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Portal:Eastern Christianity/Selected biography/5

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Jovan Vladimir in English texts often John Vladimir, (died May 22, 1016 in Prespa, today in the Republic of Macedonia) was the ruler of Duklja between the years ca. 990 and 1016, during the protracted war between Byzantium and the First Bulgarian Empire. He tried to protect Duklja from the expansionist Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria by making alliance with Byzantium; Samuil, however, conquered Duklja in 997 and took Jovan Vladimir prisoner. Samuil’s daughter Theodora Kosara fell in love with the captive, and begged her father for his hand. He obliged, returning Duklja to his new son-in-law and giving him the territory of Dyrrhachium besides, to rule them as his vassal. Vladimir ruled in peace, evading involvement in the major conflict. The war culminated with Samuil’s defeat by the Byzantines in 1014, shortly after which the Tsar died. Jovan Vladimir finally fell victim in 1016 to a plot by Ivan Vladislav, the last ruler of the First Bulgarian empire. He was beheaded in front of a church in Prespa. Jovan Vladimir was buried in Prespa, and shortly after his death he was recognized as a martyr and saint, being celebrated on May 22; he is chronologically the first Serbian saint. To the present day, the relics of Saint Jovan Vladimir attract many believers, especially on his feast day. One relic connected with the saint is the cross that he held in his hands when he was beheaded. Saint Jovan Vladimir is the patron saint of the town Bar, Montenegro.

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