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February 3, 2020

Holy Right-Believing Prince Roman of Uglich (+ 1285)

St. Roman of Uglich (Feast Day - February 3)

The Holy Right-Believing Prince Roman of Uglich, son of Prince Vladimir and Princess Photina of Uglich, and nephew of Saint Basil (Basilko) of Rostov (Mar. 4), was born on October 1, 1235. Upon the death of his father in 1248 and his older brother Andrew in 1261, Saint Roman, at the age of twenty-six, took upon himself the governance of Uglich and became a father to his subjects.

He built hospitals and hospice houses in Uglich and in monasteries, moreover, the hospitals were kept at his expense, and hospice houses were at the expense of the monasteries. In the principality he built fifteen more churches. Saint Roman was present every day at the divine services, and he often conversed with pious monks. He was seen as a wise ruler who loved to talk with smart and experienced people, but also as an ascetic, full of pious feelings, whose fiery prayers saved Uglich from the ruin of the Mongol Tatars. The rumor about the gentle, wise and merciful prince attracted people from other principalities to Uglich, as a result of which the city expanded and decorated.

Roman had been married to Alexandra, who is of unknown origin, but she died before him and left him childless. After the death of his wife in 1280, he devoted himself entirely to ascetic exploits of fasting, prayer and works of righteousness. He built the city Romanov (now Tutaev) on the high bank of the Volga. Prince Roman, foreseeing his death, called the boyars and clergy to the palace and bequeathed to them to live in peace, love and harmony. The holy prince died peacefully on February 3, 1285 and was buried in the Church of the Transfiguration in Uglich.

In 1486, the relics of Saint Roman were found to be incorrupt and were transferred into the new Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration. In the year 1595 (or 1605) with the blessing of Patriarch Job, as a result of the fame which came about through miracles, the relics were again examined by Metropolitan (later Patriarch) Hermogenes (Feb. 17), and Saint Roman was numbered among the saints.

Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Uglich

In 1609, the holy relics of the Saint were burned along with the church during an invasion by the Poles. His biography and records of his early miracles also were destroyed. In the beginning of the twentieth century some remains of Prince Roman were discovered in the aisle of the cathedral along with some miracles that took place between March 2 and 12, 1605.