Grand Princes of Kiev
1. Anna Agnesa Yaroslavna, Princess of Kiev, Queen of France: Born 1036, of Kiev, Ukraine; Died 1076/1089, France; Married 29 January 1050, France; Henry I, King of France: Born 1006, of Reims, France; Died 4 August 1060, Vitry, Brie, France. (See Kings of France )
2. Yaroslav I "the Wise", Grand Prince of Kiev: Born 980, of Kiev, Ukraine; Died 20 February 1054, of Kiev, Ukraine; Married 1019, of Uppsala, Sweden; Ingrid (Ingegerda) Princess of Sweden: Born about 1001, of Uppsala, Sweden; Died 10 February 1050, Kiev, Ukraine (See Kings of Sweden) After Vladimir's death, his sons fought each other for the crown of Kiev. Three of them were killed before the fourth, Yaroslav, finally managed to seize control. Yaroslav became Grand Prince of Kiev in 1015 aand he became leader of all Kievan Russia in 1019. During Yaroslav's reign, Kiev reached the peak of its power. Learning and literature flourished, law and order was established and trade with Constantinople prospered. Yaroslav's successful reign is also reflected in the international marriages he was able to arrange for himself and the members of his family. He married a Swedish princess, strengthening his ties with Scandinavia, and ensured that his daughters married into the royal families of Norway, France and Hungary. When Yaroslav died his kingdom was divided between his sons. This was the beginning of the end for the Kievan Dynasty since his sons and their descendents constantly struggled with one another for control of the region.
3. St. Vladimir I "the Great", Grand Duke of Kiev: Born Kiev, Ukraine; Died 15 Jul 1015, Berestovo, Kiev, Ukraine; Married about 977, of Polotsk, Byelorussia; Rogneda, Princess of Polotsk: Born about 962, of Polotsk, Byelorussia; Died 1002. The youngest son of Grand Prince Sviatoslav Igorovich of Kiev and a servant girl. Vladimir distinguished himself first as his father's governor of Novgorod, where he had been appointed in 969. In a civil war that followed Sviatoslav's death (972 or 973) Vladimir fled to Scandinavia, leaving to reign, his older Brother Iaropolk (976). But in 978, aided by a large force of Varangians (Vikings), he resumed the struggle and by about 980 became Grand Prince of Kiev. Vladimir's first goal seems to have been to recover his father's conquests, lost during the civil war, and add to them conquests of his own. Although Vladimir stayed out of the Balkans, he regained the territory of the Viatichi and Radimichi in the east (981-982, 984) and thus reunited all eastern Slavs under Kiev. In the west he recovered a number of Galacian towns from Poland (981) and conquered the territory of the Lithuanian latvigs (983). But his campaign against the Volgs Bulgars in 985 was indecisive and ended his intentions to recover the Volga Basin. In the south he was similarly barred by the Turkic tribe of the Pechengs (Patinaks), who had captured the control of the Black Sea steppes, but he did regain some of the steppelands and secured them by a system of earth walls, forts and fortified towns. The quest for unity and security was also the goal of Vladimir's domestic policy. He substituted his sons and lieutenants for the too independant tribal chieftans as governors of individual sections of the state and subjected them to a rigid supervision.
Even religion seems to have been employed by Vladimir in the service of his goal. At first he made an attempt to create a pagan creed common to his entire realm by accepting all gods and dieties of the local tribes and making them an object of general veneration. In the end he turned to Christianity, probably because a faith believing in a single god appeared better suited to the purposes of a prince seeking to entrench the government of a single ruler in his realm. The exact circumstances of this event, however, are not completely known. It seems that in 987 Byzantine Emperor Basil II, in return for Russian assistance in the uprisings in Bulgaria and Anatolia, agreed to give Vladimir the hand of his sister Anna if he became a Christian. Vladimir was baptised about 988, received the Byzantine bride, and procedded to make Christianity the official religion of his state. He ordered and eventually forced, his subjects to accept baptism too, destroyed pagan idols, built Christian churches and schools and libraries, kept the peace within and without the realm, and indulged in charities for the benefit of the poor and sick.
The baptism of Russia was not, of couse, an immediate success. It took several decades before Christianity struck roots in Russia firmly and definately. Nor was Vladimir completely successful in checking the danger of Feudal disintegration. In fact, he died in 1015 in te midst of a campaign against his son Yaraslov I. A civil war resulting from it ended only in 1026 in a division of Russia between Yaraslov and his brother Mstislav, and the country was not reunited again until 1036, following the latter's demise.
Vladimir completed the unification of all eastern Slavs in his realm, secured its frontiers against foreign invasions, and--by accepting Christianity--brought Russia into the community of Christian nations and their civilization. He was remembered and celebrated in numerous legends and songs as a great national hero and ruler, a "Sun Prince." Venerated as the baptizer of Russia, "equal to the Apostles," he was canonized about the middle of the 13th century.
Vladimir I was Grand Duke of Kiev from c.978 until 1015. He converted from paganism to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, thereby transforming the religious history of Russia. A descendant of the Varangian rulers of Kiev and a son of Svyatoslav I, who sent him (970) to govern Novgorod, Vladimir became grand Duke after killing his brother Yaropolk (978); he thus united Kiev and Novgorod. Vladimir was initially anti-Christian, but about 988 he converted and subsequently married Princess Anna, sister of Byzantine Emperor Basil II. Requiring his subjects to undergo baptism, Vladimir also advanced Christianity by building churches, promoting religious charity, and establishing canon law. He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox church. Feast day: July 15.
From Butler's Lives of Saints
The earliest saints of Russia, princes and monks, were connected with Kiev in the southwest, "The God-protected mother of Russian cities", now the capital of what we call the Ukraine and in those days center of a principality whose Finnish-Slav people were ruled by princes of Scandinavian origin, Varangians, who were pirates and traders who had penetrated into Russia by its waterways. During the last quarter of the tenth century the grand-prince of Kiev was Vladimir, a man not only reared in idolatry but one who freely indulged in the barbarous excesses that were available to one in his position: he was brutal and bloodthirsty, and a contemporary Arabian chronicler, ibn-Foslan, comments on his five wives and numerous female slaves, which supports the statement of the Chronicle of Nestor that Vladimir's "desire for women was too much for him". The circumstances of this prince's conversion to Christianity have been and still are much debated, but converted he was, probably in the year 989, when he was about thirty-two; and then received in marriage Anne, daughter of [actually the sister of] the emperor Basil II at Constantinople--the two events were closely connected. And the conversion of the Russian people is dated from then.
The fact that pious writers have attributed perfect purity of motive to Vladimir, when undoubtedly he was moved in great measure by the prospect of political and economic advantages from an alliance with the Byzantines and the Christian Church, must not be allowed to obscure that, once having accepted Christianity, he is said to have been wholehearted in his adherance to it. He put away his former wives and mistresses and ammended his life; he had idols publicly thrown down and destroyed; and supported the Greek missionaries with energy and enthusiasm--indeed, with an excess of energy, for at times he did not stop short of "conversion" by force: to refuse baptism was to incur penalties. But quite apart from that sort of thing, the speed with which the Russians became Christian has been much exaggerated, and during the reign of Vladimir the new religion probably did not penetrate far beyond the Kievian nobility and wealthy merchants. Nor was its subsequent spreading so fast as has been represented; paganism gave ground but slowly. Nevetheless he was relieved in after years not only because he was a sinner who repented but because he brought about the reconciliation of the Russian people with God. He was the Apostle of Russia, chosen from on high for that end.
"The Devil was overcome by fools and madmen", says the Chronicle of Nestor, and emphasizes that St. Vladimir received God's Grace and forgiveness, while "many righteous and godly men strayed from the path of uprightness and perished". And it would seem that his repentence and understanding of his new obligations were of that simple, straight forward kind which will forever remain at the heart of the most developed and complex Christiaity: "When he had in a moment of passion fallen into sin he at once sought to make up for it by penitence and alsmgiving", says a chronicler. It is said that he even had scruples whether, now that he was a Christian, he was entitled to punish robbers or even murderers by putting them to death. Such ideas astonished the sophisticated Greek ecclesiastics, who appealed to examples in the Old Testament and Roman history to show that punishment of the wicked was the duty of a Christian prince. But Vladimir seems to have been only half convinced.
The circumstances of Vladimir's conversion brought his people within the Byzantine patriarchate, but he was not a particularist. He exchanged ambassadors with the apostolic court of Rome; he helped the German bishop St. Boniface (Bruno) of Querfurt in his mission to the Pechenegs; and he even borrowed certain canonical features from the West, notably the institution of tithes, which were unknown to the Byzantines. Not till the Mongol invasion was Christian Russia cut off from the West.
St. Vladimir died in 1015 after, it is said giving away all his personal belongings to his friends and to the poor. His feast is solemnly celebrated by the Russians, Ukranians and others. (P. 111)
4 Svyatoslav I Igorovich, Grand Prince of Kiev: Born 942, of Kiev, Ukraine; Died 972/973, Kiev, Ukraine; Had issue with Malusha of Lubech: Born about 944, of Kiev, Ukraine. Svyatoslav I was the Varangian Duke of Kiev from 945 until 972. He strove to unite the Dnepr, lower Volga, and lower Danube regions and to control trade around the Black and Caspian seas. By 965 he had conquered the Khazars between the Volga and the Don. At Byzantine bidding, he defeated (967) the Bulgars but then refused to step aside. After being defeated by a Byzantine force in 971, he and his men were walking along the River Dneiper and they were ambushed by the Pechenegs (Patzinaks), a tribe of hostile Slavs. Svyatoslav was killed in this ambush and his skull was taken by the leader of the Pechenges and made into a silver mounted drinking cup. Svyatoslav was the last non-Christian ruler of Kiev.
5. Igor, Grand Prince of Kiev: Born 877, Novgorod, Russia; Died 945, Kiev, Ukraine; Married 903, of Pskov, Russia; Olga, Grand Princess of Kiev: Born about 881, Pskov, Russia; Died 11 Jul 969, Kiev, Ukraine. Igor sent a fleet of ships to attack Constantinople in 941.
6. Ryurik, Grand Duke of Novgorod, Grand Prince of Kiev: Born about 830, of Novgorod, Novgorod, Russia; Died 879; Married about 876, Novgorod, Novgorod, Russia; Efenda (Edvina), Grand Duchess of Novgorod, Grand Princess of Kiev: Born about 850, of Novgorod, Novgorod, Russia. Ryurik was a Rus Viking who came to Novgorod. Before this he was a Varangian who saw service with the Byzantine Empire. In the 8th century, Slav tribes in Russia were troubled by internal fighting. It is said that in a desperate attempt to bring peace, they invited three Rus brothers to rule them in about 860. Soon after this, one of them, Ryurik, siezed his brothers' lands and created a new kingdom based around the city of Novgorod. Upon his death he was succeeded by a relative named Oleg the Wise. The decendants of Rurik ruled all of Russia until 1591.