The Life of Our Holy Father and Right-believing Prince Daniel Alexandrovich of Moscow. Whose memoiy is celebrated March 4th.
The Right-believing Prince Daniel was the fourth son of the ever-memorable Great Prince Saint Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky. He was the last among his brothers, as was also his great-grandfather Great Prince Vsevolod Yurevich. Thus, Princes Daniel and Vsevolod were likened by the Lord unto the ancient king, ancestor of God, and Prophet, David, who also was the youngest of his brothers.
This blessed Prince Daniel was left without parents two years from birth, but from his childhood the Lord preserved him. The Lord chose him, prospered and established him. No one went to war against him, but the God-preserved dominion of the pre-eminent city of Moscow was obtained by him as an inheritance. God loved and glorified Prince Daniel and his righteous posterity and permitted them to reign for centuries. If at that time the Moscow dominion was not so extensive as afterwards, nevertheless, then the blessed and Great Prince Daniel was invincible. When among the brethren of Prince Daniel and their relatives there occurred civil strife near his dominions, he, clever and courageous, always sought to appear as a zealot of humble-mindedness. Valiantly arming himself against those at enmity with him, he went out against them with his hosts, but he appeased the rancor without the shedding of blood.
Inevitably being dragged into the civil strife of the Russian princes, Prince Daniel Alexandrovich showed himself to be a lover of peace. In the year 1282 he united the troops of Moscow with the forces of his brother Vladimir, against another brother – Demetrius. However, during the first encounter in the city of Dmitrov, the contenders made peace, and bloodshed was avoided. In the year 1292 when Prince Andrew brought to Russia a horde of Tatars, seeking the Great Prince’s throne and plundering cities, the blessed Prince Daniel peaceably allowed the Tatars into his city, not being in a strong enough condition to defend it. When Andrew became Great Prince of Vladimir, in the year 1296, clashes broke out among the Russian princes. However, Andrew recognized then the uprightness of the blessed Prince Daniel, and at a meeting in Vladimir, Bishops Svmeon of Vladimir and Ishmael of Sarai persuaded the princes to put an end to the quarrel with peace. When shortly thereupon Andrew wanted to seize the city of Pereyaslavl-Zalesski with his troops, St. Daniel, Prince of Moscow, together with Prince Michael of Tver, met Andrew with a strong army. After negotiations, once more peace was concluded. In the year 1301 there was a meeting of princes in Dmitrov. At this gathering blessed Daniel ended all quarrels in peace with Andrew and the other princes.
Thus did the blessed Prince Daniel spend the time of his reign peacefully. The right hand of God protected him from all war and sedition. Through all the days of his life, no one wrought damage to his dominion, and he himself did not tiy to acquire another's territory by force, thanking God for that lot granted to him as a blessed inheritance – the dominion of the most glorious city of Moscow.
His elder brethren reigned then in the territories obtained by each one as an inheritance – Great Prince Demetrius in Pereyaslavl-on-the-Lake, with whom lived the Metropolitan of All-Russia, the Most Reverend Cyril, where he also reposed. His body was translated to the city of Kiev, which was then the see of the All-Russian Metropolia, and was placed in the Church of Holy Wisdom. Maxim, of Greek background, next occupied the metropolitanate. This Metropolitan Maxim, unable to bear the violence from the Tatars, removed himself forever from Kiev to Vladimir with all his clergy in the year 1300, on the 18th day of the month of April, the bishop of Vladimir, Symeon, being entrusted with the episcopate of Rostov. When Metropolitan Maxim arrived in Vladimir, he went to rest in his cell from the difficult and long journey. And lo, while asleep, he saw a great and unusual light. In this light appeared the Most Pure Virgin Theotokos with the Eternal Infant in her arms and she said to the metropolitan, "My servant Maxim, you did well coming to this city.” Then giving to the metropolitan an omophorion, the Most Chaste One said, "Receive this omophorion and feed the rational sheep in my city.” The metropolitan accepted the omophorion and awoke.
In the cell there was no one, but the omophorion was in his hands. This miracle was glorified throughout the Russian land and in Palestine. The metropolitan ordered an icon to be painted of the vision as it appeared to him.
From the time of the blessed Prince Daniel, the honor and praise of the capital city of the Great Prince and the see of the primate began to move toward the God-beloved city of Moscow. Here the Lord wished to doubly glorify His holy name, consenting to strengthen both the see of the primate and the God-crowned kingdom.
In the year 1301 the right-believing Prince of Moscow, Daniel Alexandrovich, hearing that a multitude of Tatars was gathering in the city of Riazan, went there with an army in order to impede any seizure by the barbarians and in order not to allow them to destroy his fatherland. At the city of Pereyaslavl he vanquished the Tatar horde and taking prisoner the ally of the Tatars, Prince Constantine Romanovich of Riazan, he brought him to Moscow, but he did not treat him with cruelty. On the contrary, he treated him kindly and maintained him in honor.
When the brother of the Holy Prince Daniel, Demetrius, died, his other brother, Prince Andrew, departed for the Horde to obtain from the Tatar khan recognition of his right to the Great Principality. Then, in the year 1302 the nephew of Daniel, Prince Ivan Demetrievich of Pereyaslavl, died childless and he bequeathed his dominion, the principality of Pereyaslavl-Zalesski, to his younger uncle, this very blessed Prince Andrew of Vladimir, who considered himself as heir of Ivan and who had already established himself in Pereyaslavl among its boyars. The province of Pereyaslavl, together with Dmitrov, was one of the most important in the number of inhabitants as well as the strength of its main city. Pereyaslavl was enclosed with a deep trench with water, a high rampart, a double wall with twelve towers. This new possession put the Muscovite prince in the position of the strongest prince, and the son of the blessed Prince Daniel, George, thereupon became Grand Prince. Thus, by the will of God, the primacy of Russian royal sovereignty passed without struggle to the family of Prince Daniel. Being a zealot of humble-mindedness, remembering the word of the prophet, “Once hath God spoken; these two things have I heard, that dominion belongeth to God, and mercy is Thine, О Lord; for Thou wilt render to every man according to his works.” (Ps. 61: 1), and unassuming, he did not desire the supremacy of state. The holy Prince reflected about it with meekness, did not delight in love of power, but instead, he guarded himself with the fear of God, succeeded in brotherly love, and he turned away from thirst for glory. For this the grace of God was increased in him, his authority was enlarged, and he was no longer forced to change the place of his residence; to the city of Pereyaslavl he sent his viceroys, and the viceroys of his brother, Great Prince Andrew, fled from Pereyaslavl.
God-pleasingly reigning in the Moscow province, blessed Prince Daniel built a monastery beyond the Moscow River, which is called by the name of Danilov, created a church in the name of his patron saint, Holy Father Daniel the Stylite, and placed there an archimandrite. In this monastery also the same prince was found worthy of tonsure to monasticism. And thus, taking the schema, he departed to Christ in the year 1303, on the 4th day of the month March, in the 42nd year from his birth. Because of his humility he did not desire to be buried in the church but in the monastery where all the brethren were buried. Then the Pereyaslavlans took as prince the son of Daniel, Prince George, and did not allow him to attend the funeral of his father.
Within 27 years, in the year 1330, on the first of May, the son of blessed Prince Daniel Alexandrovich, Great Prince Ivan, called Kalita, with the blessing of Saint Theognostus, Metropolitan of All the Kussias, removed the Danilov Monastery with its archimandrite inside the city of Moscow, within his royal court. He placed here a church in the name of the glorious Transfiguration of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, built a new monastery, and gave over the old Danilov monastery' and all its holdings, even its cemetery and other monastery villages, to the archimandrite of the newly-created Monastery of the Holy Saviour, uniting in this way both monasteries under one authorin'. .After many years, due to the neglect of the archimandrites of the Holy Saviour Monastery, Danilov Monastery became so impoverished that traces of it were erased; only one church in the name of St. Daniel the Stylite remained.
The Monastery of the Holy Saviour existed inside the city of Moscow at the Royal Court until the time of the pious Great Prince Ivan III. He again transferred the monastery from the city of Moscow to a new place on the Moscow River, to the other side on the mountain, called Krutitsa, within sight of the place of the old Danilov Monastery. This newly-transferred monastery until this day is called the Novo-Spassky. In the city of Moscow the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord was turned into a cathedral with parish priests headed by an archpriest.
Once the Great Prince Ivan Vasilievich was traveling by the place of the old Danilov monastery, where the honorable relics of the blessed Prince Daniel reposed. Then the horse of one well-known youth in the royal army stumbled, and he was left alone on the path. And then, unexpectedly, an unknown man appeared to this youth, who, seeing the unknown person, became frightened. The one who appeared said to him, "Be not afraid of me, as I am a Christian, lord of this place; my name is Daniel of Moscow. By the will of God I have been put here in the place of Daniel. Go, youth, to the Great Prince Ivan and say to him: 'Well in all things dost thou comfort thyself. Why hast thou given me over to oblivion?’ But if he has forgotten me, my God has never forgotten me.”
Having said this, he became invisible. The youth immediately mounted his horse and quickly caught up to the Grand Prince. Seeing his weakened, frightened, thin face, the Great Prince said to him, "Where didst thou linger and of whom didst thou become afrightened? Why hast thou arrived here in such alarm?”
The youth related to him in detail all that which he had seen and heard. The Great Prince from that time ordered commemorative services to be sung and established the giving out of alms and commemorative meals for the departed souls of his relatives who had lived in piety.
Many years having gone by, the new Grand Prince Basil Ivanovich, was traveling one time in the company of a multitude of his attendants. Prince Ivan Michaelovich Shuisky, being among them, approached the church of Saint Daniel, where the relics of the blessed Prince Daniel Alexandrovich rested and upon which in ancient times a stone had been placed. Prince Shuisky came upon this stone and was about to mount his horse from it. A peasant who happened to be there said then to him, "My Lord Prince, do not dare to mount the horse from this stone. Know that here lies the blessed Prince Daniel.”
Prince Ivan, seeing the Danilov Monastery in neglect and counting the reprimanding peasant to be ignorant, paid no attention to his words, and without thinking said, "There are more princes here than one.” And he began to mount the horse. Suddenly the horse began to rear, fell on the earth, and died. They dragged the prince out from under the horse barely alive. The prince repented of his boldness and ordered a priest to serve a moleben because of his transgression and a commemorative service for the blessed Prince Daniel. And quickly Shuisky was cured by the prayers of the blessed Great Prince Daniel.
In the days of Tsar Ivan Vasilievich, Sovereign of All the Russias, there lived in the city of Kolomna a certain merchant. Once this merchant went by boat with his wares to the city of Moscow, and with him was his younger son. There this son came down with such a severe illness that his life was despaired of, and he was breathing his last. When the merchant and his son sailed up to the church where rested the honorable relics of the blessed and Great Prince Daniel, he brought his ill son to the tomb of the prince and requested the priest of the church to chant a moleben. He began to pray to God with great faith and copious tears, calling in prayer upon the God-pleaser, holy Prince Daniel, begging the prolongation of the life of his son, who was laid upon the honorable tomb of Prince Daniel. And immediately, his son, as if awakening from sleep, became healthy. Then he took his healed son and continued his journey, glorifying God and the holy Prince Daniel. From that time the father strongly believed in the God-pleaser, and each year on the day of the healing of his son he came to the tomb of the saint, had molebens served there, and gave alms.
Tsar Ivan Vasilievich, seeing that the place of the Danilov Monastery, where the relics of the blessed Prince Daniel rested, lay in neglect and oblivion, began himself to come yearly to these relics and the metropolitan with the cathedral nriest« established the annual celebration there of commemorative services for the saint; the Tsar ordered a stone church to be built there, a monastery to be raised, and monks to be gathered and establish the cenobitic life.
In the year 1652, August 30 the incorrupt relics of the holy Prince Daniel were uncovered and bv the command of the great Lord Tsar and Grand Prince Alexis Michaelovich they were translated to the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils in the Monastery of St. Daniel, where until this time these relics are shown to all who come and venerate them. Through the prayers of the holy and blessed Prince Daniel have mercy on us, О Christ our God, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Translated from Zhitiya Sviatvkh iLives of the Saints in the Russian language), as expounded under the direction of the Chetikh-Minei of St. Demetrius of Rostov, Book 8, Moscow, 1906, Synodal Press reprinted by Archimandrite Panteleimon (month of April).
TROPARION, 4th Tone
Illumined by divine grace, thou didst forsake the glory of thy princedom, О divinely-wise Prince Daniel; and having thine entire mind steadfastly in thy heart, thou didst turn it away from this vain world and unto thy Creator. Thou didst shine like unto a star in the east of the Russian kingdom, and completing well thy course by temperance and thine angelic life, thou didst keep the Faith spotless. Wherefore, God hath glorified thee by miracles even after thy death, for thou pourest forth healings on them that hasten to thy venerable shrine with faith. Thus, we thy people celebrate thy repose today; and since thou hast boldness before Christ, entreat Him to save thy fatherland and grant peace to all Orthodox Christians.
Orthodox life. Vol. 35. No. 4. July-August 1895, pp. 3-10.
Right-believing Prince Daniel of Moscow.
Fresco in the the Archangel Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin, painted 1652-66.