The Mongols

This reading focused on a more particular aspect of the Mongol horde and their invasions in Rus. Rather it focused on the belief, by the chroniclers of Rus, of the Mongols being a punishment. As a result of the continuos lack in proper leadership by the princes of Rus, such as fighting amongst each other to control more power as opposed to honoring what they, as well as each other, had, the sight of the Mongol invaders quickly became to be believed as a punishment from God.… Read the rest here

A republic in Novgorod?

Today’s reading featured tales of Rus’ Princes following the Mongol invasion of Rus. While none of the piece treats with the consequences of the arrival of the Mongols into Rus’ land its influence on the society is deeply reflected throughout each source. For instance, the common theme in the first 2 pieces is that the ruler had difficulties keeping his power intact. In the first case, the case of Iaroslav Iaroslavovich, the first treaty of Novgorod shows that the prince of Novgorod – though he was not overthrown – had to give away most of his power to the population of Novgorod and the Church (at least this is what the very first article seems to hint).  
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The Roots and Growth of Christianity in Early Rus

Something that I found to be particularly interesting is the manner in which Christianity came to Rus compared to the power that the church wields in Russia today.
Pages sixty-three to sixty-seven paint a very clear picture of the real purpose for the introduction of Christianity to Rus. It’s made quite clear that Vladimir wanted to bring Greek Orthodoxy to Rus because it was a religion that could bring him greater wealth, influence, and power than he currently possessed, but he didn’t have to sacrifice much for it.… Read the rest here

Jesus Christ as the Ideal Christian Figure

The Orthodox Church’s notion of the ideal Christian was a person as close to Christ himself as it was possible for a human to be. The stories of historical figures idealized by the church display this both in their actions and in the situations which they lived in.

The Life of Theodosius, for example, contains many parallels to the life of Jesus Christ. In Childhood, Jesus was supposedly an extraordinary student (Luke 2:41-52), but we can also assume that he was not the awesome and powerful figure that he would later become from the fact that so little exists documenting his early life.… Read the rest here

St. Theodosius: The Ideal Rus Christian

St. Theodosius (or Feodosii, as he is called in Life) is portrayed to be on the far side of Christian devotion. The text portrays Feodosii as an idyllic Christian, able to purge himself of any and all earthly needs and desires. From a young age, he appears to be completely and utterly devoted to God. Feodosii wore ragged, patched clothes and preferred to study divine books, rather than playing with children. Life provided any Rus citizen with the perfect painting of what it meant to be a Christian, while simultaneously setting the bar so high that it appears no Rus citizen could ever compare.… Read the rest here

The “Ideal Christian,” according to Feodosii

The Life of St. Theodosius teaches us that the Russian Orthodox Church had nearly impossible standards for the “Ideal Christian.” According to the Chronicles, St. Theodosius–also known as Feodosii–was a child whose love for God led him to withstand a life of social exclusion and horrible abuse from his mother. Feodosii’s mother continuously bought him nice clothes, but he always gave them away to the poor, preferring not to exhibit his own wealth in order to be closer to God.… Read the rest here

Law and Women in Early Rus Society

The two law codes we have read for the people of Rus are very different. They show changing attitudes to governance, punishment, and women. The First law code we read, the Pravada Russkaia, mostly describes crimes that pretty much everyone would have a problem with. They are things like theft, violence, and destruction of property. The mechanism for enforcement is the wronged party. The second set of laws we have read, Iaroslav’s Statute, Are much broader.… Read the rest here