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the first Russian metropolitan in Kiev (from 1051 until his appointment, he was a presbyter at a church in the prince’s village of Berestov near Kiev). His appointment as metropolitan was closely tied in with the efforts of Iaroslav the Wise to free the Russian church from Byzantine supervision. After 1055 no mention is made in the sources of that time of Ilarion or his fate.

Ilarion’s Discourse on Law and Grace (written between 1037 and 1050) is one of the outstanding publicistic works of ancient Rus’. It views equality among all peoples from a theological standpoint and praises the princes whose deeds brought fame to Russia abroad. His discourse concludes with a prayer for the Russian land and expresses Ilarion’s confidence that the Russian people will never be under foreign domination. Ilarion attempted to project a theory of world history that held that Christianity had gradually been spreading ever since its inception to embrace all peoples, including the Russians. His discourse reflects the concept formulated by Iaroslav the Wise of a Kievan state ecclesiastically independent from Byzantium.


Zhdanov, I. N. “Slovo o zakone i blagodati i pokhvala kaganu Vladimiru.” Soch., vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1904.
Müller, L. Des Mitropoliten Ilarion Lobrede auf Vladimir den Heiligenand Glaubensbekenntnis. Wiesbaden, 1962.