Presidential Library collections disclose the exploit of Alexander Nevsky

30 May 2014

On the eve of the anniversary of the Grand Duke, Russian commander Alexander Nevsky, celebrated on May 30, the Presidential Library made available on its website a collection of rare, poorly known materials about one of the most revered saints.

Son of Grand Duke Yaroslav Vsevolodovich, grandson of St. Andrew Bogolyubsky and great-grandson of the famous Russian Prince Vladimir Monomakh, Alexander Nevsky was born May 30, 1220. Description of the Grand Duke’ youth can be found in the book, "Holy noble born Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky and the Holy Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra: to commemorate the bicentenary of the monastery, 1713-1913", held by the Presidential Library: "Under the influence of his pious mother, the holy Princess Theodosia, he was brought up in a deeply religious manner. From a young age, by the will of Providence, Saint Alexander was not under the peaceful parental roof alien to life's anxieties and worries, but engrossed in the anxieties of the then turbulent life of Novgorod the Great."

The look of Alexander Nevsky, his character traits and many other details are described in the work available on the website of the first national electronic library of Russia, "Holy noble born Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky: to commemorate the tsar-peacemaker" by Nicholas Voskresensky: "Being a good-looking man he had gentle eyes, always kept his word and had a courageous spirit. His personality made the most fascinating impression on all who saw him. Shortly before the glorious victory on the Neva, Livonian knight Andrew Welven came to Novgorod. "I went through many countries, he said, I know the world, saw kings and princes, but have never seen anyone with such courage and beauty as Alexander: neither among kings, nor among prince." His pleasant voice, according to his contemporaries, thundered like a trumpet at veche. He did not like to talk a lot and had an amazing composure.

Grand Duke surrounded himself exclusively with wise and good people, "Alexander nobles were notable for justice and mercy. Through this Novgorod flourished, and rumors began to spread everywhere about Alexander as about a wise ruler and a brave warrior," says the book "Life of St. noble born Alexander Nevsky."

The bright image of the valiant hero is most clearly reflected in the annals of his contemporaries. According to Nicholas Voskresensky’s work, "Holy noble born Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky: to commemorate the tsar-peacemaker": "Telling about his exploits, they compared him to Alexander the Great, Achilles, Vespasian, Sampson, David, and by his wisdom - with Solomon. Contemporaries also quite appreciated the dignity of Alexander, his fame resounded far; according to the chroniclers, there was no area in the whole Russia that would not want to have him as its prince."

Alexander Nevsky, who had not lost a single battle, showed the talent of commander and diplomat, having made peace with the most powerful enemy - the Golden Horde - and deflected the attacks of Swedes and Germans. The materials available in the Presidential Library collections cover the most widely two major battles of the Grand Duke – the Battle of the Neva in 1240 and the Battle of the Ice in 1242. One of the episodes of the Battle of the Neva is described in the book by Nicholas Voskresensky, "Holy noble born Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky: to commemorate the tsar-peacemaker": "Like lightning he rushed with his retinue of brave Novgorod and Ladoga residents toward the Swedes. The suddenness and speed of the impact instantly led them into confusion. Like a whirlwind, the young prince swept ahead of all, in the middle of the enemies, and saw his terrible enemy ... With extraordinary courage he rushed to Birger and "put his stamp on the enemy’s face with a sharp spear"... The enemies irretrievably lost the battle. The Swedes, broken at all points, fled."

The victory over the Swedes gave Alexander the nickname Nevsky. His fame blazed not only throughout the Russian land, but also far beyond its borders. The publication of Vladimir Picheta, "Great Russian commanders; Alexander Nevsky" refers to the importance of this battle, "The attempt of Swedish feudal lords to conquer the north-west part of the Russian land ended with the complete collapse. The battle with the Swedes on the Neva River - it's a brilliant victory of the Russian people over insidious and powerful enemy, which several times outnumbered the Novgorod people. It is a bright page in the history of struggle of the Russian people for their national and political independence."

Grand Duke dies in the full flowering of his life: he did not even reached the age of 45, November 14, 1263. The description of this is available in the book, "The Holy noble born Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky and the Holy Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra: to commemorate the bicentenary of the monastery, 1713-1913": "Death caught him on his way back from his third trip to the horde. Divine service was celebrated in the church of the Cathedral in Vladimir. Metropolitan Kirill, along with his congregation, offered up fervent prayers to God for the safe return of the Grand Duke. Fixing his eyes to heaven, as if to the very throne of the Almighty, the saint was suddenly struck by an extraordinary vision: the Holy Prince appeared before him as a living, illuminated by an unearthly glow. Quietly, as if on the wings of angels, he was rising from earth to heaven. The saint understood that the valiant defender of the fatherland is gone and the tears fell from his senile eyes."

After the death, Alexander Nevsky became the patron saint of his homeland. The church canonized him. The sovereign Northern capital has the rare good fortune to keep the relics of the Holy Prince.

A monastery in St. Petersburg was named In honor of Alexander Nevsky (in 1797 it received the status of Lavra).