of Bulgaria (spelled also as 'Cossara') was the daughter of Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria
Samuel was the Emperor of the First Bulgarian Empire from 997 to 6 October 1014. From 980 to 997, he was a general under Roman I of Bulgaria, the second surviving son of Emperor Peter I of Bulgaria, and co-ruled with him, as Roman bestowed upon him the command of the army and the effective royal...
and Kosara of Bulgaria
Kosara or Cossara was a Bulgarian Empress, the wife of Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria. She married about 970.Her father was John Chryselios from Dyrrhachium. His name and his heresy drive us towards the middle of the Armenians Paulicians....
Theodora Kosara fell in love with Jovan Vladimir
Jovan Vladimir or John Vladimir was ruler of Duklja, the most powerful Serbian principality of the time, from around 1000 to 1016. He ruled during the protracted war between the Byzantine Empire and the First Bulgarian Empire...
Doclea or Duklja was a medieval state with hereditary lands roughly encompassing the territories of present-day southeastern Montenegro, from Kotor on the west to the river Bojana on the east and to the sources of Zeta and Morača rivers on the north....
who was prisoner of her father Samuil. The story of Vladimir and Theodora Kosara is the subject of one of the most romantic tales of early Serbian literature.
An oral tradition of the story was recorded in the 12th century in the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja; this is the Chronicle’s description of how Vladimir and Kosara met:
- “It came to pass that Samuel’s daughter, Cossara, was animated and inspired by a beatific soul. She approached her father and begged that she might go down with her maids and wash the head and feet of the chained captives. Her father granted her wish, so she descended and carried out her good work. Noticing Vladimir among the prisoners, she was struck by his handsome appearance, his humility, gentleness and modesty, and the fact that he was full of wisdom and knowledge of the . She stopped to talk to him, and to her his speech seemed sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.”
So Kosara fell in love with the handsome captive, and begged her father for his hand. Samuil, having conquered lands, wanted to bind his new subjects to himself in a more cordial way, not only with the sheer force. He allowed the marriage, returned Duklja to his new son-in-law, and besides gave him the whole territory of Dyrrhachium, to rule them from that point on as his vassal
A vassal state is any state that is subordinate to another. The vassal in these cases is the ruler, rather than the state itself. Being a vassal most commonly implies providing military assistance to the dominant state when requested to do so; it sometimes implies paying tribute, but a state which...
Theodora Kosara and Joavan Vladimir had a daughter, who married Stefan Vojslav, prince of Zeta
Zeta was a medieval state, which territory encompassed parts of present-day Montenegro and Northernwestern Albania. From 1360. to 1421. Zeta was independent state administered by local noble family Balšić. From 1185. to 1360. and from 1421. - 1451, Zeta was province of medieval Serbia...
Tsar Samuil died in 1014 and he was succeeded by his son Gavril Radomir
Gavril Radomir , normally rendered as Gabriel Radomir in English and Gavriil Romanos in Greek, was the ruler of the First Bulgarian Empire from October 1014 to August or September 1015. He was the son of Samuel of Bulgaria. During his father's reign, his cousin Ivan Vladislav and Ivan's entire...
, but his reign was short: his cousin Ivan Vladislav killed him in 1015, and ruled in his stead. Vladislav held that he would make his position stronger if he exterminated the whole family of Samuil, for which reason he plotted the murder of Jovan Vladimir. The new Tsar thus sent messengers to him to demand his attendance in Prespa, but Vladimir did not want to go out his land; not even after many subsequent Vladislav’s promises and pledges that he meant no harm to him. Finally, Vladislav sent him a golden cross with his pledge on it, to which Vladimir replied:
- “We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, was suspended not on a golden cross, but on a wooden one. Therefore, if both your faith and your words are true, send me a wooden cross in the hands of religious men, then in accordance with the belief and conviction of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will have faith in the life-giving cross and holy wood. I will come.”
Two bishops and a hermit came to Vladimir, gave him a wooden cross, and confirmed that the Tsar had made the pledge on it. Vladimir kissed the cross, collected a few followers, and set off to Prespa. As soon as he arrived there, he went into a church for a prayer. When he came out of the church, he was struck down by Vladislav’s soldiers and beheaded, all the time holding the cross in his hands; it was May 22, 1016.
Jovan Vladimir was buried in Prespa, in the same church in front of which he was martyred. Shortly after his death, he was recognized as a martyr and saint.
Two or three years after Jovan Vladimir’s burial, Kosara transported his remains to Duklja. She interred him near his court in Krajina
Krajina or Kraja is an area in southeastern Montenegro stretching from the southern coast of Lake Skadar to the mountain of Rumija, comprising several villages. It is inhabited mainly by Albanians and Montenegrins, which make up most of population...
, in the church of Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...
. Kosara did not marry again; by her will, she was interred in the same church, at the feet of her husband.