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St. Sava of Serbia Evening at STOUH

The eventful evening began with a common prayer and singing of the troparion to St. Sava by the STOUH Chamber Choir, conducted by Rev. Aleksei Zaitsev. The guests of honor also welcomed the audience. H.E. Željko Samardžija, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Russian Federation, spoke passionately about the tradition of celebrating St. Sava’s Day in the schools of the Republika Srpska. Ms. Snežana Pavlović, the First Counselor of the Embassy of Serbia, spoke about the love of St. Sava for God and his earthly Fatherland, and the importance of Russo-Serbian unity, now embodied in the brotherly help in creating and decorating the interior of St. Sava Church by Russian craftsmen.

Maria Vladimirovna Talankina, the STOUH lecturer behind the Serbian Solace for the Russian Heart festival, spoke about the connection of the current event to the festival, which exceeded organizers’ expectations with its scale and the response it generated. Therefore, as a way of continuing and further developing the topic, it was decided to begin celebrating the memory of St. Sava, the patron saint of education, at the University, especially since, significantly, his memorial day in Russia coincides with the memory of the Holy Martyr Tatiana, patron saint of students.

This same subject was taken up by Elena Arkadievna Osipova, Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Philology at STOUH, who spoke about the importance of the pan-Serbian and universal service of St. Sava of Serbia, the founder of the independent Serbian Church (1219). Her presentation was an introduction to the literary and biographical account of the life of St. Sava put together by Master’s students at STOUH’s Faculty of History and Philology.

The STOUH Chamber Choir also performed two Serbian folk songs, and at the end of the evening the audience sang a traditional hymn to St. Sava of Serbia. 

Some first-year Master’s students from the Faculty of History and Philology shared their impressions of the evening:

Anastasia Medeksha: “[…] My heartfelt gratitude to our professors for their trust and inspiration. Thanks to them I learned about the greatest Serbian saint, his family, the Nemanjić dynasty and the great Serbian culture. I hope that this evening laid the first stone in the foundation of a great and interesting mutual exchange of cultural and history!”

Maria Tishkina: “For me, participating in such an evening was a unique experience. I was able to learn more about the culture of the Serbian people, the history of the formation of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Nemanjić dynasty and the milestones of St. Sava’s life. The evening presented St. Sava not only as the historical past, but also as the present and future of Serbia, as Metropolitan Amfilohije Radović of Montenegro and Primorje said in explaining the meaning and significance of building a church in honor of this saint in the center of the Serbian capital. One unexpected joy for me was seeing a student from Serbia whom I had met at the Serbian Solace for the Russian Heart festival. I want to believe that such Russo-Serbian meetings and acquaintances will become a tradition at our university […].”

Kira Yeriomina: “[…] in the consciousness of the Serbian people, St. Sava is a symbol of humility, fortitude, dignity, and spiritual connection between East and West. Saint Sava is also revered in Russia, the friendliest and spiritually closest country to Serbia. We must keep our brotherhood alive and remember that it is St. Sava who unites our peoples. In my hometown of Yekaterinburg, there is a church in honor of St. Sava of Serbia. I hope that this evening will strengthen the foundation of the common faith and the great and interesting history of our fraternal peoples.”

The celebrations in honor of St. Sava continued the next day at the Serbian Orthodox Church metochion. After the Divine Liturgy, according to tradition, the rite of Slava and the consecration of bread was performed. Before the parishioners of the church, poems about St. Sava were performed by students of St. George’s Serbian School in Moscow and of Nikolai Gastello School from the town of Dolgoprudny. The Moscow University of Technology and Physics Chamber Choir performed a troparion to St. Sava, spiritual and folk songs dedicated to him in Serbian.

Sofia Chernikova, 3rd year student, Faculty of History and Philology, Saint Tikhon’s University.