Why is Princess Olga remembered to this day?

Princess Olga lived between 890 and 969, and was the first female Russian ruler. For almost twenty years, she ruled Kievan Rus. Her very first act as a ruler was to take bloody revenge against the Drevlians, the people who had killed her husband, Prince Igor. Olga took revenge on the Drevlians by having their envoys killed, and their towns burned. She then abolished the annual tribute-collecting journeys made by the Kievan princes, and replaced it with a uniform system of taxation and special government tax-collectors.

Princess Olga’s son was only three years old, when his father died. So, Olga ruled the country in his name, with the full support of the army. She was a very active ruler who travelled incessantly around the country, trying to improve life in her realm. Around 957, Olga travelled to Constantinople and was baptized in the Christian faith, under the sponsorship of the Byzantine emperor. Her baptism did not lead to the conversion of her people, but established the Eastern Orthodox Church in Russia.

In fact, she was the very first ruler of Kiev who converted to Christianity. The Orthodox Church proclaimed Olga a saint. Did you know that the name ‘Olga’ actually means ‘a saint’? So it seems as though she was destined to become one from the time she was named!