New National Holiday Irks Non-Orthodox Faiths

June 8, 2010

Author: Alexandra Odynova

Source: The Moscow Times

Russia will celebrate a new holiday next month under a decision backed by the Kremlin and Russian Orthodox Church that is stirring up decidedly unholy feelings among non-Orthodox Russians.

Christianization of Rus Day on July 28 won't be counted as a day off work, but it will be recognized on calendars as the country's ninth so-called "memorial holiday," which also includes Cosmonauts Day on April 12 and Constitution Day on Dec. 12.

The new holiday commemorates the baptism in 988 of Vladimir the Great, who accepted Christianity together with his family and the people of his state, Kievan Rus, the predecessor to the Russian Empire and whose capital was Kiev.

Now Protestant Christians and Muslims want their own holidays, too.