Baptism of Kiev. The year 988 is considered the official birthday of the Russian Orthodox Church, when Vladimir the Great made Kievan Rus a Christian state by exhorting the residents of his capital to the Dnieper river for baptism. This mass baptism became the iconic inaugural event in the Christianization of Kievan Rus. One thousand years later, in 1988, the Church celebrated its millennial anniversary.
To mark this historic event, three limited edition high-quality porcelain plates were issued with the artwork of Russian artist Valeria Nisskaya (more information about her below). These were made in Western Germany by the prestigious Lindner Porcelain Factory (Lindnerporzellan) of Bavaria. The edition was to be limited to 10,000 plates but that number proved to be an overestimate as no more than 1,000 were ultimately manufactured (and perhaps even fewer), one-tenth of the anticipated demand. The designs by Nisskaya are rich in detail and use pure gold and colorful transfers. Intricate Church Slavonic caligraphy surrounds each design. Each plates is 10" in diameter and came with a Certificate of Authenticity.
Valeria Nisskaya (1927-2011) came from a family of multi-talented artists. In addition to painting, she was a sculptor and art director for many films, including the acclaimed film "Seryozhka". She won best art director at Cannes in 1960 and exhibited numerous paintings in Rome and Venice, as well as in Russia.
The Church conferred upon Vladimir many titles, including Holy Grand Prince, as well as "The Baptizer of Rus", and "Vladimir: Krasnoye Solnyshko", which means "The Beautiful Sun." Princess Olga of Kiev, his grandmother, was the first ruler (ruled 945-962) to convert to Christianity in 957. She was baptized in Constantinople in 955. Soon afterwards she built The Church of Saint Nicholas and the Church of Hagia Sophia. Saint Vladimir built his first church out of stone and dedicated it to the Dormition of the Blessed Mother of God.