(OCA) - His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, will lead the delegation representing the Orthodox Church in America at the celebration of the 1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ July 21-31, 2013.
It was in AD 988 that Saint Prince Vladimir of Kyiv embraced Orthodox Christianity and oversaw the mass baptism of his people in the Dnieper River. This year’s anniversary is unique inasmuch as celebrations will be held in Moscow, Kyiv, and Minsk.
Accompanying Metropolitan Tikhon will be His Grace, Bishop Alexander of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese; Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Relations and Inter-Church Relations; Archimandrite Alexander [Pihach], OCA Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate and Dean of Saint Catherine Representation Church, Moscow; Deacon Jesse Isaac, Archdiocese of Canada; and Deacon Cyril Dotsenko, Saint Catherine Church, Moscow.
The delegation is expected to arrive in Moscow on Saturday, July 20, 2013. On Sunday, July 21, Metropolitan Tikhon will celebrate the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy at Saint Catherine Church, Moscow.
Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral will be the site of the Divine Liturgy on Wednesday, July 24. Metropolitan Tikhon will concelebrate with primates and hierarchs representing the other Local Orthodox Churches.
On Thursday, July 25, the heads of the Local Churches’ delegations will meet with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in the Moscow Kremlin. Later that evening, an Anniversary Concert will be performed in Moscow’s Red Square.
Members of the OCA delegation will travel with other representatives to Kyiv, Ukraine on Friday, July 26, where the following day they will participate in a Prayer Service at Vladimir’s Hill and meet with Ukrainian President Viktor Yahukovych. On Saturday evening, Vigil will be celebrated in Cathedral Square at the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, followed by an Anniversary Concert on Kyiv’s main street, Kreschatyk.
On Sunday, July 28, Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA delegation will concelebrate at the Divine liturgy in Cathedral Square. On Monday, July 29, the anniversary will continue with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the recently reconstructed Citadel Church in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. While in Minsk, the heads of the delegations will meet with the President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, participate in a wreath laying ceremony in Victory Square, and attend a reception hosted by His Eminence, Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.