Saint Alexander Nevsky (May 30, 1220? -“ November 14, 1263) was the Grand Prince of Novgorod and Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the country's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Russia, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military victories over the German invaders while employing shrewd conciliatory policies towards the powerful Golden Horde.
Born in Pereslavl-Zalessky, Alexander was the fourth son of Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodovich and seemed to have no chance of claiming the throne of Vladimir. In 1236, however, he was summoned by the Novgorodians to become kniaz' (or prince) of Novgorod and, as their military leader, to defend their northwest lands from Swedish and German invaders. After the Swedish army had landed at the confluence of the rivers Izhora and Neva, Alexander and his small army suddenly attacked the Swedes on July 15, 1240 and defeated them. The Neva battle of 1240 saved Russia from a full-scale enemy invasion from the North. Because of this battle, 19-year-old Alexander was given the name of "Nevsky" (which means of Neva). This victory, coming just a year after the disastrous Mongol invasion of Russia, strengthened Nevskya€™s political influence, but at the same time it worsened his relations with the boyars. He would soon have to leave Novgorod because of this conflict.
After Pskov had been invaded by the crusading Livonian Knights, the Novgorod authorities sent for Alexander. In spring of 1241 he returned from his exile, gathered an army, and drove out the invaders. Alexander and his men faced the Livonian heavy cavalry led by the Magister of the Order, Hermann, brother of Albert of Buxhoeveden. Nevsky faced the enemy on the ice of the Lake Peipus and defeated the Livonian Knights during the Battle of the Ice on April 5, 1242
He was later canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547. His feast day is November 23. Some of Alexander's policies on the Western border were continued by his grandson-in-law, Daumantas of Pskov, who was also beatified in the 16th century.