Skazaniie i strast’ i pokhvala sviatuiu muchenyku Borysa i Hliba
Skazaniie i strast’ i pokhvala sviatuiu muchenyku Borysa i Hliba (The Tale and Passion and Glorification of the Holy Martyrs Borys and Hlib). One of the oldest monuments of Ukrainian literature. It describes the murder of Saints Borys and Hlib by their brother, Prince Sviatopolk I, after the death of their father, Volodymyr the Great, in 1015. The oldest extant manuscript of the tale dates from the late 11th century and is found in the Uspenskii sbornik of the 12th century. More than 170 manuscript copies of the tale have survived, in six redactions, many of them with different titles. They all deal with the same central issues and use a rhythmical prose, stylized laments, and complex literary devices, based in part on the Bible and other liturgical books. The tale was used to promote the cult of Borys and Hlib and their canonization and to condemn the fratricidal struggle among the princes of Kyivan Rus’.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]