The Holy Prince Lazar of Serbia lived during the fourteenth century at a time when the Turks, having conquered neighboring lands, were preparing to invade Serbia.
Saint Lazar was raised at the court of the holy King Dushan, and was appointed governor of one of the Serbian districts. In the year 1371 he was chosen King of all Serbia and he toiled much at strengthening the condition of the country. He pacified neighboring princes, who had wronged or plundered Serbian settlements. He was concerned also for the Christian enlightenment of the nation, he built churches, and supported the monasteries and charitable establishments. In 1380 the saint established the monastery at Rovanetz. Saint Lazar petitioned the Patriarch of Constantinople to remove the anathema from the people of Serbia. During the course of the ten years of his rule, Serbia was at peace.
Afterwards there began war with the Turks. At the time of the Battle of Kosovo, the wounded king was taken prisoner. On the orders of Sultan Bayazet, he was beheaded with a sword on June 15, 1389. The body of the holy King Lazar was buried at a nearby church. In 1391 his incorrupt relics were transferred to the Ravanica monastery. The monastery was destroyed by the Turks in 1683, and the relics of King Lazar were transferred to the monastery of New Ravanica on Mount Thruzh. He was the founder of the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon on the Holy Mountain, as well as numerous other monasteries and churches.
Palm Sunday is the celebration of the triumphant entrance of Christ into the royal city of Jerusalem. He rode on a colt for which He Himself had sent, and He permitted the people to hail Him publicly as a king. A large crowd met Him in a manner befitting royalty, waving palm branches and placing their garments in His path. They greeted Him with these words: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel! (John 12:13).
This day together with the raising of Lazarus are signs pointing beyond themselves to the mighty deeds and events which consummate Christ’s earthly ministry. The time of fulfillment was at hand. Christ’s raising of Lazarus points to the destruction of death and the joy of resurrection which will be accessible to all through His own death and resurrection. His entrance into Jerusalem is a fulfillment of the messianic prophecies about the king who will enter his holy city to establish a final kingdom. “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass” (Zech 9:9).
Finally, the events of these triumphant two days are but the passage to Holy Week: the “hour” of suffering and death for which Christ came. Thus the triumph in a earthly sense is extremely short-lived. Jesus enters openly into the midst of His enemies, publicly saying and doing those things which mostly enrage them. The people themselves will soon reject Him. They misread His brief earthly triumph as a sign of something else: His emergence as a political messiah who will lead them to the glories of an earthly kingdom.
The liturgy of the Church is more than meditation or praise concerning past events. It communicates to us the eternal presence and power of the events being celebrated and makes us participants in those events. Thus the services of Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday bring us to our own moment of life and death and entrance into the Kingdom of God: a Kingdom not of this world, a Kingdom accessible in the Church through repentance and baptism.
On Palm Sunday palm and willow branches are blessed in the Church. We take them in order to raise them up and greet the King and Ruler of our life: Jesus Christ. We take them in order to reaffirm our baptismal pledges. As the One who raised Lazarus and entered Jerusalem to go to His voluntary Passion stands in our midst, we are faced with the same question addressed to us at baptism: “Do you accept Christ?” We give our answer by daring to take the branch and raise it up: “I accept Him as King and God!”
Thus, on the eve of Christ’s Passion, in the celebration of the joyful cycle of the triumphant days of Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday, we reunite ourselves to Christ, affirm His Lordship over the totality of our life, and express our readiness to follow Him to His Kingdom:
.. that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:10-11).
Very Rev. Paul Lazor
Lenten Schedule of Services 2022
Have a blessed and spiritually beneficial Great Lent!
Sunday, March 6 – Forgiveness Sunday – Cheese-fare Sunday – Bele poklade Divine Liturgy at 10 am. Forgiveness vespers after Liturgy. Church-sponsored lunch in Social Center Deanery Vespers at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Chicago at 6 pm. Homilist Fr Aleksandar Novakovic
Monday, March 7 – Beginning of Great Lent / Clean Week / Početak Posta Vespers and Canon of St Andrew of Crete at 6 pm, religious discussion after
Wednesday. March 9 – Lenten hours at 8 am, confession at 8:30 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am
Thursday, March 10 – Lenten Vespers and Canon of St Andrew of Crete at 6 pm, served by all Orthodox priests from Joliet, religious discussion after
Saturday, March 12 – Vigil / confession at 5 pm
Sunday, March 13 – Sunday of Orthodoxy / Nedelja Pravoslavlja Divine Liturgy at 10 am
Wednesday, March 16 – Lenten hours at 5 pm, confession at 5:30 pm, Presanctified Liturgy 6 pm, religious discussion after
Friday, March 18 – Deanery Presanctified Liturgy at St John church in Bellwood, IL at 6 pm. Homilist Fr Marko Matic
Saturday, March 19 – Vigil / confession at 5 pm
Sunday, March 20 – Sunday of St Gregory Palamas / Nedelja Sv Grigorija Palame Divine Liturgy at 10 am
Deanery Vespers at St Michael church in Lansing, IL at 6 pm. Homilist Fr Vladimir Lange
Wednesday, March 23 – Lenten hours at 8 am, confession at 8:30 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am
Friday, March 25 – Deanery Presanctified Liturgy at St Sava Church in Merrillville, IN at 6 pm. Homilist Fr Srdjan Veselinovich
Saturday, March 26 – Vigil / confession at 5 pm
Sunday, March 27 – Veneration of Holy Cross / Poklonjenje Časnome Krstu Divine Liturgy at 10 am
Deanery Vespers at St Elijah Cathedral in Merrillville, IN at 6 pm, Homilist Fr Dobrivoje Milunovic
Wednesday, March 30 – Lenten hours at 5 pm, confession 5:30 pm, Presanctified Liturgy at 6 pm. Religious discussion after
Friday, April 1- Deanery Presanctified Liturgy at St Simeon church in South Chicago, IL at 6 pm. Homilist Fr Nemanja Tesic
Saturday, April 2 – Vigil/confession at 5 pm
Sunday, April 3 – Sunday of St John Climacus / Nedelja Sv Jovana Lestvičnika Divine Liturgy at 10 am
Deanery Vespers at St George in East Chicago, IN at 6 pm. Homilist Fr Aleksandar Bugarin
Monday, April 4 – Matins and Akathist to the Theotokos, religious discussion after
Wednesday, April 6 – Lenten hours at 8 am, confession at 8:30 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am Vigil / confession at 6 pm
Thursday, April 7 – Holy Annunciation / Blagovesti Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom at 9 am
Friday and Saturday, Diocesan Annual Assembly / Clergy confession at New Gracanica Monastery, Third Lake, IL
Saturday, April 9 – Vigil /confession at 5 pm
Sunday, April 10 – Sunday of St Mary of Egypt / Nedelja Sv Marije Egipćanke Divine Liturgy at 10 am
Deanery Vespers at Ss. Peter and Paul church in South Bend, IN at 6 pm. Homilist Fr Radovan Jakovljevic
Wednesday, April 13 – Lenten hours at 5 pm, confession at 5:30 pm, Presanctified Liturgy at 6 pm, religious discussion after
Holy Week starts on Lazarus Saturday April 16.
Make time to do your confession and partake of Holy Communion as often as you can. Try to attend as many Lenten services as you are able to and especially the Presanctified Liturgy on Wednesdays.
We are obligated to attend at least one or two Deanery Lenten services. Please make your schedule now.
Saint Savva I, first Archbishop of Serbia
Commemorated on January 14/27
Parish celebration of St Sava on Sunday, January 30.
Divine Liturgy at 10 am. Blessing of kolac and zito and children's program in the church. Kumovi Steva and Draginja Lukin
Saint Savva, First Archbishop of Serbia, in the world Rostislav (Rastko), was a son of the Serbian king Stephen Nemanya and Anna, daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Romanus. From his early years he fervently attended church services and had a special love for icons.
At seventeen years of age, Rostislav met a monk from Mount Athos, secretly left his father’s house and set off for the Saint Panteleimon monastery. (By divine Providence in 1169, the year of the saint’s birth, the ancient monastery of the Great Martyr and healer Panteleimon was given to Russian monks.)
Knowing that his son was on Athos, his father mobilized his retainers headed by a faithful voevod and wrote to the governor of the district which included Athos, saying that if his son were not returned to him, he would go to war against the Greeks. When they arrived at the monastery, the voevod was ordered not to take his eyes off Rostislav. During the evening services, when the soldiers had fallen asleep under the influence of wine, Rostislav received monastic tonsure (in 1186) and sent to his parents his worldly clothes, his hair and a letter. Saint Savva sought to persuade his powerful parents to accept monasticism. The monk’s father (in monasticism Simeon, commemorated on February 13) and his son pursued asceticism at the Vatopedi monastery. On Athos they established the Serbian Hilandar monastery, and this monastery received its name by imperial grant. At Hilandar monastery, Saint Savva was ordained to the diaconate and then presbyter. His mother Anna became a nun with the name Anastasia (June 21).
For his holy life and virtuous deeds on Mount Athos, the monk was made an archimandrite at Thessalonica. At Nicea in the year 1219 on the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Ecumenical Patriarch Germanus consecrated Archimandrite Savva as Archbishop of Serbia. The saint petitioned the Byzantine Emperor to grant permission for Serbian bishops to elect their own Archbishop in future. This was a very important consideration in a time of frequent wars between the eastern and western powers.
Having returned to the Holy Mountain from Nicea, the saint visited all the monasteries for the last time. He made prostrations in all the churches and, calling to mind the blessed lives of the wilderness Fathers, he made his farewells to the ascetics with deep remorse, “leaving the Holy Mountain, as if from Paradise.”
Saddened by his separation from the Holy Mountain, the saint went along the path from Athos just barely moving. The Most Holy Theotokos spoke to the saint in a dream, “Having My Patronage, why do you remain sorrowful?” These words roused him from despondency, changing his sorrow into joy. In memory of this appearance, the saint commissioned large icons of the Savior and of the Mother of God at Thessalonica, and put them in a church.
In Serbia, the activity of the Hierarch in organizing the work of his native Church was accompanied by numerous signs and miracles. During the Liturgy and the all-night Vigil, when the saint came to cense the grave of his father the monk Simeon, the holy relics exuded fragrant myrrh.
Being in charge of negotiations with the Hungarian King Vladislav, who had declared war on Serbia, the holy bishop not only brought about the desired peace for his country, but he also brought the Hungarian monarch to Orthodoxy. Thus he facilitated the start of the historical existence of the autonomous Serbian Church. Saint Savva also contributed to strengthening the Serbian state. In order to insure the independence of the Serbian state, Archbishop Savva crowned his powerful brother Stephen as king. Upon the death of Stephen, his eldest son Radislav was crowned king, and Saint Savva set off to the Holy Land “to worship at the holy tomb of Christ and fearsome Golgotha.”
When he returned to his native land, the saint blessed and crowned Vladislav as king. To further strengthen the Serbian throne, he betrothed him to the daughter of the Bulgarian prince Asan. The holy hierarch visited churches all across Serbia, he reformed monastic rules on the model of Athos and Palestine, and he established and consecrated many churches, strengthening the Orthodox in their faith. Having finished his work in his native land, the saint appointed the hieromonk Arsenius as his successor, consecrating him bishop and giving his blessing to all.
He then set off on a journey of no return, desiring “to end his days as a wanderer in a foreign land.” He passed through Palestine, Syria and Persia, Babylon, Egypt and Anatolia, everywhere visiting the holy places, conversing with great ascetics, and collecting the holy relics of saints. The saint finished his wanderings at Trnovo in Bulgaria at the home of his kinsman Asan, where with spiritual joy he gave up his soul to the Lord (+ 1237).
At the time of transfer of the holy relics of Saint Savva to Serbia in 1237, there were so many healings that the Bulgarians began to complain about Asan, “because he had given up such a treasure.” In the saint’s own country, his venerable relics were placed in the Church of Mileshevo, bestowing healing on all who approached with faith. The inhabitants of Trnovo continued to receive healing from the remnants of the saint’s coffin, which Asan ordered to be gathered together and placed in a newly built sarcophagus.
Saint Savva I, first Archbishop of Serbia - Troparion & Kontakion:
Troparion — Tone 4
In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, / an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; / your humility exalted you; / your poverty enriched you. / Hierarch Father Savva, / entreat Christ our God / that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion — Tone 2
(Podoben: “You sought the heights...”)
O Hierarch Savva, divine thunder, spiritual trumpet, / planter of faith and pruner of heresies, great favorite of the Trinity, / while standing with the Angels before God, / pray unceasingly for us all.