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Saint Nicholas

The Patron Saint Day - Slava

 

One of the main characteristics of Serbian Orthodoxy, unique in the Christian world is the Serbian Patron Saint Day. Before being converted to Christianity by Saints Cyril and Methodius the Serbs were pagans. Besides having a main God whose name was Perun, every Serb household had a domestic god. When the missionaries attempted to convert the Serbs into Christianity, they found that the Serbs were most reluctant to renounce their family protector. The missionaries had a solution: on the day that one was converted and baptised,one accepted the Christian saint whose day it was in the church calendar, and that saint became the new protector of the family.

 

The celebration of the Patron Saint Day - in Serbian ‘Slava’, has remained the only continuous tradition of the Serbs from the time of converting to Christianity to the present day. A lot has changed in public life and in customs, but the ‘Slava’ has been preserved as a great holiday in Serbian life. One can say the celebration of the ‘Slava’ has preserved the Christian Orthodox faith and church traditions in the Serbian people.

 

What is Needed to Celebrate Slava?

 

A few days before a household intends to celebrate their Patron Saint Day, the parish priest is invited to perform the lesser blessing of water. The Holy water is used as one of the ingredients to make the Slava bread.

 

To celebrate the Patron Saint Day it is important to have the following: the Slava bread, a dish of specially prepared cooked wheat, red wine and a candle of pure bee wax. These items are all brought to church on the day of the Feast day and they are blessed by the parish priest.