Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Orthodox Church

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The Holy Great Prince Volodymyr, Equal of the Apostles. Few names in the annals of history can compare in significance with the name of St. Volodymyr, the Baptizer of Kyiv Rus, who stands at the beginning of the spiritual destiny of the Ukrainian Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox people.

An unforgettable and quite singular event in Ukrainian history: the morning of the Baptism of the Kyevans in the waters of the River Dnipro. On the evening before, St Volodymyr declared throughout the city: "If anyone does not go into the river tomorrow, be they rich or poor, beggar or slave, that one shall be my enemy." The sacred wish of the holy Prince was fulfilled without a murmur: "all our land glorified Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit at the same time."

Everywhere throughout Kyiv Rus, from the ancient cities to the far outposts, St. Vladimir gave orders to destroy the pagan sanctuaries, to flog the idols, and in their place to clear land in the hilly woods for churches, in which altars would be consecrated for the Bloodless Sacrifice. Concerning the famed church-building activity of St. Vladimir, the Metropolitan of Kiev St. Hilarion (author of the "Word on Law and Grace") exclaimed: "They demolished the pagan temples, and built up churches, they destroyed the idols and produced holy icons, the demons have fled, and the Cross has sanctified the cities."
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