Beautiful Churches: Temple of Saint Sava, Serbia
The Temple of Saint Sava in Belgrade is dedicated to the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church, a saint from the early 13th century who was an archbishop, a lawyer and a diplomat who wrote Serbia’s oldest known constitution. He stood as a national symbol for the Serbs during their war with the Ottomans, who burned his remains in 1594 during a Serbian uprising.
The Temple of Saint Sava was built on what is thought to be the site of Sava’s burning.
Construction on the church began in 1935, but stopped in 1941 in the Second World War when Belgrade was bombed by Germany. The Germans used it as a parking lot, then the Russians did. Construction did not begin again until 1985. The center dome was lifted up by cranes and was completed in 1989. The exterior is complete and the windows and bells are installed, but the internal decorations are still mostly incomplete.
Yet with all that, the church is impressive. It is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world and is in the form of a Greek cross (two bars perpendicular to each other and dividing each other in half) with a large central dome. The facade is white marble and granite. When the interior is complete, it will house a mosaic of Christ Pantocrator.