JEŽEK V. Why Should I Become a Christian? The “Kristian Legend” in the Context of Byzantine Thought


Václav Ježek

Senior Lecturer in Byzantine Theology and History,

Faculty of Orthodox Theology, University of Prešov,

Masarykova St, 15, 08101 Prešov, Slovakia

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Abstract. In this brief account we offer a thematic and comparativist interpretation of the legend of monk Kristian in terms of its Christian ideology and philosophy. Our contextualisation and thematic analysis help also in the long run to assess the date of the legend. We ponder the basic question of “why Christianity”, which in dependance on whether it was significant for monk Kristian or not, reveals to us other historical realities of Bohemia and Moravia of his period. There is an internal dynamic but also contradiction in the legend. Monk Kristian perhaps on political motives sets to show how saints Václav and Ludmila are a source of unity and national identity. However, in his task he falls into a contradiction because what was promised was not delivered. And Christianity is anything, but a road to unity, accord, power that he promised at the outset, which he betrays in his historical information. At the same time an internal dynamic shows that the humble attitudes of Václav and Ludmila bring about the end goal or fulfil the promises about the worthiness of Christianity and its role, since their miracles and sacrifice unite and harmonise the state and build nationhood. A detailed, in-depth study of the thematic construction of the legend offers material for comparison, especially with for the neighbouring Frankish/German areas. We solve these tasks set in the study by comparing the “Kristian Legend” under research with Byzantine sources.

Key words: Saint Václav, Saint Ludmila, Bohemia, Byzantium, sanctity.

Citation. Ježek V. Why Should I Become a Christian? The “Kristian Legend” in the Context of Byzantine Thought. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 211-236. DOI:

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Why Should I Become a Christian? The “Kristian Legend” in the Context of Byzantine Thought by Ježek V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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