Saint Sava

The first Serbian Archbishop, enlightener, reformer, writer, nobleman, diplomat, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Sunday 27th of January 2019

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Saint Sava (around 1175-1236), was born as Rastko Nemanjic. The Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates Savindan (Saint Sava's Day) each 27th January. Stefan Nemanja's youngest son had no ambitions as his older brothers, Vukan and Stefan, to follow his father and be ruler. He was special from his early childhood, born for great things.

He became a monk in Saint Panteleimon Monastery in 1192. Since then, everything he had, he has invested in the development and autonomy of the Serbian church. Sava was consecrated by Patriarch Manuel I of Constantinople in Nicaea as the first Archbishop of the autocephalous (independent) Serbian Church. Together with his father he built the Hilandar Monastery on Mounth Atos.

At the same time, he was dedicated to education and science. He was the greatest writer, scientist and lawyer of his time. The Karyes Typikon, Hilandar Typikon, Nomocanon (sr. Zakonopravilo), The Hagiography of St. Simeon (sr. Zitije Svetog Simeona) are just some of his works that are considered to be Serbian treasure. Legal literature "Nomokanon" brought Serbia ecclesiastical and civil laws. With his brother Stefan Prvovencani (Stefan the First-Crowned), he formed the first church assembly in 1221. He travelled a lot, and from his journeys he always brought something new and good for Serbia.

He died during the second return from Palestine in Trnovo, the then capital of Bulgaria on 14th January (O.S. 27th January) 1236. King Stefan Vladislav I transferred his relics to the Mileseva Monastery. At the time of the Turks' rule in this area, Sinan Pasha ordered the burning of Sava's relics. It is believed that the crime was committed in Vracar where today is the Temple of Saint Sava. Other sources believe that the then Vracar was the beginning of today's Tasmajdan Park and that the Turks committed one of the biggest crimes right there.

Saint Sava, Patron Saint of schools

Serbia is marking 27th January, the day when the Saint Sava passed away, as the Day of Education. The reason is more than clear. Sava, like no one else before him, gave so much to education. He was the greatest Serbian enlightener, philosopher and sage. He was not only respected by the Serbian church, but also by the representatives of other religions.

Back in 1840, schools in Serbia began to mark Savindan (Saint Sava's Day) as school's Saint Patron Day. It was so until 1945 when the Communists abolished the celebration. The formal ceremony was returned to schools in 1990.