Grandson of Saint Olga. Christianity had made some progress in Kiev, but Vladimir remained pagan, had seven wives, established temples, and participated in idolatrous rites, possibly involving human sacrifice. Around 987, Byzantine Emperor Basil II (976-1025) sought military aid from Vladimir. The two reached a pact for aid that involved Basil's sister Anne in marriage, and Vladimir becoming a Christian. He was baptized and then ordered the Christian conversion of Kiev and Novgorod.
Idols were thrown into the Dnieper River, and the new Rus Christians adopted the Byzantine rite in the Old Church Slavonic language. Legend says Vladimir chose the Byzantine rite over the liturgies of German Christendom, Judaism, and Islam because of its transcendent beauty. Vladimir expanded education, judicial institutions, and aid to the poor. He and Anne had the martyr sons Saint Boris and Saint Gleb. Following the death of Anne in 1011, another marriage affiliated him with the German Holy Roman emperors.
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