Friday, 27 January 2012

St. Sava

St. Sava of Serbia, icon by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
(Feast Day January 27th in the Orthodox churches)  
Saint Sava (Serbian: Свети Сава, Sveti Sava; 1174 – 14 January 1236) was a Serbian Prince and Orthodox monk, the first Archbishop of the autocephalous Serbian Church, the founder of Serbian law and literature, and a diplomat. Sava was born Rastko Nemanjić (Растко Немањић). He became a monk in his youth, receiving the monastic name Sava (Sabbas), subsequently founding the monasteries of Hilandar on Mount Athos (Greece), and Žiča (Serbia). In 1219 he was recognized as the first Archbishop of Serbs, by the Patriarch of Constantinople, and in the same year he authored the oldest known constitution of Serbia, "Zakonopravilo", thus securing full independence; both religious and political.

St. Sava is widely considered as one of the most important figures of Serbian history, and is canonized and venerated by the Serbian Orthodox Church, as its founder. His feast is celebrated on January 27 (14th by the Julian calendar). 

The story of a vocation: St. Sava’s spiritual vocation is highlighted by the story that he left his father’s house at the age of seventeen years against his father’s strong wishes, who knowing that his son had gone to Athos, mobilized his retainers and wrote the governor of the district that if his son was not returned to him, he would go to war against the Greeks! Despite this, St. Sava received monastic tonsure (in 1186) and sent to his parents his worldly clothes, hair and a letter, attempting to persuade his powerful parents to accept monasticism. His father sends messengers to Athos for the return of Sava to Serbia, but in vain. Sava replies to his father: "You have accomplished all that a Christian sovereign should do; come now and join me in the true Christian life".  (Ultimately, the father, Stefan Nemanja, followed his son and entered a monastery himself, and his mother as well joined a religious order of nuns.) 
The Temple of Saint Sava in Belgrade was built in his name, on the scene where the Ottoman Turks burnt his remains in the 16th century, and is currently the largest church building in the Balkans. The legacy of St. Sava lives on in the Orthodox Church traditions. He introduced the Jerusalem Typikon as the basis for Slavic Monastic Rules. The Serbian Hilandar monastery on Mt. Athos follows the Typikon of St. Sava to this day.

As a saint, Sava was respected even among the Roman Catholics. Tomko Mrnjevic, a Bosnian bishop in the early 17th century, wrote, with great respect, the first biography of Saint Sava.

[This information was gathered and organized by my friend, Amra, a member of the Serbian Orthodox Church.  She writes:  "I know that I can always depend on St. Sava to intercede for me that I may persevere in my Faith."]



From my collection of photos...
Along with terms of venery (you know how I delight in these)...

A Grand Democracy of Trees

A Leap of Leopards

A Murder of Crows (Looks more like a Suicide of Crows to me!)

A Shimmer of Hummingbirds

These terms of venery are all taken from the book "An Exaltation of Larks" by James Lipton.



Well, Suki is trying her best to teach me how to take "cat naps" on a regular basis, but I still have a difficult time stopping whatever I am doing just to take a nap -- even if I am feeling sleepy.  I hope to get the hang of this sooner or later.  Meanwhile, Suki is very patient.  For example, if I won't stop what I am doing and settle in for a snooze, she just goes right ahead and takes a nap herself! 

She doesn't fret about me at all.  I think that is the best way to handle things since if she kept nagging, I would probably just get my back up and refuse to sleep at all!

Seriously, if I can just teach myself to take more naps, I really think it might make a big difference in the number of times I fall or almost fall. 

You may or may not have noticed that I am posting a day early.  I have been posting every four days for a number of months and I find that it works well, giving me just enough time between posts to prepare without feeling rushed.  Today, however, I wanted to post on the feast day of St. Sava, the 27th, even though it is only three days from the previous posting. 

St. Sava, pray for us.

May the peace of God be with us all.

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