Read, Write, Run, Roam

Church on Sunday

115 years in the making...and counting...

Sveti Sava is one of Belgrade’s “Top 10 Sights,” and reportedly the largest Orthodox Church in use today. The church is named after a monk who was Serbian royalty, the first Archbishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church, a diplomat, and, according to Wikipedia, the originator of Serbian legislation and literature. Dude was busy. I’m guessing he never wanted to be a housewife.

Lacking his drive and discipline, Muz and I decided to spend a leisurely Saturday walking through the Vracar neighborhood to see the church built in his honor. It’s a beautiful and impressive sight, set on a hill and visible throughout the city. When we got inside, we saw marble columns wrapped in plastic and heard the sounds of drilling, hammering and general construction. Was it renovation? No. Construction. St. Sava’s has been in progress for almost 115 years.

The push for construction began in 1895, three hundred years after St. Sava’s remains were burned. The design process started in 1905. Actual construction began thirty years later, only to be interrupted during the axis World War II invasion in 1941 and bombing of Belgrade. The construction of the current church began in 1985. The outside of the church is complete, but the inside is still being finished.

Despite the plastic and hammering, it was a beautiful sight and a holy place. People lined up in front of icons to pray, touch and kiss their faces. Beeswax candles were lit throughout the church. Regardless of your religious beliefs or lack thereof, the icons are beautiful and Sveti Sava is definitely worth a visit.

Our feet tired and our souls renewed, we spent the rest of the day celebrating the weather in true Serbian style: with a two-hour lunch of cevap, sopska salad, and local wine.


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