July 15, 2019 Length: 1:46
Though his grandmother, Queen Olga, had been a Christian, his father Svyatoslav reverted to paganism, and Prince Vladimir spent the early part of his life believing and living the beliefs of the pagan Russian people. But he sought for something more, and sent emissaries to study the faiths of the Jews, the Muslims, the Western Christians and the Orthodox. After attending services in Agia Sophia in Constantinople, they told him 'We knew not if we were on earth or in heaven,' and Prince Vladimir determined to embrace the Christian faith. He was baptised in Cherson in 988, receiving the name Basil. "He came forth from the font not only healed of a blindness lately afflicting him, but also from being passionate and warlike, he became meek, peaceable, and exceedingly godly." (Great Horologion). He married Princess Anna, sister of the Emperor, and returned home with a retinue of priests from Constantinople. He immediately set about building a Christian nation: casting down the idols, baptizing the people, and establishing a Christian government. His legislation for his recently barbarian nation was modeled on the Gospel, and in its conformity to Christ's commandments exceeded even the other Christian nations of the time. He reposed in peace in 1015, leaving behind a kingdom that grew to be the largest Orthodox nation in the world.