Traditions & NameDays

BORISOVDEN (St. Boris day) - May 2

Name day of everyone named Boris, Borislav, Borislava (deriving from “pine”).
In mythology the pine tree is the symbol of immortality for it was considered to be in fact the body of the dead and then resurrected God who is the one that changes the seasons.

That day, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feastday of the two brother-saints – St.Boris ans St.Gleb,  The Passionbearers, worshipped by the Russian nation as their protectors and intercessors. Princes Boris and Gleb were sons of the Equal-to-the-Apostles prince Vladimir and princess Anna, the Byzantine. Since youth they were noted for their devoutness.

According to the scripts we also know that Prince Boris liked church singing very much. Saint Vladimir held them especially dear for their devotion to the holy faith and brotherly love towards each other. Prince Vladimir assigned Boris to rule the Rostov province, and Gleb received the Murom princedom. Both Princes worked hard to convert the rough pagans living in those territories into Christians. Saint Gleb is considered to be an educator of the Murom-Riazan region, where from those ancient times up to now he is remembered as the first Christian evangelist and protector of the country.

In the year of 1015 after St. Vladimir's death, his other son Sviatopolk (nicknamed "the cursed") seized the power over the great princedom. Being afraid to compete fairly with his pious brothers, he decided to kill them.At the time St. Boris was deployed with his armed forces on the Alta River. His troops suggested attacking and seizing Kiev, but St. Boris did not want to violate the sacred kinship relations and rejected the proposal with indignation. Sviatopolk informed St. Boris of their father's death, insidiously offered brotherly cooperation, and promised to expand St. Boris' princedom while at the same time sending mercenaries to assassinate him. On the night of July 23rd the mercenaries approached Boris' tent. When they heard psalms sung in the tent, they decided to wait until Boris fell asleep. Hardly had the saint prince gone to his bed, the murderers broke into the tent and speared him and his slave Georgui, a Hungarian, who tried to protect his master with his own body. The assassins wrapped the martyr who was still breathing into a tent cloth and rode to Sviatopolk. When Sviatopolk learned that Saint Boris was still alive, he sent two Variangians to pierce his heart with swords. The body of Saint Boris was secretly brought to Vyshgorod and buried there in the church of Saint Vasilii.

After killing Saint Boris, Sviatopolk invited Saint Gleb, who at the time was staying near Smolensk, to visit their father who allegedly got seriously ill. The young prince already knowing about Sviatopolk's atrocious deeds was tearfully praying for his father and brother. Horacer, who headed the assassins, ordered the prince's cook, a Turk, to butcher his master. The order was carried out on September 5, 1015.

Russian people regarded the saint princes-martyrs as their protectors and intercessors. The scripts are full of descriptions of many people wonderfully healed near the relics of the saint princes and of the victories that were won with their help (e.g. the victory of Ruric, son of Rostislav, over Konchak; or the triumph of Alexander-of-the-Neva over the German tribes).