Summary of “Legends about Mamayev’s Battle”

Beginning of the story of how God gave the victory to the Grand Duke Dmitry Ivanovich for the Don over the perverse Mamai and how the Orthodox Christianity praised the Russian land as the prayers of the most holy Virgin Mary and Russian miracle workers. The godland elevated the Russian land, and disgraced the Hagarians.

The prince of the eastern country Mamai, a pagan and evil persecutor of Christians, decides at the instigation of the devil to go to the Russian land. Prince Oleg Ryazansky, Mamaia’s protege, and prince Olgerd of Lithuania, who also swore allegiance to Mamai, after hearing about this, send messengers with rich gifts to Mamai and declare their readiness to join his army, for they hope that Mamai will give Olgerd to Moscow and the nearby cities, and to Oleg Ryazansky Kolomna, Vladimir and Moore. Oleg and Olgerd are sure that Prince Dmitry Ivanovich of Moscow will not dare to oppose Mamai and flee Moscow, leaving his lands to the enemy. Having heard that Mamai with an uncountable army is coming to Russia, Prince Dmitry sends to Borovsk for his brother, Prince Vladimir Andreevich, and also for all Russian princes, voivods and servicemen. Prince Dmitry tells Metropolitan Cyprian that he did not commit any crime before Mamai and paid him tribute, as was due to persuasion, and even beyond that. Cyprian advises the prince to reconcile and send Mamai as much gold as there is, and if Mamai even after this will go to Russia with war, he will be struck by the Lord himself, who resists the insolent, but helps the humble.

Prince Dmitry obeys the advice and sends Mamai Zachary Tyutchev to meet him, giving him a lot of gold. However, Zachary, after reaching Ryazan, learns that the princes Oleg Ryazansky and Olgerd of Lithuania have joined Mamai, and secretly sends a messenger to Dmitri with this news. The prince informs about all Metropolitan Cyprian and calls to himself at the service of soldiers from all over the Russian land, so that they arrive in Kolomna for the Assumption of the Holy Virgin. Prince Dmitri himself, along with his brother and all Russian princes, goes to the life-giving Trinity, to his spiritual father St Sergius the elder. He sprinkles it with water, consecrated from the relics of the holy martyrs Flora and Lavra, and tells him so that no one will hear that the prince will defeat the enemy. At the request of the prince, hegumen Sergius gives him two soldiers from the monastic brotherhood – Alexander Peresvet and Andrei Oslaby.

The prince returns to Moscow and, appearing before Metropolitan Cyprian, secretly informs him that the elder Sergius foretold him victory over the enemy and blessed all the Orthodox troops. Having blessed the prince for a campaign against the Tatars, the Metropolitan sends a holy cathedral with crosses, holy icons and consecrated water to Frolovsky, Nikolsky and Konstantin-Yeleninsky gates so that each warrior leaves them with blessed and sprinkled holy water.

Having reached Kolomna, the prince distributes the regiments, appoints them a governor and, taking a blessing from the archbishop of Kolomna Gerontia, crosses the Oka with the whole army, praying for help to his relatives, the holy martyrs Boris and Gleb. Princes Oleg Ryazansky and Olgerd of Lithuania, having learned that Prince Dmitri with a large army goes to the Don against Mamai, begin to doubt the success of Mamaia’s campaign: they are not rushing to join his army and are waiting for the outcome of the battle. At the same time, the princes Andrei Polotsky and Dmitry Bryansky, the Olgerdoviches, who were not loved by their father because of their stepmother and who received holy baptism, learn that the Tatars are going to Rus and decide to join Prince Dmitry’s Orthodox army.

The prince, rejoicing, sends Metropolitan Cyprian the news in Moscow that the Olgerdovich came to him with their troops, and left their father. Prince Dmitry consults with his brother Vladimir and the Olgerdovichs, whether to go over to him Don or not. They convince him that if he wants a solid army, then it is necessary to cross the Don, for then no one will... have a thought of retreat. The Russian army crosses the Don, and the scouts report that the Tatars are already close and know that Prince Dimitri gathered great forces against them. The prince rides the regiments with voevoda and calls on the soldiers to stand up for Russia and the Orthodox faith, sparing no life.

On the night of the light-bearing Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, Thomas Katsibey, a robber whom Prince Dmitry for his courage distinguished and placed on the Churov River for protection from the Tatars, receives a wondrous vision. God, wanting to correct Foma, shows him how a large cloud moves from the east, as if some troops are moving to the west, and from the south two young men come in light purple scarves, with shining faces and holding sharp swords in their hands. The young men are threateningly demanding an answer from the leaders of the army, asking them who allowed them to attack their fatherland, and they are all cut down with swords, so that no foe is saved. Foma tells about his vision to the prince in the morning and has since become prudent and believes in God.

Prince Dmitry sends his brother Prince Vladimir along with Dmitry Volynets up the Don to the oak tree so that they can hide there with their regiments. And on the eighth day of September, on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at dawn, both Russian and Tatar troops rise against each other on the Kulikovo field. The earth groans terribly, predicting a thunderstorm, and the Kulikovo field bends, and the rivers protrude from the shore, for there never was such a myriad of people in that place. The messenger from the Monk Elder Sergius hands the letters to the prince with a blessing and the bread of the Virgin Mary, and the prince loudly praises the Holy Trinity and the Theotokos and asks for their help and intercession. Then the prince, contrary to all persuasions, sits on his horse and stands in front of his warriors to fight in the front ranks. On the third hour of the day.

From the Tatar army, an evil Pecheneg rode out five fathoms tall, and from the Russian side, at the behest of Hegumen Sergius, a monk Alexander Peresvet, armed with a schema, leaves. They rush at each other, strike with their spears and both fall from their horses dead. Prince Dmitry calls on his soldiers to show their courage, and both armies converge and the battle begins.

In the seventh hour the Tatars begin to prevail. Prince Vladimir, hiding with his soldiers in the grove, tries to get his brother out to help, but Dmitry Volynets keeps him, saying that it’s not time yet. When the eighth hour comes, their fresh forces attack the Tatars, and they do not stand the onslaught and flee from the battlefield. Mamai calls on his gods: Perun, Salavat, Rakliya, Hors and his accomplice Mohammed, but there is no help from them. He runs away, and he manages to get away from the chase.

Thus, Prince Dmitry won the Tartars by the grace of God and the pure mother of God and the help of the saints Boris and Gleb, whom Thomas Katsibey saw. Prince Dmitri is found in the grove, beaten and wounded, and he commands the soldiers to bury their comrades, so that the Christian bodies will not become prey to wild animals.

The Russian army stands on the battlefield for eight days while the soldiers bury their neighbors. And Mamai returns to his land, collects the remaining forces and wants to again go to Russia by war, but learns that King Tohtamish from the east goes to him. Tokhtamysh breaks Mamaia’s army on Kalka, Mamai escapes to Cafu, concealing her name, but he is identified and killed. Olgerd, hearing about the glorious victory of Prince Dmitri, returns to his domain with shame. Oleg Ryazansky, fearing that Prince Dmitri will send his army to him, runs away from his patrimony, and when the Ryazan people beat the Grand Prince with a brow, he puts his governors in Ryazan.


Summary of “Legends about Mamayev’s Battle”