Vladimir the Great
Vladimir the Great. Vladimir's father was prince Sviatoslav of the Rurik dynasty. After the death of his father in 972, prince of Novgorod, was forced to flee to Scandinavia in 976 after his brother Yaropolk had murdered his other brother Oleg and conquered Rus'. In Sweden, with the help from his relative Ladejarl Håkon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway, he assembled a Varangian army and reconquered Novgorod from Yaropolk. By 980, Vladimir had consolidated the Kievan realm from modern-day Belarus and Ukraine to the Baltic Sea and had solidified the frontiers against incursions of Bulgarian, Baltic tribes and Eastern nomads. A follower of Slavic paganism, Vladimir converted to Christianity in 988 and Christianized the Kievan Rus'. Born in 958, Vladimir was the natural son and youngest son of Sviatoslav I of Kiev by his housekeeper Malusha. Malusha is described in the Norse sagas as a prophetess who lived to the age of 100 and was brought from her cave to the palace to predict the future. Malusha's brother Dobrynya was most trusted advisor.
Hagiographic tradition of dubious authenticity connects his childhood with the name of his grandmother, Olga of Kiev, Christian and governed the capital during Sviatoslav's frequent military campaigns. His place of birth is identified as Budyatychi or Budnik. Transferring his capital to Pereyaslavets in 969, Sviatoslav designated Vladimir ruler of Novgorod the Great but gave Kiev to his legitimate son Yaropolk. After Sviatoslav's death at the hands of the Pechenegs in 972, a fratricidal war erupted in 976 between Yaropolk and his younger brother Oleg, ruler of the Drevlians. In 977, Vladimir fled to his kinsman Haakon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway, collecting as many Norse warriors as he could to assist him to recover Novgorod. On his return the next year, he marched against Yaropolk. On his way to Kiev he sent ambassadors to Rogvolod, prince of Polotsk, to sue for the hand of his daughter Rogneda; the high-born princess refused to affiance herself to the son of a bondswoman, so Vladimir attacked Polotsk, slew Rogvolod, took Ragnhild by force.
Polotsk was a key fortress on the way to Kiev, capturing Polotsk and Smolensk facilitated the taking of Kiev in 978, where he slew Yaropolk by treachery and was proclaimed knyaz of all Kievan Rus. Vladimir continued to expand his territories beyond his father's extensive domain. In 981, he seized the Cherven towns from the Poles. Although Christianity spread in the region under Oleg's rule, Vladimir had remained a thoroughgoing pagan, taking eight hundred concubines and erecting pagan statues and shrines to gods, he may have attempted to reform Slavic paganism in an attempt to identify himself with the various gods worshipped by his subjects. He built a pagan temple on the a hill in Kiev dedicated to six gods: Perun - the god of thunder and war "a Norse god favored by members of the prince’s druzhina". Slav gods Dazhd ` bog. A mob killed his son Ioann. After the murder of Fyodor and Ioann, early medieval Rus' saw persecutions against Christians, many of whom escaped or concealed their belief. However, Prince Vladimir mused over the incident long after, not least for political considerations.
According to the early Slavic chronicle called Tale of Bygone Years, which describes life in Kievan Rus' up to the year 1110, he sent his envoys throughout the civilized world to judge first hand the major religions of the time, Roman Catholicism and Byzantine Orthodoxy. They were most impressed with their visit to Constantinople, saying, "We knew not whether we were in Heaven or on Earth… We only know that God dwells there among the people, their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations." The Primary Chronicle reports that in the year 987, after consultation with his boyars, Vladimir the Great sent envoys to study the religions of the various neighboring nations whose representatives had been urging him to embrace their respective faiths. The result is described by the chronicler Nestor. Of the Muslim Bulgarians of the Volga the envoys reported there is no gladness among them, only sorrow and a great stench, he reported that Islam was undesirable due to its taboo against alcoholic beverages and pork.
Vladimir remarked on the occasion: "Drinking is the joy of all Rus'. We cannot exist without that pleasure." Ukrainian and Russian sources describe Vladimir consulting with Jewish envoys and questioning them about their religion, but rejecting it as well, saying that their loss of Jerusalem was evidence that they had been abandoned by God. His emissaries visited pre-schism Latin Rite Christian and Eastern Rite Ch
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine, located in the north-central part of the country on the Dnieper. The population in July 2015 was 2,887,974. Kiev is an important industrial, scientific and cultural center of Eastern Europe, it is home to many high-tech industries, higher education institutions, world-famous historical landmarks. The city has an extensive infrastructure and developed system of public transport, including the Kiev Metro; the city's name is said to derive from the name of one of its four legendary founders. During its history, one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, passed through several stages of great prominence and relative obscurity; the city existed as a commercial centre as early as the 5th century. A Slavic settlement on the great trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople, Kiev was a tributary of the Khazars, until its capture by the Varangians in the mid-9th century. Under Varangian rule, the city became a capital of the first East Slavic state.
Destroyed during the Mongol invasions in 1240, the city lost most of its influence for the centuries to come. It was a provincial capital of marginal importance in the outskirts of the territories controlled by its powerful neighbours; the city prospered again during the Russian Empire's Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century. In 1917, after the Ukrainian National Republic declared independence from the Russian Empire, Kiev became its capital. From 1921 onwards Kiev was a city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, proclaimed by the Red Army, from 1934, Kiev was its capital. During World War II, the city again suffered significant damage, but recovered in the post-war years, remaining the third largest city of the Soviet Union. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukrainian independence in 1991, Kiev remained the capital of Ukraine and experienced a steady migration influx of ethnic Ukrainians from other regions of the country. During the country's transformation to a market economy and electoral democracy, Kiev has continued to be Ukraine's largest and richest city.
Kiev's armament-dependent industrial output fell after the Soviet collapse, adversely affecting science and technology. But new sectors of the economy such as services and finance facilitated Kiev's growth in salaries and investment, as well as providing continuous funding for the development of housing and urban infrastructure. Kiev emerged as the most pro-Western region of Ukraine where parties advocating tighter integration with the European Union dominate during elections. Kiev is the traditional and most used English name for the city; the Ukrainian government however uses Kyiv as the mandatory romanization where legislative and official acts are translated into English. As a prominent city with a long history, its English name was subject to gradual evolution; the early English spelling was derived from Old East Slavic form Kyjevŭ. The name is associated with that of the legendary eponymous founder of the city. Early English sources use various names, including Kiou, Kiew, Kiovia. On one of the oldest English maps of the region, Moscoviae et Tartariae published by Ortelius the name of the city is spelled Kiou.
On the 1650 map by Guillaume de Beauplan, the name of the city is Kiiow, the region was named Kÿowia. In the book Travels, by Joseph Marshall, the city is referred to as Kiovia; the form Kiev is based on Russian orthography and pronunciation, during a time when Kiev was in the Russian Empire. In English, Kiev was used in print as early as in 1804 in the John Cary's "New map of Europe, from the latest authorities" in "Cary's new universal atlas" published in London; the English travelogue titled New Russia: Journey from Riga to the Crimea by way of Kiev, by Mary Holderness was published in 1823. By 1883, the Oxford English Dictionary included Kiev in a quotation. Kyiv is the romanized version of the name of the city used in modern Ukrainian. Following independence in 1991, the Ukrainian government introduced the national rules for transliteration of geographic names from Ukrainian into English. According to the rules, the Ukrainian Київ transliterates into Kyiv; this has established the use of the spelling Kyiv in all official documents issued by the governmental authorities since October 1995.
The spelling is used by the United Nations, European Union, all English-speaking foreign diplomatic missions, several international organizations, Encarta encyclopedia, by some media in Ukraine. In October 2006, the United States Board on Geographic Names unanimously voted to change its standard transliteration to Kyiv, effective for the entire U. S. government, although'Kiev' remains the BGN conventional name for this city. The alternate romanizations Kyyiv and Kyjiv are in use in English-language atlases. Many major English-language news sources like the BBC, The New York Times continue to prefer Kiev, but others have adopted Kyiv in their style guides, including The Economist and The Guardian. Kiev, one of the oldest cities of Eastern Europe, played a pivotal role in the development of the medieval East Slavic civilization as well as in the modern Ukrainian nation. Scholars debate as to period of the foundation of the city: some date the founding to the late 9th century, other historians
Cathedral of St. Sophia, Novgorod
The Cathedral of St. Sophia in Veliky Novgorod is the cathedral church of the Archbishop of Novgorod and the mother church of the Novgorodian Eparchy; the 38-metre-high, five-domed, stone cathedral was built by Vladimir of Novgorod between 1045 and 1050 to replace an oaken cathedral built by Bishop Joachim the Korsunian in the late tenth century. It was consecrated by Bishop Luka Zhidiata on September 14, in 1050 or 1052, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. While it is known as St. Sophia's, it is not named for any of the female saints of that name, it replaced an older wooden, 13-domed church built in or around 989 by Bishop Ioakim Korsunianin, the first bishop of Novgorod. The main, golden cupola, was gilded by Archbishop Ioann in 1408; the sixth dome crowns a tower. In medieval times these were said to hold the Novgorodian treasury and there was a library there, said to have been started by Yaroslav the Wise; when the library was moved to the St. Petersburg Spiritual Academy in 1859, it numbered more than 1,500 volumes, some dating back to the 13th century.
The current Archbishop, has reestablished a library there, in keeping with the ancient tradition. As of 2004, it housed some 5,000 volumes. A Sunday school is held in the gallery; the cupolas are thought to have acquired their present helmet-like shape in the 1150s, when the cathedral was restored after a fire. The interior was painted in 1108 at the behest of Bishop Nikita, although the project was not undertaken until shortly after his death. Archbishop Nifont had the exterior whitewashed and had the Martirievskii and Pretechenskaia porches painted sometime during his tenure, but those frescoes are hardly visible now in consequence of frequent fires. In the 1860s, parts of the interior had to be repainted and most of the current frescoes are from the 1890s. A white stone belltower in five bays was built by Archbishop Evfimii II, the greatest architectural patron to hold the archiepiscopal office, he had the Palace of Facets built just northwest of the cathedral in 1433. The nearby clocktower was completed under his patronage as well, but fell down in the seventeenth century and was restored in 1673.
From the 12th to the 15th century, the cathedral was a ceremonial and spiritual centre of the Novgorod Republic, which sprawled from the Baltic Sea to the Ural Mountains. Novgorodians were exceedingly proud of their church, boasting that they were willing "to lay down their heads for Holy Wisdom" or "to die honorably for Holy Wisdom." When one prince angered them, they told him "we have no prince, only God, the Truth, Holy Wisdom." On another occasion, they made the cathedral the symbol of the city itself, saying "Where Holy Wisdom is, there is Novgorod." The cathedral has long been the city's great necropolis, the burial place of 47 people of prominence in the city's history, including several princes and posadniks and 32 bishops and metropolitans of Novgorod. The first burial there was Prince Vladimir himself in 1052; the first bishop was Luka Zhidiata in 1060. The last burial in the cathedral was Metropolitan Gurii in 1912. Most of the burials are below the floor in the Martirievskaia Porch, on the south side of the cathedral, named for Bishop Martirii.
Burials took place in the Pretechenskaia Papter' on the north side of the cathedral. Today, there are several burials in the main body of the church; the sarcophagi of Prince Vladimir and Princess Anna overlook the Martirievskaia Porch. Bishop Nikita lies in a glass-covered sarcaphogus between the chapels of the Nativity of the Mother of God and Sts. Ioakim and Anne and the sarcophagus is opened on his feast days so the faithful can venerate his relics. Two other princes lie in the main body of the cathedral and in the Chapel of the Nativity of the Mother of God; the cathedral was looted by Ivan the Terrible's Oprichnina in the 1570s but restored by Archbishop Leonid. He built the Tsar's Pew which stands just inside the south entrance of the main body of the cathedral near the Martirievskii Porch. Leonid had several large chandeliers hung in the cathedral, but only one of them survives. Beginning in the eighteenth century, the archbishops or metropolitans of Novgorod lived in St. Petersburg. Thus, while Novgorod technically still had a prelate, he was not active in the city itself, the church in the city was administered by a vicar bishop for much of the time.
Twelve metropolitans of Novgorod and St. Petersburg are buried in the Alexa
Siege of Constantinople (860)
The Siege of Constantinople of 860 was the only major military expedition of the Rus' Khaganate recorded in Byzantine and Western European sources. The cause of the siege was the construction of the fortress Sarkel by Byzantine engineers, restricting the Rus' trade route along the Don River in favor of the Khazars. Accounts vary regarding the events, with discrepancies between contemporary and sources; the exact outcome is unknown. It is known from Byzantine sources that the Rus' caught Constantinople unprepared, while the empire was preoccupied by the ongoing Arab–Byzantine wars and unable to deal with the Rus' threat. After pillaging the suburbs of the Byzantine capital, the Rus' retreated, although the nature of this withdrawal, indeed which side was victorious, is subject to debate; the event gave rise to a Orthodox Christian tradition, which ascribed the deliverance of Constantinople to a miraculous intervention by the Theotokos. The first mention of the Rus' near the Byzantine Empire comes from Life of St. George of Amastris, a hagiographic work whose dating is debated.
The Byzantines had come into contact with the Rus' in 839. The exceptional timing of the attack suggests the Rus' had been informed of the city's weakness, demonstrating that the lines of trade and communication did not cease to exist in the 840s and 850s; the threat from the Rus' in 860 came as a surprise. The empire was struggling to repel the Abbasid advance in Asia Minor. In March 860, the garrison of the key fortress Loulon unexpectedly surrendered to the Arabs. In April or May, both sides exchanged captives, the hostilities ceased. On June 18, 860, at sunset, a fleet of about 200 Rus' vessels sailed into the Bosporus and started pillaging the suburbs of Constantinople; the attackers were drowning and stabbing the residents. Unable to do anything to repel the invaders, Patriarch Photius urged his flock to implore the Theotokos to save the city. Having devastated the suburbs, the Rus' passed into the Sea of Marmora and fell upon the Isles of the Princes, where the former Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople was in exile at the time.
The Rus' plundered the monasteries, slaughtering the captives. They cut them into pieces with axes; the attack took the Byzantines by surprise, "like a thunderbolt from heaven", as it was put by Patriarch Photius in his famous oration written on the occasion. Emperor Michael III was absent from the city, as was his navy dreaded for its skill in using Greek fire; the Imperial army was fighting the Arabs in Asia Minor. The city's land defences were weakened by the absence of these garrisons, but the sea defences were lacking; the Byzantine Navy was occupied fighting both Arabs and Normans in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. These simultaneous deployments left the coasts and islands of the Black Sea, the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara susceptible to attack; the invasion continued until August 4, when, in another of his sermons, Photius thanked heaven for miraculously relieving the city from such a dire threat. The writings of Photius provide the earliest example of the name "Rus" being mentioned in a Greek source.
The patriarch reported that they lived in some distant northern lands. Photius called them ἔθνος ἄγνωστον, "unknown people", although some historians prefer to translate the phrase as "obscure people", pointing out the earlier contacts between Byzantines and the Rus'; the sermons of Photius offer no clue as to the outcome of the invasion or the reasons why the Rus' withdrew to their own country. Sources attribute their retreat to the Emperor's speedy return to the capital; as the story goes, after Michael and Photius put the veil of the Theotokos into the sea, there arose a tempest which dispersed the boats of the barbarians. In centuries, it was said that the Emperor hurried to the church at Blachernae and had the robe of the Theotokos carried in procession along the Theodosian Walls; this precious Byzantine relic was dipped symbolically into the sea and a great wind arose and wrecked the Rus' ships. The pious legend was recorded by George Hamartolus, whose manuscript was an important source for the Primary Chronicle.
The authors of the Kievan chronicle appended the names of Askold and Dir to the account as they believed that these two Varangians had presided over Kiev in 866. It was to this year. Nestor's account of the first encounter between the Rus' and the Byzantines may have contributed to the popularity of the Theotokos in Russia; the miraculous saving of Constantinople from the barbarian hordes would appear in Russian icon-painting, without understanding that the hordes in question may have issued from Kiev. Furthermore, when the Blachernitissa was brought to Moscow in the 17th century, it was said that it was this icon that had saved Tsargrad from the troops of the "Scythian khagan", after Michael III had prayed before it to the Theotokos. Nobody noticed. In the 9th century, a legend sprang up to the effect that an ancient column at the Forum of Taurus had an inscription predicting that Constantinople would be c
This article is about the 11th-century Byzantine historian and philosopher. For the 9th-century Byzantine Emperor with the byname Psellus, see Michael II. "Michael Psellus the Elder" is covered below under Pseudo-Psellos. Michael Psellos or Psellus was a Byzantine Greek monk, writer, philosopher and historian, he was born in 1017 or 1018, is believed to have died in 1078, although it has been maintained that he remained alive until 1096. The main source of information about Psellos' life comes from his own works, which contain extensive autobiographical passages. Michael Psellos was born in Constantinople, his family hailed from Nicomedia and, according to his own testimony, counted members of the consular and patrician elite among its ancestors. His baptismal name was Constantine. Psellos was a personal by-name referring to a speech defect. Michael Psellos was educated in Constantinople. At around the age of ten, he was sent to work outside the capital as a secretary of a provincial judge, in order to help his family raise the dowry for his sister.
When his sister died, he returned to Constantinople to resume his studies. While studying under John Mauropus, he met the Patriarchs Constantine Leichoudes and John Xiphilinos, the emperor Constantine X Doukas. For some time, he worked in the provinces again; some time before 1042 he returned again to Constantinople, where he got a junior position at court as a secretary in the imperial chancellery. From there he began a rapid court career, he became an influential political advisor to emperor Constantine IX Monomachos. During the same time, he became the leading professor at the University of Constantinople, bearing the honorary title of "Chief of the Philosophers". Despite his leading eminence and prowess in learning, his knowledge of Latin was cloudy enough to confuse Cicero with Caesar; this is cited as one prime example of the paradigm of how the Eastern Roman Empire had lost nearly all of its connection to its nominal Roman roots by the High Middle Ages. Towards the end of Monomachos' reign, Psellos found himself under political pressure for some reason and decided to leave the court, entering the Olympus monastery on Mount Olympus in Bithynia in 1054.
After Monomachos' death, however, he was soon recalled to court by Empress Theodora. Throughout the following years, he remained active in politics, serving as a high-ranking political advisor to several successive emperors, he played a decisive political role in the transition of power from Michael VI to Isaac I Komnenos in 1057. As Psellos had served as Michael's personal teacher during the reign of Michael's father Constantine, as he had played an important role in helping Michael gain power against his adversary and stepfather Romanos, Psellos entertained hopes of an more influential position as a teacher and advisor under him. However, Michael seems to have been less inclined towards protecting Psellos and after the mid-1070s there is no more information about any role played by Psellos at court; as his own autobiographic accounts cease at this point, there is little reliable information about his years. Some scholars believe that Psellos had to retreat into a monastery again at some time during the 1070s.
Following a remark by Psellos' fellow historian Joannes Zonaras, it is believed by most scholars that Psellos died soon after the fall of Michael VII in 1078, although some scholars have proposed dates. What is known is that Theophylaktos of Bulgaria wrote a letter to Psellos's brother comforting him on the death of his brother saying that, "Your brother has not died, but has departed to God released of both a painful life and disease". Psellos' best known and most accessible work is the Chronographia, it is a history of the Byzantine emperors during the century leading up to Psellos' own time. It covers the reigns of fourteen emperors and empresses, beginning with the 50-year-long reign of Basil II, the "Bulgar-Slayer", ending some time during the reign of Michael VII Doukas, it is structured as a series of biographies. Unlike most other historiographical works of the period, it places much more emphasis on the description of characters than on details of political and military events, it includes extensive autobiographical elements about Psellos' political and intellectual development, it gives far greater weight to those periods when Psellos held an active position in politics, giving the whole work the character of political memoirs.
It is believed to have been written in two parts. The first covers the emperors up to Isaac I Komnenos; the second, which has a much more apologetic tone, is in large parts an encomium on Psellus' current protectors, the emperors of the Doukas dynasty. Psellos left many other writings: "Historia syntomos", a shorter, didactic historical text in the form of a world chronicle. A large number of scientific and religious treatises. One well-known example of these is a classification of demons, he compiled an important work on philosophy, the De omnifaria doctrina. Other works deal with topics such as astronomy, music, jurisprudence and laography. Various didactic poems on topi
Christianization of Kievan Rus'
The Christianization of Kievan Rus' took place in several stages. In early 867, Patriarch Photius of Constantinople announced to other Orthodox patriarchs that the Rus', baptised by his bishop, took to Christianity with particular enthusiasm. Photius's attempts at Christianizing the country seem to have entailed no lasting consequences, since the Primary Chronicle and other Slavonic sources describe the tenth-century Rus' as entrenched in paganism. Following the Primary Chronicle, the definitive Christianization of Kievan Rus' dates from the year 988, when Vladimir the Great was baptized in Chersonesus and proceeded to baptize his family and people in Kiev; the latter events are traditionally referred to as baptism of Rus' in Russian and Ukrainian literature. According to the Church Tradition, Christianity was first brought to the territory of modern Belarus and Ukraine by Saint Andrew, the first Apostle of Jesus Christ, he traveled over the Black Sea to the Greek colony of Chersonesus Taurica in Crimea, where he converted several thousand men to the new faith.
Saint Andrew traveled north along the Dnieper River, where Kiev would be founded around the 5th century, as far north as the future location of Veliky Novgorod. The legendary account of the Rus'ian Primary Chronicle tells that Saint Andrew was amused by the Slavic customs of washing in hot steam bath, banya, on his way. North Pontic Greek colonies, both in Crimea and on the modern Ukrainian shores of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, remained the main centers of Christianity in Eastern Europe for a thousand years. Notable Christian locations there include the Inkerman Cave Monastery, a medieval Byzantine monastery where the relics of St. Clement, the fourth Bishop of Rome, were kept before their removal to San Clemente by Saints Cyril and Methodius. Saints Cyril and Methodius were the missionaries of Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Bulgaria, Great Moravia and Pannonia. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they received the title "Apostles to the Slavs".
They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic, Later on their students created the Cyrillic script in the First Bulgarian Empire used now in many Slavic countries, including Russia. After their deaths, their pupils continued their missionary work among other Slavs. Both brothers are venerated in the Ukrainian Catholic and Byzantine Catholic Churches as well as the Orthodox Church as saints with the title of "equal-to-apostles"; the most authoritative source for the early Christianization of Rus' is an encyclical letter of Patriarch Photius, datable to early 867. Referencing the Siege of Constantinople of 860, Photius informs the Oriental patriarchs and bishops that, after the Bulgarians turned to Christ in 863, the Rus' followed suit; as was the case with the Bulgarians, the Patriarch found it prudent to send to the barbarians a bishop from Constantinople. With some modifications, the story is repeated by Constantine VII in De Administrando Imperio, followed by several generations of Byzantine historians, including John Skylitzes and Joannes Zonaras.
That the imperial court and patriarchate regarded the 10th-century Rus' as Christians is evident from the fact that the bishopric of Rus' was enumerated in the lists of Orthodox sees, compiled during the reigns of Leo the Wise and Constantine VII. There is an argumentum ex silentio: no Greek source recorded the second baptism of the Rus in the 990s. Whatever the scope of Photius's efforts to Christianize the Rus', their effect was not lasting. Although they fail to mention the mission of Photius, the authors of the Primary Chronicle were aware that a sizable portion of the Kievan population was Christian by 944. In the Russo-Byzantine Treaty, preserved in the text of the chronicle, the Christian part of the Rus' swear according to their faith, while the ruling prince and other non-Christians invoke Perun and Veles after the pagan custom; the Kievan collegiate church of St. Elijah is mentioned in the text of the chronicle, leaving modern scholars to ponder how many churches existed in Kiev at the time.
Either in 945 or 957, the ruling regent, Olga of Kiev, visited Constantinople with a certain priest, Gregory. Her reception at the imperial court is described in De Ceremoniis. According to legends, Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII fell in love with Olga; when she was baptized, she said. Although it is presumed that Olga was baptized in Constantinople rather than Kiev, there is no explicit mention of the sacrament, so neither version is excluded. Olga is known to have requested a bishop and priests from Rome, her son, continued to worship Perun and other gods of the Slavic pantheon. He remained a stubborn pagan all of his life. Sviatoslav's successor, Yaropolk I, seems to have had a more conciliatory attitude towards Christianity. Late medieval sources claim that Yaropolk exchanged ambassadors with the Pope; the Chronicon of Adémar de Chabannes and the life of St. Romuald document the mission of St. Bruno of Querfurt to the land of Rus', where he succeeded in converting to Christianity a local king.
Alexander Nazarenko suggests that Yaropolk went through some preliminary rites of baptism, but was murdered at the behest