Saints Borys and Hlib
Saints Borys and Hlib. The first saints to be canonized in Kyivan Rus’. The two princes were killed in 1015 by their elder brother, Prince Sviatopolk I, during the succession struggle following the death of their father, Volodymyr the Great. Their older brother, Yaroslav the Wise, thereupon presented his struggle for power with Sviatopolk as a crusade to avenge the fratricide. After he came to power, Yaroslav actively sought the canonization of the princes, which was finally realized ca 1068. Meanwhile the memory of Borys Volodymyrovych and Hlib Volodymyrovych had captured the imagination of the Kyivan Rus’ population, in large measure because of accounts of the calmness and resignation with which they had accepted their deaths. An account of their murders, Skazaniie i strast’ i pokhvala sviatuiu muchenyku Borysa i Hliba (The Tale and Passion and Glorification of the Holy Martyrs Borys and Hlib), is one of the oldest monuments of Ukrainian literature. The two saints have remained popular figures in Ukrainian religious thought. They are commemorated annually in both the Ukrainian Orthodox church and Ukrainian Catholic church on 6 August (24 July OS).
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]