Rusian Orthodox Church venerates martyred princes Boris and Gleb

The Russian Orthodox Church is marking the day of the martyred princes Boris and Gleb. Their intact bodies were found in 1019. They were moved to a specially built church on May 15th, 1072. This day is to mark the event. Boris and Gleb were the first saints canonized in Russia. It happened in 1071 and this bare fact hides the tragedy of the fratricidal war. Boris and Gleb are the sons of Prince Vladimir who introduced Christianity in Rus. After he died in 1015 the fratricidal war broke out. His twelve sons born from different wives failed to agree on who would rule Rus. Under the law it was Boris who must have sat on the throne. But Vladimir's stepson Svyatopolk, called the Damned, seized the power and Boris did not contest it. However, Svyatopolk ordered to kill Boris. Soon Svyatopolk sent murderers to Gleb. Four years after Gleb's murder, his holy relics were found and brought to Kiev where Boris was buried. The martyr-brothers began to be venerated as holy after people who prayed near their relics were cured. The martyrs' attempt to stop the fratricidal war at the cost of their lives is a kind of repetition of Christ's death on the cross. Sacrificing their lives the brothers enforced the Evangelical law. In Ancient Rus Boris and Gleb were the most venerated saints. Warriors venerated them as they supported them on the eve of battles. The brothers were also considered to protect peasants who grew bread. Churches dedicated to them were built throughout entire Rus. The first Russian saints were also venerated in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Armenia and in Byzantium.

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