Today is the memorial of the holy protomartyrs of Kievan-Rus’, Boris and Gleb, known in baptism named Roman and David.
When the first Christian prince of the Kievan-Rus’ people, St Vladimir, died in 1015, his eldest son, Svyatopolk, attempted to consolidate his own position by eliminating his two half-brothers, Boris and Gleb. When Boris heard of his brother’s plans, he refused to defend himself and faced his death without fear or hatred. His younger brother also accepted his assassination without opposition.
Such murders were typical of the extremes of political struggle for power in a pagan society. Boris and Gleb sincerely believed that the good news of Christ, so recently preached in their own land, must change all of this. Thus, by their voluntary sacrifice to their brother’s lust for power, they bore witness to the command of Christ to love one another. The impact of their witness deeply affected the character of the Kievan-Rus’ spirituality.
Meditation by the New Skete Monks
Edited by PAZ