Simeon the Myrrh-flowing
Saint Simeon the Myrrh-flowing, in the world Stefan Nemanja, (in serbian Преподобни Симеон Мироточиви) was serbian ruler, monk and saint from 12 century.
He was born 1113 or 1114 in town of Ribnica ( today Podgorica, Montenegro). His father Zavida, member of ruling dinasty of Raška (most importnant state of Serbs), was exiled in principality of Duklja, minor Serbian state. Nemanja was baptised by a Roman catholic priest because ther was no present any orthodox priest in Ribnica. When Zavid come back in Raška, his youngest son was re-baptised by bishop of Ras Kalink.
In 1163 the grand prince of Raška Desa, Nemanja' kinsman was replaced by Nemanja's eldest brother Stefan Tihomir. This took aplace by wil of Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143-1180). Tihomir's brotherc became minor princes. Nemanja was prince in counties of Ibar, Toplica, Rasina and Reke. Later Emperor granted him conty of Dubočica and and imperial rank (sometimes misintranslated as imperial dream). Nemanja several years before personaly met powerfool Emperor. Some Historians sugestind that Nemanja's wife Ana, later saint Anastasia, was Byzantine noblewoman. This could explained Emperors's sympathy for him. Nemanja was popular amog the people because he was good ruler and was pious man. He soon built two monasteries: Monastery of Holy Mother of Godon on the rivers Kosanica and Toplica and Monastery of Saint Nicholas- Kuršumlija.His brothers called him to concil and imprisoned him and had him in a nearby cave. Saint George freed Nemanja from the cave. Nemanja soon with support of people, nobility ant the Curch deposed Tihomir and bocome grand prince 1166.
Nemanja's brothers raised a mercenary army, made up of Turks, Francs and Greeks. Nemanja defeated them in Battle of Pantin, near Zvečan 1168. Tihomir drowned himself in river Sitnica and Nemanja captured two other brothers Stefan Miroslav and Stefan Stratimir. He reconciliated with them and thez was given back their principalities.
Nemanja built monastery of sint George near his caputal Ras. This monastery is later known as Đurđevi Stupovi. He tried to gained full independence from Byzantine Empire 1172, but he failed he was defeated and surendered himself to Emperor. He came to Manuel with his head and feet bare and gave him his own sword as mark of surender. He wowed that he will remain lozal to Emperor. Manule brougt him with him and presented him in Imperial triumph.
Nemanja remained loyal to Manuel until Manuel's death. He used next several years to deal with dangerous Bogumil heresy and to strength orthodox faith in people. After death of Manuel Nemanja gained independence and conquered Duklja principality, Korčula, Vis, Niš, Svrljig, Koželj, Ravno, Prizren, and Skoplje. All this teritories was dominatly Serbian populated. he met holy roman emperor Friedrich I the Barbarosa 1189, in Niš.
Nemanja finished his magnificent endownment Monastery of Holy Virgin the Benefactor- Studenica Monastery on the river Studenica 1190. Monastery church is built out of white marble and was. This monastery is hoorified as mother of all serbian churches. Nemanja also introduced Orthodox Christianity in Duklja. Soon Duklja becam as much as Raška dominantly Orthodox.
New Emperor Isaac II Angelos 1190, Raised a large army against Serbs and defeated them in the battle of Ravno. Soon peace treaty was signed Nemanja Gained independence but Byzantines was given back Niš, Ravno i Skoplje. Nemanja's second son and heir Stefan, future serbian king (later Saint Simon the Monk), married Emperor's niece Eudoxia and received the title of Sebastokrator second higest after Emperor.
Stefan's father-in-law Alexius became emperor as Alexius III Angelos (1195-1202). Nemanja called State Concile(Државни Сабор) on March 25, 1195. He abdicated in favour of Stefan