Sainted Gavriel (Gabriel) I, Patriarch of Serbia

Commemorated on August 30

      Sainted Gavriel (Gabriel) I, Patriarch of Serbia (by familial lineage Raicha), occupied the cathedra-seat in the mid-XVII Century, a time when the Moslem fanaticism had become intense. In the urgent need for both cathedral and country the saint set off for collecting alms to Walachia, and from there to Moscow.
      And in Moscow in 1655 he was present together with the Patriarch of Antioch at a Church Sobor (Council), which sought to correct various aspects of church books in accord with the Greek and Old Slavonic texts. The saint brought as gift to the Russian Church several manuscripts and three liturgies printed in the South. With generous alms for his Church and country the saint returned to Serbia. His cathedra-seat had been given over to another occupant, and moreover, Austrian Jesuits had slandered him with treason before the vizier. The total innocence of the saint was already evidenced from this, that the vizier made pretense to spare his life and bestow a great official position, if the saint would betray his faith in the Saviour. "I am completely innocent of state crimes, – said Saint Gavriel, – this you yourself avow. To save my life by betrayal of Christian faith I shall never agree to, while remaining of sound mind. Keep your riches and honours, for me they are unneeded". After torture Saint Gavriel was hanged in October 1659.
      In the general service of the Serblyak (collective services to Serbian saints) on 30 August are also remembered: Sainted Archbishop of Serbia Jakov (+ 3 February 1292), Sainted Bishop Gregory (a descendant of the reknown Neemanicha lineage), and also the saints: Archbishop Savva III (1305-1316), and the Patriarchs Kirill, Nikon, John, Maksim.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.