The holy and right-believing Daniel of Moscow was the Grand Prince of Moscow, son of the holy and right-believing Alexander Nevsky. Being the youngest son, he inherited the poor principality of Moscow that through his adroit and peaceful handling of the princely internecine warfare developed into the capital of a united Russian land. He founded the first monastery, St. Daniel Monastery (Moscow), in Moscow, at the Church of St. Daniel the Stylite. He is remembered on March 17 (March 4) and September 12 (August 30).
Daniel was the youngest son of the sainted Prince Alexander Nevsky, the Grand Prince of Vladimir, and the righteous Princess Vassa. He was born in 1261 in Vladimir-on-Klyazama, the capital of the principality of Great Vladimir. Two years later his father, the Prince Alexander, died, leaving him the inheritance, in 1272, of the principality of Moscow, which was poor in comparison with the principalities inherited by his older brothers.
Over the next decades, Daniel, as reported in the chronicles, ruled in a manner encouraging peace, piety, and kindness in the face of surviving under the severe Tatar domination and internecine warfare among the Russian princes. In the thirty years of his rule, Daniel participated only once in combat. That occasion was when Constantine, the Prince of Ryazan, moved to capture Moscow with Tatar help. Near Pereyaslavl, Daniel defeated and captured Constantine. Before the armistice was signed Daniel treated Constantine with hospitality. In 1296, he won the title of Grand Prince of all Russian lands. Soon, his principality included the territory of Pereyaslavl and Zalessky lands. In the thirty years of his rule, Moscow became the most important and powerful Russian principality foreshadowing the unity of the land of the Russians.
Daniel developed great respect and popularity among the Russian people of his principality through his manner of meekness, humility, and peacefulness while taking care of both the populace and the city.
About 1282, Daniel established the first monastery in the city at a site about five miles from the Kremlin at the location of the wooden church of St. Daniel-Stylite. This site became the Monastery of St. Daniel.
In March 1303, Prince Daniel died at the age of 42. Before he died he had become a monk and specified in his will that he be buried in the cemetery of the monastery. Many miracles, including healing people, have occurred over his grave.
During the seventeenth century his miracle-working relics were found, following which he was glorified by the Church of Russia, establishing March 17 and September 12 as the dates he is remembered. Through the years St. Daniel became among the most popular of the Russian saints.
During the troubled times of Soviet rule in the early twentieth century, St. Daniel's relics were lost during destruction at the monastery, as graves of people were moved to other places and the necropolis of the monastery was destroyed. In 1986, part of the relics of St. Daniel were returned to the revived Monastery of St, Daniel by Metropolitan Theodosius of Washington that was being rebuilt after return by the Soviet government.
On the eve of the 850th year commemoration of Moscow, a monument was placed and sanctified on September 4, 1997, on Tylskaya Square in Moscow in memory of St. Daniel. The following March 17 a chapel was dedicated on Tylskaya Square to St Daniel.
- Right-believing Prince Daniel of Moscow, March 4 (OCA)
- Uncovering of the relics of St Daniel the Prince of Moscow, August 30 (OCA)