Vladimir I. of Kiev | Grand Duke of Kiev

  • Remembrance Day Orthodox/Catholic: July 15
  • Name means: the peaceful ruler (Russian)
  • Grand Duke of Kiev
  • Born around 956 in Kiev, Ukraine
  • Died on 15 July 1015 in Berestov near Kiev, Ukraine

Vladimir Svjatoslavič, an illegitimate son of Prince Svjatoslav from the Rurikid dynasty and grandson of Olga, assumed the position of Prince of Novgorod, present-day Velikiy Novgorod, in 970. However, due to disputes over inheritance, he was compelled to flee to Sweden shortly after.

In 979/80, he returned and engaged in a fierce struggle against his brother for dominion over the entirety of Russia, spanning from Ukraine to the Baltic Sea. His victory and subsequent ascension to power as the Grand Duke of Kiev marked a triumph for Paganism against the newly introduced Christian faith. Despite the existence of Christianity in Kiev, Vladimir adhered to his pagan beliefs and maintained seven wives. Representatives from the Catholic Church in Rome, the Orthodox Church in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), as well as Jewish and Islamic emissaries, endeavored to sway Vladimir towards their respective faiths. However, the Jewish and Muslim envoys were expelled from the country for mentioning practices such as circumcision, prohibitions on pork and alcohol. The representative from Rome met a similar fate after suggesting the imposition of lent on the faithful. Vladimir met his demise during a journey to Velikiy Novgorod.

Since 1853, a majestic monument standing 24 meters tall has stood on the banks of the Dnieper River in Kiev, commemorating Vladimir (also known as Volodymyr). Additionally, as of 2016, a 17-meter-high monument was erected in Moscow. According to traditional beliefs, Vladimir was canonized by the Orthodox Church after 1250, though recent discoveries indicate that his canonization likely occurred as early as the 11th century.

Source: © Ikonen Mautner. Typing errors, other errors or changes reserved. AO: “Das Synaxarion. Die Leben der Heiligen der Orthodoxen Kirche.” (http://www.prodromos-verlag.de/buecher.html) and Joachim Schäfer: Artikel Aaron, aus dem Ökumenischen Heiligenlexikon – https://www.heiligenlexikon.de