Sunday, May 06, 2007

Boris and Gleb

This is our icon of Sts. Boris and Gleb. I had to lighten the picture, because it's quite old and very dark; this way you can see it a little more clearly. You can click on it to see more detail, but be warned, it's a large picture.

Princes Boris and Gleb were the sons of the Grand Duke Vladimir of Kieven Rus, who adopted Christianity with his subjects in 988. They were both baptized, and were much loved by the people, which drew the jealousy of their eldest brother, Svyatopolk. When their father died, Svyatapolk plotted to murder his brothers to secure his claim to the crown. Both were more concerned with how to behave as Christians than with trying to combat Svyatapolk, and offered no resistence when they were trapped and martyred by their brother's agents.
Although Boris and Gleb were not martyred for their faith (they are properly called 'passion-bearers' rather than martyrs), their voluntary and meek sacrifice for the sake of averting the suffering of others and preserving the Christian ideal, had a profound effect on the subsequent development of Christianity in Russia. Whereas in Byzantine Christianity God was often depicted as Pantocrator--stern and all-powerful, in Russia the emphasis was on Christ as the sacrificial Lamb Who 'opened not his mouth before his shearer'. Russian piety came to be characterized by a tender humility and an acceptance of suffering following the example of Christ. In this century Russia's New Martyrs offer a supreme testimony to the enduring influence of this otherworldly orientation which that country first witnessed in the exploit of the two youthful brother princes and passion-bearers, Boris and Gleb.


Blogger Nicholodeon said...

Well done, Doc. But 'Boris and Glob'???

The icon is lovely. The one I have shows them standing side by side in matching princely garments, but in colours reversed to each other.

The pencil sketch earlier is a masterpiece. If you drew it, you have achieved what Picasso wanted: If only I could paint as a child!!!

Also Claudel advises us to 'learn to unlearn.'

The Anglican nuance of the bishops escapes me...

9:46 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

aaauuggghh! That was NOT my mistake, I'll point out - it's copied and pasted from another site I went to to check on the names (and I wish I'd linked to it, so that person could bear the shame of the misspelling!). I'll correct HIS mistake, even so - some misspellings are cute, but "Glob" just takes away from the seriousness of the theme!

10:54 am  

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