St. Igor II Olgovich

Originally posted 6/5/2009.

1. St. Igor II Olgovich (Игорь II Олегович) was the son of Oleg Svyatoslavich of Chernigov. In 1146 he succeeded his brother, Vsevolod II of Kiev, as Prince of Chernigov and Grand Prince of Kiev. He was of medium height, with long hair, dark skin, and a short beard. He had a serious demeanor.

2. He was unpopular and the chroniclers libelously accused him of scheming, greed, violence, and dishonesty. Less than two weeks after his accession to the throne, his cousin Iziaslav Msistislavich broke his promise and violently deposed him. The minions of Iziaslav apprehended the rightful ruler in the marshes when an infirmity in his legs prevented his escape. The usurper and traitor Iziaslav had St. Igor thrown into a pit, where the courageous saint suffered until autumn of the same year. God’s elect, St. Igor, became extremely sick and Iziaslav freed him from the pit when he asked to become a monk. People had to carry the saint from the pit and he almost died.

3. St. Igor received the monastic tonsure and the new name Ignatius in the Theodore Monastery of Kiev. On 9/19/1147, a mob of rebels, mistakenly believing that the monk desired to regain the throne from Iziaslav, extricated him from the monastery as he prayed before his wonderworking icon of the Theotókos. Vladimir, the brother of Iziaslav, attempted to save St. Igor, but the mob tore down the balcony on which the saint sought refuge, and he died a martyr. The mob dragged the holy one’s body through the streets behind a cart and displayed it at the market, until the just Vladimir saved it from being subjected to further monstrosities.

4. God severely punished the citizens of Kiev. On several occasions, candles around the grave of the saint lit miraculously. A pillar of fire appeared over the church in which he was buried, and he worked many miracles after death. His holy relics were moved from Kiev to the Church of the Transfiguration in Chernigov on 6/5/1150, and Russians celebrate the memory of the right-believing Prince Igor every June 5.

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