In the above icon, we can see that my 30th great grandmother, Saint Anna of Novgorod, is holding the St. Sophia Catheral of Novgorod in her hand. Anna, the daughter of a saint, Olaf Skotkonung ("the All Christian King") was a member of an extremely pious royal family.
As the wife of Yaroslav I "the wise" of Kiev, she initiated the construction of the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev, which her husband supervised, and she also commenced the building of the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod. It was primarily for this that she was sainted, in addition to her pious and holy life.
Like many of her era, she has many names. She was born Ingegerd Olafsdatter, took the Greek version of her name, "Irene," after her marriage and subsequent move to Kiev, and was given the name "Anna" when she entered religious life. Thus, she is styled "Saint Anna of Novgorod" by the Orthodox Christian church. Some times, the name is embellished, such as "Right Believing Princess Anna of Novgorod."
Irene and her husband had ten children in all, six sons and four daughters. The daughters married very well, becoming queens of France, Hungary, Norway and England. It appears as if I am descended from at least two of her daughters. If you go back far enough in your royal family genealogy, there is so much close relationship between the royal families that you find that you are a cousin to yourself many times over!
For instance, Anne of Kiev, wife of King Henry I of France, is my 29th great grandmother.
When the Orthodox Church sainted Anna of Novgorod, they issued this statement:
I was delighted to find my great great grandmother's hymn on the Wikipedia page devoted to her. Knowing that I may sing the praises of a saint in heaven from whom I am descended gives me a special feeling of protection, safety and guidance.
Special Melody: "Joy of the ranks of heaven"
"O joy of the Swedish people, thou didst gladden the
Russian realm, filling it with grace and purity,
adorning its throne with majesty, lustrous in piety
like a priceless gem set in a splendid royal crown.
Named Ingegerd in the baptismal waters, O
venerable one, thou wast called Irene by thy
Russian subjects, who perceived in thee the divine
and ineffable peace; but when thou didst submit to
monastic obedience, thou didst take the new name,
Anna, after the honoured ancestor of Christ, the
King of kings.
Wed in honourable matrimony, O holy anna, thou
didst live in concord with thy royal spouse, the right-
believing and most wise Prince Yaroslav; and
having born him holy offspring, after his repose
thou didst betroth thyself unto the Lord as thy
Disdaining all the allurements of vanity and donning
the coarse robes of a monastic, O wondrous and
sacred Anna, thou gavest thyself over to fasting
and prayer, ever entreating Christ they Master, that
He deliver thy people from the all want and
There are two feast days for Saint Anna of Novgorod; February 10 and October 4. I hope to get one of her icons before the October feast date.
In the meantime, I pray to become more like her and her pious family. Please pray for me.
Silver "Rose" Parnell
Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church
Wikipedia link for Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden
Uncut Mountain Supply - where you can buy her icon