This week in Christian history: Prince leaves his throne to become a monk; archbishop executed

Serbian prince leaves throne to become a monk – circa March 23, 1196

Stefan Nemanja
Prince Stefan Nemanja of Serbia (c. 1116- c. 1200) was an Eastern European Orthodox Christian monarch who abdicated his throne to become a monk. |

This week marks the anniversary of when 80-year-old Prince Stefan Nemanja of Serbia abdicated his throne and became an Orthodox Christian monk.

A ruler known for fighting multiple wars and for building Orthodox monasteries, Prince Stefan transferred his royal authority to one of his sons at a council held in Ras.

“After his abdication, Nemanja took the name Symeon. He joined another son, Sava, at the famous monastic community at Mount Athos, Greece,” states the Christian History Institute.

“There Symeon and Sava acquired a decayed monastery, Hilander (also transliterated ‘Chilander’), which they refurbished and expanded to house a Serbian religious community. Within a decade, its numbers had swelled to two hundred monks. Because of the monks’ learning, it became a cultural magnet for Serbia.”

The Christian History Institute reports that while sources differ on the exact date of the prince’s abdication, “all agree the event took place on the 23rd or 25th of March in either 1195 (O.S.) or 1196 (if the new calendar is retroactively followed).”

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