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Sunday, December 05, 2004

St. Sabbas [Savvas] the Sanctified

Today, December 5, is the feast of St. Savvas the Sanctified, a 6th century monk from Palestine. He founded a monastery in the desert wilderness between the Dead Sea and Jerusalem. It stands to this day and is occupied by Greek Orthodox monks. St. Savvas' relics also rest within the monastery church.

Here is a bit from the Life of St. Savvas, titled "Characteristics of the Saint."

"The divine Savvas possessed such grace that whatever he requested of God he received without fail, and he performed miracles. His body was always subject to his will; when he fasted during the Great Fast, he never fell ill due to abstinence; and even though at Lent he ate but once a week, he performed all his duties. He was always healthy and strong, as a man of sturdy and sound nature. As courageous as he was in body, so was he also in soul. In his outlook on matters, he never went to extremes; in his manner he was discreet, in speech always pleasant, in his habits very simple, in his opinions certain, and he loved everyone sincerely and without partiality."

Excerpted from The Lives of the Saints of the Holy Land and the Sinai Desert, (page 497) published by Holy Apostles Convent. (If you would like your own copy, write to them at: P.O. Box 3118, Buena Vista, CO 81211) I highly recommend this book. It's over 500 pages of ancient saints' Lives, complete with footnotes and illustrations.

Hymn to St. Savvas (Troparion, Tone 1)
Sanctified from youth, O righteous Savvas, you were a summit of righteousness equal to the Apostles. You led a heavenly life, and guided your flock to godliness by word and deed. And they cry to you with faith: Glory to Him Who has strengthened you; glory to Him Who has crowned you; glory to Him Who through you works healings for all.

Another Hymn to St. Savvas (Kontakion, Tone 8)
You were offered to God from childhood as a blameless sacrifice, as one dedicated to Him before birth, O blessed Savvas, adornment of the righteous and blessed dweller in the desert. Therefore we cry to you: Rejoice!


Blogger Nil Sorsky said...

You know what I love about St. Sava's life? If you read his life in the Prologue of Ochrid, St. Nikolai comments that St. Sava lived for five years in the wilderness as a hermit. He doesn't outright say this, but he implies in the next sentence that the thing that marked the end of this part of his life was that he "fulfilled the monastic life." In five years?! What kind of intense life of humility must he have lead to do this?! Can you imagine the love that he had to do this? It's incredible!

10:15 PM  

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Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, for thou hast born the Savior of our souls.