Patriarchate of Jerusalem: The repatriation of the relics of Saint Savva the Sanctified

On Wednesday, October 26, 2022, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem celebrated the feast of the repatriation of the relics of our Holy Father Savva the Sanctified.

On this feast, the Church of Jerusalem celebrates the fact that the holy relic of Saint Savva, preserved incorruptible and intact to this day, was taken by the Crusaders to Venice and returned under the authority of the Roman Church to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem on October 26, 1965. A solemn reception was then held for the holy relic at Jaffa Gate. After that he was placed for veneration in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for a week, then returned to the place where he belonged, the Lavra, which Saint Savva founded, for sanctification and the help of its monks and pilgrims.

On the eve of the feast, vespers were celebrated by Metropolitan Joachim of Hélénoupolis, and at night there was an all-night vigil, celebrated by Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem. The Patriarch’s co-celebrants were Metropolitan Joachim of Hélénoupolis, Archbishop Aristarque of Constantine, as well as Hagiotaphite hieromonks and Arabic-speaking priests. The chant was spoken by Archimandrite Antypas of Mount Athos with Hierodeacon Simeon and his helpers in Greek on the right and Archimandrite Philotheos and his choir in Arabic on the left, in the presence of pilgrims from Greece, Romania and Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour.

Before Holy Communion, Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem delivered the following sermon:

“Make a joyful noise to God, all you countries: Sing the honor of his name: give his glorious praise” (Ps 66,1-2) proclaims the psalmist.

Reverend Holy Fathers and Brothers,

Christian nobles and pilgrims

The grace of our Holy Father Savva the Sanctified has brought us all together in his holy Lavra to celebrate the great event of the repatriation of his holy relics.

Our Father Savva became a citizen of the desert and “an angel in the flesh” because he applied both in theory and in action the exhorting words of Saint Paul: “You therefore be raised with Christ, seek the things from above, on which Christ is seated. the right hand of God. Fix your affection on the things above, not on the things of the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3, 1-4).

Based on the sound words of Paul, “Seek the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Fix your affection on things above, not on things of the earth” (Col. 3, 1-2), Saint Savva showed pious zeal and self-sacrifice on the one hand, and On the other hand, he excelled among his co-ascetics the monks, because he was “strongly strengthened by [God’s] Spirit in the inner man” (ref. Eph. 3,16).

Moreover, Saint Savva was called “sanctified” because he sought sanctification according to the saying “Seek peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12,14). “For such is the will of God, even your sanctification (1 Thes. 4,3), preaches Saint Paul again.

Moreover, our Lord Jesus Christ himself says in his prayer to God the Father concerning his disciples and those who believe and follow him: “Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth” (John 17, 17). Here the truth is the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit is the truth” according to the voice of John the Evangelist (1 John 5,6), interpreter Saint Cyril of Alexandria.

In the answer of the Holy Fathers of the Church on what it means to sanctify those who love God, Saint Basil the Great says: “Sanctification means devotion to the Holy God wholeheartedly and without separation at all times, by the care and the study of the things that please Him”. And Saint Gregory the Theologian says: “Sanctification is living with God”.

In other words, without sanctification by the power of the Holy Spirit, man is unable to see God, namely the inaccessible light. “I am the light of the world: whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12), says the Lord. And the saint’s hymnographer says that the father who bears God was seen from infancy as a sanctified vessel, our Father and an abode of the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, my dear brethren, our Father Savva was seen and appeared as an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Here is the true testimony and the proof visible before our eyes, his whole body incorruptible and perfumed with his relics. Here is the light, the true light, the light of life “Thou art near, O Lord; and all your commandments are truth” (Ps. 119,151), sings David. “Am I a near God, says the Lord, and not a distant God? announces the Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23,23).

With today’s celebration of the repatriation of the relics of Saint Savva of Venice from Italy instead of his monastic effort, we are all called to draw near to God, for He is a God who is near to us. The way of our approach to the good God and friend of man is shown to us by Saint Savva the Sanctified through the words of Saint Paul “beloved, purify us from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7,1). Many happy comebacks.

After the dismissal of the Divine Liturgy, a monastic meal followed.

Giving thanks to God, Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem received thanks from the Lavra Fathers of Saint Savva and returned to Jerusalem.

Source: Patriarchate of Jerusalem

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