Our Church liturgically commemorates the holy protomartyrs of Rus’, Boris and Gleb, in baptism named Roman and David.
Righteous passion-bearers and true fulfillers of the Gospel of Christ, Chaste Boris and guileless Gleb, You did not resist the attacks of your brother, the enemy, When he killed your bodies but could not touch your souls. Therefore, let the evil lover of power mourn. While you rejoice with the angels standing before the Holy Trinity. Pray that those who honor your memory may be pleasing to God, And that all Orthodox Christians may be saved. (Troparion)
When the first Christian prince in the Rus’ lands, 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 what has become the Kievan Rus’ spirituality. (NS)
Boris and Gleb are the first saints of the Rus’ Church.
May ask Ste. Boris and Gleb to ask the Lord for the grace to forgive and love our enemies, even those who are close to us.