IRINA MSTISLAVNA / of Kiev / Eupraxia (?) / Dobrodeya (?) (Year of birth is unknown - † before 1136 in Constantinople), the Byzantine empress, since 1122 the wife of the emperor of the Byzantine empire Alexios Komnenos, eldest son and co-ruler of the emperor of the Byzantine empire John II Komnenos


  • Mstislav Vladimirovich (Harold) the Great, the Prince of Novgorod (1088–1094), the Prince of Rostov (1094–1095), the Grand Prince of Kiev (1125–1132)


  • Christina (Kristina) Ingesdotter (1070s - January 18, 1122), Swedish princess, the Princess of Novgorod, the first wife of Mstislav the Great


One of the daughters of Mstislav Vladimirovich and his first wife, the Swedish princess Christina, is not mentioned by name in Russian sources. It is also not completely clear who her husband was. The researchers do not doubt only one fact: a certain daughter of Mstislav and Christina was married in Byzantium to a relative of the emperor John Komnenos. Russian sources almost unanimously report this fact under the same date - 6630 (1122) [I, c. 286; II, p. 25; III, p. 28; IV, p. 76; V, p. 36, 66, 92]. The only later dating belongs to Theodosius Sofonovich [VI, p. 85], a Ukrainian writer of the 17th century, who probably got the date from the South Russian chronicle [4, p. 135]. But one dating is not enough to call into question the reports of earlier sources. However, the exact information that has come down to us about Mstislav's daughter ends there. The question of the name, as well as the filiation of Mstislavna's husband causes numerous controversies among researchers. V.N. Tatishchev believed that the name of Mstislav's daughter was Dobrodeya. The historian suggested that this name is a Russified version of the Greek name Eupraxia [15, p. 182-183]. Despite the fact that the name of Dobrodeya was assigned to Mstislavna in the historiographic tradition [1, p. 482, 569, 610; 6, p. 477; 10, p. 419, annex. 3 p. 425, 445; 12, p. 73-74, 82; 13, p. 187; 14, c. 33; 16, Tabl. V, 26; 11, p. 83; 17, p. 274; 18, p. 249; 19, s. 132, etc.], modern researchers tend to reject the assumption of V.N. Tatishchev [4, p. 138; 8, p. 253-254]. It is also noteworthy that the other information given by V. N. Tatishchev is erroneous. So, for example, the historian believed that the husband of Mstislavna was the emperor John II Komnenos himself, which was refuted as well as the fact that the marriage of Mstislavna was allegedly postponed for two years due to the bride's minority [4, p. 137]. Interestingly that the Byzantine sources also report very little about her. It is known that according to the tradition in Byzantium  Mstislavna received a new name Irina, under which she is mentioned in the Typicon of the Church of Pantokrator in Constantinople and in the Sinai manuscripts [23, s. 344, note 28, 30–31].

To date, researchers admit that Mstilavna's husband was one of the sons of John Komnenus: either the eldest son Alexios [4, 140-142; 10, p. 419; 12, p. 73-74, 97-98; 17, p. 274, note 72; 22, p. 179; 23, s. 343–344, etc.], or the youngest son Andronikos [5, p. 52; 13, p. 187, p. 337, annex. 9-10; 16, Tabl. V, Nr. 26; 19, c. 132, etc.]. The latest version is based on the fact that Andronikos wife's name was Irina. However, the work of modern researchers showed that she was not a Rus princess, moreover, in the year Mstislavna was married, Andronikos was too young to be a groom [4, p. 139; 20, p. 40-68; 23, s. 357]. A.P. Kazhdan expressed doubts about the possibility to reliably establish the identity of Mstislavna's husband [21, p. 422-423].

The estimated dates of birth and death of Mstistlavna can be determined from indirect data. The date of birth calculations is based on the information about the wedding and the birth of Mstislavna's first child (no later than 1127 [4, p. 139] or 1129 [14, p. 33]. At the time of the wedding, the bride should have been about 13-14 years old, respectively, the year of birth would be about 1108/9 - 1110/1. D. Dombrovsky made this suggestion based on the supposed place of Mstislavna among the other children of Mstislav and Christina according to their date of birth [4, p.141].

Regarding the time of Irina's death, there is an indirect evidence in the Typicon, compiled by order of John II Komnenos, which contains instructions on the need to pray for the deceased wife of vasilevs Alexeios [VII, p. 725, 742, 774]. Since the Typicon was drawn up in 1136, the death of Mstislavna occurred no later than that year. Considering that her only child, daughter Maria, was born no later than 1127/29, it can be assumed that Irina died between the second half of the 1120s and 1136 [4, p. 141].


  • Maria (?) Komnenos, the wife of protostrator Alexios Axouch


Anna Komnenos [14, c. 33], Irina [там же]; bishop Nikita [15, c.182–183].


Treatise on herbal medicine "Alimma" (kept in Italy in the Medici library), the authorship of the treatise is attributed to Irina herself [2, p. 26; 3, p. 36-38]


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III. PSRL. T. XXV. Moskovskii Letopisnyi svod kontsa XV v. M., 2004.

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VII. Tipikon of Emperor John II Komnenos forthe Monastery of Christ Pantacrator of Constantinople / trans. R.Jordan // Byzantine monastic Foundation Documents: A Complete Translation of the Surviving Founders’ Typika and Testaments. Dumbarton Oaks, 2000.


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