Memory of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified

The Church commemorates today one of the greatest figures of Orthodox monasticism: Saint Sabbas the Sanctified, and Martyr Diogenes.

Saint Sabbas was born in 439 AD to pious and wealthy parents. He came from the village of Mutalaska near Caesarea of Cappadocia and was the son of devout parents, John and Sophia. His father was a military commander and had to travel to Alexandria with his wife, entrusting the upbringing of Saint Sabbas to his uncle Hermias.

Soon, however, Sabbas was dissatisfied with the behavior of his relatives, who were bickering about his upbringing. At the age of eighteen, he went to a monastery where he lived in asceticism and excelled in the study of the Bible and of the liturgical books, intemperance, humility, and obedience to the will of God.

When he was thirty-five years old, he went to the desert and met some of the greatest ascetics such as Saint Euthymius the Great. According to the Synaxarion, he attained such perfection that he was not afraid of the demons and the beasts.

Throughout his life, he organized monasteries and guided people who were committed to the monastic life. He performed many miracles. However, he was scorned and derided by the people. He fought against the heresies and became an advocate of the Orthodox Church.

At the age of ninety-four, he fell asleep in the Lord in 534 AD. When the tomb of Saint Sabbas was opened for the burial of Abbot Cassian in 584 AD, his relic was found intact. Initially, the holy relics were kept in his monastery and then transferred to Venice.

At the initiative of Patriarch Benedict of Jerusalem, the Roman Catholic Church returned the relics to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1965 and the monastery holds them since then.

The tomb of Saint Sabbas is located at the Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas in the desert of Palestine and near many cave-hermitages.

Source: Church of Cyprus