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Saint Vladimir SVYATOSLAVOVICH, I Grand Duke of Kiev[1]

Male Est 960 - 1015  (~ 55 years)

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  • Name Vladimir SVYATOSLAVOVICH 
    Title Saint 
    Suffix I Grand Duke of Kiev 
    Born Est 960  Kiev, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    • St. Vladimir the Great (VLADIMIR or VOLODOMIR).
      Grand Duke of Kieff and All Russia, grandson of St. Olga, and the firstRussian ruler to embrace Christianity, b. 956; d. at Berestova, 15 July,1015. St. Olga could not convert her son and successor, Sviatoslav, forhe lived and died a pagan and brought up his son Vladimir as a paganchieftain. Sviatoslav had two legitimate sons, Yaropolk and Oleg, and athird son, Vladimir, borne him by his court favourite Olga Malusha.Shortly before his death (972) he bestowed the Grand Duchy of Kieff onYaropolk and gave the land of the Drevlani (now Galicia) to Oleg. Theancient Russian capital of Novgorod threatened rebellion and, as boththe princes refused to go thither, Sviatoslav bestowed its sovereigntyupon the young Vladimir. Meanwhile war broke out between Yaropolk andOleg, and the former conquered the Drevlanian territory and dethronedOleg. When this news reached Vladimir he feared a like fate and fled tothe Varangians (Variags) of Scandinavia for help, while Yaropolkconquered Novgorod and united all Russia under his sceptre. A few yearslater Vladimir returned with a large force and retook Novgorod. Becomingbolder he waged war against his brother towards the south, took the cityof Polotzk, slew its prince, Ragvald, and married his daughter Ragnilda,the affianced bride of Yaropolk. Then he pressed on and besieged Kieff.Yaropolk fled to Rodno, but could not hold out there, and was finallyslain upon his surrender to the victorious Vladimir; the latterthereupon made himself ruler of Kieff and all Russia in 980. As aheathen prince Vladimir had four wives besides Ragnilda, and by them hadten sons and two daughters. Since the days of St. Olga, Christianity,which was originally established among the eastern Slavs by Sts. Cyriland Methodius, had been making secret progress throughout the land ofRuss (now eastern Austria and Russia) and had begun to considerablyalter the heathen ideas. It was a period similar to the era of theconversion of Constantine.
      Notwithstanding this undercurrent of Christian ideas, Vladimir erectedin Kieff many statues and shrines (trebishcha) to the Slavic heathengods, Perun, Dazhdbog, Simorgl, Mokosh, Stribog, and others. In 981 hesubdued the Chervensk cities (now Galicia), in 983 he overcame the wildYatviags on the shores of the Baltic Sea, in 985 he fought with theBulgarians on the lower Volga, and in 987 he planned a campaign againstthe Greco-Roman Empire, in the course of which he became interested inChristianity. The Chronicle of Nestor relates that he sent envoys to theneighbouring countries for information concerning their religions. Theenvoys reported adversely regarding the Bulgarians who followed(Mohammed), the Jews of Khazar, and the Germans with their plainmissionary Latin churches, but they were delighted with the solemn Greekritual of the Great Church (St. Sophia) of Constantinople, and remindedVladimir that his grandmother Olga had embraced that Faith. The nextyear (988) he besieged Kherson in the Crimea, a city within the bordersof the eastern Roman Empire, and finally took it by cutting off itswater supply. He then sent envoys to Emperor Basil II at Constantinopleto ask for his sister Anna in marriage, adding a threat to march onConstantinople in case of refusal. The emperor replied that a Christianmight not marry a heathen, but if Vladimir were a Christian prince hewould sanction the alliance. To this Vladimir replied that he hadalready examined the doctrines of the Christians, was inclined towardsthem, and was ready to be baptized. Basil II sent this sister with aretinue of officials and clergy to Kherson, and there Vladimir wasbaptized, in the same year, by the Metropolitan Michael and took alsothe baptismal name of Basil. A current legend relates that Vladimir hadbeen stricken with blindness before the arrival of Anna and her retinueand had recovered his sight upon being baptized. He then marriedPrincess Anna, and thereafter put away his pagan wives. He surrenderedthe city of Kherson to the Greeks and returned to Kieff in state withhis bride. The Russian historian Karamsin (Vol. I, p. 215) suggests thatVladimir could have been baptized long before at Kieff, since Christiansand their priests were already there; but such an act would have humbledthe proud chieftain in the eyes of his people, for he would haveaccepted in a lowly manner an inconspicuous rite at the hands of asecret and despised sect. Hence he preferred to have it come from theenvoys of the Roman Emperor of Constantinople, as a means of impressinghis people.
      When Vladimir returned to Kieff he took upon himself the conversion ofhis subjects. He ordered the statues of the gods to be thrown down,chopped to pieces, and some of them burned; the chief god, Perun, wasdragged through the mud and thrown into the River Dnieper. These actsimpressed the people with the helplessness of their gods, and when theywere told that they should follow Vladimir's example and becomeChristians they were willingly baptized, even wading into the river thatthey might the sooner be reached by the priest for baptism. Zubryckithinks this readiness shows that the doctrines of Christianity hadalready been secretly spread in Kieff and that the people only waitedfor an opportunity to publicly acknowledge them. Vladimir urged all hissubjects to become Christians, established churches and monasteries notonly at Kieff, but at Pereyaslav, Chernigoff, Bielegorod, Vladimir inVolhynia, and many other cities. In 989 he erected the large Church ofSt. Mary ever Virgin (usually called Desiatinny Sobor, the Cathedral ofthe Tithes), and in 996 the Church of the Transfiguration, both in thecity of Kieff. He gave up his warlike career and devoted himselfprincipally to the government of his people; he established schools,introduced ecclesiastical courts, and became known for his mildness andfor his zeal in spreading the Christian faith. His wife died in 1011,having borne him two sons, Boris and Glib (also known a Sts. Roman andDavid, from their baptismal names). After this his life became troubledby the conduct of his elder children. Following the custom of hisancestors, he had parcelled out his kingdom amongst his children, givingthe city of Novgorod in fief to his eldest son Yaroslav; the latterrebelled against him and refused to render either service or tribute. In1014 Vladimir prepared to march north to Novgorod and take it away fromhis disobedient son, while Yaroslav invoked the help of the Varangiansagainst his father. Vladimir fell ill and died on the way. His feast incelebrated on 15 July in the Russian Orthodox and Ruthenian GreekCatholic calendars, and he has received the name of Ravnoapostol (equalto the Apostles) in the title of the feast and the troparion of theliturgy. The Russians have added in their service books words referringhis conversion and intercession to the present Russian Empire(rossiiskaya zemlya), but the Ruthenians have never permitted theseinterpolations.
      PELESZ, Gesch. der Union, I (Vienna, 1878), 79-127; NILLES, KalendariumManuale, I (Innsbruck 1896), 212; Acta SS., IV, July, p.4; BogoslovskayaEnciclopedia, III (St. Petersburg, 1902), 564-67; GOLUBINSKI, IstoriaRusskoi Tserkvi, I (Moscow, 1901), pt. I, 105-87; MALTZEW, DieNachtwache (Berlin, 1892), 724-27; ADENEY, The Greek and EasternChurches (New York, 1908), 358-65; MOURAVIEFF, Hist. of the RussianChurch (Oxford, 1842), 10-18; ZUBRYCKI, Gesch. des F├╝rstenthums Galicz(Lemburg, 1852).
    Name 'The Great' Svyatoslavovich  [1
    Name Vladimir the Great Svyatoslavovich  [3
    _AMTID 330126058568:1030:114017017 
    _UID 473F2185FCCC4B24A9CE7AB0E02C43A6F9DC 
    Died 15 Jul 1015  Kiev, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried Kiev, Kiev, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Church of the Tithes 
    • When his father was killed in 972 he was a contender for the rule ofKiev, together with his elder two brothers. Yarapolk, the eldest brotheralready established in Kiev, disposed of Oleg the other brother andforced Vladimir to flee the country. Vladimir went from Novgorod toScandinavia, from where he returned with an army of Varangians, attackedand killed Yaropolk and in doing so became the sole ruler of Rus. In hisearly years as a ruler he was brutal, bloodthirsty and dissolute. By hisfirst wife, Rogneda of Polotzk, he had four sons and two daughters; by aGreek woman he fathered one son; by a Czech woman one son; two more sonsby a different mother; and by a Bulgarian woman two more sons.Apparently he had three hundred concubines at Vyshegorod, three hundredat Belgorod, and two hundred at Berestovo. He had married women broughtto him and as well deflowered virgins. At the beginning of his longreign he continued attacking the Byzantine Empire. However, he soonrealised that it was better to be on good terms with his neighbours andadopted Christianity for himself and his people. This happened around988 when he also took as his third wife the sister of the ByzantineEmperor. However, the Pechenegs continued to harass him and he had tofight them continually until the end of his reign. After his conversionVladimir became a changed man; he became mild towards criminals,generous to the poor and supported the Greek missionaries. This resultedin a picture of him that caused later generations to look on St.Vladimir and his grandmother, St. Olga, as the first-born of the newChristian people of Russia and her borderland. They were esteemed to besaints and Vladimir became the subject of a cycle of folklore and heroicpoems.

      Vladimir was a semi-barbaric Viking tribal chief of great leadershipabilities; conquered and then was first ruler of a unified Russia; wasbaptised at Kherson in the Crimea in 988 and 'converted' his subjects toChristianity, and formed many alliances (many sealed with marriages ofhis children) with the other leaders of Europe. His father sent him togovern Novgorod in 970 despite his youth. He became Grand Duke, i.e.leader of his people, by killing his brother Yaropolk, uniting Novgorodand Kiev. After becoming a Christian, Vladimir built churches, promotedcharity, established Orthodox canon law and married Princess Anna,sister of Byzantine Emperor Basil II and daughter of Romanus II (Emperor959-63) and his second wife Theophano. 'From the reign of Svyatoslav'syoungest son, Vladimir, the Norman dynasty was definitely settled inKiev.' His feast day is July 15th.
    Person ID I257  Work in progress june2018
    Last Modified 9 Dec 2009 

    Father Svyatoslav I IGOROVICH,   b. 922, Kiev, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 972 and 973, Kiev, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years) 
    Mother Malusha OD LUBECH,   b. Abt 944, Kiev, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F292  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Rogneda OD POLOTSK, Princess of Polotsk,   b. Abt 962, Vitsyebskaya, Belarus Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1002  (Age ~ 40 years) 
    Married Abt 977  Vitsyebskaya, Belarus Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
     1. Yarosl AV VLADIMIROVICH, I Grand Duke of Kiev and Russia,   b. 980, Kiev, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Feb 1054, Kiev, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
     2. Dobroneva OF KIEV,   b. Abt 1013, Kiev, Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 30 Jun 2018 
    Family ID F286  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart