SOFIA DMITRIEVNA OF ZAOZERSK (? - 1456), Princess of Moscow and the Grand Princess of Vladimir, since 1436 or 1437 the wife of Dmitry Yuryevich Shemyaka, Prince of Moscow and the Grand Prince of Vladimir


  • Dmitry Vasilievich of Zaozersk, Prince of Yaroslavsky


  • Maria, princess of unknown origin


The date of birth of Sophia of Zaozersk is unknown. The daughter of Dmitry Vasilyevich of Zaozersk, Prince of Yaroslavl, she was married to Dmitry Yuryevich Shemyaka, grandson of Dmitry Donskoy and cousin of Vasily II the Dark [I, cl. 193, 196; 2, p. 36; 3, p. 114]. Shemyaka was one of the main characters in the internecine war of 1425-1453 and it fell to his family to survive all the dangers and sorrows that accompany the struggle for power. He made the decision to marry when the confrontation with his cousin turned into an open military conflict. There has already been a scandal of the golden belt of Dmitry Donskoy at the wedding of Vasily II, there was a collision on the river Klyazma, the short Moscow reign of Yuri of Zvenigorod began and ended, the alignment of forces of the main opponents changed several times. Vasily Yuryevich the Squint, declaring his own claims to the throne bypassing his father, unwittingly pushed Dmitry Shemyaka to an armistice with Vasily II. By the time Dmitry was married, more or less equal relations had been established between him and the Moscow prince, but the end  of the conflict was still far away.

Chronicles report that in the winter of 1435/36 Shemyaka came to Moscow to Vasily II to invite him to his wedding in Uglich, but was captured and sent to Kolomna [VI, p. 145]. This act, probably dictated by Vasily Vasilyevich's fears that Shemyaka would secretly or openly support his brother, had the opposite effect: Dmitry Yuryevich's court went over to the side of Vasily the Squint. A few months later, after the victory of Vasily the Dark over Vasily the Squint, Dmitry Yuryevich was released from captivity [II, p. 176; 1, p. 76, 77]. Probably around the same time his wedding with Sophia took place. This conclusion can be made by Shemyaka's mentioning of Dmitry of Zaozersk by his father-in-law, meeting in the end of Dmitry Yuryevich with Vasily II, where Shemyaka recognized himself as the younger brother of the Moscow prince and confirmed the transition to the last inheritance of Vasily the Squint [1, p. 74, 236; 4, p. 236].

In marriage, Sophia Dmitrievna had two children: Maria and Ivan.

During the next round of the struggle for power, Sophia, along with her husband and son, arrived in Novgorod, where Shemyaka hoped to find a temporary shelter. V.L. Yanin dates their arrival in 1444 or earlier than this time [5, p. 198], however, A. A. Zimin believed that Dmitry did not come to Novgorod at that time [1, p. 98]. Sophia Dmitrievna, independently or together with her husband, made a rich contribution to the Yuryev Monastery - the precious shroud.

During the events of 1445-1447, when Dmitry Shemyaka twice for a short time became the Grand Prince of Moscow, Sophia was next to her husband. She accompanies him during the retreat from Volokolamsk to Halych [III] and was in the city until the attack of the Serpukhov prince Vasily Yaroslavich began. In 1449 Dmitry turned to the Novgorod Archbishop Euthymius with a request to shelter his wife and son in the Yuryev Monastery, believing that they were in danger [I, stb. 192].

After the assassination of Dmitry Shemyaka in 1453, [I, cl. 193; IV, p. 155; V, p. 205; VI, p. 147] Sophia has been living in Novgorod for some time. Her son Ivan Dmitrievich leaves for Lithuania in 1454 [I, cl. 193]. Sophia follows her son in 1456, fleeing from Vasily II, who came out with a punitive campaign against Novgorod [I, cl. 196]. Sophya Dmitrievna died in the middle of 1456 [I, cl. 196].


  • Ivan Dmitrievich, Prince of Novgorod-Seversky and Rylsk (1454 - after 1471).
  • Maria Dmitrievna, the wife of the Lithuanian prince Alexander Vasilievich Czartoryski [I, cl. 193; 2, p. 37]


The Shemyakin shroud, the shroud (vozdukh) with the image of Christ in the tomb, mourned by four angels, sewn with silks, silver and gold thread. It was the contribution of Dmitry Shemyaka and Sophia Dmitrievna to the Novgorod Yuryev Monastery, made in 1444 (according to other sources - not earlier than 1449) [5, p. 193].


I. PSRL. T. XVI. Letopisnyi sbornik, imenuemyi letopis'iu Avraamki. M., 2000.

II. PSRL. T. XVIII. Simeonovskaia letopis'. M., 2007.

III. PSRL. T. XX. L'vovskaia letopis'. M., 2004.

IV. PSRL. T. XXIII. Ermolinskaia letopis'. M., 2004.

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

VI. PSRL. T. XXXIX. Sofiiskaia pervaia letopis' po spisku I.N. Tsarskogo. M., 1994.


1.      Zimin A.A. Vitiaz' na rasput'e: Feodal'naia voina v Rossii XV v. M., 1991.

2.      Kuchkin V.A. Moskovskie Riurikovichi (genealogiia, demografiia) // Istoricheskii vestnik. 2013. № 04 (151). S. 6–73.

3.      Ekzempliarskii A.V. Velikie i udel'nye kniaz'ia severnoi Rusi v tatarskii period s 1238 g. po 1505 g.: biograficheskie ocherki po pervoistochnikam i glavneishim posobiiam. T. 2. Vladetel'nye kniaz'ia Vladimirskikh i Moskovskikh udelov i velikie i udel'nye vladetel'nye kniaz'ia Suzdal'sko-Nizhegorodskie, Tverskie. Riazanskie. SPb., 1891.

4.      Ianin V.L. Nekropol' novgorodskogo Sofiiskogo sobora. M., 1988.

5.      Ianin V.L. Ocherki kompleksnogo istochnikovedeniia. M., 1977.