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TRANSLATIONS 

OF 
CHRISTIAN LJlERATURti 



II V 

OF THE 
SPRRfAM S 

Oi^lVUl/iu o 



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a 




TRANSLATIONS OF CHRISTIAN LITERATURE 

GENERAL EDITORS : W. J. SPARROW-SIMPSON, D.D., 
W. K. LOWTHER CLARKE, B.D. 

SERIES VII 



LIVES OF THE 
SERBIAN SAINTS 




ST. SAVA 



Frontispiece 



Lives oj the Serbian Saints 



UTERATURE-SEMSVII 



LIVES OF THE 
SERBIAN SAINTS 



\AlBy VOYESLAV YANICH DD. 
*\and C PATRICK HANKEY MA. 



SOCIETY FOR. PROMOTING 
CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. London 
The Macmillan Companu.]^evv\Drk 
1921 



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rt * *" *' 

T > H - 

% > >0. J 



X 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

INTRODUCTION ...... vH 

A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY . . . . xii 

SAINT JOHN VLADIMIR, SERBIAN PRINCE . . I 

SAINT SIMEON, GIVER OF THE OIL ... 6 

SAINT SAVA (1169-1236). .... 12 

OUR HOLY FATHER ARSENI, SERBIAN ARCHBISHOP 31 
SAINT SIMON PRVOVENCHANI, SON OF STEPHEN 

NEMAN YA . . . . . -37 

THEOPHOROS STEPHEN MILUTIN, KING OF ALL 

SERBIA AND THE COASTLANDS . . .46 

THE SAINT AND GREAT MARTYR, STEPHEN DE- 

CHANSKI. ...... 56 

THE HOLY AND BLESSED MARTYR, TSAR UROSH . 65 
THE SAINT AND MOST BLESSED MARTYR, TSAR 

LAZAR, RULER OF THE SERBIAN LAND (1372 

1389) .70 

THE HOLY FATHER EPHREM, PATRIARCH OF THE 

SERBIANS . . . . .- .76 

THE SAINTLY AND JUST STEPHEN, SERBIAN DESPOT 79 
SAINT JOANNICIUS OF DEVITCH ... 85 

THE HOLY FATHER MAXIM, ARCHBISHOP AND 

SERBIAN DESPOT ..... 87 
OUR MOTHER, SAINT ANGELINA, DESPOTITZA OF 

THE SERBIANS. . . . . 9 1 

SAINT JOHN, DESPOT ..... 94 

THE HOLY AND JUST STEPHEN SHILANOVITCH . 96 
SAINT BASIL ....... IO2 

GLOSSARY . . . . . .106 

INDEX . . 107 



537681 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

SAINT SAVA . . . . . . Frontispiece 

THE MONASTERY OF PECH . . Facing p. 32 

SAINT MILUTIN .' . . . ,,46 

SAINT LAZAR . ... . 70 



INTRODUCTION 

THIS collection of lives is taken from what we should 
call the martyrology of the Church in Serbia. There 
were, at one time, a number of these martyrologies in 
use in Europe containing different lists of saints, together 
with their lives. In the West these tended to give place 
to a calendar and lives of a more or less official character ; 
but in the East the monasteries in particular seem to 
have kept their own calendars and their own special 
traditions about their saints and special offices in their 
memory. This was the case in Serbia, where many 
monasteries preserved their own separate collection 
until the middle of the last century. In all these old 
office books certain great national saints would be sure 
of a place. No Serbian martyrology would be complete 
without a life of St. Sava, for instance. But the stories 
of their lives, affected by local tradition or by some 
contact of the saints with the monastery in his lifetime, 
would often show considerable variety. Other saints 
would be included only in the commemoration of 
churches of a particular district because their fame 
had never sufficiently penetrated beyond it. Two 
classes of difference thus arose in these various col- 
lections. There was the variety in the list of saints 
included ; and there was sometimes considerable variety 
in the stories of their lives. 

In the middle of the last century, however, there 
was issued one martyrology for the use of the Church 



viii INTRODUCTION 

throughout Serbia. A certain list of national saints 
thus obtained recognition, and the stories of their lives 
received a fixed form. It is a translation of the lives 
included in this book which is here presented. 

The result of this treatment of the old office books 
may be compared with the outcome of the work of the 
various writers who edited the original documents of the 
Hexateuch. Sometimes a selection has been made from 
a choice of stories. Sometimes one detects that the 
paste and scissors have been at work. Sometimes part 
of a story seems to have been rewritten because edifi- 
cation is more important than a close adherence to 
tradition. And just as the student of the Hexateuch 
would like to be able to see the original documents, 
untouched by the hand of the redactor, so it is prob- 
able that the reader of these lives will wish at times 
that he could compare them with an earlier version, or 
could read the other stories from which this particular 
one was selected. The work of harmonizing the differ- 
ent accounts has not been perfectly done in every case, 
and it is possible to observe in the narratives the remains 
of a double tradition. In the case of several of the 
lives, those of the less national saints, it is probable 
that not more than one history of them has survived 
and that this has been incorporated almost, if not 
wholly, as it stood. 

Such is, in outline, the history of this collection. 
What is its importance? Any list of national saints, 
with some account of their lives, however jejune, has 
importance for the historian. If we know the sort of 
men and women whom a nation delights to honour, in 
this way, we know something of that people. And 
that particular " something" is very difficult to discover 
in any other way. At first glance, a nation's saints will 
often appear to have been selected in a haphazard way. 



INTRODUCTION ix 

The list will be found to contain names which we feel 
have no place in such exalted company. There is a 
bewildering variety of type. Yet these men and women 
have shown themselves possessed of spiritual qualities 
to which their countrymen have specially aspired. To 
people of another century and another civilization the 
general impression created by the life of some national 
saint may be fantastic or crude, or commonplace or even 
immoral. The nation itself, however, has seen in him 
only those qualities which it most urgently desires for 
itself. And to know a nation's ideals is to know some- 
thing of the roots of its vitality. It is not easy to 
discover the ideals of one's own day with precision ; 
the task of the historian is far more difficult. Will he 
not be wise to pay more attention than he has done 
in the past to what is rather contemptuously known as 
hagiography ? 

In the collection before us we find a large 
proportion of kings and great churchmen. They are 
the men who made of the Serbians an independent 
people and built up the short-lived Serbian 'Empire. 
Of some of them that is about all that can be said. 
But to the Serbian whose freedom was his life whose 
liberty was threatened from the north or the south for 
decade after decade that was enough. And later 
generations, living under the Turk, looked with love 
and reverence on the men who had once made their 
people free ; and when he could, he saw to it that their 
relics lay in a country which was at least free from the 
infidel. This type is represented in almost all national 
calendars. Our Edward the Confessor has much in 
common with these church-building kings of the early 
Serbian state. St. Dunstan and St. Thomas of Canter- 
bury played parts in our history which have parallels in 
that of Serbia. 



x INTRODUCTION 

A second type is less fully represented. But the re- 
cluse, the follower of the "angel way of life," has also 
his place in his countrymen's affection. For, however 
" national " his conception of religion was and is, the 
Serbian could recognize that "something better" and 
reverence the austerity and detachment by which alone 
it could be attained. This, again, is not peculiar to the 
Serbian calendar. 

But there is a third type which is by far the most 
characteristic. There are lives of men and women in 
this book which contain no deed of heroism or voluntary 
denial. Their stories are not of a struggle against 
external forces or the enemy within them. The only 
sense in which their lives may be said to be a struggle is 
in that sense in which the word is used of the outcast 
and poor, the broken man and the beaten woman. Their 
nobility has only one chance of showing itself, and that 
is in the patient endurance of unmerited and unavoid- 
able suffering. Such saints as Stephen and his wife 
Angelina, and the later members of the Nemanya 
dynasty, received no hero-worship. They were always 
failures conscious and hopeless failures failures who 
made no heroic effort to change their lot. Yet it is 
these lives which are written with the most touching 
affection and understanding. We may account for this 
in part by the singular tenderness which the Slav is so 
quick to feel not merely for the unfortunate, but for the 
material or moral failure. But it is probable that its' 
significance lies far more in the circumstances of the 
lives of Serbians when they lived unfree under the 
Turks. It has, in fact, somewhat the same meaning 
as the observance of the anniversary of their great 
national disaster, Kossovo, as the national day of honour. 
In those miserable years the patience of a blind prince, 
the faithfulness of a widowed queen, the misfortunes of 



INTRODUCTION xi 

rulers with no one to rule, made a special appeal and 
had a special lesson. That patient faithfulness among 
indignities and sufferings which has been such a marked 
characteristic of this people up to our own times is here 
described increasing in those who were first called upon 
to exhibit it. No western people could treat so tenderly 
of those who were so conspicuously unsuccessful. No 
western historian will understand this people unless he 
remembers that the luckless King Stephen is numbered 
among its saints. 



A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY 

THE Serbian Saints have been for the most part the 
national heroes and their lives are the history of Serbia 
for the period during which they flourished the period, 
that is, during the Middle Ages when Serbia became a 
free nation and for a time an empire. Any attempt, 
therefore, to give in this place a complete historical 
survey would merely result in repetition of much that 
follows in the lives themselves. The purpose of this note 
is rather to provide a setting into which the biographies 
may be fitted, and to fill up some of the gaps caused by 
the fact that some of Serbia's greatest heroes could not 
well find a place in the list of her saints owing to certain 
unfortunate incidents in their early lives. 

We may begin, then, with the point in history when the 
Serbians became the northern neighbours of the Greek 
Empire somewhere in the seventh century, and had 
accepted, nominally at least, the Christian religion. In 
reality they seem to have clung closely to their old pagan 
nature worship and the new religion took little hold upon 
them until the ninth century, when Cyril and Methodius 
came among them as missionaries and gave them a 
Liturgy in their own tongue. By the tenth century we 
find the country divided up among a number of small 
princes, who in turn subdivided their territory among 
their zhupanes, or petty chiefs. Their principal enemies 
were their powerful neighbours, the Bulgarians, who 
frequently invaded the land and sometimes occupied 
large parts of it. To this period belongs the story of St. 

xii 



A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY xiii 

Vladimir and his martyrdom at the hands of the Bulgarian 
king, Vladislav. During the following century the Bul- 
garian power rapidly declined, however, and the Greek 
Emperor found himself in a position to extend his 
authority northward, so that by the middle of the twelfth 
century most of the Serbian provinces recognized him as 
their suzerain. 



THE NEMANYA DYNASTY 

It is from this time that the authentic history contained 
in these lives of the saints begins, for in 1169 Stephen, 
afterwards known as the monk St. Simeon, founded the 
Nemanya dynasty and the Christian state began to be 
established. The story of his early struggles in the 
province of Rascia against his brothers, and his victories 
over them and his suzerain the Greek Emperor, is told 
in his life. He succeeded in forming an independent 
kingdom for himself in Rascia and along the coast of the 
Adriatic, but when he pressed southward in league with 
the Bulgarians, and occupied the land round Uskub and 
Prizren, he met with reverses and finally abdicated in 
favour of his second son, and became a monk. 

Of his three sons, the second, Stephen (St. Simon] 
succeeded his father as Grand Zhupan, the eldest, Vukan, 
being given only the title of king and the lands along the 
Adriatic ; while the third, Rastko, had already become the 
monk Sava. The position of Stephen was far from being 
secure. Vukan, disappointed in his hope of succeeding 
his father, was prepared to serve the interests of the Hun- 
garian king, who was being encouraged by the Pope to 
take forcible possession of these Orthodox lands. It was 
at this juncture that St. Sava, the youngest brother, 
returned from his monastery in Mt. Athos to support 
Stephen, and Vukan contented himself with holding 



xiv A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY 

Rascia as the vassal of Hungary. Vukan died in 1204, 
and the troubles which occurred in Hungary about this 
time freed Stephen from the northern peril. Meanwhile, 
in the south the fourth Crusade had captured Constanti- 
nople, and the Latin state which it established began to 
menace the small Balkan nations. St. Sava now showed 
the qualities of a statesman by turning the collapse of 
the Greek Empire to good account. He approached 
the Emperor and the Patriarch of Nicaea, and in 1219 
obtained from them ecclesiastical autonomy for Serbia 
and the archbishopric for himself they were in no 
position to refuse him these important and far-reaching 
privileges. Not content with this, he proceeded in the 
following year to get the imperial sanction for the 
coronation of his brother as King of Serbia, and himself 
placed the crown on his head. The remainder of his 
active years he devoted to establishing order in the 
independent kingdom, travelling through the country on 
foot, teaching the people and organizing the spiritual and 
temporal government of the land. 

The result of his labours is to be seen in the years 
that followed. Not one of the next four rulers died in 
possession of the throne, each of them being driven out 
owing to rebellions led by their brothers or sons ; yet in 
spite of these divisions, the state held together owing to 
the strong foundations that had been laid by St. Sava. 
Rodoslav, Stephen's son, who succeeded him in 1227, 
was dethroned by his brother Vladislav in 1233, and 
Vladislav by his younger brother Stephen Urosh I in 1 242. 
Stephen Urosh I reigned till 1276, and was then defeated 
by his son Dragutin on the Plain of Gatsko, while 
Dragutin had himself to abdicate in favour of his brother 
Urosh II Milntin five years later. With the accession of 
Milutin came peace at home and considerable progress. 
The wealth of the country increased owing to the commer- 



A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY xv 

cial relations established with Venice and Ragusa, and this 
increased prosperity showed itself in the great number of 
churches built at this time. Unlike the church at Studen- 
itza, built by the first Stephen, and most of the ecclesiasti- 
cal buildings of that day, these churches of Milutin are 
purely Byzantine in their architecture, a fact probably 
due to the Greek influence at the court through the 
marriage of the king with Simonide, the daughter of the 
Emperor Andronicus. Milutin was also successful in 
withstanding the Tartar invasion, which destroyed Bul- 
garia during his reign, and reduced the Tartar prince, 
Shishman of Widin, to a position of vassalage. 

Stephen Dechanski, his son, who succeeded him in 
1321, received his second name from the monastery of 
Dechani which he built as a thankoffering for his great 
victory over the Bulgarians at Kustendil. He did not 
long survive this victory. As happened so frequently at 
this period, the fact that he had taken to himself, as 
second wife, a Greek princess, Mary, led to his downfall. 
For a Greek party was formed at court and an attempt 
was made to declare the son of this second marriage 
heir to the throne in the place of Dushan, the son of 
the first marriage. Dushan and his adherents raised a 
rebellion, and the king was captured and strangled 
in 1331. 

The reign of Stephen Dushan (1331-55) marks the 
summit of Serbian power and glory. Dushan, who does ^ 
not appear among his country's saints owing to the death 
of his father, was a military genius. It was his ambition 
to found an empire which should include the Serbians, 
Greeks and Bulgarians, and to rule all these lands as 
Tzar. We cannot follow him through the series of 
brilliant campaigns by which he overran, and added to 
his dominions, Macedonia, Albania and Epirus. In 
1345 he proclaimed himself Tzar of the Serbians and 



xvi A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY 

Greeks, and raised the archbishopric of Pech to the 
dignity of a patriarchate, for which latter act the country 
was laid under an anathema by the Patriarch of Constan- 
tinople and was not freed from it till Tzar Lazar secured 
the recognition of the nationa patriarchate thirty years 
later. In 1347 Dushan continued his victorious cam- 
paigns, and brought Epirus, Etolia, Acornania and 
Thessaly within his dominions. During the next few 
years his astonishing activities were devoted to the 
codification of the laws, customs, and ordinances of his 
predecessors and their solemn promulgation as the law of 
his empire. But when the complete realization of his 
dream seemed practically assured, the storm which had 
been threatening the East so long broke out with fury, 
and at the very moment when the military genius of 
Dushan was most needed by his country and by Europe 
to stem the Turkish invasions, he suddenly died 
(December 1355). 

By the untimely death of Dushan, not only was the 
empire he had founded doomed to fall to pieces, but the 
only hope of his own country's independence disappeared. 
The weakness of the Greek Empire, which had given him 
his chance, meant that there was one barrier the less 
between Serbia and the Turkish invaders. Moreover, 
the Hungarians chose this moment of calamity for their 
southern neighbours to attack them, and both Bulgaria 
and Serbia were overrun and in part annexed, many of 
the inhabitants, especially in the former country, being 
forcibly made Catholics. The reign of Dushan's son 
and successor, St. Urosh (1356-72), a weak man in a 
position requiring exceptional strength of character, is 
pitiful reading. In such distracting times he ceased to 
be noticed, and it is the rebel, Vukashin, who had taken 
most of his empire from him, who meets the Turks and 
dies in battle against them on the river Maritza in 1371. 



A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY xvii 

With this defeat all the Serbian provinces in the south 
around Uskub were lost. Tzar Urosh himself died 
childless and forgotten in the same year, and with him 
the great Nemanya dynasty became extinct. 



THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE AGAINST THE 
TURKS 

Such of the Serbian land as still remained to them was 
now divided between two rulers Tvrtko, who governed 
in Bosnia, and Lazar Grebelyanovich. These two princes 
united their forces and inflicted a defeat on the Turks in 
1387, but two years later Sultan Murat returned with a 
large army, and on the Plain of Kossovo the Serbian army 
of Lazar was defeated and Lazar himself taken prisoner 
and beheaded on the i5th of June, 1389. This famous 
battle and the causes which led to the defeat is sufficiently 
described in the life of St. Lazar, and need not detain us 
here. It is characteristic of the Serbian people that they 
should regard it as the greatest moment in their history, 
for though overcome they fought and fell in defence of 
the Cross menaced by the Crescent. 

Henceforth their rulers reigned with the title of despot 
only as vassals of the Turks, paying them tribute in money 
and men, and on these terms Lazar's son, Stephen 
Lazarevich, continued to govern the land from 1389 to 
1427. At the beginning of the fifteenth century they were 
able to improve their lot a little by becoming vassals of 
Hungary instead of the Sultan, and received from that 
country the province of Machva, with Belgrade, in order 
that they might act as a buffer state between their new 
suzerains and the Turks. This arrangement continued 
through the reigns of George Brankovich (142756) 
and his son Lazar. But after the death of the latter in 



xviii A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY 

1458 the Sultan again invaded the land and converted it 
into a Pashalik, so that Serbian despots who owned 
anything beside their title ceased to exist. The stories 
of the unhappy lot of the despot Stephen, his wife Angelina^ 
and his two sons, will sufficiently illustrate the misery of 
the last days of the Serbian rulers. Their brethren in the 
north, amongst whom they sought refuge, the relics of 
the kingdom which Tvrtko founded in Bosnia, shared the 
same fate a few years later, and Serbian independence 
was wholly at an end. 

We need not dwell upon the history of the next three 
hundred years. Thousands of the people were enslaved 
and sold in the markets of the East. Thousands emigrated 
to Hungary rather than live under the hated rule of the 
Turks. Those who were left did not lightly accept their 
fate, many of them forming themselves into bands of 
outlaws which spent their time in wreaking vengeance 
on the oppressors whenever the chance occurred. The 
exploits of these Haiduks, as they were called, are the 
favourite subject of the well-known national songs, and 
they served to keep alive something of the national spirit 
during these terrible centuries. These songs and their 
religion were the only means of expression left to the 
people, so that it is not surprising to find that the Serbian 
Church has the character of a national rather than a 
religious institution. But whatever their pains and misery 
their watchword continued to be, " Za krst tchasni i 
slobodu zlatnu" "For the venerated Cross and for 
golden Freedom." 

It was not till the year 1804 that the fight for freedom 
could really be renewed. In that year they began their 
rebellion under Kara George and met with astonishing 
successes. They fought throughout the Napoleonic wars, 
Austria and Russia being each of them glad of such 
diversions as the Serbian peasants could make in their 



A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY xix 

neighbourhood. But neither of these Powers was 
prepared to stand by her when she ceased to serve their 
purpose, and they infamously deserted the gallant -men 
who had fought for them at the Treaty of Bucharest in 
1812. The work of liberation had almost to be begun 
over again when Milosh Obrenovich raised the standard 
of revolt three years later. Then began a struggle for 
freedom which lasted nearly through a generation. 
Unable to drive the Turks from their lands altogether, 
they had to content themselves with obtaining their 
independence piecemeal, sometimes righting alone, some- 
times receiving the somewhat reluctant support of the 
diplomats of Russia. In 1830 Milosh Obrenovich was 
recognized by the Porte as hereditary Prince, and the 
national Church was restored, with its own native priests 
and metropolitan, but the fortresses were still held by 
the Turks and a tax was still paid to them. Finally, 
during the years 1876-8 the Turks were entirely driven 
out and, by the Treaty of Berlin in the latter year, 
Serbia recovered her complete independence and her 
territory was increased. In 1882 Milan Obrenovich was 
proclaimed King of Serbia her first king since the fall 
of Lazar on the Plain of Kossovo. And the Balkan wars 
of 1912 restored to her those lands in the south which 
had formed a part of the fatherland of so many of her 
saints. 

So Serbia lived again. That such a return to life 
should have been possible after so many years of maimed 
existence requires some explanation. There are, no 
doubt, more causes than one why the spirit of the nation 
was not killed, but there is no doubt as to which was the 
principal factor. It was their Church which kept alive 
in the heart of this people their love for their home and 
their national aspirations more than any other thing. It 
was their Church which preserved them from being 



xx A NOTE ON SERBIAN HISTORY 

wholly merged into the Ottoman Empire. The pages that 
follow tell of the birth and early growth of this indomitable 
spirit, and reflect that devotion to God and His Church 
which was to be the salvation of this people and, please 
God, shall be again. 



LIVES OF THE 
SERBIAN SAINTS 



THE LIFE OF SAINT JOHN VLADIMIR, 
SERBIAN PRINCE 1 

THE holy and glorious prince and martyr John 
Vladimir was sprung from a noble family of the town 
Alba, which town he ruled together with Illyricum and 
Dalmatia. Hvalimir, his grandfather had three sons, 
Petrislav, Dragomir and Miroslav. Petrislav ruled over 
Zeta, Dragomir over Trebinje and Hlevna, Miroslav 
over Podgorye. When Hvalimir was dead, and Miroslav 
had died without children, the Serbian state fell to 
Petrislav, whose son and successor was the blessed 
Vladimir. 

From his youth this prince was full of the gifts of the 
spirit, gentle, quiet, pious and pure in life; hating all 
evil pleasures, he kept himself from them and gave 
thought rather for his subjects, ruling them wisely. 
Wherefore he was beloved of all. And it happened that 
the Bulgarian king, Samuil, began to make war with a 
great host against the state of this blessed king. 
Vladimir, that the blood of his country might not be 
shed, went with his army into the mountains, where the 
host of Samuil soon encompassed him. Now, they were 

1 The exact dates are uncertain, but he lived during the end of 
the ninth century and the beginning of the tenth. 



a LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

in the place called Kosogor, and the serpents were many 
in number and very poisonous, so that no little harm was 
done to the soldiers. But the saint prayed unto the 
Lord, and straightway the serpents ceased to bite ; and 
from that time unto this day they will vex no man. 

When Samuil saw that he could not take Vladimir by 
force of arms, he determined to do this by guile. And 
so he gave fair promises of safety to Vladimir, who came 
down then to this breaker of oaths. But the treacher- 
ous Samuil sent him to his capital and put him in prison 
and pillaged all his country, laying waste with fire 
Illyricum, Ragusa, Kotor, Bosnia and Rascia, returning 
with his army laden with spoil. 

Now Samuil had a daughter, Kossara by name, who 
had a great love for the poor and the prisoners, and 
went often to visit and comfort them. And when she 
saw Vladimir, who was young and wise, straightway she 
loved him. But he was always fasting and praying. 
One night, however, there appeared to him an angel of 
the Lord, who told him that the time of his deliverance 
from prison drew near, and that afterwards he would be 
martyred. But Kossara was praying her father that he 
would give to her this prisoner to be her husband ; and 
since he could not refuse this to his daughter, Samuil 
brought Vladimir from prison and gave him Kossara his 
daughter to be his wife. Moreover, he returned into his 
hand all his estates and sent him back with all honour 
and many gifts. And when Vladimir came back to his 
people bringing his wife with him, he was received with 
great gladness. Then did he tell his wife that she. must 
keep herself ever virgin, because that life is the life of 
the angels : and she was obedient to him, so that they 
lived in chastity and every virtue. 

And it came to pass at this time that the autocrat, the 
Greek Emperor, Basil Porphyrogennatos, came with a 



SAINT JOHN VLADIMIR 3 

great host against Samuil, the Bulgarian tsar, and, 
vanquishing his army, pressed on even to Ochrida. 
Samuil died from sorrow of heart, and after him Radomir 
his son came to the throne. But after he had reigned 
one year he was killed by his brother, the son of his 
mother by a former marriage, Vladislav by name, 
through the counsel of the Emperor Basil. And so 
Basil, having overcome the whole Bulgarian state, came 
with his army against the Serbian country. But St. 
Vladimir gathered his army and defended himself with 
great might, so that the Emperor had to return again 
homewards. 

Now it happened that the king, the holy Vladimir, 
was in the forest which was nigh unto the town, with 
three of his voievodes. And there came an eagle flying 
through the forest bearing a shining cross upon its back. 
And it let the cross fall to the ground and flew away 
leaving it lying upon the earth. They got down from 
their horses and bowed themselves before Jesus crucified 
upon the cross. Then St. Vladimir gave orders and 
built on that place a church. And when at great cost 
the church had been built, he kept there the hallowed 
cross and went to it by day and by night to pray. Then 
he understood that he was come near to the time when 
he should receive the crown of the martyr, which he 
himself desired with all his heart. 

Now the Bulgarian king, Vladislav, doubted in his 
heart of the holy Vladimir, and he was counselled by the 
Greek Emperor to slay him by craft. Therefore 
Vladislav came to the capital of Vladimir and pitched 
his tents before the town, and called Vladimir to come 
out to him that they might speak together of the needs 
of their peoples. But Vladimir did not will to go, and 
delayed. Then Vladislav sent unto him two bishops and 
made an oath on the Holy Gospels and the venerated 



4 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

Cross. And Kossara, because she would not that 
her husband should go, went herself to speak with her 
brother : and he, like a second Judas, with kisses and 
soft words, lied unto her. Kossara then, believing the 
word of this murderer, went back again and sent her 
husband to him, for she could not see "the sword 
dipped in honey." When Vladislav saw Vladimir 
coming to him straightway he fell upon him and struck 
him with his sword. But he was not harmed, nor did 
he fear, but said to him, " It is your will to kill me, my 
brother, but you cannot." Then he took his own sword 
and gave it to Vladislav, saying unto him, " Take it and 
kill me, for I am ready to die, as were Isaac and Abel." 
And the murderer, blinded and terrible with fury, took 
the sword and cut off his head. Then did St. Vladimir 
take his head into his hands and go quickly to that 
church where the eagle had come with the cross, and he 
sang as he went, " I was glad when they said unto me, 
we will go unto the house of the Lord." And when he 
came to the church he said, " Into Thy hands, O my 
Lord, I commend my spirit." Then the murderer, full 
of shame and afraid because of this glorious wonder, fled 
away with his men. 

And so the blessed Vladimir received the crown of the 
martyr and passed from the kingdom of this world to 
the Kingdom of Heaven on the twenty-second day 
of May in the year 1015. Kossara his wife buried the 
body of the holy king in the church with great splen- 
dour in the presence of the bishops and all the clergy and 
the people : then, for the true love she bore her blessed 
husband, she shut herself up in his church and never 
_ left it again all the rest of her days, giving herself to 
fasting and prayers. 

But the murderer Vladislav, while he hoped to keep 
his Bulgarian state still in peace, thought to add to it 



SAINT JOHN VLADIMIR 5 

also the Serbian country. So he came with an army 
before Dyrrachium, and in high hope surrounded the 
town. But as he sat alone in his tent taking meat, 
suddenly, while his thoughts dwelt on other things, he 
saw Vladimir seeking to behead him. Being in very 
great fear of him, he called upon his guard for help ; 
and in their presence an invisible hand slew him, and, 
like Herod Agrippa, he gave up his sinful soul in the 
year 1017. His army, being afraid because of this 
punishment which had fallen upon its leader, fled to 
their own country. Thus, he who purposed to rob 
another of his home lost his own in this life and that 
other which may be ours in the life everlasting. 

Holy oil arose from the relics of St. Vladimir, and he 
healed divers ills, which indeed he does to this day, and 
he tamed not a little the barbarous ferocity of the Turks. 

Through his prayers may the All Merciful God look 
upon his people, bring their martyrdom to an end, and 
save us from the heavy yoke of the cruel Turks, who are 
as the wild beasts. To the glory of God in Trinity, 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, one in essence and 
unchanging for ever and ever. Amen. 



THE LIFE OF SAINT SIMEON, 
GIVER OF THE OIL 1 

OUR godly father Simeon was the son of a Serbian 
prince, Gradina, who ruled in the country of Rascia. 
He was born in Diocletia, near to the Adriatic Sea, 
baptized in Rascia, which is to-day Novi-Bazar, in the 
church of the Princes of the Apostles, St. Peter and St. 
Paul, and received the name of Stephen. The sacra- 
ment was given to him by Leontius, the bishop of Rascia 
in that day. When his youth was passed and he had 
come to man's estate, he ruled the country of his father 
with wisdom and justice. From the first he showed his 
love for the holy Church, and in all he had to do he acted 
justly in obedience to the command of the Gospels. In 
his desire to show how deep was his affection for the 
Church, and most of all for that of his baptism, he built 
the church to the honour and glory of the All Holy 
Mother of God in the town Toplitsa on the river 
Kosanitsa, and another to the honour and memory of 
St. Nicholas on the river Banya. 

His own brothers had no good-will towards him, for 
they envied his good fame. So they took him and put 
him in prison. From thence our Lord delivered him, 
by the hand of His great martyr St. George, and He 

1 Stephen Nemanya, who took the name of Simeon when he 
became a monk, was the founder of the Nemanya dynasty, which 
ruled Serbia 1 169-1372. He himself was Grand Zhupan 1 169-1 196, 

>in which year he abdicated in favour of his second son Stephen. 
6 



SAINT SIMEON - 7 

gave him victory wholly over his enemies, so that he 
drove them from the fatherland. But those exiles did 
not forgive him, and raised their hands against their 
brother yet again, receiving soldiers from the Greek 
Emperor, so that they had many mercenaries. But 
again the Lord was against them, and not only were they 
crushed and destroyed, but one of the brothers was 
drowned in the river Tara near Zvechany, where the 
battle was. This victory, given to him by the Lord, 
Stephen used very wisely. He increased the borders of 
his kingdom and set up the first Serbian state, which 
now had only one autocrat and was independent of the 
Greek Emperor, nor was it any longer as in the time 
before, when every Zhupan ruled his own small country 
by himself. Now this was not pleasing to the Emperor 
Andronicus, and he came with his armies to destroy the 
young Serbian state. Yet was he forced to go back 
again, for he was overcome and lost twenty of his for- 
tresses. Thereby these provinces came within the 
kingdom of Serbia at this time Serbia, Old Serbia, 
Sirmie and a part of Slavonia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, 
Montenegro, a part of Albania and Macedonia. 

Then there was peace in all the countries of Serbia. 
And it came into the mind of Stephen Nemanya, first 
autocrat of Serbia, to build monuments in his state to the 
glory of God, Who is almighty and rules over all things, 
and that he might strengthen the Serbian people in the 
orthodox faith and provide things useful for the souls of 
his subjects. Therefore he built a church in the honour 
and memory of the great martyr George, called by the 
people George Stubovy, 1 and another he built to the 
Holy Archangel Michael in Skoplje, and a third to St. 
Pantelemon in Nish, and a fourth to the All Holy 
Mother of God, which was called Studenitza. 
1 The Pillar. 



8 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

This his devotion to the Holy Orthodox Church gave 
the saint great zeal to destroy utterly all heresies which 
arose among the people through the work of false 
teachers. 1 And when he was stricken in years so that 
he could no longer bear the weight of rule, and when 
he took thought for the salvation of his soul, he decided 
in his heart to lay aside this burden and to place it upon 
his first-born son Stephen. Which thing he did on a 
day set apart before all whom he assembled to him. 
Having made an end of this, the son being now king in 
the room of his father, straightway, on the next day, 
the godly king, with his wife and children, went to 
Studenitza, where he became the monk Simeon. 2 In 
that monastery he remained fasting and following the 
rules of prayer. After the space of two years he went 
and gave rich gifts to his son Sava on the Sveta Gora 
(Holy Mountain Athos), giving praise to the Lord 
because he saw the youngest of the sons of his heart. 
First he stayed in the monastery Vatoped, to which he 
gave of the gifts he had brought, and after that he 
visited other churches and gave them costly presents. 
Then did he make request to those who had the power 
to grant it, and he was allowed to build again the 
monastery Khilindar. And then he built the beautiful 
church in memory of the Coming of the All Holy 
Mother of God to the Temple and gave this holy house 
to the children of his fatherland, so that all who came 
thence might find a refuge there. When he had made 

1 Specially the heretics Bogumile. As they were like the 
Quakers and followers of Tolstoi in their attitude towards war, 
they were very dangerous to the state in those days. When the 
Turks took Bosnia in 1463 they became Musulmans. 

8 In the Orthodox Church there is only one order of monks, 
those who follow the rule laid down by St. Basil the Great of 
Cappadocia. There are, in this rule, two degrees : the lesser vow and 
the great vow. The latter is very severe, and is called the "angel 
way of life. " They hardly ever speak. 



SAINT SIMEON 9 

an end of the foundation of the church, he began to 
build the walls and the cells and a refectory also. And 
all things being done, he sent a letter to his son, the 
autocrat Stephen, telling him, among other messages : 
" My son, as I gave to you the Lavra 1 of Studenitza, so 
now I give to you the Lavra of Khilindar, that you may 
keep it ever under your care, both you and your sons 
after you." And besides all this he prayed for and 
received letters from the Greek Emperor, which estab- 
lished the rights over this new monastery for the Serbian 
people from generation to generation. 

Now after he had spent some long while in following 
the good life of the spirit and the rule of prayer, the 
holy Simeon felt in his heart that the hour of his death 
drew near, and he spoke to his son Sava in secret : 
" My child, the hour when we must part is at hand, and 
it may be the will of the Lord to be by me. You must 
serve me now, for I am taking thought for the salvation 
of my soul." When he heard this, the holy Sava shed 
tears and fell upon his neck, answering him : " The will 
of the Lord be with thee, my father, and as I have been 
upheld unto this day through thy prayers, be thou still 
my defence with thy good prayers if it be indeed that 
thou art going to the Christ." Then the father embraced 
his son, and blessed him and kissed him and made 
him promise that he would bring his body again to 
Studenitza. 

When it was known on the Holy Mountain that the 
hour of the far voyage of the holy monk Simeon was 
come, there came to him day by day the brothers from 
all the monasteries to bid him farewell. And he, calling 
upon each by his name, commended himself to their 
prayers. St. Sava stayed close to him the while to read 
the Psalms. In good time the saint received the Holy 
1 A Lavra is a monastery which has been built by a king. 



io LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

Sacrament, while he was still clear in mind and soul, and 
on the next day, since his sickness increased more and 
more, Sava his son bore him into the church. And there 
he lay so ill that he could no more speak, but only 
looking upon the purity of the picture of Jesus Christ, 
he said slowly as he died, "Let everything which hath 
breath praise the Lord." With this song he ended his 
life upon earth, his soul ascending to the Lord on the 
thirteenth day of February, twelve hundred years after 
Christ. St. Sava, with many others of the brethren, 
buried his body in a marble sarcophagus in the church, 
when all the rites had been duly fulfilled. 

It came to pass after his death that the holy 
Simeon appeared to his son and made known to him the 
blessed state of his life by Jesus the Saviour. Now, 
although Sava rejoiced exceedingly at his coming, he 
wished that a yet greater glory might come though his 
father, wherefore he prayed by day and by night to God 
that He would glorify His great Name through His 
servant Sava in whatsoever way He would. And when, 
in summer time, they made memorial of his father 
Simeon at the midnight office, while they sang 
Te Deum, the church was suddenly filled with a very 
sweet smell arising from the oil which came forth from 
the body of St. Simeon. Then all those who were in 
the church with St. Sava, smelling that fragrance and 
being led by the sound of the boiling oil to the place 
where the body lay, cried with glad voices, ''Have 
mercy upon us, O Lord, " and prostrating themselves, 
kissed the tomb and anointed themselves with the oil. 
And St. Sava gave great thanks to God, and took one 
small bottle of the oil and sent it to his brother, the 
autocrat Stephen. And he, greatly desiring to have 
such a holy thing in his own land, prayed his brother, 
the holy Sava, to bring back the body of their father. 



SAINT SIMEON n 

14 

Which thing he did, in obedience to the will of their 
dead father. And on the night of the thirteenth day of 
February, while Sava was celebrating the Holy Liturgy 
with the bishops in the church of Studenitza, before the 
autocrat himself and all the nobles, clergy and people, 
once again the oil rose suddenly from the tomb and from 
the pictures of St. Simeon painted on the walls of the 
church. Then all who were in the church anointed 
themselves with the oil, great and small they anointed 
themselves, but especially those who were sick. True 
body which did this great wonder lay at Studenitza till 
St. Sava came back again as Serbian Archbishop. And 
when he built the monastery of Zicha and there set up 
his Apostolic see, he moved the relics into the Church 
of the Ascension in that monastery. Of all that befell 
them in the later days of the weakness of the Serbian 
state and the civil wars and the coming of the Turks, 
the tradition of the people has many things to tell, but 
they agree not one with the other, nor are they certainly 
true. There is, indeed, one story alone which may be 
believed, to wit, that the relics of holy Simeon were 
again moved to Studenitza in those days when the Turks 
were invading the country and that they were placed in 
the church of Holy Nicholas. The rising of the holy oil 
came then almost to an end, for it was the will of the 
Lord, to whom be all honour and glory from generation 
to generation ! Amen. 



THE LIFE OF SAINT SAVA (1169-1236) 

ST. SAVA, the first Serbian Archbishop, the Illuminator 
ahd Wonder-maker, was the son of the great prince 
Stephen Nemanya, the Autocrat of Diocletia, Dalmatia, 
Travonia, Bosnia, Slavonia and Rascia. In holy baptism 
he was called Rastko, which is "to grow good in the 
Lord." From the time that he was a child he was wise, 
with a heart full of light, of a fair countenance and beloved 
by all men. But Stephen and Anna, blessed with every 
Christian virtue, loved this son more than all. 

For he was learned in the Holy Scriptures, righteous 
in his dealings, just, and with no envy in his heart ; he 
shrank from all those empty longings which weaken soul 
and body; and every day he went with a glad heart 
to the Holy Liturgy, full of love and gentleness and 
reverence. 

When he was eighteen years of age his parents desired 
him to be married. And it happened that in those very 
days the monks of the Holy Mountain of Athos came to 
his father by the will of the Lord to beg alms. When 
Rastko saw them he rejoiced greatly, and questioned 
with them about all things in the Holy Mountain of 
Athos and about the life of the monks there, and with 
joy he said to them, " I see, my fathers, that the Lord 
has sent your holinesses to comfort me, a sinner. Now 
do I see without any doubt what is to be my way of life. 
Indeed, I would not stay here one day more lest haply 
envy change my heart and my desire. I would fly by 

12 



SAINT SAVA 13 

tj 

myself to the Holy Mountain of Athos, but that I knew 
not the way, and I fear that, as I was wandering hither 
and thither, my father would take me and bring me 
back, for his arm reaches far ; and thus I should cause 
sorrow and trouble to my father, and bring sadness upon 
myself because I should not have come to that goal 
which I desire in the Lord." Then one of those monks, 
a man well stricken in years, answered him, " Great is the 
love between parent and child, and it may not be broken 
in twain. But our Lord Jesus Christ told us we might 
have to leave them for the sake of the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Come quickly and fulfil the desire of your 
heart, for it shall bring great blessings upon you and 
upon many others. I will be your guide and servant on 
this good way you seek, and I will bring you to the Holy 
Mountain of the Lord." At these words the young man 
rejoiced in his heart, and said to the monk, " Blessed art 
thou from God, my father, for thou hast strengthened my 
spirit." Then he went quickly to his parents and prayed 
their blessing that he might go into the mountains to 
hunt ; and he took his way, with his men and the monks, 
to go a-hunting. And in the dark he covertly left his 
men and travelling with speed all through the night, 
at dawn was far away with the monks. 

At daybreak Rastko's men sought for him in the 
mountains, and when they found him not they returned 
to his parents and told them all that had happened. 
They, when they heard the sad tidings of their son, in 
their great sorrow of heart shed many tears, and gave way 
wholly to their grief, spending their days and their nights 
in weeping and mourning for him. But after some time 
had passed the prince came to himself, and said to his 
wife, the mother of the boy, " It is not meet that we 
should sorrow for him always. I trust in the Lord that 
He, Who gave him to me, will grant me to see his face 
c 



i 4 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

once again." He sent one of his head men straightway, 
arid many other young nobles with him, to the Holy 
Mountain of Athos, giving him commandment to bring 
back Rastko if he should light upon him there. When 
they came to the Holy Mountain they spoke with those 
they met concerning Rastko, telling them the number of 
his years and describing the beauty of his countenance. 
And these gave answer to them, " Such an one as you 
seek came no long while before you to the Russian 
Monastery of St. Pantelemon." When they heard this, 
they went quickly to the monastery which was told to 
them, and finding him whom they sought they rejoiced 
greatly. 

Rastko, seeing them, wondered at the love of his 
parents, and taking apart him whom his father had sent, 
begged him privily not to carry out his father's commands 
or at least to delay. But the head man answered to 
him, " Master, if we had found you in monk's garb we 
would have carried your petition to your father, but 
now, since by the will of the Lord we find you in such 
guise as your parents would like to see, we beg you will 
go with us." When the prince heard this, he went and 
begged the higumen 1 to watch and pray all the night 
through, and during the time of the office to make him a 
monk. And so it was ; for Rastko laid aside the dress 
of his old life, and, being made monk, received the name 
of Sava. This profession was made in the church of 
John, the Holy Prophet and Forerunner of Jesus Christ. 

When the office was at an end, all left the church. 
But the prince was not among them. Then the soldiers 
began to seek for him everywhere in the church, and when 
they found him not they were full of wrath, and because 
they thought that the fathers were hiding him they 
threatened them with death. While this tumult was at 
1 The higumen is the head of a monastery. 



SAINT SAVA 15 

ul 

its height the prince came in saying with a quiet voice, 
" Here am I whom you seek," and showing himself to 
them in his monk's dress. And when they grieved he 
said to them, " I beseech you, be not so sad for me, but 
give thanks to the Lord on my behalf because His grace 
has done this thing. He on Whom I trust will do with 
me whatsoever is pleasing to His holy will. So now I 
pray you go home again." He gave them then in a bundle 
his former princely clothes, and the hair that was cut from 
his head, and said to them, " Take now these tokens and 
bring them as a sign that you found me in the life and 
grace of the Lord as a monk with the name Sava." Then 
he gave them a letter to his parents : and they, taking 
the clothes and the hair and the letter, went their way. 

When it was known through all the Holy Mountain 
that the son of the Serbian prince had become monk, all 
desired to look upon him. Now there was a feast in 
Vatoped, the imperial monastery, on the holy day of the 
Annunciation to the All Holy Mother of God, and Sava 
was summoned to it. And on his coming all received 
him very lovingly, and prayed him as a royal prince to 
remain in the Vatoped Lavra. He, rendering obedience 
to the fathers and the higumen, stayed there some time 
and afterwards he craved their leave and went on pilgrim- 
age to all the monasteries and cells and to the peak of 
the Holy Mountain. Then he returned to Vatoped, 
where he prayed unceasingly, with watchings and fastings, 
and rendered obedience. 

After some time his parents sent to him no little gold 
and all things for the service of the Church, both gold 
and silver and curtains, gold embroidered, with many 
more things which the monastery had need of. When 
Sava received this gold he began to build churches and 
cells. He built a church to the Nativity of the All 
Holy Mother of God, and another to the holy John 



1 6 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

Chrysostom, and a third to the Transfiguration of the 
Holy Lord, together with many cells. After this he took 
from the church of Vatoped the roof of stone and 
covered it with lead, as it is unto this day. So was he a 
benefactor to the Church. And he wrote to his father, 
and among other things he said, " Now I beseech you, 
my father, rise up and fulfil the order of Jesus Christ, 
'Whosoever will follow Me, let him deny himself and 
give up all that is his.' Lay aside all those things of 
little moment, take to yourself the way of meekness and 
follow me, that together we may live in this desert doing 
the will of God." In the next year came his father to 
him at the Vatoped monastery, and he had been already 
made monk by the name of Simeon. A short while 
afterwards Rastko took the old man to all the monasteries, 
and again came back with him to Vatoped. 

Now it happened that some one of the brethren must 
needs go to Constantinople on behalf of the monastery. 
The higumen would have liked to go himself, but he 
doubted of his ability and besought the most wise Sava 
to go for him. So Sava went to the Emperor, and was 
received by him very graciously. When he had done 
all the bidding of the monastery, the Emperor not only 
granted his request, but promised to do even more for 
the monastery. And Sava, perceiving that the time was 
favourable, made this prayer to the Emperor, and spoke 
thus : " My Emperor, if thy country is willing that the 
monastery of Khilindar, which now lies in ruins, should 
be built up once again, I and my father will rebuild it, 
and it shall be called ours." The Emperor gladly gave 
his consent, and to this end he granted him letters under 
his seal and dismissed the holy father with imperial 
gifts. On his return St. Sava told the higumen and the 
brothers that all their petitions had been granted. On 
the day following he showed to them the Emperor's 



SAINT SAVA 17 

letter about building again the monastery of Khilindar, 
and he proposed to the council of the brethren that they 
should allow that monastery, when it had been built 
again, to be called Serbian, that whosoever of the Serbians 
desired to live there might find in it a home and a sure 
refuge. And the council, after no long deliberation, 
gladly consented that Khilindar should be called the 
Serbian Monastery. When all this had been done, 
Simeon and Sava wrote a letter to the autocrat of the 
Serbian land, Stephen, 1 telling him of their desire to 
build a special monastery for themselves and all who 
should come after them of their race and language. 
Stephen then, understanding their desire, sent to them 
much silver and gold and promised to them more, as 
much as they had need. And now began the building, 
after that holy Sava had prayed that the Heavenly Father 
would look upon him, and His Holy Spirit give him 
light, and the Lord God help him to build the house for 
the glory of His Mother, the Ever- Virgin Mary, and that 
it might ever be a refuge for the children of his father- 
land, that whosoever took shelter there might find a safe 
haven within its walls. First he dug the foundation and 
built the refectory and cells. The church itself he 
adorned with golden pictures and vessels and with rich 
curtains : the walls also were enriched with gold, and the 
church was dedicated to the Coming of the All Holy 
Mother of God to the Temple. 2 When all was done 
and it had its own buildings in Kareya, 3 holy Sava went 
to Constantinople to the Emperor Alexis Comnenus, 
who was a kinsman of his, and petitioned the Emperor 

1 The son of King Stephen Nemanya, the elder brother of Sava, 
who later became the monk Simon (see p. 37). 

- Khilindar has played always a great part in Serbian history. 

3 Kareya is that part of Mt. Athos where each monastery of the 
mountain has a house for business purposes. It is thus a centre in 
which the interests of all the communities can be discussed and action 
taken in common. 



1 8 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

to give him letters under his seal for Khilindar and its 
lands. Now while the saint was in that city, living in 
the monastery Evergetitza, there came to him a wise 
woman and spoke thus : " O saint and lover of God, 
the Lord and the All Holy Mother of the Lord have 
bidden me give you this command. There are in the 
Holy Mountain, within thy monastery in a certain place " 
saying where the place was "two treasures of gold. 
Seek and you will find them. Take them and do good 
in the Lord." The saint, wondering at this message, 
gave thanks to the Lord ; and after receiving his 
blessing he kissed the patriarch and came to the Holy 
Mountain. 

It came to pass after some time that the hour of his 
departure to Jesus came for St. Simeon. And he spake 
thus to his loving son : " The hour of my going is very 
near, my child. When in due time the Lord shall bless 
them, take the remains of my sinful body and bring them 
back to the land of my people, and let them lie in the 
monastery Studenitza which I myself built." Then in 
peaceful dreams he died and was laid to rest in a marble 
tomb. And the holy Sava, in memory of his father, 
gave such great alms to the poor and the strangers that 
he had nothing left to him. Then it was that he re- 
membered the wise woman of Constantinople who had 
told him of the hidden treasure, and he came to the 
place she had made known to him, and after he had 
dug a little while the earth gave up its hidden treasure 
and he brought it to his monastery. One part of that 
treasure he gave to the monastery of the All Holy Mother 
of God in Constantinople ; a second to the monasteries 
in the Holy Mountain; a third to the monks of the 
desert ; a fourth to his own monastery and to the poor. 

So, when all this that had been entrusted to him was 
finished, he retired for some time to Kareya, keeping 



SAINT SAVA 19 

silence there and performing the rule of prayer. And it 
happened once that, as he prayed, there appeared to 
him St. Simeon saying to him, "Thy spiritual life and 
thy prayers and thy alms are come up before the Lord, 
and because of them there is for you and for me a place 
prepared. But first must thou accept of the Lord the 
grace and power which He sends thee. Teach and 
enlighten thy fatherland : bring to Jesus thy people : and 
after that thou hast seen the Holy Places and been the 
mother of good deeds to many people, thou wilt come 
to us." When he heard this the saint rejoiced very 
greatly, for he felt that he was in the heavenly places. 

Afterward the saint desired, while he was yet on earth, 
to see the glory of his father, and* he began to pray thus : 
" O Lord, Thou didst permit me to see my father's glorious 
state in secret, but by this that Thou has granted me, I 
alone am made glad. O my Lord, Thou speakest and 
it is done. Hear the words of Thy servant and send 
Thy All Holy Spirit to renew the body of him who 
suffered for Thy sake and now lies here in a strange 
land. Give to his body the dew of Thy grace, and let 
him lie at rest in Thy house, full of Thy mercy, and 
grant that there may arise from his body the holy oil with 
its sweet fragrance." And as all the brothers were 
praying, suddenly the church was filled with a fragrance 
more sweet than words can tell, and there was heard a 
sound from the oil like the sound of water that boils. 
Then all came to the tomb of holy Simeon and saw how 
that the oil rose from his body; and St. Sava took a 
little bottle of this oil and sent it to his brother, the 
autocrat Stephen. 

After this St. Sava was made deacon and priest in his 
monastery, and then, at Salonika, was made archiman- 
drite of Khilindar. 

And it came to pass that at this time there fell great 



20 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

troubles on the Serbian country. Vukan arose against 
his brother Stephen, the ruler of the state ; much blood 
was shed, and many of the people had to fly from the 
land. In this distress, Stephen called upon his brother, 
for the sake of the Lord, to come back to his father- 
land to bring peace and to bless the country. When he 
heard this thing, he began to weep for sorrow of heart 
and determined to go and comfort the sad heart of his 
brother, at the same time fulfilling the commandment of 
his father. He prayed to the Lord God with many tears 
that He would direct his way by His will. Then he took 
the remains of his holy father and departed with some 
of the brethren. The autocrat Stephen, when he had 
word of his coming, went with all the clergy and great 
nobles of his state to greet his brother and the honoured 
body of his father. They met in the land of the Greeks, 
and both with brotherly love bore the body to the 
monastery Studenitza and laid it in the marble tomb 
newly made ready. 

When all who came for this festival had departed, 
there remained only in Studenitza holy Sava and his 
monks, awaiting the day when the great wonder of the 
body of holy Simeon should occur again. When that 
day had come the autocrat arrived with a great company 
of nobles and all the bishops with many of the clergy, to 
perform the all-night office and the Divine Liturgy with 
holy Sava. And they rejoiced when it was given them 
also to see all that which had happened in Khilindar, 
for the sound was heard like unto the sound of boiling 
water, and the oil arose from the body ; then St. Sava 
crossed himself with it and the autocrat Stephen his 
brother; the like did all the rest, and those who were 
sick were healed. 

After this the saint continued still in Studenitza, 
which he named the Lavra of St. Simeon, and he gave 



SAINT SAVA - 21 

the monastery its rule of life. Then like an apostle he 
travelled through all his fatherland, teaching the people 
the divine dogmas of the orthodox faith, building 
churches, setting forth the method of singing and 
praising the Lord in the churches as it was done at 
the Holy Mountain of Athos. While he was so doing 
he was continually giving thought to the enmity between 
his brothers. He long time urged Vukan and at last 
brought him to penitence and confession of his sins 
before his brother Stephen, so that he received forgive- 
ness and promised to him love and obedience. From 
this time the Serbian state began to grow in power and 
the orthodox faith to become strong. Also St. Sava 
founded now the great church of the Ascension of Our 
Lord in Zicha, which afterwards became the seat of the 
first Serbian archbishop. 

It came to pass that the autocrat was forced to declare 
war against Strez, a prince of Bulgaria. He in times 
past, being in danger from his own people, had come to 
Stephen : and Stephen had received him and given him 
estates for his support. But when this prince had become 
a little rich he had grown proud, and by his cruel acts 
had grieved the Lord and his people ; finally, he had 
made a league with the Greek and the Bulgarian kings 
and declared war on him who had aided him in the 
hour of misfortune. St. Sava desired to avoid the shed- 
ding of the blood of his fellow-orthodox and sought to 
keep his brother from making war. He went himself 
to the camp of the enemy and with all gentleness spoke 
to Strez, bringing to him the Gospel message of peace, 
recalling to his mind the old lovingkindness of Stephen, 
the fear of God, the punishment for the breaking of an 
oath, and the reward of sin. But Strez, whose heart was 
set like a flint, being reckless and full of envy, set at 
nought all the teaching and counsel of the holy Sava. 



22 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

Wherefore St. Sava, when he saw that he was relentless, 
said to him : "It was only my zeal for the good of our 
people and of you that made me speak so. But since 
you will not follow the Lord and us, swift misfortune 
shall come upon you." And he went his way. When 
St. Sava came back to his own encampment he raised 
his hands to the Lord and opened his mouth in prayer, 
speaking from the depth of his heart and soul : " O 
Lord, make haste to help us, for our trust is in Thee, and 
grant that our enemies may not rejoice over us sinners, 
but that they all may see that Thy grace is upon us. 
May Thy All Holy Name be glorified." At once he saw 
in the spirit what would come to pass, and he returned to 
his brother the same night. And the sinful Strez, lying 
asleep on his bed, cried aloud suddenly : " Ah ! Sava, 
Sava!" All those who were by him asked, "What is 
come to thee ? " He, hardly breathing, answered them, 
"Some terrible young men, sent by Serbian Sava, 
attacked me and took from me my sword and pierced 
my heart." He prayed them therefore to call St. Sava ; 
and they went quickly to seek him, but found him not. 
So Strez perished that same night, and St. Sava brought 
peace and many blessings to his fatherland. 1 

Afterwards, feeling in himself the desire for the silence 
of the desert, he appointed an higumen for Studenitza, a 
man well tried and worthy to take his place, and bidding 
farewell to his brother Stephen and kissing the tomb of 
his father, he returned to his monastery Khilindar. And 
after some short while he went from there to his silent 
cell in Kareya. 

It came to pass by the providence of the Lord, that 

some few years after this, holy Sava went to the Greek 

Emperor Theodore Laska on behalf of his monastery. 

The Emperor received him very graciously, in part 

1 Put see death of Strez, p. 41, 



SAINT SAVA 23 

ul 

because it was seemly so to do, in part because he was 
akin to him for the nephew of Sava, Radoslav, had 
married the daughter of the Emperor. Here St. Sava, 
when he had brought to a good end the affairs of his 
monastery, desired to do something of use to his father- 
land also. Wherefore, taking to heart the counsel sent 
him by the Lord, he prayed first to God and came after- 
ward to the Emperor, saying to him : " The Lord, who 
wills salvation for all men, of His grace drove out all 
heresies from my country through the deeds of my 
father. One thing we lack still in our state our own 
Serbian archbishop. Therefore I beseech your imperial 
clemency to advise the holy patriarch to consecrate one 
of the brothers who are with me that he may be arch- 
bishop of the Serbian land." The Emperor gladly agreed 
to this, and summoned to his presence the patriarch and 
his synod, together with his nobles and the brothers that 
were with St. Sava, and with them he took counsel which 
of them he should direct to be archbishop. And when 
they had prayed, the Emperor spake to the holy Sava 
and said : " Thy brethren are good and holy men, but 
it is on you and not on them that this grace should be 
bestowed, according to the counsel which our hearts 
have been vouchsafed. Wherefore it is the Lord's will 
that thou be the first archbishop of thy fatherland, its 
first apostle and teacher." So said all those who were 
assembled with him also. St. Sava long time refused, 
but as all urged him without ceasing he gave way, and 
being thus elected, he was consecrated to be archbishop of 
the Serbian land by the holy patriarch of Constantinople, 
German, in presence of the Emperor and all his nobles. 
Holy Sava thus accepted the lot which the Lord had 
given him. But he began to think now concerning the 
great distance which lay between the Serbian land and 
Constantinople, concerning the great cost of so long 



24 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

a journey and the many gifts which he and those who 
came after him would have to make whenever they came 
to Constantinople ; the frequent wars also between east 
and west, and concerning dissensions in the synod about 
the persons elected and the coming to that city to be 
consecrated. So he went to the Emperor and prayed 
him on this wise : " My Emperor, enlightened of the 
Lord, thou hast treated us with perfect love and mercy, 
but I beg thee of thy clemency establish that from this 

I time it may not be needful that the archbishop of the 
Serbian land should come here to be consecrated, but 

i let him be elected and consecrated by his own bishops.'' 
This request was not very pleasing to the Emperor and 
the patriarch, but for the great love they bore him, 
they gave their consent. So the patriarch, with all the 
synod, wrote letters with their blessing and gave them 
to St. Sava, together with the bishop's staff and vest- 
ments. And the Emperor also gave him letters and let 
him depart. 

When St. Sava came back to the Holy Mountain men 
came to him from all the mountain to Khilindar for his 
blessing. He received them all lovingly, comforted 
them, and gave presents unto them, asking their prayers 
also. At their request he went to many of their monas- 
teries to offer the Liturgy and to make many persons 
deacons and priests, and afterward he returned to his 
monastery. He taught the higumen of the monastery 
in what way he might give an example of good life to the 
brothers, and the brothers he taught to be obedient to 
the higumen for Jesus Christ's sake. Then, taking with 
him some of the brothers whom he knew to be worthy to 

I be bishops, he sent word to his brother and started him- 
self with these to the Serbian country. Stephen sent to 
meet him his bishops and his nobles and his sons (for he 
himself was sick), and so with great honour came the 



SAINT SAVA 25 

holy Sava to his sick brother, the autocrat, wnom he healed 
with prayers and the sprinkling of holy water. Then 
he went to Studenitza, the Serbian Lavra, and prayed 
in this holy church, kissing the tomb of his father, and 
came afterward to Zicha, the seat of the Serbian arch- 
bishopric. Hither, as the feast of the Ascension of the 
Lord drew near, he called to him his brother the autocrat, 
his nobles and clergy and a great multitude of the people, 
and spoke thus : " It is known unto you all how t that in 
the beginning I fled into the desert, how I came again 
but once to see you and then departed, because I despised 
all the beauty of this world for the sake of the love of 
the Lord. And now once more am I come to you, my 
own people, because I have at heart the salvation of 
your souls. If you are obedient unto us, who have 
taught you in the Lord, and if you keep the 'command- 
ments of the Lord, you will receive your reward. Now I 
have somewhat to say to all you who hear me. Behold 
how the Lord God, through the prayers of our holy 
father Simeon, has multiplied and increased you a thou- 
sandfold, and has made many of you princes and voie- 
vodes. 1 But it is not meet that he who rules you in the 
Lord with the glory of power should be yet of one title 
with you. And now also I have been placed for your 
sake as chief in the Church with the power of the priest- 
hood. Wherefore it is the more necessary to adorn him 
who rules you in the Lord with the crown of kingship, for 
that will be an honour and a glory to you also." When 
they all heard this, they bowed themselves before the 
Lord and praised His chief shepherd. And so, during 
the Divine Liturgy in the time of consecration set apart 
for that purpose, St. Sava called the prince Stephen to 
the altar, read over him the prayer of blessing, anointed 
him with the holy chrism, put on him the kingly purple, 
1 Voievode, a small chieftain or baron. 



26 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

placed the crown upon his head, gave into his hand the 
sceptre of a king, and girded him with the king's sword, 

' crying : " Long life to the first crowned King of Serbia, 
Stephen, autocrat ! " Then again, the day after, the 
holy Sava began to preach in the church to his own 
people : " Brothers, my companions and children in the 
Lord, hear ye and give ear, for I speak for love's sake 
and the good of your souls." And beginning from the 
Resurrection he spoke to them of the history of our 
salvation, and expounded to them the holy sacraments 
and the creed, and all the people listened with glad 

I hearts, saying, " As you tell and interpret, so we believe 

/ and confess, so we will observe and do, most holy father." 
And when he had ended the holy gospel in the Liturgy he 
caused the king to make oath and to recite the Orthodox 
creed in the hearing of all the people. So likewise did all 

/^the nobility, saying, " We acknowledge the canons of the 
Seven Holy Oecumenical Councils and the nine local 
synods which were held for the strengthening of the 
Orthodox faith. We honour the holy eikons and the 
Light-giving Cross. We confess the seven sacraments of 
the New Testament. We believe that in the bread and 
wine we are partakers of the Body and Blood of Jesus 
Christ. We honour and bow to the holy relics, and we do 
all believe and confess what is in the Holy Gospels given 
by God, all things as they are ordered by the holy 
apostles and by the Fathers enjoined for our souls' 
salvation." 

Now when the Hungarian king had heard that the 
Serbian state had a crowned king, which had none 
before, he was ill pleased because of this raising up of 
the autocrat Stephen, and full of pride and envy he 
declared war on him. Stephen, because he desired to 
avoid the shedding of blood on both sides for such a 
little matter, sent his brother the Archbishop Sava to 



SAINT SAVA 



27 



heal the breach and bring the Hungarian king to a more 
peaceful mind. So St. Sava went and was^feceived with 
great honour. Then he began to speak unto the king 
in all gentleness concerning the Lord's words about 
peace and love and justice and truth. But he would 
not hearken to the meek words of holy Sava, but raging 
more furiously, threatened war. Then the Lord did a 
wonderful thing at the prayers of his saint, for there! 
came hail out of the clouds all round the tent in which 
the holy Sava stood. When the king saw this, he 
repented him of his anger and wicked intentions, and he 
said to the saint, " Blessed art thou of the Lord, most 
reverend father, and blessed is that day on which thou 
hast come to us, for thou hast enlightened our hearts. 
Go in peace with the Lord and be witness from me to 
thy brother of my peacefulness and affection." So once 
again St. Sava brought peace to his fatherland and his 
brother's state. 

And it came to pass a short while after that King 
Stephen fell ill and besought the saint to come to 
him and make him monk. But St. Sava delayed until 
he should recover; while he delayed King Stephen 
died and nothing had been done in the matter of 
appointing some one to fill his place. When holy Sava 
heard this, he came quickly to that place and was 
grieved because he had not fulfilled his brother's will. 
Then he prayed very earnestly to the good Lord, and as 
he made the sign of the Cross upon the breast of the 
dead king he said, " Rise, brother, and speak with me." 
And the king awoke as from a dream, and being then 
made monk with the name Simon, he blessed his eldest 
son, Radoslav, and gave him authority to rule. And so 
he died. 

After St. Sava had anointed and crowned Radoslav 
king, he departed to the Holy Place of Jerusalem, taking 












28 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

with him many gifts. And when he came there he 
venerated first the tomb of the Lord and then the other 
holy places, presenting the gifts which he had brought. 
Afterwards he went to the Jordan to the monastery of 
St. Sava the Blessed. And the fathers of this monastery 
gave to him the staff of Sava the Blessed. For they told 
him that it had been handed down from the fathers of 
old that the founder of this monastery had commanded 
that this staff should be kept, and whensoever there 
should come from the West countries some one bearing 
the same name, who was the founder of a people, it 
should be given to him. Then he returned again to 
Jerusalem, where he besought the patriarch for some 
relics, and took his way again to his fatherland, visiting 
the Holy Mountain and Khilindar on his way. 

When King Radoslav heard that the saint was coming 
back, he himself with his bishops and nobles went out 
to meet him and came with him to Studenitza, where 
St. Sava celebrated a requiem for his brother, the monk 
Simeon, and brought his body to Zicha. He rested a 
little then, and went through the Serbian country, 
strengthening his flock and teaching them. 

Some time after it came to pass that King Radoslav 
for some reason was made monk, and his brother Vladi- 
slav was raised up to be king. This was not pleasing to 
1 St. Sava, but by the favour of the Lord he anointed and 
' crowned him for the Serbian kingdom. And now that 
he saw his people in good estate, and the Church and 
kingdom also, he consecrated to be archbishop in his 
place his disciple Arseni, and went again to the East, to 
Jerusalem and the Holy Places, and so to Alexandria 
and the deserts of Libya and the Thebaid, where he 
visited the monks of the desert. From thence he passed 
to Mount Sinai and venerated the relics of St. Katharine ; 
and, after that, he went to Antioch, to the seat of one 



SAINT SAVA 29 

of the first four patriarchates. Once more he went to 
Jerusalem, and from there, through Constantinople, he 
came to the town of Turnovo, to his kinsman Asen, the 
Bulgarian king, whose daughter had married Vladislav 
the king of the Serbian country. Asen rejoiced greatly 
at the coming of the saint and received him in his 
palace, where, since it was winter, he had all things made 
warm for him. 

Now the feast of the Holy Epiphany drew near, and 
the king and the Bulgarian patriarch besought St. Sava 
during the service on the evening before the feast to 
celebrate the holy Liturgy on the next morning and to 
bless the waters, which was the duty of the patriarch on 
that day. After the feast the saint fell ill, and perceiving 
that his end was near, he called his disciples to him and 
gave them the holy relics to carry to the king and the 
archbishop, Arseni. He himself, after some days of 
prayer, received the Holy Sacrament, and at midnight, \ 
with these last words, " Glory be to the Lord for all His 
goodness," he gave up his soul, in the year 1236. The 
patriarch washed the body himself, and clothed him in 
splendid vestments, and buried him on the fourteenth 
day of January in the royal monastery of the Forty 
Martyrs of Sebaste. His marble tomb he adorned with 
candles and with lamps. 

Some time after King Vladislav came with his nobles 
to the town Turnovo, and Archbishop Arseni, with his 
bishops and clergy, took the body of St. Sava and brought 
it to the Serbian monastery Mileshevo, which King 
Vladislav had built ; and there his bones rested in peace 
till the twenty-ninth day of April in the year 1595, when 
Sinan Pasha oppressed our people, and, stretching forth 
his sacrilegious Turk's hands he took the sarcophagus 
with its relics and bore them to the field Vratchar near 
Belgrade, where he burnt them, thinking thus to destroy 



3 o LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

the glory and the memory of St. Sava. But the name 
of that saint will always be held in highest honour. 

Through his prayers do Thou, Jesus Christ our 
Lord, grant us to live in peace, doing Thy Holy Will. 
Amen 



THE LIFE OF OUR HOLY FATHER ARSENI, 
SERBIAN ARCHBISHOP 

THE year and the place in which this great man of 
our Church was born are not known to us, for he 
appeared in our fatherland when he was already full 
grown. Only one thing is certain, that he was the son 
of good parents, and that Sirmie was their country, where 
to this day Orthodox Serbians live. This saint, feeling 
in his heart a secret longing for the spiritual life and 
rule, and choosing the eternal rather than the transitory, 
the godly rather than the vain, desired to climb by the 
ladder of the spiritual exercises and the Gospel virtues. 
Wherefore, with warm prayers he prepared himself for 
the service of the Lord God and His Church, and going 
to the monastery, was made monk. When he heard 
tell of the holy Sava, the first Serbian archbishop, how 
he enlightened the Serbian country with his teaching and 
baptism, instructed the faithful in patience and repentance, 
and ministered forgiveness of their sins, he himself also, 
enlightened with grace, came to him as on wings. For 
he desired to be near the man of God, who was as an 
apostle, and learn how he might rise from earthly to 
heavenly things, from corruption to incorruption, from 
the things of men to the things of God. So when he 
came to the monastery Zicha, where was the archbishop's 
throne of St. Sava, he begged some of the brothers to 
tell the saint, and he was received lovingly by that 
renowned man. 



32 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

To him, desiring the divine love and wisdom, a wide 
field was opened out help, O Lord, the teacher who 
attempts the spiritual exercises and the young disciple 
did not shrink from work, but he rendered glad obedience 
to "the yoke that is easy," overcoming its manifold 
temptations one by one with full obedience and 
sacrifice. 

When he had spent long time in these spiritual exer- 
cises with gladness and constancy and had increased in 
spiritual stature, the saint made him ecclesiarch 1 in the 
Church of the Ascension of our Saviour. At this appoint- 
ment to the service of the Church Arseni was greatly 
rejoiced, for he saw in it a sign of the favour of the arch- 
bishop and the fatherly love of his great teacher. He 
increased more and more in zeal, praying secretly to 
Jesus the Lord, who gave him grace, and he confessed 
to Him his weakness, beseeching Him to give him counsel, 
to strengthen him for His service, and to lead him by His 
Holy Spirit to do the work that was given him to do. 
Through such prayers he grew strong in hope and the 
grace of the Holy Ghost and the fear of God : for many 
years he carried out his duties as ecclesiarch in a godly 
way, living a good life with humility and purity of soul. 
When Archbishop Sava saw this he made him higumen 
of the glorious monastery of Zicha, giving into his charge 
all the buildings within the church and without. This 
was done before the first voyage of St. Sava to Jerusalem, 
to the end that while he was away the good rule of the 
holy house might not slacken. 

When St. Sava returned from the Holy Places to his 
monastery he found all things ruled aright and in good 
condition, so that he was very glad. Now at this time 
their Hungarian neighbour, who was ever greedy for the 
plunder of foreign lands, had taken possession of some 
1 A kind of " precentor." This church was at Zicha. 




THE MONASTERY OF PECH 



P- 32 



HOLY FATHER ARSENI 33 

part of the Serbian land near the border by force of arms, 
through his repeated invasions of that country. St. Sava, 
therefore, though he hoped that the Hungarian attacks 
would be some time beaten off and the uniiavited guest 
sent back to his own country, determined to be ready for 
any future chance, and ordered the higumen Arseni to go 
a little into the Serbian country to the south and find 
another safe place where the Serbian archbishopric might 
be set up. Arseni, obedient as ever to his lord, went 
where he was bidden and after looking at many different 
places, chose out one in the country of Hvostom, which 
was afterwards called Metohia. And there, at the foot 
of the mountains, amid the rocks and caves, he signified 
that the church should be built, with the cells which it 
would need, and returning told the saint of the good 
place he had found. Then the holy archbishop gave 
orders for the building of the church of the holy Princes 
of the Apostles, Peter and Paul. The new monastery 
was called Pech, after the peshcher (caves) in that 
place, and the rocks on the east side of the church, and 
afterwards it became the Serbian patriarchal see during 
the reign of Stephen Dushan, the Serbian tsar. 

And now that the holy Sava had been passing to and 
fro through his dioceses with great zeal for many years, 
teaching all men great and small, and now that he could 
give glory to God because He had made for his country 
an archbishop, bishops, monks and voievodes, and praise 
Him for that He had adorned his fatherland with great 
catholic churches, with worthy monasteries well ruled 
and governed, he thought to lay aside the archbishop's 
authority and to end his life in a strange land, for he 
desired not the praise of men. Wherefore he determined 
to go a second time on pilgrimage, and he called to 
him and consecrated in his place the higumen Arseni, 
because he knew him for a godly man who lived in the 



34 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

fear of the Lord and kept His commandments, a just 
man and thinking no evil. So he laid all his authority 
on the holy Arseni in the monastery Zicha. He cele- 
brated the Liturgy, and called him to be his successor 
before all the bishops and in the presence of King 
Vladislav himself. 

To the honour of St. Arseni it must be told that he 
at first refused, holding himself not worthy of such a 
dignity, nor strong enough to bear such a burden with 
which were united such great and difficult duties. But 
this profession of unworthiness was only a sign of his 
great meekness ; and when St. Sava insisted he finally 
gave his consent and took the throne of the archbishop 
of the Serbian country. When all this was so well 
ended, St. Sava started on his long journey, and St. 
Arseni remained to rule that Church and vineyard of the 
Lord to which he had been appointed. The spiritual 
arm fell on no one oppressively, but lightly and justly. 
He was never remiss in doing good and giving alms, 
but followed the example of his great and blessed pre- 
decessor in both these duties. He both instructed the 
people in sermons and corrected them by his God-like 
life. Good customs he introduced and preserved : bad 
customs he rooted up by his sanctity and patience. Sin- 
ners he called to repentance and newness of life, chasten- 
ing them with good counsel, and praying for them that 
they might return out of their evil ways. The lost and 
those who had given heart and mind to other things he 
corrected with the words of truth and strong meat of the 
Gospels, giving himself no rest till they had come back 
to the wisdom of righteousness with full consent. 

While St. Arseni was engaged upon these labours in 
the Church of the Living God, there came to him the 
embassy of the blessed Sava from Turnovo, the capital 
of the Bulgarian state, bringing with them letters from 



HOLY FATHER ARSENI 35 

the saint and gifts from the Serbian churches, but also 
the sad tidings that St. Sava was hardly yet alive in that 
town. Other messengers arrived a short while after, 
bearing the news of the short illness anc[ death of the 
saint. Then all the Serbian land mourned for him. 
Behold how the Lord fulfilled the desire of St. Sava 'to 
die in a strange land ! When the next year came the 
body of the saint still lay in Turnovo, and the honoured 
and blessed Archbishop Arseni went unto the godly 
King Vladislav and spoke thus : " It is not right in 
the eyes of God or man to leave our father, whom Jesus 
gave to us that apostle and teacher who toiled and 
laboured so well, adorning the Serbian country with 
churches and a crowned king, with an archbishop and 
bishops, and with all the rules and canon law of Ortho- 
doxy to leave the body of that father outside the 
frontiers of his fatherland and throne. I beseech thee, 
make it thy care to have his relics brought back hither 
to his fatherland." This petition was very pleasing to 
King Vladislav, and he wrote once and twice to his 
wife's father the Bulgarian tsar, Asen, demanding from 
him the body of his uncle. To his first letter the tsar 
made answer : " If the body of St. Sava lay here un- 
honoured and uncared for, you would have cause to 
make this request. But since it lies in peace and is kept 
safe among us as surely as though it lay with you, why 
trouble ye the saint and yourselves ? " To the second 
letter he made answer: "Since it pleased the Lord that 
the saint should die here, trusting in Christ, who am I 
to oppose the will of the Lord and to shake the tomb 
and relics of holy Sava, who left no testamentary direc- 
tion about any such change? In vain you ask this of 
me, for I cannot grant it. Seek not to obtain it by 
force, for the patriarch and the nobles and all the city 
will be opposed to you." But King Vladislav could no 



36 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

longer bear the reproaches of his people ; and he feared 
lest he should grieve the Lord if the body of St. Sava 
remained in a strange country. So he took the road 
himself, many of his nobles, bishops and higumens bear- 
ing him company, and the Bulgarian king yielded, and 
gave up the body of his uncle. Vladislav bade his men 
set to work with all speed lest the Bulgarian tsar should 
change his mind which indeed came to pass. But it 
was then too late, for the remains of holy Sava were 
brought away without mischance by our people, so that 
when Vladislav came up to them on the road he rejoiced 
greatly. Now, as they drew near the Serbian territory 
there came to meet the holy remains the Archbishop 
Arseni with his whole synod and many of the nobles, 
and did reverence as was meet to the holy relics, and 
kissed them, and brought them with singing of psalms 
and hymns to the monastery Mileshevo, which King 
Vladislav had built. And there in the great Church of 
the Ascension of our Lord the sarcophagus was placed 
in a worthy tomb which Vladislav had himself made ready. 

The saint, Arseni, performed all the rites in memory 
of his teacher and benefactor never to be forgotten, and 
then went back to Zicha. But stricken in years and 
enfeebled by sorrow for holy Sava who lay dead in the 
Lord, he knew well that his own hour drew near. 
Where r ore, while he still had the strength, he raised up 
in his place Sava II ,to be archbishop of the Serbian 
land. Bent and shrunken by a long and weary illness 
he received the Holy Sacrament and gave up his soul 
to God on the twenty-eighth day of October, and was 
buried in the Pech Church of the Holy Apostles Peter 
and Paul, after ruling the Serbian country for thirty years. 

Through his prayers, grant us, Christ Jesus, to come 
with peaceful soul and pure conscience to the quiet 
refuge of Thy Kingdom. Amen. 



THE LIFE OF SAINT SIMON PRVOVENCHANI, 
SON OF STEPHEN NEMANYA l 

ST. SIMON was the son of the godly King Stephen 
Nemanya and the Princess Anna, and was given the 
name of Stephen in Holy Baptism a good branch of 
a good root. He was the first-born of many brothers 
and sisters, gentle in his nature, of a loving heart and a 
spirit lit from God. When his father, zhupan of the 
Serbian people and first in dignity, was stricken in years 
and desired to lay aside the heavy burden of rule that 
he might end the days of his old age in prayer and 
spiritual exercises, in the presence of all the lords and 
nobles of all ranks, together with the bishops and the 
Holy Synod assembled, he called his eldest son Stephen 
before him, blessed him before them all, and gave into 
his hand the sceptre of rule. Then he spake to all the 
people assembled : " Behold, in the name of God, I 
raise up this my son to rule in my stead the state which 
was entrusted to me by God and by your love. Where- 
fore I bid you all to be obedient and faithful to him as 
you have been to me." 

When he came to the throne Stephen ruled by love, 
ever protecting those who were oppressed, feeding the 
poor, giving abundant alms to the aged and helpless, 

1 Stephen Prvovenchani ("first crowned") became ruler or 
Serbia iu 1196, when his father, Stephen Nemanya, abdicated and 
became the monk Simeon. In 1220 he was crowned king, thus 
destroying all traces of the suzerainty of the kings of Hungary and 
Greece. In 1227 he became monk with the name Simon, and 
died. 

37 



38 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

administering justice, treating his subjects as comrades, 
brothers and children, like one who knew that he must 
give account of his deeds at the Last Judgment. He 
watched over the Holy Orthodox Faith, cleansing it of 
all heresies. He built also churches, among which the 
most worthy of note is Zicha : in a word, he exercised 
all the Gospel virtues, following thus the Lord God who 
loves His chosen. 

And it came to pass that there was brought from the 
Holy Mountain Athos a letter from his father, the monk 
Simeon, and his brother, the priest-monk Sava, in which 
they told him of their purpose to build a monastery 
which would be unlike all others, for it would be built 
" in the name of our family and of the Serbian people, 
who will in their prayers remember thee, and after thee 
thy sons and thy sons' sons for ever." The godly and 
Christian king and ruler of the Serbians rejoiced greatly 
because of this good purpose for his people and his 
country ; and he sent to them much gold and silver, 
promising at the same time to give them all they needed 
for the monastery called Khilindar. 

After a little time St. Sava wrote to him and told him 
concerning the death of their father, the saintly monk 
Simeon, and how, by the grace of the Lord, the body of 
this holy man gave forth healing oil, some of which he 
sent in a little bottle. When the zhupan his brother, 
Stephen, received the letter and the holy oil, he bowed 
himself to the ground and kissed the oil, giving thanks 
to the Lord for such a grace granted to his father's 
dust. 

At this time, when there was peace and quietness in 
the Serbian state on every side, the Tempter of man- 
kind stirred up Vukan, Prince of Zeta and Humlie, the 
younger brother of the zhupan Stephen, and put in his 
heart the desire not only to free himself from Stephen's, 



SAINT SIMON PRVOVENCHANI 39 

lordship over Zeta and Humlie, but to depose him from 
his throne and make himself ruler over all the country. 
The Christ-loving Stephen, seeing himself in danger from 
his younger brother and recoiling from the shedding of 
blood on either side, wrote to the godly ^Sava on Mount 
Athos, praying him on this wise : " O brother and my 
holy father, so dear to my heart and soul, hear the voice 
of my lamentation, incline thine ear unto my sighings 
and show us lovingkindness for the Lord's sake. When 
thou, my brother, and my father, didst depart from us, 
our country became foul with sin, civil war arose and 
blood was shed among a people of one race and faith. 
Very nearly was I taken prisoner, and because of our 
strife we are become a laughing-stock to those that are 
round about us. Wherefore I pray thee, O my father 
and brother, come quickly to our fatherland and bring 
with thee the body of our father, Simeon, that in some 
way, through thy holy prayers and thy presence in 
our midst, God may shine in His mercy upon us, our 
enemies be destroyed, and all that now is scattered may 
be made one again." 

The godly saint Sava, anxious to raise up and comfort 
the sorrowing heart of his brother in this trouble, and at 
the same time to fulfil the dying behest of his father, 
came back to his fatherland bearing with him the relics. 
Then was discord turned into peace, sorrow into joy, 
and their feuds into brotherly concord. His brother 
Vukan was reconciled and brought to obedience; re- 
penting of his lawless deeds, he prostrated himself and 
vowed a vow that he would never again rebel against the 
lordship of his elder brother. So was the love between 
them made greater than before, and peace and quietness 
reigned in Serbia : the power of the state was strength- 
ened : its borders were enlarged : and the Orthodox 
Faith grew and flourished, 



40 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

At this time there came to the zhupan Stephen one 
of the princes of Bulgaria, Strez by name, a kinsman ot 
John, Tsar of Bulgaria and Zagorye, whose realm Boris 
had taken. Now Strez was brave and a little inclined to 
evil, so that Boris had feared lest he should be killed by 
him and his kingdom taken. That he might prevent 
this he had set himself to persecute him so as to make 
an end of him. When Strez perceived that his life was 
in danger, he had fled to the benign Stephen and be- 
sought his protection. The Christ-loving Stephen had 
received him and all that followed him with affection, 
treating him as a brother and giving him the town ot 
Prosek, on the river Nardar, with the land about it, 
that he might rule over it. After a while, when Strez 
had grown rich, he became proud and began to oppress 
his subjects, so that at length, for little or no fault, he used 
to slay his people, hurling them from the tops of the high 
cliffs into the river below. Such were his pleasures : and 
afterward he would make himself drunk with wine. When 
tidings of these things came to Stephen he was very sor- 
rowful and his conscience smote him because he had 
suffered such a man to be ruler. Therefore he wrote a 
letter to him, giving him counsel, and beseeching him to 
cease from his barbarous and cruel ways. But Strez not 
only paid no heed to this gentle and friendly counsel, not 
only did he refuse to turn aside from his evil ways, but 
he became ever more barbarous and full of treachery. 
He made a league with the Greek and the Bulgarian tsar; 
and, receiving from the twain some armed forces, he made 
war on his benefactor. When the zhupan saw that he 
must resist this relentless foe, he first prostrated himself 
in prayer, saying : " Help me, O Lord : come, Lord, to 
my aid and strengthen me. Give me not over unto the 
will of mine adversaries, for the sake of the prayers of 
Thy Holy Mother and Thy servant my father Simeon. 



SAINT SIMON PRVOVENCHANI 41 

Behold, Lord, my enemy who would render me evil for 
good." This he prayed with much else, and then gave 
orders to the commanders of his armies to make ready 
the soldiers for battle. But in the providence of God 
and by the mediation of the holy father Sava, Strez was 
brought to destruction before the battle. For he was 
seized by a strange fear which came on him from Heaven, 
and lifted up his hand against himself, piercing himself 
with his own dagger. When the leaders of his army 
saw this, some fled away homewards, others did homage 
to the zhupan Stephen. 

When his brother, the holy father Sava, after going to 
the Holy Mountain Athos, returned some time later as 
archbishop of the whole Serbian people, Stephen was sick 
and could not go forth to meet him. Then St. Sava 
came to him and sprinkled him with holy water, and 
with his prayers raised him from the bed and healed 
him. With a twofold joy Stephen rejoiced, because his 
brother had come and because he had healed him. He 
praised the Lord with a loud voice, and falling at the 
feet of the archbishop, his brother, he poured forth his 
thankfulness from a full heart : and he gave great alms 
to the poor for his healing. 

It came to pass after this that the king went to the 
monastery of Zicha to his brother the Archbishop Sava, 
with all his lords and nobles. It was the season of the 
Feast of the Ascension. The archbishop, while he cele- 
brated the Holy Liturgy, called the prince, Stephen, to 
him at the altar and blessed him, and anointed him 
with the holy oil and dressed him in the royal purple. 
After that, he put a crown upon his head, girded him 
with the kingly sword, gave into his hand the sceptre of 
royal power, and sang, " Long live the King ! " On the 
morrow all came again to the church, and after the 
reading of the Gospel the archbishop began to recite 



42 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

the creed of the Orthodox Faith and bade the king and 
all the assembly to repeat it with him. Which thing 
they did. Now all this came to pass in the year 1222. 

When the Hungarian king heard that Stephen had 
been crowned king without his consent, he was envious 
of this glory and sent an envoy to him to declare war. 
The peace-loving King Stephen, condemning in his 
heart a strife which could only bring harm to both 
sides and wishing to prevent the bloodshed, besought 
his brother, the Archbishop Sava, to turn the King of 
Hungary from his sinful purpose. This he brought 
about by his wisdom and by the help of the Lord. 

Not long after King Stephen fell ill and prayed his 
brother, St. Sava, to make him monk. But St. Sava 
would not, saying to him, " In due time will I do this 
thing." When St. Sava had gone back to Zicha, the 
king fell ill again so ill that he scarce breathed. A 
second time he called upon his brother to make him 
monk before he died. St. Sava made haste to come to 
the sick man, but he did not reach him before he died. 
Thus he had died without having received the monk's 
habit and without settling who should succeed him on 
the throne. After he had breathed his last breath, came 
St. Sava : kneeling down he prayed to God that the soul 
which had left the body might return. After his prayer 
he made the sign of the cross upon the breast of the 
dead, saying, "Arise, brother, and speak with me." 
Then did the dead arise as from a dream. He opened 
his eyes, and seeing the saint before him, took his hand 
and kissed it. The saint raised him up and made him 
be seated, and straightway made him monk, giving him 
the name Simon. Then did the monk Simon receive 
the Holy Sacrament and gave up his spirit to the Lord 
with the words, " Glory be to God for all things," in the 
year of Our Lord 1224. His dead body was brought 



SAINT SIMON PRVOVENCHANI 43 

to Studenitza and there buried with honour in a marble 
tomb close to his father. 

Some time after the holy Sava removed the remains 
to Zicha, whence, during the reign of Vladislav, they were 
brought again to Studenitza. When Urosh the First 
built the monastery Sopochani they carried the relics of 
this godly man to that glorious church, where they rested 
one hundred and fifty-two years, that is, till the fall of 
the Serbian kingdom under Lazar. After the death 
of his son, Stephen the Tall, they hid the sarcophagus 
with the relics of the godly man to keep them from the 
sacrilegious hands of the Turks, and so they continued 
for the space of two hundred and eleven years, no living 
man knowing of the place of their rest. In the year of 
Christ 1629 the godly man appeared thrice in a dream 
to the higumen of the monastery of Sopochani, bidding 
him to take him up from the darkness of the earth. A 
little while after he appeared also to the Serbian Patri- 
arch, Paisi, and likewise to the Metropolitan of Rascia, 
bidding the latter to come to the fortress of Jeletch. 
And when he had so done, he met there the Patriarch 
Paisi, whereupon they set out together for the monastery 
Sopochani. At the end of the Holy Liturgy they went 
out in their vestments to the place shown to them in 
their dreams, and the patriarch ordered men to dig. 
And when they had made an end, they took the sarco- 
phagus and placed the relics in the church of Sopochani 
with great rejoicing. 

In the year 1686 the monks of Sopochani, in fear ot 
the Turks, removed the sarcophagus to Montenegro and 
placed it in the church of the Holy Archangel, which is 
in the mountains ; and there it remained fourteen years. 
After which, in the year 1701, they were again removed 
to Studenitza and remained there till 1719. In that 
year, war was declared against the Turks by the empires 



44 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

of Russia and Austria ; and since the Turks, who 
wrought such evil upon the Orthodox and Serbian lands, 
began to burn the holy churches to the earth, the sarco- 
phagus was taken by the monks to Kraljevo first, in the 
days of the Epiphany whence it was borne to Jagodina, 
arriving there on the seventeenth day of January. From 
Jagodina to Gradska it was carried overland, and from 
Gradska to Belgrade by water. From Belgrade there 
came out to meet the relics of the saint, the metropolitan 
of the city, Dionysius, with all his clergy and much 
people. He brought them into the church, and there 
they rested from the first day of February to the eighteenth 
day of September. When peace was made between the 
peoples at war, and Serbia was left to the mercy (and lack 
of mercy) of the Turks, it was determined that some place 
which was free from danger must be sought for the sarco- 
phagus, and so it came about that it was taken by water 
on the Danube to the monastery of Voylovitza, near 
Panchevo, in the Banat. From there it was brought back 
on the first day of December in the year 1791, to Raji- 
novatz, near Gradska, and from there again to Studenitza, 
whither it came on the nineteenth day of February of 
the following year. 

But these relics, so sacred to the nation, were not 
destined to rest in peace, for even now there came no 
respite from movement. In 1804 Serbia arose in armed 
revolt under her leader Karageorge Petrovich against 
the hateful cruelties of the most accursed of the 
Turkish " dachilas " (rulers) in Belgrade. Although 
the rising of our warriors was successful, nevertheless 
in the space of ten years the Turks, ever enemies of the 
Orthodox Faith, came many times to Studenitza with 
fire and sword and pillage. Wherefore the monks of 
the monastery, foreseeing what would happen, were 
at pains to find in good time a fitting place for the 



SAINT SIMON PRVOVENCHANI 45 

sarcophagus of this godly man, and came in the year 1805 
to the monastery of Vrachevshnitza. But here also was 
there no quiet refuge for the relics of the holy Simon : 
for after eight years, when our strength passed from us 
through jealousies and disputes among ourselves, the 
victorious Turks came with fire and sword upon men, 
villages and churches. And so the monjis brought the 
sarcophagus away and carried it across the river Sava, 
on the twenty-first day of October in the year 1813, at 
Semlin, a frontier town of Austria. And afterwards it 
was handed over to the monks of the monastery of Fenek, 
near to the river, where it remained till the June of the 
year following, when it was taken to the monastery of 
Beochin on the far side of Frushka Gora and there 
rested till December. 

When there came a convenient season and peace pre- 
vailed in Serbia through the labours of Prince Milosh 
Obrenovich, then was the time to bear back the sarco- 
phagus, and it was brought to the monastery of Kalenich 
(December 8, 1816). Later, on the twentieth day of 
August, 1839, it was removed to the convent of Studen- 
itza, where to-day it rests in peace. 1 The relics have 
power to heal all who come to them with faith in this 
protector of our nation. 

Through his prayers grant us, Lord Jesus Christ, 
pardon for our sins and life everlasting. Amen. 

1 During the retreat of the Serbian army before the Austrians 
and Bulgarians in 1915, the relics of St. Simon were dragged over 
the mountains of Albania and are now in Montenegro. 



THE LIFE OF THE THEOPHOROS STEPHEN 
MILUTIN, KING OF ALL SERBIA AND 
THE COASTLANDS 

THIS Milutin Theophoros, great in virtue and abound- 
ing in mercy, was the younger son of the Serbian king, 
Urosh I (1242-1276) and Helen, and this Urosh was 
the third son of Stephen Prvovenchani, called as a monk 
Simon. Before he came to the throne he was called 
Milutin, a name he received in Holy Baptism, and 
after he became king he was .named Milutin Stephen 
Urosh II Stephen because of the first crowned king, 
his grandfather, Urosh from the name of his father ; and 
since he lived righteously and his body after death was 
glorified by our Lord with incorruption, therefore he was 
called saint. 

In his youth his teacher was the blessed Serbian 
archbishop Daniel, a holy and God-like man, very skilled 
in spiritual wisdom and the Holy Scriptures, who wrote 
and handed down for us the genealogy of the Serbian 
kings down to his own time. When we are mindful of 
the wisdom and experience of this great teacher, it is 
easy for us to judge of the disciple, of the qualities of 
his mind and heart and the way of his spirit. He 
was meek and gentle, merciful and just, peaceful and 
courteous. For these qualities all those historians of 
other lands, who have written the story of the Serbian 
state, praise him. So Milutin was beloved of all men, 
both his own people and strangers. 

His own brother, Dragutin, from the same mother, 
46 




ST. M1LUT1N 



P4 6. 



THEOPHOROS STEPHEN MILUTIN 47 

Helen, showed great promise, and his parents were care- 
ful for him, bringing him up lovingly in the good Faith, 
in the fear of the Lord, in purity and every virtue. When 
he grew up it was the desire of the parents that he should 
marry, and they took for him to be his wife the girl 
Katharine, daughter of the Hungarian king, Vladislav. 
Before the marriage took place, King Urosh promised 
before his death to give the throne to this son Dragutin. 
Thus he made oath to the Hungarian king, saying, " I 
will that you give your daughter to my son Dragutin, 
whom I will name Autocrat and King of all Serbia and 
the coastlands before the time of my far voyage to my 
father." With this condition the marriage came to pass, 
and Dragutin with his wife, and afterwards his children, 
lived in the court of his parents, waiting to receive that 
which had been promised to him. 

When the younger son, Milutin, was of an age, his 
parents desired him to be married also. Now Michael 
Palseologus, the Greek emperor, knowing that the 
Serbian King Urosh had a son unmarried, and being in 
great trouble through the Crusaders who had driven him 
from Constantinople, hoped to obtain the help of the 
Serbian army by means of a marriage. Wherefore he 
sent his youngest daughter, Anna, with the Patriarch and 
a great company of his court, with the proposal that they 
should take the imperial child as betrothed. But Urosh 
the king considered the condition of affairs at that time 
cunningly, and preferred the peace which was so great a 
benefit to his state to an emperor who should be his 
kinsman ; so the embassy, with the child, returned with 
nothing accomplished. Milutin remained unmarried for 
six years longer and then took to wife Elizabeth the 
daughter of the Hungarian king, Andrew III, and 
she bore to him one son, Stephen, afterwards called 
Dechanski. 



48 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

While King Urosh was ruling Serbia and the coast- 
lands in peace and with justice, he built a splendid 
church in the name of the All Holy Trinity at Sopochani. 
But about this time there rose against him his eldest son 
Dragutin, demanding that he should fulfil the promise 
he had made. And when his father would not yield to 
him the throne, Dragutin obtained an army from his 
wife's father and made war against Urosh, joining battle 
with him at a place called Gatsko, in Herzegovina, 
Alas ! the son was victorious and took his father's throne 
by force and shut him up in prison at Durazzo, where 
he died, in the year 1282, after reigning on the Serbian 
throne for thirty-five years. His body was brought back 
and buried in the church of the Holy Trinity, which he 
built in Sopochani. His wife Helen lived for many 
years after on the land which Dragutin gave her for her 
support. When she was very old she was made a nun 
in Skadar, and not many days after she became very ill 
and died in the Lord at her palace in Brnyatzi. The 
godly fathers brought her body to the monastery at 
Gradatz in the presence of the archbishop, Sava II, and 
her son Milutin, who alone, with the archbishop and 
some of the clergy, placed the sarcophagus in the tomb 
they had made ready. 

But the robber of the father's throne, who had 
rendered to his father evil for good, was not blessed 
with a long reign, because he had raised his hand 
against his father, breaking the word of the Lord, and 
had spurned that union blessed by nature and by God. 
Wherefore the All Great and Just Judge of all mankind, 
who rewardeth all the evil of sinful men here on earth, 
took his body that He might perchance make his proud 
heart somewhat less evil and bring him to repentance. 
For he fell from horseback near the fortress of Jeletch 
and broke his leg, -whereby he suffered great agony. 



THEOPHOROS STEPHEN MILUTIN 49 

This slight punishment was for him the beginning of a 
sickness of heart and soul which day by day gave him 
no ease, his conscience being pricked. When he under- 
stood this he said in his heart, " Now do I perceive, O 
my Lord, that Thou art just and that only what is just 
maketh for good. I have trespassed, Lord : I pray Thee 
cleanse me. I am a sinner : do Thou pardon me. I 
have not followed the commandments of Thy law : for 
Thou didst say, ' Whosoever doeth evil to his father or 
mother must die the death.' Sinner that I am, I have 
done this thing, raising my hand against my father, and 
for this I perish. All that has come upon me is just." 
Thus overwhelmed by the pangs of conscience and suffer- 
ing always in body, he handed over the Serbian kingdom 
to his brother Milutin, keeping only for himself Sirmie 
and Machva, which countries he had received for dowry 
with the daughter of the Hungarian king. At first he 
went to live at Machva, and later he moved to Sirmie. 
Some time he was obedient to King Milutin, but after- 
wards his thoughts changed and he made ready once 
more to take the throne of his brother. Yet, through 
the prayers of Archbishop Daniel, he gave way and 
made peace with his brother. But he had showed once 
more his rebellious nature. Finally, when he saw that 
the days of his life were numbered, he asked that he 
might be made monk; his prayer being granted, he 
received the name Theoktist. Not many days after he 
died, on Friday in the third week of Lent, the twenty- 
first day of March in the year 1317, and his body was 
brought to the monastery of the great and holy martyr, 
St. George, in Machva, and there buried. It was this 
Dragutin who built the monastery of Racha, near the 
river Drina, and his wife built the monastery of Tronasha, 
on the slope of Mount Gouchevo. 

Stephen Milutin Uroch II ruled as king and autocrat 



50 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

from the year 1285, and took as his second wife the 
daughter of the Greek Emperor Andronicus, Simonide, 
who bore to him a son, Constantine. He chose Prizren 
for his capital. His first war he waged with Michael 
Palaeologus, who wanted to repay the insult he had 
received when his daughter Anna, whom he had sent 
to be the wife of Milutin yet unmarried, had been 
returned to him. The godly king, forced to defend his 
kingdom with the sword, offerered up this prayer before 
joining battle: U O Lord, I know that Thou art quick 
to show pity and rich in grace. Therefore I humbly 
trust in Thee, because Thou didst help our fathers when 
they hoped in Thee, and Thou didst deliver them. To 
Thee they cried and Thou didst keep them. They 
trusted in Thee and were not put to confusion. My 
Lord Jesus look upon me, Thy sinful servant, and upon 
the land which Thou hast given me ; preserve me from 
those who would trouble me and let them not say in 
their pride, ' We have slain them, and their memory is 
utterly perished ! ' " 

Strong in his hope in the Lord, he went forward with 
his army and destroyed his enemies so utterly that he 
took Palog, Skoplye, Ovchepole, Zlatovo, Pijachatse, 
Strumnitza, Seres, Debar, Kichevo and Porach. Then 
the Emperor Michael took to himself Tartars, Turks 
and Franks, and came once more against the godly 
Milutin, but he died suddenly before he had come to 
the Serbian land. Though the mercenaries, these 
Tartars, Turks and Franks, still desired to invade the 
Serbian country for plunder, they were utterly destroyed 
by the help of the Lord. 

And a short while after there rose up against the 
godly King Milutin, Shishman, a prince of the Bulgarian 
king Smilatz, who lived in the town Widin on the river 
Danube, and invaded with his army Hvoctno, not far 



THEOPHOROS STEPHEN MILUTIN 51 

distant from the Fetch patriarchate. But he was van- 
quished and forced to flee away, so utterly overwhelmed 
that he was disgraced. When Shishman found himself 
in such straits, he humbled himself and besought the 
godly King Milutin to be merciful to him. Then his 
country was given back to him, and, moreover, he re- 
ceived the daughter of King Milutin, Nada, to be the 
wife of his son Michael, who became in time the 
Bulgarian tzar. 

After these things which happened with Shishman, 
Milutin found his greatest foe in Nogie, chief of the 
Tartars, who now ruled by force of arms the Bulgarian 
country, and was threatening war against our fatherland. 
King Milutin, having no hope of overcoming this proud 
pagan by the power of the sword, made a treaty with 
him, and to make it sure sent as hostage his son 
Stephen, who stayed some long while among the Tartars 
and afterwards happily returned safe. When the 
Persians came with the Turks against Rumania, plunder- 
ing the Christians and causing great distress in Con- 
stantinople, Milutin besought his father-in-law the 
Emperor Andronicus to come and help him with his 
army and to drive the barbarians from his country. 
After this he made an abiding peace with the Emperor 
Andronicus and with the Bulgarian kingi 

So when his state lay at peace on all sides, Christ- 
loving Stephen Milutin began to build churches and 
monasteries with the riches which the Lord gave to him. 
First he pulled down the church at Khilindar to its 
foundations and built it greater and adorned it, and 
made for it cells like an emperor's palace and strength- 
ened it with towers against the enemy. After this he 
began to help the sick. He built a church and a 
hospital in Constantinople in the place called Prodrom. 
And for the rooms of it he gave soft beds for the sick, 



52 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

and provided both doctors and nurses. Likewise in 
Jerusalem he built a church to the Spirit Powers (the 
angels). In Salonika he built two churches, to St. Nicholas 
and to St. George, giving them many splendid palaces. 
He often sent rich alms to the monastery in Mount Sinai. 
All these good deeds he did in strange lands. But in 
the same way and with greater zeal he was a benefactor 
to the Church of his fatherland also. Thus in Treska- 
vatz he built the church of the Mother of God and gave 
it gold and silver vessels ; in the country of Kuchi he gave 
the church of the great and holy martyr St. George, together 
with its costly vessels ; in his capital, Prizren, the church 
of the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God, and many 
hospitals ; on the river Grachanitza the church of the 
Annunciation, with six towers ; in Skoplye three churches, 
to the Mother of God, to the apostolic Emperor Con- 
stantine, and to the great and holy martyr St. George ; 
in Rascia the church at Banyska, where the hot springs 
are, to the glory and memory of the first martyr and 
archdeacon St. Stephen; in Sofia the church to the 
Holy Wisdom, after the manner of the church in Con- 
stantinople which Justinian built, from which church 
the town Shredatz received its name Sofia ; in Studenitza 
the church of the holy and just Joachim and Anna : and 
in Orohovitza, in the country of Dabar, the church to 
the great martyr George. They say that this God-loving 
king made an oath to the Lord that for every year he 
remained on the throne he would build a church to the 
Lord. And the All Merciful Lord granted him forty and 
two years as ruler of Serbia, and he built forty and two 
churches. 

Now the sees of the bishops in his time were as fol- 
lows : Zeta, Raschia, Hum, Hvostom, Zvechany, Top- 
litza, Prizren, Budimlye, Liplanye, Skoplye, Dabar, 



THEOPHOROS STEPHEN MILUTIN 53 

Morava, Branitchevo, Machva, Kontule and Gradatz, 
And the chief monasteries were : Studenitza, Mileshevo. 
Sopochany, Banya, Gradatz, Rascia, Kontule, Hvostom, 
Gostiva, Orahvitza, Nagorichany, and Skoplye. The 
archbishop of this time was Sava III, and afterwards 
Nikodim, who, after fasting at Holy Mountain Athos, 
came back to Serbia and was called to be archbishop by 
the counsel and consent of the king, and was consecrated 
on the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord. After his 
death, Daniel, the Serbian chronicler, was archbishop. 
While all things were thus ordered and the king was 
engaged upon these works, dear to God and of good 
service for the Church of Christ and the spiritual training 
of her children, in the midst of the deep peace at home 
and abroad, there came up black clouds threatening a 
tempest. For the first-born son * of the saintly and godly 
King Milutin, Stephen, after living long time in Zeta with 
his wife, was led away by the words of the nobles who 
served him and determined to demand the throne of his 
father before the lawful time. When his father would 
have none of this, the ungrateful son began to entice the 
nobles from his father's side and to prepare for rebellion. 
When King Milutin of the godly soul, to whom the peace 
of the spirit was needful, saw how subtly he undermined 
the throne, he called his first-born son to him and prayed 
him with gentle words not to raise his hand against his 
father but to wait the time which is provided by the 
Lord. These good words of the father were little to the 
mind of the foolish son, who being determined to abide 
by the advice of his nobles, was the more enraged and 
went away to prepare for war. And when it was no 
longer possible to keep from civil war war between 
father and son, alas ! King Milutin came with his army 
1 Stephen Dechanski. Compare with this account, pp. 57~5 8 - 



54 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

to Zeta against his rebel son and battle was joined and 
the vanquished son fled to the farther bank of the river 
Boyana. He could not escape, however, but was cap- 
tured, and by order of his father was sent as a prisoner 
to his father-in-law at Constantinople, the Emperor 
Andronicus. The guard which took him from Skoplye 
put out his eyes as they passed through Ovchepole, and 
so brought him blind to the place appointed. 

When this trouble was passed, Milutin, now stricken in 
years and perceiving that his passage from this transitory 
life drew near, gave alms to the poor, and falling ill soon 
after, became weaker very rapidly in his palace of Naro- 
dine. And because his sickness was unto death the 
blessed and godly king prepared himself for everlasting 
life, purifying his conscience by confession and repent- 
ance, strengthening his soul with faith and receiving the 
Holy Sacrament. With the burden on his soul thus 
lightened he opened his mouth and spake to those he 
loved : " My beloved children, you know that the hour 
of my passing from you is near. Weep not, but praise 
the Lord with me, that I may receive the lot prepared 
for the holy." So died in the Lord this Christ-loving 
king on the thirtieth day of October. The body of the 
godly man was brought from Narodine to the church of 
the holy first martyr and archdeacon Stephen at Banya, 
and there, when all the rites were performed, it was 
buried in a tomb in accordance with his wish. 

Some of the people also say that the blessed king 
desired that his body should be buried in the church at 
Sofia, which is Shredatz, but his nobles would not consent 
to this, so the remains were brought to Skoplye and there 
buried in the church of the Falling Asleep of the Mother 
of God. After three years the Lord glorified the body 
of his saint with incorruption, and his son Stephen 



THEOPHOROS STEPHEN MILUT1N 55 

Dechanski, with the archbishops, brought the holy relics 
to Shredatz and placed them in the church of Holy 
Wisdom. 

Through his prayers, Lord Jesus, grant to Thy people 
to live in peace, doing Thy holy will. Amen. 



THE LIFE OF THE SAINT AND GREAT 
MARTYR, STEPHEN DECHANSKI x 

FROM the life of the saintly and blessed Milutin we 
know that Stephen Dechanski, the Serbian Job, was the 
first-born son of Milutin and his wife Elizabeth, daughter 
of the Hungarian king. He passed the years of his 
youth at the court of his parents in the study of his own 
language and the writings of his people and being in- 
structed in the Holy Scriptures. His mind, enlarged by 
study, he grew strong in the Orthodox Faith, which pre- 
served his soul from terrible heresy and led him straight 
towards everlasting life with Our Saviour Jesus Christ. 
For no mortal man can tell what temptations the chances 
of life will bring to him one day ; nor is it possible to find 
a better medicine to fight against these than the doctrine 
of the Spirit, Who speaks in the Word of the Lord. 
Therefore the saint was zealous to strengthen his heart, 
by the teachings of that Holy Spirit Who gives under- 
standing to those who are obedient to Him. 

The fruit of this doctrine and training soon showed 
itself, for when the needs of the state required peace with 
Nogyi, chief of the Tartars, and that man demanded from 
King Milutin his son as hostage, the young Stephen, heir 
to the throne, went willingly, though it was clear that his 
way was full of danger. Being obedient, therefore, to his 
father's will, he was willing to go, giving himself heart ancf 

1 King of Serbia, 1321-1331. 
56 



SAINT STEPHEN DECHANSKI 57 

and soul to the Lord, who looks upon His people. And 
his hope was not vain; for after some years he made 
friends with one of the Tartar nobles, Enirizaki, who 
sent him and his companions to a place whence he 
could come back safely to his father. When the king 
saw him come back safe and sound, he gave thanks 
to the Lord, saying: "This my son is saved from 
the hands of sinners by the right hand of the Lord Most 
High." 

After a short time his parents made a marriage for 
him with the daughter of the Bulgarian king Smilatz, 
and his father gave him as his portion a good part of the 
state, namely the country of Zeta, where the first-born 
and heir to the throne long time lived with his nobles. 
But when, through the marriage of King Milutin to 
Simonide, the son Constantine was born, Satan, quick to 
do evil, began to sow discord concerning the inheritance 
of the Serbian throne. Stephen, the first-born, was worthy 
to come to the throne after the death of his father, but 
Simonide desired this good fortune for her son Con- 
stantine. This her purpose was no secret to Stephen, 
for she spoke evil against him openly and hated him, 
striving to anger his father against his eldest son, so that 
he might refuse him the throne. Now the nobles and 
the chief men were against her in this plot, for they 
feared lest, when Constantine came to the throne, the 
power of the Greeks should become over great in the 
Serbian country. While things were in this pass they 
say that the party which favoured Stephen gathered an 
army together and forced him to demand the throne of 
his father, for they desired to forestall the plot of the 
queen. But King Milutin vanquished his son with his 
army and took him as he fled, and gave orders that he be 
bound and blinded with red-hot irons, and sent him to 
Constantinople to be shut up in prison. 



58 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

The commands of his father were carried out and 
Stephen was borne away by a guard, together with his 
children Dushan and Dushitzya. On the way, as they 
passed over Ovchepole, he was blinded with red-hot 
irons. In that same night there came to him St. Nicho- 
las in a dream and said to him: "Be not afraid, for 
your eyes are in my hand " ; and from that time Stephen 
felt no small lightening of his sickness. When he came 
to Constantinople he was received with mercy by the 
Emperor Andronicus, who took him at first into the 
imperial palace, giving to him all he stood in need of, 
and afterwards put him in the monastery Pantokrator. 
All these things, exile and imprisonment, blindness and 
captivity, though very bitter, the godly Stephen endured 
with patience, neither protesting nor repining, but prais- 
ing the Lord who had given him such a wound. For 
this his meekness and patience the Emperor Andronicus 
loved him and went often to him, and was kind to him, 
because he perceived in him a man of great spirit. 

Now in the fifth year of his captivity it chanced that 
the saint was in church on the feast of the saint and 
wonder-maker Nicholas. While he sat with the rest and 
listened to the reading of the life of the holy man of 
God, being very weary, he fell asleep : and behold, he 
saw again in a dream that godly man who had appeared 
to him on the way in Ovchepole, speaking to him on 
this wise: "That which was promised to thee before, 
thou shalt now receive. He who sent me to thee 
formerly with a promise, sends me again bearing this 
message, that thou shalt soon receive thy sight once 
more." By the will of the Holy Lord, so it came about 
and he began to see ; yet he told no man of this mercy 
of the Lord, save the Emperor Andronicus, who coun- 
selled him that he should not appear with open eyes, 
lest the evil should happen to him again. Wherefore 



SAINT STEPHEN DECHANSKI 59 

Stephen wisely kept secret this opening of his eyes until 
the day when the Lord should will that he return and 
be made king. 

At this time the Emperor Andronicus was hard 
pressed and asked help of Milutin against the Turks, 
who threatened his country. To his embassy he added 
the higumen of the monastery Pantokrator. When they 
came to Prizren, King Milutin called this godly higumen 
aside and questioned him concerning his son Stephen. 
He made answer wisely and said : " O king, you ask 
news of an unhappy man, a second Job. Know then 
that the lowliness of his heart sets him above the glory 
of men. And when you come to be of the same mind 
with me, thy intercessor, in this good work, take thy son 
Stephen back, who through his long suffering is made 
good and is without reproach." The story goes on thus : 
In the seventh year the prisoner, St. Stephen, yet bearing 
his difficult lot with patience, wrote a letter to the Holy 
Mountain to the godly Daniel, praying him on this 
wise : " Cause thy council of most reverent fathers of 
the Holy Mountain to make intercession for me to 
my lord and father, beseeching him that he be not en- 
raged with me always, lest I die in this strange land." 
Now this reverend father, after taking counsel with 
the brethren, sent to Prizren some of the godly old 
men, giving them a letter for the honoured Archbishop 
Nikodim concerning this matter. And in good time 
these reverend fathers of the Holy Mountain came to 
the godly Milutin, being brought to him by the Arch- 
bishop Nikodim, and spoke softly with him. Then the 
heart of Milutin was softened, and because no long 
time since there had come the higumen from the monas- 
tery Pantokrator in Constantinople with this prayer, and 
now also these fathers brought to him the intercession 
of the council for mercy and the restoration of his son, 



60 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

he yielded, and said to them : " Your prayer shall be 
granted. What you have asked for my son, shall be 
my will also." Then they gave him thanks and went 
their way. 

So, after that, the godly King Milutin sent a mes- 
senger to his father-in-law, the Emperor Andronicus, 
asking him to release his son. At this message the 
emperor rejoiced greatly, and sent away the prisoner 
in peace, commanding the guard to give all honour to 
the king's son. 

After many days' voyage came Stephen with great joy 
to the town of Prizren. When he came before his father 
with his son Dushano for Dushitza had died in Con- 
stantinople he knelt down with his eyes bound up and 
spoke thus : " Father, I confess my sin. I do not deny 
what thou knowest to be true. But I know also that 
thou art merciful, and I pray thee forgive me, thy son, 
and do not hate thy child." Then his father bowed 
down to him and kissed him and forgave him that which 
he had done for always. After this he gave to him a 
part of the country of Bodimlya for his support, whither 
Stephen went, leaving his son Stephen Dushan with his 
grandfather. 

It came to pass after three years that his father, the 
godly King Milutin, died, and there came messengers to 
Stephen both to bring the sad tidings of the death of 
his father and to pray him to take the sceptre of the 
kingdom. He did not believe the words of these, for 
he feared some plot or crafty design. But when he 
knew the truth more perfectly he came before the nobles 
and the people assembled, and taking the bandage from 
his eyes he said : " Beloved brothers and comrades, 
hearken to me. Our Lord has had mercy upon me; for 
whereas you knew me blind, behold now I see. Praise 
all of you the great and merciful Lord with me." And all 



SAINT STEPHEN DECHANSKI 61 

the assembly, seeing with their eyes what they had heard 
with their ears, bowed low before their lawful king. 
When Stephen was thus raised to the throne, since he 
knew that his father, Stephen Urosh, was beloved of his 
people, he took for his own name also Urosh, and was 
called Stephen Urosh, which good name he proved by 
giving presents to the Holy Church and to the poorest 
of his subjects. 

But Constantine, son of King Milutin and Simonide, 
plotted against the throne of his brother Stephen Urosh, 
and having obtained soldiers from the neighouring 
peoples, he commanded him to leave the throne, saying 
that it was not meet that a blind beggar should rule the 
state. Stephen then, with soldiers of his own people, 
went first to Pech, the Serbian archbishop's seat; and 
there the holy Nikodim came to meet him and crowned 
him king of the Serbian state in the church. Thus, 
crowned head of the kingdom, he went to war. When 
the two armies met the holy King Stephen did not desire 
to join battle forthwith, but, full of love towards his 
brother and meekness of heart, he wrote a letter to 
Constantine in these words : " Stephen Urosh, by the 
grace of God king and heir to his father's dominions, 
being firmly purposed to rule his people in the fear of 
God, to his beloved brother Constantine, greetings and 
joy in the Lord. Put far from thee thy desire to come 
with a foreign people to make war on thine own country- 
men j but let us meet one another, and thou shalt be 
second in my kingdom, for the land is great enough 
for me and thee to live. I am not Cain who slew his 
brother, but Joseph who loved him, and in his words 
I speak to thee. Fear not, for I am from the Lord- 
You prepared evil for me, but the Lord has given me 
good as you now see." When Constantine had read 
this letter he gave orders straightway that the Serbian 
F 



62 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

army be attacked. The battle was joined and the army 
of St. Stephen was victorious, and Constantine was not 
only defeated but himself slain. 

No sooner had he made an end of this first rebel 
than a second arose, Vladislav, the first-born son of 
Dragutin. He demanded the throne by right of his 
father, but could not take it by force, for Stephen over- 
came him, and being driven out he went to Sirmie, and 
there died. 

So when Stephen had set peace about his throne he 
began to do works good and pleasing to God. He gave 
alms to the poor, built churches, sent rich presents to 
the holy monasteries in Alexandria and Mount Sinai, in 
Jerusalem and Palestine, in the Holy Mountain and 
Thessaly and Constantinople. Especially he sent gifts 
to the monastery of Pantokrator in Constantinople, 
where he had been imprisoned seven years. For as he 
had obtained his freedom by the intervention of the 
clergy, so, as a token of his thanks, he greatly reverenced 
the bishops and priests. And because he knew that 
he was debtor to the holy wonder-maker Nicholas, he 
ordered a silver altar to be made, with eikons also, and 
gave it to the church of that saint in Bari. Afterwards 
he overcame the Hungarian and the Bulgarian kings and 
the Greek emperor, who were envious of the glory of 
King Stephen Urosh III, and rose against him to de- 
stroy the state. So by the help of the Lord the blessed 
king was victorious, and desired to repay his debt to 
the Lord God by building a splendid church in the 
midst of his fatherland. Wherefore he set forth with 
Archbishop Daniel, who had succeeded Nikodim, to 
seek a good place for this church. And they found it 
on the river Bistretza in the country of Hvostom, and 
himself with his own hand laid the first stone for the 



SAINT STEPHEN DECHANSKI 63 

foundation of the church in the name of the Lord God 
Almighty and in honour of the Ascension of the Lord, 
in the place called Dechany; wherefore the monastery 
was called Visoki Dechany (high Dechany). When the 
building was done the holy king adorned it within 
with gold and silver and all the vessels it needed most 
splendid. 

Thus labouring in the Lord and minding to live the 
days of his old age in peace, he endured such a sorrow 
as he never thought to come to him. In these days he 
had set apart for quietness trouble came upon him, and 
he received a wound more terrible than his captivity in 
Constantinople, for he was utterly overwhelmed, for- 
gotten of all his own, and fell from his throne in that 
very moment when he thought himself secure. It grieves 
the heart to hear tell of such things as came upon the 
saint in his great old age through no fault of his 
own. 

Now his first-born son, Stephen Dushan, won great 
renown in battle against the Bulgarians and Greeks. By 
the love of his father he was called the younger king 
for his bravery, and he was given a country of his own. 
But yielding to the counsel of the nobles who followed 
him, he foolishly rose against his father to take from 
him the throne and the state by force, fearing lest his 
father should give it to the son of his second marriage. 
So then he rebelled against him, and the godly King 
Stephen took horse and fled with some few of his nobles 
to the town Petrich, not far from Narodimlya. There 
the soldiers of his son overtook him and surrounded 
the town and made him prisoner. Stephen Dushan, 
after taking counsel with his nobles, put him in prison 
in the glorious town of Zvechan, where he died an 
unnatural death in the year 1336. His holy body 



64 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

was brought by his son Stephen Dushan to the monas- 
tery of Visoki Dechany, and there it rests in peace to 
this day in the church of God Almighty, to Whose care 
we commit ourselves, praying peace for ourselves and 
our fatherland and for our soul's salvation. Amen. 



THE LIFE OF THE HOLY AND BLESSED 
MARTYR, TSAR UROSH 

THE only son of the first Serbian tsar, Stephen 
Dushan, was born in 1337, and was called in Holy 
Baptism Urosh. His mother was Helen, the daughter 
of John Kantakuzen, the Greek emperor. God gave 
him a fine heart and soul, and he was so well pleasing 
to his father, the great Dushan, that he was called while 
yet a youth to be Serbian king and heir presumptive of 
the tsar's throne. Tsar Stephen the Mighty, a man 
ever fortunate in war and conqueror of the country of 
the Greeks and Bulgarians, increased the Serbian state 
from the Danube to the Sea of Marmora, from the 
Adriatic to the Black Sea, and held beneath his sceptre 
these lands Serbia, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Albania, Epirus, 
Thessaly, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Rumania. But the 
Almighty, to Whom it pertains to bestow the crown of 
lands, stayed him on his glorious path, and Dushan, 
who, according to the judgment of men had yet some 
years to live, fell ill of a sudden of a grievous sickness 
and soon after died in the year 1355. 

When Urosh became tsar, by title the Fifth, he was 
no more than nineteen years of [age. By his wisdom 
and gentleness he gave good promise on ascending the 
throne of his father, which seemed so strong. But he 
must needs have vigour and strength besides the quali- 
ties of a good ruler, if he was to hold in obedience 
the new countries of the Serbian state, which stretched 
from sea to sea. The rigour of his father, who had held 

65 



66 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

so many countries together by fear, the young tsar re- 
placed with great gentleness, so that he weakened the 
tsar's power, which was founded upon force of arms. 
The nobles, when they buried his father, buried his 
memory with him, and since there was now no one to 
fear they took counsel together against the authority 
of the state and that they might overthrow the godly 
tsar. There were many signs of evil before he came to 
the throne : a terrible famine befell the tsardom, and 
many died ; in the same year also there invaded Europe 
the Ottomon voievodes across the Dardanelle Straits, and 
after taking for themselves the most fertile of the country 
in the Greek Empire, they began to menace Serbia and 
Bulgaria. Then the imperial power of Tsar Urosh, thus 
already weakened, was shaken by his uncle Sinisha, 
ruler of Thessaly, who obtained an army from the Greeks 
and Albanians and rose in rebellion against his tsar, 
demanding the throne for himself by right of seniority. 
There was thus civil war. Sinisha, holding to his belief 
that he had a right to the throne, invaded Zeta with the 
purpose of taking Scutari, but in this he did not succeed, 
and he was forced to retire. It seems, however, that 
his own mother, the Tsarina Helen, was not blameless 
in this matter, and urged on the civil war, hoping to take 
for herself a fortified town. This we may know from 
he fact that when Nikifor, the "despot angel," rose 
against Urosh and took Thessaly, it was done with the 
consent of the tsarina mother, who had given him her 
sister to wife. The lesser rulers, meanwhile, seeing how 
matters lay, strengthened their hold on their own coun- 
tries, and cast off the burden of subjection. 

But the most dangerous of these rulers were Vukashin, 
despot of Hum, and Uglesha his brother. Vukashin 
held high office and was first in the kingdom after the 
tsar himself. But his pride was overweening and he 



BLESSED MARTYR, TSAR UROSH 67 

began to plot against the tsardom and Urosh. Those 
wise nobles who were loyal subjects of Urosh found 
no difficulty in discerning the secret purpose of Vuka- 
shin, and early gave good counsel to the tsar to save 
him from the plot of Vukashin, to wit, that he should 
take from him the estates he had entrusted to him as 
soon as might be so as to make him harmless. But 
the crafty Vukashin, foreseeing their plans against him, 
delayed not to approach the tsar himself and prepare his 
mind in advance against the plan of the wise nobles. In 
this way Urosh not only became the friend of Vukashin, 
but made him king and held him high in his esteem. 
So it came about that, either the tsar himself raised up 
to be king his future murderer, or that Vukashin him- 
self obtained the kingly title by a plot. From that 
time all the nobles faithful to the tsar left him, and 
each man thought only how to strengthen himself in his 
own land. Thus in the space of ten years, during the life- 
time of the Tsar Urosh, the Serbian empire was divided 
into four parts, independent one of another. Urosh 
himself bore only the name of tsar, for in truth the real 
tsar was Vukashin. 

Now against this false tsar there rose up some of the 
nobles to dethrone him, or at least to take from him 
some of the power. In their number was the prince 
Lazar. This prince, with the help of the Hungarians, 
took Machva and other parts of Serbia. Tsar Urosh de- 
sired to make peace between them, but he was powerless, 
and was as a voice crying in the wilderness. The un- 
happy tsar, seeing himself without power, authority or sub- 
jects, and having no means of support, left his throne and 
went to live among some of the nobles who were friendly 
disposed. Some time he lay in this condition of poverty 
and misery not to be endured, save that, to the gentle 
heart of this long-suffering and blameless man, it was 



68 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

endurable because the Lord was his support. He found 
himself a^ stranger in his own fatherland ; he, to whom 
rule belonged by right, was powerless ; the giver of alms 
was left himself at the mercy of his own nobles and 
subjects. The hospitality of Vukashin, to whom he 
came first, was full of bitterness and contempt and 
caused him great misery. No longer able to endure 
such things and hoping to find it somewhat easier, he 
left Vukashin and came to Lazar, ruler of Machva and 
Sirmie. But this change of place did not bring a change 
of lot. Lazar had no love for Vukashin because he had 
succeeded by his plot in deceiving the tsar when he 
came to the throne, and had taken his power and 
shaken and weakened the Serbian state, and then, in his 
greed for power, had dethroned God's anointed, Urosh, 
and changed the bearer of the crown into a slave. This 
hatred of Lazar for Vukashin knew no bounds, and so 
the wandering tsar fell a prey to the mercy of strangers 
and often suffered insult. Wherefore he left the house 
of Lazar and came back again to Vukashin. But when 
by this change his miserable lot was no better but rather 
grew worse, he thought to seek a refuge among the 
people of Ragusa for his gentle soul, that he might 
escape these insults. This his purpose was known to 
Vukashin, who feared lest perchance the tsar, with the 
help of the people of Ragusa, might come back and 
punish him and imprison or slay him. So when he 
heard that the tsar had fled he sent after him his guard 
to take him again. Which thing they did, and killed 
him on the second day of December, 1367. Some say 
the murder was done by Vukashin himself, others say 
the soldiers did it. The blessed Patriarch of Pech, 
holding to the written tradition of his patriarchate, tells 
us that Vukashin himself did indeed slay Tsar Urosh, 
but not while he was fleeing to Ragusa, but wher\ they 



BLESSED MARTYR, TSAR UROSH 69 

were on a hunt, to which Vukashin took him for pastime, 
in his heart hoping to find then a good time and place 
to be alone with him and carry out that purpose of his, 
so terrible to the Lord. So when he found time and 
place and opportunity, at once he fell upon him and 
raised his sinful arm, with his heavy wrought arms in his 
hand, and the long-suffering wearer of the crown fell 
prostrate and dead to the earth near Narodimye on the 
field of Kossovo, on the twenty-ninth day of April and the 
twelfth year of his reign. So ended the son of the great 
tsar, and such was the death which befell him. In this 
kind Vukashin repaid his debt to the tsar, son of evil 
and brother of Satan that he was. And this was the 
end of the glorious Nemanya dynasty which had ruled 
the Serbian State for two hundred and twenty years. Our 
crowned rulers came to an end in this way, because Tsar 
Urosh had no child. 

His body was brought and buried in the church of 
the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God, near the town 
Petrich. After some time this blessed sufferer began to 
show forth his holiness by the miracles which were done 
at his tomb. Wherefore the faithful took his uncorrupt 
remains, from which came healing, and guarded them till 
the coming of the Turks, at which time they brought 
them to Sirmie and placed them in the monastery lazak, 
which is in Frushka Gora, where they rest in peace until 
this day. Through his prayers may the Lord, who 
glorified this His saint, have mercy upon us. Amen. 



THE LIFE OF THE SAINT AND MOST BLESSED 
MARTYR, TSAR LAZAR, RULER OF THE 
SERBIAN LAND (1372-1389) 

THIS saint and ever blessed Prince Lazar was the 
son of Lazar Pribatz Grebelyanovich, a man of great 
renown and high rank, who lived at the court during 
the reign of the Tsar Stephen Dushan. Since his father, 
owing to his high position, was engaged on manifold 
affairs of state in the court of the most glorious Tsar 
Stephen Dushan, there is no doubt that his son Lazar, 
called by Providence to build up once more the Serbian 
kingdom, lived at the court of that tsar also in his 
youth, and received that training which would befit 
his station. 

From his youth Lazar was gentle, wise and brave, 
and of a high spirit, and all these gifts of the Lord 
the martyr Lazar kept throughout his troubled life. 
Adorned with such good qualities the young Lazar soon 
held a high position of honour. Not only did the tsar 
look upon him, but he entrusted to him some service 
for the state. Furthermore, he was called to be son-in- 
law of the tsar, taking to wife Militza, daughter of the 
great prince Vratko, of the Nemanya dynasty by the 
side of Vukan, son of the first Stephen Nemanya. Thus 
Lazar received the title of prince. After the unlocked 
for death of Tsar Dushan, the foundations of the Serbian 
state were weakened because of the greed for power 
among the Serbian nobles, who demanded each one, 

70 




ST. LAZAR 



p. 70 



SAINT TSAR LAZAR 71 

i_ 

all for himself. And when the throne of the good and 
gentle Tsar Urosh was shaken by the plots of the 
crafty Vukashin, all the Serbian land fell into discord 
and bloodshed and lay under the yoke of Vukashin, the 
tsar murderer. Throughout this time St. Lazar grieved 
in secret, and, abiding by the counsel of wise men, 
waited for better times. He watched all that happened 
but he did not desire to do anything for the furtherance 
of the plan he had conceived, whereby those lands 
which of old time had been part of Dushan's empire 
might be made one Serbian state. But when, by the 
judgment of God, the tsar murderer Vukashin received 
his reward, after his death St. Lazar arose to carry out 
his plan. He conquered many lands, especially Herze- 
govina, Rascia, Serbia and the Banat, holding that he 
had a right to the throne through his wife Militza, 
tsarevina. 

Now when St. Lazar had become ruler in this way, 
there came to him a godly old man, the priest-monk 
Isaiah, from the Holy Mountain, and spoke with him 
concerning the anathema by which, in the time of Tsar 
Dushan, the Patriarch of Constantinople had excom- 
municated all the Serbian people ; 1 and he showed to 
him how they might be reconciled. This proposal was 
pleasing to the tsar and he straightway took counsel 
with the Serbian patriarch, at that time Sava II ; then 
they sent the aged Isaiah to Constantinople to pray 
the patriarch of that day, Theophanes, to remove the 
anathema from all Serbians, both dead and living. 
Isaiah received all that he would need, and taking with 
him two of his disciples from the Holy Mountain and 

1 This anathema was pronounced in 1346 by the patriarch be- 
cause Tsar Dushan had proclaimed himself Tsar of all Bulgarians 
and Greeks, and had at the same time appointed the Serbian 
archbishop, Joannicius, patriarch. 



72 LIVES OF THfe SERBIAN SAINTS 

an interpreter, went to the place as they had arranged. 
When the Patriarch Theophanes learnt the cause of the 
coming ofl saiah, he took counsel first with the emperor 
John Palaeologus and with the whole synod, and then 
he removed the anathema from the tsar Stephen Dushan 
and Joannicius II, the first Serbian patriarch, and all 
who had died unto his time, and thus was renewed the 
spiritual union within the Church of Christ. Only one 
condition he made that the Serbian people should 
wage war no more upon the Greeks and the countries 
round about, As a token of the sincerity of his peace 
and spiritual pardon, the patriarch Theophanes granted 
on his own behalf and in the name of all the synod 
that the archbishop of the Serbian people should bear 
the title of patriarch, but should have no jurisdiction 
over other countries. 

When this had been accomplished in Constantinople, 
the patriarch and his whole synod wrote letters con- 
taining the decision of the council, and sent them by 
a special embassy to Prizren, the capital of the Serbian 
tsardom. These were read in church after the Holy 
Liturgy, thus announcing to all the removal of the 
anathema from the dead and the living. At this time 
the second Serbian patriarch, Sava, died, and by order 
of Tsar Lazar the synod was assembled at Pech, the 
seat of the patriarchate. There they elected the godly 
Ephrem, and he was placed in accordance with the 
canons on the patriarch's throne. As a token of his 
new dignity, he placed the crown of the tsars on the 
head of Lazar, at the end of his first Holy Liturgy. 
Thus he conferred upon him the authority of tsar, in 
the year 1376, in the presence of the embassy from 
Constantinople, which returned afterwards to its own 
land. 

When Tsar Lazar had once more united the Church 



SAINT TSAR LAZAR 73 

bi 

and brought peace to his people, he began to do good 
works : he gave alms to the poor and the sick ; he 
made imperial presents to the church of the Lord ; and 
he built new and splendid churches. Thus, he gave 
to the hospital of Khilindar many villages for its support 
and enlarged its church with a new narthex ; and in his 
fatherland he built a great and splendid church by the 
name of the Ascension of Our Lord, with cells like 
palaces. This church was called Ravanitza and was in 
the diocese of Branichevo. 

But we must not fail to tell how that, after Tsar 
Urosh was killed and the kingdom of the tsar murderer 
Vukashin brought to an end for he was vanquished by 
the Turks and slain by his servant the Turkish power 
ever growing more and more in Europe, the Serbian 
state was forced to pay tribute to the Turks at times 
during the reign of Tsar Lazar. And though this man 
who built again the Serbian Empire would have liked 
to be rid of the burden which put the Serbian people 
and empire to shame, it was not possible to resist the 
great power of the Turks. So when Sultan Murat with 
his army took the town of Nish and made ready to 
conquer Serbia also, St. Lazar made a treaty, promising 
to give him yearly tribute and to send him a thousand 
Serbian men-at-arms. This came to pass in the year 
1386. But Murat, like a wild beast seeking for prey, 
when he had gone back a little from the Serbian 
border, conquered the lands of their neighbours. Thus 
he became a danger to the peace of Serbia, for by 
these conquests he made himself her powerful neighbour. 
Such a captain of savage hordes, ready to carve his way 
to victory with fire and sword and ruthless violence, 
it was not easy to satisfy with tribute and presents, 
because for the slightest cause and at the least resist- 
ance his greedy soul, craving all that was not its own, 



74 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

was filled with rage. But in the year 1387 Lazar 
vanquished Murat and his army on the river Sitnitsa : 
the army was destroyed and Murat only saved himself 
by flight. He thereupon raised a great army against 
Lazar and his state in the year 1389 that he might 
avenge this defeat. The messenger bearing tidings of 
the misfortune which thus threatened the Serbians, came 
to a state rent by discord, envy, treachery and pride 
between the nobles and the leaders of the people. 
Those who were on the side of Tsar Lazar were few 
in number and dispirited ; nor were they all of one 
mind. It is but just to say that a great number of the 
nobles and voievodes summoned by St. Lazar came to 
Kossovo field with their armed men. But some came 
too late and some came not at all. And because of 
this delay and the absence of Serbian leaders, the army 
of St. Lazar was small. To this must be added the 
treachery of Vulk Brankovich, the son-in-law of Lazar, 
the old disunion among the leaders, and the going 
forth in an ill moment of his second son-in-law Milosh 
Obilich. For this man was falsely slandered by Vulk 
to Lazar; and, in order to prove his faithfulness, he 
left the Serbian army just before the battle and came 
to the camp of the Turks. There he made his way to 
the powerful Sultan Murat and like lightning took his 
sword and thrust it through the body of the Sultan. 
From this wound the Sultan died soon after; but the 
Turks, enraged because of it, fell upon Lazar and his 
army. The battle was long and bloody, and if all those 
who had been summoned had come to it, and Vulk 
Brankovich with his horsemen had been faithful to his 
emperor and countrymen, the Turks would have been 
defeated. But though the Serbians fought bravely for 
Cross and freedom and were led by their tsar who 
gave his own life as a sacrifice, after long fighting they 



SAINT TSAR LAZAR 75 

b4 

. began to weaken. They had no other forces to support 
them, and, moreover, they saw their tsar fall from his 
horse. He mounted another : but his army supposing 
him to be fallen dead, began to save themselves by 
flight ; nor did they hear the words of their leader who, 
from his fresh horse, cried to them to return. So, when 
misfortune came from all sides, the Turks were victors ; 
and the tsar, with many of his nobles, was made 
prisoner. Being brought before Murat, he and all that 
were with him were beheaded and attained a blessed 
release. This defeat of the Serbian Empire came to 
pass in the year 1389, on the fifteenth day of June. 

After the battle, when the Turks had left the field, 
the body of the blessed Lazar was brought to Prishtina 
and there buried in the church. Two years after the 
Tsarina Militza and her son, despot George, moved his 
remains to Ravanitza, a monastery he had built From 
there, when the Turks came to Serbia, they were moved 
to the monastery of Ravanitza in Sirmie, where they 
lie in peace and without corruption to this day. The 
memory of this blessed martyr is kept alive by the 
Orthodox Serbians every year on the fifteenth day of 
June the day of the battle and of his death. 

Through his prayers grant, O Lord, that we may 
come to Thy Kingdom. Amen. 



THE LIFE OF THE HOLY FATHER EPHREM, 
PATRIARCH OF THE SERBIANS 

OUR holy father Ephrem was born of a priest's family 
during the reign of King Milutin. While he was yet 
young, there came to him the desire for the monk's 
way of life and the spiritual exercises. This was little 
pleasing to his parents; for they thought only of the 
growth of his body and hoped that through him they 
would have many grandchildren. But Almighty God, 
to Whom all desires are known, turned aside the purpose 
of the parents of Ephrem and their thoughts which were 
fixed only upon the things of the body, by means of 
a dream which came to the young man Ephrem. By 
this his fears were taken from him and a way was 
opened to him which fulfilled his purpose and led him 
to his goal. He set out for the place told to him in 
his dream, and found there an old hermit, Basil by 
name, with whom he abode, following the order of the 
spiritual exercises, fasting and praying. Thus he entered 
upon the path of spiritual growth and took upon him 
" the angel way of life." l When his parents heard where 
he was, they determined to take him away by force and 
marry him. But that Providence, through whom all 
good things do come, brought Ephrem to Athos, where 
he lay hid far from their evil designs, passing his time 
with God and worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. 

1 Velika skimna, the most strict and ascetic rule in the monasti 
life. 

76 



HOLY FATHER EPHREM 77 

It came to pass at this time, however, that the Turks 
invaded the Holy Mountain and pillaged it. Ephrem 
departed with some of his disciples and came to live 
in the monastery Ibrovsky, where he became higumen. 
But it was not his destiny to remain there, and he left 
all and came to the great Serbian church (Pech), where 
he bowed down before the holy relics of the saints of 
the Lord buried in that place, kissing them and receiv- 
ing the blessing of the Patriarch Joannicius. From 
there he passed to the monastery of Dechany, near 
which he chose for himself a desert place and there 
lived as a hermit, serving God with prayer and fast. 

Now it chanced that Tsar Dushan died at this time. 
Straightway lawlessness broke forth and all order was 
gone. Through all the country there was turmoil and 
civil war, so that our hermit hardly escaped alive from 
the robbers who demanded of him the treasure which 
they believed he kept hidden. When the Patriarch 
Sava heard tell of this, he called Ephrem to him and 
took him and made ready for him a cell in a cave in 
a narrow valley ; there he left the holy man, but came 
at times to hold converse with him. 

Not many days after, the Patriarch Sava died. Tsar 
Lazar, who was now on the throne, looked upon the 
excommunication of his Church with displeasure, and 
because he was an honourable son of the great Church 
and desired to establish peace among his faithful flock in 
the Serbian land, he sent the old monk Isaiah from Athos 
and the priest Nikodim to the Patriarch Theophanes 
at Constantinople, to pray him to remove the anathema 
and unite the two Churches with his pardon. And thus 
it was brought to pass. When it was needful to make 
a new Serbian patriarch the old Ephrem was elected by 
the synod. For a long time he said them nay, but at 
last he yielded and took upon him the position. It was 
G 



7 8 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

one which called for new strength. But he was so old 
that he was forced to resign not long after ; and Spiridon 
was raised up in his place. Meanwhile the godly saint, 
Ephrem, retired to the Church of the Archangel 
Michael, in the monastery of St. Stephen. After that 
came troublous times ; the saint and martyr Tsar Lazar 
was slain on Kossovo field, and the Patriarch Spiridon 
died. Once again the godly old Ephrem left his desert 
and was prayed to take the helm until a new patriarch 
should be elected. At last, by the help of the Lord, 
Stephen, son of St. Lazar and despot of Serbia, called 
together the synod. It chose Daniel, and then the 
godly man returned and came to his cave. There he 
lived for a short while : and then there came the hour 
of the passing of his soul. Sava, who had succeeded 
Daniel, was a witness when the godly man gave up 
his spirit to the Lord in the eighty-eighth year of his 
life, on the fifteenth day of June. His body was buried 
in a tomb in the great church. 

Through the prayers of Thy saint, O Lord, shield 
our souls and bodies from evil, keep us from disunion 
in Church and in State, and make our lives to accord 
with Thy commandments in the Gospels. Amen. 



THE LIFE OF THE SAINTLY AND JUST 
STEPHEN, SERBIAN DESPOT 

AFTER the days of the Serbian Tsar, Lazar Grebelyano- 
vich, who received a martyr's death on the field of 
Kossovo (on the fifteenth day of June in the year 1389), 
his first-born son, Stephen Lazarovich, began to rule in 
Serbia, not with the title autocrat, but called despot. 1 
He is known among his people by the name Stephen 
the Tall, and he ruled over Rascia and the countries 
round about for thirty-eight years. To his own peaceful 
heart he took the sorrows of his people, and he endured 
with patience the misery which had fallen upon the 
state. His title was Despot Stephen, by the grace of 
God, Lord of all Serbia and the coastlands and the lands 
along the Danube. The monument of this godly soul 
remains unto this day in the monastery Rasava, which 
we call Manasia. He lived for such a space as pleased 
the Lord, and died on the ninth day of July in the 
year 1427. And because he was without child and his 
two brothers, Vulk and Lazar, had been beheaded by 
order of the Sultan Musa in Philipopolis in the year 
1405, he caused George Brankovich to succeed him in 
the despot's position. He was the second son of Vulk 
Brankovich, who was son-in-law of Tsar Lazar, having 
for wife his daughter Mara, so that George was the 
son of this Mara. When he had received the power 

1 The title despot merely = prince, and has none of the evil 
associations we have given to it. 

79 



8o LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

from the aforesaid Stephen, he chose for his capital 
Smederevo, and to comfort those Serbians who lived 
under the Turkish yoke, he had himself declared despot, 
receiving authority from his father-in-law, John Palaeo- 
logus, whose daughter Irene he had married. But when 
he saw that his position as despot would be beset by 
many dangers, he made ready for himself in good time 
a refuge in Hungary, receiving it from the Hungarians 
to whom he ceded Belgrade. While he was there, in 
Hungary, setting his affairs in order, came Murat with 
his army and captured Smederevo. He took prisoner 
the despot's son Grgur, and imprisoned him with his 
brother Stephen, first in Adrianople, and afterwards in 
Cappadocia. There he put out their eyes : but their 
father heard not of this cruel deed. 

At this time the despot George, with his wife Irene 
and his youngest son, Lazar, wandered through the 
Hungarian country and the coastlands without father- 
land, without money, and without a place to rest his 
head, because he was everywhere pursued by the enmity 
of the Turks. At last he came back to Hungary, and 
when it came about that Sultan Murat desired peace 
with the Hungarians, he called George to him that he 
might go between them, promising that he would give 
him back the Serbian despotdom and his sons. The 
peace was concluded and George received his reward 
and his two sons. But when he saw that the light of 
their eyes was gone he wept with sorrow and scarce 
could stand. 

When the Hungarians broke the treaty and their 
plighted word, they were smitten near Varna; but 
George remained in his own land. From this time for- 
ward George and the Serbian lands were often in 
difficulties because of Hunyadi, the leader of the 
Hungarians, or because of the Turks. To secure him- 



THE SAINTLY STEPHEN 81 

self on the one side the despot George made a treaty 
with Hunyadi : but by this means he enraged Mahmoud, 
who had taken Constantinople and now came with his 
army and conquered the Serbian lands and forced the 
despot to set forth on his wanderings again with his 
children. After this second exile from his fatherland 
in the ninetieth year of his age, he sought aid from the 
Hungarians, with whose help he thought to take again 
his country. But this he did not bring to pass : so he 
came back to his fatherland and went to live near the 
Danube instead of returning to Smederevo. Not long 
after he was taken prisoner by Michael Silatidy, chief 
of the Hungarians, but he was ransomed and went to 
Smederevo, where he died on the twenty-fourth day of 
December in the year 1487. All his possessions he left 
to his wife Irene and his sons Grgur, Stephen, and 
Lazar. Now Irene desired her first-born, Grgur, to 
receive the throne of the despot, although he was 
blind. But Lazar the youngest was opposed to this 
because of his blindness; and he drove him out and 
killed his mother with poison. But Stephen, the middle 
brother of the three, though blind, he took to himself, 
The exiled Grgur came to the Sultan Mahmoud II to 
seek help, but when he received it not he went to the 
Holy Mountain and was made monk by the name 
German, and there he died. 

Now when the people heard that Lazar had slain his 
mother by poison, they were so enraged against this 
matricide that all hearts were turned from him and they 
refused him obedience. And after this came Sultan 
Mahmoud with his army, and Lazar, when he perceived 
the greatness of the forces against him, either from fear 
or because his conscience was troubled by the killing of 
his mother, fell sick and gave up his sinful soul in the 
year 1458. 



82 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

Now we begin the history of the holy and just Stephen. 
From his youth he was very gentle and God-fearing, 
obedient to his parents in all things, courteous to his 
brothers, and to all others meek and peace-loving. He 
was wise and instructed in the Holy Scriptures while he 
was yet young. On this foundation his training was 
made secure and his soul was enlightened by the light 
of eternal truth ; and he kept his heart pure with the 
teaching of the Gospel commandments of virtue. Now 
when George, his father, was treating with Sultan Murat, 
that he might save the Serbian state from the Turks, and 
made proposals of peace, Murat demanded, as a condi- 
tion of that peace, that he should give him his daughter 
Mara for wife. The unhappy father gave up his daughter, 
for he chose rather to deliver his people from evil than 
to save himself from the sorrow of a parent's heart. 
Knowing the gentleness of his son Stephen, his father 
sent him to be a guard for his sister and to comfort her 
in her sadness in that strange land. And he, ever 
obedient as son and as brother, went to Adrianople, 
the Sultan's capital, in the year 1435, an d there lived 
some long time. But the Sultan, in his lust for the 
conquest of foreign lands, and blind to that justice which 
is pleasing to the Lord, advanced against his wife's father 
and took Smederevo and the fortress and Grgur also, the 
first-born son of George, whom he carried away captive. 
Owing to this calamity both brothers found themselves 
in the hands of the Sultan, who kept them close in 
Adrianople. And when men told the Sultan that his 
prisoners were plotting against him with their father, he 
sent them to Cappadocia, and soon after, to prevent any 
further designs with their father against himself, he 
ordered that they should be made blind. Thus our 
godly Stephen, free from all evil and for no fault of his, 
received this terrible punishment. Yet his faith in the 



THE SAINTLY STEPHEN 83 

Lord and His good Providence never failed, but he bore 
his misfortune with a strong heart, comforted by his clear 
conscience. After some time when peace was made 
between the Hungarians and Sultan Murat through the 
labours of despot George, Stephen returned with his 
brother to his fatherland. After the death of his father 
and the driving out of his elder brother Grgur through 
the act of his younger brother Lazar, and when his 
mother had been poisoned by that same son and this 
Lazar was himself dead, Stephen heard that the Turks, 
ever increasing in power, had burned the splendid 
monastery of Mileshevo. Moreover he perceived that 
they were making ready to destroy all the noble monu- 
ments of the godly Serbian kings and tsars ; wherefore 
he determined for righteousness and his people's sake, to 
appear before his subjects as Serbian despot. This he 
did with the help of some of the nobles in the year 1461 . 
But this was not pleasing to many of the people, who 
chose rather to be obedient to the Turks than to their 
own despot. Therefore they were angry because he did 
this, and they showed their hatred not only by dethron- 
ing him but by sending him bound as a prisoner far from 
his fatherland, into Dalmatia. After some time he was 
delivered from his bonds and imprisonment and all the 
troubles that had come upon him, and he went back to 
his fatherland. He hoped that his people would atone 
for their former insults by well doing ; but his return was 
in vain, for he saw again the malice of his subjects. 
Smederevo was taken once more by the Turks, and 
Stephen went away, taking with him nothing but his title 
of despot. When he heard tell that some of his people 
had designs against his life, he hid himself now in one 
place, now in another, and at last found safe refuge with 
the Prince of Albania, the brave George Scanderbeg. 
Here he married, taking for wife the daughter of this 



84 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

prince, Angelina, a maid gifted with every virtue, known 
among our people by the name Maika Angelia (Mother 
Angelina). She bore to him two sons, George, who was 
afterwards Archbishop Maxim, and John, who in his time 
was despot. 

Some time after the Turks invaded the country of 
Albania, bringing fear and trembling to men's hearts, as 
they ever did. And because Stephen knew that the 
Turks pursued after him that they might utterly destroy 
the dynasty of Brankovich, he made ready in haste to go, 
and passed over to the country of Italy, where he lived 
some years with his wife and children. Then he fell ill 
of the sickness that often had troubled him, and his last 
hour came and he gave his soul to the Lord, dying in 
the fifty-sixth year of his life in the year 1468. His body 
was buried in this foreign land and remained there till 
the year 1486, when his sons, together with their mother 
Angelina, moved his remains, glorified with incorruption, 
to Sirmie. There they placed them in the church of the 
Holy Evangelist Luke, in the town of Kupinovo, near 
the river Sava, and they healed many people who were in 
evil plight. In the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord, to 
Whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all 
honour and glory, now and for evermore. Amen. 



THE LIFE OF SAINT JOANNICIUS OF 
DEVICH i 

THIS saint, the godly father and hermit, Joannicius, 
was born in Diocletia, on the coast of the Adriatic. We 
know not the names of his parents, but doubtless they 
were of the Orthodox Faith and of the Serbian people. 
When Joannicius was young he loved the Lord and 
desert places, wherefore he left his fatherland and came 
to the river Ibar, to a desolate place called Black River. 
There with great severity he followed the rule of prayer. 
Some of the monks then heard of him and went to him 
in the desert, and were received by him. They remained 
there to be instructed of him, and they came to know 
the holiness and the godly life of St. Joannicius. Then 
were they obedient to the saint, as to a spiritual father 
and leader, with their whole heart. After a while the 
godly Joannicius called upon his brothers to build a. 
church and a monastery ; which thing they did with the 
help of God and of Our Lord Jesus Christ. When 
the rumour spread abroad concerning the holy life of 
the godly Joannicius, many of the people came that they 
might follow the spiritual life with him. But some of 
those who came praised very greatly the holiness of the 
life of the godly Joannicius and his care for the monas- 
tery, so that godly man and servant of Jesus, Joannicius, 
was ill pleased. Therefore he punished his spiritual 

i The exact date of this saint is not known, but the mention of 
the despot George Brankovich shows that he belongs to this period. 

85 



86 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

children and, commending them to the grace of the 
Lord, left his monastery and went to live in the desert of 
Devich, where was solitude and a spring of water, and 
began once more his former spiritual exercises. We see 
again the words of the Gospel in practice : " A city that 
is set on a hill cannot be hid, and a candle is not to be 
covered." When the great despot George heard of him 
in Smederevo, he came to him with his men and be- 
sought him to pray to the Lord that his daughter might 
be made whole, who long time had been sick. And 
because the Lord looked upon his servant and upon the 
prayer of the godly Joannicius, George, giving thanks and 
praise to the Lord, built a church in honour of the 
Coming of the All Holy Mother of God to the Temple. 
He adorned it with great splendour and by royal letters 
gave to it many villages for its support. The godly 
Joannicius set the monastery in order and calling the 
brothers round him, took thought for their good life, 
giving his own life as their example. In the fullness of 
time he came to a great old age and went to the Lord. 
His body was buried in the church of the monastery 
three cubits deep in the ground. Through his relics 
the Lord of His mercy healed many who came with 
faith. Whom we also venerate and beseech that through 
the prayers of His saint He will have mercy upon us and 
grant us His Kingdom in the world of His saints. 
Amen. 



THE LIFE OF THE HOLY FATHER MAXIM, 
ARCHBISHOP AND SERBIAN DESPOT 

THIS blessed and glorious Maxim was the first-born 
son of the despot Stephen the blind and Angelina ; the 
blind Stephen was the middle son of George Brankovich 
of Smederevo, and Angelina was the daughter of Prince 
Scanderbeg. In Holy Baptism Maxim was called 
George, and his younger brother was John. Both of 
them were born in a foreign land because their father 
was persecuted by his own people, and was obliged in 
these straits to save his life by 'coming to the Prince of 
Albania, whose daughter he married. It is not known 
for how long a time the saint and his brother John lived 
in a foreign land, but afterwards they came with their 
mother to Sirmie. And because they were the children 
of the Serbian despot, they looked to receive some land 
for their support. But the Serbians of Sirmie had a 
despot already in the person of Vulk Brankovich, a 
kinsman of Stephen the blind, so that this hope of the 
unhappy sons of Stephen was vain, and they lacked all 
but their title. It is said that they went to live in Kupi- 
novo on the river Sava, and there waited lest haply their 
fortune should change. When Vulk died, George, after- 
ward called Maxim, thought to take the power of despot 
because he was the first-born : but already, in the reign 
of Vulk, the despot was straitened in power and land, so 
that George received no more for at this time the 
Hungarians ruled in Sirmie. Thus to be despot was 

87 



88 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

only to have the title and a little support for life, and 
George was made monk by the higumen of the mon- 
astery Monasia of Stephen the Tall. He was called 
Maxim, and he gave the title of despot to his brother 
John, who is known among our people as the last 
Serbian despot. 

Maxim lived as a monk in Kupinitza, fasting and 
praying. At this time the Hungarians were in Sirmie, 
and there was no bishop and but few priests. Then the 
monk Maxim, zealous for the Orthodox Faith, called to 
Sirmie the metropolitan of Sofia, Levit : and he came 
and ordained Maxim to be priest in Kupinitza, and 
afterwards made many other priests also. But because 
the Turks oftentimes invaded Sirmie to plunder it, the 
monk-priest Maxim, with his brother the despot John, 
went a short way further into the mountains and estab- 
lished themselves in Berkasovo, where John died. And 
when the Turks came from Bosnia and threatened 
death to the people of Slavonia and Sirmie, Maxim, 
seeing their peril, went by the river Danube to Wallachia, 
and took with him the bodies of his father and brother. 
He came then to the lands of Rodul, the voievode of that 
district, who received him gladly. Not long after the 
metropolitan of Wallachia died, and Rodul, after taking 
counsel with his people, raised up Maxim to the empty 
throne, honouring in him the despot's dynasty. It came 
to pass after this that the voievode of Moldavia, Bogdan, 
made ready for war against the voievode Rodul. But 
Archbishop Maxim took on himself the labour of uniting 
them again, and changed bloodshed into peace, and 
brought back the two voievodes to love and concord. 
Then this Bogdan, who had made peace, gave to the 
archbishop a staff wrought of silver. 

After the death of Rodul, Mina came to the throne, 
an evil man who loved the Turks better than the Chris- 



HOLY FATHER MAXIM 89 

tians. When blessed Maxim saw that he could not 
remain a friend with Mina, and that Mina was against 
him because he was a Serbian and of the despot's dyn- 
asty and archbishop in Wallachia, he was afraid not 
indeed that he would lose his diocese, but that he would 
lose his life. Therefore he waited only for a fit time to 
escape. Now Maxim, by the advice of his nobles, desired 
to make peace with the Hungarian king, and looked about 
him to see who could be sent to do this work aright. 
When he heard that, through the intercession of blessed 
Maxim, Rodul had made peace with that king, he sent 
Maxim to make peace with the Hungarian king. Maxim 
rejoiced greatly because of this opportunity, and when 
he had brought to a good end the mission with which he 
had been charged at Buda Peste, he returned not to 
Wallachia, but sent the king's letters and established 
himself with his kinsman Yakshich in Sirmie. And here 
he chose out the place called Krushedol, and laid the 
foundations of the monastery of that name. But Mina 
had now left the Orthodox Faith and become a Moham- 
medan. And the people of Krayova with their nobles 
set up the young man Nagul, of Bessarabia, to be voievode 
over them, with this one counsel, that he should call 
back Maxim to take once more his former dignity. 
Nagul consented and recalled the holy man. Now the 
nobles, knowing that Maxim had a cousin, a girl, Militza 
by name, worthy to be the wife of their young voievode 
prayed the archbishop to bring her with him. When he 
heard these things the blessed Maxim came in haste, 
that he might not leave the throne empty, and gladly 
brought the girl with him. She married the voievode 
Nagul, and Maxim ascended the archbishop's throne. 
And because he desired to mark his new dignity, he 
built two monasteries in this country, and so, by these 
buildings, repaid the. people for making him archbishop. 



9 o LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

But he longed with all his heart and soul to pass the 
last days of his life in the monastery of Krushedol. And 
the voievode gave him leave and rich alms also, that 
he might make an end of the building which was only 
begun. So he consecrated a new metropolitan for the 
people of Wallachia, returned safely to his fatherland, 
finished what was not yet done in his monastery, strength- 
ened the brothers in virtue, purified his soul with peni- 
tence, and went to eternal life on the eighteenth day of 
January in the year I560. 1 His body, glorified by the 
miracle of incorruption, was placed with that of his 
brother John and their father Stephen, and buried in 
the church of the Annunciation in front of the altar. 
In the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord, to Whom be 
glory as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall 
be. Amen. 

1 This date can hardly be correct in view of the dates given for 
the death of his father (p. 84) and younger brother (p. 95). 



THE LIFE OF OUR MOTHER, SAINT ANGE- 
LINA, DESPOTITZA OF THE SERBIANS 

THIS holy saint, Angelina, was the daughter of the 
godly Orthodox Prince of Albania, the brave Scander- 
beg. At this time Albania was called Scanderia, and 
the people were Christians, and the most part Orthodox, 
for till those days they were not subject to the Turkish 
power, and their fatherland was made glorious by their 
victories in battle for the faith. At the court of the 
prince who ruled this people the maid Angelina grew 
up, increasing in the gifts of the Spirit by the help of 
the Lord God, and her will made strong by the teaching 
of Christ. The name of her mother is not known, but 
we can see how she was brought up and how great care 
her parents gave to the training of her soul in the spirit 
of the Gospel teaching and who but her mother would 
have given so much thought to the growth towards God 
of her heart and soul ? We can see here the finger of 
the Lord God in His forethought, electing and setting 
apart Angelina to be the lifelong companion of Stephen, 1 
the Serbian despot, who was an exile through no fault of 
his own, a victim of evil, and, through the hatred of the 
divided Serbian people, was forced to seek a sure refuge 
where he might. So the will of the Lord was done, 
and God kept the fugitives safe ; indeed, Prince Scan- 
derbeg received the Serbian despot, Stephen, when he 

1 Vide supra the Life of St. Stephen, Serbian despot. 
91 



92 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

came to him, like a friend, a kinsman, a brother. He 
was neither proud, nor did he blame him. And because 
his exile with this prince was long, so that he became as 
an inmate of the house, by the help of the Lord it was 
not strange that these two hearts came very close to- 
gether, and for their perfect union there was only needed 
the blessing of the Church. So, when the parents, 
despite his blindness, gave their consent to this marriage 
between their daughter and Stephen, and when Angelina 
agreed to share the lot of the young despot, who was 
not only without country but also without eyes, there 
followed the rites of the blessing of the Church. 

Some time after there were born from this marriage 
two sons, George and John. It was when these had 
come to man's estate and had been trained in the godly 
virtues and all things needful, that the misfortunes of 
their father began again those misfortunes which were 
not to end with the father. The Turks invaded this 
land of faithful Christians, showing no mercy to age or 
sex. Wherefore Stephen, with his wife Angelina and his 
two sons, fled to Italy, where he lived till the day of his 
death. From which town he set out for Italy Alessio 
or Durazzo is not known, nor is it known to which he 
went when he came there. Moreover we cannot tell the 
place where he lived, the day of his death, or where his 
tomb was. It must suffice us to know for our peace of 
mind that the godly Angelina, now a widow, was a 
Serbian despotitza and very poor. She prayed the Hun- 
garian ruler to help her, that the lot of her sons might 
be made more easy, and he showed mercy to them in 
their poverty and gave them the town of Kupinovo in 
Sirmie. So she came from Italy with the uncorrupt 
body of her husband, which she placed in Kupinovo. 
When Almighty God had established her where she 
might use her gifts, He set her sons also in high posi- 



SAINT ANGELINA 93 

tions where they could be of service. The first-born, 
George, gave his title of despot to his younger brother 
John and was made monk, receiving the name Maxim. 
Afterwards he was called to be archbishop, and built the 
monastery Krushedol. The younger brother John was 
married, but he had no children ; and after a short time 
he died, and his pure soul went to the Lord. With him 
ended the Serbian despots on the left bank of the river 
Sava. 

Both these sons died during the life of their mother. 
Stricken in years, and having drunk the cup of sorrow to 
the dregs, she took upon her " the angel way of life," 
and followed the rule of prayer as a nun for the salvation 
of her soul. When her time came she died quietly in 
the Lord, and was buried in one tomb with her sons in 
the church of the monastery of Krushedol, in Frushka 
Gora, where to this day there is a service every year in 
her memory. 

In the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord, to Whom with 
the Father and the Holy Ghost be all power and glory 
for ever and ever. Amen. 



ii 



THE LIFE OF SAINT JOHN, DESPOT 

THIS holy man and servant of God was the son of 
Stephen and Angelina. This Stephen was the middle 
son of the despot, George Brankovich of Smederevo. 
The misery which fell upon the house of his parents, 
led John, who was gentle of heart, to follow the life of 
prayer while he was yet young. Because he was inspired 
by the great doctrines of the Orthodox Faith he bore all 
things patiently. He never doubted the faith of his 
fathers, though some sought to lead him away, nor was 
he troubled in heart by the constant changes from place to 
place in strange lands. At last he came with his mother 
and brother to Kupinovo, in Sirmie, where was the 
despot Vulk Brankovich, and there he lived some while. 
When the despot Vulk died the Bulgarians, who ruled 
the country as far as the river Sava, were not willing that 
Serbian despots should continue any longer in Sirmie. 
None the less the title of despot remained in the person 
of George, the elder brother of John. But when George, 
who was not married, desired the life of a monk rather 
than the life in the world, and was made monk with the 
name of Maxim, the title of despot fell to his younger 
brother John ; and because Sirmie was Serbian country 
he had some authority that he might rule the soldiers 
who were given as cavalry to help Vladislav, the Hungarian 
king. 

John, despot, married Helen, daughter of Stephen 
Yakshich, a kinsman of Dimitri Yakshich, who was the 
94 



SAINT JOHN 95 

i-4 

son-in-law of despot Lazar, son of George Brankovich. 
This wife bore John only one daughter, Maria, who 
married Ferdinand Frankopan, Count of Croatia, and 
from this marriage were born Stephan Frankopan and 
Katherine. Stephen became Zhupan of Modruzia, and 
Katherine married Nicholas Zrinski, Ban l of Croatia. 

At this time the Turks made many invasions into 
Sirmie, so that despot John moved to Berkasovo, a little 
way from the border. There he lived a life pleasing to 
God, and died on the tenth day of December in the 
year 1503. With him ended the dynasty of Serbian 
despots, for he was the last of his line. His life was 
full of good works, though it has been handed down 
that he had few possessions himself. But all that he 
did proceeded from the goodness of his heart, and the 
Lord looked upon his good will and manifold deeds, so 
that His grace appeared upon his relics and made them 
healing. When Archbishop Maxim died the relics of 
their father were brought to Krushedol in Sirmie, and 
there, with the bodies of Maxim and John, they were 
placed in the church in front of the altar. 

Through his prayers, O Lord most merciful, make 
our way straight, that we may live worthily and render a 
good account to Thee in the day of the Last Judgment. 
Amen. 

1 Ban = governor. 



THE LIFE OF THE HOLY AND JUST 
STEPHEN SHILANOVICH. 

THIS holy and just Stephen was born of Orthodox 
and godly parents in the district called in our day 
Pashtrovich, in Hum, near to the sea, during the reign 
of the great Doge of Venice. While he was still young 
he loved the Lord greatly and purposed to direct the 
way of his soul towards Him. When he came to man's 
estate he was zealous to fulfil in his life the will of the 
Lord, which he learnt from the Holy Scriptures. He 
was very skilled in all military knowledge, wise and 
brave. He placed himself under the Serbian despot of 
those days, whom he served faithfully, in accordance 
with the words of the Apostle, " Servants, be obedient to 
your masters according to the flesh, for that is pleasing 
unto the Lord " ; and again, " That servant who doeth 
the will of the Lord is called to be the steward of all 
things." By serving his earthly lord, he served his 
heavenly Master; by warring against the Turks, he 
became a soldier of the army of heaven; indeed, he 
was a terror to his enemies, but more terrible still to the 
powers of evil, and as he was victor over the Turks, so 
also he thrust down all wicked thoughts and rooted up 
temptation from his God-loving conscience, having the 
fear of the Lord always before his soul, like the prophets. 
By the fear of the Lord all evil is dispersed, and the 
fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and this 
saving fear was to him as an army on which he trusted 

96 



STEPHEN SHILANOVICH, 97 

more than on his sword and his other weapons of war. 
So trusty a servant the despot desired to reward, and he 
gave to him a part of the Serbian country, the most 
fertile in all Sirmie. To this place he came and chose 
for his home a place of humble standing, but no longer 
humble when the saint lived in it, for then it seemed 
more glorious than the cities of the tsars a house like 
the house of Job. For Job, say the Holy Scriptures, 
" was perfect and upright and eschewed evil." So also 
we may say of Stephen, for he was a man perfect and 
thinking only what was upright. His thoughts were 
righteous not only before God but before men. He 
was pure and free from guile, always doing good works, 
giving alms, living uprightly, with prayer, firm in the 
Orthodox Faith and in love unfeigned for his neighbours. 
When he exercised authority he was clothed in justice ; 
pride never visited his mind and heart, but he ruled 
always in the fear of the Lord. 

Now a terrible famine fell upon his land, not because 
it was not fertile, or because of floods or droughts, but 
because of the invasions of the thrice-accursed Turks, 
that godless people. For the war continued many years, 
and they pillaged all the country side, taking all the 
oxen and cattle, so that the people could not plough the 
fields. At such a time the godly living Stephen, sorrow- 
ing for his people in such a plight from the famine, 
opened all his granaries and gave to all men the grain 
without payment. Thus he saved them without receiv- 
ing one mite in return ; for he was mindful how Dives 
called to Abraham when he was in the fire of hell, 
and the five virgins against whom the door was shut, and 
that Just Judge who will say, " I was an hungered and 
ye gave Me no meat," and he looked only for the reward 
of the Lord in everlasting life. 

When this year of famine was past and still he could 



98 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

not bring the war to an end or stem the tide of invasion 
and pillage, the saintly and just Stephen could no longer 
bear to look upon the cruelties of the Turks in the 
Serbian country, all deserted and plundered. So he 
left his home and went to the Hungarian king, not 
because he was in fear but because his one faithful 
people could not fight single-handed against an enemy 
whose power was ever increasing and whose oppression 
was beyond measure. The Hungarian king received 
him gladly because of his bravery, or perchance for his 
wisdom and virtue, and gave into his keeping more 
villages and towns on the left bank of the Drava than 
he had before. He established himself in one of the 
towns which the king had given to him, and continued 
to live as in former days, abounding in firm faith and 
works of love towards his neighbour. So lived he many 
years till at last he exchanged this transitory for the 
eternal life, and his soul departed to that place he fcad 
so greatly longed for from his youth up. His honoured 
body was buried by his wife Helen with all the rites of 
the Church in a place of great beauty a little way from 
the town. She gave also a great part of his possessions 
to his servants, letting them go where they would, while 
she herself, in fear of Turkish attacks, departed to 
Germany. 

Not long after the Turks invaded that country where 
St. Stephen had lived and died ; and they took that town 
and remained there in great multitudes. While the 
Turkish army was ruling this country as though it was 
their own, one night, when all the land lay in silence, 
there appeared by the providence of the Lord shining 
rays of light on the place where the body of St. Stephen 
was buried. When they saw this sign, the Turks came 
to that spot in fear and began to dig, looking to find 
some treasure. But soon they saw that their hopes were 



STEPHEN SHILANOVICH 99 

vain, for they found only in the tomb the body, lying 
uncorrupt in its death clothes, from which issued a sweet 
smell. Greatly amazed at that which they had seen and 
found, and knowing not what to do, or the race and 
name of the dead, they called some of the faithful who 
stood by. But these made answer that they knew 
nothing. The soldiers then told their emir concerning 
these things, and he came to the tomb in wonder and 
asked them who had been buried there. Then some 
who knew this thing made answer, " None other than a 
voievode who lived in this town, Serbian born and 
Stephen by name." When the emir learnt this, he 
perceived that Stephen was akin to him; for he also 
had been born at the same place as Stephen, and had 
been made prisoner and sinfully denied the Orthodox 
Faith ; but now, full of love for his kinsman, he acted 
honourably towards his relics and gave order that they 
should be kept with all respect. When the report went 
abroad through all lands, that they had found the relics 
of the saint, and that some miracles had been wrought 
through them by the providence of God, there came 
honourable monks under the guidance of the Holy 
Ghost, and besought the emir for the holy relics. The 
emir, after gifts received, gave them the sarcophagus 
containing the relics of this upright man. The monks, 
like the man who bought the pearl of great price, took 
those honoured remains with joy and went quickly to 
their monastery in Frushka Gora, to the church of the 
Nativity of the Mother of God, called by its founder 
Shishatovatz, which is in Sirmie, where before the saint 
had lived. When the' monks came to the monastery, 
they took from the cart the sarcophagus with its relics, 
and singing psalms and hymns, they laid them in a place 
set apart in the church, where they rest till this day for 
the faithful to kiss them. 



ioo LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

Now his wife Helen heard tell that men had found 
the body of the just and saintly man and brought it to 
the monastery Shishatovatz. And she had great longing 
to see with her eyes that which she had been told, for 
all that she was so far away in German country. But 
the rulers of that land set themselves against her desire 
and counselled her that she should not go again into 
that country taken by the Turks. Yet when she made 
known to them how greatly she yearned to go, recking 
little of the peril from the Turks and what might befall 
her, they gave way to her desire but forbade her to take 
away her possessions. When Helen found herself in 
this perplexity she gave away a great part of her posses- 
sions in secret to the poor and the widows and the 
prisoners, leaving for herself only so much as she could 
carry with her, and privily took ship down the 
Danube and so came to the monastery Shishatovatz in 
safety. Thus she came to the body of her husband ; 
and weeping she kissed him on the brow and said, 
" Blesstd art thou, Stephen ; my good will be with thee. 
Do thou remember me who would speak with thee in 
time past of holy things, that I too may receive some 
portion of that which thou hast in the Lord." 

No long time after she laid aside her lay clothes and 
a lock was shorn from her head, and for the name Helen 
she received that of Nun Elizabeth. Then she went into 
a desert place three days' journery from the monastery 
on the far side of Frushka Gora, by the river Danube. 
All that she brought with her from the German land, 
together with the 'book of St. Stephen, wherein were 
written the Psalms of David and some of the canons, 
very finely bound together, she gave to the monastery. 
And when she had lived three years in prayer and fast- 
ing, she died and was brought to the monastery and 
there buried in the narthex on the left hand. The body 



STEPHEN SHILANOVICH loi 

of St. Stephen lies in the middle of the church, where 
the singers are, and every day it is exposed to the faith- 
ful, but especially on the day of his memorial, when 
many of the Orthodox come here. 

Through his prayers may Jesus Christ Our Lord give 
us strength for repentance and forgive us our sins. 
Amen. 



:' u . 



THE LIFE OF SAINT BASIL 1 

TRADITION has it that this new hierarch, of the same 
name as the great Basil of Cappadocia, was born in 
Herzegovina in the village of Popovo, of godly parents 
whose names are not known. He grew up in the house 
of his parents and s.uffered grievous things from the 
evil Turks who ruled that country by force of arms and 
persecuted the Church of God for our sins. This saint, 
taught by his parents, grew in the Spirit of the Lord. 
From his youth he loved the Church of God, increased 
in virtue and lived the life of the pure and life-giving 
Spirit. When he came to man's estate this blessed 
young man gave no thought to the vanities of this 
sinful world, but chose to go to the house of the 
Lord rather than to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. 
Wherefore he left the house of his parents and came to 
the monastery of Trebinza, where is the church of the 
Falling Asleep of the All Holy Mother of God ; there 
he was made monk and followed " the angel way of life." 
But alas ! for our sins this monastery was destroyed by 
the thrice accursed Turks. Ah ! we must needs weep 
for our holy places where dwelt the monks like angels, 
following the holy Orthodox life of the Spirit, but now 
sacrilegiously overthrown by the evil Turks. These 
destroyed the havens of our ancient love of God and 
multiplied our tears, for we lay at the mercy of our 
enemies. Oh ! Thou Son and Word of the Lord, unite 

1 The date of this life is uncertain. He was a Montenegrin saint. 
102 



SAINT BASIL 103 

us all into one, as we were of old time, that we may 
confess Thy grace and praise Thy most Holy Name, 
through the prayers of Thy Holy Mother. 

The All Merciful God, seeing the good-will of Basil's 
heart and his pure life adorned with virtue, did not 
purpose to hide this candle under a bushel but to set 
it in a high place to give light to all, and to give him 
the high office of bishop, when he had passed through 
all the needful steps. So the saint became shepherd 
of the faithful in Zahumlia and Scanderia. In this high 
calling of the Lord the blessed Basil multiplied his zeal 
for the benefit of the Orthodox Church. Who can tell 
his praises and prayers, his deep sighings of the heart, 
his petitions offered up with tears? The saint longed 
to shepherd this flock entrusted to him after God's own 
way, and to lead them unchecked along the road of 
salvation. And the Lord furthered his teaching with 
manifold miracles, so that all marvelled at this glory of 
the saints, Basil the newly manifest, who comforted his 
children in sorrow and perplexity. 

Now we must make known to all, far and near, who 
speak evil of our Holy Orthodox Church, pure Bride 
of Christ, how that the Lord visited us in His saints, 
so that they must shut their mouths who speak so 
many things and so often. These our foes must know 
that to-day the Church bears saints of God and is 
adorned with glorious martyrs under the hard and 
grievous yoke of the Turks, even as it was in old time 
during the cruelty of the persecutions under the Roman 
Empire. Let us call to mind the martyr of Beret in 
Albania, who suffered fearful martyrdom for the faith 
from the cruel Turks. These have persecuted the Chris- 
tians on all sides, multiplied the number of the martyrs, 
through whom the faith in the hearts of the orthodox 
was strengthened, as it was through the relics of 



104 LIVES OF THE SERBIAN SAINTS 

holy Basil, owing to their miracles. But behold the 
sinful lust and terrible envy of those who are of the 
Pope's heresy : hating the truth they blaspheme holiness 
and defile their tongues with evil words proceeding from 
their hearts, hateful to the Lord : yea, they slander the 
saints of the Lord, who are the life of the Holy Ghost. 
Oh, the devilish blindness which destroyed the Church ! 
Why received they the pieces of silver like Judas and 
betrayed the Bride of Christ, persecuting the holy 
Church with the enemies of Christ. These Papists, 
who cut themselves off from the holy Church and, 
despite the miracles, would not perceive the signs of 
Heaven, may the Lord give them hearts desirous of 
truth, so that they may return with love to their mother 
the Orthodox Church, which is of the East ! We await 
their conversion, desiring for them that they leave the 
darkness of the Western heresies and cease from attack- 
ing with the vile and poisonous bite of the serpent the 
faithful children of the Lord, destroying the womb of 
their mother. After confession of the true dogmas let 
them come to us and take their place in the Church 
of our God, with heart and soul confessing the Trinity 
in Unity and Unity in Trinity, in that form in which 
it has been written by the God-fearing Fathers in the 
Nicene-Constantinople Creed, which speaks so firmly 
against their heterodoxy. If they so came to us they 
would rejoice the hearts of their teachers of the West, 
Augustine, Jerome, Gregory and many others who taught 
and believed as we believe to-day by the grace of God. 
But to return to our history of St. Basil. This newly 
manifest worker of miracles was long-suffering with all 
who troubled him, gentle and patient, forgiving those 
who did evil to him, merciful to the poor and the 
stranger, brave in the defence of his flock against the 
wolf. By journeys to the Holy Mountain he rejoiced 



SAINT BASIL 105 

his heart and enriched it with the wisdom of the monks, 
like the old saints of the Serbian country, Sava and 
Simeon : and the Lord did not desert his flock, but 
gave them back their holy shepherd, and gave rest to 
his body in the land of his labours, so that after his 
death also his body, still uncorrupt, healed the sick 
and guarded the Orthodoxy which he served so gloriously 
during his life. 

St. Basil lies in peace at Ostrog, where he is made 
glorious of the Lord by many wonders and the healing 
of all who come to the tomb and his relics with faith 
and love. As in his life he was merciful to the weak 
and ill in body or spirit, so after his death is he merciful 
and helps not only the faithful but also the sinful- 
hearted Mussulmans who come to him seeking aid and 
the healing of their sick and those who are possessed. 

Through the prayers of the newly manifest Basil, 
may the Lord, Who glorified His saint, give power and 
might to all of us, that we may walk in his footsteps, 
keeping the commandments of the Lord and preserving 
the Orthodox Faith undefiled, that we may die in 
uprightness, delivered from our sins, saved from the 
everlasting pains and granted the heavenly reward. 
Amen. 



GLOSSARY 

Angel way of life the most ascetic of the rules for the monastic 
life in the East. 

Archimandrite a dignitary of the Orthodox monastic orders ; 
below a bishop. 

Autocrat a ruler of an independent state who has no overlord. 

Ban a military governor, acting as representative of the king. 

Banat the territory ruled by a ban. 

Dachila the title of the governors appointed by the Turks to rule 
conquered provinces. 

Despot lord, the title of the last Serbian rulers. It does not 
exclude the existence of an overlord. 

Despotitza the title of a widow of a despot. 

Ecclesiarch an official in an Orthodox monastery mainly respon- 
sible for the services. 

Eikon a sacred picture of Our Lord or a saint. 

Higumen the head of a monastery. 

Holy Mountain always refers to Mount Athos and its monasteries. 

Lavra a monastery founded by a king. 

Prvovenchani first crowned. 

Voievodc a petty chieftain, baron. 



106 



INDEX 



ANGELINA, ST., marries St. 

Stephen, despot, 84; life 

of, 91-93 
Archbishopric of Serbia, founded, 

23, 24 ; recognized as 

patriarchate, 71, 72 
Athos, Holy Mountain of, 8 ; life 

of St. Sava at, 12 ff. ; letter 

from the monks on behalf 

of Stephen Dechanski, 59 ; 

St. Ephrem at, 76; St. 

Basil at, 104 
Arseni, St., archbishop of 

Serbia, 28; life of, 31-36 

Basil, St., bishop of Zahumlia, 
life of, 102-105 

Bulgarians, attack St. Vladimir, 
1-4; St. Sava and Strez, 
king of, 21, 22 ; try to keep 
the relics of St. Sava, 29, 
34 ; war against King Milu- 
tin, 50. 

Crusaders, 47. 

Daniel, archbishop of Serbia 
and chronicler, 46, 53, 59, 
62 

Dechanski, St. Stephen, birth, 
47 ; rebellion against his 
father Milutin, 53, 54, 57, 
58 ; captivity in Constanti- 
nople, 58-60; succeeds to 
the throne and builds De- 
chany, 60-64 



Ephrem, St., made patriarch of 
Serbia, 72 ; life of, 76-78 



Frankopan, Count of Croatia, 
95 

Frushka Gora, monastery of, 
69; burial of St. Angelina 
at, 93 ; relics of St. Ste- 
phen Shilanovich brought 
to, 99 

Greek Emperors at Constanti- 
nople, 3 

Andronicus, attacks Stephen 
Nemanya, 7 

Theodore Laska, allows re- 
building of Khilindar, 16 ; 
and founding of Serbian 
archbishopric, 22-24 

Michael Palaeologus, 47, 50, 
58 

John Palseologus, 72, 80 

Hungarians, attack of prevented 
by St. Sava, 26, 32 ; war 
with Turks, 80 

Hunyadi, king of Hungarians, 
80 

Toannicius, St., of Devich, 95, 
86 

John, St., son of despot Ste- 
phen, birth, 84 ; life, 94, 

95 

John Vladimir, St., Serbian 
prince, 1-5 

Khilindar, monastery of, rebuilt 
by St. Simeon and St. Sava, 
8, 1 6, 17 ; rebuilt by 
Milutin, 51 ; benefactions 
to, 73 



107 



io8 



INDEX 



Kingdom of Serbia, founded by 

St. Sava, 25, 26 
Kossovo, battle of, 74 

Lazar, St., Tsar of Serbia, leads 
revolt against Vukashin, 
67; reigns as tsar, 70-73 >' 
death at Kossovo, 74 

Maxim, St. (George, son of 
despot Stephen, 84), life, 
87-90 

Milutin, St. Stephen Urosh, 
life, 46-55 

Sava, St., birth, 12; flight 
to Mount Athos, 13 ff. ; 
rebuilds Khilindar, 16 ; 
miracle at the death of his 
father, 10, 19, 20 ; made 
archimandrite, 19 ; protects 
Serbia from Bulgarians, 21 ; 
becomes archbishop, 23 ; 
crowns his brother king, 
25; journey to the Holy 
Land, 27 ; death, 29 

Sava the Blessed, 28 

Scanderbeg, prince of Albania, 

. 8 3> ?i 

Shilanovich, St. Stephen, 96- 
101 

Simeon, St. (Stephen Nemanya), 
ruler of Rascia, 6 ; founds 
the state of Serbia, 7 ; 



abdicates and becomes 
monk, 8 ; death and 
miracle of his relics, 10, 

19 

Simon Prvovenchani, St. (Ste- 
phen, son of Stephen 
Nemanya), succeeds his 
father as zhupan, 37 ; aids 
the building of Khilindar, 
J 7> 38 ; overcomes the 
Bulgarians, 21, 40 ; is made 
king, 24-26, 41 ; falls sick 
and becomes a monk, 27, 
42 ; death, 42 

Stephen Dushan, Tsar of Serbia, 
rebels against his father, 
63 ; his conquests and 
death, 65 

Stephen, St., despot of Serbia, 
80-84, 91-93 

Strez, prince of Bulgaria, 
attacks the Serbians, 21, 
40; his strange death, 22, 
41 

Tartars, 56, 57 

Turks, 66, 73, 77, 80, 88, 97 

Urosh, St., Tsar of Serbia, 65- 
69 

Zicha, church of, founded by 
St. Sava, 21 ; seat of 
Serbian archbishopric, 25, 
32 



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