St. Boris and St. Gleb
These two brothers were born toward the end of the tenth century. They were sons of St. Vladimir of Kiev, the first Christian prince in Russia. Their father had had many wives before he became a Christian. Afterwards, he had lived as Jesus teaches us in the Gospel. Boris and Gleb were his sons by his Christian wife Anne. They were true Christians, too.
In an attempt to acquire more power when King Vladimir died, his oldest son planned to kill Boris and Gleb. Boris was warned as he was coming back with his soldiers from a battle against some wandering tribes. His men at once prepared to defend Boris from his older brother, but he would not permit it. "It is better for me to die alone," he said, "than to be the occasion of death to many." So he sent them away and sat down to wait. During the night, he thought about the martyrs who had been put to death by their own close relatives. He thought of how empty life becomes if we make the things of earth too important. What really counts, he thought, is good deeds, true love and true religion. When in the morning, his brother's hired murderers arrived and began striking him with spears, Boris did nothing but call down peace on them.
St. Gleb was killed soon after. The wicked older brother invited him to come to his palace for a friendly visit. As he was sailing down the river, Gleb's boat was boarded by fierce, armed men. He was terrified at first and begged them not to kill him. Yet he would not defend himself by fighting, not even when he saw that they were determined to kill him. Instead, St. Gleb quietly prepared himself to die. "I am being killed," he said, "and for what I do not know. But you know, Lord. And I know you said that for your name's sake brother would bring death to brother." Only a few years after their deaths, the people of Russia began going on pilgrimages to the tomb of the two brothers. Miracles took place. St. Boris and St. Gleb are called martyrs because they accepted death as Christ did, without defending themselves. They died in 1015. Pope Benedict XIII proclaimed them saints in 1724.
Today we can pray that we be patient and forgiving to those who hurt us.