Great Sinners Make Great Saints

Another saint’s day today….


Fourth revenge of Olga: Burning of the Drevlian capital Iskorosten

Saint Olga (879-969), the wife of Prince Igor I of Kievan Rus’, was a ‘cruel and barbarous woman’, who buried twenty envoys alive after the death of her husband, scalded her husband’s murderers to death and murdered hundreds of their followers. In order to subject her enemies, the Drevlians, to Kievan Rus’ rule, she destroyed their capital Iskorosten and murdered and enslaved hundreds of their people.  As a wily single female ruler in a barbarous, violent age, she, regent to her son, Sviatoslav, resisted all proposals of marriage and held on to power and territory in a very unladylike manner.

However, following her baptism in 957, she made great attempts to aid the conversion of the Kievan Rus’. Despite her failure, her grandson Saint Vladimir introduced Christianity to the Rus. Considered the first female ruler of early Russia and a bridge between paganism and Christianity, she is now honoured in the Orthodox Church as Isapóstolos, Equal to the Apostles.



 Saint Olga, Mikhail Nesterov

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