IULIANIA ALEXANDROVNA (Ulyana, tonsured Maria / Martha) (born c. 1330, † March 17, 1391), the Grand Duchess of Lithuania, since 1350 the second wife of Algirdas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania
Algirdas's matchmaking to Juliana. (The Illustrated Chronicle of the 60-70s of the XVI century)

IULIANIA ALEXANDROVNA (Ulyana, tonsured Maria / Martha) (born c. 1330, † March 17, 1391), the Grand Duchess of Lithuania, since 1350 the second wife of Algirdas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania


  • Alexander Mikhailovich, Prince of Tver (1338-1339) and the Grand Prince of Vladimir (1326-1327)


  • Anastasia, Princess of Tver and the Grand Princess of Vladimir


Ulyana (Juliania) was born around 1330, probably in Pskov during the exile of her father, Prince of Tver Alexander Mikhailovich after the uprising of Fedorchuk's army in 1327. She was the youngest child in the family.

In 1349/1350 or 1350/1351 [V, p. 177], who became the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Algirdas appeals to Simeon the Proud with a request to allow him to marry the daughter of the Tver prince Alexander Mikhailovich Ulyana. An appeal to the Moscow prince, bypassing Ulyana's brother Vsevolod Alexandrovich and the head of the entire Tver house, Vasily Mikhailovich, looks very logical. Simeon himself was at that time already married to Ulyana's older sister Maria Alexandrovna, and this gesture demonstrates the recognition of the Moscow prince as the head of all Rus. A. V. Instyplyarsky believed that the marriage of Ulyana and Algirdas was a step towards strengthening ties between the Alexandrovichs and Lithuania [10, p. 481; 6], but other researchers argue a more complex diplomatic picture. Lithuania had a long-standing relationship with the aforementioned branch of the princes of Tver: Algirdas's father Gediminas received Alexander Mikhailovich, when, after Tver uprising, he, leaving his family in Pskov, sought support against the Horde Khan. In addition, in the chronicle news about the collusion between Algirdas and Ulyana, there is no mention of Vsevolod Alexandrovich, who, it would seem, was the first to benefit from the outlined alliance. E. Klug notes that the political balance established thanks to this marriage led to the diplomatic isolation of Vasily Mikhailovich [4, p. 167]. In the absence of support in Rus his only potential ally for the fight against Moscow was the Lithuanian prince. However, after the wedding of the latter with the daughter of Alexander Mikhailovich, this support was out of the question. The Aleksandrovichs now had dynastic ties with both Moscow and Lithuania, between which a relative political equilibrium also reigned [4, p. 167]. The fragile peace will be broken in the near future, but this will not affect the position of Juliania.

For Algirdas, marriage with Juliania was the second. His first wife was Maria Yaroslavna of Vitebsk, with whom the prince already had six children [1]. Nevertheless, it was the children of Juliania who were destined to go down in history as the outstanding rulers of the Lithuanian state. Two of her eight sons, Jagaila and Svidrigaila, later became Grand Dukes of Lithuania, who significantly influenced the development of the state. In total, Juliania had 16 children in a marriage with Algirdas.

Chronicles also report about the mother of Juliania, Princess Anastasia, who visited Lithuania shortly before her death, who took one of her granddaughters with her to Rus [IV, cl. 79; 5, p. 30].

Apparently, the princess took an active part in the political affairs of her husband and brothers. When in 1368 the shaky peace between Moscow and Tver collapsed and Juliania's brother, Prince of Tver, Mikhail Alexandrovich fled to his brother-in-law in Lithuania in search of support, Juliania supported Algirdas, who decided to go against Moscow [V, p. 184]. As a result of this campaign, Tver was returned to Mikhail Alexandrovich.

After Algirdas's death in 1377, a struggle for power flared up in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The eldest son of Juliana and Algirdas Jagailla was overthrown by his uncle Kestutis in 1381, however, a year later, relying on the Teutons and the Horde, he was able to regain the princely throne. At the same time, he concludes an agreement with Moscow. At the same time, Juliania is negotiating with the Moscow prince Dmitry Ivanovich, discussing the conditions for the marriage of Jagailla and Dmitry Ivanovich's daughter and the possibility of baptizing Lithuania into the Orthodox faith [III, p. 460; 8, p. 50-51; 11, p. 7]. The princess's ambitious plans were not destined to come true. In 1385, Jagaila married the Polish queen Jadwiga, thereby strengthening the Kreva Union concluded between Lithuania and Poland. He himself converted to Catholicism and baptized Lithuania [for more details about this period, see: 2; 9]. Relations with Moscow, which even before that could not be called peacefull, have deteriorated completely.

The Chronicle of Lithuania and Samogitia attributes to the princess the construction of a stone castle in Vitebsk. Juliania paid a lot of attention to charity and spiritual work. By her order, the first female Holy Spirit Monastery, the Church of the Epiphany, was founded in Vitebsk, and the construction of a stone church of the Most Pure Mother of God began. In 1377, after the death of her husband, Juliania made a large donation to the Church of the Dormition in Ozerishchi [I, No. 3. p. 53; II, no. 5; 7, p. 117].

In 1383 she was tonsured under the name of Martha. She died on March 17, 1391 [3, p. 6]. In 2018, Juliania of Tver was canonized as a locally revered saint.


  • Skirgaila, prince of Vitebsk (c. 1373-1381), Troksk (1382-1392), Polotsk (1387-1394), viceroy of the king in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1386-1392), prince of Kiev (1394)
  • Koributas, Prince of Novgorod-Seversky
  • Lengvenis, governor of Novgorod (1389–1392), Prince of Mstislavl (1390–1431)
  • Jagaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (since 1377), King of Poland (since 1386)
  • Karigaila, Prince Mstislavl
  • Mingaila (?)
  • Vygatas, Prince of Kernovsk
  • Svidrigaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1430-1432) [13, s. 308-311]
  • Kenna, wife of Kazhka (Casimir IV), the Duke of Pomerania
  • Euphrosynia, wife of Oleg Ivanovich, the Grand Duke of Ryazan
  • Fiodora, wife of Svyatoslav of Karachev
  • Elena, wife of Vladimir Andreevich the Bold, Prince of Serpukhovsky and Borovsk
  • Maria, the wife of the boyar Vaidila, the wife of Prince David of Horodetsk
  • Alexandra, the wife of the Masovian prince Siemovit IV
  • Catherine, the wife of Prince Johann II of Mecklenburg
  • Jadwiga, the wife of the Auschwitz prince Jan III [12, s. 630]


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V. PSRL. T. XXV. Moskovskii letopisnyi svod kontsa XV v. M., 2004. 


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Internet Resources 

1. Koniavskaia E.L. Tverskie kniagini i ikh rol' v semeinoi, obshchestvennoi i khoziaistvennoi zhizni. // Vestnik TvGu. Seriia "Istoriia'. 2020. № 4 (56). S. 16–32.