Faith above all – Saint Sava

When we celebrate the Saint Sava, we need to be receptive to the messages he is sending to us. Sava’s messages are as important to us, today, as they were vital to our distant ancestors, whom he was tirelessly trying to reach into their souls.

Saint Sava sacrificed whole his earthly life, every blink of his soul, for his people. Through sacrificial love, self-restraint and persevering work, the Saint Sava “brings the new people to the Lord”. (Domentijan) “He spent his entire life fasting,” Teodosije said, and according to the lessons we read from his works, we see that it was not very easy for him dealing with us, the Serbs. “He has traveled all alone throughout the land of his people, and taught them about faith.” (Teodosije) “There is not a single Serbian region where there are no legends and legends about Sava’s activity. Sava’s wellspring, Sava’s foot or other similar toponyms with Sava’s name can be found in every Serbian region. “(D. Kasić)

Saint Sava founded our nation, and while it had lived and worked on these foundations and within the frames of it, the Serbian people progressed and grew up to the heights they never reached again

The cornerstone and the pole of the Sava’s building is a holy Orthodox faith. That and nothing else. This sacred notion has been usually poured out from his holy mouths. ‘’By admiring the Lord of Christ, who has decorated heavens with stars, Sava has adorned fields, valleys and hills of his fatherland, with good faith and holy churches, and where he has not arrived to create churches, he placed a cross there, so the name of God can be celebrated in every place.’’ (Domentijan)

St. Sava christianised us in the name of Christ, and brought us into the ranks of cultural nations. He has opened our spiritual vision for discovering and experiencing everything truly beautiful and noble. He taught us devotion by showing us the true model of virtue.

St. Sava was a true ascetic and a prayer. With tears and tears, he gave wings to his sacred prayers. (Domentijan) The eyewitness testified, that in his cell, the martyr room, the saints reside in the image of the first ancient holy fathers, with great restraint, fasting, devotion, perseverance, with renunciation of every bodily consolation, all his might was made in honesty and tears, all his live was lived through an angelic image, portraying himself as a disembodied mightiness.(Domentijan) He was walking on the earth, “like he was touched by the saintly soul.” (Domentijan)

Despite this, St. Sava never lost contact with the firm ground that he walked on. He was able to give his soul for his closest ones, (Јn. 15, 13), to overcome himself and his thirst for salvation and to put all his strength and skill into the service of the concrete needs of his people. He could never forget his monastic room. Once, when the difficulties overwhelmed his enormous measure of suffering, he tore off everything, returned, briefly, to his silence, supplemented his spiritual tanks, and then, empowered, returned to the problems of enlightenment and the spiritual guidance of his own people. He “succeeded and blossomed with good deeds and extraordinary accomplishments, never forgetting ordinary services”, Domentijan says.

The material improvement of Serbian people was not the only aim of St. Sava. Sava’s ambition was far more imporant than that. He has walked on the stone paths of his homeland, he has tightened and  has strengthened the Serbian state with the ultimate goal that did not end on earth. He “was not cease to learning day and night, establishing everything in fear of God … and leading to godliness, taking away the diseases that destroy the soul, by doing God’s will to place everything in the kingdom of heaven.’’ (Domentijan) While he was still alive, his contemporaries have adorned him with most beautiful and most crystal-clear description, telling that he is an earthly man and a heavenly angel. And when he fought and won the independence of the Serbian Church and the state, he did it with belief that he was fulfilling the conditions of the entire enlightenment in God and salvation, assuming that this was more easily achieved with one-tribe spiritual and state leaders.

Everything he did, he did in the name of God, encouraging his people to do the same. If, trusting in God, we do what is cozy to him, our enemies will not be able to do any evil against us, he said. God is the beginning and end of Sava’s preaching, Alpha and Omega of his actions. He called all the children of his fatherland to arise on the paths of the spiritual commandments, “always humbly pleading the Lord God. This is the first and last work: the continuous and God-pleasing prayer and prayer to God, walking unmercifully in His holy commandments, and keeping the teachings of His holy Apostles, and do not deviate from the church assembly.’’ (Domentijan)

He demanded complete transformation from his people, to grow into new people, in Christ’s measure and demand. “Because it is not possible to learn good without deciding to leave evil, he said, as it is not easy to put other letters on the wax if first ones wasn’t erased.” (Teodosije) Like St. John – I dare to say- and the Christ of the Lord, who began their mission with a call for repentance, and he “stood by the people, and cried aloud to all: Repent!” (Teodosije)

The Saint was the most sensitive on the question about the Holy Orthodox faith. He put faith above all values and all political and pragmatic interests. When his brother, Stefan the First-Crowne, started to go astray, Sava couldn’t bring him to reason, he gave up and left him with all the evil that had come upon him. At that time, just before the split of the church began, the abyss between them was not as deep as it will deepen with the time. Saint Sava never made compromises with religion. He returned to his brother only when he renounced his misconceptions and when he asked forgiveness.

On the foundations of the firm east faith, his father, Stefan Nemanja established the unity of the Serbian tribes under his authority. Leaving the throne, aware of his deed, Stefan Nemanja, the later crushed monk, at the assembly of his homeland, made clear to his heirs what the size of his success is. “We have rescued ourselves, not believing in the bow or muscles, I think, but by the believing in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and with the power of the Cross, we beat our enemies.”(Teodosije) Nemanja leave that faith to his ancestry. And now, each of you, I pray and testify to you: the faith in the world and the one-soul and inviolable Trinity, by which we were enlightened in christening, to prevent blend with heresies, which we have already expelled.”(Тeodosije)

Nemanja was merciless to heretics, knowing that they were worms that would rapidly erode the pillar of his country’s unity.The Saint Sava also was not merciful to them.He, “walking throughout the land of his fathers’, he was preaching the gospel like apostle; … he was teaching people about customs like the apostles done, and by the custom and law of the people of Christ, they was decorating their homeland … and the heresies were destroying it.”(Тeodosije) “The enlightened burnt all the atheistic heretics whose lived in his fatherland, cut them with a holy sickle, and planted only good faith.” Having erased their letters, he could embedded the new one in the wax of the people’s soul.

With giving him the praise, Teodosije sings: “You enlightened the lands of your peoples by christened them, and expelled the wolves of the heresies, crashed the temples of the demonic, and you raised up the church to God.’’

St. Sava walked through the beloved country  visiting many house holds and  thresholds,  going into the fields, with a knowledge that by the power of ruler “to command … to convene a great convocation, to welcome the great monks and honourable fathers, popes and deacons, and whole Christendom people, to proclaim the true sacred faith of Christ, to curse ungodly heretics and all who do not confess Christ our true God.” (Domentijan)

The Saint did not hesitate, he did not twist. He was determined and crystal clear.”And first of all, I beg you, brothers and sisters, to place all our hope upon God, and to keep to the true faith of his. On this basis of holy faith, we need to … build good works. Because neither is the accuracy of life without a true faith committed to God success, nor the true confession can done to the Lord without good deeds; but we need to do the both, so that man could be the perfect God’s man, so that our life wouldn’t be uncompleted.” (Domentijan) “Pure faith and often pray”, he was recommending. And he did not allow any ambiguity or muddle. “Because spiritual learning is not the foolishness of the thoughts of mankind, it is holy preached faith. If you save this, God will defend you by for centuries.” (Domentijan)The will is his.