- Russian Orthodox Church marching from conflict zone to Kiev
- Annual event marks 10th-century adoption of Christianity
Ukrainian police found grenades on the route of an annual march to its capital by Russia’s Orthodox Church, heightening security concerns in a country that’s still battling a pro-Russian insurgency in its easternmost regions.
Two groups of believers, one starting in conflict-stricken Donetsk and the other in the nation’s west, are due to converge in Kiev July 27 to mark the 10th-century adoption of Christianity by Kievan-Rus, the precursor to modern-day Ukraine and Russia. Police have said they’ll transport participants to central Kiev by bus rather than allowing them to go on foot, predicting about 15,000 people will arrive.
“Citizens’ safety is more important than religious rituals,” Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Tuesday on Facebook. “The models of the mines and grenades we found eliminates all doubt of the reality of threats and provocations.”
While the predominant religion in both Ukraine and Russia is Orthodox Christianity, the two countries’ branches of the church are at odds over the Kiev patriarchy’s desire to break free of control from Moscow.