For Sts. Olha and Volodymyr the Catholic Calendars for Ukraine always coincide, whether Roman Catholic or Greek Catholic today in Ukraine we are on the same page. Today is thoroughly special because today with the Orthodox and with the government of Kyiv we celebrate St. Volodymyr's 1000th death anniversary. For most saints in the Catholic Calendar, and this is the case with Volodymyr, we celebrate the day of the saint's birth into eternal life, his going to God, his rest from the travail of life this side of heaven.
Central to the legacy of St. Volodymyr was his pondered choice of Baptism for his people. You'll read any amount of stuff which goes beyond his choice as a reasonable one on the path to forging a nation and talk of promoting the development of his people to those who almost crassly believe that his choice of Christianity in its Byzantine expression was a clever calculation by a man who understood clearly which way the winds of progress were blowing in long ago 988. Personally, I'll have none of it. The Church knows its business in declaring Volodymyr a saint and like unto the Apostles in terms of his founding role for faith among the people of the Rus.
We need to rewrite the history and say very clearly that Volodymyr's choice for his people is humanly speaking counter-intuitive, stemming per force from the action of grace in his own personal life, leading him first to the cleansing and life-giving waters, which he then shared as the pearl of great price with the people entrusted to his princely care. Volodymyr reflects apostolic zeal for Christ and the consummate wisdom of the Christian prince, who thoroughly eclipses Plato's philosopher king.
All I really want to say is that nothing would forbid the same to happen someplace else on the face of the earth as did back then by Volodymyr's cooperation with God's grace. Would that one or another Christian prince could be found today to strike a blow at the darkness of the so-called Enlightenment which has deprived so many of what was in every way better and truly life-giving, for both now and eternity!
PROPERANTES ADVENTUM DIEI DEI
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