Chicago Mayor Proclaims January 27th Saint Sava Academy Day
The Honorable Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, has officially proclaimed January 27th, the feast day of the revered Serbian patron saint of education and culture, as Saint Sava Academy Day in Chicago in recognition of the school’s work and for its contributions to the community.
The Mayor’s proclamation also noted that Saint Sava Academy is “the only full-time elementary school in Chicago offering dual language education in both Serbian and Russian languages,” “offers a safe community where students are able to express their culture and religious beliefs,” and “sustains an Orthodox faith-based education that provides students a strong spiritual compass both inside and outside the classroom.”
Leaders of Holy Resurrection Cathedral and Saint Sava Academy warmly welcomed the Mayor’s proclamation.
“The Mayor’s proclamation of St. Sava Academy Day is a very important and deserved recognition for our school, and an honor for our whole community, and I would like to thank our Academy Administration and Board of Trustees for their work which lead to this decision,” said the Very Reverend Protopresbyter Darko Spasojevic, Cathedral Dean.
Marko Bojovic, Academy Principal, added: “I am truly grateful to Mayor Emanuel for proclaiming January 27th as ‘St. Sava Academy Day’ in this wonderful City of Chicago. I also thank our Cathedral clergy, Academy Board of Trustees, faculty and staff for working as one unified team in achieving the mission of St. Sava Academy and for meeting the needs of our students. Our students have yet another reason to be proud of their school.”
Reverend Dr. Vasilije Vranic, priest in charge of the Cathedral’s educational programs, noted the historical significance of the proclamation.
“Sts. Sebastian of Jackson, Mardarije of Libertyville, and Nikolaj of Zicha organized the parishes of the Serbian Orthodox Church as ‘church-school congregations.’ Looking at the example of St. Sava, the first archbishop of Serbia, they recognized the indispensable role that Orthodox-based education, rooted in our culture and traditions, ought to have in the life of our communities on this continent. This proclamation confirms and attests that indeed our efforts in perpetuating the legacy of our great spiritual ancestors through our parochial school and other educational programs are bearing a noteworthy fruit. We are grateful to Mayor Emmanuel for his support,” Fr. Vasilije Vranic said.
Founded in 2001, St. Sava Academy is the dual language parochial school at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral offering a dynamic PreK-8 education.
SAINT SAVA (Serbian: Свети Сава/Sveti Sava, 1174 – 14 January 1236), known as the Illuminator, was a Serbian prince and Orthodox monk, the first Archbishop of the autocephalous Serbian Church, the founder of Serbian law, and a diplomat. Sava, born Rastko, was the youngest son of Serbian Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja (founder of the Nemanjić dynasty), and ruled the appanage of Hum briefly in 1190–92. He then left for Mount Athos where he became a monk, with the name Sava (Sabbas). At Athos, he established the monastery of Hilandar, which became one of the most important cultural and religious centres of the Serbian people. In 1219 he was recognized as the first Serbian Archbishop by the Patriarchate, and in the same year he authored the oldest known constitution of Serbia, Zakonopravilo, thus securing full independence; both religious and political. Sava is regarded the founder of Serbian medieval literature.
He is widely considered as one of the most important figures of Serbian history. Saint Sava is canonized and venerated by the Serbian Orthodox Church, as its founder, on January 27 [O.S. January 14]. His life has been interpreted in many artistic works from the Middle Ages to modern times. He is the patron saint of Serbia, Serbs, and Serbian education. The Church of Saint Sava in Belgrade is dedicated to him, built where the Ottomans burnt his remains in 1594 during an uprising in which the Serbs used icons of Sava as their war flags; the church is one of the largest church buildings in the world.
Saint Sava is the protector of the Serb people: he is venerated as a protector of churches, families, schools and artisans. His feast day is also venerated by Greeks, Bulgarians, Romanians and Russians. Numerous toponyms and other testimonies, preserved to this day, convincingly speak of the prevalence of the cult of St. Sava. St. Sava is regarded the father of Serbian education and literature; he authored the Life of St. Simeon (Stefan Nemanja, his father), the first Serbian hagiography. He has been given various honorific titles, such as „Father“ and „Enlightener“.