One of the most complete collections of Ecclesiastical law in the Orthodox Church is St Sava’s Nomocanon, in Serbian called Krmčiја [krm-ija]. St Sava’s credit in writing the laws for Serbs is mostly in the selection of texts taken from Byzantine collections and the arrangement of the material. The collection had been edited even before St Sava worked out the independence for the Serbian Church in1219. When he organised the bishoprics in the Serbian Church, he gave each bishop a copy of the Nomocanon. St Sаvа wished the Church to be free, each ruler to have as little influence as possible – even though his brother, Stephen the First-Crowned, was the Serbian king at that time. The Nomocanon was also used in Russia, Bulgaria and later in Romania. There are several transcriptions and issues preserved. We may well say that Krmčiја was the beginning of the Serbian legislation.


The Serbian word krmčiја comes from krmа (the stern rudder), the place from which a boat is steered.