Turning to his children and to all who will ever read his message, Prince Vladimir Monomakh urges them to have, first of all, the fear of God in their hearts and do good, bearing in mind that the days of man on earth are fleeting and terrible to die without repenting of their sins. The desire to write down his cherished thoughts – the fruit of mature reflections and rich life experience – arises from the prince during his trip to the Volga, where he meets with the ambassadors of his brothers and talks with them. The brothers propose to the prince to act together with them against Rostislavich and to take their parish from them. If the prince does not want to join their campaign, then in case of war, let him not count on their help. The prince, afflicted with strife, sitting in a sleigh, opens the Psalter at random, and, consoled by wise sayings, plans to write a book of teachings for children and grandchildren,
The prince encourages his children not to be lazy and
always remember that God’s mercy can be gained not only by strict seclusion, monasticism and fasting: it is enough to accomplish a small task, but if it is done with the fear of God and with a sincere desire to help one, it will be reckoned to man. The prince persuades his children not to forget about prayer, no matter what they do. But he urges them not to disregard the teaching and acquisition of knowledge: he sets them as an example of his father, who “at home sitting, knew five languages, that’s why honor from other countries.” The prince tries to instill in his children the rules of morality, rooted in the Christian faith, and also gives them purely practical advice: always esteem the elders; In war, do not rely on the governor, but establish strict order and demand compliance with it; in turbulent times, never to give up arms; not allow his servants to harm the peasants; love your wife, but do not give her power over yourself.
The story of Monomakh about his life
The prince says that he began an independent life in thirteen years, when his father sent him to Rostov through the
land of Vyatichi. This was the first campaign, and all he has are eighty-three large marches. At least a hundred times Monomakh traveled from Chernihiv to Kiev to his father, nineteen times he made peace with the Polovtsian princes – both with his father and without his father, and during the wars he killed about two hundred Polovtsian soldiers in battle. In addition, the prince is a passionate hunter. He talks about how he “caught wild horses with his own hands” in Chernigov, hunted alone on a boar, on a bear, on an elk, on a tour. At the same time, Monomakh did not charge all the responsibilities for keeping the hunting economy on servants alone: ”What the boy ought to do, I did it myself – in war and hunting, night and day, in the heat and cold, without rest.”
Finishing the narrative, the prince expresses the hope that his children do not judge him, for he least of all thought of boasting before them with his boldness and daring, but only wanted to praise God and glorify His mercy because He protected him, sinful, from all misfortunes. The prince encourages the children not to fear death, for only then will a person die when God’s permission is granted.
Letter from Monomakh to Oleg Svyatoslavich
Having listened to the advice of his eldest son, who is baptized by his cousin, Oleg Svyatoslavich, the prince writes him a letter in the hope of reconciliation. Suffering because of the death of his son, who was killed in the battle with Oleg, the prince exhorts his brother and regrets that he did not immediately repent when the son of Monomakh was killed before him, as King David repented, saying: “My sin is always in front of me.” The prince advises Oleg to send his daughter-in-law, the widow of the murdered, for that is how their fathers and grandfathers acted when they wanted reconciliation. Since the dead can no longer be invoked, and the judgment comes from God, and not from the one who killed, then it is necessary to turn to God so that He will teach and guide the footsteps of the sinful man. Concluding the message, Monomakh tells his brother that he seeks the good of the whole brotherhood and the Russian land, and exhorts him not to try to get by violence,