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's father took monastic vows under the name ''Simeon'' He died in the Hilandar Monastery on [[February 13]], 1200. He is also canonized as Saint Simeon.
After his father's death, Sava retreated to an [[ascetic]] monastery in Kareya which he built himself <!-- in the middle of Athos? --> in 1199. He also wrote the Kareya [[Typikon]] both for Hilandar and for the monastery of asceticism. The last typikon is inscribed into the marble board at the ascetic monastery. He stayed on Athos until the end of 1207.
When he returned, Sava brought with him the medicine to heal the entire situation: the relics of his father, the Grand Zhupan and saint, Stephen Nemanja-Simeon the Myrrh-bearer and co-founder of Hilandar. Upon entering Studenitsa Monastery, St. Simeon's foundational monastery, Sava invited his two brothers to a proper and rightful Memorial Service for their father. As the casket was opened, before their eyes the body of their father was found to be sweet-smelling, exuding a fragrant oil and myrrh, warm and aglow, looking very much alive, as if he were only restfully sleeping. This act of veneration oftheir father was the first step in healing the fraternal schism between Vukan and King Stephen. Shortly thereafter, the civil war was halted and a peace agreement was drawn up, once again restoring the kingdom of Serbia as it was under the reign of the great King Stephen Nemanja-St. Simeon the Myrrh-bearer. In discussions with his reunited brothers, Sava also designed plans for an immediate, systematic and far-reaching missionary program to save the Orthodox soul of the Serbian people. Studenitsa Monastery, with St. Simeon's relics making it a national shrine, was chosen as the outreach station for all activities. St. Sava wrote the Monastery's Typikon, which strengthened Studenitsa's monastic life.
St. Sava managed to persuade the [[ Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]] [[patriarchate]] , who residing in Nicea , because Consstantinople was under Latin rule until 1261, to establish the independence of the [[Church of Serbia|Serbian Church]] in the year of 1219.At Patriarch Manuel's request, Sava was selected to be elevated to Archbishop . At first, Sava vehemently refused this offer on the grounds that he felt he was truly unworthy for such a position and calling. He offered several of the monks from Hilandar who were present as potential candidates for the position. In the end, Sava accepted and was consecrated in Nicea on the Feast of St. Nicholas, December 6, 1219, becoming the first Archbishop of the newly autonomous Orthodox Church of Serbia. He was 44 years old at the time. The following are the exact words of the Greek text of Patriarch Manuel's decree elevating Sava to Archbishop, thus granting autonomy to the Serbian Church:
I, Manuel, the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of the City of Consrantinople, New Rome, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, have consecrated Sava, Archbishop of all the Serbian lands, and have given him in God's name the authority to consecrate bishops, priests, and deacons within his country; to bind and loose sins of men, and to teach all and to baptize in rhe name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, all you Orthodox Christians, obey him as you have obeyed me.
After his consecration, Sava returned to the Holy Mountain in order to say farewell to Hilandar and to receive the blessing and prayers of the entire monastic community of the Holy Mountain.
The newly consecrated Archbishop Sava then traveled by boat to Thessalonica, where he tarried awhile at Philokalos Monastery. At Philokalos, he, along with a few others, made a translation from Greek into Slavonic of the Byzantine ecclesiastical law book The Rudder or Nomocanon of St. Photios the Great (9th century).Called KormchajaKnjiga (Book of the Pilot) in Slavonic, this translation contained not only the ecclesiastical canons—including the dogmatic decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils—with commentaries by the best medieval Greek canonists, but also numerous precepts of the Fathers of the Church along with several of the imperial edicts of the great Byzantine Emperor Justinian (6th century). When he arrived in Serbia Sava decided that on the first day of his archiepiscopacy in Zhicha, the Feast of the Ascension, 1220, he would, as the as the newly consecrated Archbishop of Serbia, coronate his brother Stephen as the first Serbian King.1228 he coronated his nephew Radoslav as king. Venerable Sava decided to visit Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Thus, in 1229, after ten years of dedicated hard work and fruitful labor in the vineyard of the Lord in his homeland, Sava decided to renew his own spirit by pilgrimaging to the cradle of Christianity itself, Jerusalem, where the Lord first brought salvation to the world.When it was time for Sava to leave the Holy Land for Serbia, he decided to go by way of Nicea. There he met with John, the new Emperor of Byzantium (1222-1254) now residing in Nicea, who succeeded Theodore Laskaris. He also met Germanus, the new Patriarch who succeeded the late Patriarch Manuel. In Serbia broke new civil war between Radoslav and his Brother Vladislav. Unfortunately for Radislav, his military prowess waned as well, for in a fratricidal civil war against his younger brother Vladislav during the summer of 1233, he was defeated and exiled to Durazzo, Albania. Although Sava was unsuccessful in reconciling these brothers—who were both disloyal to their grandfather St. Simeon's call for unity—nevertheless he knew it was better for the country to be ruled by Vladislav. Several years later, as a result of his negotiations with King Vladislav, Sava was able to obtain safe conduct for Radislav, who was allowed to return to Serbia. Unfortunately again for Radislav, his wife had eloped with a French duke during his exile in Albania. Radislav then decided to become a monk, and Sava tonsured him, giving him the name John.
Sava abdicated from
archbishopal see 1233 , apointed his most capable pupil Saint Arsenije as Archbisop of Serbia (1233-1263).In the spring of 1234, Archbishop Sava, age 59, only five years after his first trip to the Holy Land, decided to make a second pilgrimage to Jerusalem.Upon arrival in Jerusalem, Sava lodged at the St. George Monastery in Akre, a monastery he had purchased from the Latins during his first pilgrimage. Sava visited Patriarch Athanasius of Jerusalem and then went by boat to Alexandria, Egypt, to meet with Pope Nicholas, "Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa." He then went to St. Catherine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai, where he spent Great Lent of 1234. This was a most blessed Paschal journey for Sava, for he climbed the heights where the great man of God, Moses the God-seer and Deliverer of his people, had spent many hours speaking to the Lord God face to face as a friend converses with a friend. Sava, too, had been a "Moses" to his people, pastoring, leading and organizing them into a community of God. After the Paschal celebration of 1234, Sava returned to Jerusalem and then traveled to Antioch. After visiting Constantinople, Sava intended to visit the Holy Mountain and Hilandar, but "it did not please the Holy Spirit." Instead, he left for Trnovo, Bulgaria, the capital of King Ivan Asen II's Bulgarian kingdom and patriarch of Trnovo. 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.