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1. St Sava, Archbishop of Serbia.

The son of Stefan Nemanja, the great Serbian national leader, he was born in 1169. As a young man he yearned for the spiritual life, which led him to flee to the Holy Mountain, where he became a monk and with rare zeal followed all the ascetic practices. Nemanja followed his son's example and himself went to the Holy Mountain, where he lived and ended his days as the monk Simeon. Sava obtained the independence of the Serbian Church from the Emperor and the Patriarch, and became its first archbishop. He, together, with his father, built the monastery of Hilandar and after that many other monasteries, churches and schools throughout the land of Serbia. He travelled to the Holy Land on two occasions, on pilgrimage to the holy places there. He made peace among his brothers, who were in conflict over their rights, and also between the Serbs and their neighbours. In creating the Serbian Church, he created the Serbian state and Serbian culture along with it. He brought peace to all the Balkan peoples, working for the good of all, for which he was venerated and loved by all on the Balkan peninsular. He gave a Christian soul to the people of Serbia, which survived the fall of the Serbian state. He died in Trnovo in the reign of King Asen, being taken ill after the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Theophany in 1236. King Vladislav took his body to Milegeva, whence Sinan Pasha removed it, burning it at Vracar in Belgrade on April 27th, 1595.

2. Our Holy Fathers, the Martyrs of Sinai and Raithu.

These holy fathers were killed by the Saracens, those of Sinai in the fourth century and the others in the fifth.

3. St Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.

An ardent fighter against Arianism in the West, he suffered greatly for his choice of Orthodoxy. Of his writings on many subjects, the most important are those on the Holy Trinity. He entered into rest in the Lord in the year 367.

4. St Nina, the Enlightener of Georgia.

Hearing of the Georgian people, the maiden Nina desired from her early years to travel to Georgia and baptise the Georgians. The Mother of God appeared to her and promised her that she would take her to that land. When the Lord opened the path to her, the young Nina indeed went to Georgia, where she very quickly gained the love of the people. She baptised Mirian, King of Georgia, his wife Nana and their son Bakar, who then zealously aided Nina in her missionary efforts. Nina travelled throughout Georgia in the course of her life, and succeeded in bringing all the people to the Christian faith - and this during a time of fearful persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian. She rested from her many labours and entered into peace in the Lord in the year 335. Her grave is in a church in Samtavro. She performed many miracles both during her lifetime and after her death.


From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
© 1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK