St. Prince Gleb Andreevich (the 12th century) was the son of Andrei Bogolyubsky, the Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal principality and a Vladimir wonderworker. The Prince was buried at the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir along with two other sons of Andrei Bogolyubski. The brothers had been originally buried separately, but not later than in the 17th century their bodies were re-buried in one tomb. According to mid-17th century sources, the relics of one of the brothers remained undamaged and enjoy special veneration.
12th century chronicles mention three sons of Prince Andrei Bogolyubski – Izyaslav, Mstislav and Georgy (Yuri) but say nothing about Gleb. The earliest known evidence of him is found in the genealogy of princes in the Novgorodsko-Sofiysky Svod (1430s), the Early Redaction of the Sofia First Chronicle. The chronicle also reports about three sons of Andrei Bogoluybsky but his junior son is named Gleb rather than George. This led historian E.E.Golubinsky to suggest that Gleb was a princely name of George, the junior son of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky.
According to chronicles, Andrei Bogoluybsky appointed his son Georgy Prince of Veliky Novgorod. After Andrei Bogoluybsky’s tragic death in 1174, Prince Georgy was rejected by the Novgorodians and came back to Vladimir but was expelled from Northwestern Russia by his father’s brother Prince Vsevolod Yuryevich Bolshoe Gnezdo (the Big Nest) who became the Prince of Vladimir in 1176 after the death of his senior brother Mikhail Yuryevich. Russian chronicles tell nothing about his further fate. But Byzantine and Georgian sources state that Georgy Andreevich first headed for the Polovtsy and later for Georgia where he married Queen Tamar of Georgia in 1185. Nothing is known about the date of his death.
Yet the Life of the holy righteous Prince Gleb Andreevich written after the translation of his relics on November 30, 1702 (O.S.) to the St. George side-chapel at the Assumption Cathedral states that it is the uknown son of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky who is buried in the cathedral. He was famous for his pious life and died during his father’s lifetime at the age of twenty years. The Life also reports about the miracles worked by incorruptable relics of the righteous prince.
In Russian art the holy righteous Prince Gleb Andreeich is commonly depicted as a young man dressed in princely clothes. The earliest surviving image of the prince is a 1652–1666 fresco on the western facet of the northwestern pillar of the Archangel Cathedral at the Moscow Kremlin. The images of Prince Gleb Andreevich are encountered both individually and collectively, among saint princes and wonderworkers of Vladimir, such as on the 1814 icon of Princes of Vladimir by Ivan Roslyakov from the State Russian Museum collections.
The holy righteous Prince Gleb Andreevich in commemorated on July 3 (June 20, O.S.) and on July 6 (June 23, O.S.).
Zhanna G. Belik,
Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.
Olga E. Savchenko,
research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.
2. Самойлова Т. Е. Святые русские князья в росписи Архангельского собора // Архангельский собор Московского Кремля. М., 2002.
3. Самойлова Т. Е. Княжеские портреты в росписи Архангельского собора Московского Кремля: Иконографическая программа XVI века. М., 2004. С. 189, 193.
4. Из коллекций академика Н. П. Лихачёва: Каталог выставки / ГРМ. СПб., 1993. С. 189–190. Кат. № 423.
5. Иконы Владимира и Суздаля. М., 2006.