Battle on the Neva

OF THE BATTLE AND VICTORY ON THE NEVA THANKS TO THE APPARITION OF THE HOLY MARTYRS BORIS AND GLEB AND THE AID OF GOD'S ANGELS; AND OF THE SIX MEN OF VALOR. And then there came certain men from Western lands, those who according to the writings of Mefodii of Patara called themselves servants of God. And there came with them a noble man, Andriash by name, to see the wisdom and valor and the wondrous stature of the blessed Aleksandr Iaroslavich, grandson of Vsevolod, great-grandson of Iurii Dolgorukii, great-great-grandson of Vladimir Monomakh; being descended from Vsevolod, Iaroslav, and from Vladimir the Great. And like the Queen of the South in ancient days, who came to see Solomon and be convinced of his wisdom, so this Andriash, as he saw the saintly and great Prince Aleksandr, marveled much at the beauty of his face, and at his miraculous height. And when, moreover, he perceived his wisdom and his steadfast judgement he knew not what to call him, and stood amazed.

And when he left him and returned home, he spoke of him with wonder: "I have journeyed," he said, "in many countries and among many peoples, and nowhere did I see a king among kings, nor a prince among princes, who could vie with Grand Prince Aleksandr in beauty and courage."

On hearing these words of praise for the valor and wisdom of the blessed Aleksandr, the king of a country of Roman faith which lay in the north was filled with envy and hatred, and he waxed arrogant in his mind; when the right time came -- and he knew that Batu was then ravaging Russian lands on all sides -- the king, on his part, hoped to conquer all that remained of Russia. And in his pride he spoke thus: "I will go and seize Novgorod the Great and all other cities, and all the Slavs will I reduce to slavery. And I will overcome Grand Prince Aleksandr himself, and take him alive with my hands."

And he assembled many men, and his Masters and Bishops, and Swedes and Murmans, and Suomi and lam, and filled many ships with his troops. And he set out in great strength, breathing war; and crossed the sea. And he entered the Neva River, drunk with madness, wishing to seize Ladoga, and Novgorod the Great, and all Novgorodian lands as far as Valaam.

But God the Most Gracious, Merciful, and Man-loving, such being His will, did protect and defend His own against the evil intent of the aliens. In vain did the fools strive contrary to God's will:

for the report that Swedes were on their way to Ladoga came before their arrival. And they sent their envoys to Aleksandr Iaroslavich to say this: "Withstand me if you can; I have already come to you, and I will capture you, and you shall be my slave, and so shall your sons."

As Prince Aleksandr Iaroslavich heard these words, his soul was aflame. And he entered the Church of Hagia Sophia and knelt before the holy altar, and with tears in his eyes prayed to the Lord our God, and the Most Pure Mother of God, to grand him assistance. And then he said: "O Lord our God, Thou who hast commanded that none should seek his neighbor's possessions, judge between him and me, and forbid him to seek his neighbor's possessions."

And then he rose and went and bowed before Archbishop Spiridon, and received his blessing, and left the church. And he heartened his troops, saying: "Not in force does God reside, but in truth." And he mounted his charger, and went forth against the enemy. He had not even time to send tidings to his father, for the adversaries were at hand. Even many of the Novgorodians had not time to join him because of the urgency of the march. And he approached the enemy force on Sunday, 16 July, the feast day of the 630 holy fathers of the Council of Chalcedon, and of the holy martyrs Cyricus and Iulitta, and of Grand Prince St Vladimir who took the baptismal name Vasilii, and who baptized the whole land of Rus.

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