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Originally Prince Rastko Nemanjic, he was the first Patriarch of Serbia (1219-1233) and is an important Saint in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In his youth (around 1192) St. Sava escaped from home to join the Orthodox monastic colony on Mount Athos and was given the name Sava. He first traveled to a Russian monastery and then moved to a Greek monastery, Vatoped. At the end of 1197 his father, King Stefan Nemanja, joined him.
In 1198 the former prince and king restored the abandoned monastery Hilandar, which was at that time the center of Serbian Christian monastic life.
St. Sava's father took the monastic vows under the name Simeon, and died in Hilandar on February 13, 1200. He is also canonized, as Saint Simeon.
After his father's death, Sava retreated to an ascetic monastery in Kareya which he built himself in 1199. He also wrote the Kareya typicon both for Hilandar and for the monastery of ascetism.