Mister President of the General Assembly,
Excellencies, Eminencies, Reverent Fathers,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, I would like to thank our friends from Russian and Belorussian Missions, as well as our hosts – Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, – for co-organizing today's festivities.
These days international Orthodox community celebrates a truly historical date – 1025th anniversary of Christianization of Kievan Rus’.
Yesterday in Kyiv – a "City of Golden Domes" and ancient Orthodox cathedrals – on invitation of the President of Ukraine this festive occasion gathered in prayers and celebrations prominent religious and political leaders, among which Presidents of Moldova, Russia and Serbia.
In 988 Prince Vladimir the Great changed a vector of Kiev Rus' development. He created the biggest State in ancient Europe, successfully integrating it to the Christian family.
This landmark event became a watershed of the Eastern European history and played a tremendous role in shaping historical and political landscape of the European continent, as well as of the whole Slavic civilization.
Orthodoxy as an official religion determined spiritual unity of Slavic nations, giving a powerful impetus to the development of Slavic culture, in particular literature, icon painting, music and architecture. It gave us power to resist the difficult times by preserving our national identities.
By Christening Kiev Rus’, Vladimir the Great has also influenced culture and geopolitics on a global scale by enlarging the space of the great Christian civilization to the East.
Orthodox faith is immortal.
In today’s turbulent world, its values – like 1025 years ago – make Slavic nation stronger, empowering them in addressing manifold challenges.
In this endeavour, Kyiv with its Vladimir’s Hill wills always remain a beating heart of Orthodox Christianity and Slavic unity.
Let me congratulate all of us with this remarkable anniversary.
May God bless us and our countries, giving wisdom and prosperity.