15 Jul

Today Orthodox Christians celebrate St Vladimir the Great Day. Vladimir Sviatoslavich born in 958 and died on 15th July 1015. He is called the Great and was the Prince of Novgorod, the Grand Prince of Kiev and the ruler of Kievan Rus from 980 to 1015. His father was Prince Sviatoslav I of Kiev and after his father died Vladimir was forced o flee to Scandinavia as one of his brothers murdered another brother to conquer Rus. He fled to Sweden where his uncle was near by as King of Norway – Ladejarl Hakon Sigurdsson. He helped Vladimir establish a Varangian army and he reconquered Novgorod from his brother Yaropolk. The Rus realm was consolidated by 980 covering modern day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine all the way to the Baltic Sea. Vladimir originally followed Slavic Paganism converted to Christianity in 988 and he Christianised the Kievan Rus. The Eastern Orthodox, Byzantine Rite Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches celebrate the feast day of St Vladimir. There is a town named after him in North Western Ukraine and one in Russia. The largest Cathedral in Kyiv is dedicated to Vladimir and there are two seminaries in America named after him too. The memory of Vladimir was kept alive by numerous Russian folk ballads and legends referring to him as Kranso Solnyshko – the fair/red sun. He is known for minting coins, regulating foreign affairs and was involved with regulating trade, bringing in Greek wines, Baghdad spices and Arab horses.