By Bishop Gregory of Mesaoria
Today our Church celebrates the Apodosis of the feast of the Epiphany. That is, the completion of the holiday. With the baptism of Christ the Savior on the Jordan River, all nature is sanctified and man is enlightened by the true light, which is Jesus Christ Himself. By the grace of the Holy Trinity, the joyous message of the salvation of the human race through God seals and illuminates everything.
Today, we also celebrate the memory of St. Nina Equal to the Apostles, who came from Cappadocia and martyred in Georgia, where her tomb is located.
We also commemorate the 38 Holy Fathers Massacred at Mount Sinai and Raitho, Venerable Theodoulos, Venerable Stephanos of Khinolakkos and Venerable Agni, as well as Venerable Sava, the first Serbian Archbishop and creator of the Hilandar Monastery, on Mount Athos.
Venerable Sava lived in the late 12th century to the beginning of the 13th century AD. He was the second-born son of the Serbian Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja and Ana. From a young age he strived for morality and virtue and showed great love in Christian life. Under these conditions, at the age of 17, he went to Mount Athos, where, with the consent of his king father, he became a monk in the state of Athos and received the monastic name of Sava, taking the name of the Great ascetic of the Desert.
Later, his king father arrived in Mount Athos. Other Serbian individuals followed the royal example. Thus, around 1195 AD, the Serbian Hilandar Monastery was built, at the initiative of Venerable Sava.
Venerable Sava was merciful, charitable and relieved the poor. Later, he left the Mount Athos and went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, from where he returned to Serbia spiritually armed to support the faith of his fellow Serbs Orthodox Christians. At that time, he was elected Archbishop of Serbia. After working according to God, he slept peacefully in Tarnovo in 1236. His holy relic was found incorruptible, but it was burned in 1594 by Sinan Pasha in Belgrade.
Serbian Orthodox Christians took 40 years to build the fabulous St. Savva Temple in the centre of Belgrade. The temple complex includes underground temples, large halls, tombs of hierarchs and patriarchs. The height of the Temple is 77 meters. It is one of the largest temples in the Balkans, which remains a reference point for our devout Serbian Christian brothers.
Source: Church of Cyprus