St. Daniel of Moscow – the peace-loving prince
St. right-believing prince Daniel was the fourth son of prince Alexander of Neva. He was born in 1261 and became to reign in Moscow in 1280th. It should be noted, on that time Moscow was small and not rich appanage, and even princes were there not quite often. So Daniil Aleksandrovich became a founder of princely dynasty of Moscow.
The Saint in his daily life was righteous, humble and peace-loving. His hagiography states that Daniil Aleksandrovich, having enlightened mind, wisely reigned in his princedom. He was a brave warrior and protected his lands firmly. Similarly to other Russian governors, Daniil Aleksandrovich took a part in internecine wars. But moscow prince was pretty peaceable, what was very rare in that time. The majority of conflicts between his brothers-princes he tried to resolve in peace. That is why ancient singers called Daniel «the One who loves his brothers».
Daniil Aleksandrovich himself showed no desire to reign over anyone. He honored the Law of succession to the throne and did not raised a sword against his older brothers during a struggle for the Title of Great Prince.
St. Daniel’s peace-loving gave to him love and respect of contemporary people. A lot of people came to Moscow from different princedoms: nobles, craftsmen, farmers… Prince Daniel welcomed everyone who required refuge. Prince gave a work to everyone according to his bent, always taking care about wellbeing of his citizens. Soon land of Moscow became populous. New villages appeared, a lot of farmers and occupations.
Moscow during the reign of prince Daniel was gradually built and strengthened. City did not disappeared even after terrible devastation during the march of the commander of the Horde Tudan. All together people Moscow rebuilt their city. And again prince Daniil Aleksandrovich showed to everyone an example of unprecedented mercy. He gave all his property for needs of those who suffered of devastation and for restoration of Moscow. And city was quickly renewed. Soon there were no sign of Tatar storm.
Daniil Aleksandrovich was an example of true righteousness for everyone. He cordially took care for spiritual enlightenment of his citizens. During St. Daniel’s reign Moscow became a religious center. That has begun when prince founded the monastery of St. Venerable Daniel the Stylite, who was a heavenly patron of St. prince Daniel. His hagiography says about this event: «During his godly reign in the land of Moscow, the blessed prince Daniel built the monastery beyond Moscow-River which is called after his name Danilovsky, created the church of honor of his angel St. Venerable Daniel the Stylite and assigned an archimandrite there».
Danilov Monastery is the first among monasteries which exists for today. Precise date of its foundation is unknown. Historical literature indicates 1272 or 1282; sometimes just «the end of XIII century». Recently comparative studying of historical evidences allowed scientists to assume that the monastery was founded in 1298-1299.
In 1303 St. Prince Daniel got sick hardly. Before his repose he followed an example of his father, the Great Prince Alexander Yaroslavovich of Neva, and took monastic vows. Prince of Moscow commanded to bury him in the monastery which he created, not in the church, but on the common cemetery because of his deep humbleness. Prince Daniel reposed on March 5 of 1303.
Hagiography of St. Daniel’s of Moscow says about miracles which were made by him after his death. One day Great Prince Ivan III Vasilyevich passed near an ancient Danilov Monastery, where relics of St. Daniel were. A horse of one noble young man stumbled; he was fell behind by prince’s suit and remained alone. Suddenly, the stranger appeared ahead the young man. The youth was afraid and stranger started to speak: «Do not afraid of me, because I am a Christian and the lord of this place. My name is Daniel of Moscow. According to God’s will I am entombed here – on Daniel’s place. Go, young man, to Great Prince Ivan and tell him: «There, you seeking to comfort yourself in many ways, but why did you forgot of me»? But even though he forgot of me, God of mine never did». And the stranger disappeared.
The young man immediately overtook the Prince and told him about miraculous vision. Since then the Great Prince ordered to make pannychidas and prayer services; he arranged dispensation of alms and meals for remembrance of his reposed relatives, who died in goodness.
Here is another miracle. During a reign of Ivan the Terrible, one merchant lived in Kolomna. One day together with his son he went to Moscow by boat for trading. The son got sick on a way. The merchant came to the church where St. Daniel’s relics were, brought his ill son to the tomb and started to pray. Immediately his son received healing and they continued their trip. Since then father started to venerate St. Daniel. Every year on the day of his son’s healing he was coming to St. Daniel’s tomb, making prayer service and dispensing the alms.
Less than 30 years since the right-believing prince Daniel reposed, the monastery, founded by him, was moved to Kremlin in 1330 (it was founding of Transfiguration monastery), the church was turned into simple parish, cemetery became public and St. Prince’s grave was lost.
Russian people always remembered the righteous life of Daniil Aleksandrovich with gratitude. On August 30 of 1652 the relics of St. Daniel of Moscow were found incorruptible. They were laid into silver tomb placed in the church of Seven Ecumenical Councils in the Danilov Monastery.
St. Right-Believing Prince Daniel of Moscow was canonized for local veneration only in 1791.
The Holy Relics
Up to 1930 St. Daniel’s relics were in Danilov Monastery; at that time the last monastic church was closed. Then, for a while they were in the Church of the Resurrection near Danilov Monastery. In 1932 that church was closed too and relics disappeared. Today in Danilov Monastery are several particles of St. Daniel’s relics, which are placed in reliquary, ark and icons.
The particles of relics of St. Right-Believing Prince Daniel of Moscow, which are in reliquary, were given to the monastery by the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia Alexy II on March 17 of 1995. Its story descends to 1920-1930. Relics are in pencil-case-looking ark with unskillful, but reverentially made image of St. Prince Daniel and belonged to bishop, whose name is unknown. In the middle of 1930s he was exiled to the North, and before he went there he has given those relics to professor I. Anichkov, who had it for many years. Before his death Anichkov gave the shrine to Academician Dmitry Likhachov, asking to return it to Danilov Monastery when it will be possible. Dmitry Likhachov entrusted the holy relics to archpriest John Meyendorff who took it to USA in order to keep it safe. In 1995 relics were returned to Russian Orthodox Church. The reliquary is in the church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, under the northern arch. Above the shrine carved wooden canopy installed.
Particles of the relics of St. Right-believing Prince Daniel which belonged to last Rector (before monastery was closed) of the cloister Archbishop Theodor Pozdeevsky (†1937), were given to Danilov Monastery by Primate of Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America Metropolitan Theodosius on May 30 of 1986. The ark is in St. Trinity Cathedral near central northeast column.
In the Church of Protection of Virgin Mary are two icons with particles of St. Daniel’s relics. Big icon was painted in 1980s and now is on the column between two iconostasis. The relics which are in that icon were given to the monastery from Orenburg Diocese soon after the cloister was opened. Another icon with the relics is just for veneration; it is a smaller one and located on the lectern in the middle of the church.
Veneration in USA
A particle of the holy relics of St. Right-Believing Prince Daniel of Moscow permanently are in St. John Cathedral of Brooklyn. It is one of other 114 particles of relics of another Saints. The Cathedral is always opened for those people who want to pray and to venerate the shrines.
The prayer to St. Prince Daniel
Oh, St. Venerable Prince Daniel, we come to your icon and cordially pray you: support us (names) by your charity, because we are gather under the covering of your prayers.
Spill your warm intercession to Savior of all, may He grant peace to this parish and this church, may He keep it safe, bringing righteousness and love for people; may He eradicate spite, internecine and corruption of tempers. Give to all of us by your prayers everything what is good for temporary life and for eternal salvation, and for that we shall glorify Christ, Who is marvelous in all His Saints, together with Father and Holy Spirit, to the ages of ages. Amen.
St. Venerable Prince Daniel, pray the Lord for us!
In the article were used materials of portal «Orthodoxy and the World» and of official web-site of Danilov Monastery.