Patriarch Porfirije: Saint Sava made Christ the foundation of our Church, which furthermore means our people as well

Your Grace, Bishop Atanasije, thank You for the warm words of welcome. Brethren Hierarchs, brethren clerics, Venerable monks and nuns, brothers and sisters, thank you all for having come to this Holy Place with love this evening, so that we may pray to God together, and continue celebrating the joy of the Resurrection of Christ, chanting the paschal hymn and proclaiming the joyful greeting: Christ is risen! Indeed, the Lord is risen!

Below are the excerpts of the inspired sermon delivered by His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije in the Mileševa Monastery:

There is no greater blessing and greater joy than the opportunity given by the Lord for the brothers to meet in one place – especially when that particular place, as Bishop Atanasije said, is sacred! It is particularly a blessing when that place is as Holy as the Mileševa Monastery. Then we are truly filled with the joy of the Resurrection of Christ, which means the joy of His victory over death, sin and the evil one. This signifies the cognition of the truth that the last word in our lives no longer belongs to transience but eternity. This also means that the last word in our lives does not belong to death but life, and that the last word in our lives does not belong to the darkness but light. What God won for us is not the state of slavery but the reality of freedom, in one word: Through His resurrection from the dead, the Lord not only revealed but also allowed us to become participants of the divine reality, of the Kingdom of Heaven. The last word not only in eternity but also in history belongs to God, not the evil one. Hence, the joy of the Resurrection is the atmosphere in which we are still all these past weeks since the Pascha of the Lord, since the Resurrection of Christ, but it is also the atmosphere given to us in the Church as a permanent and uninterrupted state, as an opportunity for each of us.

After His Resurrection, the Lord revealed Himself to the Myrrh-bearing women, and they conveyed that good news, that verbal Gospel, to the Apostles who handed it over to their successors in the Church, and through the Holy Fathers that same Gospel came to Saint Sava, who made the Gospel the way of existence of his kin, the way of life of his Church. Saint Sava made Christ the foundation of our Church, and that furthermore means our people as well. Why? Precisely because he carried in his heart the same eagerness for Christ as the Myrrh-bearers, because he, just like the Myrrh-bearers, fearlessly traveled all four corners of the world, regardless of the difficulties and obstacles, in order to gather all that is valuable if measured through Christ, and then, enriched by Christ, testified to Christ wherever he was. Christ glorified him not because it would be necessary for Saint Sava, as for any other Saint, to be glorified and to be addressed in prayer, but because Christ reveals Himself through those who have become like Him, conformed their lives to His way of existence, and only then they are needed by the Church, needed as role models, but also as consolation and as intercessors, as guides to eternal life.

The first and the greatest in our kin, a role model and patron, prayerful intercessor and comforter is Saint Sava. The Lord glorified him with his grace, and the Church sees him as a saint of God. The word saint signifies the one who participates in the holiness of Christ. That is why every saint, even though he is a concrete man who lives in a concrete time and in a concrete nation, carries in himself all that is best in that nation, but imbued with the grace of Christ he grows into a universal man, a man who transcends the limits and frameworks of his people, of his time and of his space, and as a saint of God belongs to all people. Therefore, we should not be surprised that many people of different nations, people whose way of praying differs from the Orthodox one, were healed when they came to the relics of Saint Sava. After his relics were burned, when he became a martyr after his repose, even then whoever addresses him with faith, with love, modestly and calmly, God's grace illuminates him, heals him, and gives him comfort through the prayers and intercession of Saint Sava.

May God grant that the prayers of Saint Sava and his patronage and intercession be with us forever, but also that his example, the example of the feat of love, unceasingly inspire each of us so that we may testify to the One God in Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your love, thank you for your welcome, and may the Lord bless you all! Christ is risen!