Preserve Hilandar

Sava Suzuki Michitaka, a Great Friend Of Serbia, Baptized In Hilandar, Passed Away


Sava Suzuki Michitaka, a respected Japanese professor of art history at Okayama University, Byzantinologist, and a great friend of Serbia, passed away on February 15, 2024, at the age of 73.

Born on October 18, 1950, he was baptized in Hilandar Monastery, being named Sava. Proficient in medieval iconography and frescoes, he developed a deep connection with Serbia, praising its cultural roots and spiritual balance. He embraced Orthodox Christianity at Hilandar 20 years ago, named after its patron saint, St. Sava.

The first time he came to Belgrade was in the seventies and it was on that occasion that he said:

„I felt a deep connection to Serbia because it was here that I discovered the roots of European culture. Contrary to the focus on material aspects in the West, Serbia has preserved the spiritual essence you seem to be completely unaware of. There is balance. When I first set foot on European soil, I came from Japan first by boat and then by train. What I was impressed with in Russia was the Byzantine art, especially the icons. Then, I arrived in Serbia and discovered that Byzantine art is even more beautiful and authentic here, with unparalleled masterpieces that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world.”

His initial visit to the Serbian Holy Mountain sanctuary, Hilandar, wasn’t planned for baptism.

However, during his stay, Michitaka Suzuki felt the need to undergo the ritual:

“I was feeling unprepared, as I didn’t know the prayers or how to make the sign of cross properly, but a deacon reassured me, saying: “Faith in God is sufficient. You will learn everything else.”

He brought the monograph “Hilandar” by Dimitrije Bogdanović, Dejan Medaković, and Vojislav Đurić to Hilandar as a gift, which he had translated into the Japanese language. In recognition of his contributions to fostering peaceful cooperation and friendly relations between Serbia and Japan, he was awarded the Order of the Serbian Flag, third degree. His efforts also played a role in the development of Serbian language studies and the education of numerous Serbian students in Japan.

He also played a significant role in the development of Serbian language studies and the education of numerous Serbian students in Japan.

Source: I. Micevic;