|Chersonesos Cathedral (Photo by Andreev720)|
Although geopolitics has certainly played a major role in Russia's ties with Crimea, historian Maria Kozelsky recently reported in The Washington Post that the religious aspects of this connection should not be underestimated.
Crimea has been called the "Cradle of Russian Christianity" because it was there that "Byzantium passed the mantle of Orthodoxy to Russia." Not only was the Kyivan Rus Prince Vladimir baptized by the Byzantine emperor in Crimea, but St.
Andrew the Apostle was also thought to have passed through this region on his way to Scythia.
After first-century Pope Clement was exiled to Crimea by then-Roman Emperor Trajan, the pope "founded an early Christian community that hid among neolithic caves." Traces of all these holy events were sought
after by "Russian archaeologists, historians and biblical scholars" until the time that communist leaders had insisted upon atheism.
After the Soviet collapse, Crimea was once again brought into Russia's "spiritual orbit." Russian President Vladimir Putin himself once joined with then-Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma for the raising of the Russian Orthodox cross "over the completed church on the ruins of Chersonesos." (St. Vladimir Cathedral in Chersonesos, near Sevastopol, had been restored during the 1990s and early 2000s after being destroyed during World War II.)
Copyright March 25, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved