These excerpts from what is known by the Eastern Slavs as the Primary Chronicle, written nearly 900 years ago, contain in dramatic prose the chief accounts upon which the millennial celebrations are based: that of the Apostle Andrew visiting Ukraine; that of Olga’s baptism; and that of the great baptism of Kiev.

It is being called, variously (depending upon one’s biases), “The Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine,” “The Millennium of Christianity in Russia,” “The Millennium of Christianity in the USSR,” “The Millennium of the Russian Orthodox Church,” “The Millennium of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” and several others.

Yet regardless of their widely varying biases, all the groups participating in the thousands of celebration activities are united in referring to one document as a source for what events are being commemorated: The Primary Chronicle (Laurentian Text), or Tales of the Bygone Years—a compilation that probably first appeared at its current length in 1116, under the name of one Sylvester, but which is widely accepted as being primarily written by a Ukrainian Orthodox monk named Nestor, and added to later by Sylvester and others.

In its nearly 200 pages, this extensive compendium includes stories of the Eastern Slavs history dating from the days of Noah right up until the 12th century, dealing broadly with all the history of Kievan Rus’ but, being authored by a monk, focusing especially on the Eastern Slavs’ “salvation history.”

Regarding the millennium, the celebrants refer most frequently to three of the Chronicle’s accounts: that of the Apostle Andrew visiting the future site of Kiev and other portions of the modern USSR; that of the baptism of Princess Olga, a queen of Kievan Rus’ and the grandmother of Grand ...

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