Srpska Slava


Several days prior to the slava, a celebrant should inform his priest, in whose perish he lives, that he is about to celebrate and invite him to bless the slava water in his home.

For the blessing of the water one should prepare a candle, a bowl or a deep plate with water in it, a bouquet of basil, some frankincense, coals and the censer, and on an empty piece of paper they should write down the names of all family members, so the priest can say the names while praying for their health. – Nothing else should be on the table for the blessing, save for an icon or flowers, maybe. This table should be placed in front of the slava icon or near it, but always in a place which allows the priest to be facing the icon during the prayer and the blessing of the water.


If possible, the blessing of the water should be performed in the room with the saint’s icon. If the blessing of the water is not performed in the room with the icon, the priest should be asked to sprinkle the room and every other room in the house with holy water.

One must pay heed that the table for the blessing of the water, or the cutting of the slava cake, not be placed in front of any picture that could even remotely offense the holy acts and pious feelings.

One should also take heed where to place an icon. The slava icon should be in the most beautiful place in the room. – It is a rule that an icon be in the East. – (Since the days of yore the Orthodox Christians used to pray facing the East – the source of the light. The symbolical meaning of it is that the East, as the source of the light, represents Jesus Christ who is often referred to as the East (Luke 1: 78), the light (John 8: 12), the sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2).

Yet, if the Eastern side of the room is not appropriate for an icon, then one should pick the most beautiful location no matter the side of the world.

A lamp oil should burn in front of an icon (not only for the slava, but also on Sundays and other feast days).

Also, one should pay attention on having the coals ready when the priest is said to come. Should it happen that there is no fire, prepare a few pieces of torch, and if need be frankincense can be burnt and the house censed on them. [7]

A censer should also be ready to use for censing. (In the case a small hand censer can not be obtained, coal can be put in a small clay bowl placed on a small plate and handed thus to the priest. One should be aware of this: while the priest is censing the house or sprinkling it with holy water, you go before him and open the doors of those rooms you want censed or sprinkled by the priest. A closed door is a sign for the priest not to come into that room).

The list of the names should include the names of everyone living in the house, who one wishes to be mentioned by the priest during the prayer. The names should be clearly and nicely written.

It is understandable that the priest should be welcome in a clean and tidy home, and the households as well should be clean and tidy. If it is not possible, for any reason, to tidy the whole place, tidy at least the room where the ceremony is taking place. But, since the liturgy is performed in home not more than two or three times a year, it will not be to difficult for the hosts to put some extra effort, get an early start and prepare everything even before the scheduled time.

When the priest arrives, all family members present at the moment, even the young ones, that is those who help around the house, should participate in the the blessing of the water and pray to God together with the priest for the common and their own good and happiness.

In the song the priest sings and the prayers he reads while he is blessing the water, the Most-holy Theotokos is invoked to be a representative of people in front of God and to deliver them from disaster and wash them off their sins, for she is the salvation of all the Christians.

In the Gospel read during the blessing of the water it is said that the sick people, who were bathing in the bathouse nearJerusalem, were healed, because an Angel of God blessed its water. [8]

Then the priest prays to the Lord for the heavenly peace and salvation of our souls; for the world peace; for the prosper and unification of the God’s holy churches; for the priesthood and for the mankind; for the people; for the home where the water is being blessed and for everyone living there (mentioning on that occasion their names), and for everyone living in that place in the faith of Christ; for the good and calm weather and for the abundance of earthly fruits; for those sailing, travelling, ailing, suffering, for the captured and their delivery. – Then the priest prays to God to deliver us from any grief, anger, danger, and need, and, mentioning also the Most-holy Theotokos, sends away this prayer: ‘Protect us, rescue us, have mercy on us and save us, oh God, with Your Grace’.

Then through the prayer he invokes the power of the Holy Spirit to bless the water, so it can heal the body and soul of those who drink it, and eliminate anything that could harm that home. [9]

He also prays for all those who need the help of God, so, having tasted and being sprinkled with holy water, they can become the sons of God and heirs to the heavenly Kingdom; by mentioning all our saints and the saint we celebrate, he asks them to be our representatives and interpreters of our prayers in front of the God.

After he has blessed the water with a cross, the priest uses it to bless the people and home, and everybody present approach the cross and, having piously made the sign of the cross, venerate it by kissing it, and the priest sprinkles them with holy water.

Through the blessing of the water in our home, by the power of the Holy Spirit we and our home receive a blessing. So, having that in mind, we should not neglect the blessing of the water before the slava, so we can spiritually prepare for it in an appropriate manner. (See the Act of the blessing of the water, page 37).