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Saint Sava (1175 or 1176 - January 12 1235 or 1236), originally the prince Rastko Nemanjic (son of the Serbian ruler and founder of the Serbian medieval state Stefan Nemanja and brother of Stefan Prvovencani,first Serbian king ), is the first Serb archbishop (1219-1233) and the most important saint in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In his youth (around 1192) he escaped from home to join the orthodox monastic colony on the Mount Athos (Holy Mountain on the Chalkidiki peninsula) and was given the name Sava. He came firstly to Russian monastery and then moved to Greek monastery Vatoped . At the end of 1197 there also came his father, king Stefan Nemanja. In 1198 they have together moved to and restored the abandoned monastery Hilandar, which is from that time the center of Serbian Christian monastic life.
St. Sava managed to persuade the patriarch of the Greek/Byzantine Orthodox Church to elevate St. Sava to the position of the first Serbian Archbishop, thereby establishing the Independence of Archbishopic of the Serbian Church in the year of 1219.
Saint Sava is celebrated as the founder of the independent Serbian Orthodox Church and as patron saint of education and medicine among Serbs. His day is observed on January 27th of the Gregorian calendar (January 14th of the neo-Julian calendar still observed by the Serbian Church). Since the 1830's, Saint Sava has become the patron saint of Serb schools and schoolchildren. On his day, students partake in recitals in church.
Sava died in 1237 and his sacred bones were held in the monastery Milesevo in southern Serbia. 360 years later the Ottoman Turks have dug out his bones and burnt them on the main square in Belgrade.
The Temple of Saint Sava in Belgrade, whose construction was planned in 1939, begun in 1985 and awaits completion by 2004 is the largest active Orthodox temple in the world today. It was built on the place where the holy bones were burned.
- Hilandar Research Library, Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies, University of Ohio (Columbus)
External links and references
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