Nobleborn Prince Gleb, in Holy Baptism David
Commemorated on September 5
Nobleborn Prince Gleb, in Holy Baptism David, was one of the first Russian martyrs – "Passion-Bearers" ("Strastnoterptsi"); he suffered together with his brother Prince Boris (in Holy Baptism named Roman). After the murder of Saint Boris, Svyatopolk the Accursed sent to his younger brother Prince Gleb a messenger with false information concerning their father, Great-prince Vladimir – who had died from illness, thereby using deceit to murder another possible claimant to the Kiev throne. The deceived Prince Gleb hastened off towards Kiev with a small company. His apprehensive brother Yaroslav, having caught up with him at Smolensk, was unable to delay the saint, who did not suspect such wickedness on the part of his brother Svyatopolk. Not far from Smolensk the assassins came upon the boat of Saint Gleb, who made no resistance, but only mildly besought that they should spare him because of his yet still young life. At the command of the murderers the cook of Gleb slit his throat. The body of the prince was buried in a desolate place not far from Smolensk, "betwixt two tree-trunks", i.e. in a simple wooden coffin (+ 1015). In the year 1019-1020 his brother Yaroslav found the grave of Saint Gleb, and the body being incorrupt, was transferred to Vyshgorod near Kiev and buried alongside holy Prince Boris. Later on, the relics of the brothers were transferred (Comm. 2 May) into a church of Saint Basil the Great, and there at the crypts of these holy passion-bearers many miracles were worked. The Kiev metropolitan John compiled a service to the passion-bearer princes and also established a feastday for them together on 24 July, which was made from the first half of the XI Century. The Russian Church from of old has venerated these passion-bearer brothers, who unceasingly have rendered prayerful assist to their native land, particularly in years of grievous tribulation. Thus, just before the Nevsky battle in 1240, the Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb appeared in a vision to one of the soldiers of holy Nobleborn Prince Alexander Nevsky (Comm. 23 November, 30 August and 23 May), and they aided the Russians during the combat. The chronicles are filled with the accounts about the various manifestations of graced mercy, witnessed at their tombs, and about the victories gained through their help. In honour of the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb many churches and monasteries were built throughout all the various ends of Russia.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.