Aleksandr Nevsky — Holy warrior

Автор: Maks Ноя 20, 2020

In the year 1240 an army of Swedes entered Rus , and set up camp near the River Neva. Pelgusy, chief elder of the invaded land, sent to his allies in Novgorod an urgent message informing them of the threat and requesting aid.

In Novgorod Archbishop Spiridon gave his blessing to twenty-year-old Prince Alexander and sent him to drive the Swedes out of Rus. Appealing to his men with the now famous call to arms, “God be not with the mighty but with the just,” he advanced impetuously to the Neva.

Legend has it that at dawn on 15 July Pelgusy had a vision. In it he saw, radiant yet cloaked in mist, a longboat with oarsmen and two heroic vis-ages, which he recognized as the faces of saints Boris and Gleb. Pelgusy felt renewed confidence for such a vision augured well.

That very day the Swedes and the forces of Prince Alexander attacked one another. “There ensued a great battle…the prince himself slaying a host of the enemy.” The Swedes were defeated. Since Alexander had shown such military prowess in the Battle on the Neva, that appellation was added to his name and as Prince Alexander Nevsky he entered the annals of history; beatified after death, he became a saint as well. For most of the details of the battle on the Neva historians are indebted to a manuscript called The Life of St. Alexander Nevsky. So startlingly realistic are the descriptions of the hand-to-hand combat that it is widely believed they could only have been written by somebody who had himself participated in the struggle.

Less than two years later, on 5 April 1242, Alexander Nevsky fought his second famous battle. Learning that crusading German knights of the Order of Livonia had trespassed on Russian soil and seized the city of Pskov, he engaged them in battle on frozen Lake Chudskoye. The Battle on the Ice, as it came to be known historically, lasted many hours. Again the foe was vanquished. The victorious Prince Alexander Nevsky wrested an oath from the German knights that they withdraw themselves forever hence from the lands of Russia.

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