26 Jul 2018 18:21

Patriarch Kirill hopes his visit to Ukraine 5 years ago will not be last

MOSCOW. July 26 (Interfax) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said before the 1,030th anniversary of the Christianization of Rus that he hopes he can visit Ukraine and its spiritual center, the Kyiv Lavra.

"Today, the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra remains a stronghold of the canonical Orthodox faith on Ukrainian soil. I do hope that times will change and we can all pray together at this great holy place together again," the patriarch said in an interview which will air on Ukraine's television channel Inter on Friday.

The tradition to celebrate the Day of Christianization of Rus in Kyiv was established by Patriarch Alexy II back in 2008. Since then, the main celebrations have been held in the Ukrainian capital every year on July 28. Patriarch Kirill last visited Kyiv was in July 2013.

This year, the Russian patriarch will lead the celebrations of the anniversary of the Christianization in Moscow. The celebrations will begin with a liturgy on the Kremlin's Cathedral Square, and then believers led by Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria, who will come to Moscow specially for the celebration, will carry crosses to to the monument to Prince Vladimir the Baptist on Borovitskaya Square, where a prayer will take place.

Patriarch Kirill said on Wednesday that he hopes that the celebration "will help overcome divisions, schisms, and differences on Ukrainian soil" and asked God to protect "all of the peoples who came out of the Kyiv baptistery."