Yevpraksiia Vsevolodivna

Yevpraksiia Vsevolodivna [Євпраксія Всеволодівна; Jevpraksija] (Evkraksia, Prakseda, also Adelheid, Adelaide, Adelaïde), b. circa 1071 in Kyiv, d. 9 June 1109 in Kyiv. Daughter of the Kyivan prince Vsevolod Yaroslavych; sister of Volodymyr Monomakh. The date of her first marriage to margrave Henry III ‘the Tall’ of Northern Saxony is not known. After his death in 1087 she resided for a time in the royal abbey of Quendlinburg. By summer of 1089 she was engaged to German emperor Henry IV. She was married to the emperor and crowned empress in Cologne in 1089. In Germany she was known by the name ‘Adelheid.’ She appears as witnessing one surviving imperial charter. By 1094 Yevkpraksiia-Adelheid seems to have supported Pope Urban II against her husband, and consequently was imprisoned by her husband in Verona that year. She was freed by the forces of Urban II’s fellow supporter, Countess Matilda of Tuscany, and escaped to Canossa (northern Italy). She publicly denounced Henry at the councils of Constanza (1094) and Piacenza (1095) for his immorality and depravity; he was anathematized and eventually forced to abdicate. Yevpraksiia returned through Hungary to Ukraine (1097) and entered a convent in Kyiv (1106). She was buried in the Kyivan Cave Monastery, and a chapel was erected over her grave. She is one of the few women mentioned by name in the Primary Chronicle (Povist’ vremennykh lit), and the only Kyivan Rus’ princess to become Empress of Germany. Her biography inspired a wealth of literature, including Pavlo Zahrebelny's novel Ievpraksiia (1975), which appeared in French translation as Eupraxie: Princesse kiévienne (1984).

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Rüss, Hartmut. ‘Eupraxia-Adelheid. Eine biographische Annäherung.,’ Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 54 (2006)
Raffensperger, Christian Alexander. ‘Evpraksia Vsevolodovna between East and West.’ Russian History/Histoire Russe 30 (2003)

Talia Zajac, Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article was updated in 2010.]

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