Saints of the Day – Alexander Nevsky

steel engraving of Saint Alexander Nevsky; 1880 by Alfred Rambaud; from 'A Popular History of Russia'; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born at Pereaslavl, 1219; died at Vladimir, 1263; canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547.

Grandprince Alexander of Novgorod, Vladimir and Kiev, saved Russia by his policy of conciliation towards the invading Tartars and firm resistance to enemies on the west. His name of Nevsky came from his victory in 1240 over the Swedes on the River Neva; he defeated the Teutonic Knights at Lake Peipus in 1242, and drove out the Lithuanians soon after. But he was no mere ambitious conqueror: “God is not on the side of force,” he said, “but of truth and justice.” He had several times to make long journeys to the Tartar overlords to intercede for his people, and earned much obloquy thereby from those who disapproved of his policy. He bore the unjust accusations patiently, and the religious integrity of his life, together with his great services to his people, caused him to be venerated as a saint: “Go glorified his righteous servant,” it is said, “because he labored greatly for the land of Russia and for the true Christian religion.” In 1938, Alexander Nevsky was made the subject of a film by Eisentein, with music by Prokofiev (Attwater).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 August 2020. Web. 10 May 2021. <>