Today’s bulletin features two brothers named SAINTS BORIS AND GLEB, who became the first saints to be canonized in Kievan Christianity. In doing so, they embraced the ideal of NON-RESISTANCE. They were also called “Passion-Bearers” by the Church.
Kiev was the cradle for the bringing of the Gospel to Slav peoples beginning in the ninth century. With the conversion of St. Vladimir, a new era began for the Church as well as the State. Churches, schools and monasteries were established, and Christian ideals entered the life stream of the once pagan people.
But Vladimir died in the year 1015, and immediately there was disorder among the various principalities ruled by his sons. One of the sons, Sviatopolk, took matters into his own hands. Fearing the popularity and potential competition of the younger Boris and Gleb, Sviatopolk had each of them murdered by his emissaries. The two brothers offered no resistance, choosing to die as Jesus did.
Strictly speaking, they were not martyrs for the Christian faith, but martyrs in keeping of the commands of Christ. The fame and esteem of the two lay believers spread far and wide. They became the first miracle-workers and heavenly patrons of this Christian land. The idea of suffering and pain to be borne in Christ is deeply ingrained in the Slavic soul.
The Orthodox Weekly Bulletin - Cliffwood, NJ