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Activists protest Moscow Patriarchate followers as July 28 anniversary of Kyivan Rus’ adoption of Christianity nears

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A woman in with floral headdress blocks the road for pilgrims of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate on their way to Kyiv near Borispol on July 25.

On July 25, nearly 100 activists tried to block the road for followers the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate on their way to Kyiv near Borispol.

As the pilgrims came, activists tried to block their way, but they were outnumbered by police and members of the National Guard who prevented the blockade.

Authorities are concerned that competing Orthodox churches — one loyal to Russia, the other, larger one loyal to Ukraine — will have conflicts in the run-up to the celebration on July 28 of the conversion to Christianity of medieval Kyivan Rus.

On July 28, 988, Prince Vladimir I of Kyiv official adopted the Byzantine Rite Christianity — the religion of the Eastern Roman Empire — as the state religion of Kievan Rus’. This date is often considered the official birthday of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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