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Ukraine Commemorates Kievan Rus Anniversary

Commemorations are under way in Ukraine, which is marking the 1,025th anniversary of the conversion to Christianity of Kievan Rus, the medieval Slavic state that laid the Orthodox foundations for modern-day Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Top Orthodox Christian clergy from around the world have also gathered in the Ukrainian capital to participate in a special prayer service and other religious events. (13 PHOTOS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin kisses an icon during a service and ceremony in Kyiv on July 27 to celebrate the 1,025th anniversary of Christianity in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin kisses an icon during a service and ceremony in Kyiv on July 27 to celebrate the 1,025th anniversary of Christianity in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill (center) participates in a public prayer in Kyiv on July 27.
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Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill (center) participates in a public prayer in Kyiv on July 27.

Kyiv Metropolitan Filaret also took part in the ceremonies.
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Kyiv Metropolitan Filaret also took part in the ceremonies.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych takes part in the opening of an exhibition marking the 1,025th anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus on July 26.
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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych takes part in the opening of an exhibition marking the 1,025th anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus on July 26.

The faithful kiss the cross of St. Andrew the Apostle, which is on loan from its home cathedral in Patras, Greece.
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The faithful kiss the cross of St. Andrew the Apostle, which is on loan from its home cathedral in Patras, Greece.

Russian Patriarch Kirill (left) and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych greet each other before a public prayer in Kyiv on July 27.
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Russian Patriarch Kirill (left) and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych greet each other before a public prayer in Kyiv on July 27.

Members of Ukraine's ultranationalist Svoboda party defied a ban on public demonstrations and gathered near the prayer site to stage an anti-Russia protest on July 27.
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Members of Ukraine's ultranationalist Svoboda party defied a ban on public demonstrations and gathered near the prayer site to stage an anti-Russia protest on July 27.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych cross themselves during a service and an official ceremony in Kyiv.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych cross themselves during a service and an official ceremony in Kyiv.

Russia President Vladimir Putin in Kyiv on July 27
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Russia President Vladimir Putin in Kyiv on July 27

Russian Patriarch Kirill (center) participates in the ceremonies at Volodymyrska Hill in Kyiv.
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Russian Patriarch Kirill (center) participates in the ceremonies at Volodymyrska Hill in Kyiv.

Russian Patriarch Kirill recites a prayer at Volodymyrska Hill in Kyiv.
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Russian Patriarch Kirill recites a prayer at Volodymyrska Hill in Kyiv.

Orthodox believers wait in line to kiss an icon during the service and a ceremony in Kyiv.
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Orthodox believers wait in line to kiss an icon during the service and a ceremony in Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych crosses himself in front of an icon during a service and ceremony in Kyiv on July 27.
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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych crosses himself in front of an icon during a service and ceremony in Kyiv on July 27.

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