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Holy, faithful princes, martyrs Boris and Gleb (in Holy Baptism - Roman and David) - the first Russian saints, canonized both by the Russian and Constantinople Church. They were the younger sons of St. Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles. Born shortly before the Baptism of Rus, the holy brothers were raised in Christian piety. Both brothers were distinguished by mercy and cordial kindness, imitating the example of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Grand Duke Vladimir, merciful and sympathetic to the poor, the sick and the destitute. However, the insidious and power-hungry Svyatopolk, the elder brother of Boris and Gleb, treacherously killed the holy princes.
What was the feat of the holy pious princes Boris and Gleb? What is the point of doing this - without resistance - to perish at the hands of murderers? The life of the holy martyrs was sacrificed to the basic Christian goodness - love. "Whoever says," I love God, "and hates his brother, is a liar" (1 John 4:20). "You see, brethren," observes the Monk Nestor the Chronicler, "how high is submission to the elder brother?" If they resisted, then hardly such a gift from God would be honored. The faithful princes, the passion-bearers, did not want to raise their hand against their brother, but the Lord himself returned to the power-loving tyrant: "Vengeance and I will repay" (Rom.12,19). In 1019, Prince of Kiev Yaroslav the Wise, also one of the sons of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir, assembled an army and defeated the squad of Svyatopolk. According to God's providence, the decisive battle took place on the field near the river Alta, where Prince Boris was killed.
Svyatopolk, called the Russian people Cursed, fled to Poland and, like the first fratricide Cain, nowhere found rest and shelter. Chroniclers testify that even from his grave there was a stench. "Since that time," writes the chronicler, "sedition has ceased in Russia."
The faithful princes, the martyrs, are not only glorified from God by the gift of healings, but they are special patrons, defenders of the Russian land. The veneration of the saints Boris and Gleb began very early, shortly after their death. Many cases of their occurrence are known in difficult times for our Fatherland, for example, to St. Alexander Nevsky on the eve of the Battle of the Ice, the Grand Duke Dimitri Donskoy on the day of the Battle of Kulikovo.
On May 15, the Orthodox Church honors the memory of the holy martyrs, Russian princes, brothers Boris and Gleb, who were killed in 1015 by Svyatopolk. According to the legend, the brothers were killed on August 6, but May 15 is celebrated as the day of transfer of their relics to the temple, built in honor of the saints Prince Izyaslav in Kiev.