St. Sava of Serbia

Below is taken from a homily delivered by His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of blessed repose on the feastday of St. Sava the first archbishop of Serbia, which is commemorated today 14/27 January:

“….our people have been celebrating the feast of Saint Sava for centuries, since he was our first archbishop, enlightener and teacher, since he is an inspiration to all of us, an example which shows us how to serve both God and people”.

“Saint Sava grasped the meaning of a wise thought uttered by the holy Prince Lazar, that the worldly empire lasts for a short time, while the Heavenly ones lasts forever. Being a worldly people, men of flesh and blood, we should take care of our bodies and worldly lives, we should know to render, as our saying goes, ‘unto the Emperor what belongs to him, but also unto God what belongs to Him’. Never has God asked for what belongs to the Emperor to be rendered to Him, yet it has happened that the rulers of this world had asked us to render unto them that which belongs to God” said Patriarch Pavle.

An idle pastime

“There are many who would laugh at the idea of a novelist teaching either virtue or nobility, – those, for instance, who regard the reading of novels as sin, and those also who think it to be simply an idle pastime. They look upon the tellers of stories as among the tribe of those who pander to the wicked pleasures of a wicked world. I have regarded my art from so different a point of view that I have ever thought of myself as a preacher of sermons, and my pulpit as one which I could make both salutary and agreeable to my audience. I do believe that no girl has risen from the reading of my pages less modest than she was before, and that some may have learned from them that modesty is a charm well worth preserving. I think that no youth has been taught that in falseness and flashness is to be found the road to manliness; but some may perhaps have learned from me that it is to be found in truth and a high but gentle spirit. Such are the lessons I have striven to teach; and I have thought that it might best be done by representing to my readers characters like themselves,- or to which they might liken themselves.”

Anthony Trollope “An Autobiography”

Rainbows in January

We’ve been having some very strange weather this winter season. After a day of spring like rain yesterday I came outside in the late afternoon to take this picture of a rainbow. It was 54 degrees. Typically, these days between St. John and St. Sava tend to be the fiercest.

We were fortunate the day before as well as we started a new tradition in the Shenango Valley Orthodox community with a Theophany celebration and the blessing of the Shenango River.

We even made the local news:

The more the dirt….

On why we should be thankful for the dirt that others may throw our way

A farmer’s donkey fell into a well. The farmer was thinking that it would be less expensive to bury the donkey there, than to bring him up.  He invited some of his neighbors, and they started shoveling soil into the well.  In the beginning, the donkey let out loud cries. But then he quieted down. A miraculous thing happened: Every time they shoveled soil in the well, the donkey was coming further up. At the end, he came out of the well.

The moral of the story is : The more that dirt is thrown our way, the more we are supposed to rise!

Every river is the Jordan

Today, at the Theophany celebration in Belgrade, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej greeted all those gathered for the blessing of the waters with the Serbian festal greeting, “God has appeared. Indeed He has appeared.”

“Today,” he continued, “every river is the Jordan. …. On this day He, who had thus been unknown to the world, revealed Himself to the world as the Redeemer of the human race, to reveal to us the path that leads to God. And that path leads us to each other.”