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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Erich Lassota (1594)

Nicholas Zharkikh

The following description submitted Erich Lassota (german, ambassador of Emperor Rudolf the 2nd to the Cossacks). He visited Kyiv in 1594. He held in Kyiv only three days, but managed to write a guide. He gave a description of St. Michael's Cathedral and wrote:

When we enter to the church by door, just against the high altar, then left lying in a wooden coffin remains of virgin Barbara, the royal daughter, a young minor girl of twelve years, as can be seen from her growth. This [body] is not decayed, covered with a thin linen cloth on most legs that looked bare, which I touched and found more solid and intact. On top of her head placed gilded wooden crown. [, entry for 7 – May 9, 1594 // Zaporizhia antiquity. – Kyiv, Zaporizhia: 2003. – P. 222 – 277]

Overall Lassota's description consistent with the description of Muller. Over the decade between these descriptions a new element appeared – a gilded wooden crown. It attracted the attention to the head, but again the traces of amputation no mention. Her name – Barbara – of course, taken from local tradition, but neither Lassota himself nor Kyiv inhabitants who submitted this explanation were not believed her Barbara of Heliopol. Does the title of "royal daughter" was part of the local legend, or guesses by Lassota himself, derived from the presence of the crown? I tend to think that at first appeared in Kyiv glance that she was princess, and then it was confirmed as appropriate regalia. This is an element of local legend of Kyiv, which completely contradicts "heliopol" legend (Barbara of Heliopol certainly was not royal daughter).

Barbara of Kyiv could not been duchess of Ukrainian-Belarusian lands: 1, the difference between the king (König) and Prince (Fürst) was well understood both as Kyivans and Lassota; 2, our princes never used crowns.

Comparing testimonies of Muller and Lassota, we conclude that Kyiv relics belonged girl named Barbara, whose family is unknown to us (with care we can assume that she was born in Kyiv). She died and her body was turned into a mummy in the 16th century (in conditions of Kyiv caves this is not any gimmick). Where, when and how the mummified body was discovered and moved to the church – our sources are silent. Obviously, it was not premeditated, planned and organized campaign of discovering of st. Barbara of Heliopol relics. Attention of discoverer was attracted only by exceptionally good preservation of mummies. Ability to extract from it material gain by promoting the cult of generally respected holy virgin did not occur to discoverers. Stage of industrial exploitation of newfound sanctuary was yet to come.