St. Volodymyr, the grandson of Princess Olha (St. Olha), became ruler of Kyivan Rus in 980. Early in his reign, he realized that his nation would grow stronger if it became a Christian state. He personally accepted Christianity before his marriage to the sister of Byzantine emperor.
Christianity was accepted by the Ukrainian people in 988 in a mass baptism along the bank of the Dnipro River near Kyiv. St. Volodymyr united all his states into one strong kingdom. His life offered many examples of true Christian charity to the nation. His efforts for the material, spiritual and cultural betterment of his people engraved themselves deeply on his subjects.
The Ukrainian Church numbers him among its great saints because of his virtue of true Christian love toward the needy and suffering. He was canonized in 1263 as a National Saint of Ukraine.