The Holy Maria Alanskaia*
It was the year of 1175, when the nobles of Vladimir** were celebrating the glorious wedding of young duke Vsevolod (the son of Yuri Dolgoruky), and Alanian princess Maria. A year later, 22 year old Vsevolod stepped up to the throne, becoming The Grate Duke of Vladimir. During his rule, Vladimir-Suzdal Russia got the highest prosperity. And during his life he felt great support coming from his wife – The Grand Duchess Maria Alanskaia. She was a very devoted and charitable person, taking care of poor people. The Duke, whom they called Vsevolod – The Big Nest and Duchess spent more than 30 years living together in love and harmony. They had 12 children.
Prior to her death in 1206 she became a nun taking on the name Marfa. As historian N.M.Karamzin said, “Prepared to die, she called her sons and implored them to live in love and reminded them the fact that intestine strife kills dukes and destroys the Homeland. She advised them to be sober–minded, religious and to respect the elders.”
The deep belief of Maria Alanskaia shined not only for her children, but also for her grandchildren and grand grandchildren. Her sons Yuri – the duke of Vladimir, Michael – the duke of Chernigov, and her daughter Agafia were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. Her grandchildren, well known in Russian history commander Alexander Nevsky, Feodora and great-grandson Daniel Moskovsky were also canonized. The descendants of Daniel became the Russian Tsars.
The Pozharsky dukes were the descendants of Ivan, the youngest son of Maria and Vsevolod. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the date when Maria died on April 1, every year.
* Alans, the ancestors of Ossetians occupied the territories from Danube to Northern Caucasus.
** One of the Russian princedoms before they united into one Russian State.