Sava was born Prince Rastko Nemanjic, the son of Stefan Nemanja, the Serbian ruler and founder of the medieval Serbian state. His brother, Stefan Prvovencani, was the first Serbian king. Rastko Nemanjic was born in either 1175 or 1176.
In the early 1190s, the young Rastko left home to join the Orthodox [[Monasticism|monastic]] community on [[Mount Athos]]. Taking monastic vows, he was given the name ''Sava''. Initially, he joined a Russian [[monastery]], but then moved to the Greek [[Vatopedi Monastery (Athos)|Vatopedi Monastery]]. At the end of 1197, his father, King Stefan Nemanja, joined him. In 1198, together they moved to and restored the abandoned [[Chilandari Monastery (Athos)|Hilandar]] monastery, which at that time became the center of Serbian Orthodox Christian monastic life.
St. Sava managed to persuade the [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]] [[patriarchate]] to elevate him to the position of the first Serbian [[Archbishop]], thereby establishing the independence of the [[Church of Serbia|Serbian Church]] in the year of 1219.
After participating in a ceremony called Blessing of the Waters (Agiasmo) he developed a cough that progressed into pneumonia. He died from pneumonia in the evening between Saturday and Sunday, [[January 14]], 1235. [http://www.kosovo.com/sava.html] He was buried at the [[Cathedral]] of the Holy Forty Martyrs in Trnovo where his body remained until [[May 6]], 1237, when his [[relics|sacred bones]] were moved to the monastery Mileseva in southern Serbia. Three hundred sixty years later the Ottoman Turks dug up his relics and burned them in the main square in Belgrade.