THEY OBSERVED ST. SAVAS’ DAY

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Local Serviains Celebrate Their National Holiday.

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RELIGIOUS SERVICES AT THE SLAVONIAN CHURCH AND A BANQUET IN THE EVENING.

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Ladies and Gentlemen Make Merry in Honor of Their Country’s Patron Saint

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The celebration of St. Savas’ day, the Servian national holiday, in commemoration of their patron saint, was brought to a fitting conclusion by a banquet given by the Servian-Montenegrin Literary and Benevolent Society at Lodge Hall, on Polk street, last evening. Covers were laid for 175 guests, every seat being occupied by the members and their ladies when at 8:30 o’clock Rev. Father Sebastian Dabovich, a native of San Francisco, who was seated at the right of the president, arose to perform the beautiful ceremony of blessing the bread.

Addressing the assemblage in the Slavonic language, the priest first gave a brief outline of the life and work of St. Savas, after which he pronounced blessing upon the bread and wine before him. Then, as he passed it to the older persons to partake of, he accompanied the offering with this benediction: "As ye drink of this wine and eat of this bread, the full of the earth, so I would bless you and have you live in true faith, in virtue, charity and unity."

At the conclusion of this ceremony a vigorous attack was made on the delicacies with which the three long tables were heaped. The banquet hall had been artistically decorated for the occasion, while rarely has a company been invited to a more tempting repast.

President Glavinovich presided, and when the assemblage had done full justice to the edibles, delivered a brief address. This was followed by a programme of exercises in entire harmony with the occasion, and the national and historical events of the people.

St. Savas was born in the twelfth century. He was the youngest son of Stefan Nemanja, who united the Servians in their first kingdom. Leaving his home secretly, he secluded himself, at the age of 17 years, in the holy Mount Athos. Finally, on being discovered, yielding to the tears of their son, his parents allowed him to remain there in prayer and study. It was after the death of his father, when the wise Germanus, patriarch of Constantinople, heard of the holy life of this hermit, and on examining him as to his ability and consulting with the episcopate of his patriarchate, announced that he desired to consecrate Savas archbishop for the Servians. But Savas, in his humility, declined the dignity and said he was willing to go to his people as a worker, but for an archbishop a better and more qualified man should be sought. However, being prevailed upon by his brothers, the people and the patriarch, Savas consented, and he became the first archbishop of the Servian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which ever since has been in full communion with the Eastern Apostolic Church.

St. Savas’ greatest work was the opening of schools, which multiplied throughout the country. He educated a new choir of faithful clergy in place of the few Greek missionaries left in the country. It was in 1222 when the apostle of the Servians crowned his brother Dushan Emperor of the Sibs and Slaveni, his dominion having spread from the Adriatic to the Black Sea and from the Danube to the Southern Archipelago. The great and good Archbishop fixed a firm foundation for the orthodox Christian church in the Balkan country by creating twelve dioceses and consecrating for them twelve Servian Bishops. In praise of their first teacher the Slavonians in San Francisco sung their odes in their music and language, of which the great Sehafarik in his Slavische Spracheund Literatur says the following: "Servian songs resemble the tune of the violin; old Slavonian that of the organ; the Polish that of a guitar. The old Slavonian in its psalms is like the loud rush of the mountain stream; the Polish like the bubbling and sparkling of a fountain, and the Servian like the quiet murmuring of a streamlet in the valley."

The Servian holiday began Tuesday evening by a nocturnal service in their church on Powell street. Yesterday morning the divine liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was offered by Father Sebastian.

The officers of the society under whose auspices the banquet was given are as follows: President, J. Glavinovich; vice-president; M. Tasovac; treasurer, S. Jovovich; recording secretary, S. Vucosavlievich; financial secretary, G. A. Dabovich. The society has 140 members and is in a flourishing condition.

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Servians Give a Banquet.

There was a largely attended banquet and entertainment, given by the Srpsko Jedinstvo Society at Pythian Castle last night.

The entertainment was in honor of the second anniversary of the society, and the following programme was presented:

Piano solo, fantasia, "Trovatore" (Verdi), Mrs. R. Trkovich; recitation, "Slovinkinjasam Mala," by Miss Minnie Kleciak; bass solo from opera "La Sonnambula" (Bellini), S. Crnogorac; piano solo, "Servian Potpourri," Miss Mabel Mitrovich; soprano solo, cavatina, "Barber of Seville" (Rossini), Mrs. G. Crnogorac; tenor solo, from opera "Crespino e la Comare" (Ricci), A. V. Spiletak; Spanish cachuca, Miss Olga de Curtoni; piano solo, "U Boj," from opera "Zrini" (Zaic), Miss Minnie Kleciak; duet, "La Danza" (Panizza), Mr. And Mrs. Crnogorac.

The San Francisco Call, Thursday, January 27, 1898, p. 7.

Reprinted in the Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE, Vol. 6, No. 5, January 1999.