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Saint Sava Cathedral

Saint Sava Cathedral in Belgrade

Saint Sava Cathedral was erected in the Serbian capital Belgrade in honor of St. Sava, which is considered the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate. The temple of Saint Sava is the largest Orthodox church in Serbia and the whole of the Balkan Peninsula. The huge cathedral ranks among the largest churches in the world. It is very beautiful with its white facade, the temple of Saint Sava is the main cathedral of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Today the Church of St. Sava is located on the street Krushedolska 2a, which is located in eastern Svetosavski Square in Belgrade. January 12, 2005 marks 770 years since the death of the saint. The very St. Sava or Rastko Nemanjich is a Serbian cleric, educationalist and diplomat. He fought for the independence of the Serbian Orthodox Church, becoming its first archbishop (1219-1233).

He was subsequently canonized by the Serbs that today revere him as the most significant Serbian saint. According to various sources, he was born in 1169 or 1175 in the town of Ras, the capital of the Serbian state of Raska, which today is located near the present town of Novi Pazar in Serbia.

In 1219 Sava became the first Archbishop of Raska after the Serbian church became autonomous, and in 1221 his brother King Stefan was crowned. St Sava remains Archbishop to 1233, when the position went to his pupil Arseny Sremski. In Turnovo Sava was greeted with great honor and took part in the Great blessing of the Yantra River.

Unfortunately, then he met hardship and after a short illness died on 12/14 January of pneumonia. Originally buried in the church "St. Forty Martyrs" in Veliko Turnovo, after which, on May 6, 1237 his relics were transferred to the Mileseva monastery in Raska. A little later the relics of Saint Sava were exhumed by order of Sinan Pasha and burned at the central square in Belgrade on April 27, 1594.

In the 20th century began construction of a memorial in honor of Saint Sava. The foundations of the monastery were laid in 1894, but only in 1926 the architectural plan of the church was approved. Author of the original project was architect Bogdan Nestorovich, but his drawings and sketches are quite changed later by architect Alexander Deroko. Consecration of the foundation is made by Patriarch Barnabas Rosich of September 15, 1935. On May 27, 1939 Patriarch Gavrilo consecrated the altar St. Sava.

During the Second World War construction of the temple was stopped. Only in 1984 the Serbian state allows the project to complete. St. Sava Church was consecrated again by a German Patriarch in the presence of all Serbian bishops.

St. Sava Church today impresses with its size and style, typical of Eastern Orthodox churches. St. Sava Church was built in neo-byzantine style, as the influence of the church Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is clearly visible. The church was built through voluntary contributions and donations.

The whole temple of Saint Sava is spread over an area of 3500 sq.m with dimensions 91 × 81 m and has four bell towers, reaching 44 m height. The central dome at the top is 70 meters high. There are seventeen gold crosses decorating the church of Saint Sava and give it a unique look. The construction of the exterior cladding was completed in 2004 and until today the interior of the church is not yet ready.

Today the Serbian Church honors its greatest saint on January 27 (January 14 old style), and the temple erected in his honor is one of the biggest attractions of Belgrade. The feast of St. Sava of Serbia is known as "Savinden" and also is a celebration of Serbian schools.

Today there are two relics of the saint - one hand of the saint, which is missing the little finger is kept in the monastery "St. Trinity" in Pljevlja, Montenegro, and another - in Samokov nunnery "Pokrov" (in the diocese of the Patriarchate stove) that keep the said finger.



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