800 Years of Autocephaly of the Serbian Church


Souvenir sheets

Year of issue: 2019

In stock

SKU: 801518 Categories: , , ,


Rastko Nemanjić – named Sava in monasticism, the youngest son of the great zhupan of all Serbian countries Stefan Nemanja, had a crucial role in acquiring autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Leaving the administration of the Hum Region, around 1191, he became a monk in Mount Athos, where he welcomed his father, who was at the time already monk Simeon. After they restored the neglected monastery of Hilandarion, further development of the Serbian church issue was heralded. After Simeon’s death in Hilandarion (1199), Sava returned to Serbia with his father’s relics to Studenica monastery – the place of rest of the saint, to reconcile his quarreling brothers. In Mount Athos and Studenica, where he was the abbot from 1206 until 1217, Sava devoutly worked on laying the foundations of the Serbian Church by establishing monasteries, writing Typikons, arranging the order of monastic and divine service life, as well as translating and codification of the rich written Byzantine ecclesiastic and legal heritage.

The Serbian Church became completely independent only after Sava’s recognition as the first Archbishop of all Serbian and maritime lands by the good will of the Byzantine tzar Theodore I Laskaris and by the blessing of patriarch Manojlo Haritopul Saranten in 1219 in Nicaea. This event represents the milestone in the history of the Serbian people of crucial importance for further education, organization of society and building of cultural and spiritual life of the Serbs.

Acquiring the right to independently consecrate archbishops and clergy, under Sava’s administration, the Church established new dioceses. In the Žiča monastery, the seat of the archdiocese, Sava coronated his brother Stefan the First-Crowned to become the king and consecrated bishops of Hum, Zeta, Hvosno, Budimlje, Dabar, Moravica, Toplica, raška, Prizren and Lipljan. With The Nomocanon of Saint Sava, the first legal code of the Serbian Church and supreme state law, written around 1220, Serbia became legal state governed by the principle of consent between secular and spiritual authority.

Motif on the block: Žiča monastery and St. Sava, detail оf the fresco from Mileševa monastery

Artistic realisation: Anamari Banjac, academic painter

Expert collaboration: Miljana Matić, PhD, curator and deacon Aleksandar Sekulić,

Serbian Orthodox Church Museum in Belgrade


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