Icon of St. Alexander Nevsky – S240


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St. Alexander Lavra Trinity Cathedral, Russia


Egg Tempera


St. Alexander was born in Pereslavl-Zalessky in northern Russia, the son of Yaroslav Vsevolodovodich, Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal.  He was called at 16 to rule in Novgorod as prince and military chief to defend them against attacks by the threatening  Swedish, German, and Lithuanian invaders.  With a small army, St. Alexander defeated the Swedes in battle at the Neva River when he was just 19.  It is from this victory that he was given the name Nevsky.   Soon after, the Livonian Teutonic knights fought and conquered Pskov, but Alexander gathered an army and decisively defeated them in a.d. 1242.

Since the threat from the Europeans was the greatest, St. Alexander kept them at bay while placating the Golden Horde with tribute for them to stay at a distance and without grievous military invasion.  For this he was later named Prince of Vladimir and continued to rule in strength.  In a.d. 1262, St. Alexander went to the Volgan capital of the Golden Horde at Sarai to mitigate the tribute and avoid an impending general insurrection, which would have caused devastation in Russia.  He died as a monk in a.d. 1263.