Commemorated on October 30
(Stephen) Miliutin, King of Serbia, his brother Dragutin, and their mother
Elena (Helen): Saint Stefan was the younger son of king Stefan Urosh I, and
grandson of First-Crowned King Saint Stefan (Comm. 24 September). He ruled
Serbia from 1275 to 1320. Stefan Miliutin received the throne from his elder
brother Dragutin, a true Christian, who after a short reign transferred power
over to his brother, and he himself in loving solitude withdrew to Srem, where
he did secret ascetic deeds in a grave-pit, dug by his own hand. During his
righteous life, Saint Dragutin toiled much over converting the heretic Bogomils
to the true faith. His death occurred on 2 March 1316.
Miliutin, having become king, bravely by both word and by deed, defended the
Orthodox Serbs and other same-faith peoples from numerous enemies. Pious Stefan
did not forget to thank the Lord for His beneficence. More than 40 churches
were built by him, as also many monastery and vagrant hostels. The saint
particularly concerned himself with the Athonite monasteries.
When the Serbian
kingdom fell, the monasteries remained centres of national culture and
Orthodoxy for the Serb nation. Saint Stefan died on 29 October 1320 and was
buried at the Bansk monastery. After two years his undecayed relics were
Saint Elena, the
pious mother to her sainted sons, after the death of her husband devoted her
whole life to pious deeds: she built a shelter for the impoverished, and
constructed a monastery for those wanting to live in purity and virginity. Near
the city of Spich she erected the Rechesk monastery and endowed it with the
necessities. Before her death, Saint Elena accepted monasticism and expired to
the Lord on 8 February 1306.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.