The Holy Martyr Stephen of Decani, King of Serbia.

Commemorated November 11 in the Orthodox Christian Menaion

From the Prologue

He was the son of King Milutin and father of King Dusan. At the command of his ill-informed father he was blinded, and at the command of his light-minded son was, in old age, drowned. At the time of his blinding, St Nicolas appeared to him in the church at Ovce Polje (the Sheep-Pasture) and gestured towards his own eyes, saying: 'Stephen, don't be afraid; your eyes have been given to me and I will return them to you in due course.' He spent five years in Constantinople, as an exile in the monastery of the Pantocrator. By his wisdom and ascesis, his meekness and devotion, his patience and greatness of soul, Stephen surpassed not only the monks in that monastery but those in the whole of Constantinople. When five years had passed, St Nicolas appeared to him again and said to him: 'I have come to fulfill my promise.' He then made the sign of the Cross over the blind king, and he received his sight. Out of gratitude to God, he built the monastery of Decani, a rare example of the finest Byzantine work and one of the most famous memorials of Serbian devotion. The holy King Stephen, St Sava and the holy Prince Lazar make a trio of holiness, nobility and self-sacrifice, the gift of the Serbian people. He lived his time on earth as a martyr, and died a martyr in 1336, receiving the wreath of immortal glory from the Almighty whom he had served so faithfully.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
©1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK

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