October 13, 2015
On October 10, 2015 a conference dedicated to the memory of Equal-to-the-Apostles St. Vladimir the Great with the blessings of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and His Holiness Patriarch Neophytos of Bulgaria, reports the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations.
The conference, organized by the Russian representative church in Sofia, was attended by the Bulgarian Patriarch, as well as Bulgarian, Russian, and Ukrainian Church hierarchs, foreign diplomats and members of theological and scholarly circles.
Before the conference began its work Archimandrite Philip of the Sofia Russian church awarded Patriarch Neopytos a commemorative medal in honor of the millennium celebrations of the repose of St. Vladimir.
Greetings were sent to the conference from various hierarchs, including Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and all Ukraine, and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Russian Department for External Church Relations. His Eminence wrote:
This year the Russian Orthodox Church marks the millennium of the repose of the Holy Prince Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles. On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, I wholeheartedly greet you all as you have gathered for a conference devoted to this outstanding historic date.
By worldly measures the Holy Prince Vladimir is separated from us by an immense historical time – a thousand years, but the image of the Baptizer of Rus, who shook off the blindness of paganism into the waters of Baptism and was reborn by the Spirit of God in order to bring his subjects to the knowledge of the Gospel’s truth, continues to live in the prayerful memory of the peoples nourished not only by the Russian Orthodox Church but also other Local Orthodox Churches.
All these peoples, who live in remote places and differ from one another in language and mentality and who have followed different historical paths, have come to one common Orthodox faith, to the unity in Christ, thus confirming the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles: For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body (1 Cor. 12:13). It was in different times that the Holy Prince Rostislav of Moravia and the Holy King Olaf of Norway baptized their nations. It was in different situations that the Holy King Boris the Baptizer of Bulgaria and the Holy Prince Vladimir had to act, but from the spiritual point of view their lives comprise one and the same feat of the service of Christ the Savior equal to that of the apostles so that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored (2 Thess. 3:1).
Therefore the memory of the millennium of the repose of the Baptizer of Rus unites in a very special way the faithful of the Russian and Bulgarian Orthodox Churches, just as they are united by their common spiritual tradition which was initiated by the work of enlightenment carried out by Ss Cyril and Methodius Equal-to-the-Apostles and their disciples and which came to Rus through the Bulgarian missionaries who responded to the call of St. Vladimir.
From my heart I wish to the organizers, participants and guests of the conference inspiration, creative successes and interesting work.
Key speeches were made by Archpriest Prof. Vladislav Tsypin, Moscow Theological Academy, Archpriest Nikolay Danilevich, Archpriest Kirill Popov, Bulgarian Orthodox Church, S. Kravets, director of the Orthodox Encyclopedia church research center, Prof. P. Pavlov, University of Veliko Tarnovo, and Prof. Doncheva-Panaitova, University of Sofia, Faculty of Theology.
The All-Night Vigil was celebrated in the evening following the conference and the Divine Liturgy the following day in the Russian representative church of St. Nicholas in Sofia.
Addressing the participants of the conference, Metropolitan Dometian of Vidin, who had participated in the St. Vladimir commemorative days in Moscow in July stated: “I would like to testify to the millennium-old historical and cultural bonds of the Bulgarian Church and Bulgarian people with Holy Rus … We as Orthodox Bulgarians have cause for which we should be grateful to her, her patriarchs, clergy, people and the God-saved army, which repeatedly delivered us from enemies’ yokes.”