According to official history, he was killed on the orders of his brother Svyatopolk, just as Prince Boris of Rostov was killed shortly before. Subsequently, he was canonized together with his brother Boris by the Russian Orthodox Church as passion-bearers – Saints Boris and Gleb.wikipedia
One of the first monuments of ancient Russian literature is devoted to the history of Boris and Gleb: the “Tale” by Jacob Chernorizets and the “Reading” by Nestor the Chronicler. Many temples and monasteries were built in honor of the brothers.
The beginning of the civil strife
Having received news of the deaths of Boris and Gleb, Svyatoslav Drevlyansky left his capital and tried to flee to the Carpathians, but was overtaken by the troops of Svyatopolk sent after him and died in battle.
The death of Gleb Vladimirovich
The official version is the murder of Gleb on the orders of Svyatopolk
After the murder of Boris, Svyatopolk called Gleb to Kyiv. He was afraid that Boris’ brother could become an avenger. The new Kyiv prince decided to lure his brother:
«Come without delay. Father is calling you, he is seriously ill». – Svyatopolk the Cursed
With a small retinue, Prince Gleb went to Kyiv. During one of the stops, not far from Smolensk on the Smyadyn River, he received a message from his fourth brother, Yaroslav:
«Don’t go brother! Your father died, and your brother was killed by Svyatopolk». – Yaroslav the Wise
As the life says, when the young prince prayed with tears for his father and brother, those sent to him by Svyatopolk appeared and showed a clear intention to kill him. The youths accompanying him became despondent, becouse they were forbidden to use weapons even in defense. Goryaser, who was at the head of those sent by Svyatopolk, ordered the prince to be slaughtered by his own cook.
The murder of Gleb took place on September 5, 1015. Gleb’s body was buried by the killers “in an empty place, on a gap between two decks” (that is, in a simple coffin consisting of two hollowed-out logs).
In 1019, when Yaroslav occupied Kyiv, on his orders, the body of Gleb was found, brought to Vyshgorod and buried with the body of Boris at the church of St. Basil.
Hallmarks on the Hagiographic Icon, which illustrated
“Life in the Icon of the Holy Princes Boris and Gleb”
Alternative version – from Scandinavian sagas
In 1834, Professor of St. Petersburg University, Osip Senkovsky, translated into Russian the “Saga of Eymund” (“Eymund’s strand”). He discovered there that the Varangian Eimund, along with his retinue, was hired by Yaroslav the Wise. The saga tells how King Yarisleif (Yaroslav) fights with King Burisleif. In the course of the narration of the saga, Burisleif is killed by the Vikings on the orders of Yarisleif. Some researchers suggest under the name “Burisleif” Boris, others – the Polish king Boleslav, whom the saga confuses with his ally Svyatopolk.
Then, on the basis of the Eymund saga, some researchers supported the hypothesis that Boris was killed by the Varangians sent by Yaroslav the Wise in 1017. This is indirectly confirmed by the fact that Yaroslav, Bryachislav and Mstislav refused to recognize Svyatopolk as the legitimate prince in Kyiv. Only two brothers – Boris and Gleb – declared their allegiance to the new Kyiv prince and pledged to “honor him as their father,” and it would be very strange for Svyatopolk to kill his allies.
Whether Gleb, like Boris, could have been killed, not on the orders of Svyatopolk, but on the orders of Yaroslav the Wise, is unknown. Until now, this hypothesis has both its supporters and opponents.wikipedia
Memory and veneration
Boris, under the name Roman Russian, is included in the list of saints of the Roman Catholic Church.
Truly you are Caesars to Caesars and princes to princes, for with your help and protection our princes defeat all opponents and are proud of your help. You are our weapons, the lands of Russian protection and support, double-edged swords, with them we overthrow the insolence of the filthy and trample the devilish machinations on earth. – The Legend of Boris and Gleb
“The Tale of Boris and Gleb”
The legend was written in the middle of the XI century in the last years of the reign of Yaroslav the Wise. Later, the Tale was supplemented by a description of the miracles of the saints (“The Tale of Miracles”), created in 1089-1115 by successively three authors. In this form, the text is contained in the oldest known list in the Assumption collection of the late XII – early XIII centuries.
In total, the “Legend of Boris and Gleb” has been preserved in more than 170 lists. Based on the research of Metropolitan Macarius and M. P. Pogodin, the author of the Tale is considered to be Jacob Chernorizets.wikipedia
1. Boris and Gleb are honored by Jesus Christ with crowns of martyrdom
2. Boris goes to the Pechenegs
“Reading about Boris and Gleb”
“Reading” is written in the hagiographic genre, the author describes facts unknown from the annals from Boris’s youth (the dream of martyrdom under the influence of reading the lives of the saints, evasion of marriage and marriage only at the insistence of his father: “not lust for the sake of bodily”, but “law for the sake of the Tsar’s and the obedience of the father”).wikipedia