Baptism Of Kyivan Rus

The Baptism of Kyivan Rus is a holiday that celebrates and commemorates the baptism of the Kyivan Rus area by Prince Vladimir in 988. The Kyivan Rus was a loose federation of Baltic, East Slavic, and Finnic peoples in Eastern and Northern Europe during the 9th to 13th centuries.

Prince Vladimir created one Christian nation according to the Byzantine Orthodox traditions by the river Dnieper. This holiday is now observed on July 28th each year in the patriarchal churches of Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. This 1,000+ year-old holiday is an occasion for many of the faithful in Ukraine to not only renew their faith but also to celebrate their patriotism.

The History of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus

Before the mid-10th century in Kievan Rus, paganism was the main religion, but after that date, it began to change, and there was a move away from numerous gods to monotheism. In 988, Prince Vladimir accepted Christianity in Korsun, and when he returned to Kyiv, he began a process of baptizing the entire country.

He started with his closest knights, then baptized nobles and merchants as well. This was the beginning of a close association of the people of Ukraine with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This holiday is celebrated on the Feast Day of Saint Vladimir, who is one of the founders, as well as one of the patrons, of Ukrainian statehood.

The Observance of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus

On this day, people attend religious services, and some have their children baptized at St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv after an all-night vigil held the night before. Thousands of believers also march to the cathedral in support of a unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

In the central streets of Kyiv, there is also a parade and a procession of believers with political and spiritual leaders representative of every Christian denomination in Ukraine. This is not a public holiday in Ukraine, so it is not a day when businesses or government offices close.

Where is it celebrated?
Ukraine (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
July 28 Sunday
Next year (2025)
July 28 Monday
Last year (2023)
July 28 Friday