Sunday, 14 July 2013

Kyivan Rus' Sovereign, Saint and Hero

Monuments to great heroes, to champions of the good, monuments to mark sad moments that teach us never to forget, and then there are monuments which speak to the spirit. Calgary is home to a special monument, a type of structure explicitly created to commemorate a real person, and an extraordinary historical, cultural and spiritual event.

The Ukrainian Church closest to the Langevin Bridge off Memorial Drive adds some Eastern European flare to our Western Canadian cityscape.  While the hopeful start of the first Ukrainian Catholic Church in Calgary in 1912 was shortlived noteably because of Canada's First World War Internment Operations, the end of the war brought a resurgence of spirit.  The changing political climate in the ancestral homeland meant new Ukrainian Canadians would have to be self-reliant, so they forged ahead embracing the legacy of Kyivan Rus' Sovereign, Saint and Hero -Volodymyr. 

Baptism of Volodymyr-public domain
From the Feast Day in his honor on July 28th to August 14th marking Volodymyr's official Baptism and acceptance of Orthodox Christianity as the State Religion of Kyivan Rus', these are heady, legacy days for Ukrainians.  Interestingly enough,  The Primary Chronicle names Anna, the sister of Byzantine Emperors Basil and Constantine, and records that her brothers agreed to her marriage to Volodymyr upon his receipt of Christian Baptism, in Kherson.  It looks like Volodymyr married into the faith!  Heady times for me too since the the location of these events, the Ruins of the Basilica and Saint Volodymyr Cathedral in National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine will be part of my summer tour this month. 

Ukrainian-Calgarians, thankful for their huge Canadian inheritance, and emulating their ancestral Sovereign pressed forward with a vision of a people united by a common spiritual culture that transcended the parochial loyalties of their village past.  The church standing on Meredith Road looking over the river to downtown Calgary would welcome all those of Ukrainian ancestry.

St. Vlad's is a great community for Ukrainian-Calgarian hospitality.  On Sunday, July 28th the church marks its Temple Patron Feast Day with Divine Liturgy, followed by prayers and procession around the temple to honor Kyivan Rus' Sovereign and Saint, Volodymyr's  Baptism of Ukraine 1025 years ago. Come and contribute your favorite dish to the pot-luck luncheon, and you will be sure to meet friends, renew aquaintance and be spiritually uplifted!

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