THEODOSIA MSTISLAVNA (born no later than in 1205, † May 4, 1244 in Novgorod), the Grand Princess of Vladimir, the second or third wife (since 1213 / or 1218–1219) of Yaroslav Vsevolodovich, the Grand Prince of Vladimir


  • Mstislav Mstislavich the Daring, Prince of Novgorod (1209–1215, 1216–1217), Prince of Halych (1215/1218 –1216/1219) [8, p. 71–80] / or Igor Glebovich, Prince of Ryazan [1, p. 21-23] / or Mstislav Romanovich the Old, Prince of Kiev [4, p. 21-30; 5, c. 555-558]


  • unknown / or Maria, daughter of Khan Köten


The personality of Theodosia Mstislavna has been causing scientific debate for a long time. What was the origin of this princess, who would become the mother of Alexander Nevsky, still cannot be reliably established. Her baptismal name is known - Theodosia, but this is where the exact data about her end. In science, the opinion was established that the mother of Alexander Nevsky was the second wife of Yaroslav Vsevolodovich, the daughter of Mstislav Mstislavich [3, p. 125-126; 8, p. 79-80; 9, p. 174-176; 11, p. 51, etc.]. Another point of view was expressed by N. Baumgarten, who suggested that Theodosia came from Ryazan and was the daughter of Ryazan Prince Igor Glebovich [1, p. 21-23; 10, p. 10]. This version, however, was criticized by V.A.Kuchkin, who believes that the "complete indifference" of Theodosia-Rostislavna to Ryazan (throughout her life the princess never visited Ryazan, at least no evidence of this has been attested) and close contacts of the Yaroslavichs with the Ryazan princes in the subsequent time prove the erroneous opinion of N. Baumgarten. But it is known about the frequent stays of Feodosia in Novgorod [8, p. 71–80] N. Baumgarten's point of view was not shared by D. Dombrowsky, who put forward his version of the princess's origin. According to the Polish researcher, Theodosia was the daughter of the Kiev prince Mstislav Romanovich the Old and the third (and not the second, as A.V. Gorovenko and V.A. Kuchkin believe) the wife of Yaroslav Vsevolodovich [4, p. 21-30; 5, p. 555–558].

It is known that Yaroslav's second wife was Rostislava, the daughter of Mstislav Mstislavich the Daring. The marriage, which was already the second for the 23-year-old prince, took place in 1213 [I, p. 111] In the internecine struggle for the Vladimir reign between the descendants of Vsevolod the Big Nest, Mstislav Mstislavich the Daring and Yaroslav Vsevolodovich found themselves on opposite sides. After the Lipitsk battle of 1216 and the defeat of the younger Vsevolodovichs, Mstislav took his daughter from his recalcitrant son-in-law and returned her home [IV, p. 75; VIII, p. 270-271]. Researchers have different views on further events. V.A. Kuchkin and a number of other historians believe that after a year or two, Mstislavna returned to her husband. There are no direct confirmations of this fact; however, indirect proof of this are the hypothetical difficulties that, if Theodosia did not return, could arise for both Mstislav the Daring and Yaroslav Vsevolodovich. The marriage could not be considered officially dissolved, respectively, neither Rostislava nor Yaroslav could legally enter into a new marriage. The act of Mstislav Mstislavich, who rudely intervened in his daughter's family life, could lead to anger and condemnation from the Church [8, p. 71-80]. V.L. Yanin noted that the wedding of Alexander Yaroslavich in 1239 in Toropets, the former fatherland of the descendants of Mstislav the Brave, can also be regarded as a kind of claim to the maternal inheritance [11, p. 51]. Thus, Mstislavna became the second and last wife of Yaroslav and, accordingly, the mother of all his children [9, p. 175]. It should be admitted that these arguments can be challenged, which did D. Dombrowsky. The historian believes that Rostislava did not return to her husband, and the prince was forced to marry a third time.

Yaroslava's third marriage (if there was one) could have been concluded in 1218, and the first-born Fyodor was born into the prince's family in 1219 or early 1220s. In total, eight sons were born in this marriage. Theodosia is mentioned in the Life of Alexander Nevsky as a woman who devoted herself entirely to her family and children, but no facts are given that would allow her biography to be recreated in more detail. According to sources, she died in 1244 and was buried in the Yuryev Monastery in Novgorod [II, p. 79, 298, 452; III, p. 152; IV, p. 129; V, p. 161; VI, p. 80; VII, p. 136; VIII, p. 84].   

Sons [2, p. 553; 6, p. 120–121]*

* A. Y. Karpov, in addition to the sons mentioned above, names other children of Yaroslav and Theodosia: Danil Yaroslavich, a son unknown by name, who died during the invasion of Batu in 1238, as well as daughters: Mary and another daughter, unknown by name [7, p. 136].  


  • Fyodor Yaroslavich, Prince of Novgorod (1228–1229)
  • Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky, Prince of Novgorod (1236–1240, 1241–1252 and 1257–1259), the Grand Prince of Kiev (1249–1263), the Grand Prince of Vladimir (1252–1263)
  • Konstantin Yaroslavich (+ 1255), Prince of Halych-Dmitrov (1247–1255)
  • Yaroslav Yaroslavich, Prince of Novgorod (1255–1256), the first prince of Tver (1247–1272), the Grand Prince of Vladimir (1263–1272)
  • Mikhail Yaroslavich the Brave, Prince of Moscow (1246-1248), the Grand Prince of Vladimir (1248)
  • Andrey Yaroslavich, the Grand Prince of Vladimir (1248–1252), Prince of Suzdal (1256–1264)
  • Vasily Yaroslavich, Prince of Kostroma (1247–1276), the Grand Prince of Vladimir (1272–1276), Prince of Novgorod (1273–1276)


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IV. PSRL. T. Kh. Letopisnyi sbornik, imenuemyi Patriarshei ili Nikonovskoi letopis'iu (859–1176 g.). SPb., 1885. 

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VI. PSRL. T. XXIII. Ermolinskaia letopis'. SPb., 1910.

VII. PSRL. T. XXV. Moskovskii letopisnyi svod kontsa XV v. M.; L., 1949.

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


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2.      Voitovich V. Kniazha doba na Rusi: portreti eliti. Bila Tserkva, 2006. 

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5.      Dombrovskii D. Genealogiia Mstislavichei. Pervye pokoleniia (do nachala XIV v.) / Per. s pol'skogo i vstup. slovo k rus. izd. K.Iu. Erusalimskogo, O.A. Ostapchuk. SPb., 2015.

6.      Donskoi D. Spravochnik po genealogii Riurikovichei. Ch. 1 (seredina IX–nachalo XIV vv.) Renn, 1991.

7.      Karpov A.Iu. Velikii kniaz' Aleksandr Nevskii. M., 2010. 

8.      Kuchkin V.A. K biografii Aleksandra Nevskogo // Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR. Ezhegodnik. 1985 g., M., 1986 g. S. 71–80.

9.      Kuchkin V.A. O date rozhdeniia Aleksandra Nevskogo // Voprosy istorii. 1986. № 2. S.174–176. 

10.    Pashuto V.T. Aleksandr Nevskii. M., 1974. 

11. Ianin V.L. Novgorod i Litva: pogranichnye situatsii XIII–XV vekov. M., 1998.