Saint of the Day ~ January 14

SAINT SAVA of SERBIA (1176-1235), bishop – Patron saint of Serbia and Serbian schools and schoolchildren

Today, the Church honors Saint Sava, the first patriarch of Serbia who surrendered his royal crown as a youth in order to become a monk.

Rastko Nemanja was born as the prince of Serbia in 1176, the son of King Stephen I. At the age of seventeen, the young prince ran away from home to join the Orthodox monastic colony on Mount Athos in Greece and was given the name Sava.

At the end of the year 1197, his father, after abdicating his throne, joined Sava, and he also took the monastic vows under the name Simeon. In 1198, together they moved to and restored the abandoned monastery Hilandar, which was at that time the center of Serbian Christian monastic life.

The patriarch of the Greek/Byzantine Orthodox Church elevated Sava to the position of the first Serbian archbishop, thereby establishing the independence of the archbishopric of the Serbian Church in the year 1219.

At the age of fifty-nine, Archbishop Sava made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On his way home, he stayed in Tirnovo, Bulgaria, and, after participating in a formal “Blessing of the Waters”, he contracted pneumonia and died on the evening of January 14, 1235.

Saint Sava is celebrated as the founder of the independent Serbian Orthodox Church and remains the most beloved of all the Serbian Orthodox saints. He is regarded as the patron saint of education and medicine among Serbs, as well as the patron saint of Serbian schools and schoolchildren.

We commemorate his feastday on January 14.

(From,, and



(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Pastors ~ bishop)

“Lord God, You counted Saint Sava of Serbia among Your holy pastors, renowned for faith and love which conquered evil in this world. By the help of his prayers, keep us strong in faith and love, and let us come to share his glory.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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