ST. ANASTASIJA OF SERBIA
The first chapel consecrated at St. Paisius Monastery is dedicated to St. Anastasija of Serbia. As is shown in her Life, she is an example for many. She was of royal lineage, a wife, a mother of many children and lastly a nun. Providentially, this church here in Arizona was the first church ever dedicated to her, and the Monastery of St. Paisius treasures a sizeable piece of her holy relics.
St. Anastasija is best known in history as the wife of the great ruler Stefan Nemanja (the future St. Simeon) who began the Nemanjic Dynasty which over the centuries raised up many saints in the Orthodox Church. Equally noteworthy is her having personally raised two saints: her sons Rastko (Sava the Enlightener) and Stefan (Simon in monasticism) the “First Crowned” king of Serbia.
All four of these venerable royal saints received the tonsure into monasticism before their blessed repose. As witness to the holiness of their lives, they each have bestowed upon the Church their incorrupt relics, all of which rest in Studenica Monastery except for St. Sava’s myrrh-streaming relics which were incinerated by the Turks in 1595. Studenica Monastery was the foundational monastery of the Nemanjas, built by Stefan Nemanja in honor of his marriage to his loving wife (the future St. Anastasija).
Regarding St. Sava, it is noteworthy to mention that he founded, along with his father Stefan Nemanja, the Serbian Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos. He also wrote the famous Karyes Typicon, which is one of the most important documents in the history of Serbian spiritual literature. In 115 lines St. Sava detailed the rules for prayer, fasting and liturgical worship to be carried out by the “kelliote” (monk living in a cell) residing in Karyes, Mount Athos. This typicon was patterned after the ancient rules of prayer of the early ascetics who strove in the Lord in the deserts of Egypt, Sinai, Palestine and Syria. The Karyes Typicon expresses a most fundamental message: that the Christian life consists primarily in seeking and finding God, in searching and discovering His will, and in hungering and thirsting for His righteousness. St. Sava’s sojourn in his cell in Karyes built him into a pillar of Orthodoxy, as it was here that he prayed without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17) and also wrote many hymns, treatises and prayers to the glory of God the Holy Trinity.
Stefan Nemanja, simultaneously St. Sava’s biological father and spiritual son, took the name Simeon in monasticism. After his blessed repose his relics flowed with so much myrrh that the Church has fittingly given him the name “St. Simeon the Myrrh-streaming.”
May we have their prayers!
Nemanja (St. Simeon the Myrrh-streaming; +1200)
Anna (St. Anastasija; +1200)
Rastko (St. Sava the Enlightener; +1235)
Stefan the First-Crowned (St. Simon; +1228)