We commemorate St. Jovan Vladimir today. He was ruler of the great principality of Duklja from about 1000-1016, while the Byzantine Empire was at war with the Bulgarians. Vladimir was a peaceful ruler, pious and just.
He was unable to save Duklja from Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria who conquered it around 1010 and imprisoned Vladimir. According to tradition the emperor’s daughter, Theodora, fell in love with Vladimir and begged her father for his hand. The tsar allowed the marriage and returned Duklja to Vladimir. While Vladimir served as the emperor’s vassal he took no part in his father-in-law’s war efforts and the emperor was ultimately defeated by the Byzantines in 1014 and died soon after. In 1016 Vladimir fell victim to a plot by the last ruler of the First Bulgarian Empire, Ivan Vladislav. Vladimir was beheaded in front of the church in Prespa, the empire’s capital , and buried there. Soon afterward he was recognized as a martyr and saint.
The video above is of the St. Jovan Vladimir Church in the coastal town of Bar in Montenegro. The church is still under construction.