Sveti Sava (Saint Sava) ContentsThe Family and the Serbian Slava (Patron Saint)..............1 Schools’ Patron Saint Slava in the family...................2 Preslava (little slava)..............3 St. Sava.................................4 The Loaf of Slava....................5 Slava and Jewish Passover Meal............................6 The most celebrated Patron Saints...........................7 Fasting....................................8 Credits (The end)....................9
Slava (Patron Saint) distinguishing marks of the Serbian Orthodoxy and the Serbian OrthodoxI n all the religions worldwide, there is a Church. The difference lies in the fact thattradition or a custom of celebrating a day the Patron Saint is not the Protector of anwhich is for some reason special for an individual only but of the entire family.individual or a community. Those reasons, This, specifically, Serbian family custom,just like the origins of those customs, vary is called Slava (the Celebration, thefrom religion to religion and from culture to Glorification). The entire family celebratesculture. In the Western Christianity, for it each year on the day of the particularexample, there is a tradition of celebrating Patron Saint from the moment a family hasthe Patron Saint, a Saint that is believed become Christian,( probably at the momentto be the protector of a city. Also, there is a of the “family baptism”, i. e. the baptism oftradition of celebrating a day, or better to the entire family). This implies that thesay, an individual Patron Saint Day, Slava or the Patron Saint day is the daywhen a child, for example, got its name after of the family gathering or reunion,the Saint, ‘the name’s day’ as we call it. accentuating the importance of family in theHowever, there is among the Orthodox Serbian Orthodoxy, followed by aSerbs a variation of the tradition of the particular ritual.Patron Saint, which is actually one of the
Slava in the family Slava. So, if two Serbian families have the same Slava, even without having the sameThe host of Slava is the head of the family surname, this could be an indicator of(pater familias). The role of a host is possible family ties between them.inherited from the head of the family to The sons should celebrate the Slava withsons, just like the way the surname is their father only if they live under the sameinherited from father to sons. Since the roof. If they live separately, they shouldsurname is not only an individual but a celebrate it separately, each one in hisfamily mark, the connection between the household. If the head of the family doesn’tsurname and Slava is evident and have a son, daughters can inherit the Slavacomprehensible only in their family only if they stay in the home. As a ruledimension. This connection establishes married women by the very marriage start toSlava as the indicator of the genealogical celebrate their husband’s Slava.relationships between families and branchesof the same family. This is importantespecially after the Turkish occupation ofthe Serbian countries, since many Serbswere forced to change their surnames (as itwas ordered by the Turks, escapingvendettas etc.), but they have never changedtheir
Preslava (little slava) families, where pagan Protector of a family was, by mass Christianization ofSerbs usually celebrate one Slava; yet, Serbs(ninth century), replaced by asome families may celebrate another Saint Christian Saint. Although thisto a lesser extent for various reasons. If explanation seems easy and logical, itsomething very important happened to doesn’t explain why only the Serbs havesomebody on a certain day (rescue from developed Slava and why many otherperil, some extraordinary achievement etc.) nations, that have had much morethan he would adopt the Saint that is sophisticated and developed religiouscelebrated on that day as his another Patron veneration of household gods (Romans hadSaint. Or if the wife is the only descendant celebrated Lars as household gods, Greeksof her father so otherwise her father’s Slava had venerated Hestia…), didn’t develop,would be extinguished. All these cases of during their Christianization, some similarthe Second Slava are named as Preslava or custom, but ended up in celebrating theLittle Slava. ‘name’s day’. In any case, this simpleThe historical background of Slava is explanation of the origin of Slava cannotobscure. It is usually said that Slava, as a elucidate the specific Serbian character ofcustom, has roots in pagan worship of Old Slava.Slavic household gods as protectors of the
codification of the Sava Law, that St. Byzantine is actually reminder for all Teachers and deserted and ruined monastery on theimplements the rich inheritance of the Pupils that theyAthos-Hilandary. They northern brink of are one big family withAlthough Slava has been present amongGreco-Roman Civil Law, St. Sava St. Sava as their Head. not only as served built a monumental monastery which a placethe Serbs since beginning of the 13thalready, at thethe ninth century, Saint for spiritual life of monks but also as law At Hilandary important medieval theSava gaveintroduces final Serbian as theCentury, it the the stamp State cultural centre for Serbs. were transcribed codes and literary workscommunity mark Orthodox Church to theand the Serbian of the Serbian Orthodox under the supervision of St. Sava. He wasChurch that of the European itsmainstream he established in 1219, beingand also a writer, and we can freely say hefirst Archbishop.civilization. Therefore,Mediterranean But the importance of stands at the beginning of the independentSaint Sava cannot be limited to ofSt. Sava stands at the very beginningthe Serbian medieval literature (D.establishment of the Serbian Literature,the Serbian Law, the Serbian Orthodox Bogdanovic). His first literary work, TheChurch only. The youngest son of thethe Serbian Culture and the Serbian Karyes Typicon (1199), testifies about theSerbian Great wonder, (Duke) in theEducation. No Zupan then, thatStefan importance of juridical literature for theNemanja, Rastko inthe liberation left the19th Century, after the age of 17 of for establishment of the Serbian State andthe Mount Athos where he became a monk.Serbs from Turks, St. Sava was elected as Serbian Church in St. Sava’s worldview.After Stefan Nemanja Serbianthrone forthe Patron Saint of left the Schools This Typicon, as well as the other two ( Thehis middle son, Stefan Prvovencani (theworldwide and of the Serbian Education Typicon of Hilandary and The Typicon ofFirstcrowned), St. Sava’s day everygenerally. At and joined his son at Studenica) which were written by St.Mount Athos, Saint Sava, with theSerbian School celebrates its Patron Sava, introduce the main juridical work ofeconomic support of School Slava, whichSaint, celebrates itshis father, bought a St. Sava, Nomokanon. With this
The Loaf of Slava especially the wine. In the rite of Breaking next to it Kolyivo is boiled wheat arranged the Slava Loaf, the wine is poured over the Loaf so that it makes the sign of the cross with various spices, like sugar, grind nutsThe most remarkable sign the very rite of over the Loaf, symbolizing in the and cinnemon. In the Gospel TraditionSlava is The Loaf of Slava (Slavski Christ. wheat symbolizesKolac). There is the Cross on the top of the resurrection (The Gospel according tothe Loaf and the abbreviation for “Jesus John 12, 24-25). It is dedicated to all theChrist wins”. The loaf symbolizes the deceased members of the family, to all theChrist, which can be seen in the rite of ancestors who faithfully celebrated Slavabreaking the loaf when the priest says to the before us, enabling us, today, to celebratehead of the household “Christ between us”. the feast in the same manner, and whosePartaking of the one loaf, which symbolizes presence is symbolically represented bythe very Christ, stresses the unity between wheat. Therefore, celebrating Slava unitesall members of the family in the Christian family not only by gathering it around thefaith. The Loaf also contains the Dove (of Loaf representing Christ, but alsopeace), reminding the members of the family temporarily extends, by means of wheat,that until the next celebration of Slava this celebration to all Christian generationspeace must rule among them. When the of family. Indispensible elements of SlavaLoaf is placed on the table in front of the are also: a Candle (Slavska Sveca) that isSaint’s Icon, a bowl of kolyivo is placed lit on in honor of the Patron Saint, and
Slava and Jewish Passover Meal Passover Meal, bread and wine are not only simple food but their usage in the meal The usage of bread and wine in a religious bears profound theological connotations. family feast would point to some important Both Jewish Passover Meal and Serbian parallels between Serbian Slava and Slava celebrate the day when families, Jewish Passover Meal (see The Book of Jewish and Serbian, became connected to Exodus 12). Both feasts are strictly God in a special way as God’s covenant family celebrations that gather and people- Jews in the moment of their Exile spiritually unite family around their from Egypt and Serbian family through central object- Jews are gathered around the their family baptism on the Feast Day of Paschal Lamb and Serbs around Christ the Family Patron. In any case, the (symbolized by the Loaf and Wine). If we connection between Serbian Slava and consider the fact that in the Gospel Jewish Passover Meal shouldn’t be Tradition Jesus Christ is presented as overlooked. “our (Christian) Passover Lamb” (The Gospel of John 1,29.36; Paul’s First Epistle to Corinthians 5,7), then the resemblance between the two is even stronger. In both Slava and Jewish
The most celebrated Patron SaintsThe most celebrated Patron Saints amongthe Serbs are: Saint Nicholas (19/12according to the Gregorian Calendar),Saint Michael (21/11), Saint John theBaptist (20/1), Saint George the Great St. Nicholas St. MichaelMartyr (6/5), Saint Demetrius (8/11),Saint Stephen (9/1- the Slava of theNemanjic Dynasty). St. John St. George
FastingIf Slava falls in a period of fasting (4Great Fasts and the most of Wednesdaysand Fridays) the Feast consists of fastingmeals, based only on vegetables and fish,fat-fee food. Otherwise, it is an ordinarymeal with plenty of meat on the table. Still,the most important thing during thecelebration is the joyous atmosphere andfeeling of unity and love of God, family,relatives and friends visiting, wishing toshare the moments of love, peace and lovewith their loved ones.
Credits Ivana TonsaPresentation was made by: Darko Kostic Milan Stojanovic High school “Bora Stankovic” Nis.