Life of St. Sava (1169-1236)

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Life of St. Sava (1169-1236)

January 12/25, 2015

St. Sava, the first Serbian Archbishop, the Illuminator and Wonder-maker, was the son of the great prince Stephen Nemanya, the Autocrat of Diocletia, Dalmatia, Travonia, Bosnia, Slavonica and Rascia.  In Holy Baptism he was called Ratsko, which is “to grow good in the Lord.” From the time that he was a child he was wise, with a heart full of light, of a fair countenance and beloved by all men. But Stephen and Anna, blessed with every Christian virtue, loved this son more than all.

For he was learned in the Holy Scriptures, righteous in his dealings, just, with no envy in his heart; he shrank from all those empty longings which weaken soul and body; and every day he went with a glad heart to the Holy Liturgy, full of love and gentleness and reverence.

When he was eighteen years of age his parents desired him to be married. And it happened that in those very days the monks of the Holy Mountain of Athos came to his father by the will of the Lord to beg alms. When Ratsko saw them he rejoiced greatly, and questioned with them about all things in the Holy Mountain of Athos and about the life of the monks there, and with joy he said to them, “I see, my fathers, that the Lord has sent your holinesses to comfort me, a sinner.  Now do I see without any doubt what is to be my way of life. Indeed, I would not stay here one day more lest haply envy change my heart and my desire. I would fly be myself to the Holy Mountain of Athos, but that I knew not the way, and I fear that, as I was wandering hither and thither, my father would take me and bring me back, for his arm reaches far; and thus I should cause sorrow and trouble to my father, and bring sadness upon myself because I should not have come to that goal which I desire in the Lord.” Then one of those monks, a man well stricken in years, answered him, “Great is the love between parent and child, and it may not be broken in twain. But Our Lord Jesus Christ told us we might have to leaven them for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Come quickly and fulfill the desire of your heart, for it shall bring great blessings upon you and upon many others. I will be your guide and servant on this good way you seek, and I will bring you to the Holy Mountain of the Lord.” At these words the young man rejoiced in his heart, and said to the monk, “Blessed art thou from God, my father, for thou hast strengthened my spirit.” Then he went quickly to his parents and prayed their blessing that he might go into the mountains to hunt: and he took his way, with his men and the monks, to go a-hunting. And in the dark he covertly left his men and travelling with speed all through the night, at dawn was far away with the monks.

At daybreak Ratsko’s men sought for him in the mountains, and when they found him not they returned to his parents and told them all that had happened. Then, when they heard the sad tidings of their son, in their great sorrow of heart shed many tears, and gave way wholly to their grief, spending their days and their nights in weeping and mourning for him. But after some times had passed the prince came to himself, and said to his wife, the mother of the boy, “It is not meet that we should sorrow for him always. I trust in the Lord that He, Who gave him to me, will grant me to see his face once again.”  He sent one of his head men straightway, and man other young nobles with him, to the Holy Mountain of Athos, giving him commandemtn to bring back Ratsko if he should light upon him there. When they came to the Holy Mountain they spoke with those they met concerning Ratsko, telling them the number of his years and describing the beauty of his countenance. And these gave answer to them, “Such an one as you seek came no long while before you to the Russian Monastery of St. Pantelemon.” When they heard this, they went quickly to the monastery which was told to them, and finding him whom they sought they rejoiced greatly.

Ratsko, seeing them, woundered at the love of his parents, and tkaing apart him whom his father had sent, begged him privily not to carry out his father’s commands or at least to delay.  But the head man answered to him, “Master, if we had found you in monk’s garb we would have carried your petition to your father, but now, since by the will of the Lord we find you in such guise as your parents would like to see, we beg you will go with us.”  When the prince heard this, he went and begged the hegumen to watch and pray all the night through, and during the time of the office to make him a monk. And so it was; for Ratsko laid aside the dress of his old life, and, being made monk, received the name of Sava. This profession was made in the Church of John, the Holy Prophet and Forerunner of Jesus Christ.

When the office was at an end, all left the church. But the prince was not among them. Then the soldiers began to seek for him everywhere in the church, and when they found him not they were full of wrath, and because they thought that the fathers were hiding him they threatened them with death. While this tumult was at its height the prince came in saying with a quiet voice, “Here am I whom you seek,” and showing himself to them in his monk’s dress. And when they grieved he said to them, “I beseech you, be not so sad for me, but give thanks to the Lord on my behalf because His Grace has done this thing. He on Whom I trust will do with me whatsoever is pleasing to His Holy Will. So now I pray you go home again.”  He gave them then in a bundle his former princely clothes, and the hair that was cut from his head, and said to them, “Take now these tokens and bring them as a sign that you found me in the life and grace of the Lord as a monk with the name Sava.”  Then he gave them a letter to his parents: and they, taking the clothes and the hair and the letter, went their way.

When it was known through all the Holy Mountain that the son of the Serbian prince had become monk, all desired to look upon him. Now there was a feast in Vatopedi, the imperial monastery, on the holy day of the Annunciation to the All-Holy Mother of God, and Sava was summoned to it.  And on his coming all received him very lovingly, and prayed him as a royal prince to remain in the Vatopedi Lavra. He, rendering obedience to the fathers and the hegumen, stayed there some time and afterwards he craved their leave and went on pilgrimage to all the monasteries and cells and to the peak of the Holy Mountain. Then he returned to Vatopedi, where he prayed unceasingly, with watchings and fastings, and rendered obedience.

After some time his parents sent to him no little gold and all things for the service of the Church, both gold and silver and curtains, gold embroidered, with many more things which the monastery had need of. When Sava received this gold he began to build churches and cells. He build a Church to the Nativity of the All-Holy Mother of God, and another to the Holy John Chrysostom, and a third to the Transfiguration of the Holy Lord, together with many cells. After this he took from the church of Vatopedi the roof of stone and covered it with lead, as it is unto this day. So was he a benefactor to the Church. And he wrote to his father, and among other things he said, “Now I beseech you, my father, rise up and fulfill the order of Jesus Christ. ‘Whosoever will follow Me, let him deny himself and give up all that is his.’ Lay aside all those things of little moment, take to yourself the way of meekness and follow me, that together we may live in this desert doing the will of God.”  In the next year came his father to him at the Vatopedi monastery, and he had been already made monk by the name of Simeon. A short while afterwards Ratsko took the old man to all the monasteries, and again came back with him to Vatopedi.

Now it happened that some one of the brethren must needs go to Constantinople on behalf of the monastery. The higumen would have liked to go himself, but he doubted of his ability and besought the most wise Sava to go for him. SoSava went to the Emperor, and was received by him very graciously. When he had done all the bidding of the monastery, the Emperor not only granted his request, but promised to do even more for the monastery. And Sava, perceiving that the time was favourable, made this prayer to the Emperor, and spoke thus: “My Emperor, if thy country is willing that the monastery of Khilindar, which now lies in ruins, should be built up once again, I and my father will rebuild it, and it shall be called ours.” The Emperor gladly gave his consent, and to this end he granted him letters under his seal and dismissed the holy father with imperial gifts. On his return St. Sava told the higumen and the brothers that all their petitions had been granted. On the day following he showed to them the Emperor’s letter about building again the monastery of Khilindar, and he proposed to the council of the brethren that they should allow that monastery, when it had been built again, to be called Serbian, that whosoever of the Serbians desired to live there might find in it a home and a sure refuge. And the council, after no long deliberation, gladly consented that Khilindar should be called the Serbian Monastery. When all this had been done, Simeon and Sava wrote a letter to the autocrat of the Serbian land, Stephen,1 telling him of their desire to build a special monastery for themselves and all who should come after them oftheir race and language. Stephen then, understanding their desire, sent to them much silver and gold and promised to them more, as much as they had need. And now began the building, after that holy Sava had prayed that the Heavenly Father would look upon him, and His Holy Spirit give him light, and the Lord God help him to build the house for the glory of His Mother, the Ever-Virgin Mary, and that it might ever be a refuge for the children of his fatherland, that whosoever took shelter there might find a safe haven within its walls. First he dug the foundation and built the refectory and cells. The church itself he adorned with golden pictures and vessels and with rich curtains: the walls also were enriched with gold, and the church was dedicated to the Coming of the All Holy Mother of God to the Temple.2 When all was done and it had its own buildings in Kareya,3 holy Sava went to Constantinople to the Emperor Alexis Comnenus, who was a kinsman of his, and petitioned the Emperor to give him letters under his seal for Khilindar and its lands. Now while the saint was in that city, living in the monastery Evergetitza, there came to him a wise woman and spoke thus: “O saint and lover of God, the Lord and the All Holy Mother of the Lord have bidden me give you this command. There are in the Holy Mountain, within thy monastery in a certain place” —saying where the place was—”two treasures of gold. Seek and you will find them. Take them and do good in the Lord.” The saint, wondering at this message, gave thanks to the Lord; and after receiving his blessing he kissed the patriarch and came to the Holy Mountain.

It came to pass after some time that the hour of his departure to Jesus came for St. Simeon. And he spake thus to his loving son: “The hour of my going is very near, my child. When in due time the Lord shall bless them, take the remains ofmy sinful body and bring them back to the land of my people, and let them lie in the monastery Studenitza which I myself built.” Then in peaceful dreams he died and was laid to rest in a marble tomb. And the holy Sava, in memory ofhis father, gave such great alms to the poor and the strangers that he had nothing left to him. Then it was that he remembered the wise woman of Constantinople who had told him of the hidden treasure, and he came to the place she had made known to him, and after he had dug a little while the earth gave up its hidden treasure and he brought it to his monastery. One part of that treasure he gave to the monastery of the All Holy Mother of God in Constantinople; a second to the monasteries in the Holy Mountain; a third to the monks of the desert; a fourth to his own monastery and to the poor.

So, when all this that had been entrusted to him was finished, he retired for some time to Kareya, keeping silence there and performing the rule of prayer. And it happened once that, as he prayed, there appeared to him St.Simeon saying to him, “Thy spiritual life and thy prayers and thy alms are come up before the Lord, and because of them there is for you and for me a place prepared. But first must thou accept of the Lord the grace and power which He sends thee. Teach and enlighten thy fatherland: bring to Jesus thy people: and after that thou hast seen the Holy Places and been the mother of good deeds to many people, thou wilt come to us.” When he heard this the saint rejoiced very greatly, for he felt that he was in the heavenly places.

Afterward the saint desired, while he was yet on earth, to see the glory of his father, and he began to pray thus: “O Lord, Thou didst permit me to see my father’s glorious state in secret, but by this that Thou has granted me, I alone am made glad. O my Lord, Thou speakest and it is done. Hear the words of Thy servant and send Thy All Holy Spirit to renew the body of him who suffered for Thy sake and now lies here in a strange land. Give to his body the dew of Thy grace, and let him lie at rest in Thy house, full of Thy mercy, and grant that there may arise from his body the holy oil with its sweet fragrance.” And as all the brothers were praying, suddenly the church was filled with a fragrance more sweet than words can tell, and there was heard a sound from the oil like the sound of water that boils. Then all came to the tomb of holy Simeon and saw how that the oil rose from his body; and St. Sava took a little bottle of this oil and sent it to his brother, the autocrat Stephen.

After this St. Sava was made deacon and priest in his monastery, and then, at Salonika, was made archimandrite ofKhilindar.

And it came to pass that at this time there fell great troubles on the Serbian country. Vukan arose against his brother Stephen, the ruler of the state; much blood was shed, and many of the people had to fly from the land. In this distress, Stephen called upon his brother, for the sake of the Lord, to come back to his fatherland to bring peace and to bless the country. When he heard this thing, he began to weep for sorrow of heart and determined to go and comfort the sad heartof his brother, at the same time fulfilling the commandment of his father. He prayed to the Lord God with many tears that He would direct his way by His will. Then he took the remains of his holy father and departed with some of the brethren. The autocrat Stephen, when he had word of his coming, went with all the clergy and great nobles of his state to greet his brother and the honoured body of his father. They met in the land of the Greeks, and both with brotherly love bore the body to the monastery Studenitza and laid it in the marble tomb newly made ready.

When all who came for this festival had departed, there remained only in Studenitza holy Sava and his monks, awaiting the day when the great wonder of the body of holy Simeon should occur again. When that day had come the autocrat arrived with a great company of nobles and all the bishops with many of the clergy, to perform the all-night office and the Divine Liturgy with holy Sava. And they rejoiced when it was given them also to see all that which had happened in Khilindar, for the sound was heard like unto the sound of boiling water, and the oil arose from the body; then St. Savacrossed himself with it and the autocrat Stephen his brother; the like did all the rest, and those who were sick were healed.

After this the saint continued still in Studenitza, which he named the Lavra of St. Simeon, and he gave the monastery its rule of life. Then like an apostle he travelled through all his fatherland, teaching the people the divine dogmas of the orthodox faith, building churches, setting forth the method of singing and praising the Lord in the churches as it was done at the Holy Mountain of Athos. While he was so doing he was continually giving thought to the enmity between his brothers. He long time urged Vulcan and at last brought him to penitence and confession of his sins before his brother Stephen, so that he received forgiveness and promised to him love and obedience. From this time the Serbian state began to grow in power and the orthodox faith to become strong. Also St. Sava founded now the great church of the Ascensionof Our Lord in Zicha, which afterwards became the seat of the first Serbian archbishop.

It came to pass that the autocrat was forced to declare war against Strez, a prince of Bulgaria. He in times past, being in danger from his own people, had come to Stephen: and Stephen had received him and given him estates for his support. But when this prince had become a little rich he had grown proud, and by his cruel acts had grieved the Lord and his people; finally, he had made a league with the Greek and the Bulgarian kings and declared war on him who had aided him in the hour of misfortune. St. Sava desired to avoid the shedding of the blood of his fellow-orthodox and sought to keep his brother from making war. He went himself to the camp of the enemy and with all gentleness spoke to Strez, bringing to him the Gospel message of peace, recalling to his mind the old lovingkindness of Stephen, the fear ofGod, the punishment for the breaking of an oath, and the reward of sin. But Strez, whose heart was set like a flint, being reckless and full of envy, set at nought all the teaching and counsel of the holy Sava.

Wherefore St. Sava, when he saw that he was relentless, said to him: “It was only my zeal for the good of our people andof you that made me speak so. But since you will not follow the Lord and us, swift misfortune shall come upon you.” And he went his way. When St. Sava came back to his own encampment he raised his hands to the Lord and opened his mouth in prayer, speaking from the depth of his heart and soul: “O Lord, make haste to help us, for our trust is in Thee, and grant that our enemies may not rejoice over us sinners, but that they all may see that Thy grace is upon us. May Thy All Holy Name be glorified.” At once he saw in the spirit what would come to pass, and he returned to his brother the same night. And the sinful Strez, lying asleep on his bed, cried aloud suddenly: “Ah! Sava, Sava!” All those who were by him asked, “What is come to thee?” He, hardly breathing, answered them, “Some terrible young men, sent by SerbianSava, attacked me and took from me my sword and pierced my heart.” He prayed them therefore to call St. Sava; and they went quickly to seek him, but found him not. So Strez perished that same night, and St. Sava brought peace and many blessings to his fatherland.

It came to pass by the providence of the Lord, that some few years after this, holy Sava went to the Greek Emperor Theodore Laska on behalf of his monastery. The Emperor received him very graciously, in part because it was seemly so to do, in part because he was akin to him—for the nephew of Sava, Radoslav, had married the daughter of the Emperor. Here St. Sava,  when he had brought to a good end the affairs of his monastery, desired to do something of use to his fatherland also. Wherefore, taking to heart the counsel sent him by the Lord, he prayed first to God and came afterward to the Emperor, saying to him: “The Lord, who wills salvation for all men, of His grace drove out all heresies from my country through the deeds of my father. One thing we lack still in our state—our own f Serbian archbishop. Therefore I beseech your imperial’ clemency to advise the holy patriarch to consecrate one of the brothers who are with me that he may be archbishop of the Serbian land.” The Emperor gladly agreed to this, and summoned to his presence the patriarch and his synod, together with his nobles and the brothers that were with St. Sava, and with them he took counsel which of them he should direct to be archbishop. And when they had prayed, the Emperor spake to the holy Sava and said: “Thy brethren are good and holy men, but it is on you and not on them that this grace should be bestowed, according to the counsel which our hearts have been vouchsafed. Wherefore it is the Lord’s will that thou be the first archbishop of thy fatherland, its first apostle and teacher.” So said all those who were assembled with him also. St. Sava long time refused, but as all urged him without ceasing he gave way, and being thus elected, he was consecrated to be archbishop of the Serbian land by the holy patriarch of Constantinople, German, in presence of the Emperor and all his nobles.

Holy Sava thus accepted the lot which the Lord had given him. But he began to think now concerning the great distance which lay between the Serbian land and Constantinople, concerning the great cost of so long a journey and the many gifts which he and those who came after him would have to make whenever they came to Constantinople; the frequent wars also between east and west, and concerning dissensions in the synod about the persons elected and the coming to that city to be consecrated. So he went to the Emperor and prayed him on this wise: “My Emperor, enlightened of the Lord, thou hast treated us with perfect love and mercy, but I beg thee of thy clemency establish that from this I time it may not be needful that the archbishop of the i Serbian land should come here to be consecrated, but : let him be elected and consecrated by his own bishops.” This request was not very pleasing to the Emperor and the patriarch, but for the great love they bore him, they gave their consent. So the patriarch, with all the synod, wrote letters with their blessing and gave them to St. Sava, together with the bishop’s staff and vestments. And the Emperor also gave him letters and let him depart.

When St. Sava came back to the Holy Mountain men came to him from all the mountain to Khilindar for his blessing. He received them all lovingly, comforted them, and gave presents unto them, asking their prayers also. At their request he went to many of their monasteries to offer the Liturgy and to make many persons deacons and priests, and afterward he returned to his monastery. He taught the higumen of the monastery in what way he might give an example of good life to the brothers, and the brothers he taught to be obedient to the higumen for Jesus Christ’s sake. Then, taking with him some of the brothers whom he knew to be worthy to t be bishops, he sent word to his brother and started him’self with these to the Serbian country. Stephen sent to meet him his bishops and his nobles and his sons (for he himself was sick), and so with great honour came the holy Sava to his sick brother, the autocrat, whom he healed with prayers and the sprinkling of holy water. Then he went to Studenitza, the Serbian Lavra, and prayed in this holy church, kissing the tombof his father, and came afterward to Zicha, the seat of the Serbian archbishopric. Hither, as the feast of the Ascension ofthe Lord drew near, he called to him his brother the autocrat, his nobles and clergy and a great multitude of the people, and spoke thus: “It is known unto you all how,that in the beginning I fled into the desert, how I came again but once to see you and then departed, because I despised all the beauty of this world for the sake of the love of the Lord. And now once more am I come to you, my own people, because I have at heart the salvation of your souls. If you are obedient unto us, who have taught you in the Lord, and if you keep the “commandments of the Lord, you will receive your reward. Now I have somewhat to say to all you who hear me. Behold how the Lord God, through the prayers of our holy father Simeon, has multiplied and increased you a thousandfold, and has made many of you princes and voievodes. But it is not meet that he who rules you in the Lord with the glory of power should be yet of one title with you. And now also I have been placed for your 1 sake as chief in the Church with the power of the priest- 1 hood. Wherefore it is the more necessary to adorn him who rules you in the Lord with the crown of kingship, for that will be an honour and a glory to you also.” When they all heard this, they bowed themselves before the Lord and praised His chief shepherd. And so, during the Divine Liturgy in the time of consecration set apart for that purpose, St. Sava called the prince Stephen to the altar, read over him the prayer of blessing, anointed him with the holy chrism, put on him the kingly purple, placed the crown upon his head, gave into his hand the sceptre of a king, and girded him with the king’s sword, crying: “Long life to the first crowned King of Serbia, Stephen, autocrat!” Then again, the day after, the holy Sava began to preach in the church to his own people: “Brothers, my companions and children in the Lord, hear ye and give ear, for I speak for love’s sake and the good of your souls.” And beginning from the Resurrection he spoke to them of the historyof our salvation, and expounded to them the holy sacraments and the creed, and all the people listened with glad I hearts, saying, “As you tell and interpret, so we believe / and confess, so we will observe and do, most holy father.” And when he had ended the holy gospel in the Liturgy he caused the king to make oath and to recite the Orthodox creed in the hearing of all the people. So likewise did all / the nobility, saying, “We acknowledge the canons of the f Seven Holy Oecumenical Councils and the nine local synods which were held for the strengthening of the Orthodox faith. We honour the holy eikons and the Light-giving Cross. We confess the seven sacraments of the New Testament. We believe that in the bread and wine we are partakers of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. We honour and bow to the holy relics, and we do all believe and confess what is in the Holy Gospels given by God, all things as they are ordered by the holy apostles and by the Fathers enjoined for our souls’ salvation.”

 Now when the Hungarian king had heard that the Serbian state had a crowned king, which had none before, he was ill pleased because of this raising up of the autocrat Stephen, and full of pride and envy he declared war on him. Stephen, because he desired to avoid the shedding of blood on both sides for such a little matter, sent his brother the ArchbishopSava to heal the breach and bring the Hungarian king to a more peaceful mind. So St. Sava went and was received with great honour. Then he began to speak unto the king in all gentleness concerning the Lord’s words about peace and love and justice and truth. But he would not hearken to the meek words of holy Sava, but raging more furiously, threatened war. Then the Lord did a wonderful thing at the prayers of his saint, for there came hail out of the clouds all round the tent in which the holy Sava stood. When the king saw this, he repented him of his anger and wicked intentions, and he said to the saint, “Blessed art thou of the Lord, most reverend father, and blessed is that day on which thou hast come to us, for thou hast enlightened our hearts. Go in peace with the Lord and be witness from me to thy brother of my peacefulness and affection.” So once again St. Sava brought peace to his fatherland and his brother’s state.

And it came to pass a short while after that King Stephen fell ill and besought the saint to come to him and make him monk. But St. Sava delayed until he should recover; while he delayed King Stephen died and nothing had been done in the matter of appointing some one to fill his place. When holy Sava heard this, he came quickly to that place and was grieved because he had not fulfilled his brother’s will. Then he prayed very earnestly to the good Lord, and as he made the sign of the Cross upon the breast of the dead king he said, “Rise, brother, and speak with me.” And the king awoke as from a dream, and being then made monk with the name Simon, he blessed his eldest son, Radoslav, and gave him authority to rule. And so he died.

After St. Sava had anointed and crowned Radoslav ■ king, he departed to the Holy Place of Jerusalem, taking with him many gifts. And when he came there he venerated first the tomb of the Lord and then the other holy places, presenting the gifts which he had brought. Afterwards he went to the Jordan to the monastery of St. Sava the Blessed. And the fathers of this monastery gave to him the staff of Sava the Blessed. For they told him that it had been handed down from the fathers of old that the founder of this monastery had commanded that this staff should be kept, and whensoever there should come from the West countries some one bearing the same name, who was the founder of a people, it should be given to him. Then he returned again to Jerusalem, where he besought the patriarch for some relics, and took his way again to his fatherland, visiting the Holy Mountain and Khilindar on his way.

When King Radoslav heard that the saint was coming back, he himself with his bishops and nobles went out to meet him and came with him to Studenitza, where St. Sava celebrated a requiem for his brother, the monk Simeon, and brought his body to Zicha. He rested a little then, and went through the Serbian country, strengthening his flock and teaching them.

Some time after it came to pass that King Radoslav for some reason was made monk, and his brother Vladislav was raised up to be king. This was not pleasing to St. Sava, but by the favour of the Lord he anointed and crowned him for the Serbian kingdom. And now that he saw his people in good estate, and the Church and kingdom also, he consecrated to be archbishop in his place his disciple Arseni, and went again to the East, to Jerusalem and the Holy Places, and so to Alexandria and the deserts of Libya and the Thebaid, where he visited the monks of the desert. From thence he passed to Mount Sinai and venerated the relics of St. Katharine; and, after that, he went to Antioch, to the seat of one of the first four patriarchates. Once more he went to Jerusalem, and from there, through Constantinople, he 1 came to the town of Turnovo, to his kinsman Asen, the I ‘Bulgarian king, whose daughter had married Vladislav; the king of the Serbian country. Asen rejoiced greatly at the coming of the saint and received him in his palace, where, since it was winter, he had all things made warm for him.

Now the feast of the Holy Theophany drew near, and the king and the Bulgarian patriarch besought St. Sava during the service on the evening before the feast to celebrate the holy Liturgy on the next morning and to bless the waters, which was the duty of the patriarch on that day. After the feast the saint fell ill, and perceiving that his end was near, he called his disciples to him and gave them the holy relics to carry to the king and the archbishop, Arseni. He himself, after some days of prayer, received the Holy Sacrament, and at midnight, with these last words, “Glory be to the Lord for all His goodness,” he gave up his soul, in the year 1236. The patriarch washed the body himself, and clothed him in splendid vestments, and buried him on the fourteenth day of January in the royal monastery of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. His marble tomb he adorned with candles and with lamps.

Some time after King Vladislav came with his nobles to the town Turnovo, and Archbishop Arseni, with his bishops and clergy, took the body of St. Sava and brought it to the Serbian monastery Mileshevo, which King Vladislav had built; and there his bones rested in peace till the twenty-ninth day of April in the year 1595, when Sinan Pasha oppressed our people, and, stretching forth his sacrilegious Turk’s hands he took the sarcophagus with its relics and bore them to the field Vratchar near Belgrade, where he burnt them, thinking thus to destroy the glory and the memory of St. Sava. But the name of that saint will always be held in highest honour.

Through his prayers do Thou, Jesus Christ our Lord, grant us to live in peace, doing Thy Holy Will. Amen

 

The above “Life of St. Sava” was taken from “The Lives of the Serbian Saints” edited by Vojislav Janic and Cyril Patrick Hankey.