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Saint Sabas

Saint Sabas
  • Century: 5th & 6th Century
  • Patronage: -
  • Feast Day: December 5th

St. Sabas was born in Cappadocia, which is Turkey today.  He was the son of a military commander.  He was left in the care of his uncle when he was five, while his parents took care of military matters.  He remained there for three years, and then entered the nearby monastery of Bishop Flavian of Antioch.  The gifted child quickly learned to read and became an expert on the Holy Scriptures.  His parents returned and tried to urge Sabas to enter into marriage and leave the monastery, with no results.   

He received monastic tonsure at the age of seventeen.  He spent ten years at the monastery of Bishop Flavian, and then went to Jerusalem.  He then went to the monastery of St. Euthymius the Great, but he was sent to Abba Theoctistus, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict cenobitic rule.  Sabas lived here in obedience until the age of thirty.  

Sabas was given permission to seclude himself in a cave and live as a hermit.  He would return to the monastery on Saturdays, to participate in fellowship with his brethren, and for Divine praise.  Eventually he was permitted to remain in the life as a hermit for five years.  Euthymius literally directed the life of the young monk, and seeing his spiritual maturity, he began to take him with him, to the wilderness.  They set out each January 14, and remained in the wilderness until Palm Sunday.  Eventually Euthymius died, and Sabas withdrew into the life of a hermit, and started to build a following of monks that joined him.  

St. Sabas founded several monasteries.  It is claimed that many miracles took place through the prayers of St. Sabas, at the lavra, a spring of water welled up, during a time of drought they received abundant rain.  Also, there were healings of sick and the possessed.  He was ordained in 491, and appointed archimandrite of all the monasteries in Palaestina Prima.  He composed the first monastic rule of church services, for guidance of all the Byzantine monasteries.  He died in the year 532.  His relics were taken by the Crusaders in the 12th century and remained in Italy until Pope Paul VI returned them to the monastery in 1965 as a gesture of good will towards the Orthodox.  

Practical Take Away

St. Sabas was born in 439, in what is now, modern day Turkey.  He was a spirtitual man that lived as a hermit for many years, and then went on to found monateries.  His most notable monastery is known as “Mar Saba”.  He did a lot to promote the faith in the Orthodox Church in the Middle East.