July 19, 2019

Saint Roman Olegovich, Prince of Ryazan (+ 1270)

St. Roman of Ryazan (Feast Day - July 19)

The Holy Prince Roman Olegovich of Ryazan was born in 1237. According to the princely custom, his parents gave him the Slavic name Yaroslav, and at his baptism they named him Roman. He was from a line of princes, who during the time of the Tatar (Mongol) Yoke won glory as defenders of the Christian faith and of their Fatherland. Both his grandfathers perished for the Fatherland in the struggle with Batu.

In 1252, his father, Oleg Ingvarevich Krasny, returned to his homeland after fourteen years of captivity, and in 1258, feeling the approach of his demise, Prince Oleg was tonsured a monk with the name of Kosmas. He handed over the throne to his son Roman and died peacefully.

Raised to love the holy faith (the prince lived in tears and prayers) and his homeland, the prince with all his strength concerned himself about his devastated and oppressed subjects. He defended them from the coercion and plundering of the Khan’s “baskaki” (“tax-collectors”). The “baskaki” hated the Saint and they slandered him before the Tatar Khan Mengu-Timur.

Roman Olegovich was summoned to the Horde, where Khan Mengu-Timur declared that he had to choose one of two things: either a martyr’s death or the Tatar Islamic faith. The noble prince said that a Christian cannot change from the true faith to a false one. For his firmness in the confession of faith he was subjected to cruel torments: they cut out his tongue, gouged out his eyes, cut off his ears and lips, chopped off his hands and feet, tore off the skin from his head and, after beheading him, they impaled him upon a spear. This occurred in the year 1270.

The veneration of the royal martyr began immediately with his death. The chronicle says about the Saint: “By your suffering, you have gained the Kingdom of Heaven, and a crown from the hand of the Lord, together with your kinsman Michael Vsevolodovich, co-sufferers with Christ for the Orthodox Christian faith.” The holy relics of the martyr Roman were secretly transferred to Ryazan and buried there with reverence. The place of burial remains unknown.

In the time of the terrible invasion of the French on Russia, the Russians won their first victory over them at Klyastitsa on the day of the Saint's memory - July 19, 1812. In memory of this event, an icon of Saint Roman was painted in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Since 1854, there have been church processions and Moliebens at Ryazan on the feast day of Saint Roman. A church was consecrated in honor of the holy Prince Roman at Ryazan in 1861.