Srpska Slava


If the cutting of the slava cake is performed in church, and not at home, one should ask in advance, a couple of days earlier, in church at what time is the cutting of the slava cake taking place (usually it happens early in the morning).

At the slava day the host takes the slava cake and koljivo wrapped in a clean white scarf to church, along with some red wine in a small bottle and a smaller candle to put into the wheat and light it to burn during the ceremony. If possible, the host should take the cake to church; if not, some of his household should do it, and not anyone else! One also brings a paper with the names of all the family members so the priest mentions them while praying.


Parents who take the cake to church should also bring their grown kids to participate in an act of praying so the memories on these glorious days and our lovely traditions imprint as deep as possible in their young souls.

Normally, when Matins ends the priest censes the slava koljivo, cake and wine, a Troparion is sung to the saint, and the priest reads the prayer over the koljivo and blesses it. (See: The blessing of the koljivo, page 46).


In that prayer the priest asks the Lord God to bless all gifts made ready for the saint; to multiply them in the celebrating home and in the whole world; to cleanse from sins and bless everyone who has prepared the gifts; and those who will taste them; to grant all the wishes and desires, concerning their better living on this earth and on heaven, to those who prepared the koljivo and brought it to be sanctified and blessed in the memory of the saint they celebrate.

Then the priest blesses the wine and the slava cake, praying to God to accept the offered sacrifice in commemoration of a saint being celebrated.

Then he takes the cake, cuts it open in the form of the cross on the bottom, pours wine over it making the sing of the cross with it, and turns it around together with the celebrant singing these three songs.



The first song is about the martyrs and the saint we celebrate, all of them being our delegates in prayer in front of God and teachers of faith and moral purity:

‘Svjati mučenici, iže dobrje stradalčestvovavše i
vjenčavšesja, molitesja ko Gospodu, pomilovatisja dušam našim’.


The second song venerates Jesus, and it is a praise to Apostles, and the joy to martyrs:

‘Slava Tebje, Hriste Bože, apostolov pohvalo, mučenikov
radovanije, ihže propovjed Trojica jedinosuščnaja’.


The third song depictures the apparition of the Son of God in a human body – through birth.

‘Isaije likuj, Djeva imje vo črevje i rodi sina
Emanuila, Boga že i čelovjeka; vostok imja jemu, jegože
veličajušče Djevu ublažajem’.

Then they break the cake in two halves, and, each holding his half, put it back together. While kissing the cake the priest says:

‘Hristos posredje nas’ (‘Christ is among us’),

and the celebrant also kisses the cake and answers:

‘I jest i budet’ (‘He is and He will be’).

They do this three times. Then the celebrant takes the cake from the priest, as well as the koljivo, and takes them back home where he places them on the table or in front of the icon.

At home he lights the slava cake, censes it together with the icon and the households, and they all pray to the Lord and to their saint, like they did on the Eve of the slava. (See pages 22-23).

After the prayer, the households congratulate the slava to the host and to each other, and kiss.