SAVA OF SERBIA, BISHOP
Sava (1174–1237), patron saint of the Serbs, was the youngest of three sons of Prince Stephen I, who secured the independence of the Serbian state from Byzantium. At age seventeen Sava became a monk on Mt. Athos in Greece. His father later abdicated and joined his son there, and together they founded a monastery for Serbian monks called Khilandari, which survives as one of the seven teen “ruling monasteries” of Mt. Athos. Sava became its abbot for a time, but returned home in 1206 to attempt to settle a dispute between his brothers over their inheritance.
He was struck by the sad state of the Church in his homeland. Ordained archbishop of Zica in 1219, Sava established a number of bishoprics, built churches and monasteries, and generally reformed the religious life of the country. He died on January 14, 1237. His feast is not on the General Roman Calendar.