Statute of Prince Iaroslav [1019-54]

(Archeographic Copy)


Translated by Daniel H. Kaiser

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This is the Statute of Iaroslav [on] Hierarchs' Courts

1. Lo I, Grand Prince Iaroslav, son of Volodimir [ca. 980-1015], following [the example of] my father's gift, have consulted with Ilarion [1051-54], Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus', [and] we have compared [readings in the] Greek nomocanon; since a prince, or his boyars, or his judges ought not have jurisdiction over these suits, I have given to the Metropolitan and bishops [jurisdiction over the following]: divorce [cases] in all towns; the customs duty each tenth week [is to go] to the church and the Metropolitan; and his people are not to pay the customs duty anywhere, nor the duty levied on goods entering a town; and I have given [the church the revenue from] the "eighth" [exacted from weighed goods brought into town for trade].

2. If someone abducts a girl [with the aim of marrying her] or rapes her, [and] if she be a boyar's daughter [the offender] is to pay five grivnas of gold for her dishonor and five grivnas of gold to the Metropolitan; if she be [a daughter] of lesser boyars [the offender is to pay] one grivna of gold, and one grivna of gold to the Metropolitan; if [she be a daughter] of the "good men and true" [the offender is to pay] two grivnas of silver for the dishonor, and a ruble to the Metropolitan; and those who help in the abduction are to pay 60 [nogatas] each to the Metropolitan, and the prince punishes them.

3. If someone rapes a boyar's daughter or a boyar's wife, [then he is to pay] five grivnas of gold for the dishonor, and the same amount to the Metropolitan; [if someone rapes the daughter or wife] of lesser boyars [then he is to pay] one grivna of gold, and a grivna of gold to the Metropolitan; [if someone rapes the daughter or wife] of well-to-do people [he is to pay] two rubles, and two rubles to the Metropolitan; [if someone rapes the daughter or wife] of common people [he is to pay] twelve grivnas of fur, and twelve grivnas of fur to the Metropolitan, and the prince punishes [him].

4. If a boyar throws out his wife [who is a daughter] of great boyars, [then he is to pay] her 300 grivnas for the dishonor, and five grivnas of gold to the Metropolitan; [if the woman be the daughter] of lesser boyars [he is to pay her] one grivna of gold, and one grivna of gold to the Metropolitan; [if she be the daughter] of well-to-do people [he is to pay her] two rubles, and two rubles to the Metropolitan; [if she be the daughter] of common people [he is to pay her] twelve grivnas, and twelve grivnas to the Metropolitan, and the prince punishes [him].

5. If a girl engages in sexual intercourse or becomes pregnant [while she still lives] with her father or mother, or while she is a widow, after having found [her] out, put her in a church house [convent].

6. Likewise if a wife without her husband or [even while living] with her husband becomes pregnant [by some other man], and kills [the child], or throws it to the swine, or drowns [it], having found [her] out, take her into a convent, and what her kinsmen pay to redeem her [goes to the Metropolitan].

7. If a girl who sits [in a convent be the daughter] of great boyars, [they must pay] five grivnas of gold to the Metropolitan [to redeem her]; [if she be the daughter] of lesser boyars, [they must pay] the Metropolitan one grivna of gold; if [she be the daughter] of well-to-do people [they must pay] the Metropolitan two rubles or twelve grivnas; if [she be the daughter] of common people, [they must pay] the Metropolitan one grivna of silver or one ruble.

8. If someone prevails upon a girl [to come to him] and he gives her [over] for a group rape, then [exact] from the abductor one grivna of silver for the Metropolitan, and from the rapists 60 [nogatas] each, and the prince punishes [them].

9. If a husband has intercourse [with some woman other than] his wife, then the husband is guilty before the Metropolitan, and the prince punishes [him].

10. If a husband marries another woman, still not having been divorced from the old [wife], the husband is guilty before the Metropolitan, and take the young [i.e., more recent] wife into a convent, and he is to [resume] living with the old [i.e., first] wife.

11. If a wife goes from her husband [to marry] another man, or if she has intercourse [with that man] apart from her husband, take that wife into a convent, and [the adulterer is to pay] the marriage fee to the Metropolitan as a fine.

12. If a wife becomes seriously ill, or is blind, or is ill for a long time, [the husband] is not to abandon her for that.

13. Likewise the wife is not to abandon her husband [if he suffers serious or prolonged illness].

14. If a godfather engages in intercourse with a godmother [he is to pay] the Metropolitan twelve grivnas, and the prescription of penance [will be] according to the law of God.

15. If someone burns a threshing floor, or a house, or anything else, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 40 grivnas, and they [sic] shall undertake penance, and the prince punishes [him].

16. If someone engages in intercourse with his sister [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 40 grivnas, and [fulfill] the prescription of penance according to the law.

17. If someone marries within close kinship [i.e., within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity], [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 30 or 40 grivnas, and separate them, and let them undertake penance.

18. If someone marries two wives, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 20 grivnas, and whichever is false [i.e., the second wife], take her into a convent, and [the man] is to keep and maintain the first wife according to the law. If he keeps and treats her badly, punish him.

19. If a man separates from his wife by his own wish, and if there was a church wedding, then they shall give the Metropolitan twelve grivnas. And if they were not married in church [they are to pay] the Metropolitan six grivnas.

20. If a Jew or Muslim [takes] a Rus' woman [to marriage], or [if some] other [non-Orthodox] foreigner [takes a Rus' woman], [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 50 grivnas; and take the Rus' woman into a convent.

21. If someone has intercourse with a nun, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 40 grivnas, and assign [him] penance.

22. If someone copulates with an animal, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan twelve grivnas, and [execute] penance and punishment according to the law.

23. If a father-in-law engages in intercourse with his daughter-in-law, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 40 grivnas, and they shall take penance according to the law.

24. If someone falls into fornication with two sisters, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 30 grivnas.

25. If a [stepfather] engages in intercourse with his stepdaughter, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan twelve grivnas.

26. If a husband's brother falls into fornication with his brother's wife, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan twelve grivnas.

27. If someone falls into fornication with his stepmother, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan twelve grivnas.

28. If two brothers engage in intercourse with one woman, [they are to pay] the Metropolitan thirty grivnas; and take the woman into a convent.

29. If a father falls [into fornication] with his daughter, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 40 grivnas, and they shall take penance according to the law.

30. If a girl does not wish to marry, [and] then the father and mother give her [in marriage] by force, and if the girl causes [harm] to herself, then the father and mother are guilty before the Metropolitan, and they are to pay the losses. Likewise with a young man [who does not wish to marry].

31. If someone calls another man's wife a whore, and if she be a boyar's wife [and the daughter] of great boyars, [then he is to pay] her for the dishonor five grivnas of gold, and the Metropolitan five grivnas of gold, and the prince punishes [him]; and if she be [the daughter] of lesser boyars, [he is to pay] her three grivnas of gold for the dishonor, and three grivnas of gold to the Metropolitan; and if she be [the daughter] of townspeople, [he is to pay] her three grivnas of silver or a ruble for the dishonor, and the same amount to the Metropolitan; and if she be a farmer's wife [he is to pay] sixty rezanas, and three grivnas to the Metropolitan.

32. If someone shaves the hair off someone's head or beard, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan twelve grivnas, and the prince punishes [him].

33. If a man has stolen hemp or flax or any [sort of] grain, or if a woman [has stolen it], [the guilty party is to pay] the Metropolitan three grivnas.

34. If a man steals white clothes, and linen and pieces of cloth, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan three grivnas. Likewise a woman [is to pay if she has stolen these things].

35. If someone steals the wedding [fee] and betrothal [fee], everything [goes] to the Metropolitan.

36. If the cheese be cut for the sake of a girl [thereby sealing a marriage agreement according to pagan ritual], [those who engage in this ritual are to pay] one grivna for [using] the cheese, and [pay] her [the girl] three grivnas for the dishonor, and whatever is lost, [repay] her, and six grivnas to the Metropolitan, and the prince punishes [them].

37. If a wife steals from her husband, and he catches her, [she is to pay] three grivnas to the Metropolitan, and her husband punishes her, but for this do not divorce them.

38. If [a wife] steals from a storage room, treat her in the same way.

39. If a daughter-in-law steals from her father-in-law, they shall carry out the same [procedure] on her.

40. If a woman be a maker of charms, or a witch, or a pagan sorceress, or a maker of potions, then her husband, having caught her [doing these things], punishes her but does not separate from her, and the Metropolitan is [to be paid] six grivnas.

41. If two men fight like women, either tearing at the skin [with their nails] or biting, [they are to pay] the Metropolitan twelve grivnas [of fur] or one grivna [of gold].

42. If a woman beats her husband, [she is to pay] the Metropolitan three grivnas.

43. If two women fight, [exact] from the guilty [party] either 60 rezanas or six grivnas.

44. If some man beats another man's wife, [he is to pay] her for the dishonor as the law [prescribes], and six grivnas to the Metropolitan.

45. If a son beats his father or mother, let them punish him with the ruler's punishment, and [he stands as] guilty before the Metropolitan, [and take] such a youth into a church house [monastery].

46. If a monk, or nun, or priest, or priest's wife, or widow, or the woman who bakes the Eucharist bread, or a sexton falls into fornication, the Metropolitan is to judge them separately from laymen, and [he is] free to condemn them to whatever [he pleases].

47. If a girl wishes to marry, but her father and mother do not allow her [to marry], and she causes [some harm] to herself, the father and mother are guilty before the Metropolitan. Likewise with a youth [whose parents prevented him from marrying].

48. If a priest, or monk, or nun gets drunk at an inappropriate time [eg., during Lent], [he or she] is guilty before the Metropolitan.

49. If someone sets fire to a house, or threshing floor, or anything else, [he is to pay] the Metropolitan 40 grivnas, and the prince punishes [him].

50. If someone eats pagan food by his own volition, whether it be mare's meat, or bear's meat, or any other forbidden meat, he is guilty before the Metropolitan and [is subject] to punishment [by him].

51. If a priest christens children in the district of another priest, except in an emergency or during [the infant's] illness [which threatens its life], that [priest who] celebrates a christening not in his own district [but in another], he is guilty before the Metropolitan.

52. Do not eat or drink with those who are not baptized or with a foreigner or [with anyone] from our own people if he be not baptized, until he is baptized. And whoever knowingly eats and drinks [with unbaptized persons] will be guilty before the Metropolitan.

53. If someone eats and drinks with those who are excommunicated he will himself be excommunicated.

54. If someone engages in intercourse with a Muslim or Jewish woman, and he does not separate [from her], let him be excommunicated from the Church and from Christians, and [he is to pay] the Metropolitan twelve grivnas.

55. If a monk or nun renounces [his or her] vows, [he or she is to pay] the Metropolitan 40 grivnas.

56. And for these causes divorce a man from his wife.

And this is the first cause. If a wife hears from other people that they plot against the tsar, or against the prince, but she does not tell her husband about this, and later is discovered [to have known about the plot], divorce them.

And this is the second cause. If a man catches his wife with an adulterer or initiates a case against her [on the basis of testimony given] by good witnesses, divorce them.

And this is the third cause. If a woman plots against her own husband with poison or with other people, if she has come to know that [other people] wish to kill or murder her husband, but she says nothing to her husband, and later this comes to light, divorce [them].

And this is the fourth cause. If a wife without her husband's permission goes [around] with other people, or drinks or eats [with them], or sleeps outside his house, and then the husband finds out, divorce [them].

And this is the fifth cause. If a wife without her husband's permission goes to the pagan dances either in the day or at night, and her husband finds out, but she does not obey [his command to stop these activities], divorce her.

And this is the sixth cause. If a wife leads thieves against her husband, orders [them] to rob the house of her husband, or herself robs [him], having stolen [his] goods or [goods] from a church, and gives [the stolen property] to others, for this divorce them.

57. And whatever goes on among monastery people and among church people, and in the monasteries themselves, neither the prince nor his lieutenant [is to] interfere in that, and the Metropolitan's lieutenants have jurisdiction over these [matters], and their escheated estates go to the Metropolitan's lieutenant.

58. If someone violates my statute and transgresses my regulation, whether my sons, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, someone from among my kinsmen, or boyars from among the boyar kinsmen of my boyars; if they transgress my ordinances and interfere in the Metropolitan's court, and in the church courts which I have given to the Metropolitan and the bishops according to the canons of the Holy Fathers, having judged [them], punish them severely according to the law.

59. If someone shall judge [these cases that are in church jurisdiction], he shall stand with me at Judgment before God, and may the curse of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers who were in Nicea [A.D. 325, First Council of Nicea] [and the curse] of all the saints be upon him. Amen.



SOURCE: The Laws of Rus'--Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries, tr., ed. Daniel H. Kaiser (Salt Lake City: Charles Schlacks Publisher, 1992), 45-50.

1992, Daniel H. Kaiser. All rights reserved.