The Earliest States of Eastern Europe
DG-2022, 202-208

Yaroslav the Wise in Constantinople: The 2nd Posthumous Miracle of St Paraskeva of the Balkans

S. Y. Temčinas

The article focuses on the second miracle from the relics of St Paraskeva of Balkans († early 11th century at the latest) about the healing of a lame son of a Russian prince, which took place in Kallikratia not far from Constantinople. The miracle is mentioned in two liturgical texts of Byzantine origin (the Greek Vita of St Paraskeva and а troparion of the corresponding hymnographic Office, known merely from its Slavonic version). E. Mineva identified the Russian prince with Yaroslav the Wise. The present article shows that the miracle describes an event preceding the death of Yaroslav’s father Vladimir Svyatoslavich († 15 July 1015). The stay in the Byzantine capital of the young Yaroslav is to be related to the events of 987–989: the provision of military assistance to Byzantium by Kiev in connection with the suppression of the uprising of Bardas Skleros and Bardas Phokas, the baptism of Vladimir Svyatoslavich, his campaign in Chersoneses and his marriage to the Byzantine princess Anna and, finally, the Christianization of Kievan Rus’. There are strategic and typological arguments this assumption. The first are associated with the fact that for the participation of a significant Russian military corps (about 6 thousand warriors) in the battles of Chrysopolis (988) and Abydos (April 13, 989), the Russian army had to pass the Bosporus in the immediate vicinity of Constantinople. One might suppose that the emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII must have demanded guarantees from Kiev in the form of a hostage from Vladimir’s family as a guarantee that the armed detachment will follow the agreements, i.e. will neither attack the Byzantine capital nor unite with the rebels. This would explain both the stay of the young Yaroslav the Wise in Constantinople at least in 987–989 and the orientation towards Byzantine cultural models during his Kiev reign (1017–1054). Typological arguments consist in the widely-spread practice of hostage taking both in Russia in relations with the Pechenegs and in Constantinople in its relations with the Bulgarians prior to the Russian-Byzantine agreements of the late 980s. In view of this, the death of St Paraskeva of the Balkans, which happened prior to the beginning of the 11th century, should be dated no later than 987–989.

Yaroslav the Wise, Paraskeva of the Balkans, Christianization of Kievan Rus’, Constantinople, hostage, Rus’-Byzantine relations


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