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The Cult of the Great-Martyr Prince Lazar of Serbia
Fr Daniel M Rogić
The true Christian is a warrior making his way through the regiments of the invisible enemy to his heavenly homeland St. Herman of alaska
Our Holy Father Great-Martyr Prince Lazar was born in 1329 to God-fearing and noble Serbian Or- thodox parents, in the town of Prilepac, near the large
mining center of Novo Brdo (southern Serbia). His father, Lazar Pribac Hrebeljanović, was the chancellor to emper- or Stephen Dušan the Powerful. according to Orthodox practice, eight days after his birth this divine child of God was given his name Stephen Lazar Hrebeljanović, after the First-martyr of the Book of acts.1 From infancy Lazar pos- sessed a gentle spirit, coupled with a humble yet brave mind and a noble heart and soul. His was a wealthy aristocratic family; yet his parents and the surrounding royal court of the Serbian kingdom were founded upon the principle known as Svetosavlje, taught by St. Sava himself, whereby the basis for royal leadership and all aspects of life in the kingdom of Serbia was the Orthodox Faith and holy life of the Church. His family lived in humility at all times. This is evidenced in the lives of his two sisters.
Lazar never sought a cheap freedom “at any price,” but only true freedom which comes from God alone, through the Cross of Christ. after the Battle of Kosovo, the humble Lazar bowed his holy head beneath the sword of the blood thirsty Bayazid, and softly prayed these words: “O my Cre- ator, Who judges our sins known and unknown, to Thee i cry out and to Thee i pray: forgive me for all i have ne- glected to do according to Thy holy will, and save my peo- ple’s soul, or more properly, not my people, but Thy people, O Lord. into Thy hands i commend my spirit.” With these words Great-Martyr Lazar was beheaded, on Tuesday, june 15, 1389, at the Field of Black birds, where the Kosovo peo-
1 The name Stephen is a most popular Serbian name, beginning with Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Serbian kingdom, who was among the first royalty to be named after St. Stephen the First-mar- tyr. in fact, Prince Lazar was named after the Serbian King Stefan Dečanski, who ruled at the time, and of course his father, Lazar. in the services in honor of Lazar, he is called the “New Lazarus,” refer- ring to jesus’ friend, whom He raised from the dead just eight days before His own Resurrection. according to the tradition, the mar- tyred Prince was called Lazar to distinguish him from the Stefans at the time: Stefan Dušan and Stefan Dečanski, as well as his son Stefan Lazarević.
Prince Lazar Cephalophoros, wood carving, 17th century, Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade
nies blossomed from pools of blood.2 He was sixty years of age. Bayazid himself, taken aback by such a dignified com- mitment to the Lord jesus Christ on the part of the Saint,
   The Field of Kosovo is also known in Serbian epic Poetry as the Field of Blackbirds, mainly because of the black ravens which are plenteous there, and which feasted on the dead bodies of the fallen soldiers. See the poem, The Death of the Mother of the Jugović Brothers. Peonies, known as božurs in Serbian, which means “flowers of God,” are perennial flowers which grow on the plain. in many Serbian vil- lages in Kosovo it was customary to fast on Tuesdays in remembrance of the battle.

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