Lazar of Serbia
The holy, glorious and right-victorious Great Martyr Lazar, Prince of Serbia (Свети Великомученик кнез Лазар). His feast day is June 15/28 Lazar was one of the Serbian noblemen who ruled the Serbian empire after the death of Emperor Dušan. After death of emperor St. Uroš V was Lazar was de facto ruler of Serbia. He died for Christ's name June 15 1389.
Lazar was born in Prilepac (close to Novo Brdo) in 1329, the son of imperial chancelor Pribac Hrebeljanović . He was educated at Emperor Dušan's court in Prizren. He was later granted high title knez ( in Serbian Prince ) by Dusan's successor St. Emperor Stefan Uroš V. Despite his imperial title, Uroš was a weak and ineffectual leader, allowing local nobles to gain power and influence at the expense of the central authority. Lazar was loyal vassal to Stefan Uros V.
After death of Emperor Lazar became central figure in Serbia. He called, together with his son in low Đurađ Stracimirović, Synod wich elected New Patriarch Saint Ephraem. Lazar sent a delegation to Constantinople with the monk Isaiah to implore the patriarch to healed Serbian-Constantinople Schism from 1352. Full Comunion between Peć and Constantinople was restablished 1375 in St. Archangels Monastery on the grave of Emperor Dušan.
St. Lazar restored the monasteries of Hilandar on Mt. Athos and Gornjak. He built Ravanica and Lazarica in Kruševac and was a benefactor of the Russian monastery St. Pantaleon on Mt. Athos as well as many other churches and monasteries.
Mariage and Family
Lazar maried Milica (Venerable Euphrosine of Serbia) in around 1353. Milica was relative of Emperor Dušan. She was was a daughter of Prince Vratko (кнез Вратко), who was a great-grandson of Vukan Nemanjic. Vukan himself was the eldest son of Stefan Nemanja. Lazar and Milica had seven children:
1. Mara (Марa): died April 12, 1426, married Vuk Brankovic in around 1371 2. Saint Stefan Visoki (Свети Стефан Високи) (around 1377 - July 19, 1427, buried in Manasija monastery), prince (1389-1402) and despot (1402-1427) , married in 1405 Jelena, daughter of Francesco Gattilusio (1384-1404). 3. Vuk (Вук) , prince, executed on July 6th 1410 4. Dragana (Драгана), died before July 1395, married Bulgarian tsar Ivan Shishman in around 1386 5. Teodora (Теодора) , died before 1405, married Nikola II Gorjanski (who died 1433) (Nikola II Gorjanski jr. (Никола II Горјански Млађи), son of Nikola I Gorjanski (Никола I Горјански), ban of Mačva since 1387, ban of Croatia since 1394, Hungarian Palatin since 1401) 6. Jelena (Јелена), died March 1443, married
- 1. Đurađ Stracimirović (Ђурађ Страцимировић), one of Balsics
- 2. Sandalj Hranić (Сандаљ Хранић) Kosače (Косаче)
7. Olivera (Оливера ) born 1372 died after 1444, married Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I in 1390
Battle of Kosovo
Lazar fought against the Turkish powers on several occasions in order to protect his people. Finally, he clashed [fought] on the Field of Blackbirds [Kosovo Polje] on June 15, 1389. against the Turkish Emperor Amurat where he was beheaded.
Before battle Lazar having been visited by an angel of God on the night before battle, and offered a choice between an earthly or a Heavenly kingdom, which choice would result in a victory or defeat, respectively, at the Battle of Kosovo. Lazar, naturally, opts for the Heavenly kingdom, which will last "forever and ever" ("Perishable is earthly kingdom, but forever and ever is Kingdom of Heaven!" - Serbian: "Земаљско је за малена царство, а Небеско увијек и довијека!"), but has to perish on the battlefield. “We die with Christ, to live forever”, tells he to his soldiers. That Kosovo’s destination and that Testament, it is a union which Serb people made with God – and sealed it with martyrs’ blood. On Kosovo Serbs voted with their souls for Kingdom of Heaven and that was and has been their right destination. Since then all Serbs truthful to that Testament are becoming people of God, part of God’s New Israel. Soon after death Lazar was canonised.
His body was translated and interred in Ravanica, his memorial church near Ćuprija and later was translated to Sisatovac in Srem and from there, during the Second World War (1942) was translated to Belgrade and placed in the Cathedral Church of the Holy Archangel Michael it rests today incorrupt and extends comfort and healing to all those who turn to him with prayer. In 1989, on the occasion of the six-hundred year anniversary of his martyrdom, St. Lazar's relics were again translated to the monastery of Ravanica in Cuprija. it rests today incorrupt and extends comfort and healing to all those who turn to him with prayer.