Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine, following centuries-old Serbian tradition, hosted today a solemn celebration of the Patron Saint Day of the Royal Family of Serbia – Saint Andrew the First-Called, in the Royal Palace in Belgrade.

His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia officiated the Holy Liturgy at the Royal Chapel dedicated to the Saint Protector of the Royal family, with the assistance of His Grace Bishop Dositej of Lipljan and Belgrade Archdiocese priests. Following the liturgy, the solemn act of cutting the Slava cake, a traditional bread prepared for the Patron Saint Day, at the Royal Palace’s Blue Salon was also officiated by His Holiness together with the Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The “Saint Simeon the Myrrh-flowing” choir sang at the cantor’s stand.

HRH Crown Prince Alexander thanked His Holiness and all the esteemed guests in his speech and also pointed out: “As people of faith, we have many holidays, but none of them speaks so much about our national being as this holy and solemn day. Patron Saint Day has always been one of the most important and holy traditions of the Serbian people. It is what kept us through the centuries, through all the challenges and difficulties. It is the unbreakable part of who we really are; the bond we have with our past, and the safe keeper of our future.

When the times are hard, we put our hands together in prayer, and ask our Saint for guidance and relief. When they are good, we thank him for the blessings sent to us. Also, we always humbly ask our Protector’s help, so that we do not exalt ourselves too much, but remain humble in front of our Creator. The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called is the Patron Saint of my family. We send our prayers to him to send his blessing to our home, our people, and all the people in the world. We will overcome all temptations and we will not fail our ancestors or descendants if we are united as a nation, but also, as God’s people.”

The church ceremony and a lunch at the Palace were also attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Joanikije of Montenegro, Their Graces Bishops Jovan of Sumadija, Ignatije of Branicevo, Isihije of Valjevo, Jerotej of Sabac, and Vicar Bishop of His Holiness Dositej of Lipljan.

Also, Dr. Vladimir Roganovic, Director of the Office for Religion of the Government of Serbia, Mrs. Katarina Pavičić, Assistant Minister of Defence of Serbia, ef. Senad Halitović, Reis-ul-ulema of the Islamic community of Serbia, ef. Eldin Ašćerić, Secretary General at Islamic Community of Serbia, Muhamed ef Ziljkic, Mufti of Serbia and Vojvodina, HE Dr. Bela Halas, Bishop of the Christian Reformist Church, HE Dr. Jaroslav Javornik, Slovak Evangelistic Church, members of the Advisory Bodies of the Crown, and other friends of the Royal Family were present at the celebration of the Royal Patron Saint Day.

The present people were also addressed by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porfirije, who spoke about the essence of Christian faith being in the endurance of all challenges brought to us in the form of the cross we are all bearing, adding “That is why I wish you patience on this day, that you endure all the blows, because your house and your head is something that, in the national, people’s, state sense, historically represent what we are. Today is the day dedicated to the Apostle Andrew the First-Called, and in addition to the fact that it is a great blessing for all of us and a special blessing for this home, the Patron Saint Day of the house of Karađorđević in a way also reveals the recognition of the house of Karađorđević and the Royal Family and reveals its cross-bearing journey, on the path of resurrection.”