The blessed Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky (died in 1174) was the son of the Grand Prince Yuri Vladimirovich Dolgoriky and the daughter of Kipchak khan Aepa, the grandson of Prince Vladimir Vsevolodovich Monomakh, prince of Vladimir-Suzdal (1155 – 1174).
Andrei Bogoluibsky tried to unite Rus’ lands after Vladimir Monomakh’s death. Like Vladimir Monomakh, he sought to rule isolated Russian principalities through his sons and relatives and unite lands under his authority. Andrei Bogoluybsky moved the political center from Kiev to the Northeastern lands where he strengthened the powerful Vladimir-Suzdal principality. Against his father’s will, he occupied the Vladimir-Suzdal throne by expelling his second wife with the sons and nephews. In his struggle to abolish the veche traditions of the old towns of Rostov and Suzdal, Andrei Bogoluybsky moved the capital city of his principality to Vladimir-upon-Klyazma. He struggled for creation in his lands of a metropolis independent on Kiev.
Following the Byzantine traditions, Andrei Bogolyubsky established the veneration cult of the Theotokos as patroness of princely power and the Vladimir-Suzdal lands. While leaving Vyshgorod, the appanage granted to him by his father Yuri Dolgoruki, he took with him all the relics – the sword of the holy martyr Prince Boris and the Mother of God icon from Constantinople, also known as the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God. The narrative On miracles by the Most Holy Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God reports that Andrei Bogolyubsky, in search of the venerated Patroness, visited the Vyshgorod Covent, in which he begged the Theotokos to visit the “newly illuminated people.” The icon was housed in the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir where it became famous for many miracles. Andrei Bogolyubsky set the veneration of the Mother of God icon in the manner the Byzantine emperors had honored the Hodegetria icon of the Mother of God. He also built several churches in the name of the Holy Virgin and in 1164 introduced the feast of the Intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God. In his policy, Andrei Bogolyubsky likened himself to the Byzantine emperors. For example, in the Tale of the Victory of Volga Bulgars in 1164 and on the First of August Festival, ascribed to Prince Andrei Bogoluibsky himself, we read that in the summer of 1164 Andrei Bogoluybsky and his druzhina embarked on a crusade against the Bulgars, whereas the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenus marched off against the Saracenes. Prince Andrew and his warriors had a vision of “a fiery ray coming from the icon of Our Savior and the Lord… And on the same day Manuel had the same vision” on 1 August. Both armies, by the grace of God, won the campaign. To commemorate this double event, Andrei set the 1st of August (O.S.) as the day of the veneration of the All-Gracious Savior and the Most Holy Mother of God.
Princely authority and conflict with the boyars was the cause of a conspiracy against Andrei Bogolyubsky, as a result of which he was killed in his palace in the village of Bogolyubovo.
The earliest accounts of the veneration of Andrei Bogolyubsky date back to the 13th century. Ivan the Terrible considered Andrei Bogolyubsky the father of autocracy.
In Russian medieval art Andrei Bogolyubsky is commonly featured as a middle-aged man with dark hair and a short beard, wearing princely attire. The earliest images of Prince Andrei survived on the miniatures of the late 15th century Radziwill Chronicle. In iconography, the Andrei Bogolyubsky images are encountered in border scenes illustrating the narrative On miracles by the Most Holy Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, such as the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God from the Moscow Kremlin Museum. Facial images of the prince have been known since late 12th century, such as an icon by O.S.Chirikov (late 19th – early 20th century), now located in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky is commemorated on July 6 (June 23, O.S.) and July 17 (July 4, O.S.).
Zhanna G. Belik,
Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.
Olga E. Savchenko,
research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.
2. Лаврентьевская летопись // ПСРЛ. Т. 1. Стб. 383.
3. Сказание «О чюдесех пречистыя Богородица Володимирьскои иконы». Подготовка текста, перевод и комментарии В.П. Гребенюка // Библиотека литературы Древней Руси. Том 4. Электронная библиотека Института русской литературы (Пушкинский Дом) РАН.
4. Ключевский В.О. Сказание о чудесах Владимирской иконы Божьей Матери. СПб., 1878. С. 21–28 (изд. ОЛДП, № 30).
6. Повесть об убиении Андрея Боголюбского. Подготовка текста, перевод и комментарии В.В. Колесова. // Библиотека литературы Древней Руси. Том 4. Электронная библиотека Института русской литературы (Пушкинский Дом) РАН.
8. Вахрина В.И., Щенникова Л.А. Владимирская икона Божией Матери // Православная энциклопедия. Том IX. М., 2005. С. 8–38.
9. Преображенский А.С. Боголюбская икона Божией Матери // Православная энциклопедия. Том V. М., 2002. С. 459–463.
10. Щенникова Л.А. Царьградская святыня «Богоматерь Одигитрия» и ее почитание в Московской Руси. // Древнерусское искусство. Византия и Древняя Русь. К 100-летию А.Н. Грабара. СПб., 1999. С. 329–344.