Elena-Evgenia, wife of Ivan Asen I

For the Nicaean Queen consort, see Elena Asenina of Bulgaria.

Elena (Bulgarian: Елена) was the second wife of tsar Ivan Asen I of Bulgaria. She was the mother of tsar Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria.


Her antecedents are unknown. She is sometimes alleged to be a daughter of Stefan Nemanja of Serbia, but this relationship is questionable and would have caused various canonical impediments to marriages between their descendants. Elena married Ivan Asen I in 1183 at the age of thirteen.

By her marriage to Ivan Asen I, Elena had at least two sons:

  1. Ivan Asen II, emperor of Bulgaria 1218–1241
  2. Alexander (Aleksandăr), sebastokrator, who died after 1232; Alexander had a son named Kaliman Asen II, emperor of Bulgaria in 1256

After the assassination of Ivan Asen I in 1196, Elena retired to a convent under the monastic name Evgenia (Bulgarian: Евгения). Her memory is honored in the Synodic of Bulgarian Church:

For Elena, the new and pious tsarina, mother of the great tsar Ivan Asen, adopted then an angelic image and called Evgenia, may her memory live forever.


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