The Serbian Slava Tradition – BBC gets it wrong, we get it right

by 1389 on March 4, 2013

in 1389 (blog admin), mainstream media, Orthodox Christianity, Serbia

‘Festivities last three days’ ??? Who told that (fib) to BBC?

Serbian flag

We do not consider the Slava to be rooted in pagan celebrations. Traditionally, each family has a patron saint, often commemorating the day on which the family first embraced Christianity. We also do not appreciate the narrator’s remark: “…the positive aspects of Serbian identity” – implying that Serbian identity is predominantly not a positive thing.

When will the BBC hire a Serb, or an Orthodox Christian of any tradition, who can set them straight on what our traditions are all about?

BBC has the garbled story – click to view:

Serb families honour their saints with slava celebrations

2 March 2013 Last updated at 19:30 ET

Slava is the celebration of the patron saint for each family in Serbia. Different families have different saints, handed down through the generations.

The tradition is a centrepiece of family life – festivities last three days, and include feasts and dancing as well as religious ceremonies.

The BBC’s Guy De Launey joined one family as they marked the day of St Sava, also the patron saint of Serbia.

Here’s how to celebrate Savindan (St. Sava’s Day): [LINK]

Serbian Orthodox Slava Service – English language

Priest: Blessed is our Lord, always, now and forever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us (Thrice).

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O All-Holy Trinity have mercy on us; O Lord, wash away our sins; O Master, pardon our transgressions; O Holy One visit and heal our infirmities for Thy Name’s sake.

Lord have mercy. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

Priest: For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

Then the Troparion and Kontakion, i.e., the hymns praising the Saint who is being commemorated are chanted *

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

Reader: Lord have mercy.

Priest: O Lord, Thou hast created everything by Thy word, and Thou hast ordered the earth to produce various fruits for our enjoyment and nourishment; Thou hast so arranged that the three young men and Daniel who fed on the seeds in Babylon had more radiant faces than those who were brought up in luxury; bless Thou Thyself, O Most Gracious King, this wheat to which various fruits have been added, and sanctify the faithful ones who will taste of it, for Thy servants have offered this for Thy glory and in honor of the holy (here the name of the Saint being honored is mentioned) whose memory we are honoring now, and of all the saints.

For Thou art the One Who blesseth and sanctifieth all and everything, O our Lord, and we offer praise to Thee, the God Who hath no beginning, together with Thine Only-Begotten Son and Thine All-Holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

The priest censes the bread (kolach) and all present. Then he picks up the bread (kolach), and blesses it and the vessel containing wine three times, saying:

Priest: O Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, bless this bread and this wine by Thy Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. (Thrice)

Reader: Amen. (each time)

The priest lifting up the bread, prays:

Priest: We offer this, O our Lord and God, for the glory and honor of Thy Saint the sake of his (the name of the Saint being honored is mentioned) and for the sake of his (her or their) intercession, accept, O All-Merciful, this offering unto Thy Supercelestial Altar.

The priest inverts the bread (kolach), cuts it crosswise, and pours wine over it, saying:

In the Name of the Father (Amen), and of the Son (Amen), and of the Holy Spirit (Amen), now and ever, and unto ages of ages (Amen).

Then the priest turns the bread (kolach) face up, and he and the host hold the bread and rotate it while the following hymns are chanted:

Reader or Priest: O holy martyrs, who courageously suffered and received honor and crowns, beseech the Lord to have mercy on our souls.

Glory to Thee, O Christ God, the Apostles’ praise, the Martyrs’ joy; the subject of their preaching is the consubstantial Trinity.

Rejoice, O Isaiah, a Virgin is with a Child, and She gave birth to a Son, Emmanuel, Who is both God and Man; and Orient is His name and by honoring Him we bless Thee, O Virgin.

* After that, the priest and the host break the bread (kolach) in half. Holding the two halves together, the priest and the host kiss the bread (kolach) three times, alternating the two halves, and each time the priest says: *

Priest: Christ is in our midst!

* And the host and his household respond: *

Household: He is and He shall be! (each time)

Reader or Priest: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Through the intercession of the holy (here the name of the Saint being honored is mentioned), O Merciful One, cleanse the multitude of our sins.

Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Through the intercession of the Theotokos, O Merciful One, cleanse the multitude of our sins.

Have mercy on us, O God, according to Thy great kindness, and, because of the magnitude of Thy goodness, cleanse our sins.

Today the grace of God brought us together and, having taken Thy Cross let us say: “Blessed is the One Who cometh in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest !

Priest: Have mercy upon us in accordance with Thy great mercy, we beseech Thee, harken and have mercy.

Reader: Lord have mercy. (Thrice)

Priest: Furthermore we pray for our Most Holy Patriarch (the name) and our Most Reverend Bishop N. and for our brethren in Christ.

Reader: Lord have mercy. (Thrice)

Priest: Furthermore we pray for this home and all its residents (Names) who maintain this custom for the glory and honor of Thy Saint (the name of the Saint).

Reader: Lord have mercy. (Thrice)

Priest: For Thou art a merciful God and lovest mankind and unto Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

Priest: Wisdom! O All Theotokos, save us!

Reader: More honorable than the Cherubim and beyond comparison more glorious than the Seraphim, who without the corruption gave birth to the God-Word, Thou art truly the Theotokos, we magnify Thee.

Priest: Glory to Thee, O Christ God, our Hope, glory to Thee.

Reader: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord have mercy. (Thrice)

Father, bless!

The priest prays the Dismissal Prayer, then says the Many Years:

Priest: To this home and all its residents, grant, O Lord, peace, health, love and Thy blessings for many years.

Reader: God, grant them many years. (Thrice)


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