Saint Michael the first Metropolitan of Kiev, according to the Joakimov chronicle, was a Syrian by birth, but according to other chronicles, he was a Bulgarian or Serb. In the year 989, he arrived at Korsun with other clergy for holy Prince Vladimir (July 15), not long after Vladimir's Baptism (988).
As first metropolitan of the Russian Church his service was difficult, but grace-filled. He zealously made the rounds of the newly-enlightened Russian Land, preaching the Holy Gospel, baptizing and teaching the newly-illumined people, founding the first churches and religious schools.
In Rostov he established the first wooden church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos and installed Theodore the Greek there as bishop. St Michael was a wise and gentle, but also strict hierarch. The Russian Church has preserved the memory of the saint's praiseworthy deeds. In the Synodikon of the Novgorod and Kiev Sophia cathedrals he is rightfully called the initiator.
St Michael died in the year 992 and was buried in the Desyatin-Tithe church of the Most Holy Theotokos in Kiev. In about the year 1103, under the Igumen St Theoctistus (afterwards Bishop of Chernigov, August 5), his relics were transferred to the Antoniev Cave, and on October 1, 1730 into the Great Church of the Caves. Thus his memory was celebrated on September 30, and also July 15, the day of his repose.
Formerly, his memory was celebrated on September 2, along with Sts Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves. There is a trace of this earlier celebration in the service to St Michael. In the second verse of the "Praises" we sing: "Having begun the new year, we offer you our first songs, O blessed one, for you were the beginning of the hierarchy in the Russian land."
Troparion - Tone 4
The prophecy of the first-called apostle has been fulfilled today:
Grace has illumined the hills of Kiev and the faith is increased.
Those who were not a people
Are now the people of God, a holy nation,
A flock of Christ of which you, O Michael, are first shepherd,
And you serve it by bringing baptism.
O Hierarch, standing before God pray that all may be saved!
Kontakion - Tone 2
You appeared as a second Moses,
Bringing the vine from Egyptian idolatry into the land of promise.
You said of it: Faith shall be established in this land,
And fruit to nourish the world shall flourish on the summits of Kiev,
More than on the heights of Lebanon.
Having this harvest we bless you, O Hierarch Michael!