Тропарь святому равноапостольному царю Владимиру, просветителю Русского народа, глас 4:
Уподобился еси купцу, ищущему добраго бисера,/ славнодержавный Владимире,/ на высоте стола седя матере градов,/ богоспасаемого Киева,/ испытуя же и посылая к царскому граду/ уведети православную веру,/ и обрел еси бесценный бисер, Христа,/ избравшаго тя, яко втораго Павла,/ и оттрясшаго слепоту во святей купели,/ душевную вкупе и телесную./ Тем же празднуем твое успение,/ людие твои суще:// моли спастися державы твоея Российстей и Христолюбивому православному народу.
Кондак святому равноапостольному царю Владимиру, просветителю Русского народа, глас 4:
Отеческу прелесть, идоли, яко суетни, отверг,/ Христа, всех истиннаго Бога, Царя и Благодетеля, познал еси./ Темже и люди, изрядны Тому, святым Крещением просветил еси,/ преславне Владимире./ Сего ради почитаем тя,/ яко Троице служителя,// Христа моли даровати нам велию милость.
Величание святому равноапостольному царю Владимиру, просветителю Русского народа:
Величаем тя,/ святый равноапостольный царю Владимире,/ и чтем святую память твою,/ идолы поправшаго// и всю российскую землю святым крещением просветившаго.
Свв. равноапп. Владимир и Ольга.
Санкт-Петербург. Художник - Н.П. Шаховской.
Мозаика юго-восточного пилона.
The Conversion of Rus' to Christianity as Presented in Modern Historical Writing
I shall present a brief and slightly simplified account of the modern historian's version of the introduction of Rus' into the family of Christian nations, taken as an episode in the history of Russo-Byzantine relations.(2) In general, the story goes as follows:
In September 987, the rebellious general Bardas Phocas proclaimed himself emperor. The usurper, marching on Constantinople, was recognized by all of Asia Minor. The situation of the legitimate Emperor Basil II was desperate and he asked the Russian ruler Vladimir for help, sending an embassy which arrived in Kiev in the winter of 987/88. As Vladimir had already manifested an interest in Christianity some time before, Basil's envoys were prepared to discuss the affairs of both Church and State. The agreement which was reached provided military support for Basil; in return, Vladimir was to receive the hand of the Emperor's sister Anna in marriage, on the condition that he and his people become Christians.
In the spring or summer of 988, a Russian army of six thousand men arrived in Constantinople. In the battle of Chrysopolis and that of Abydus on April 13, 989, this force tipped the scales in favor of Basil and saved his throne. These Russian mercenaries remained in the service of Byzantium, and Vladimir and the Kievan population were promptly baptized. But after the victory at Abydus, the Emperor did not hurry to fulfill his obligations to Vladimir. There was a convenient tradition against the offspring of the imperial family marrying barbarians, and the Porphyrogenite bride was unwilling to go to Kiev.
Incensed by this Greek duplicity, Vladimir decided to apply military pressure to achieve his objectives. He struck at the Byzantine possessions in the Crimea and took Cherson between April and July of 989.
After the loss of Cherson, faced with a fresh revolt on the part of Bardas Sclerus and harassed by Bulgarian enemy activity, the Emperor Basil decided to sacrifice his sister on the altar of political expediency. Anna went to Cherson, where the wedding took place. The city was then returned to the Emperor as a dowry (i.e., veno-the bridegroom's gift to the parents of his bride). Vladimir and his Porphyrogenite wife took with them to Russia a number of ecclesiastics to build up the Russian Church.
I have recounted here the general view which is held by the great majority of historians. However, there are some divergences that should be pointed out.
Some scholars believe that one of the terms of the agreement between the Emperor and Vladimir was the latter's demand that the Church established in Kiev have special status. The Emperor's unreliability would have confirmed Vladimir's conviction that the new Russian Church should be organized as a unit independent of the patriarch of Constantinople.(3) Many suppositions about the primary organization of the Old Russian Church (4) have their origin in just this thesis.
In an effort to reconcile the contradictory data on the time and place of Vladimir's conversion, certain scholars have suggested that his acceptance of Christianity took place in two stages: a preliminary one (catechumenate, oglasenie, prima signatio) when the Byzantine mission was in Kiev, and a final one, the full sacrament of baptism, in Cherson after his capture of the city.(5) This premature interpretation is dictated by an unwillingness to disregard one of the discrepant pieces of evidence.
Several scholars have emphasized that the capture of Cherson resulted chiefly in the recovery for Rus' of access to the Black Sea.(6) Carried to the extreme, such a hypothesis suggests the main reason for the ravaging of Cherson to have been the reduction of the political and economic significance of that city as a Byzantine mainstay on the Black Sea coast, and, thus, the consolidation of the position of Tmutarakan'- a Russian outpost on the Black Sea.(7)
Some scholars have tried to question the terminus ante quem (July 27) for the capture of Cherson by Vladimir. The problem with their reasoning is their use of the unreliable and contradictory chronology of events given by Old Russian sources, as well as their assumption that the Emperor would not have made peace with Bardas Sclerus in October 989 had he not been involved in a conflict with Vladimir and unable, therefore, to count on Russian support. The strength of their argument lies in the assumption that a conflict between the Emperor and Vladimir over Basil's reluctance to give Anna in marriage could have started only after the battle of Abydus (April 13, 989), from which they have concluded that the siege of Cherson began in July 989, the subsequent fall of the city taking place after October 989, most likely at the be-ginning of 990.(8) Others, taking into account that Cherson was captured before July 27, 989, propose that Vladimir personally commanded the Russian troops at Abydus on April 13 of that year. They further suggest that, having failed to secure his Porphyrogenite bride, Vladimir attacked Cherson on his way back to Rus'.(9) This hypothesis, however attractive, overlooks the fact that the Russian troops remained in Byzantium.
A number of historians have also accepted as fact the visit of papal envoys to Vladimir in Cherson after its fall.(10) However, they failed to realize that this embassy was the invention of a sixteenth-century Muscovite historian"(11) who, by stressing that Vladimir's decision to be baptized according to the Greek rite was a voluntary one, gave historical basis to Moscow's claim as the third Rome.
In trying to find a motive for Vladimir's campaign against Cherson, some researchers have proposed reasons of state: Vladimir wished to enter into the orthodox Christian community - the Byzantine Commonwealth, according to today's fashion-but was too proud to ask Byzantium for the baptism of Rus', and he further wished to negotiate with the Byzantine Emperor as an equal. In demanding admission into the imperial family, Vladimir thus considered the international prestige of his country.(12) Other scholars see Vladimir's untamed sensuality: he acceded so easily to Christianization and conquered Cherson in order to win the princess "born in the purple."(13) And there are some historians who suggest that a Church independent of Byzantium was so important to Vladimir that he captured Cherson in order to have Crimean ecclesiastics to evangelize his country (with the archbishop of Cherson as a kind of supervisororfo r the young Russian Church).(l4)
From this short review, it is easy to see that the "Cherson problem" remains the key question in the interpretation of Byzantino-Russian relations around the time of the conversion of Rus' to Christianity.
2. A survey of studies and an ample bibliography are to be found in the following works: basic for the nineteenth century are the discourses by E. Golubinskij (Istorija russkoj cerkvi [hereafter, Golubinskij, Istorija], I, pt. 1 [Moscow, 1880; rep. 1901] 105-80); V. G. Vasil'evsky, Trudy, I (St. Petersburg, 1908), 196-210, and II (1909), 56-124 (hereafter, Vasil'evsky, Trudy, I and II); and V. R. Rozen (in his commentary on the History of Yahya, Imperator' Vasilij Bolgarobojca. Izvlecenija iz' letopisi Jah'i antiohijskago [St. Petersburg, 1883] [hereafter, Rozen, Imperator], 194-216). A clear and concise exposition consistent with the state of research at the beginning of the twentieth century, along with a short survey of literature and sources, is given by M. Grusevs'kij, in Istorija Ukrajini- Rusi, I (Kiev, 1913; rep. New York, 1954), 495-515, 572-78. Among subsequent studies and recent general works, the following should be mentioned: E. Smurlo, "Kogda i gde krestilsja Vladimir Svjatoj," Zapiski Russkogo Istoriceskogo Objsestva v Prage (Prague, 1927) (hereafter, Smurlo, "Kogda"), 120-48; S. V. Bahrusyn, "K voprusu o krescenii Kievskoj Rusi," Istorik-Marksist (1937), pt. 2, pp. 40-77; G. Ostrogorskij, "Vladimir Svjatoj i Vizantija," Vladimirskij Sbornik (Belgrade, 1938), 31-40; M. V. Levcenko, "Vzaimootnosenija Vizantii i Rusi pri Vladimire," VizVrem, N.S. 7 (1953), 194-223; idem, Ocerki po istorii russko-vizantijskih otnosenij (Moscow, 1956) (hereafter, Levcenko, Ocerki), 340-85; I. Sevcenko, "The Christianization of Kievan Rus," The Polish Review, 5 (1960), 4, 29-35; G. G. Litavrin, in Istorija Vizantii, II (Moscow, 1967), 219, 235-36; V. T. Pasuto, VneSnjaja politika drevnej Rusi (Moscow, 1968), 73-77, 316-17; G. Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, rev. ed. (New Brunswick, N. J., 1969), 303-5; A. P. Vlasto, The Entry of the Slavs into Christendom (Cambridge, 1970) (hereafter, Vlasto, Entry), 255-62; F. Dvornik, Byzantine Missions Among the Slavs (New Brunswick, N. J., 1970), 270-72; D. Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth. Eastern Europe 500-1453 (London, 1971) (hereafter, Obolensky, Byzantine Commonwealth), 192-201; H. Gregoire, in CMH, IV, pt. 1 (1966), 179-80; M. N. Tihomirov, "The Origins of Christianity in Russia," History, N.S., The Quarterly Journal of the Historical Association, London, vol. 44, no. 152 (1959), 199-211.
3. Cf. M. D. Priselkov, Ocerki po cerkovno-politiceskoj istorii Kievskoj Rusi X-XII vv. (St. Petersburg, 1913), 33ff.; and, among many others, M. Jankovskij, "Krescenie Rusi," Ucenye Zapiski Leningradskogo Gos. Universiteta, no. 36 (1939), hist. ser. no. 3, pp. 55-56; N. Zernov, "Vladimir and the Origin of the Russian Church," SlEERev, 28 (1950), no. 71, pp. 425-32; V. Mosin, in Byzantinoslavica, 24 (1963), 94-96; M. Cubatij, Istorija hristijanstva na Rusi-Ukrajini, I (Rome-New York, 1965), 238-73.
4. For well-grounded criticism of these theories, L. Muller, Zum Problem des hierarchischen Status und der jurisdiktionellen Abhangigkeit der russischen Kirche vor 1039 (Cologne-Braunsfeld, 1959), 9-47; see also A. Poppe, Paistwo i Kosciol na Rusi w XI wieku (Warsaw, 1968) (hereafter, Poppe, Pan'stwo), 15-39. Because this question still excites controversy, I will return to the problem in a forthcoming article about the original status of the Old Russian Church.
5. So proposed by I. I. Malisevskij, in his review of Golubinskij, Istorija, I, pts. 1-2 (1880-81), in Otcet o 24 prisuzdenii nagrad grafa Uvarova SPb (1882) 53, 68; Smurlo, "Kogda," 140, 144, 148; and more recently, Obolensky, Byzantine Commonwealth, 195. There are no grounds for estimating the length of Vladimir's catechumenate, i.e., the gradual revealing of the truths of faith, which always preceded the final rite of baptism and was accompanied by church rites. The catechumenate could last several months, especially with the tendency to baptize at Eastertime (in Vladimir's day, the original term of three years was unknown), or only a few days (eight or forty days for adults in twelfth-century Novgorod), because, according to apostolic tradition, it was possiblle to baptize an eligible man directly after instruction. Also, the Byzantine ordo unites the function of catechumenate and baptism proper, so conversions in two stages were unknown. Cf. A. Staerk, Der Taufritus in der griechisch-russischen Kirche. Sein apostolischer Ursprung und seine Entwickelung (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1903), 5ff., 22, reviewed by A. Petrovskij, in VizVrem, 11 (1904), 180-83, and J. Bois, in EO, 8 (1905), 193-200; the articles by P. de Puniet, in Dictionnaire d'archeologie chrdtienne et de liturgie (Paris, 1910), s.v. "Bapteme," II,1, cols. 285-94, and "Catechumenat" (according to the Byzantine rite), 11,2, cols. 2619-20; Golubinskij, Istorija, I, pt. 2 (rep. 1904), 426.
6. F. I. Uspenskij, Rus' i Vizantija v X v. (Odessa, 1888), 37; and, among others, B. D. Grekov, "'Povest' vremennyh let' o pohode Vladimira nea Korsun," Izvestija Tavrieskogo obestva istorii, arheologii i etnografii, III (Simferopol, 1929), 99-112, rep. in idem, Izbrannye trudy, II (Moscow, 1959), 413-28; A. L. Jakobson, Rannesrednevekovyj Hersones, Materialy i Issledovanija po Arheologii SSSR, 63 (Moscow, 1959), 63-65.
7. D. L. Talis, "Iz istorii russko-korsunskih politiceskih otnosenij v IX-X vv.," VizVrem, N.S. 14 (1958), 108-15, in which there are many misinterpretations; for instance, the author attributes to Cedrenus and Zonaras the information that the fall of Cherson and the Russian threat aroused in Constantinople the strong fear that the Russian King would join the Bulgarians (ibid., 112-13).
8. V. Zavitnevic, "O meste i vremeni krescenija kievljan," Trudy Kievskoj Duhovnoj Akademii (1888), pt. 1, pp. 135-36, 143-44; Smurlo, "Kogda," 123-24, 143-48.
9. Cf. N. Baumgarten, Saint Vladimir et la conversion de la Russie (Rome, 1932) (= OC, no. 79), 76-81. The author of this large but uncritical compilation was inspired in this case by the suggestions of F. Uspenskij (2MNP, 232 [April, 1884], 305, 311) and Vasil'evskij (Trudy, II, 90-92). However, since we clearly have here a Latin mistranslation of Scylitzes and a misinterpretation of Yahya's text by Ibn-al-Athir, there are no grounds for this hypothesis; cf. LevEenko, Oeerki, 358-59.
10. Among others, Baumgarten, Saint Vladimir, 87; G. Vemadsky, A History of Russia. II, Kievan Russia (New Haven, 1948), 65; The Russian Primary Chronicle, ed. and trans. S. . Cross and 0. P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor (Cambridge, Mass., 1953) (hereafter, Cross, Chronicle), 245; B. Ja. Ramm, Papstvo i Rus' v X-XV vekah (Moscow, 1959), 39-40; Cubatij, Istorija (note 3 supra), 245-46; Vlasto, Entry, 273. F. Dvornik's suggestion (Byzanine Missions [note 2 supra], 271-72), based on a mistaken reference to the Russian Primary Chronicle, that the embassy could have come from Vladimir's wife's cousin (Empress Theophano, widow of Otto II; cf. infra, note 125), lacks source evidence, even if contact between them could have taken place.
11. Patriarsaja ili Nikonovskaja letopis', in PSRL, IX (St. Petersburg, 1862), col. 57; cf. cols. 64, 65, 68 for other information about Vladimir's relations with the pope in the years 991, 994, 1000/1 (with Babylon as well!). This large historiographical compilation, made during the first half of the sixteenth century and containing many interpolations even within the adopted text of the Primary Chronicle, has been considered by some modem historians as a primary source despite the fact that its author, an official historiographer, prepared his text according to the ideological and political desires of the Muscovite rulers. It is appropriate to mention here the remark of M. N. Tihomirov that the rule of Ivan III can account for the special interest toward Rome and the Roman Church in the older part of Nikon's chronicle; quoted in A. A. Zimin, Russkie letopisi i hronografy konca XV-XVI vv. (Moscow, 1960), 20-21; A. G. Kuz'min, "K voprosu o vremeni sozdanija i redakcijah Nikonovoskoj letopisi," ArhEZ 1962 (1963), 114.
12. First N. Karamzin, Istorija gosudarstva rossijskago, I (St. Petersburg, 1816), 212; and later T. Barsov, Konstantinopol'skij patriarh i ego vlast' nad russkoju cerkoviju (St. Petersburg, 1878), 326-35; Golubinskij, Istorija, 158-63.
13. Cf. S. Srkulj, "Drei Fragen aus der Taufe des heiligen Vladimir," ASP, 29 (1907), 255-67. This author went so far as to suspect a secret agreement between Basil and Vladimir: the capture of Cherson by the Rus' would help the Emperor justify his giving Anna in marriage to a barbarian (ibid., 269-81).
14. E.g., V. Zavitnevic, "Vladimir Svjatoj kak politiceskij dejatel'," Trudy Kievskoj Duhovnoj Akademii (1888), pt. 2, p. 196; cf. G. Vernadsky, "The Status of the Russian Church during the First Half-Century following Vladimir's Conversion," SlEERev, 20 (1941), 298-99, 302; Cubatij, Istorija (note 3 supra), 223-29, 239; F. Dvornik, The Slavs. Their Early History and Civilization (Boston, 1956), 210; idem, Byzantine Missions (note 2 supra), 272.
(Andrzej Poppe. The Political Background to the Baptism of Rus': Byzantine-Russian Relations between 986-89 // Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 30 (1976). P. 195-244)
© Блог научного коллектива Музея имени Андрея Рублева.