SAINT SAVA (Serbian : Свети Сава/Sveti Sava, pronounced ,
1174 – 14 January 1236), known as THE ENLIGHTENER, was a Serbian
prince and Orthodox monk, the first
Archbishop of the autocephalous
Serbian Church , the founder of Serbian law, and a diplomat . Sava,
born RASTKO (Serbian Cyrillic : Растко), was the youngest son of
Serbian Grand Prince
Stefan Nemanja (founder of the Nemanjić dynasty
), and ruled the appanage of Hum briefly in 1190–92. He then left
Mount Athos where he became a monk, with the name Sava (
At Athos, he established the monastery of
Hilandar , which became one
of the most important cultural and religious centres of the Serbian
people. In 1219 he was recognized as the first Serbian
the Patriarchate , and in the same year he authored the oldest known
constitution of Serbia,
Zakonopravilo , thus securing full
independence; both religious and political. Sava is regarded the
founder of Serbian medieval literature.
He is widely considered as one of the most important figures of
Serbian history .
Saint Sava is canonized and venerated by the Serbian
Orthodox Church , as its founder, on January 27 . His life has been
interpreted in many artistic works from the
Middle Ages to modern
times. He is the patron saint of Serbia, Serbs, and Serbian education.
Church of Saint Sava in
Belgrade is dedicated to him, built where
the Ottomans burnt his remains in 1594 during an uprising in which the
Serbs used icons of Sava as their war flags; the church is one of the
largest church buildings in the world .
* 1 Early life
* 3 Enlightenment
Autocephaly and church organization
* 5 First pilgrimage
* 6 Second pilgrimage and death
* 7 Legacy and cult
* 7.1 Biographies
* 7.2 Relics
* 7.2.1 Burning of St. Sava\'s relics
* 7.3 Divine Services
* 7.4 Churches dedicated to St. Sava
* 7.5 Visual arts
* 7.6 Literature
* 8 Works
* 10 See also
* 11 Annotations
* 12 References
* 13 Sources
* 14 Further reading
* 15 External links
Rastko Nemanjić (Растко Немањић, pronounced ) was born
in 1169 or 1174, in Gradina (modern
Montenegro ). As the
youngest son of Grand Prince
Stefan Nemanja and Ana , he was part of
the first generation of the
Nemanjić dynasty , alongside his brothers
Vukan and Stefan . At the Serbian court the brothers received a good
education in the Byzantine tradition, which exercised great
political, cultural and religious influence in Serbia. Rastko showed
himself serious and ascetic; as the youngest son, he was made Prince
of Hum at an early age, in ca. 1190. Hum was a province between
Teodosije the Hilandarian said that Rastko,
as a ruler, was "mild and gentle, kind to everyone, loving the poor as
few others, and very respecting of the monastic life". He showed no
interested in fame, wealth, or the throne. The governance of Hum had
previously been held by his uncle
Miroslav of Hum , who continued to
hold at least the Lim region with
Bijelo Polje while Rastko held Hum.
After two years, in autumn 1192 or shortly afterwards, Rastko left Hum
Mount Athos . Miroslav may have continued as ruler of Hum after
Rastko had left. Athonite monks were frequent visitors to the Serbian
court – lectures perhaps made him determined to leave.
Upon arriving at Athos, he entered the Russian St. Panteleimon
Monastery where he received the monastic name of Sava (
Sabbas ), and
according to tradition it was a Russian monk who was his spiritual
guidance, said to have had earlier guested the Serbian court with
other Athonite monks. He then entered the Greek
His father tried to persuade him to return to Serbia. Sava replied to
his father: "You have accomplished all that a Christian sovereign
should do; come now and join me in the true Christian life".
Stefan Nemanja took his son's advice – he summoned the assembly at
Studenica and abdicated on March 25, 1196, giving the throne to his
middle son, Stefan . The next day, Nemanja and his wife Ana took
monastic vows. Nemanja took monastic vows under the name Simeon, and
stayed in Studenica until leaving for
Mount Athos in fall 1197. The
arrival of Nemanja was greatly pleasing to Sava and the Athonite
community, as Nemanja as a ruler had donated much to the community.
When Sava guested the Byzantine Emperor at Constantinople, he
mentioned the neglected and abandoned
Hilandar , and asked him that he
and his father be given the permit to restore the monastery and grant
it to Vatopedi. The Emperor approved, and sent a special letter and
much gold to his friend
Stefan Nemanja (monk Simeon). Sava then
addressed the Protos of Athos, asking them to support the effort that
the monastery of
Hilandar becomes the haven of the Serb monks. All
Athonite monasteries, except Vatopedi, accepted the proposal, and in
July 1198 Emperor Alexios III authored a charter which revoked the
earlier decision, and instead not only granted Hilandar, but also the
other abandoned monasteries in Mileis, to Simeon and Sava, to be a
haven and shelter for Serb monks in Athos. The restoration of
Hilandar quickly began and Grand Prince Stefan sent money and other
necessarities. Stefan issued the founding charter for
Sava wrote a typikon (liturgical office order) for Hilandar, modeled
on the typikon of the monastery of The Mother of God Euergetes in
Constantinople. Besides Hilandar, Sava was the ktitor (founder,
donator) of the hermitage at
Karyes (seat of Athos) for the monks who
devoted themselves to solitude and prayer. In 1199, he authored the
Karyes . Along with the hermitage, he built the chapel
Sabbas the Sanctified , whose name he received upon
monastic vows. His father died on February 13, 1199. In 1204, after
13 April, Sava received the rank of archimandrite . Sava
reconciling his quarreling brothers,
Paja Jovanović (1901).
As Nemanja had earlier decided to give the rule to Stefan , and not
the eldest, Vukan , in the meantime, back home, the latter began
plotting against Stefan; he found an ally in Emeric, the King of
Hungary with whom he banished Stefan to Bulgaria, and Vukan usurped
the Serbian throne. Stefan returned to
Serbia with an army in 1204,
and pushed Vukan to Zeta , his hereditary land. After problems at
Athos with Latin bishops and
Boniface of Montferrat following the
Fourth Crusade , Sava returned to
Serbia in the winter of 1205–06 or
1206–07, with the remains of his father which he relocated to his
father's endowment, the
Studenica monastery , and then reconciled his
quarreling brothers. Sava saved the country from further political
crisis by ending the dynastic fight. Nemanja (Simeon) was canonized
Sava blessing Serb youth,
Uroš Predić (1921).
Having spent 14 years in Mount Athos, Sava had extensive theological
knowledge and spiritual power. According to Sava's biography, he was
asked to teach the court and people of
Serbia the Christian laws and
traditions and "in that way enwisen and educate". Sava then worked on
the religious and cultural enlightenment of the Serbian people,
educating in Christian morality, love and mercy, meanwhile also
working on the church organization. Since his return in 1206, he
became the hegumen of Studenica , and as its elder, self-willed
entered regulations on the independent status of that monastery in the
Studenica Typikon. He used the general chaos in which the Byzantine
Empire found itself after the siege of
Constantinople (1204) into the
hands of the Crusaders, and the strained relations between the
Despotate of Epirus (where the
Archbishopric of Ohrid was seated,
which the Serbian Church was subordinated to) and the Ecumenical
Nicaea , into his advantage. The
Typikon became a sort of lex specialis , which allowed
Studenica to have independent status ("Here, therefore, no one is to
have authority, neither bishop nor any one else") in relation to the
Bishopric of Raška and Archbishopric of Ohrid. The canonization of
Nemanja and the Studenica
Typikon would be the first steps towards the
future autocephaly of the Serbian Church and elevation of the Serbian
ruler to king ten years later. Crowning of Stefan, by Anastas
In 1217, archimandrite Sava left Studenica and returned to Mount
Athos. His departure has been interpreted by a part of the historians
as a revolt against his brother Stefan accepting the royal crown from
Rome. Stefan had just prior to this made a large switch in politics,
marrying a Venetian noblewoman, and subsequently asked the Pope for a
crown and moral support. With the establishment of the Latin Empire
(1204), Rome had considerably increased its power in the Balkans.
Stefan was crowned in
Žiča , and was now equal to the other kings,
and was called "the First-Crowned King" of "all Serb lands".
According to Ćorović, Stefan's politics were not well received in
the country; Orthodox tradition had already taken grip, especially
Sava rose against his brother, to whom he had up until then been a
faithful companion; he was the main representative of Orthodoxy and
Byzantine ecclesiastical culture in Serbia. According to Zorić,
though Sava left
Serbia while talks were underway between Stefan and
Rome (apparently due to disagreeing with Stefan's excessive reliance
on Rome), he and his brother resumed their good relation after
receiving the crown. According to Mileusnić it is possible that Sava
did not agree with everything in his brother's international politics,
however, his departure for Athos may also be interpreted as a
preparation for obtaining the autocephaly (independence) of the
Serbian Archbishopric. His departure was planned, both
Teodosije, Sava's biographers, stated that before leaving Studenica he
appointed a new hegumen and "put the monastery in good, correct order,
and enacted the new church constitution and monastic life order, to be
held that way", after which he left Serbia.
AUTOCEPHALY AND CHURCH ORGANIZATION
The elevation of
Serbia into a kingdom did not fully mark the
independence of the country, according to that time's understanding,
unless the same was achieved with its church. Rulers of such
countries, with church bodies subordinated to Constantinople, were
viewed of as "rulers of lower status who stand under the top chief of
the Orthodox Christian world – the Byzantine Emperor". Conditions
Serbia for autocephaly were largely met at the time, with a notable
number of learned monks, regulated monastic life, stable church
hierarchy, thus "its autocephaly, in a way, was only a question of
time". It was important to Sava that the head of the Serbian church
was appointed by Constantinople, and not Rome.
On 15 August 1219, during the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of
God , Sava was consecrated by
Patriarch Manuel I of Constantinople in
Nicaea as the first
Archbishop of the autocephalous (independent)
Serbian Church. With the support of Emperor
Theodore I Laskaris and
"the Most Venerable Patriarch and the whole Constantinopolitan
assembly" he received the blessing that Serbian archbishops receive
consecration from their own bishops' assemblies without consenting
with the Patriarch of Constantinople. Sava had thus secured the
independence of the church; in the Middle Ages, the church was the
supporter and important factor in state sovereignty, and political and
Archbishop Sava returned to Mount Athos, where he
profusely donated to the monasteries. In Hilandar, he addressed the
question of administration: "he taught the hegumen specially how to,
in every virtue, show himself as an example to others; and the
brothers, once again, he taught how to listen to everything the
hegumen said with the fear of God", as witnessed by Teodosije. From
Hilandar, Sava travelled to
Thessaloniki , to the monastery of
Philokalos, where he stayed for some time as a guest of the
Metropolitan of Thessaloniki, Constantine the Mesopotamian, with whom
he was a great friend ever since his youth. His stay was of great
benefit as he transcribed many works on law needed for his church.
Upon his return to Serbia, he was engaged in the organization of the
Serbian church, especially regarding the structure of bishoprics,
those that were situated on locales at the sensitive border with the
Roman Catholic West. At the assembly in
Žiča in 1219, Sava "chose,
from his pupils, God-understanding and God-fearing and honorable men,
who were able in managing by divine laws and by tradition of the Holy
Apostles , and keep the apparitions of the holy God-bearing fathers.
And he consecrated them and made them bishops" (Domentijan). Sava
gave the newly appointed bishops law books and sent them to bishoprics
in all parts of Serbia. It is unclear how many bishoprics he founded.
The following bishoprics were under his administration: Zeta (Zetska),
seated at Monastery of Holy Archangel Michael in
Prevlaka near Kotor;
Hum (Humska), seated at Monastery of the Holy Mother of God in
Dabar-Bosna , seated at Monastery of St. Nicholas on the Lim;
Moravica, seated at Monastery of St. Achillius in the Moravica region;
Budimlja, seated at Monastery of St. George; Toplica, seated at
Monastery of St. Nicholas in the Toplica region; Hvosno, seated at
Monastery of the Holy Mother of God in the
Hvosno region; Žiča,
Žiča , the seat of the Church; Raška, seated at Monastery
Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in
Peć ; Lipljan, seated at
Prizren, seated at
Prizren . Among his bishops were Ilarion and
Metodije . In the same year Sava published
Zakonopravilo (or "St.
Sava's Nomocanon"), the first constitution of Serbia; thus the Serbs
acquired both forms of independence: political and religious.
The organizational work of Sava was very energetic, and above all,
the new organization was given a clear national character. The Greek
Prizren was replaced by a Serbian, his disciple. This was
not the only feature of his fighting spirit. The determination of the
seats of the newly established bishoprics were also performed with
especially state-religious intention. The Archbishopric was seated in
Žiča, the new endowment of King Stefan, further north of Ras (the
capital) and Studenica, and not far from the Hungarian borders. The
bishopric in Dabar on the
Lim river was situated towards the border
with Bosnia, to act on the Orthodox element there and suppress the
Bogomil teaching . The bishopric of Zeta was located on the Prevlaka
Bay of Kotor , out of real Zeta itself, and the bishopric
of Hum in
Ston ; both of these were almost on the outskirts of the
kingdom, obviously with the aim to combat the Catholic action which
had spread especially from the Catholic dioceses of Kotor and
Dubrovnik. In earlier times, also Orthodox monasteries were subjected
to the supervision of the Catholic Archdiocese of Bar; after Sava's
action that intercourse began to change in the opposite direction.
After Sava's organization, Orthodoxy finally became the state religion
of Serbia. Sava, in that respect, worked consistently and without any
regard. The Bogomils had been prohibited already by his father,
Nemanja, while Sava, as an Athonite Latinophobe, did his part all to
prevent and weaken the influence of Catholicism. Through his clergy,
which he directly influenced as an example and with teaching, Sava
rose also the general cultural level of the whole people, striving to
develop human virtues and a sense of civic duty. The Serbian state
thought of the
Nemanjić dynasty was created by Nemanja, physically,
and intellectually by Sava.
Mar Saba , where Sava founded Serbian cells.
After the crowning of his nephew Radoslav , the son of Stefan, Sava
left the Serbian maritime in 1229 for a trip to Palestine . He
visited almost all the holy places and endowed them with valued gifts.
The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Athanasius , along with the rest of the
prelates, and especially monks, warmly greeted and welcomed him. On
the way back he visited
Nicaea and the Byzantine Emperor John Vatatzes
(r. 1221–54), where he remained for several days. From there, he
continued his journey to Mount Athos, Hilandar, and then via
Thessaloniki to Serbia. While visiting
Mar Saba , he had been gifted
Trojeručica (the "Three-handed Theotokos"), an icon of Nursing
Madonna , and the crosier of
Sabbas the Sanctified , which he brought
to Hilandar. After a short stay at Studenica, Sava embarked on a
four-year trip throughout the lands where he confirmed the theological
teachings, and delivered constitutions and customs of monastic life to
be kept, as he had seen in Mount Athos, Palestine and Middle East.
SECOND PILGRIMAGE AND DEATH
After the throne change in 1234, when King Radoslav was succeeded by
his brother Vladislav ,
Archbishop Sava began his second trip to the
Holy Land. Prior to this, Sava had appointed his loyal pupil Arsenije
Sremac as his successor to the throne of the Serbian Archbishopric.
Domentijan says that Sava chose Arsenije through his "clairvoyance",
with Teodosije stating further that he was chosen because Sava knew he
was "evil-less and more just than others, prequalified in all, always
fearing God and carefully keeps His commandments". This move was wise
and deliberate; still in his lifetime he chose himself a worthy
successor because he knew that the further fate of the Serbian Church
largely depended on the personality of the successor.
Sava began his trip from
Budva , then via
Brindisi in Italy to Acre .
On this road he experienced various bad events, such as an organized
pirate attack in the rough
Mediterranean Sea , which however ended
well. In Acre he stayed in his monastery dedicated to St. George,
which he had earlier bought from the Latins , and then from there went
Jerusalem , to the Monastery of St. John the Apostle, "which he, as
soon as arriving, redeemed from the
Saracens , in his name". Sava had
a prolonged stay in Jerusalem; he was again friendly and brotherly
received by Patriarch Athanasius. From
Jerusalem he went to
Alexandria , where he visited Patriarch Nicholas, with whom he
After touring the sanctities in
Egypt , he returned to Jerusalem,
from where he went to the Sinai , where he spent the
Lent . He
returned briefly to Jerusalem, then went to Antiochia , and from there
Armenia and the "Turkic lands" he went on the "Syrian Sea" and
then returned on a ship to Antiochia. On the ship, Sava became sick,
and was unable to eat. After a longer trip he arrived at
Constantinople where he briefly stayed. Sava first wanted to return
Mount Athos (according to Domentijan), but he instead decided
to visit the Bulgarian capital at Trnovo , where he was warmly and
friendly admitted by the Bulgarian Emperor Ivan Asen II (father-in-law
of King Vladislav) and Bulgarian Patriarch Joakim. As on all his
destinations, he gave rich gifts to the churches and monasteries: "
gave also to the Bulgarian Patriarchate priestly honourable robes and
golden books and candlesticks adorned with precious stones and pearls
and other church vessels", as written by Teodosije. Sava had after
much work and many long trips arrived at Trnovo a tired and sick man.
When the sickness took a hold of him and he saw that the end was near,
he sent part of his entourage to
Serbia with the gifts and everything
he had bought with his blessing to give "to his children". The
eulogia consisted of four items.
Domentijan accounted that he died
between Saturday and Sunday, most likely on 14 January 1235.
Sava died ill on his way home from the Holy Land, on 12 January 1235,
in Trnovo, Bulgaria.
Sava was respectfully buried at the Holy Forty Martyrs Church .
Sava's body was returned to
Serbia after a series of requests, and
was then buried in the
Mileševa monastery , built by Vladislav in
1234. According to Teodosije,
Archbishop Arsenije told Vladislav
"It's neither nice nor pleasing, before God nor the people, leaving
our father gifted to us by the Christ. An equal to apostles – who
made so many feats and countless efforts for the Serbian lands,
decorating it with churches and the kingdom, the archbishopric and
bishops, and all constitutions and laws – that his relics lie
outside his fatherland and the seat of his church, in a foreign land".
King Vladislav twice sent delegations to his father-in-law Asen,
asking him to let the relics of Sava be transferred to the fatherland,
but the Emperor was unappealing. Vladislav then personally visited
him and finally got the approval, and brought the relics to Serbia.
With the highest church- and state honours, the relics of Saint Sava
were transferred from the Holy Forty Martyrs Church to
Mileševa on 6
May 1237. "The King and the Archbishop, with the bishops and hegumens
and many noblemen, all together, little and great, carried the Saint
in much joy, with psalms and songs". Sava was canonized, and his
relics were considered miraculous; his cult remained throughout the
Middle Ages and the Ottoman occupation .
LEGACY AND CULT
Saint Sava is the protector of the Serb people: he is venerated as a
protector of churches, families, schools and artisans. His feast day
is also venerated by Greeks, Bulgarians, Romanians and Russians.
Numerous toponyms and other testimonies, preserved to this day,
convincingly speak of the prevalence of the cult of St. Sava. St.
Sava is regarded the father of Serbian education and literature; he
Life of St. Simeon (Stefan Nemanja, his father), the
first Serbian hagiography. He has been given various honorific
titles, such as "Father" and "Enlightener".
The Serb people built the cult of St. Sava based on the religious
cult; many songs, tales and legends were created about his life, work,
merit, goodness, fairness and wisdom. His relics, according to
Dimitrije Bogdanović , "became a topic of national, political cult,
focus of liberation thought, danger to foreign rule. Thus, they (the
relics) were burnt, so that the source of insubordination in the
people would not disappear". The
Serbian Orthodox Church venerates
him on January 27 .
The first, shorter, biography on St. Sava was written by his
Archbishop Arsenije. The transcript is preserved in a
manuscript on pergament dating to the 13th or 14th century.
Domentijan (ca. 1210–after 1264), an Athonite monk, wrote the Life
of St. Sava in 1253. He gifted it to Serbian king
Stefan Uroš I
Stefan Uroš I (r.
1243–76). This biography describes Sava's life from his birth to
his burial in Trnovo. Teodosije (1246–1328), also an Athonite monk,
wrote the Life of St. Sava at
Hilandar at the end of the 13th century.
He based it on Domentijan's biography, though, unlike the latter, of
which narratives are of thoughtful and solemn rhetoric, Teodosije's
biography is warmer, with features of a hagiographic narrative .
Teodosije's description of events give the impression of a novel ,
though it does not distort the historical course of events. Catholic
Ivan Mrnavić , a contemporary of Serbian patriarch
published a biography of St. Sava in Latin, in Rome in 1630–31,
which was later translated into Serbian by Veselin Čajkanović
(1881–1946); this biography has many historical inaccuracies. There
are many transcripts preserved of Domentijan's biography, and many
more of Teodosije's.
The presence of the relics of St. Sava in
Serbia had a
church-religious and political significance, especially during the
Ottoman period. No individual among the
Serbs has been woven into the
consciousness and being of the people as Saint Sava, from his time
until the present day. In 1377, Bosnian Ban Tvrtko was crowned King
in the presence of Sava's relics. In 1448, vojvoda Stefan Vukčić
Kosača of Hum styled himself "herzog (duke) of Saint Sava". The cult
collected all South Slavic peoples, especially the Orthodox Serbs,
while his grave was also a pilgrim site for Catholics and Muslims.
Foreign 16th-century writers, Jean Sesno (1547) and Catherine Zen
(1550) noted that Muslims respected the tomb of St. Sava, and feared
him. Benedicto Ramberti (1553) said that Turks and Jews gave more
Mileševa than the Serbs.
Burning Of St. Sava\'s Relics
Further information: Burning of Saint Sava\'s remains The
burning of Saint Sava's relics by the Ottomans after the Banat
Uprising , on April 27, 1595. Painting by
Stevan Aleksić (1912)
Serbs in Banat rose up against the Ottomans in 1594, using
the portrait of
Saint Sava on their war flags , the Ottomans
retaliated by incinerating the relics of St. Sava on the Vračar
Belgrade . Grand Vizier
Koca Sinan Pasha , the main
commander of the Ottoman army, ordered for the relics to be brought
Mileševa to Belgrade, where he set them on fire on 27 April.
Monk Nićifor of the
Fenek monastery wrote that "there was great
violence carried out against the clergy and devastation of
monasteries". The Ottomans sought to symbolically and really, set
fire to the Serb determination of freedom, which had become growingly
noticeable. The event, however, sparked an increase in rebel
activity, until the suppression of the uprising in 1595. It is
believed that his left hand was saved; it is currently held at
Church of Saint Sava was built near the place where his relics
were burned. Its construction began in the 1930s and was completed in
2004. It is one of the largest churches in the world.
Divine Services , službe, were created in his honour following his
burial. The earliest service date to the reign of king Vladislav, in
Saint Sava is mentioned along the killed monks on Sinai. In it,
he is compared to the saints
Sergius and Bacchus , whose relics are
held at the
Mileševa monastery. In the service, he is called an
illuminator on earth, and the adoration of his icon is mentioned.
There are two services dedicated to Saint Sava: one dedicated to his
Assumption (death), and the second to the translation of his relics.
Nikola and Radoslav wrote the service on the translation of his relics
in ca. 1330. Other services dedicated to the translation were also
compiled in 1599 by inok Georgije, and written by protohegumen
Visarion of Zavala in 1659–60. These services were superseded by
the use of Teodosije's service. The unknown author of the Service of
the Assumption of Saint Sava, a monk of Mileševa, speaks to him:
"Father of Fathers – clergy rules, wholewised model, virtue of
monks, fortification of the church, lighthouse of love, seat of
feelings, source of mercifulness, fire-inspired tongue, mouth of sweet
words, a church vessel of God, intellectual heaven become – God-good
hierarch of Christ".
CHURCHES DEDICATED TO ST. SAVA
Monument, complex (day) and front walk (night) of the
Church of Saint Sava ,
one of the largest churches in the world .
There are many temples (hramovi) dedicated to St. Sava. As early as
the beginning of the 14th century, Serbian
Nikodim I (s.
1316–1324) dedicated a church to him. Helena of
Bulgaria , the wife
Stefan Dušan (r. 1331–55), founded a chapel on the top
of the tower in Karyes, dedicated to St. Simeon and St. Sava. One of
the churches of Rossikon on Mount Athos, as well as a church in
Thessaloniki, are dedicated to him. Churches throughout Serbia,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and
Montenegro are dedicated to him,
as well as churches in diaspora communities .
There are close to no Serbian churches that do not have a depiction
of St. Sava. He is most often depicted as a archiereus (arhijerej,
main priest), or together with his father, St. Simeon. The most
notable of his fresco depictions are located in the monasteries of
Mileševa , Monastery of
Peć , Morača , Arilje ,
Sopoćani , Dečani ,
Bogorodica Ljeviška ,
Lesnovo , Marko\'s Monastery ,
Matejić , Nagoričano , Nikita ,
Andrijaš , Bela Crkva , Baljevac , Pavlica ,
Ljubostinja , Resava ,
Prohor Pčinjski , Rudenica , Blagoveštenje and St.
Nicholas in Ovčar ,
Ježevica , Poganovo and others; he is depicted
Nemanjić dynasty (loza Nemanjića) in Dečani ,
Orahovica . The translation of his relics are illustrated in the
church of the
Gradac Monastery , and in the Monastery of
Peć (in the
Bogorodica Odigitrije temple) the scene where Sava appoints his
successor Arsenije is depicted. In the Church of St. George, also in
the Monastery of
Peć , an assembly of Sava is depicted. Iconographer
Georgije Mitrofanović illustrated events from the Life of
St. Sava in the dining room of
Hilandar . "The Serbian
miracle-workers" Sava and Simeon are depicted in the Archangel Sobor
Kremlin , in Moscow. In the chapel of the
Rila Monastery in
Bulgaria, the Life of St. Sava is depicted in eight compositions, and
in the Athonite monastery of
St. Panteleimon Monastery he is depicted
as a monk.
St. Sava is depicted with St. Simeon on an icon from the 14th century
which is held in the National Museum in Belgrade, and on an icon held
in the National Museum in Bucharest. The pair is depicted on tens of
icons held in Hilandar. Other icons of them are found in the
monasteries of Lepavina and Krka , and on the triptych of Orahovica.
On an icon of Morača, beside a scene from his life, he is depicted
with St. Simeon, knez Stefan and St. Cyril the Philosopher.
Graphical illustrations of St. Sava are found in old Serbian printed
books: Triode from the
Mrkšina crkva printing house (1566), Zbornik
Jakov of Kamena Reka
Jakov of Kamena Reka (1566), as well as Sabornik of Božidar
Vuković (1546) where he is depicted with St. Simeon. There are
notable depictions of Sava in chalcography , one of which was made by
Zaharije Orfelin (1726–1785). In Hilandar, there are two wood-cuts
depicting St. Sava and St. Simeon holding the Three-handed Theotokos
icon. His person is illustrated on numerous liturgical metal and
textile items, while he and scenes from his life are illuminated in
many manuscripts and printed books.
Many Serbian poets have written poetry dedicated to St. Sava. These
Jovan Jovanović Zmaj 's (1833–1904) Pod ikonom Svetog Save
and Suze Svetog Save,
Vojislav Ilić 's (1860–1894) Sveti Sava and
Milorad Popović Šapčanin 's (1841–1895) Svetom Savi,
Aleksa Šantić 's (1868–1924) Pred ikonom Svetog Save, Pepeo Svetog
Save, Sveti Sava na golgoti,
Vojislav Ilić Mlađi 's (1877–1944)
Nikolaj Velimirović 's (1881–1956) Svetitelju Savo,
Reči Svetog Save and Pesma Svetom Savi, Milan Petrović 's
(1902–1963) Sveti Sava,
Vasko Popa 's (1922–1991) St. Sava's
Journey, Momčilo Tešić 's (1911–1992) Svetom Savi, Desanka
Maksimović 's (1898–1993) Savin monolog,
Matija Bećković 's (b.
1939) Priča o Svetom Savi, Mićo Jelić Grnović 's (b. 1942)
Uspavanka, and others.
The earliest works of Sava were dedicated to ascetic and monastic
Hilandar Typikon. In their nature, they
are Church law, based strictly on non-literary works, however, in them
some moments came to expression of indirect importance for the
establishment of an atmosphere in which Sava's original and in the
narrow sense, literary works, came to exist. In addition,
characteristics of Sava's language and style come to light here,
especially in those paragraphs which are his specific interpretations
or independent supplements.
Typikon with Sava's signature
Typikon , written for the
Karyes cell in 1199. It is
basically a translation from a standard Greek ascetic typikon. It
became a model for Serbian solitary or eremitical monasticism also
outside of Mount Athos.
Typikon , written for
Hilandar in 1199. Compiled as a
translation and adaptation of the introductory part of the Greek
Euergetic typikon from Constantinople. Sava only used some parts of
that typikon, adding his own, different regulations tailored to the
needs of Hilandar. He and his father had donated to the Euergetide
monastery, and Sava stayed there on his trips to Constantinople,
seemingly, he liked the order and way of life in this monastery. This
typikon was to become the general managing order for other Serbian
monasteries (with small modifications, Sava wrote the Studenica
Typikon in 1208). The
Typikon contains regulations for the
spiritual life in the monastery and organization of various services
of the monastic community (opštežića).
The organization of the Serbian church with united areas was set on a
completely new basis. The activity of major monasteries developed;
caretaking of missionary work was put under the duty of the
proto-priests (protopopovi). Legal regulations of the Serbian Church
was constituted with a code of a new, independent, compilation of Sava
– the Nomocanon or Krmčija; with this codification of Byzantine
Serbia already at the beginning of the 13th century received a
firm legal order and became a state of law, in which the rich
Greek-Roman law heritage was built. With this, Sava made
country among the European and Mediterranean civilization. 1262
transcript of the
* Nomocanon (sr.
Zakonopravilo ) or Krmčija, most likely created in
Thessaloniki in 1220, when Sava returned from
Nicaea to Serbia,
regarding the organization of the new, autocephalous Serbian church.
It was a compilation of state ("civil") law and religious rules or
canons, with interpretations of famous Byzantine canonists, who by
themselves were a kind of source of law. As Byzantine nomocanons, with
or without interpretation, the Serbian Nomocanon was a capital source
and monument of law; in the medieval Serbian state, it was the source
of the first order as a "divine right "; after it, legislations of
Serbian rulers (including Dušan\'s Code ) were created. Sava was the
initiator of the creation of this compilation, while the translation
was likely the work of various authors, older and contemporary to
Sava. An important fact is that the choice of compilation in this
nomocanon was unique: it is not preserved in Greek manuscript
tradition. In the ecclesiastic term, it is very characteristic, due to
its opposing of that period's views in effect on church-state
relations in Byzantium, and restoring of some older conceptions with
which the sovereignty of divine law is insisted on.
His liturgical regulations include also Psaltir-holding laws (Ustav
za držanje Psaltira), which he translated from Greek, or as possibly
is the case with the Nomocanon, was only the initiatior and organizer,
and supervisor of the translation. A personal letter of his, written
Jerusalem to his disciple hegumen Spiridon in Studenica, shows
Sava getting closer to literature. This is the first work of the
epistolary genre that has been preserved in the old Serbian
literature. Theologian Lazar Mirković (1885–1968) noted "With a lot
of feeling and longing for the fatherland in a distant world and
caring for things in the homeland, Sava wrote this letter to Spiridon,
reporting about him and his entourage, of them falling ill on the
road, how they donated to the Holy sites, where he intended to travel,
and along with the letter he sent gifts: a cross, pleat, cloth and
pebbles. The cross and pleat had laid on Christ's grave, and hence
these gifts received greater value. Sava perhaps found the cloth in
Jordan". The letter has been preserved in 14th-century copies held in
Velika Remeta monastery
Velika Remeta monastery . The proper literary nature of Sava is
however revealed only in his hagiographical and poetic compositions.
Each in its genre, they stand at the beginning of the development of
convenient literary genres in the independent Serbian literature.
Hilandar Typikon, Sava included the Short
Hagiography of St.
Simeon Nemanja, which tells of Simeon's life between his arrival at
Hilandar and death. It was written immediately after his death, in
1199 or 1200. The developed hagiography on St. Simeon was written in
the introduction of the Studenica
Hagiography of St. Simeon , written in 1208 as a ktetor
hagiography of the founder of Studenica. It was made according to the
rules of Byzantine literature. The hagiography itself, biography of a
saint, was one of the main prose genres in Byzantium. Hagiographies
were written to create or spread the cult of the saint, and
communicated the qualities of and virtues of the person in question.
The work focused on the monastic character of Simeon, using
biographical information as a subset to his renouncing of the throne,
power and size in the world for the Kingdom of Heaven. Simeon is
portrayed as a dramatic example of renouncing earthly life, as a
representative of basic evangelical teachings and foundations of
these, especially of monastic spirituality. His biographical
pre-history (conquests and achievements) with praises are merged in
the prelude, followed by his monastic feats and his death, ending with
a prayer instead of praise. The language is direct and simple,
without excessive rhetorics, in which a close witness and companion,
participant in the life of St. Simeon, is recognized (in Sava). Milan
Kašanin noted that "no old biography of ours is that little pompous
and that little rhetorical, and that warm and humane as Nemanja's
Very few manuscripts of the works of St. Sava have survived. Apart
Karyes Typikon, of which copy, a scroll, is today held at
Hilandar, it is believed that there are no original manuscript
(authograph) of St. Sava. The original of the Charter of Hilandar
(1198) was lost in World War I.
St. Sava is regarded the founder of the independent medieval Serbian
Sava founded and reconstructed churches and monasteries wherever he
stayed. While staying at Vatopedi, even before the arrival of his
father (1197), he founded three chapels (paraklisi). He had the
monastery church covered in lead , and was regarded the second ktitor,
also having donated highly valuable ecclesiastical art objects.
Together with his father he was the great, second ktitor of the
Great Lavra and churches in
Karyes . The most
Hilandar , together with his father (1198). He then
founded the cell at Karyes, and in 1199 became ktitor of three more
Xeropotamou , and
Philotheou . In
1197 he gave a large contribution to the Constantinopolitan monastery
of the Holy Mother of God Euergetes, and did the same to Philokallou
in Thessaloniki; "due to him also giving much gold for the erection of
that monastery, the population there regard him the ktitor", according
to Teodosije. Fresco in Mileševa.
Serbia in 1206, Sava continued his work. The Mother of
God Church in Studenica was painted, and two hermitages near Studenica
were endowed. His most important architectural work was the Home of
the Holy Saviour, called Žiča, the first seat of the Serbian
Peć he built the Church of the Holy Apostles, and
he was also involved in the building of the
Mileševa monastery. In
Palestine , on
Mount Sinai , he founded the Monastery of St. John the
Apostle, as a shelter for Serb pilgrims. Sava donated gold to many
monasteries in Palestine, Thessaloniki, and especially Mount Athos.
His ktitor activity was an expression of deep devotion and sincere
loyalty to Christian ideals.
Hilandar monastery on
Karyes monastery cell (see:
Karyes Typicon )
* Church of John the Apostle in
And many other churches across Serbia, as well.
* Monastery of
Philotheou monastery on
Xeropotamou monastery on
Karakallou monastery on
* Saint Andrew's church in
Studenica monastery in
* Church of the
Holy Apostles in
Mileševa monastery in
Mar Saba monastery in
Iviron monastery on
* The Monastery of
Great Lavra on
* Mother's Mary monastery in Solun
* Filokala monastery in Solun
Žiča monastery in
* Church of Christ's birth in
* An unnamed Georgian monastery in
* Church of St. Lazarus of Bethany in
* Church of St. Zechariah in
* Saint Mary's church in
And many other donations in
Order of St. Sava
* Only Unity Saves the
EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH TITLES
SERBIAN CHURCH ARCHBISHOP OF SERBS
December 6, 1219 – 1233 Succeeded by
Miroslav Prince of Hum
1190 – 1192 Succeeded by
Miroslav or Toljen
* ^ Sources puts the year of his birth in either 1169 or 1174. The
official site of the
Serbian Orthodox Church put it "around year
1174". Historian Slobodan Mileusnić supports 1174.
* ^ Throughout history, Sava has been given various honorific
titles. He received the popular epithet "Illuminator (enlightener) of
the Serbs". In other genealogies and chronicles, as well as in many
records and inscriptions, he was given the titles: "First Archbishop
and teacher and educator and with God enlighter of his fatherland",
"First saint and teacher", "Great miracle-worker", etc. (for further
information: Radovan Samardžić (1981). Pisci srpske istorije. 2.
Prosveta. p. 19. )
* ^ A B C D E F G H I Vlasto 1970 , p. 218.
* ^ A B C D E F G H Mileusnić 2000 , p. 38.
* ^ Fine 1994 , p. 19.
* ^ Fine 1994 , p. 52.
* ^ Fine 1994 , p. 20.
* ^ A B Mileusnić 2000 , p. 30.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L Mileusnić 2000 , p. 39.
* ^ A B C D Zorić 2006 , p. 6.
* ^ Fine 1994 , pp. 41–48.
* ^ Fine 1994 , p. 79.
* ^ Zorić 2006 , p. 5.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J Mileusnić 2000 , p. 40.
* ^ A B Zorić 2006 , p. 7.
* ^ A B Zorić 2006 , p. 8.
* ^ Ćorović 2001 , Трећи период, II, para. 21.
* ^ A B C D E F Zorić 2006 , p. 9.
* ^ Ćorović 2001 , Трећи период, II, para. 22.
* ^ A B C D E F G H Mileusnić 2000 , p. 41.
* ^ A B Fine 1994 , p. 118.
* ^ Ćorović 2001 , Трећи период, II, para. 27.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O Mileusnić 2000 , p. 42.
* ^ "Ikona Presvete Bogorodice "Trojeručice"". Ikonopis. Hilandar.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N Mileusnić 2000 , p. 43.
* ^ Mileusnić 2000 , pp. 43–44.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L Mileusnić 2000 , pp. 44.
* ^ Popović Danica (2014). "Eulogiae Terrae Sanctae of St Sava of
Serbia". Balcanica. 45: 55–69.
* ^ A B C D Fine 1994 , p. 136.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M Mileusnić 2000 , p. 48.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L Mileusnić 2000 , p. 45.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L Mileusnić 2000 , p. 46.
* ^ Mileusnić 2000 , pp. 44–45.
* ^ A B C Ćorović 2001 , Шести период, V..
* ^ Mileusnić 2000 , pp. 46–47.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K Mileusnić 2000 , p. 47.
* ^ A B C Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 12.
* ^ Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 13
* ^ Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 14
* ^ Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 15
* ^ Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 8.
* ^ Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 17
* ^ Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 18.
* ^ Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 19.
* ^ Đuro Daničić (1872). "Poslanica Svetog Save arhiepiskopa
* ^ Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 20.
* ^ A B C D E Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 21
* ^ A B C Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 24.
* ^ A B Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 25.
* ^ A B C Bogdanović 1999 , Рукописи.
* ^ Bogdanović 1999 , Предговор, para. 3–5.
* ^ A B Mileusnić 2000 , p. 37.
* Bogdanović, Dimitrije (1999) . "Свети Сава -
Сабрани списи" (Internet ed.). Просвета и
Српска књижевна задруга.
* Ćorović, Vladimir (2001) . "Istorija srpskog naroda" (Internet
ed.). Belgrade: Јанус; Ars Libri.
* Fine, John Van Antwerp, Jr. (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A
Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest.
University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5 .
* Matejić, Mateja (1976). Biography of Saint Sava. Kosovo.
* Mileusnić, Slobodan (2000) . Sveti Srbi. Novi Sad: Prometej. ISBN
OCLC 44601641 . (in Serbian)
* Stanojević, Stanoje (2008) . "Свети Сава". Rastko. (in
* Velimirović, Nikolaj (1989). The Life of St. Sava. St. Vladimir's
Seminary Press. ISBN 978-0-88141-065-5 .
* Vlasto, A. P. (1970). The Entry of the Slavs into Christendom: An
Introduction to the Medieval History of the Slavs. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521074599 .
* Bakić-Hayden, Milica (2010). "
Saint Sava and the power (s) of
spiritual authority" (PDF). Serbian Studies. NASSS. 24 (1): 49–62.
* Bogdanović, Dimitrije (1999) . "Свети Сава:
Сабрани списи" (Internet ed.). Belgrade: Просвета,
Српска књижевна задруга; Rastko.
* Ferjančić, Božidar; Maksimović, Ljubomir (2014). "Sava
Serbia between Epiros and Nicaea". Balcanica. SANU. 45:
* Marjanović-Dušanić, Smilja (2015). "Charisma and authority:
Toward a hagiographic portrait of St. Sava". Zbornik radova
Vizantološkog instituta. 52: 277–289. doi :10.2298/ZRVI1552277M .
* Marković, Miodrag. "The first journey of St. Sava of
Palestine". Zograf. 29: 47–92.
* Miljković, Bojan (2015). "Sava,
Stefan Radoslav and Demetrios
Chomatenos". Zbornik radova Vizantološkog instituta. 52: 259–275.
doi :10.2298/ZRVI1552259M .
* Petrović, Miodrag (2002). "Свети Сава као
састављач и преводилац Законоправила
— српског номоканона" (PDF). Историјски
часопис. 49: 27–46.
* Savić, Aleksandar Z. (2015). "'Imagining' Babylon - geography and
hagiography in St Sava of Serbia's middle eastern itinerary". Zbornik
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* Simović, Ranko (1997). Sveti Sava: prvi srpski prosvetitelj.
* Stanojević, Stanoje (1935). Свети Сава. Државна
* Zorić, Petar (2006), Законоправило Светога
Саве и правни транспланти (PDF) (in Serbian),
Alan Watson, archived from the original (PDF) on September 30, 2011
Wikimedia Commons has media related to SAINT SAVA .
* Istorijska biblioteka: Sveti Sava (in Serbian)
* Collected works (in Serbian)
Spiritual leaders of the
Serbian Orthodox Church
* Sava (St.)
Arsenije Sremac (St.)
Sava II (St.)
* Danilo I (St.)
Joanikije I (St.)
Jevstatije I (St.)
* Jakov (St.)
Jevstatije II (St.)
Sava III (St.)
Nikodim I (St.)
* Danilo II (St.)
Joanikije II (St.)
PATRIARCHS (SINCE 1346)
Joanikije II (St.)
* Jefrem (St.)
* Spiridon (St.)
* Danilo III
* Kirilo I (St.)
* Nikon I (St.)
* Teofan I
* Nikodim II