Commemorated on August 30
(Gabriel) I, Patriarch of Serbia (by familial lineage Raicha), occupied the
cathedra-seat in the mid-XVII Century, a time when the Moslem fanaticism had
become intense. In the urgent need for both cathedral and country the saint set
off for collecting alms to Walachia, and from there to Moscow.
And in Moscow in 1655
he was present together with the Patriarch of Antioch at a Church Sobor
(Council), which sought to correct various aspects of church books in accord
with the Greek and Old Slavonic texts. The saint brought as gift to the Russian
Church several manuscripts and three liturgies printed in the South. With
generous alms for his Church and country the saint returned to Serbia. His
cathedra-seat had been given over to another occupant, and moreover, Austrian
Jesuits had slandered him with treason before the vizier. The total innocence
of the saint was already evidenced from this, that the vizier made pretense to
spare his life and bestow a great official position, if the saint would betray
his faith in the Saviour. "I am completely innocent of state crimes, –
said Saint Gavriel, – this you yourself avow. To save my life by betrayal of
Christian faith I shall never agree to, while remaining of sound mind. Keep
your riches and honours, for me they are unneeded". After torture Saint
Gavriel was hanged in October 1659.
In the general
service of the Serblyak (collective services to Serbian saints) on
30 August are also remembered: Sainted Archbishop of Serbia Jakov (+ 3
February 1292), Sainted Bishop Gregory (a descendant of the reknown Neemanicha
lineage), and also the saints: Archbishop Savva III (1305-1316), and the
Patriarchs Kirill, Nikon, John, Maksim.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.