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« on: March 25, 2007, 09:17:15 PM »

A quick question to my Serbian friends here.

Slava - when do you think did this beatiful tradition originate? When Serbian Orthodox couple gets married assuming they both have different Slavas - what is the most common variant of selection for the Slava? If someone converts to Orthodoxy within Serbian Orthodox Church - how do they usually establish / choose Slava? Presumably, if someone converts through a marriage then the Slava of a spouse applies. Is that the case or I am just jumping to conclusions?

Any insights will be appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2007, 08:24:08 AM »

As far as I know there is no "fixed date" for the origins of Slava. 

What I do know is that it was not directly Cyril or Methodios who started it, but rather their disciples, or the disciples of their disciples, who were the real Christianizers of the Serbs. 

The Serbs were probobly amongst the last to be "targeted" in the mission work of Cyril and Methodios.  So, I would say mid 11th century (around then). 

If a Serbian couple gets married then good old male dominance takes over.  The male's Slava takes pre-eminence over the female's Slava.  Patriarchal society and all.  The girl can still celebrate her Slava, but its not as big of a deal as the guy's Slava. 

Also the Slava itself is hereditary.  So if you have a son, the son will take on the family Slava after the father passes away. 

If you marry a Serbian person then you usually take their Slava.  For example, if a guy marries a Serbian girl, then he will begin to celebrate her family's Slava, even though she is a girl.  This is the usual practice. 

The only time you get variances is if a couple or a person were to CONVERT into the Serbian church (which is rare  Grin Wink).  If this happens, then they will probobly be given the option to chose their own Slava and protector saint of their family. 

I hope this answers your questions! 
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2007, 06:58:54 PM »

Serb1389,
Thank you very much. Excellent and totally complete information! I really appreciate it.
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2007, 07:07:54 PM »

You're totally welcome.  Hope you're doing well my friend. 
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2007, 11:35:57 AM »

Good job Serb1389!


As for converts... I am of Serbian heritage but not baptized until I was adult. My husband and I were chrismated together and opted to take his patron Saint as our Slava. (Saint Elijah) Converts may also take the day they were baptized or chrismated on together. 


There is a book written by Very Reverend Fr. Jovan Todorovich about Slava. 
http://www.serbianorthodoxchurch.net/historyofchurch/book2/





 
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2007, 11:41:11 PM »

PhosZoe,
Thank you very much. I am now reading this book at the link that you provided. It is excellent! Thanks!
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2007, 12:13:13 AM »

I am now reading this book at the link that you provided.
So am I! Thanks!
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2007, 12:28:11 AM »

For those of you who are to lazy to read the book, a slava marks the day your ancestors converted to Orthodoxy.  :-) 
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2007, 04:15:59 AM »

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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2007, 03:22:11 PM »

You're totally welcome.  Hope you're doing well my friend. 

Is there much variance in Slavas, or are there a few Saints that make up the vast majority?  It seems, from people I have met, St. Nicholas of Myra, St. John the Baptist, St. George and St. Stephen are extremely common and other saints come up less and less frequently.
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2007, 03:28:42 PM »

Is there much variance in Slavas, or are there a few Saints that make up the vast majority?  It seems, from people I have met, St. Nicholas of Myra, St. John the Baptist, St. George and St. Stephen are extremely common and other saints come up less and less frequently.

This is completely true.  Another popular saint is St. Petka or St. Paraskeva. 

Partly the whole inter-marriage thing is a huge factor.  A lot of guys who had St. Nicholas as their saint married a lot of girls who had other saints.  So eventually cuz of the male-dominated culture the other saints grew out of practice. 

This is the most likely explanation. 
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2007, 03:40:27 PM »

This is completely true.  Another popular saint is St. Petka or St. Paraskeva. 

Partly the whole inter-marriage thing is a huge factor.  A lot of guys who had St. Nicholas as their saint married a lot of girls who had other saints.  So eventually cuz of the male-dominated culture the other saints grew out of practice. 

This is the most likely explanation. 

That makes sense, thanks.  I was just wondering if at first there was a lot more variety or if certain Saints had always been more dominant.

One more question, is it always a single Saint that is the Slava for a family, or is it sometimes an event or a group of martyrs?  I know it isn't a family Slava but the city of Belgrade's Slava is the Ascension, does this ever happen for families too?
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2007, 12:29:07 AM »

That makes sense, thanks.  I was just wondering if at first there was a lot more variety or if certain Saints had always been more dominant.

Not being an expert on this or anything, from what I have seen there was a lot more variety in the begining.  Certain areas had a certain kind of focus. 

For example, in Montenegro a lot of families were baptised with the slava of St. Nicholas of Myra, because he is the protector of sailors and the whole area counted on the fishing industry of the Adriatic Sea.  So, that made sense.  More northern areas focused around St. Petka because her relics are in Romania, etc.  St. George was a soldier martyr..this one should be pretty obvious  Wink (Serbs=war, so a soldier martyr makes sense). 

One more question, is it always a single Saint that is the Slava for a family, or is it sometimes an event or a group of martyrs?  I know it isn't a family Slava but the city of Belgrade's Slava is the Ascension, does this ever happen for families too?

As I mentioned above in my original/earlier post...

Sometimes (EXTREMELY RARELY) you will see someone have a feast day as a Slava.  I know one family who celebrates the Transfiguration as their Slava.  More often than not these people are descendants of a royal family or of a "mayor" or "duke" of a certain region who would always be the "Kum" of the Slava in his villiage. 

The role of the "kum" or "domacin" is to host the Slava and to be a witness or in Greek "koumbado" of the Slava.  So, if a certain villiage celebrates the Transfiguration as their Slava and the local lord is the "kum" then at some point the Slava was connected to the local lord, and then it became hereditary.  I think this is just one of those natural progressions.  Or it could have been done out of necessity if the Turks forced the villiage to stop celebrating as a whole, and then one family took the Slava of the villiage. 

I hope this answers your question. 

I'm not a Slava Historian by any means...but most of these answers are based on research i've done in the past, which is not exhaustive by any means. 

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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2007, 01:30:00 AM »

Thanks a lot, that answered it perfectly.   Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2007, 06:53:22 PM »

No problem.  I'm really excited to see people interested in this unique and very awesome Serbian tradition!!!!   Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2007, 08:20:51 PM »

It is such a fascinating tradition.  The Priest at the Church I am coverting at has been going over the traditions with Slavas and asking if I will be taking upon my own, or waiting for marriage and taking on her family's as my own.
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« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2007, 10:18:25 PM »

Yes, I love that tradition. While I am not Serbian, my family always treasured a special respect and veneration of St. Nicholas of Myra.
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« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2007, 12:42:25 AM »

It is such a fascinating tradition.  The Priest at the Church I am coverting at has been going over the traditions with Slavas and asking if I will be taking upon my own, or waiting for marriage and taking on her family's as my own.

Do both. 

Honestly, if it were up to me, I would make my wife's Slava the pre-eminant one, because then it has a more ancient history and your kids in the future can find out what villiage your Serbian heritage comes from, just based on your Slava. 

If you come up with your own, you can't really do that. 

But you could still have your own Slava as a secondary one.  I know plenty of Serbian girls who married Serbian guys who make their husbands still celebrate their slava, but its not as big as the guys' slava. 

Just my 2 cents   Wink
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« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2007, 01:08:19 AM »

Do both. 

Honestly, if it were up to me, I would make my wife's Slava the pre-eminant one, because then it has a more ancient history and your kids in the future can find out what villiage your Serbian heritage comes from, just based on your Slava. 

If you come up with your own, you can't really do that. 

But you could still have your own Slava as a secondary one.  I know plenty of Serbian girls who married Serbian guys who make their husbands still celebrate their slava, but its not as big as the guys' slava. 

Just my 2 cents   Wink

Oh, if I do choose my own, we would definitely continue to celebrate hers as well.  It is her people's native tradition, I know she would not expect us to carry it on, but personally, I want to.  She misses celebrating it fully at her home.  A Communist father means that, especially in recent years, the day is less and less religious.  She would like to see a new Slava taken on by myself, but... the decision is, of course, up to me.  Smiley  She has been really supportive throughout the whole process.   Grin
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« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2007, 08:28:18 AM »

This is a tradition that is becoming very popular among Orthodox Converts in the US. the selection of a family Patronal saint is gaining in popularity among Converts who are not necessarily going to a Serbian Church. The choice is made several wasy--one the saint for the date the family is Chrismated as a whole; another a saint whose writings are responsible for the family becoming Orthodox; oters choose a Saint who represents the missionary and evangelical zeal of bringing the Orthodox way to non-Orthodox.

In my family , we honor St Athanasius the Great whose Paschal Letters  brought us out of Mormonism into Orthodoxy. Two of my Grand children's God parents chose Sts Cyril and Methodios in thanks giving and witness to their Missionary Zeal and Apostleship. Another family selcted the ArchAngel Gabriel for their powerful Patron.

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« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2007, 05:57:34 PM »

This is a tradition that is becoming very popular among Orthodox Converts in the US. the selection of a family Patronal saint is gaining in popularity among Converts who are not necessarily going to a Serbian Church. The choice is made several wasy--one the saint for the date the family is Chrismated as a whole; another a saint whose writings are responsible for the family becoming Orthodox; oters choose a Saint who represents the missionary and evangelical zeal of bringing the Orthodox way to non-Orthodox.

In my family , we honor St Athanasius the Great whose Paschal Letters  brought us out of Mormonism into Orthodoxy. Two of my Grand children's God parents chose Sts Cyril and Methodios in thanks giving and witness to their Missionary Zeal and Apostleship. Another family selcted the ArchAngel Gabriel for their powerful Patron.

Thomas

How are converts even introduced to the idea?  This question always has fascinated me. 

I think a lot of people would chose to have a family saint.  I think in some ways, however, people miss out on things.  I think having your own personal saint is a wonderful thing.  You have a personal role model. 

In Serbia, many people do not have Christian names, because they celebrate Slava.  So many pagan names still exist.  This is both a good thing and a bad thing.  Its a good thing cuz then every person has the opportunity to make their name holy by becomming saints themselves.  its a bad thing because there seems to be (in my opinion) less personal culpability for what one does spiritually. 

Anyway...just some musings on the topic.  If anyone can tell me where converts get info about Slava from, I would appreciate it. 
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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2007, 06:32:52 PM »

Years ago, when I was first was looking into Orthodoxy, I was talking to a Greek Orthodox Priest and talking about my Confirmation Saint (a Anglo-Germanic Roman Catholic tradition, which is common in North America [Except in Quebec]) and he mentioned the tradition of a family patron saint.  He said it was most common with Serbs, but he said converts loved the idea of it and many adopt it, even in Greek, Russian and Romanian Churches.  He also said he mentions a patron saint, either family or individual to Protestant converts often, to warm them up to the idea of saints, icons, etc.  Of course, this is from only one Priest, and now I am converting at a Serbian Church so I was introduced to it from the get go.   Tongue  That, and I have been asked who my Slava was from people at Church as the newbie.   Cool
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2007, 06:50:17 PM »

In my case, as I was going through the conversion process the Deacon in the GOA parish, himself an RC Convert, brought up the tradition of the Slava.

After 'due consideration' we elected to adopt this tradition, as yet another excuse to throw a really great party!
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