Solemn celebration of the Patron Saint Day of the Royal Family of Serbia – Saint Andrew the First-Called, was hosted today in the Royal Palace in Belgrade by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine. Attended by Mrs. Betty Roumeliotis, HRH Crown Princess Katherine’s sister.

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 Belgrade Archdiocese priests. Following the liturgy, the traditional 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 church ceremony and a lunch at the Palace were also attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Joanikije of Montenegro, Their Graces Bishops Pahomije of Vranje, Jovan of Sumadija, Ignatije of Branicevo, Andrej of Austria and Switzerland, Isihije of Valjevo, and Jerotej of Sabac, Their Graces Vicar Bishops of His Holiness: Stefan of Remesiana, Sava of Marca, Aleksej of Hvostan, Ilarion of Novo Brdo, and Dositej of Lipljan, Most Reverend Archimandrite Nektarije, main Secretary of the Holy Synod of Bishops, Most Reverend  Archimandrite Metodije, Father Superior of Holy Monastery Hilandar, with  brotherhood of the monastery.

Also, present were Dr. Vladimir Roganovic, Director of the Office for Religion of the Government of Serbia, Isak Asiel, the Rabbi of Serbia, Sead Nasufović, Reis-ul-ulema of the Islamic community of Serbia, Mustafa Jusufspahic, the Mufti of Belgrade, HE Dr. Jaroslav Javornik, Slovak Evangelistic Church, members of the Advisory Bodies of the Crown, and other friends of the Royal Family.

HRH Crown Prince Alexander thanked His Holiness and all the esteemed guests in his speech and also pointed out: “We have gathered here today in front of the holy icon, Slava cake, and the candle, to celebrate our Patron Saint 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. The candle that we light on the Day of our Holy Protector has always given us strength, even in the most difficult times. It was lit in the times when our people were enslaved, and in the war trenches. Its light has always shown us the way to follow and has given us courage and comfort.

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. I wish you to spend this blessed day and all the days to come in peace, prosperity, good health, and well-being”.

The present were also addressed by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Porfirije, who said that St. Andrew was the first Apostle who followed Christ, and the Royal House is the first home in our nation. Congratulating Crown Prince Alexander the Patron Saint’s Day, he added that Pateon Saint Day of the Royal family is the “slava” of our entire nation because when the head of the family celebrates, all the other members celebrate as well. And the head of the family for our entire people is the Royal House of Karadjordjevic. His Holiness added that our nation is blessed because it has its own dynasty, descended from our people. Many other nations would like to have what we have, but they would have to invent their own Royal Family, while our Royal Family is “bone of our bone, blood of our blood,” sprung from a root deeply planted into the very being of our people. The Crown Prince and his ancestors came from the very core of our people, and we are therefore truly blessed, His Holiness concluded in his speech during the “slava” lunch.