‘Slovo o kniaz’iakh’

‘Slovo o kniaz’iakh’ (Sermon on Princes). A 12th-century monument of homiletic literature. It was delivered as a eulogy in the Chernihiv cathedral ca 1175 by an unidentified cleric during the feast day of the transfer of the relics of Saints Borys and Hlib. In it the author spoke of the warring princes Sviatoslav III Vsevolodovych of Chernihiv and Oleh Sviatoslavych of Novhorod-Siverskyi. He invoked the lives of Borys and Hlib and the peace-loving Davyd Sviatoslavych of Chernihiv to exhort the princes to pursue peaceful coexistence, to respect the princely hierarchy, and to present a united front against the Cumans for the welfare of Rus’. A structurally and stylistically simple but moving sermon, it is thematically reminiscent of the epic Slovo o polku Ihorevi (The Tale of Ihor's Campaign).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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