Serge, who serves as the deputy rector of the cathedral, said.

Two ROCOR bishops, Gabriel of Canada and Peter of Chicago and middle West, may also join the liturgy, he added.

While church services and a blessing of the water will be the centerpiece of the celebration, the celebrations will not be limited to them only. Participants will have an opportunity to enjoy other cultural activities and live music as well as see special demonstrations by Cossack groups and taste traditional Russian food.

In addition, guests will be able to visit Pushkin Park, which was opened on the territory of the cathedral about a year ago, Father Serge continued.

"This is a monument park, and that will be opened for the people who would like to learn a little bit about the history of Russia," he said.

The park consists of about 30 monuments donated to the church, mostly by the now non-existent organization "Rodina" (Motherland).

It includes memorials for Russian saints, such as Alexander Nevsky, Sergius of Radonezh, and Dmitry Donskoi, as well as Emperors Peter and Catherine the Great, Alexander I, Alexander II, and Alexander III. The history of Russia's military glory is represented by Adm. Fyodor Ushakov, who is also canonized by the Russian Church, Alexander Suvorov, Adm. Pavel Nakhimov, heroes of the 1812 war against Napoleon, Generals Pyotr Bagration and Michael Barclay de Tolly, and others.

"Of course, we have monuments of Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, and other great Russian people," the priest added.

When asked about the importance of celebrating the baptism of Rus for the Russian diaspora in America, the priest pointed out that it serves as a sign of the unification of the people.

"It is a sign of unification at the very root and which is grown since then. If we are united in Christ under the guidance of our Baptist St. Vladimir, then that should be enough for us. We are unified, we are one. And we should be one," he said.

The archpriest pointed out that Russians living outside Russia need to know their historical identity and what they have inherited from their ancestors. He also noted that St. Vladimir's Baptism of Rus extends through and beyond the current political borders and unites people.

Grand Prince Vladimir, whom the Russians call the Red Sun, lived in the 10th-11th centuries. He converted to Orthodox Christianity and Christianized the Kievan Rus in 988. Vladimir was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church.