An inscription carrying the names of the conspirators involved in the murder of Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky has been uncovered in a Russian church. Bogolyubsky, who was Grand prince of Vladimir-Suzdal from 1157 until 1174, was stabbed to death in his bedchamber.
The inscription was found on the east wall of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Pereslavl-Zalessky, some 60 miles from Moscow. It was discovered by a group of restorers, while working in the church. Besides naming the conspirators, the inscription also described briefly what happened on that fateful night of 29 June 1174 when the prince was murdered.
Located in the middle of the southern apse of the cathedral, the inscription comprised of two columns and is crowned by a cross. Although it put the number of conspirators involved in the prince's murder at 20, only three new names were mentioned on the inscription.
The left column has a list of Bogolyubsky's killers – known conspirators – including "Petr Fralovich, Ambal, Yakim", while three other unknown people such as "Ivka, Petrko, Styryata" has also been named.
"These are murderers of Great Prince Andrey. Let them be cursed [lost text]," the inscription read.
The right column talked about the death of the prince: "On the month of June 29 Prince Andrey had been killed by his servants. Memory eternal to him and eternal torture to them [lost text]."
Nikolai Makarov, director of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), said in a statement that the murder of prince Bogolyubsky was one of the most mysterious events that occurred in the second half of the 12th century.
"We suppose the inscription was some sort of official announcement about the murder of Prince Andrey and the condemnation of the murderers," said Alexey Gippius, professor at the National Research University Higher School of Economics and member of the RAS.
However, the researchers could not tell when exactly the inscription was made.
Andrey I Yuryevich popularly known as Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky was the grandson of Vladimir Monomakh and the Grand Prince of Kiev. During his tenure, he strengthened northeastern Russian land and tried to unify it under his authority. In due course of time, he transferred the political hub from Kiev to Vladimir, making it a powerful center of religious and civil life. Outraged by his popularity, the upper nobility plotted against him which resulted in his murder.