2.2. TYPES OF SLAVA
The family slava is, as we have seen, the commemoration of the Christian saint on whose feast day our ancestors took Christianity and whom they chose to be their protector and representative in the eyes of God. Slava is inherited from the father to his sons and is almost never changed. Even in a case a family dies out, the Christians who inherit their possessions in most cases find it their duty to accept their slava next to the slava they already have. The same procedure is applied in the case of adopting a son, when the adopted son accepts the slava of his stepfather and stepmother. That is how we have families which celebrate more than one slava. A wife, should she remain a widow, keeps the slava of her husband. Since the slava goes from the father to a son, and further, to his whole offspring, all people venerating the same saint are considered to be relatives.
The church slavas are commemorations of the saint the temple is dedicated to, and he is venerated in the same way it is done in families.
The villages’ or towns’ slavas are commemorations of the saint who was chosen as their protector by a certain village or town, or to whom the people living there made a pledge in the time of need, so they venerate him as a way of thanks-giving for the successful elimination of the misery and trouble (for example, in the case of a disease, enemy attack, enslavery, fire, pestilence of people or cattle, great flood, and other natural disaster). On that day we go over fields in the country or in the main streets with a procession, and we offer prayers to God and the saint to endow this place, its local people and everybody else with well-being and happiness.
The protector of the Serbian school is the Serbian enlightener and first archbishop St Sava. St Sava is venerated in Serbian schools as a school slava since 1827.
Some Serbian societies and institutions can also have their slava – their patron saint whom they venerated and under whose protection they put themselves.
And not only societies and institutions. It is well-known that in the time of the Nemanjic dynasty the holy apostle proto martyr Stefan was the protector of the Serbian state. (Serbian money from that time shows St Stefan giving the ruler a cross or a banner; and every Serbian ruler, beginning with Stefan Nemanjic, have Stephen next to their given name – Stefan Uros, Stefan Milutin, Stefan Dusan).