Saint Sava Academy at the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Pavle celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Chapel of the Theological Faculty on the Feast of St. Sava, the First Serbian Archbishop and Enlightener of the Serbs. Following the Liturgy the Patriarch performed the rite of cutting the festal bread in honor of the Patron Saint and delivered a homily on the significance of St. Sava for the development of Serbian spirituality. According to the Patriarch, St. Sava is the indicator of the way to the Lord and Heavenly Kingdom, and our intercessor before God.
Later, the St. Sava Academy was held in the Great Amphitheater of the Theological Faculty attended by His Grace Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren, His Excellency Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Belgrade, Dr. Marija Bogdanovic, Rector of the Belgrade University, Dr. Vojislav Milovanovic, Minister of Religions of the Serbian Government, Faculty members and other distinguished guests.
The Very Rev. Dr. Vladan Perisic, Faculty Dean, in his solemn address underscored that this academy at the same time marks the return of the Theological Faculty within the framework of the Belgrade University. In so doing, a wrong had been righted by negating a communist decision of 1952 with far reaching consequences according to which the Theological Faculty was illegally expunged from all Serbian and international schools of higher education. “It is interesting to note that the most renowned European Universities, founded many centuries before the Belgrade University, such as those in Bologna (1119), Paris (1150), Oxford (mid-12th c) and Cambridge (1209), had the same integral faculties as the University of Belgrade. The only difference being that it never occurred to them to remove their Theological faculties, which even today as throughout many centuries of European educational tradition, not only organically belongs to the university, but as a rule assumes an honorary place. Truthfully, from Plato’s Academy to Aristotle’s Lyceum via Medieval universities, through contemporary universities, European educational systems are crystal-clear: theological studies pursued at universities are the final degree and crown of education.”
Presbyter Vladan Perisic concluded his address with the following words: “Standing firmly with both feet grounded, we must be clear that, although a vast majority of faculties of the Belgrade University warmly welcomed the return of our Faculty, for the accomplishment of which they have labored many years, this fact will not be met by all with joy. There are still such individuals that persistently fostering their prejudices and unfortunately often their ignorance, feel that the University should continue to remain beheaded, and that the Theological Faculty should remain there to where Broz’s lackeys transferred it. We should allow such people the freedom to think as such, if they so insist, and to remain pathetic victims of their own limitations and errors. In telling the truth, one can never allow their alleged pretensions to the traditions of European education. Europe as such has long ago given its word on this, and now it is up to Serbia.”
The academic lecture on St. Sava was delivered by Professor Dr. Ksenija Koncarevic, who tied into the homily of Patriarch Pavle by referring to the 13th c. sermon of St. Sava on the true faith in Zhicha, with the words of the Holy Apostle Paul: “Walk and act in the renewal of live, and live in the newness of life.” In enumerating the accomplishments of St. Sava for the Church and Serbian state, she pointed out the spirituality imbued in the Serbian people by St. Sava. “The monastic vows of St. Sava would also become a testimonial indicator to the Serbian people. Without monasticism, they would become like the unfruitful fig tree by the roadside. Therefore, throughout the ages they found sufficient depth, a prayerful flame, zeal and desire for God, to send their best sons and daughters along this path by which they will achieve the climax of Christian perfection. . . And the Serbian land shall be exulted, and transfigured, and radiate before the face of all peoples, so that through us, the spiritual sons and daughters of Sava, they may glorify the holy name of the Lord.”
Following the lecture, a summary report on the work of the Theological Faculty for the previous year was read. Statistically, 1,306 students were enrolled in this academic year, 46 of which graduated. During the past year, Rev. Dragomir Sando earned his doctoral degree, while Bogdan Lubardic, Aleksandar Djakovic and Rev. Aleksandar Sredojevic received their Masters degrees. The Dean personally presented the diplomas to the graduate students.
Finally, the Academy was marked by the ethno songs performed by a Belgrade choir ethnomusicology and Biljana Krstic with a group “Bistrik”.