St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America
300 Stryker Avenue, Joliet, Illinois 60436
Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 24

Sunday of Orthodoxy

The Sunday of Orthodoxy is the first Sunday of Great Lent. The dominant theme of this Sunday since 843 has been that of the victory of the icons. In that year the iconoclastic controversy, which had raged on and off since 726, was finally laid to rest, and icons and their veneration were restored on the first Sunday in Lent. Ever since, this Sunday has been commemorated as the "Triumph of Orthodoxy."

Historical Background
The Seventh Ecumenical Council dealt predominantly with the controversy regarding icons and their place in Orthodox worship. It was convened in Nicaea in 787 by Empress Irene at the request of Tarasios, Patriarch of Constantinople. The Council was attended by 367 bishops.

Almost a century before this, the iconoclastic controversy had once more shaken the foundations of both Church and State in the Byzantine empire. Excessive religious respect and the ascribed miracles to icons by some members of society, approached the point of worship (due only to God) and idolatry. This instigated excesses at the other extreme by which icons were completely taken out of the liturgical life of the Church by the Iconoclasts. The Iconophiles, on the other-hand, believed that icons served to preserve the doctrinal teachings of the Church; they considered icons to be man's dynamic way of expressing the divine through art and beauty.

The Council decided on a doctrine by which icons should be venerated but not worshipped. In answering the Empress' invitation to the Council, Pope Hadrian replied with a letter in which he also held the position of extending veneration to icons but not worship, the last befitting only God.

The decree of the Council for restoring icons to churches added an important clause which still stands at the foundation of the rationale for using and venerating icons in the Orthodox Church to this very day: "We define that the holy icons, whether in colour, mosaic, or some other material, should be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on the sacred vessels and liturgical vestments, on the walls, furnishings, and in houses and along the roads, namely the icons of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, that of our Lady the Theotokos, those of the venerable angels and those of all saintly people. Whenever these representations are contemplated, they will cause those who look at them to commemorate and love their prototype. We define also that they should be kissed and that they are an object of veneration and honour (timitiki proskynisis), but not of real worship (latreia), which is reserved for Him Who is the subject of our faith and is proper for the divine nature. The veneration accorded to an icon is in effect transmitted to the prototype; he who venerates the icon, venerated in it the reality for which it stands".

An Endemousa (Regional) Synod was called in Constantinople in 843. Under Empress Theodora. The veneration of icons was solemnly proclaimed at the Hagia Sophia Cathedral. The Empress, her son Michael III, Patriarch Methodios, and monks and clergy came in procession and restored the icons in their rightful place. The day was called "Triumph of Orthodoxy." Since that time, this event is commemorated yearly with a special service on the first Sunday of Lent, the "Sunday of Orthodoxy".

Orthodox teaching about icons, as defined at the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787, is embodied in the texts sung on this Sunday.

From Vespers: “Inspired by your Spirit, Lord, the prophets foretold your birth as a child incarnate of the Virgin. Nothing can contain or hold you; before the morning star you shone forth eternally from the spiritual womb of the Father. Yet you were to become like us and be seen by those on earth. At the prayers of those your prophets in your mercy reckon us fit to see your light, "for we praise your resurrection, holy and beyond speech. Infinite, Lord, as divine, in the last times you willed to become incarnate and so finite; for when you took on flesh you made all its properties your own. So we depict the form of your outward appearance and pay it relative respect, and so are moved to love you; and through it we receive the grace of healing, following the divine traditions of the apostles.”

“The grace of truth has shone out, the things once foreshadowed now are revealed in perfection. See, the Church is decked with the embodied image of Christ, as with beauty not of this world, fulfilling the tent of witness, holding fast the Orthodox faith. For if we cling to the icon of him whom we worship, we shall not go astray. May those who do not so believe be covered with shame. For the image of him who became human is our glory: we venerate it, but do not worship it as God. Kissing it, we who believe cry out: O God, save your people, and bless your heritage.”

“We have moved forward from unbelief to true faith, and have been enlightened by the light of knowledge. Let us then clap our hands like the psalmist, and offer praise and thanksgiving to God. And let us honor and venerate the holy icons of Christ, of his most pure Mother, and of all the saints, depicted on walls, panels and sacred vessels, setting aside the unbelievers' ungodly teaching. For the veneration given to the icon passes over, as Basil says, to its prototype. At the intercession of your spotless Mother, O Christ, and of all the saints, we pray you to grant us your great mercy. We venerate your icon, good Lord, asking forgiveness of our sins, O Christ our God. For you freely willed in the flesh to ascend the cross, to rescue from slavery to the enemy those whom you had formed. So we cry to you with thanksgiving: You have filled all things with joy, our Savior, by coming to save the world.”

The name of this Sunday reflects the great significance which icons possess for the Orthodox Church. They are not optional devotional extras, but an integral part of Orthodox faith and devotion. They are held to be a necessary consequence of Christian faith in the incarnation of the Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, in Jesus Christ. They have a sacramental character, making present to the believer the person or event depicted on them. So the interior of Orthodox churches is often covered with icons painted on walls and domed roofs, and there is always an icon screen, or iconostasis, separating the sanctuary from the nave, often with several rows of icons. No Orthodox home is complete without an icon corner (iconostasion), where the family prays.

Icons are venerated by burning lamps and candles in front of them, by the use of incense and by kissing. But there is a clear doctrinal distinction between the veneration paid to icons and the worship due to God. The former is not only relative, it is in fact paid to the person represented by the icon. This distinction safeguards the veneration of icons from any charge of idolatry.

The theme of the victory of the icons, by its emphasis on the incarnation, points us to the basic Christian truth that the one whose death and resurrection we celebrate at Easter was none other than the Word of God who became human in Jesus Christ.

Before the Triumph of Orthodoxy came to be celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent, there was on this day a commemoration of Moses, Aaron, Samuel and the prophets. Traces of this more ancient observance can still be seen in the choice of the Epistle reading at the Liturgy and in the Alleluia verse appointed before the Gospel: “Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among them that call upon His Name.”

Schedule of Holy & Bright Week Services 2023

Schedule of Holy and Bright Week Services in St George Serbian Orthodox Church, Joliet

Holy Week or Passion Week is the week before Pascha during which we commemorate the capture, suffering, crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please attend all the services, fast, intensify your prayers and read the Gospel about the last days of our Lord before His death on the cross. Receiving holy communion during Holy Week on Holy Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and especially on Pascha is necessary. Pascha is the culmination of Holy Week and the celebration of the Feast of feasts and victory over sin with the death of our Savior and our resurrection with Him. 

Friday, April 7 – Annunciation / Eve of Lazarus Saturday / Navečerje Lazareve Subote

Vesperal liturgy of St John Chrysostom at 9 am

Vespers / confession at 6 pm


On Lazarus Saturday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the miracle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when he raised Lazarus from the dead after he had lain in the grave four days. In triumph and joy the Church bears witness to the power of Christ over death and exalts Him as King before entering the most solemn week of the year, one that leads the faithful in remembrance of His suffering and death and concludes with the great and glorious Feast of Pascha.


Saturday, April 8 – Resurrection of Lazarus / Lazareva Subota / Holy Week

Confession at 8:30 am, Divine Liturgy at 9 am

Vigil / Confession at 5 pm


Sunday, April 9 – Entry into Jerusalem of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ / Palm Sunday

Hierarchal Liturgy at 10 am. Procession around the church. His Grace, Bishop Longin will be with us.

Deanery Lenten vespers at 6 pm. Homilist Fr Milos Zivkovic, diner after the service in Social Center


Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem following His glorious miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead.


Monday, April 10

Bridegroom Matins at 6 pm


Tuesday, April 11

Bridegroom Matins at 6 pm


Wednesday, April 12

Lenten Hours at 8 am, confession at 8:30 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am


Thursday, April 13

Confession at 8:30 am, Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil the Great at 9 am

Matins and reading of 12 gospel lessons at 6 pm


On Thursday of Holy Week four events are commemorated: the washing of the disciples' feet, the institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Christ by Judas.

On Great and Holy Friday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the death of Christ on the Cross. This is the culmination of the observance of His Passion by which our Lord suffered and died for our sins. This commemoration begins on Thursday evening with the Matins of Holy Friday and concludes with a Vespers on Friday afternoon that observes the unnailing of Christ from the Cross and the placement of His body in the tomb.


Friday, April 14 – Good Friday / Veliki Petak

Royal Hours at 9 am

Vespers, unnailing of Christ Body from the Cross and the placement of His Body in the Tomb at 4 pm

Matins, Lamentation and Burial of Christ at 6 pm


On Great and Holy Saturday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the burial of Christ and His descent into Hades. It is the day between the Crucifixion of our Lord and His glorious Resurrection. The Matins of Holy Saturday is conducted on Friday evening, and while many elements of the service represent mourning at the death and burial of Christ, the service itself is one of watchful expectation


Saturday, April 15 – Holy and blessed Sabbath

Confession at 8:30 am, Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil the Great at 9 am

Resurrection Matins – Vaskrsno Jutrenje at 11 pm


Hristos Voskrese   Christ is Risen      Hristos Anesti


Sunday, April 16 – Holy Pascha / Vaskrsenje Hristovo / Bright Week

Divine Liturgy at 10 am


Monday, April 17

Divine Liturgy at 9 am


Tuesday, April 18

Divine Liturgy at 9 am


Church Slava Celebration this year will be on the Sunday of the Paralytic, May 7. Slava rite and traditional dinner in Social Center. Please mark your calendar!


Feast of St George the Great Martyr is on May 6. Vigil/ confession will be served on May 5 at 6 pm. Divine Liturgy on St George’s day at 9 am


Dormition of the Theotokos August 15/28
Dormition of the Theotokos / Velika Gospojina Aug. 15/28
The doors of caring do now open unto us,
O most blessed Theotokos,
So that hoping in you we shall not fail;
Through you we may be delivered from adversities,
For you are the salvation of the Christian faith.
(Theotokion from the Service of the Small Paraklesis)
August 15/28
The Feast of the Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on August 15/28 each year. The Feast commemorates the repose (dormition and in the Greek kimisis) or "falling-asleep" of the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Feast also commemorates the translation or assumption into heaven of the body of the Theotokos.
Biblical Story
The Holy Scriptures tell us that when our Lord was dying on the Cross, He saw His mother and His disciple John and said to the Virgin Mary, "Woman, behold your son!" and to John, "Behold your mother!" (John 19:25-27). From that hour, the Apostle took care of the Theotokos in his own home.
Along with the biblical reference in Acts 1:14 that confirms that the Virgin Mary was with the Holy Apostles on the day of Pentecost, the tradition of the Church holds that she remained in the home of the Apostle John in Jerusalem, continuing a ministry in word and deed.
At the time of her death, the disciples of our Lord who were preaching throughout the world returned to Jerusalem to see the Theotokos. Except for the Apostle Thomas, all of them including the Apostle Paul were gathered together at her bedside. At the moment of her death, Jesus Christ himself descended and carried her soul into heaven.
Following her repose, the body of the Theotokos was taken in procession and laid in a tomb near the Garden of Gethsemane. When the Apostle Thomas arrived three days after her repose and desired to see her body, the tomb was found to be empty. The bodily assumption of the Theotokos was confirmed by the message of an angel and by her appearance to the Apostles.
Icon of the Feast
The Icon of the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos shows her on her deathbed surrounded by the Apostles. Christ is standing in the center looking at His mother. He is holding a small child clothed in white representing the soul of the Virgin Mary. With His golden garments, the angels above His head, and the mandorla surrounding Him, Christ is depicted in His divine glory.
The posture of the Apostles direct attention toward the Theotokos. On the right Saint Peter censes the body of the Theotokos. On the left Saint Paul bows low in honor of her.
Together with the Apostles are several bishops and women. The bishops traditionally represented are James, the brother of the Lord, Timothy, Heirotheus, and Dionysius the Areopagite. They are shown wearing episcopal vestments. The women are members of the church in Jerusalem.
In front of the bed of the Theotokos is a candle that helps to form a central axis in the icon. Above the candle is the body of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. Standing over His mother is Christ holding her most pure soul. Above Christ the gates of heaven stand open, ready to receive the Mother of God.
This great Feast of the Church and the icon celebrates a fundamental teaching of our faith—the Resurrection of the body. In the case of the Theotokos, this has been accomplished by the divine will of God. Thus, this Feast is a feast of hope, hope in Resurrection and life eternal. Like those who gathered around the body of the Virgin Mary, we gather around our departed loved ones and commend their souls into the hands of Christ. As we remember those who have reposed in the faith before us and have passed on into the communion of the Saints, we prepare ourselves to one day be received into the new life of the age to come.
We also affirm through this Feast as we journey toward the heavenly abode that the Mother of God intercedes for us. Through Christ she has become the mother of all of the children of God, embracing us with divine love.
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Serbia Commemorated on June 15/28

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.


Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) Commemorated on April 17


Palm Sunday

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.

Our Pledge

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

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.

Parish celebration of St Sava on Sunday, January 30

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.

Today's Readings

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church