Fyodor Rostislavich Chyornyi was born 1 September 1233 to Rostislav Mstislavich of Smolensk (c1212-c1241) and died 19 September 1299 of unspecified causes. He married Anastasia Vasilyevna of Yaroslavl (c1240-c1275) 1260 JL . He married Julduz of Sarai (c1268-c1315) 1282 JL in Sarai, Kharabali Rayon, Astrakhan Oblast, Russia.

Fyodor Rostislavich nicknamed Fyodor the Black (1233-1299) (Russian: Феодор Ростиславич Черный) was a ruler of Smolensk and Yaroslavl.

Early life

Fyodor Rostislavich was born on Sept. 1, 1233 (other sources indicate birth date as circa 1238), being the third son of prince Rostislav Mstislavich of Smolensk.

In 1260 he married Anastasia Vasilyevna of Yaroslavl, daughter of Prince Vasili Vsevolodovich of Yaroslavl. (After the 15th century, her name is indicated as being Maria, though older chronicles never mention her otherwise than Anastasia. For their marriage, prince Rostislav of Smolensk gives him the small principality of Mozhaisk. During their marriage, they had two daughters and one son Mikhail Fyodorovich

After the death of prince Vasili Vsevolodovich of Yaroslavl of Yaroslavl, his daughter, Anastasia Vasilyevna theoretically became the ruling princess of Yaroslavl. However, as she was very young, the de facto ruler was her mother, Ksenia, the widow of prince Vasili Vsevolodovich .

The relations between Fyodor and his mother-in-law were very tense. Princess Ksenia was always trying to emphasize Fyodor's poverty and second rank compared to the principality of Yaroslavl. Finally, Fyodor decided to try to improve his fate by entering the service of the Golden Horde.

Travel to the Golden Horde

From 1266 to 1276 Fyodor Rostislavich went to Sarai, the capital of the Golden Horde and enters in the service of khan Mengu-Timur, who had recently revolted against the rule of Kublai Khan, the ruler of the Mongol Empire and was therefore seeking the help of other ambitious princes of the area. Fyodor was one of the commanders of the Mongol army in the campaign against the Alans (Ossetians) who had refused to pay tribute to the Golden Horde. His services were appreciated and he became a favorite of the khan and of his wife Dzhidzhekhatun, who wanted him to marry her daughter Julduz, even though his wife was still living.

Fyodor decides to return to Yaroslavl in 1276, with his soldiers, without requesting the support of the khan. He found out that his wife Anastasia had recently died. However, his step-mother, Princess Ksenia and the boyars refuse to acknowledge him as ruler and declare his young son Mikhail Fydorovich as leader of the principality under the regency of Princess Ksenia.

Fyodor returns to Sarai, where he marries the khan's daughter, Julduz, who converts to Orthodoxy under the name Anna. The Mongols of the Golden Horde had not yet adopted any religion and both the Russians and the Byzantines hoped to convert them to Christianity. An Orthodox bishopy had been established in Sarai. Some chronicles indicate that he received a dowry of 36 cities; this information seems to be doubtful as the list includes all the cities under the rule of the Golden Horde. They had two sons David Fyodorovich of Yaroslavl (c1285-1321) and Konstantin Fyodorovich of Yaroslavl (c1287-1321).

The following year, he joined forces with with Prince Mikhail Glebovich of Beloozero for a campaign to pacify Volga Bulgaria. According to Arab historical sources the two princes acted with extreme cruelty in Volga Bulgaria, capturing and looting about 40 cities and hundreds of villages. Fyodor returned to the Golden Horde with a rich booty.

Return to Russia

After his death of his brother Mikhail Rostislavich of Mstislav, who had been ruling in Smolensk, Fyodor decided to return to and reclaim his heritage. This time he came with the support of the Golden Horde army. This action started Fyodor's "black" period of life when he had to fight on Russian soil and burn the Russian cities. At first, he captures Smolensk in 1280, however he is not able to keep control of the city. While Fyodor remains nominally Prince of Smolensk, the actual rule of the city is taken over by his nephew, Aleksandr Glebovich of Smolensk.

Fyodor Rostislavich settled in Yaroslavl. The people of Yaroslavl were again opposed to his return, but were forced into submission. Fyodor expanded the city, built a new fortification wall as well as several churches with rich decorations. His wife built the Cathedral of Archangel Michael on the banks of the river.

Then Fyodor continued with a campaign took part in the bloody strife against Aleksandr Nevsky's sons, Andrei Aleksandrovich of Gorodetsk and Dmitri Aleksandrovich of Pereyaslavl. During this raid many Russian cities were devastated.

In 1293 Tokta Khan , ruler of the Gorden Horde, attempted to eliminate the autonomy of Russian princes and sent an army under the command of his brother, Tudan Khan. Fyodor also took part in this raid in which the cities of Vladimir, Suzdal, Yuryev, Pereyaslavl, Dmitrov, Moscow, Kolomna and Mozhaisk were destroyed. The following year, Fyodor burns Pereyaslavl-Zalessky.

In 1296 the [[Council of Vladimir (1296), a reunion of the princes of Northern Russia, took place in which they attempted to reach a agreement on the division of the country among the various principalities. This reunion, attended by the bishop of Vladimir and the bishop of Sarai did momentarily end the bloodshed, but had only limited results as fights between the various principalities continued.

In the years 1298-99, Fyodor tried twice regain Smolensk, but the city withstood the siege. His unsuccessful campaign to Smolensk in 1299 was the last in his military career. Returning from it, Fyodor was seriously ill and in autumn, preparing for his death, took his monastic vows on September 18, 1299, publicly repenting for all his sins. He died the following day and was buried in the Transfiguration Monastery of Yaroslavl, where his two sons, were also buried. After his death, princess Anna also took the vows and retired to a monastery taking the monastic name of Anastasia.

Icon representing Saint Theodor of Smolensk with his sons Saints David and Konstantin of Yaroslavl


On March 5, 1463, during repairs of the monastery the relics of Prince Fyodor and his two sons were found. Apparently, their bodies had been exhumed and shifted into a single coffin and reburied. The ecclesiastic authorities claimed that contact with the relics had induced miraculous healing of various illnesses. He was canonized by the Russian orthodox church under the name of Saint Theodor of Smolensk and is venerated on October 2nd (September 19th, Old Style).



Offspring of Fyodor Rostislavich Chyornyi and Anastasia Vasilyevna of Yaroslavl (c1240-c1275)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Eldest Daughter of Fyodor Rostislavich (c1261-c1310) 1261 1310 Davyd Konstantinovich of Galich-Dmitrov (c1246-1280)
Younger Daughter of Fyodor Rostislavich (c1263-c1315) 1263 1315 Mikhail Glebovich of Beloozero (1263-1293)
Mikhail Fyodorovich of Yaroslavl (1265-1287) 1265 Russia 1287 Yaroslavl, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia

Offspring of Fyodor Rostislavich Chyornyi and Julduz of Sarai (c1268-c1315)
Name Birth Death Joined with
David Fyodorovich of Yaroslavl (c1285-1321) 1285 Sarai, Kharabali Rayon, Astrakhan Oblast, Russia 1321 Yaroslavl, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia Nomen nescio
Konstantin Fyodorovich of Yaroslavl (c1287-1321) 1287 Sarai, Kharabali Rayon, Astrakhan Oblast, Russia 1321 Yaroslavl, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia


Offspring of Rostislav Mstislavich of Smolensk (c1212-c1241) and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Gleb Rostislavich of Smolensk (c1228-1278) 1228 1278
Konstantin Rostislavich Bezruky of Smolensk (c1230-c1264)
Mikhail Rostislavich of Smolensk (c1231-c1280)
Fyodor Rostislavich Chyornyi (1233-1299) 1 September 1233 19 September 1299 Anastasia Vasilyevna of Yaroslavl (c1240-c1275)
Julduz of Sarai (c1268-c1315)
Yuri Rostislavich of Smolensk (c1240-1287)


Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rostislav Mstislavich of Smolensk (?-1240)
Prince of Mozhaysk
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mikhail Fyodorovich of Yaroslavl (c1275-1287)
Prince of Yaroslavl
Succeeded by
David Fyodorovich of Yaroslavl (1298-1321) co-ruler with Konstantin Fyodorovich of Yaroslavl (1298-1321)
Preceded by
Mikhail Rostislavich of Mstislav (1278-1279)
Prince of Smolensk
Succeeded by