Constantine of Murom

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Konstantin as a young man behind his parents 1073

Constantine of Murom (Russian: Святой Блаженный Князь Константин) (? - 1129) was a direct descendant of Vladimir I of Kiev and the son of Prince Svyatoslav of Chernigov.

Life[edit]

At Konstantin's request, his father assigned him to rule the city of Murom, which at the time was inhabited by pagans, that he might spread Christianity in that region. According to the traditional account of his life, Constantine first sent his son Michael to Murom as his emissary, but the inhabitants killed him outright, so he was obliged to arrive personally in force at which point populace accepted him. However, he made no headway in converting them to Christianity and at one point they became so angry that a mob made their way to his house intending to storm the place and kill him. According to legend, when he appeared before them bearing what is now known as the Murom-Ryazan icon of the Theotokos, they quieted down and bowed reverently before the holy image.[1] His son Theodore, with his support, continued the missionary work in the surrounding countryside.

He is commemorated in the Russian Orthodox Church on May 21.[2]

The richly decorated Cathedral of the Annunciation was reportedly founded by Prince Konstantinin in 1205. It became a monastery under Ivan the Terrible and was ruined by the Poles during the Time of Troubles. In 1664 it was rebuilt by wealthy merchant and arts patron Tarasy Tsvetnov. The monastery features the relics of Konstantin and his sons Mikhail and Fyodor. According to a legend recorded by local aristocrat and amateur historian Alexander Yepanchin, each midnight the monastery's gates disappear, and Konstantin, Mikhail and Fyodor, clad in regal attire, ride out in a gilded carriage and head to the Cathedral of the Nativity of Mary, where they are met by Pyotr and Fevronia. After praying there, they guard and patrol the city.[3]

Mother of God, "The Star Most Bright"[edit]

Theotokos the Most Bright Star

The icon shows a full-length representation of the Mother of God with a star sending forth rays of light in the background. The origin of its name is connected with the poetic hymns in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos. Standing on Her right hand is the Infant Jesus. At Her feet are Murom saints: Sts Konstantin, Mikhail and Feodor arrayed in princely robes and Sts Petr, Fevronia and Uliania clad in monastic habits. In the bottom part of the icon is the following inscription: 'This Marvelous Image Is the Star Most Bright of the Most Holy Lady Mother of God Queen of Heaven."[4]

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