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May 22, 2018

Holy Martyr John Vladimir, King of Serbia (+ 1015)


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

He came of a princely family from Zahumlje. His grandfather was named Hvalimir and his father Petrislav. He was a wise ruler; merciful, meek, chaste and courageous. He was fervent in prayer and a devoted builder and benefactor of churches. But he had major battles to fight, both inside and outside his realm; internally with heretics and Bogomils, and externally with invaders, with King Samuel and the Emperor Basil.

Samuel captured him by guile and threw him into prison. While he was in prison, an angel of God appeared to him and foretold that he would soon be released from prison, but that he would die a martyr's death. Getting to know Vladimir better, Samuel became attached to him and gave him his daughter Kosara in marriage. When Samuel died, his son Radomir became king, but his twin brother Radislav killed him and then summoned John Vladimir on some pretext and beheaded him as well, in 1015.

The relics of this holy martyr-king are preserved incorrupt in his monastery near Elbasan, and numerous wonders have been worked over them through the ages and to this day. In 1925, a church was built to this royal martyr near the Monastery of Saint Naum, which famous monastery he founded.