18 August 2013
On the occasion of the celebration 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus’ and the consecration of August 18 in Kyiv, Patriarchal Cathedral Church Pope Francis sent a pastoral letter, read by papal legate Cardinal Cardinal Audrys Juozas Bačkis.
Pope Francis wrote: “The celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus proves that the path to full unity among all the disciples of Christ is not a luxury but a deep need, a need for consistent and effective proclamation of the message of Christ and to witness the unity of that Christ asked the Father before his final act of sacrificial love”.
Pope Francis hopes that the memory of the baptism of Rus-Ukraine will become a new impetus for the Church in evangelization and pastoral activities, and celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism will be a time of grace for the whole Ukrainian nation and for all the people.
“Let the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus will be a moment of grace for the whole Ukrainian nation and for all people who celebrate this great event, also for Orthodox brethren. But let it also be an appeal for real sense of personal responsibility on the part of all institutions and all people to follow the example of St. Volodymyr and to work for the common material and spiritual good of the nation; an appeal for ecumenical responsibility to pray to God for the gift of unity among all Christians and thus be builders of unity; an appeal to look with confidence and hope in the future God shows us; an appeal to intensify our work of evangelization and pastoral work in its various aspects, “- said the Pope in his greeting.