Vsevolod of Pskov

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The holy and right-believing Vsevolod Mstislavich (Russian: Всеволод Мстиславич), also Vsevolod-Gabriel, is the patron saint of the city of Pskov, Russia who ruled as Prince of Novgorod from 1117 to 1132 and 1133 to 1136, Prince of Pereslavl in 1132 and Prince of Pskov in 1137 and 1138.

Life

Prince Vsevolod was born in Novgorod the son of prince St. Mstislav-Theodore the Great and the grandson of Vladimir Monomakh. The date of his birth is not known but it may have been while his father was the prince of Novgorod, possibly 1103.[1] His maternal grandfather was King Inge the Elder of Sweden. He was given the name Gabriel when he was baptized.

In 1117, when Vladimir Monomakh gave Mstislav the Kievan city of Belgorod as his "udel" (land-holding), and practically made him co-ruler, young Vsevolod remained as his father's representative in the principality of Novgorod. Vsevolod became the Prince of Novgorod in his own right when his father Mstislav succeeded as Grand Prince of Kiev upon Vladimir Monomakh’s death in 1125. In 1123, Vsevolod married a Chernigovian princess by whom he had a son, Ivan, who died in 1128.

During his rule in Novgorod Vsevolod was concerned with the development of the city and its people. During a famine he exhausted his treasury feeding his people. He led the Novgorodians against the Yam and Chud people. As a champion for the development of Novgorod, he granted special charters of land and privileges to the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) and other churches. He had built many churches, including the Church of St. John the Forerunner at Opoki, the Churches of St. George and the Dormition in the Market, with Abp. Nifont, and cathedral of the Great Martyr George at the Yuriev monastery. Vsevolod also granted a charter to “Ivan’s Hundred”, the first Russian merchant guild.

With the death of his father, Mstislav, in 1132, politics among the member of the ruling family came to fore. Vsevolod was transferred as its prince to Pereslavl by his uncle and successor to Mstislav, Grand Prince Yaropolk of Kiev over the concerns of the younger brothers of Vladimir Monomakh in that this move appeared to set up Vsevolod as the next Prince of Kiev. Hoping to avoid internecine strife, Vsevolod returned to Novgorod in 1133, where his return was not welcomed because the populous considered his move to Pereslavl to have been a betrayal of his oath when he became Prince of the city to never leave Novgorod. To placate Novgorodians Vsevolod strove to restore good relations with the people of Novgorod. In defending the city, he was victorious against the Chud in 1133. He annexed Yuriev (today Tartu in Estonia) to Novgorod, but his defeat against Suzdal led the public assembly (veche) of Novgorod to banish Vsevolod and to summons Svyatoslav Ogovich as the new prince of Novgorod. Until the arrival of Prince Svyatoslav on July 15, 1136, Vsevolod and his family, who were kept in house arrest in the compound of Abp. Nifont, were released. Then, he went to Kiev.

In 1137, remembering the campaigns of the Novgorod-Pskov army led by Prince Vsevolod, the assembly of Pskov invited him to the principality of Pskov as their first prince. In Pskov, he was joined by Abp. Nifont of Novgorod, who himself had been exiled from Novgorod for his defense of Vsevolod. Jointly, they sponsored the construction of the first stone Trinity Cathedral, replacing the wooden Trinity church erected by St Olga in the late tenth century.

On February 11, 1138, Prince Vsevolod-Gabriel of Pskov died, at the age of forty six. His funeral was attended by all of Pskov. His relics were laid to rest in the Church of the Great Martyr Demetrius. Having established a close bond with the people of Pskov, Prince Vsevolod had declared that his body would remain in Pskov. When a delegation from Novgorod came to take his relics to Novgorod, his coffin would not move from its place in Pskov, and so remained. On April 22, 1834, his holy relics were transferred to the new shrine in Trinity Cathedral.

Reference

  1. А.Ф. Литвина, В.Б. Успенский. Выбор имени у русских князей X-XVI вв. [Choice of personal names for the Russian princes of the 10th-16th centuries.] Moscow: Indrik, 2006. ISBN 5-85759-339-5. Page 503.

Sources

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