Christianity in Kievan Russia continued to expand and develop. A fire in Kiev in 1124 is reported to have destroyed six hundred church edifices—an indication of the great development of this cosmopolitan city which had become a leading center of European and Byzantine culture and trade. Early in this century, Prince Vladimir II Monomakh (1053–1125), a great grandson of Saint Vladimir and a grandson of Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus of Byzantium, wrote his famous autobiography called his Testament, or Charge to My Children, a document intended to guide his sons in their lives as Christian leaders.
The Russian Primary Chronicle, the seminal document which records the basic history of the Kievan state, with special emphasis on the coming and spreading of Orthodox Christianity, began to be compiled by the monk Nestor of the Monastery of the Kievan Caves. Saint Alypius (d. 1114), the “Father of Russian iconography,” also lived in this period. Some of the greatest architectural and iconographic achievements of Novgorod, Vladimir, Suzdal, and Pskov come from this time.