Today, the Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates a holiday dedicated to the Holy King Stefan of Decani
Orthodox believers around the world today celebrate a great church holiday dedicated to the Holy King Stefan of Decani, popularly known as St. Martin’s Day. The holy martyr Stefan Dečanski was the king of Serbia, the son of King Milutin and the father of Tsar Dušan.
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According to folklore, Stefan Dečanski was blinded on the orders of his uninformed father, and drowned in old age on the orders of his son. When he went blind, Saint Nicholas called him in the temple on Ovče polje and promised to restore his sight.
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Saint Stephen lived in Constantinople as a prisoner for five years. After five years, Saint Nicholas miraculously restored sight to King Stefan, who immediately afterwards, out of gratitude, built the temple of Visoki Decani. The temple of Visoki Decani is one of the most beautiful buildings of Byzantine art and medieval architecture on the territory of the Serbian state.
Folk beliefs and customs
The days from Đurđica to Mratindan are called Mratinci, that is, wolf days, because Saint Mrata was the protector of wolves.
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There is a popular belief that Mrata summons all wolves these days and determines where and how many sheep they will eat. He looks at how much someone is working, and then the council with the wolves and directs them whose sheep to feed. It is believed that a host who is sinful and does not respect Saint Mrat can expect a hungry wolf in pens this year.
Many people are familiar with the saying “Saint Mrata, snow to the door”, which marks the beginning of the cold and snowy period of the year.
According to the beliefs in certain parts of Serbia, if the host accepts household chores on this day, the family will get better. In case he behaves spoiled and resentful, the year will be bad.
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