Dažbog was the pre-Christian sun god of the East and South Slavs. The name Dazhbog (Old Russian, Dazh’bog) is first mentioned in the Kievan pantheon, listed in the Russian Primary Chronicle (c. 1111 CE). His connection with the sun is clearly stated in the Malalas Chronicle of 1114: “Tsar Sun is the son of Svarog, and his name is Dazhbog.” (Svarog, the creator of the sun, is identified in Greek translation with the smith Hephaistos. Like his Lithuanian counterpart, the heavenly smith Kalvelis, whose achievement is described in the Volynian Chronicle of 1252, Svarog probably hammered the sun into shape and placed it in the sky. For the chroniclers, he was identical with Helios.) The importance of this god is attested in the thirteenth-century Old Russian epic Slovo o polku Igoreve, where the phrase “grandchildren of Dazhbog” is used to refer to the Russian people.
Jones, L. (Ed.). (2004). Encyclopedia of Religion. New York: Macmillan.
As we know, Prince Vladimir of Kiev accepted Christianity for political reasons and began christianizing of the whole Kievan Rus forcibly. He commanded to overthrow all the idols: to chop up one part of them and burn the others. Moreover, Christianization of the Slavic people by the Russian Orthodox Church also caused the phenomenon of “satanization” of old Slavic gods.
However, the cult of Dazhdbog was very strong on the Slavic lands. Neither fire nor sword could convince the Slavs to cease to worship Dazhdbog. Therefore, the fathers of the Russian Orthodox Church used a special propagandistic technique for “adaptation” of the new Christian faith to the local culture. They were gradually layering a new meaning to the old content. In particular, there was a fusion of the old gods’ images with the images of “minor” local Christian saints.
In the case of Dazhdbog, churchmen had to use one of their main arguments – Jesus Christ as he himself, “The King of Heaven” and “light”, was the most verisimilar Christian analog of Dazhdbog. Besides, Jesus Christ had the solar number of Apostles that is twelve and a symbol of the cross, which is the oldest Slavic solar symbol.
Having come from Byzantium to Kievan Rus, Christianity brought an Easter celebration. However, not everything went so smoothly during Christianisation. In short, church needed to Christianize the cult of Dazhdbog in order to introduce Easter holiday into the consciousness of the Slavic people. As a result, Easter has become the most solemn holiday in Russian Orthodox Church and was called the Great day.
Symbolism Of Ukrainian Easter Eggs