Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Olga – A most brutal saint

(public domain)

Olga of Kyiv was born at an unknown date (possibly as early as 890 or as late as 925) as the daughter of unknown parents. She married Igor of Kyiv, and they had a son named Svyatoslav. Igor was killed while collecting tribute from the Drevlians(a tribe of Early East Slavs) in 945.

When her husband died, her son was only three years old, and Olga acted as regent of Kievan Rus. The Drevlians wanted her to marry Prince Mal, one of their own. However, Olga was determined to remain the sole ruler and preserve the lands for her son. The Drevlians wouldn’t take no for an answer and sent twenty of their best men to persuade her. Olga reportedly had them buried alive. She sent word that she accepted Prince Mal’s proposal but that she required more men to accompany her on the journey. The Drevlians sent more men, and upon their arrival, they were locked into a bathhouse, which was then set alight, burning the men alive. Over 5,000 Drevlians were invited to her husband’s funeral feast, where they were given plenty of alcohol. They were then slaughtered by Olga’s soldiers. The few survivors in the city of Kyiv begged for mercy, but Olga burned the town to the ground.

She remained the regent with the help of the army. She was the first ruler of Kievan Rus to convert to Christianity. She took the Christian name Yelena. After her death in 969, she was proclaimed a saint for her efforts to spread Christianity. Her feast day is 11 July. 1

  1. Jackson, Guida M (1999) Women rulers throughout the ages. An illustrated guide

About Moniek Bloks 2741 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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