Boris (d.1015) and Gleb (d.1015) martyrs, saints of the Russian Orthodox Church. They were the sons of the Kievan Grand Duke Vladimir (d.1015), who adopted Christianity and made it the official religion of Kievan Rus. Vladimir had 12 sons by different wives. Boris and Gleb were the sons of Anne of Constantinople. Vladimir put all his 12 sons at the head of different princedoms. Boris ruled in Rostov and Gleb in Murom.
After Vladimir’s death, one of the elder and the most energetic son, Svyatopolk (980-1019), took power in Kiev and became the Grand Duke. Neither Boris, nor the younger Gleb objected, but unfortunately for them they were very popular among the population, especially Boris, a gifted military commander. On the other hand, Svaytopolk, with his decision to adopt Catholicism and change the Russian Church from Byzantine to Roman subordination, invoked the displeasure of many influential people of the time. Treacherous Svyatopolk killed both brothers.
Rumors of the miracles that took place at their tomb, were spread all over the country by the adherents of the Orthodox Church. Pilgrimiges to the tomb began.
Boris and Gleb were canonized in 1071. They were very popular saints in Russia, where many Churches were built in their names.
In 1724 Pope Benedict XIII approved their cult as martyrs. In the West they are sometimes called Romanus and David.
Feast day: July 2.
See: Russian Icon. Saints Boris and Gleb. Saints Boris and Gleb. Saints Boris and Gleb with Scenes from Their Lives.
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford Paperback Reference)
by David Hugh Farmer