Advent: December 5th
lavra - monastery consisting of a cluster of cells or
caves for hermits, with a church and sometimes a refectory at the
Saint Sabbas the Sanctified was born in the fifth century in
Cappadocia, in the pious Christian family of John and Sophia. His
father was a military commander. Journeying to Alexandria on
military matters, his wife went with him, but they left their
five-year-old son in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached
eight years of age, he entered the monastery of St. Flavian, located
nearby. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became an
expert on the Holy Scriptures. In vain, did his parents urge St.
Sabbas to return to the world and enter into marriage. At seventeen
years of age, he received monastic tonsure, and attained such
perfection in fasting and prayer that he was given the gift of
wonder working. After spending ten years at the monastery of St.
Flavian, he went to other monasteries. St. Sabbas lived in obedience
at this monastery until the age of thirty.
He was later blessed to seclude himself in a cave. On Saturdays,
however, he left his hermitage and came to the monastery, where he
participated in divine services and ate with the brethren. After a
certain time, St. Sabbas received permission not to leave his
hermitage at all, and he struggled in the cave for five years. After
several years, disciples began to gather around St. Sabbas, seeking
the monastic life. As the number of monks increased, a lavra sprang
up. When a pillar of fire appeared before St. Sabbas as he was
walking, he found a spacious cave in the form of a church.
St. Sabbas founded several more monasteries. Many miracles took
place through the prayers of St. Sabbas: at the lavra a spring of
water welled up; during a time of drought, there was abundant rain;
and there were also healings of the sick and the demoniacs.
The saint surrendered his soul to God in the year 532.