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Princess Olga: the Founding Mother of Russian Orthodox Christianity

This year marks the 1050th anniversary of Princess Olga's Embassy to Byzantium, where she was the first of the Rus baptised into Christianity. Belgorod State University held a conference on the Embassy, and the life of this remarkable woman

The event was hosted by the History and Philology Department of the Pedagogical Institute, under the guiding hand of Professor Nikolai Bolgov. The event drew interest from the local clergy, students, and teachers with an interest in ancient and religious history.

Olga is still a figure of interest for many people in Russia for historical and religious reasons. She was a strong military leader, ruling the Rus for some 20 years as regent for her son Sviatoslav from 945 AD. For the religious, she is known as Isapóstolos Olga, which means 'Equal to the Apostles', and elsewhere as Saint Helga.

Bogdan Arislanov gave a presentation on the Embassy to 'Tsargrad', the ancient Slavic name for Constantinople. The talk was accompanied by a video showing the city as it would have looked when Princess Olga visited in around 950 AD. Vyacheslav Likhosherstov then listed the main sources through which you can learn about Princess Olga, and what they say about the main events of her life. Maria Sapozhnikova then went through some of the many churches dedicated to Isapóstolos Olga, particularly the one at Stary Oskol, and spoke about Saint Helga's impact in western Catholicism. Brother Joasaph then gave a talk about the spiritual significance of the Princess' life, and why Olga is revered in the Russian Orthodox Church to this day.

Professor Bolgov then gave his report on the Embassy, before concluding with words of thanks for the efforts of the students and academics, and appreciation for the attendees.

 Translated by I P Turner, Centre for Foreign Language and Academic Writing

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