The (UNABBRIDGED) Life and Struggles of Our Holy Father Amongst The Saints SAVVAS the Sanctified

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Whose Memory the Holy Church Celebrates on the 5th / 18th (Old Calendar) of December And on October 13th on the occasion of the return of Saint Savvas’ relics to Palestine after being stolen by Latins

(Εορτή: Σάββας, Σάβας, Σάββας, Σαββούλης, Σαβούλη, Σαββούλα, Σαβούλα , “Βούλα” / Feast: Savvas, Sabbas, Savas, Sabas, Savvoula, “Voula”, Savvouli, Savvitsa, Savitsa)

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Troparion of St Sabbas the Sanctified- tone 1
Sanctified from youth, O righteous Sabbas,/ thou wast a summit of righteousness equal to the Angels./ Thou didst lead a heavenly life, and guide thy flock to godliness by word and deed./ And they cry to thee with faith:/ Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; Glory to Him Who has crowned thee;/ Glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O blessed Sabbas, thou wast offered from thine infancy through thy great virtue as a pure and spotless sacrifice unto God, Who ere thy birth, verily foreknew thee; wherefore thou wast an adornment of the righteous Saints, an all-praised founder of cities in the wilderness. Hence, I cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father of great renown.

BRIEF READING OF VENERABLE SAINT SAVVAS'S LIFE
Our Venerable, Godbearing Father Sabbas the Sanctified (533)
"This Saint was born in 439 in Moutalaska, a small village of Cappadocia. He entered the arena of the monastic life from childhood and was under that master trainer of monastics, Euthymius the Great, the teacher of the desert. He became the spiritual father of many monks and an instructor for the monasteries in Palestine, and was appointed leader (archimandrite) of the desert-dwellers of Palestine by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In his old age he went to Constantinople, to the Emperors Anastasius and Saint Justinian the Great, in behalf of the Orthodox Faith and the dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon. Having lived ninetyfour years, he reposed in 533. The Typicon for the ecclesiastical services had its beginning in the monastery established by this righteous one."

THE CHILDHOOD OF ST. SAVVAS
Our wondrous father Savvas, great in virtue, was from the village of Mutalascas in Cappadocia where, in the year 439, he was born to devout and eminent parents, John and Sophia. When the child was five years of age, his parents went to Alexandria on business of military importance, for his father served in the army. They left Savvas and his entire estate with one of his father’s brothers, named Hermias, who was to undertake his education in the event of his parents’ death. Therefore, the child was reared in his uncle’s house. However, his aunt was bad tempered and ill-disposed and apt to take offence for the slightest reason. Thus, Savvas departed and went to another brother of his father, named Gregory. He spent only a little while there, yet all observed and admired his upright conduct for by no means did he play as other children, or engage in other mischievous pastimes, but was known even then as a “prudent Old Man.” Approximately twenty stadia from Mutalascas was the Monastery of Flavian. The excellent Christian youth desired to strive for his salvation, and he disdained wealth, money, worldly fame and everything else that captivates the spirit of youth. Therefore despising every bodily delight for the sake of divine love, he betook himself to the aforementioned monastery, begging the superior to number him amongst his flock and to tonsure and make him a monastic, The Abbot received him with joy, observing his willingness and Godly inclinations. However, the uncles of Savvas went to the monastery, and, plying him with various reasons and exhortations, they strove to dissuade him from remaining in the monastery, saying that it was better to be married, to have children and to enjoy a life similar to their own, instead of enduring hardships and ascetical labors. But Savvas, being wise and sensible, did not heed their spiritually harmful but unsuccessful words, preferring to remain in the house of God, rather than live with his relatives. He called to mind the parable of the rich man and Lazarus [Lk. 16: 19-31}: the rich man had great wealth on earth and every comfort, yet when he needed a drop of water, no one gave him any, and he was grievously tormented by his burning tongue. Again, the poor man was in straits and afflictions on earth, yet went to the Bosom of Abraham and enjoyed ineffable and everlasting delight.

THE MONASTERY OF FLAVIAN
Thus, the goodly youth showed himself from childhood to be wiser than his elders, judging it foolish to choose eternal damnation for temporary pleasures. Accordingly, he continued in the monastery, in subjection to all its ordinances, and hardships required by the monastic way of life, which he indefatigably kept. His continence and extreme abstinence attained to a level such as the following story will portray. One day, while working in the garden, he espied a tree laden with fragrant and ripened apples, and as a man, he was overcome and took one to eat. Afterwards, he recognized that it had been an allurement of the devil

designed to bring him to violate the appointed hour (that is, to eat before the assigned time). He called to mind the extreme evil that befell our first parents when they did not keep the divine command. Therefore Savvas cast the apple to the ground and did not eat it. In fact, not only on this one occasion, but thereafter, he imposed upon himself a rule never to partake of apples for the remainder of his life, and utterly vanquished and trampled bravely upon the demon of gluttony and the rest of the passions, so much so that he surpassed all the other monastics of the monastery in vigilance, prayerfulness, humility and all other spiritual accomplishments, so that from his youth he was vouchsafed to perform miracles, one of which is the following. One particular day it rained, and the baker was soaked and was at a loss how to dry his garments; inasmuch as there was no sun, he placed them in the oven. The following day, he forgot to remove them and lit the oven to bake bread. Then he remembered his clothing and grieved, for the fire was lit and it was impossible to extinguish it immediately. The divine Savvas, who disdained his body, straightway went into the oven and retrieved the garments undamaged, without so much as singing a single hair of his head. They that saw this marveled, and from that hour they respected him not as a child, but as a revered elder (which presaged his future virtues and the boldness before God of which he is deemed worthy). After he passed a sufficient time a Flavian’s, he earnestly desired to go up to Jerusalem, on the one hand to become familiar with the Holy Land (Palestine), and also to search out righteous and holy men from whom to profit spiritually. Therefore, he besought the abbot to permit his departure. The abbot, however, would not relent, for he desired Savvas to remain in his monastery, to be of benefit to the brethren. Wherefore, he advised Savvas to abide in the coenobium; for it was better to submit to others, than do one’s own will. But God, who foreknew the future, sent an angel to the abbot to proclaim the following message: “Do not attempt to hinder Savvas any further, but permit his departure to pursue his desire.” Consequently, the abbot released him. Savvas took leave of all the brethren and departed. At that time he was eighteen years old, ten of which he had spent in the monastery, for he had been only eight years old when he was garbed in the Schema and had forsaken everything that is of this world.

SAINT SAVVAS IN JERUSALEM
He arrived in Jerusalem during wintertime and lodged in the monastery of the holy Passarion, who was an elder from Cappadocia. Archimandrite Passarion (commemorated on the 11th of August) had taken part in the consecration of St. Efthimios’ church. He was looked back to as a primary figure in the monastic life of Jerusalem, where he founded a famous almshouse outside the east gate of the city and a great and beautiful coenobium within the walls of Holy Sion for the devotees of that shrine, for the service and psalmody of those who without ceasing glorify the Lord. 2 Savvas tarried there until winter passed. News of his arrival spread everywhere, and, learning of his divinely-inspired mode of life, many vied among themselves, desiring to acquire him for their monastery. However, the blessed one did not wish to join any of them, for he loved solitude. He also had heard of the illustrious Efthimios’ virtues that he illumined the “Desert of the East” and shone more brightly than the sun in his teachings and miracles. His heart was consumed with the desire to become a disciple of the great Efthimios-for verily, they loved the same things. Savvas desired to nourish his soul spiritually with Efthimios’s virtues and to grow.

SAINT SAVVAS MEETS SAINT EFTHIMIOS
Savvas repaired thither and fell at the feet of the holy Efthimios, entreating him with tears to receive him into his flock and to shepherd him with the rest of the sheep. Now Efthimios, being experienced and eminent in spiritual struggles, took into account the youth’s tender years and did not wish to accept him immediately into his Lavra, but sent him to the monastery which he had apart from the Lavra, where Theoktistos (commemorated the 3 rd of September) was in charge. He explained to Savvas that he should remain steadfast there until he grew a beard and became well instructed in the precepts of his monastic calling. The blessed Savvas, who was already trained in all the virtues, was not opposed to this, but said to Efthimios with respect and humility: “Holy Father, I came here on account of thy sanctity, that thou mightest guide me to salvation, and I am ready to obey all they soul-saving commands.” Nevertheless, Efthimios sent Savvas to Theoktistos, with a written message to the affect that Savvas was replete with the Holy Spirit, and that Theoktistos should govern him carefully, for, in the future, Savvas would fill the whole world with his glory. Theoktistos acknowledged Efthimios’ foresight, and verily, all this occurred. (Efthimios built the huge Palestinian Lavra and countless monastics flocked there. Afterwards, Savvas became a standard and model of the loftiest level of sanctity, for he provided the monks with laws and ordinances, just as he had learned from the great Efthimios. 3This also included the provision that they were never to accept a beardless one, which to this day is preserved irrevocably). Therefore, the divine Savvas stayed with the blessed Theoktistos and ministered diligently in all manual labors - that is, carrying wood and water, tilling the garden and doing other heavy work, which he executed assiduously, for he was not only humble and good-natured, but was powerful physically and tall in stature. Wherefore he assisted everyone happily, and all were thankful and loved him. However, despite his bodily labors, the blessed one was never absent or missing from nocturnal prayers and services, and he performed his daily tasks tirelessly. Futhermore, in the night offices, he was first present, and all marveled to behold such blameless conduct and perfect propriety in one so young. But the devil also took notice of his eager readiness and attempted to lead him away from divine love in the following manner.

SAINT SAVVAS IN ALEXANDRIA
There was a brother in the monastery named John, from Alexandria, who oft-times besought the blessed Theoktistos to give him leave to go to Alexandria, where his parents had reposed, that he might put their estate in order. Furthermore, he requested that Savvas be given him as a traveling companion, for he was strong, skilled and eager in every service he performed. With reluctance, Theoktistos consented and sent Savvas to Alexandria to investigate John’s affairs and to execute all the required particulars. However, in Alexandria there were also the parents of Savvas, who recognized their son and were determined to hold him and to coerce him by various means. They endeavored to have him replace his father in the army and, with it, to receive honor and glory from the Emperor. The Blessed Savvas perceived this to be an invention of the evil one, that, by the love and favor displayed by his parents, he might impede and even drive Savvas away from his spiritual exercises and make him turn back. He answered them with wisdom and prudence: “It is not proper to love you more than my master, for He said: ‘He that loves their Father and Mother more than ME is not worthy of ME’ [Mt. 10:37], nor to prefer the temporal army before that of the Gospel, for whosoever deserts the army of the earthly emperor is severely punished and censured; how much more will I, wretched that I am, heap dishonor upon myself by holding contempt the heavenly King and violating the Angelic Schema? Therefore, if you want me to have you as my parents, do not raise this subject anymore!’ Therefore, they withdrew from him, not being able restrain him. But they insisted that he take at least a certain amount of gold (twenty gold pieces) for his support, maintenance and minor expenses. However he took only three coins, and this only so as not to offend them, yet, in so doing, he did not condescend to them, for when he returned to the preparatory monastery, he gave them over to Theoktistos, in order not to possess anything himself.

SAINT THEOKTISTOS REPOSES
When Savvas had sojourned there for ten years, the holy Theoktistos reposed, and the great Efthimios appointed another abbot named Longinus. At the time of the elevation of Longinus, Savvas was thirty years of age, being skilled and perfect in every form of ascetism. He had a great yearning to retire to a solitary and

desolate area and requested permission to depart from Longinus, who in turn wrote to the great Efthimios to apprise him of the matter, for, without his counsel, Longinus would do nothing. Now the illustrious Efthimios knew the extraordinary fervor of Savvas with regard to spiritual matters and his divine love, so he replied that by no means should Savvas be detained, but should be left to his own, to fulfill his desire . When Savvas received his sanction, he went to a cave which was located to the south of the monastery and there remained from Monday to Friday, without sustenance, occupying himself with prayer and applying himself to his handiwork. Every Saturday, he brought to the monastery fifty straw baskets. Afterwards, he would gather up palms, that is date-palm leaves, for his weekly work, and would enter into the cavern. There he lived for five years.

LENTEN RETREAT
The divine Efthimios took note of Savvas' manner of life and, at thirty-five, called him "the young elder." Efthimios had a yearly custom, after the "Feast of the Theophany", to enter the inner desert and struggle ascetically the entire Great Fast. He took Savvas into his company, together with another disciple, Domition of Melitene, one of the deacons of the Lavra (where he continued to serve until his death.). 4 Accordingly, they would return again to the Lavra for the Holy Resurrection (Pascha). Therefore, the three made ready and repaired into the utter wilderness adjacent to the Dead Sea. Inasmuch, as they had walked long and far, and the land was barren, and the days were scorching and excessively hot, Savvas became dehydrated and exhausted. Unable to walk any further, he fainted, falling to the ground like one dead. Now when Efthimios saw him thus, he was quite distressed and went a little distance apart and made entreaty before God, saying: "O God our Master, Have Compassion on thy servant, this young man, and bestow water, that he not die of thirst and the burning heat!" Following Efthimios' prayer, he struck the earth three times with his hoe, and the earth aroused by divine power, hearkened--O The Wonder!-- and from a waterless and barren desert sprang forth delicious and sweet water. Moreover , at the moment Savvas refreshed himself, he invisibly obtained divine vigor and no longer weary or faint on the arduous road ahead. After they arrived at an appropriate spot, the holy Savvas exerted himself in every way to emulate Efthimios the Great; him alone did he have as an archetype of godliness, a living icon and encouragement, so as not to deviate ever from his rules and customs. But, within a short span, Efthimios, the superior one in virtue, departed to the Lord. After the repose of their teacher, his disciples gradually became careless and did not pursue righteousness or their ascetic exercises eagerly. Wherefore, the divine Savvas prolonged his exile in the wilderness near the Jordan River, during the same time and in the same place where the great Gerasimos struggled. Savvas was thirty-five years when the devil commenced his most severe warfare against him. Not only invisibly did he subject Savvas to troubles, but tempted him secretly, as he acts against all the virtuous. Both this kind and obvious temptations the treacherous one perpetrated in order to intimidate him so that he would not continue to dwell in the wilderness.

THE STRUGGLES OF SAINT SAVVAS
One particular night, upon reclining to rest a little from the great exertion he had put forth to perform his ascetic endeavors, he saw nearby a serpent, scorpions and other species of reptiles, which advanced and threatened to sting or bite him. At first, Savvas was frightened, but then he reasoned within himself that this was a snare of the demons, and so he valiantly arose and prayed thusly: “Thou shalt not be afraid be afraid for the terror by night”…and “upon the asp and basilisk shalt thou tread…”[Ps. 90:5, 13]. When the blessed man pronounced these words, all those venomous creatures vanished like smoke. Within a few days, once more the devil assumed the appearance of a fierce and huge lion moving as though to lunge at him. However, the saint did not behave in the least like a coward, but declared, completely unruffled: “If thou hast received authority from God to assail me, be not negligent about it, for I am prepared to be devoured by thee according to the divine behest, but, if not, why dost thou vainly trouble thyself? I am able to tread upon thee by my Master’s power.” After Savvas uttered these words, the saint subdued not only intangible creatures, but, bodily ones as well, the latter of which he shared his cave with and in no way was harmed by them.

THE FOUR HAGARENES
On one occasion, he encountered four Hagarenes on the road, who were suffering from extreme hunger, to their great imperilment. Therefore, when they saw Savvas, they asked him if he had anything to eat. With compassion, he took them to his cave, spread his mantle (monastic cloak of sheepskin, also called melote and might be used as a blanket for the monk to sleep on; it could be used for carrying a monk’s few possessions.) 5 over the ground and treated them hospitably with whatever he had, that is, the hearts of reed and canes and wild roots of plants. The Hagarenes respected his goodness and marveled at his love towards strangers. Now, they ate whatever they could find and, thanking him, departed. Within a few short days, they brought him cheeses, breads and dates. The blessed one, as an industrious honeybee, collected in every place what was useful, thus profited spiritually in this instance also and said unto himself: “Woe to thee my miserable soul, ungrateful before the Benefactor! Behold, for one small and mean favor that the barbarians obtained, many gifts from the Creator, what recompense do we offer? Which of His Commandments do we keep? What excuse will we give to the Lord in the Hour of Judgement?”

ANTHOS
Savvas had a monastic friend named Anthos, who accompanied him into the desert, that they might labor in ascetic practices together. (It was through this Anthos that Savvas became friends with blessed Theodosios the Coenobiarch.) However, in a few days, certain perverse and wayward barbarian men came thither, intending to slay them. In order to find some small excuse, the barbarians dispatched to the cave one of their group, who would pick a quarrel with the ascetics and feign having suffered an injury at their hands. They wished to slander the saint falsely in order to provoke him to take offence and utter one word of rebuke and, on that pretext, they would slay him. Meanwhile, the others stood without, but as they began to move forward, the saint perceived the approaching peril. He then raised up as a weapon the following holy prayer, saying before the Lord: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God!” [Ps. 19;7] (And the remainder of the psalm), where upon - O The Wonder!!-the ground was riven apart and swallowed the one that entered the cave. The others, witnessing such a dreadful sight, were aghast and quaked with fear and fled in terror. Henceforward, neither they, nor any other malefactors, dared to attempt anything against them; furthermore, not even the demons undertook to trouble them. Wherefore, Savvas dwelt without apprehension in the desert.

THE VISION
It was after this period of time that Savvas founded the Great Lavra, famed for its excellence and spaciousness, in the following wondrous manner.:
After Savvas spent four years in the wilderness, on one occasion he went up a high mountain, where it is said that the blessed Empress Evdokia (commemorated on the 13th of August) was instructed by the great Efthimios. Once there, Savvas passed the night in prayer and beheld a wondrous vision. A most beautiful woman appeared to him, garbed in a robe of light, and revealed to him a wadi which ran southward to Siloam and said the following: “If thou desirest with all thine heart to convert this place into a city, stop and look to the east of this wadi that you see. Opposite the wadi, there is a cave, which is uninhabited. Go and dwell therein, and I will send thee assistance from on high, for God, ‘Who gives to the beasts their food, and to the younglings of the

ravens that call upon Him,’ [Ps. 146:9-10], He will provide for thee.” At that point, the vision ended. Afterwards, the saint was filled with joy and gladness, and, as if wisely guided aright by divine providence, he entered into the cave. The area was quite impassable, and he made his way aloft with extreme difficulty. Consequently, whenever he required water from the spring called Eptastoma, He had to travel fifteen stadia (nearly two miles) from his cavern. As a result, he had a rope made to hang down from his lodging to the foot of the hill in order to facilitate matters. Apart from this, he employed no other convenience or comfort for bodily need. Moreover, he sustained himself with only the herbs that sprang up spontaneously near the cave. But God, Who prompted him to inhabit this place, sent him aid according to His divine promise in this manner: He enlightened the Ishmaelites that had revered Savvas (and sent cheeses, breads, dates and other various edibles -see “Four Hagarenes”) to furnish him provisions there too, not only on that one occasion, or twice or thrice, but many times, as if they were offering him tribute. At that time, he was forty years old. It was then that Anastasios was Archbishop of Hierosolyma (Jerusalem)who, after completing nineteen years as Patriarch, died at the beginning of July, leaving Martyrios as his successor; it was during the reign of the Emperor Zeno. After Martyrios reigned for eight years, reposing on April 13th, he was succeeded by Salust (Sallustios). 6

THE LAVRA
The saint dwelt in this cave for five years with great silence, and would spend his time in prayer to God. Now from that time, the attempts of the demons were futile, and they fled, not being to look upon him. Therefore, he had a respite from the demons. Moreover, he was also at peace with men. He received others into his most excellent synodia who kept the commandments of the Lord precisely; they were attracted to Savvas as a magnet to iron through his irreproachable life and good repute, notwithstanding his superlative virtues. Therefore, slowly Savvas began to receive all them that came to remain with him. Many anchorites, who were scattered like sheep, came and resided with Savvas. Among them was Saint John, who later became the abbot of the New Lavra; Blessed James, who later established the Lavra of the Towers at Jordan; Severian, who was revered amongst the monastics for his spiritual accomplishments and his building of the Monastery of Carparvaricha; the great Firminus, who established a Lavra in the area of Michmash; similarly, Julian, who was called Kyrtos and reestablished the Lavra of Kelkerava, which is located near the Jordan; likewise, many others “whose names are in the book of life.” 7 Inasmuch as they that flocked to him increased, he was compelled to build cells in the manner of a lavra, to work the land and to perform other services necessary for their bodily needs. First, they constructed a fountain towards the northern side of the mountain, where there is a spring by the wadi. Later, they erected a church (katholikon) and expanded the lavra. Since the holy temple was without a priest, whomever visited and happened to be a priest, Savvas obliged to serve “the Divine Liturgy”. Savvas was very temperate and humble-minded , and he revered the magnitude and dignity of the order of the priest. For this reason, he, declined, to be ordained himself, nor were his monks ordained, for he thought that no religious man could aspire to that dignity without presumption. Savvas was both sensible and acclaimed in the monastic profession. He strengthened the brotherhood every day and hour in whatever they asked; he advised some and others he reproved. To put it simply, he exhorted and incited all to remain steadfast and brave before the temptations of the demons and to bear magnanimously the hardships of the eremitical life without any sadness, but rather, to rejoice cheerfully in the hope of the future rewards, whereby, with a little effort here, they might enjoy paradise hereafter. He said these things in addition to many other instructions, for Savvas was ever ready to clear away every stumbling block and hindrance and to have his disciples soar to virtue above the snares of the evil one, and this he accomplished. He took special care for all their bodily necessities, that they might not be overburdened by deprivations and turn back into the world.

THE WATER SUPPLY
As we mentioned earlier, the water supply was quite a long distance from his cavern, he felt sympathy for the monks because they were distressed by the extreme inconvenience of fetching it. Wherefore, one night, the saint fervently besought the Lord with this prayer: “O Master, God Almighty, if according to thy hidden wisdom and economy and the good pleasure of thy Grace that Thy blameless servants inhabit this place and praise Thee unceasingly, look down in Thy loving-kindness upon us and command Thine earth to put forth a spring of water nearby for our refreshment and enjoyment.” Thus, he prayed, and immediately he heard a raping noise down in the wadi. When he leaned over to look, he saw a wild ass (for there was a full moon), which struck the ground with its hoof, and as he made a small pit, water oozed forth, and the beast drank of it. On beholding this sight, Savvas exalted greatly, recognizing it as a visitation of divine providence. He descended with a hoe to dig a little more in that spot and, straightway-O Thine Inexpressible Grace, O Master!!-sweet water sprang forth, which he carried back to the lavra, with this water, all the fathers were and are served to this day; in the winter it does not overflow, nor at harvest time does it diminish, but is ever abundant and sufficient.

THE GOD-BUILT CHURCH
On another occasion, when the saint happened to be in another part of the wadi, reciting the Psalms of David, he saw near the precipice a pillar of fire the top of which reached to the very heights of Heaven. Beholding this phenomenon, he was struck with both great joy and fear, realizing it was a mysterious wonder. Even when it had been there six days, the vision of the fiery column still persisted. Nearby, the saint saw an extraordinary cave, literally resembling a church. It had, toward the eastern part, a recess (a natural apse), not made by man, but constructed by the divine right hand of God. To the south, it possessed a broad entranceway, which allowed the sun to fill the interior of the cave with light, and down in the lower levels, a mild and refreshing breeze would descend. The northern side had an adjacent cave that contained a chamber which would serve as a sacristy. Therefore, when Savvas discovered this God-Built structure, he converted it into a splendid temple employing human craftsmanship wherever nature was lacking. He ordered all the brethren to meet with him every Saturday and Sunday to chant the divine services in public worship. They soon grew to 150 fathers. He observed on top of the high cliff above the cave church a certain rock formation. He built for himself, a Tower from which a secret tunnel led down to the sacristy. He did this so that he might rest quietly when he desired; and from this he would enter the church from the interior. 8 ***
The God-Build Church - Theoctistos-must at once have reminded Savvas of the Cave Church of St. Theoctistos, where he served his novitiate, which is in plan remarkably similar, though, on a smaller scale, Fear of ordination made Savvas put off its consecration. The secret tunnel which he made was blocked, after his death, by the construction of the cisterns. Gifts began to come in, which he spent mostly on building. The Patriarch Martyrios knew him of Old, and no one dared oppose him. Chitty, pp. 106-107

TARES AMONG THE WHEAT
Since his fame spread throughout the world, many devout people gathered there and brought him alms to be applied to buildings and other necessities which

daily life demands, for the number of monastics under his direction increased greatly. Whatever donations came in, the blessed man did not keep but spent in building cells and on a variety of other projects, However, oft-times ‘tares sprout among the wheat’ [Mt. 13:25], as do briers in the vineyard, just as it happened when a disciple became a betrayer (Judas), or when Cain committed fratricide [Gen 4:8], and in many other similar instances, all these came to pass through envy, as is recounted in a vast number of books. In like manner, this occurred in the synodia of the holy Savvas to certain dissatisfied ones, who were not really disciples, but rather rebels with perverse ways. They hated the blessed man and sought some pretext, if they could, to injure him. Therefore, they went to see the then Patriarch of Jerusalem. Since they could not accuse him of being a transgressor, they slandered him. They claimed he was unworthy to shepherd such a great flock of monastic and requested that the Patriarch appoint another abbot. And, in order to prevent him from attaining the priesthood, they said many other things, even referring to Savvas as ignorant and boorish. The Patriarch at that time was Sallustios (Salust) (486-494), who esteemed the saint for his merit and did not give any credence to their lies and wily words. However, in order to pacify them somewhat, he said to them: “Remain here until Savvas comes, and then I will carefully examine the matter.” A certain presbyter named Kyrikos, who was abbot of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Holy Resurrection) and Stavrophylax (Cross-Warden), was present and heard everything they said, and addressed them: “Did Savvas receive you into that place, or did you receive him?” They answered: “He, of course, accepted us. But, since he is very uneducated, and we are great in number, he is incapable of governing us!” The Thrice-Blessed Kyrikos responded: “If he, as you confess, assembled you all in that place, and converted the wilderness into a true habitation, much more will he govern the land and yourselves, who gathered you and called you into his synod; for God, who collaborated to establish a Lavra, will help Savvas much more with governing it!” Then Patriarch Sallust dismissed them, saying : “Go now, consider the matter well, and come again another day.” 9 Consequently, they tarried there, believing that the patriarch would divest Savvas of being the monastery’s superior and guardian and appoint another abbot in his stead. However, when the blessed man went up to Jerusalem, the patriarch, being a discerning judge, did not question Savvas. Instead of bringing forth the accusations of those present, he ordained him to the priesthood in 492 A.D.. afterwards, in the presence of Savvas’ accusers, he affirmed: “BEHOLD, now comes your abbot, who has been appointed by the Lord and not by Man; we have ordained him, not for his own interest, but for thine own!” Immediately, after this announcement, the patriarch, Savvas, and his former calumniators returned to the lavra. Indeed, their first act was to consecrate the holy church. Therefore, they constructed a Holy Table (altar table), in which they deposited many holy relics, and thus it was consecrated on the 12 th of December. At that time, Savvas was fifty-three years old, and Emperor Anastasios was reigning (491-518).

THE SAINT INJURES HIMSELF
The saint was accustomed to maintaining and imitating the precepts of St. Efthimios (Eftimios) the Great. As we formerly mentioned (see: “Lenten Retreat”), St. Efthimios had the custom of withdrawing from the Lavra from the 20 th of January until the Holy Resurrection (Pascha). Following his example, Savvas also observed this rule and departed after the celebration of the Feast of Saint Anthony on the 17 th of January in his own lavra, going to his old Master’s Monastery for his memorial (mnimosino/panikhida) on the 20th, after which he would go off into the wilderness, to return to his lavra on the eve of Palm Sunday. On one occasion, he crossed over the Dead Sea and noticed a remote islet, bereft of every comfort and consolation. 10 Hence, he desired to dwell on it during the days of the Great and Holy Fast. However, on his way there, due to the demons’ envy, he fell into a pool of bituminous deposit and burned his beard, face and other parts of his body. Afterwards, in the lavra, he lay for many days. Only by the sound of his voice was he recognized, his appearance was so altered. Furthermore, it was impossible for him to converse until the divine power of God from on high revealed itself and visited him to cure him completely and restore his health. However, from the time that he burned his beard near Zoaram it would not grow anymore, but, remained sparse. He regarded the loss of his beard as God’s economy, and thanked Him for humbling him, so that he would not be pleased with the size of it.11

THE DISCIPLE AGAPIOS
With the passage of time, the saint once again went into solitude, taking as a companion one of his disciples named Agapios. On one of the ensuing days, Agapios was lying supine from hunger and exhaustion, and he fell asleep. Savvas, however, was awake and praying, when he realized a lion was standing over his disciple and was sniffing about him. The saint feared that perhaps the beast would devour Agapios; forthwith, he made an entreaty on his behalf to the Lord. As a result, the lion was put to flight by the power of his holy prayer, without any harm befalling Agapios. Only with its tail the lion brushed Agapios’ face; whereupon, he awoke. At first, the saint encouraged him, but afterwards admonished him to be more careful and no longer to be overcome by sleep, lest he be vanquished and injured by both visible and invisible creatures.

THE ANCHORITE
On another similar occasion, the saint again went with Agapios into the desert. Savvas gave him his skin bag to carry, which held dry bread enough to sustain his disciple during the time they would spend in the desert. As for Savvas himself, he ate nothing anyway for the entire Great and Holy Lent, except on Saturdays and Sundays, when he would partake of the Holy and Divine Mysteries. They proceeded along the Jordan River, passing by the brink of a steep defile. At the summit, they observed a cave further off that was located on extremely impassable terrain. Therefore, utilizing every way possible, they ascended with difficulty and with much suffering or, rather, by the help of the Lord, who enlightened Savvas and guided him to the discovery of a hidden treasure to their great profit. They entered into the cave and beheld a most saintly ascetic, who had neither pots nor any type of vessel, but abided free of care and without provision for his survival. This thrice-blessed soul possessed the grace of clairvoyance. Therefore, the anchorite made a prayer, according to his custom, and said to the saint: “O Wondrous Savvas, what has motivated thee to discover this spot and come to us? For this, I marvel and am amazed, since for thirty-eight years, I have dwelt in this cave with the help of the Lord and have seen no one, nor have I ever spoken to any man!” And Savvas answered: “God, who has revealed my name to thee, has enlightened me and conducted me hither, that I may rejoice in thy presence!” Thereafter, they conversed for a considerable length of time, receiving great delight in their souls. Then Savvas and Agapios took his blessing and departed. They tarried a great while in the wilderness and once more prepared to return to the monastery. As they passed by the region in which the anchorite dwelt, they decided to climb up to his cavern again. Whereupon, they beheld the solitary on his knees, facing east. They believed he was in the midst of prayer-and, therefore, still among the living. Patiently they persevered for many hours, waiting until nightfall. However, he never arose from that position off the ground. Savvas approached and said “Bless, Father!” but the anchorite did not respond. Wherefore, Savvas tapped him and understood that his blessed soul had been

translated to the Lord. He turned and said to Agapios: “Child (pedia), let us bury him, for this is why God has sent us.” Thus with dignity and gravity of spirit, they bound up his holy relics and laid them to rest in a certain spot within the cave. They chanted the appropriate troparia for burial and, on completion of the service, blocked the entranceway of the cave with large rocks. Savvas and Agapios then passed on towards the lavra, returning on the Saturday of Saint Lazarus, and ultimately, for the holy celebration of the Savior’s Resurrection.

THE SAINT’S MOTHER
At the same time, the saint’s father, John Conon, reposed in Alexandria. 12Now Savvas’ great renown had come to the ears of his mother. Sophia sold all her possessions and, taking the silver received therefrom, traveled to the lavra. Upon perceiving her son’s great advancement in virtue, she exulted with holy joy. Savvas counseled her to renounce the world and all temporary good things, if she desired, to enjoy life-eternal. Therefore, the wise child influenced his good-intentioned mother, and she became a nun. She remained a short while with him and then reposed, surrendering her soul into the hands of God after living a God-pleasing life. The saint interred her and spent all her money on diverse construction sites at the Lavra, including the hostelry, the surrounding inner wall and various other needful projects.

A DISCIPLE ON OBEDIENCE
The saint dispatched a certain brother with a pack animal to carry wood from Jericho in order to build an inn. On the return trip, since the beast was heavily laden, it began to thirst before reaching the lavra, for the sun was strong and burning. As a result, it was no longer able to convey the wood across the parched land, and it dropped to the earth and lay as if dead. The disciple recalled his teacher, who had great authority before the Lord, and exclaimed: ”O Lord God, help me by the intercessions of Savvas, Thy servant!” Straightway, as he said these word, God who set a pillar of cloud above Israel as a Guide [Ex. 13:21] set one over the monk, which overshadowed and refreshed him. Furthermore, -- O The Wonder!-it rained down and strengthened him. The cloud continued to follow and protect him from the sun until they arrived safe and sound at the monastery.

KASTELLION
There was a mountain called Kastellion about twenty stadia from the lavra. No one dared set foot in that rugged and remote territory, for it was the haunt of countless demons. Nevertheless, the saint placed his hope in the Lord and sprinkled the entire area with oil from the Lampada of the Holy Cross, and there he dwelt for the Great and Holy Fast. Now from the outset, he encountered fierce warfare from the demons, to the point that he wished to leave, not being able to bear the fearful disturbances that they caused. But the all-good Lord, Who of Old strengthened the Great Abba Anthony of Egypt, also encouraged Savvas to be patient and to persevere to the end. In fact, Savvas did pursue his struggles there, greatly strengthened by the aid of the Lord, Wherein he became so terrifying to the demons that he overcame, that they fled at the very sight of him. Wherefore, the righteous one was glad and continued his sojourn there in prayer until the end of the Fast But again the demons marshaled their forces to test Savvas for a final assault, to see if it were possible to frighten him away. They transformed themselves into reptiles, beasts and ravens that thrashed about and producing a tremendous commotion. The saint was in no way disturbed by all this, but dauntless and firm, he prayed. Wherefore, they were unable to endure even the mere sight of him, and, of their own volition, conceded they were conquered. Moaning in an almost human voice, they wailed: “Savvas, was It not enough for thee - the cave, the rocks, and, the wadi and wherever else thou dwellest in the wilderness? Didst thou have to cross our borders, to dispute with us and cast us out of our habitation? We are departing and leaving thee as Master, since we see thou hast God as an ally!” This and other things they lamented, as if weeping over their calamity, and making a thrashing sound, they departed in the midst of the night, taking on the guise of ravens, which were seen by several shepherds who were watching their sheep in the neighboring parts. On account of this, they came together the following morning, terror-stricken, and went to the saint, declaring to him what they had seen and heard. The blessed one, on beholding their extreme agitation and fear, made a prayer in their behalf, and further counseled, encouraged and blessed them; whereupon, they departed in peace. Since the end of Lent was drawing nigh, the saint returned to the lavra and sublimely concluded the celebration of the Holy Resurrection. Afterwards, he took certain of the brethren with him and set off for Kastellion, where they meticulously cleared the area to erect cells and a hostel. At the site, the monks discovered a building, that was sufficiently large, well-lit, and symmetrical. 13It was high and decorated with handsome stones, and they were glad for this. Savvas reasoned that it was God’s will for a monastery to be built in this place. Therefore, immediately he began to build. First, they converted the spacious structure into a holy church consecrated to the Lord. They proceeded with whatever was required in accordance with their funds. When they exhausted their resources, the work was halted for a short period. But the merciful God has commanded us not to be anxious for what we will eat and drink, because he provides and is solicitous for us, inasmuch as His guardianship towards us with far more exceeding love than our own father and mother can show. Thus, he kept watch over the concerns of His servant Savvas, since it was His will and economy that this place, become a habitation of virtuous men.

SAINT MARKIANOS
Markianos (commemorated the 24th of November), superior of the Bethlehem coenobium, was a man imbued with spirituality and sanctity. He possessed material means and, therefore, transported all the necessities for the Kastellion monastery. This came about in the following marvelous manner. : Markianos beheld in a dream a handsome and illustrious person, who addressed him thus: “Markianos, thou sittest comfortable and free from pain, because thou requirest nought for thy bodily needs, but the servant of God Savvas, who has great love towards the Master, is suffering with his brethren at Kastellion and barely has provisions, nor is there anyone to send them aid. Therefore, be not negligent in the least, but dispatch to them whatever they need!” Hence, when the well-disposed Markianos saw this, he immediately sent to Kastellion all his beasts of burden heavily laden with wheat, wine, oil, and other various provisions. Now, when Savvas received all these goods and learned of the vision, he was further assured that this was God’s will for a monastery to be in that place. Therefore, he offered thanksgiving to the Lord and, with fervor and haste completed the Kastellion coenobium, wherein he installed the monastics who appeared suitable to him, that is, those that were wholly disengaged from worldly cares and affections. Savvas installed as abbot and spiritual father (director), Paul, who was an ancient anchorite, along with his disciple Theodore. When Paul reposed, Theodore continued as spiritual leader, with his brother Sergios and the divine Paul of Melitene. Since they became notable elders of Kastellion at various times, each one was in succession a hierarch of Amanthounton and Aila. 14

EXPERIENCED AND INEXPERIENCED MONKS

The saint had a number of concerns at Kastellion. One was to establish a colony of elderly monks possessing both experience and practice in the monastic conduct of life. On the other hand, he placed the laymen and youths in another monastery, which they built north of the Lavra. Here they remained until they learned the Psalter and every other practice and prerequisite needful for monastics. He assigned a chief amongst them, who was dispassionate and worthy to train and exercise them for the Schema, for Savvas said that a Monk should be serious, discerning, sober, prudent and modest, and simply be able to bridle every part of himself and to preserve his mind in safety. Whenever he saw one who was rightly knowledgeable in the monastic profession and was capable of combating converse thoughts, that individual gained admission into the Lavra and was numbered among the brethren. By no means and under no circumstances were the beardless admitted into the lavra, simply because it could become the cause of scandal. Savvas confirmed this saying: “This rule is the tradition of the fathers, and whosoever violates this ordinance gravely sins against God. Moreover, I have a precept from the great Efthimios who would not receive me into the Monastery, for I lacked a beard. Hence, he sent me on to the blessed Theoktistos, for great is the injury suffered in the monk’s soul when he has association with beardless children!” Consequently. All who came there, and were as yet still beardless, Savvas handed over to the holy Theodosios, who was in charge of the preparatory monastery approximately 35 stadia (4 miles) from the lavra. Whereupon, Theodosios would accept the youths and would diligently strive to satisfy in every way Savvas’ wishes, for the one had sincere love towards the other, so that Theodosios carried out whatever Savvas desired, inasmuch as they were of one mind and will, being divinely inspired. These two were the leaders of all the monastics, that is Savvas was in charge of the anchorites and hermits, and Theodosios was set over the coenobites. This guardianship was not self-sought by either, for Patriarch Salust had entrusted the responsibility to them, since they were both eminent in virtue and competent in governing the souls of men, as the following bears witness. : When St. Markianos of Bethlehem reposed in November, 492 A.D., the monks of the wilderness went up to the patriarch, already a sick man, and asked for and obtained Savvas and Theodosios. Patriarch Salust appointed Savvas and Theodosios the Coenobiarch as Archimandrites of the cell-dwellers and coenobia, respectively. Each of them was given a Second - for Theodosios, the head of the Coenobium of Martyrios; for Savvas, the hegoumeos of the Lavra of St. Gerasimos. Savvas sometimes said to Theodosios, in a playful way, “thou art an abbot of children, but I am an abbot of abbots, for each of the monks under me is independent and thus the abbot of his own cell.”14

SAINT SAVVAS CONTINUES TO BUILD
Patriarch Salust, who died on the 23 rd of July, was succeeded by Elias I (494-516), whose harmony with the two monastic leaders, Savvas and Theodosios, over the next twenty years, helped to build up a sober “Chalcedonianism” against which a monophysite emperor had little power.16 In 494, Savvas earnestly desired to gather together serious monastics and house them in cells surrounding the Tower of David in Jerusalem (Hierosolyma). Therefore, he constructed a monastery near the patriarchate, which received the monastics and gave them food, clothing, and everything they needed. Wherefore, in a short while many congregated in the cells, and the cells that they formerly inhabited around the tower were purchased by the Blessed Savvas to provide an inn to accommodate travelers. He obtained a portion of them, as much as his means could afford, But, he wished to acquire more, which would be useful and advantageous to the lavra. However, he lacked the funds and was unable to find more money, except for half a florin. In any event, Savvas placed all his trust in the Lord and went ahead and advanced this tiny amount as an earnest for the cells. He agreed with the owners that if on the following day he did not meet the remaining balance for the cost of these cells, he would also lose the deposit, for he considered only the inexhaustible blessings in the right hand of the almighty Master, who strengthened his confidence insofar as He effectively wrought assistance. Indeed, His hope in this did not fail. At dawn, an unknown foreigner, never before seen by the saint, came to Savvas and donated 170 gold florins. The stranger did not tarry, nor did he speak a word, but simply departed. The blessed one knew exactly whence this help had come and gave thanks to the Lord. Wherefore, he paid the price for the cells and erected other large buildings, including two at Kastellion, one inside the Holy City by the Tower of David and also a hostelry at Jericho, for visitors who came on pilgrimage. The saint had great zeal. Therefore, the Lord sent him two brothers according to the flesh of the Isaurian race, who were master builders and architects, named were Theodoulos and Gelasios. In addition, they were very obedient and skilled craftsmen and build whatever the lavra was lacking; this included an additional monastery, a water cistern, wells, ovens, rooms for kneading, infirmaries and a diversity of other structures. They erected a huge and magnificent church, because the existing one was not spacious enough to hold all the brethren. It was consecrated by Patriarch Elias on the 1 st of July and dedicated to the name of our Most Glorious Lady and Ever-Virgin Mary the Theotokos, when Savvas was sixty-three years old. 17

MALCONTENTS IN THE MONASTERY
The malcontents and slandering brethren (whom we spoke earlier, see: “Tares among the Wheat”), observed the brotherhood multiplying and filling with fervor, and the lavra expanding and thriving for the good of all. But, being troublemakers and intractable, they were consumed with envy, which does not know its own advantage. These grumblers sought to conspire against the saint and, in each and everything, guilefully complicated matters and stirred up intrigues because they were determined to hurt Savvas in any way they could. Nevertheless, the saint, being a genuine disciple of peace, gave place to wrath and departed the lavra, so that they would not have to look upon him, since it is always preferable to battle with demons, rather than men. He decided upon this strategy for two reasons: Firstly, to vanquish evil by employing meekness and clemency. Thereafter, he retired to a desolate place in the area by Scythopolis, near the Gadar River. In this place, he found shelter in a large cave, although it was the den of an enormous and fierce lion.

THE CAVE AND THE LION
The saint spent a considerable time in prayer, and then fell asleep in the cave. At the hour of the midnight service (mesonyktikon), the dreadful beast returned to find Savvas resting. He humbly took hold of Savvas’ garment by biting into the edge and tugged him, (performing all this in a very tame manner), so as to bring the saint outside of his den. Being thus roused, Savvas awoke to behold what one would presume was a terrifying sight. However, he did not act in a cowardly manner; on the contrary, he began to recite the office of matins. When the lion observed Savvas worshipping and praying, it withdrew to the side and waited -- “O The Wonder!-- until the saint completed the service. When Savvas finished, he reclined to sleep once more, but in the spot where the lion had made his spread. When it saw that Savvas was again lying down, it laid hold of his clothing with its teeth and with great force dragged him out of the den. Consequently, Savvas said to the Lion: “Why dost thou trouble thyself, O Beast, and attempt to cast me out? The cave is large and can hold us both. Therefore,

if thou agreest to live together, keep silent. But if thou dost not like it, go and find another habitation and let me be, because I am fashioned by the Hand of God and was honored to be in His Image and Likeness.” Now Savvas said these words with extreme gentleness, and the beast obeyed - O The magnitude of thy Wonders, Almighty Lord! - by refraining from bothering the saint further and relinquishing its dwelling-place.

THE THIEVES
When the saint had dwelt there many days, his renown spread to the surrounding area. Wherefore, many gathered there, including an eminent young man named Vasilios, the son of wealthy parents. He resolved to remain in obedience to Savvas and to struggle with him. Certain thieves, however, imagined that Vasilios had a great deal of money with him and came one night to steal, but, they found nothing. The robbers were amazed at their utter poverty, for they had no possessions. Whereupon, admiring and esteeming the two ascetics, they departed. A short while after the would-be thieves had left the cave, on the road they encountered frightening lions of great size. They were seized with extreme terror, and, seeing no other help, exclaimed: “We adjure thee by the prayers of the Monk Savvas not to harm us!” And the lions, on hearing the revered name, instantly fled, as if they had received a serious wound, the thieves were astonished at this strange phenomenon. So they returned to the cave and related to the saint this dreadful event and promised not to commit injustices ever again, but to earn their food with toil; and they kept their promise throughout the rest of their lives. The report of wild beasts showing respect filled the countryside, and he was esteemed by all. Wherefore, many came with devotion just to see him. However, once again, he fled from praise. So he left a certain virtuous monk named Tarasios as superior, and Savvas departed thence.

THE SAINT RETURNS TO THE LAVRA
The saint thought that, after such an extended period of absence, the envy and resentment of those monks at his lavra would have subsided. Therefore, he returned to the lavra, only to find that their passion had reached a greater pitch and was more acrimonious than before, for the faction that we spoke of, incited others to their evil ways of thinking, and they that had treachery on their lips now totaled sixty. Emptily and vainly did they rail against the saint and create(d) every possible disturbance, to foment sedition in the lavra. When Savvas perceived their perdition, he was grieved and wounded within, but, strove, as far as possible to overcome envy with love and long-suffering, and wickedness with goodness and kindness. Yet, he was unable to correct and bring them to repentance. For just at the proverb says: “It is not possible for the crab to crawl straight or the Moor to become fair of skin.” Wherefore, he retired once again from his flock and went into the area bordering on Nikopolis (Emmaus), where he found shelter under a Carob Tree, being overshadowed by its branches and nourished by carobs. But the all-good Good, for Whom, he underwent all these tribulations, provided for him in that place and spread his fame and the word of his sanctity to all. For the owners of the field, learning of the excellent virtues of the Man Savvas, went and build a cell for him and brought him everything he required.

THE MALCONTENTS PROTEST TO THE PATRIARCH
In the meanwhile, the insidious backbiters used the occasion of the teacher’s absence to further malign him. They circulated a rumor throughout all the monasteries that Savvas had been devoured by wild beasts. The rebels made their way into the Holy City and lodged the following protest with the Patriarch: “Holy Master, our teacher ventured into the wilderness, nigh unto the Dead Sea, and was devoured by a Lion. We now implore thee, if thou so desired, to give us another abbot.” But the Patriarch answered discreetly: “I do not wish to believe that God has abandoned my friend, and such a sanctified man, to be eaten by wild animals. Therefore, GO ye and search for him diligently and locate him, or I will forebear until the Lord divulges his whereabouts.” The fraudulent ones therefore returned to the Lavra unsuccessful.

SAINT SAVVAS IN JERUSALEM
Not long after, Savvas attended the Commemoration of the Dedication (Enk*c*aenia) of the Church of the Holy Resurrection (Holy Sepulcher) ‘13 th of September’, with certain brothers in the Holy City, as was his custom every 13 th of September. Indeed when the patriarch saw him so unexpectedly, he greatly rejoiced and begged him not to leaved his flock untended, but to have concern for it and to govern at as well as possible. But the saint used the excuse that he was not worthy to shepherd the reason-endowed sheep. In reply, the Patriarch said unto him: “If thou disobeyest this command of mine, then I do not wish to see thy countenance again, for I cannot endure to see others gather in the fruit of thy labors.” As a result, the blessed Savvas was compelled to go to the Lavra, so as not to be openly disobedient to the patriarch’s words, which enjoined him to leave. Forthwith, the patriarch addressed in writing all the monastics, as follows: “Brethren and children in Christ: Be informed that your father and teacher did not become the food of beasts, as ye have stated. Behold, he comes again to his flock, forasmuch as I besought him, because it is wrong for him to be absent from the Monastery that he founded so many labors. Therefore, receive him with all proper and due honor. If any amongst ye are un-persuaded, being insolent and proud, having no desire to be in subjection to your rightful shepherd, I order you to remove yourselves immediately, in order not to create scandals!”

SAINT SAVVAS RETURNS AGAIN TO THE LAVRA
Hence, Savvas took the epistle and went back to the Lavra, where it was read before everyone. The usurpers, upon hearing these words, immediately seized hammers and chisels and, with wrath and rage, demolished to the foundations a tower which they erected, storming it like savage demons and throwing both stones and wood into the wadi. After they committed this notorious deed, they carried off all the rasa (cassocks and outer cassocks) of the Monks, and whatever else they could find, and fled to the Monastery at Souka (The Old Lavra of St. Chariton ‘Hariton’), But, they were refused entry there by the virtuous Abbot Aquilinos, who was well aware of their perversity. Hence, they left and went towards the wadi of Tekoa, where there existed ancient cells. They repaired them and built others form existing foundations and thus dwelt there. This was Romanos’ old Monastery by Tekoa. It was Named “New Lavra”.

SAINT SAVVAS VISITS NEW LAVRA
Now that the tares were removed, the brethren that remained behind with Savvas were as wheat dedicated to God, good and useful. When Savvas, who was meek and forbearing, learned the location of the dissenters, he loaded up all the pack animals of the Lavra and Kastellion with food and whatever essentials they might need, and he went himself in person to offer them this charity. When they espied him from afar off, they muttered amongst themselves, saying: “look, not even here will that imposter leave us in peace, but he comes again to offend us!” As the saint drew nigh, he greeted them with extreme humility and gave them gifts. He observed their dire need of a Church and their being bereft of a superior to lead them, for they were disorderly and all was in utter confusion among them. Afterwards, Savvas reported all this to the Patriarch and begged him to assist

them, by giving them an abbot. The Patriarch donated seventy florins to the saint and the authority to govern them as he wished. Therefore, the saint gave diligent attention to procure everything they needed; he did not wish to overlook a single detail. Savvas built them a richly adorned Church, a bakery and other buildings as they required. He stayed there almost four months, and the Church was consecrated in 507. By the departure of the rebellious brethren and the creation of New Lavra, the devil desired to ensnare the disciples of Savvas, but he tricked himself. Thus did Savvas set up a new trophy of victory against the devil, for the blessed one effected, a reconciliation with this faction at New Lavra and governed this Monastery as well as he could. When he returned from New Lavra, he rested a short while at his Own Lavra to do a few things until the 20 th of January, when according to his annual rule, again he resorted to the desert. So began New Lavra - a source of trouble for the next forty years. He appointed an abbot, the Monk John from Greece (Hellas), who was conspicuous for his virtues and clairvoyance. Truly he possessed the Gift of foreseeing the future and prophesied accurately whenever scandals and heresies would occur in this Lavra. Everything he disclosed; it came about as he said. :

TROUBLES AT NEW LAVRA
John’s successor was Paul, who was from Rome, distinguished for his great simplicity and poverty, and glowing with divine virtues. Having remained abbot against his will for six months, he departed and went to Arabia. Afterwards, he went to Carparvaricha, where he established a coenobium. The fathers of New Lavra reported his departure to the divine elder Savvas. He assigned them his disciple, Agapetos, as abbot. When Agapetos assumed the abbacy, he found four monks in the synodia (accepted unsuspectingly by the very same simple Paul without thoroughly knowing them) who were secret admirers of the heterodox and heresiarch Origen. The chief amongst them was a Palestinian named Nonnos, who feigned Christianity. In reality, he believed in the teachings of the godless Greeks, Hebrews, and Manicheans, and whatever myths came from Origen, Evagrius, and Didymus. The blessed Agapetos was fearful lest his corrupt heresy spread to the others. Therefore, with the concurring opinion and urging of Archbishop Elias, he expelled them from New Lavra. They went to the flatlands, where they sowed the tares of Heresy. With the passage of a few years and the exile of the archbishop, a few of Nonnos’ faction came into the Holy City and besought the new patriarch to permit them to abide at New Lavra. However, he, being possessed of divine wisdom, summoned Saint Savvas and the blessed Agapetos and asked them if it were possible to receive them. Agapetos answered: “Their intention is to corrupt and to harass the synodia and to stir up discussions of the Heterodox Origen. I would prefer to leave this land, rather than put them inside the synodia which trusts in and is committed to God.” The archbishop answered: “Thy thinking is straight and God-pleasing.” When the heretics realized that they could not attain the favor of the archbishop, they returned to the flatlands. Agapetos governed New Lavra very well for five years. When he reposed, the New Lavrites chose Mamas. When certain of Nonnos’ group learned of this, they were secretly admitted into the lavra by Mamas, having wicked dogma in their souls. However, they revealed their beliefs to none of the monks, out of fear of the saintly Savvas, because, whenever Savvas was present and made his tour, one confession of faith existed everywhere amongst all the monastics of the desert.18

COENOBIUM OF THE CAVE
For the period of the Great Fast, he took with him the monk Paul, who was aged and distinguished for his many spiritual accomplishments. They came to a wadi west of Kastellion, about fifteen stadia from Great Lavra. They found, on the northern precipice, a huge cave unaffected by atmospheric changes. They remained there together during the entire Lenten period until Palm Sunday. After Pascha, he took Theodoulos, Gelasios and the aforementioned Paul back to this spot, and simply, by the cooperation of God, he converted the cave into a Church. Before the cave’s entrance, the famed “Coenobium of the Cave” was erected. Paul was installed as abbot. Three other brethren, George, Kyriakos and Efsthatios, were also sent to abide with him. And, by the help of God, the place increased and multiplied exceedingly. When the blessed Paul reposed, Kyriakos, Efsthatios and George became abbots in succession. 19 However, we must leave these points, concerning New Lavra and the Coenobium of the Cave, for brevity’s sake, for it is not opportune at this particular time to continue. Our main theme is to write of Saint Savvas’ accomplishments.

ARMENIANS AT THE LAVRA
At that time, Jeremias, a God-bearing man and adorned with divine gifts, was received into the lavra. He came from Armenia. His company consisted of two disciples, Peter and Paul, who adhered to their elder’s manner of life and were co-strugglers in spiritual contendings. Our Father Savvas was very glad, for they were extremely devout. He gave them a cave and a small cell, north of his own, which was formerly his own when he dwelt as a solitary in the wadi. He allowed them to perform their services, in the Armenian tongue, in the small Church every Saturday and Sunday. Thus, little by little the Armenian population increased at the Lavra.20

THE ARMENIANS AND THE TRISAGION
Then the saint transferred the Armenians from the small church to The God-Built Church in order to do their canon of chant in the Armenian tongue. Afterwards, he arranged for them to enter into the Large Church for the “Divine Liturgy” and the Holy Communion of the Immaculate Mysteries. However, a few of them undertook to recite the Trisagion Hymn with the Antiochene addition: “Who wast crucified for us,” which Peter the Fuller had devised. The divine leader became indignant, as was only natural. For this, he ordered them to chant this particular Hymn with them in Greek, without the insertion, in accordance with the tradition of the ancient “Orthodox” Catholic Church, and not according to the innovation of Peter. 21 He further decreed that the “Divine Liturgy” be served every Saturday in the God-Built Church and every Sunday in the Church of the Theotokos, without interruption. From night until morning, vigil took place in the two churches every weekend and on the Feasts of the Lord.
++Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, crucified for us, have mercy on us++

NESTORIANS AT THE TOWER OF EVDOKIA
The tower erected by the blessed Evdokia atop the highest mountain in the Eastern Desert was governed by certain monks who espoused the heresies of Dioskoros and Eftyches. Afterwards, two other monks inhabited the Tower, adherents of the impious Nestorius. The blessed one was grieved and worried about them. At that time, he beheld the following vision: He found himself in the Church of the Holy Resurrection during Divine Liturgy. These Monks were being chased away by the staff-bearers. Then the saint

asked the lictors (lectors) to permit those monks to remain for Divine Liturgy and receive Holy Communion. However, they answered him sternly: “They are not allowed to receive Holy Communion, because they are Jews (Evreoi) in their views, since they do not accept or confess that Christ is True God and that the Ever-Virgin Mary is the Theotokos (Instead they believed that she was just the Christotokos).” From that point, the elder greatly pitied them and supplicated God fervently that they receive enlightenment and knowledge of the Truth, and recover sobriety and renounce Nestorianism. For a long time, he labored in prayer, and entreated God in their behalf. For a long while and at length, he exhorted and discussed with them pious dogmas. He exhausted himself with continual prayer and many admonitions, and God jointly collaborated by preparing them to disavow the dogmas of Nestorius and to embrace in their bosom the Orthodox Catholic Church. 22

JOHN SCHOLARIOS
Thereafter, he took them in and gave them to the blessed Abbot Theodosios. One of them was the admirable John, from Constantinople (Byzantion), who was from the first school of Scholarion. He had abandoned everything and followed the Monastic Life. At Great Lavra, he advanced to perfection in the Monastic conduct. He was placed as abbot of his tower, since he was adorned with divine prudence and was capable of serving this place. Brethren were sent there, as many as were needed. John tired himself out in laboring for every provision until the Tower became a Coenobium with the help of God. The Scholarios formed a great synodia from which arose the honorable Avramios, Bishop of Kratea. 34 Avramios had been a priest and abbot of a Monastery of His founding at Kratea in the province of Honorias (between Paphlagonia and Bithynia) for ten years. He fled popularity, but his Bishop, Platon, having sought for him, at last heard that he retreated to Palestine and wrote to him, begging him to come back. Out of despair, he excommunicated him when he had been four years with John Scholarios. John in turn, brought him to Savvas, and Savvas to the Patriarch, seeking a way out for Avramios. But Elias was firm that the excommunication had to be lifted by Platon, who had imposed it. Avramios was forced to return to Kratea where he was quickly restored to his former position. Not long afterwards, Platon reposed, and Avramios was made Bishop. However, fifteen years later, he took advantage of a visit on diocesan business to Constantinople to escape his Bishopric and return to John. 25 John Scholarios remained abbot for thirty-five years and was outstanding in Monastic achievements and in upholding Orthodox Doctrines. Our Holy Father Savvas, not only employed great labor in the building and founding of this coenobium, but until his end, he often visited and never ceased to benefit in various and diverse ways.25

IAKOVOS
Once when the venerable Savvas was absent, Iakovos, a Jerusalemite, being, of haughty disposition, instigated and enticed others towards his prideful ways of thinking; they all went to a place called the “Pit of Eptastoma” in an attempt to form their own Monastery. They laid the foundations for a church, cells and other important buildings. The other brethren at the lavra were indignant over this and would not allow them to fulfill their intentions. Those with Iakovos retorted that they were building with Savvas’ consent. As a result, the brethren did not hinder them, because they were misled into believing that the others were telling the truth. The divine Savvas then returned to the lavra and, summoning Iakovos, advised him, in a fatherly manner, to desist from the undertaking. Iakovos’ mind was not in accordance with God’s, because before Savvas had trained him, Iakovos was attempting to become a superior and abbot. However, Iakovos being quarrelsome and a disputer, was adverse to the edifying admonitions of the saint and showed no remorse or readiness to heed the elder’s instructions. The saint warned him, saying: “My child, according to God, I advise thee, yet thou art still unconvinced? Be careful, lest perchance thou sufferest some loss. Then thou shalt realize what is in thine own interest.” Thus said the saint, and he returned to the tower, Straightway, Iakovos’ entire body began to tremble and shake. Later on, he was seized by a burning fever, and for seven months he was bedridden, and pitifully afflicted. Indeed, Iakovos completely despaired of his life, and remembered his lack of submissiveness towards the saint’s order. He besought the brethren to carry him and place him at the saint’s feet, and that they beg him to loose him from the bond of disobedience, that he not die, un-forgiven. Thus, it happened. Immediately, when the mild-mannered and guileless Savvas beheld him, he was sympathetic and said gently: “Brother, know what it the fruit of impertinence and disobedience.” And with great exertion and effort, Iakovos spoke out of the depth of his illness: “Honorable father, forgive me, I will no longer separate myself from thy flock, and I will remain in subjection until my final departure!” The saint replied; “God will forgive, brother.” Thus, Savvas took Iakovos’ right hand and -- O The Wonder! - When, the right hand of the saint touched him, the grave illness fled, and he became completely healthy. Afterwards, he partook of Holy Communion (The Holy Immaculate Mysteries of Christ) and was given food to eat. All were utterly astonished to see him eating and walking, because formerly he had been incapable of speaking or moving at all. Thereafter, the venerable Savvas gave Iakovos a rule (canon) not to go to the monastery that he built. The patriarch learned of this and sent men to level the “Building of Disobedience” to the ground. Following this, the saint erected other cells and a church five stadia from there. He commanded Iakovos to minister to the visitors that came there for worship. So as to exercise him in obedience, he assigned him in the capacity of a cook. However, in this occupation Iakovos was not experienced. In fact, one day he cooked more lima beans than was needed and the leftovers were plentiful. Yet, he did not save the excess for the following day, being unpracticed; so he threw them out with the refuse. It so happened that Savvas observed all this. Secretly, Savvas gathered up the beans and laid them out in the sun to dry. Then, he carefully seasoned them. Afterwards, he invited Iakovos to sup with him. As they were eating, Savvas turned to Iakovos and said: “Forgive me if the cooking is not so good, but I did not know how to make them any better.” Iakovos exclaimed: “As God as my witness, it is a long time since I have had such good cooking.” Then the saint said: “Child, know that the lima beans which thou didst cast out as useless into the brook are these. Therefore, if thou art not capable of preparing a kettle of beans, how wilt thou become chief amongst the brethren and govern the souls of men? Hast thou not heard the words of blessed Paul, who says: ‘For if a man know not how to rule his own home, how shall he take care of the Church of God?’” [1Tim. 3:5]. Thus said the great Savvas and advised him appropriately and adequately and then dismissed him. Shortly afterwards, as Iakovos rested in his cell, he was set upon by thoughts of Fornication. In the meantime, the devil tempted him to such a degree and disturbed him so that, in the end, he castrated himself. Then he moaned, unable to bear the pain, and the monks attempted to soothe his wound with remedies. When saint Savvas learned of this, he expelled Iakovos, as he was a threat to his own life. Later, Iakovos repented from the heart and appealed to Saint Theodosios, falling at his feet. With fervent tears, relating to his misfortune, he besought him to intercede with Savvas to forgive his transgression. Theodosios did so, and Savvas forgave Iakovos, for the love of his friend, and admitted him back into the Lavra. He gave Iakovos a stern canon, never to leave his cell, nor to speak to anyone, but to pray to the Lord in tears, without ceasing to have mercy upon him. Iakovos accepted the canon gladly and displayed such repentance that the Lord forgave him. God also sent a vision to the saint, that he might lift the strict canon. In

this vision, Savvas beheld a bright and radiant man. Iakovos then said a prayer for him and resurrected him. The radiant man then said to Savvas: “behold, the dead is risen; forgive now the one that resurrected him.” After Savvas had witnessed all this, he ordered Iakovos to come out of his cell. When he came out, he kissed all the brethren, and received the divine Mysteries, and on the seventh day, he was translated to the Lord.

ANTHIMOS
There was an elder from Bethany named Anthimos. He dwelt across the wadi in an anchorite’s cell for thirty years, practicing every virtue in his monastic struggles. In his old age, however, he fell gravely ill and lay abed, unable to stir due to his illness. The saint saw that he was sorely afflicted and pleaded with him to condescend to be taken to a cell within the Lavra that the brethren might minister to him, but the blessed Anthimos would not accept, saying : “I have hopes that I will end my life in the Lord here, where I have dwelt from the very beginning.” Before the end of the assembly one night, Saint Savvas arose and walked outdoors, where he heard a melodious hymn. He assumed that it was the brethren chanting matins but was perplexed why they did this without receiving a blessing (permission) according to custom. He walked to the Church, but found the doors closed, so he returned to his cell. But again, he heard a sweet melody; they that were singing chanted thusly: “I shall come with a voice of exultation and glory, with the sound of one that is jubilant.” The saint then perceived that the voices were emanating from the cell of Anthimos. He then roused the entire brotherhood, and they went there with candles and incense, finding that he had reposed in his cell. They took up his holy remains with piety and performed all the things that the law ordained and buried him with honor.

COENOBIUM OF ZANNOS
At the Great Lavra there were two brothers according to the flesh from Hebron, who also shared the same beliefs in God. Their names were Zannos and Benjamin, and they were adorned with all godly virtues. They agreed to beseech the sanctified Savvas to give them an anchoritic cell that he had built for himself, fifteen stadia south of the Lavra. The great elder, perceiving that they were laborers of God, yielded to their request and gave them the cell. The brothers inhabited both his cell and one other which they maintained inside the Lavra. When they tired themselves and labored sufficiently, the two brothers changed the anchoritic cell into a coenobium. Saint Savvas helped them very much and provided them with funds for their expenses and every other assistance. Since many other brethren gathered there, he erected and furnished a church, which was also consecrated. Thus, this coenobium, by the grace of God, thrives to this day and has taken the name of the blessed Zannos.26

APRHODISIOS
A certain brother named Aphrodisios was of the Monastery of Theodosios. He was an Asian by birth and gigantic in stature. He was so robust and brave, that he could lift unassisted, on his own, twelve baskets of wheat with ease. They placed him in charge of all, the mules, and on a certain day, he struck one on the face, and it died. Then he took its saddle and the load and returned to the lavra. Saint Savvas meanwhile saw that he had repented sincerely with all his heart and was willing to fulfill the required penance, so he ordered him to stay in his cell without speaking to anyone and not to leave the lavra and to restrain both his appetite and tongue. The courageous one accepted this command and proved to be more valiant in soul than in body, as he stayed in the cell some thirty years! He never kept a basin, nor a container of any sort, nor did he ever light a fire. He never tasted oil, wine or any other beverage. He kept only a single garment and slept on a mat, weeping by day and working on his handicraft. He wove ninety baskets a month, which he gave to a certain brother in the lavra who, in return, brought him the necessities of life. These consisted of leftover food by the brethren, that no one else would eat, either vegetables or legumes. They would put them in a basin and sent them to him. If, perchance, they gave off an unpleasant odor, he would not return them, but ate them as if they were sent by God. As we said, he conducted himself thus for thirty years, proving that he was more sound and valuable than a diamond, without fretting in the least and without falling ill; neither did his stomach trouble him., by his many labors for Christ, he was granted the gift of foresight. He knew the day of his release from this life and revealed it to the saint seven days earlier, asking permission to go and bid farewell to Theodosios and then return to his cell. The saint knew of his repose by divine revelation and sent him with another brother, named Theodoulos, and Savvas wrote a letter to Theodosios, in which he said the following: “Behold, my beloved brother in Christ, my lord Theodosios: I send thee our common brother Aphrodisios, a man who once wore the flesh, but now, by the grace of God, has become an angel.” The great Theodosios greeted him and offered him hospitality. Then they gave each other the last farewell, and Aphrodisios returned to his cell. He fell ill and was translated to the Lord, relinquishing the earthly for the heavenly. With great honor, with candles and incense, the fathers of all the monasteries buried Aphrodisios’ precious and sacred remains (relics) in a selected place. Such an instructor of virtue was the venerable Savvas, and thus he gathered the fruit of his labors. So very great and marvelous were his godly accomplishments, that is, the many monasteries and other edifices that he built, and the repeated victories against demons; and the reinstatement of the fallen brethren, whom he transformed from men to angels, and his ability to foresee the future. But let us relate all the rest.

YERONTIOS
There is a city on the east bank of the Jordan called Medaba. The citizens held Savvas in the utmost respect for the great spiritual benefit that they received from him, and in return, they brought him many valuable gifts for the monasteries. One of them, Yerontios, was ill for a long time, so he traveled to the Holy City, in order to worship, and also went to the Mount of Olives. He mounted an ass and ambled along, but on the way, either by demonic complicity or for another reason, the beast shook him and, he fell. The man suffered multiple fractures, and no doctor attempted to treat him. It was of the opinion of all that he would die. The young brother of Yerontios, seeing that he was crippled, was sorely grieved and knew that only the prayer of the blessed Savvas was a quick and certain remedy against every infirmity, for the physicians were prolonging his misery and consuming his property, without any benefit to the patient. He, therefore, hastened to the lavra and fell at the feet of the saint, telling him of the calamity that had befallen his brother and pleading with him to come and visit Yerontios. As the all-merciful Savvas heard this, he was sad, even though Yerontios was not present and departed for his house. At first, he made a supplication before the Lord and anointed him with salutary oil from the Holy Cross, and at once - Behold the Therapy! - The former cripple, whose members were crushed, was made whole. This event astounded everyone there, as they saw the great authority that Saint Savvas has with the Lord. Later, again, the son of Yerontios, named Thomas, traveled to Jericho and there met the saint at the hostelry which they maintained. The latter received him gladly and wished to extend hospitality to him. When he asked his servant if there was any wine to serve, he replied that there was no wine, but only a little vinegar in a gourd. The blessed one said to him: “Blessed, be the Lord! We shall drink of that vinegar. He who turned the water into wine will transform the

bitterness of the vinegar!” [Jn: 2: 1-11] Thus he said with his godly mouth and, straightway, the vinegar became sweet wine, truly refreshing the heart of man. The saint forthwith ordered that they bring fire and incense, saying: “Truly the Lord hath visited us this Hour!” However, the miracle did not cease there. The wine was increased, so that it sufficed for all. Thomas, meanwhile, was beside himself, because of this miracle. He asked the saint to give him the gourd, as it still had some wine. Upon receiving it, he departed with his followers. In the interim, the wine lasted for the entire trip, and, after the gourd was empty, Thomas kept it as a precious treasure. Every time someone was ill, he filled it with water and poured it over the sick one, who was then cured.

A YOUNG DISCIPLE
Not long after, the saint repaired to the Jordan River, accompanied by one of his youthful disciples. On the way, they met a group of lay folk that had in their company a most beautiful damsel. The saint attempted to test his student, so he looked at the maiden and said to him: “It appears to me that the young maiden is blind, is that so?” And he answered: “Nay (No), Father, both her eyes are sound.” The saint again said to him; “Thou art mistaken, my lad, for I see that one of her eyes is missing!” The youth, not realizing that the saint was testing him, insisted: “I looked at her very carefully and saw that she has two bright and beautiful eyes!” Then the all-wise one, after ensnaring him, said: “See that thou dost not remember the command of the Scriptures which says: ‘Let not the desire of beauty overcome thee, neither be thou caught by thine eyes, neither be captured by her eyelids’ [Prov. 6:25], henceforth, thou shalt not come to my cell until thou learnest to bridle thy senses, and especially thine eyesight!” After he said this, he sent the youth to Kastellion where he remained until he was corrected, and then Savvas happily received him again into the synodia.

THE COOK
On another occasion, the cook was preparing squash for the workmen, who at that time were building, but as he was about to serve the food, he tasted it and perceived that it was as bitter as gall. He was dismayed at this, for they had nothing lese to offer. They spoke of the matter to the saint, who went to the kitchen and made the sign of the Cross over the mouth of the kettle and ordered him to serve it. The cook did so, and the squash seemed sweeter than honey.

THE LION
On yet another occasion, as the blessed man walked on the road that connected Rouba with the Jordan River, he encountered a mighty Lion with a wooden splinter embedded in its paw. The beast was unable to walk and lay on the ground. When the lion caught sight of Savvas, it raised its paw, so that he might see the splinter and pluck it out. The saint, being compassionate, removed the spike skillfully. Then the lion put away its natural ferocity, owing to the benefit it received and, not wishing to appear ungrateful, followed the saint eagerly and obeyed him as a faithful servant. This story reminds one of Saint Yerasimos the Jordanite who also plucked out a splinter from another injured lion and who also followed that saint. :

St. Yerasimos and the Lion. (A.D. 475).

One day, being on the banks of the Jordan, he saw a lion (named Jordan) coming to him, limping on three feet. When it reached the saint, it held up to him the right paw, from which Gerasimus extracted a large thorn. The grateful beast attached itself to the saint, and followed him about as a dog.

PHLAIOS AND THE DONKEY
The saint had a servant in his employ, a layman by the name of Phlaios, and a small donkey which they loaded and used for the errands of the monastery. Whenever, Phlaios went on an errand where the donkey was not needed, he entrusted it to the supervision of the lion, who grasped the reins with its teeth and led it to graze from the morning until evening and, after having watered it, escorted it back to the monastery. Thus Phlaios did at all times, even on Holidays, when he did not require its service. Many days later, Phlaios went on a certain errand, and, either from his own carelessness or from the envy of the devil, he fell into fornication. On the very day when he committed the sin, the lion was angered and devoured the donkey. Then Phlaios realized it was due to his sin that the donkey was slain, and he did not dare appear before the saint again, but departed for his homeland. However, the blessed man did not overlook Phlaios, but, searched for him everywhere. Indeed, he found him and, with counseling, led him back to repentance. With fervent tears, fasting and physical labors, Phlaios received forgiveness of God.

THE MONOPHYSITE HERESY
Whatsoever we have written is enough to reveal the superior grace and authority that the venerable elder had before God. Therefore, let us relate a few events that occurred in Konstantinoupolis (Byzantium, Constantinople). : During the reign of Emperor Anastasios (491-518), there was an insurrection on the part of certain bishops who were advocates of the heresies of the Monophysites, Dioscurus and Severus, the Heresiarchs. Also, the Emperor, himself, installed as bishops those that anathematized the synod of Chalcedon. At the same time, he unjustly exiled the Orthodox Bishops, as he did the blessed Elias who pleaded with the great Savvas, and also with other virtuous Fathers, to go to the emperor and beg him to bring an end to the strife. The patriarch wrote a letter, which said the following: “My Lord Emperor, Long Live thy majesty! Behold, I send thee representatives and mediators, dwellers of the desert, and especially the great Savvas, the crown of all ascetics. Therefore, consider their labors, their tireless and superior efforts, and bring an end to the campaign against the [Chalcedonian] Churches. Do not permit discord to continue, if thou desirest to find favor before God who has granted thee the realm (Eastern Roman Empire) and the Diadem!”

SAINT SAVVAS IN KONSTANTINOUPOLIS
When Saint Savvas and another father arrived at the (“Queen of Cities”, The God protected City of Konstantinoupolis), the almighty God, who honors those who exalt Him, permitted the Emperor to behold a vision upon meeting Savvas. This caused the emperor to render great honor to the spiritual athlete of the desert. The vision was as follows. : As the fathers entered the palace, the guards allowed the other to enter, but the venerable Savvas, who wore tattered garments, they did not permit to enter; therefore he stood outside. At that time, he was already, seventy years old. When the Emperor was given the patriarch’s letter to read, he asked where Savvas’ was. He then learned that he remained outside, so two guards were sent to find him. When the saint finally entered the palace, the emperor beheld a radiant angel clad in shining garments, who, marched before the saint and made way for him to pass unhindered.

The emperor saw this, not because of his piety, for he was a heretic and not worthy to behold such a sight, but that he might know that Savvas was a Holy man. At once, he arose from the throne and accorded him great honor. After all the fathers were seated, the emperor asked each one of them what favors they expected from him. They ignored the interests of the Church, however, and asked for material gifts and favors. The emperor granted all their requests and marveled at Saint Savvas who did not speak. Thus, he addressed him: “Thou, O reverend father, hast undergone such toils to come to us, and dost thou ask for nothing?” He answered: O mighty emperor, I have come to reverence thy majesty before I die and also to plead for the Holy City of Hierosolym (Jerusalem) and its Archbishop / Patriarch Elias, that thou not be displeased with him and, most important, that thou wilt bring peace to the Churches. When thou wilt accomplish this, God will be thy Friend and will forgive thy sins and will grant thee victory over thine enemies.” The emperor was captivated by the openness of Savvas and by the fact that he did not ask him for any mean or material things, but, rather for the stability of the Church. He dismissed the others and granted him one thousand drachmas for the needs of the monasteries. He also gave him permission to visit the palace as freely as he wished. But concerning the Patriarch Elias, he spoke with derogatory words, for he was angry with him. Blessed Savvas, though, with much wisdom and persuasion succeeded in assuaging his anger and convinced him to reconsider the unjust decision against the blameless hierarch - a life of exile and to permit him to return to his see for the love of Savvas. After the saint had completed his mission successfully, he did not leave Konstantinoupolis immediately, due to the winter, but stayed in the outskirts in a suburb, called Rufinos. There, not a few people of The City visited him, and many became his students, especially Juliana, granddaughter of the Emperor Valentinos, and Anastasia, wife of Pompeos, the emperors’ son, who became a nun at the Mount of Olives and performed great feats and accomplishments to the glory of God.

FAMINE AND PLAGUE
In those days, a great famine visited the villages of Jerusalem, and there ensued much loss of life. With the passage of time, it spread into others areas of the Eastern Roman Empire and Konstantinoupolis. From this scourge, numerous homes were deserted and left uninhabited. The various bureaus of the state and the emperor himself, in order to avoid a great loss of revenue, enacted a decree, whereby the unpaid taxes of the deceased were to be paid by their survivors. When the merciful Savvas heard of this unjust and absurd law, he journeyed (again) “once more to Konstantinoupolis” to see the emperor, expressing his disapproval of it, demonstrating that the needy would be totally annihilated and that it was not in the best interests of the realm, but to its detriment and destruction. For it was utter injustice for those that were spared by two evils - the famine and the deadly plague - to be further tormented at the hands of the state by having to shoulder an unjust tax burden. Oppressed by the state and driven by necessity, they might attempt something that would be injurious to the realm. Saint Savvas said this, begging the emperor with all his heart and with many pleas to repeal such an oppressive and unlawful decision. The emperor was move by the saint and was inclined to grant him the wish. But the enemy of good was adverse again. Present at that time was Marinos, an advisor to the emperor, who said the following: “My lord Emperor, the majority of the people in Palestine are Nestorians; therefore, thou shouldest not grant them such a dispensation.” The saint was provoked and replied: “Do not sow old seeds of strife in the emperor, but repent for what thou hast said, else, in a few days, thy memorial will cease and thy glory will vanish as well.” Notwithstanding, Marinos persisted in his iniquity and did not take the saint’s warning seriously. Saint Savvas, meanwhile, was granted one thousand additional drachmas by the emperor, and departed for Palestine. As for the sordid Marinos, several days after the saint had prophesied those things concerning him, an insurrection broke out in The City, resulting in the loss of his property and the complete destruction of his home. He barely escaped with his head, repenting and weeping, acknowledging the prediction of the holy man. Many people noted this story in Konstantinoupolis, and especially the Emperor’s son Pompeos and Anastasia his wife, marveling at the foresight of the saint. But the unjust law remained in force until the death of Anastasios and even to the days of Justin (518-527), during whose reign the divine Savvas dispatched letters to him and succeeded in reducing the tax, which was altogether abolished by Justinian, who ruled after him (527-565).

PATRIARCH ELIAS AND SEVEROS
Following this, the proponents of Severos incited the wrath of the emperor against the saintly Patriarchs Flavian of Antioch and Elias of Jerusalem, whom he banished again. In the position of Flavian, they placed the Heresiarch Severos (513-518), who dispatched his own synodical letters along with clergymen and a military escort, demanding that the Blessed Elias should either subscribe to the doctrines of Dioscurus and his own, or be deposed from his throne. Upon learning of this, the divine Savvas gathered all the Monastics and repulsed the emperor’s legates as if they were outcasts. Prior to this, they anathematized the followers of Severos, amongst whom, was the Emperor Anastasios. The latter was intent on avenging this insult and affront and so sent a representative, whom he authorized as plenipotentiary, to oust Elias from his throne if he did not accept the blasphemous doctrines of Dioscurus. Upon his arrival, this plenipotentiary imprisoned the hierarch at once, but the latter demanded to be released from jail and said that on a certain feast, when all the Christians were assembled, he would do as the emperor commanded. When he was released from jail, the patriarch gathered all the laymen together while Savvas gathered the monks. Hypatios, the nephew of the emperor, was also present. He had been imprisoned and was freed by ransom. At last, they all gathered in the great Church, and the patriarch with a Great Voice proclaimed the following: “To whomsoever abides by the doctrines of Eftyches, Nestorios, Severos, and Soterikos - ANATHEMA; and to whosoever does not accept the doctrine or decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (Synod) - ANATHEMA also!” The plenipotentiary was outraged, for he had been deceived; but, because he feared the mob, he departed quietly for Caesarea. The nephew of the emperor vowed to remain steadfast in Chalcedonian Orthodox Christianity and in communion with the saints to his final breath and donated a vast sum of money to Saint Savvas in order to prove he was devout, faithful, and an Orthodox Christian. The blessed one thanked him and begged him to mediate before the emperor, appealing for clemency, that he be not angered, since they did not obey his command.

SAINT SAVVAS’ LETTER TO THE EMPEROR
The saint also wrote a letter to the emperor on behalf of all monastics, saying: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal King and God of all creation, has bestowed upon thy God-loving majesty the scepter of the Kingdom, that thou mightest govern the churches with reverence and peace, and especially the Mother of All Churches wherein the great mystery of piety was conceived and whence thereafter, it spread to the ends of the earth, which mystery we, the inhabitants of the Holy Land, have safeguarded to this day unadulterated and incorrupt, as we have received it from the holy Apostles, and shall preserve it to the end, (then 1948 happened), by the grace of God, without deviating in the least from the Truth and without corrupting it with the sacrilegious innovations of transient adversaries. (I.e. Jews coming back to ‘reclaim’ the Holy Land, Saracens, Turks, Latins (Catholics), Crusaders, and Armenians) “In the blameless faith, O emperor, thy majesty was reared from his youth. Therefore, we are perplexed as to how, during thy reign, there is so much turbulence and turmoil in the churches, inasmuch as thy servants drag to the marketplace, in sight of Godless Jews and pagans, our holy men, clerics and monks and with

such disdain, as if they were criminals and outlaws, and attempt to force them to pervert the immaculate Christian Orthodox Faith. Therefore, we beseech thy majesty to order them not to pester us anymore concerning matters of the Faith. For it is absurd and senseless to say that we, the Jerusalemite ascetics and so many other virtuous men, have been trained improperly in matters of the Faith, and now, in our old age, thou art attempting to teach us theology. Wherefore, it is obvious that the novel amendment to the traditional and True Faith, as thou namest it, Is not an amendment, but a distortion and forgery. Moreover, all that have accepted this amendment have departed unto eternal damnation. “We shall never accept any innovation in matters of the Faith, rather, we shall persist in all the things that the God-bearing fathers have bequeathed to us, both those that first convened in Nicaea, being 318 in number, and those of the Three Ecumenical Councils (Synods). And we are prepared not only to suffer every form of punishment, but even to receive a myriad of deaths, rather than deviate from the Immaculate, and pristine, Orthodox Christian faith in the least. “May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, preserve His Holy Church, and may it quell the confusion that has risen against it by the order of thine authority, to the Glory of God and thy glorious and God-loving Majesty.” The emperor received and read the letter, but did not answer, for he was preparing to go to war.

THE MONASTERIES FALL INTO NEED
But we shall return to the story of Saint Savvas. After they exiled Patriarch Elias, as mentioned earlier, a great famine visited Palestine, accompanied by a severe economic depression, which lasted five years; during that period there was no rain at all. There was suffering everywhere, and not only for the lay people, but the monks in Monasteries as well. The great Saint Savvas governed Seven large Monasteries which lacked almost very necessity. But he was not distressed by this. He placed his trust in God and sought assistance only from Him. He summoned the abbots of all the monasteries and bade them not to be concerned about this, nor to be embittered, but to set their hopes in God, that he would take care of their needs. A few days later, the lavra of the saint arrived at such a state of deprivation that they did not even have flour, nor anything else to eat. The sacristan cautioned the saint that the following Sunday, they would not even have bread (Prosphora) for the Divine Liturgy. The persevering Savvas did not despair even then, but confident in divine providence, said to the sacristan: “My child, God, Who has instructed us not to despair over the future, shall provide for us and will send aid from above, that we not go without a ‘Divine Liturgy’.” Thus he said and - Behold thy Great Protection of the Saint, O Lord!-before Sunday, a group of strangers came, as if they were sent by divine providence, and brought thirty pack animals laden with wheat, wine and oil, and various other food provisions. Then our saint gave thanks unto the Lord and turned to the sacristan, saying: “What does thou say now, O man of little faith? Shall we miss a Divine Liturgy for the lack of bread?” The sacristan fell at his feet, repenting in tears for his faintheartedness, seeking forgiveness. The saint exhorted him not to lose courage, but to place all his hope in the Lord, as David said, and dismissed him in peace.

**“One day, the steward of the monastery came to Savvas and informed him that the following Saturday and Sunday he would be unable to strike the

semantron, according to tradition, to summon the brethren to the communal service and meal because there was not a trace of flour in the monastery nor anything at all to eat or drink. For this same reason, even the Divine Liturgy was not possible. The saint replied without hesitation: ``I shall not cancel the Divine Liturgy because of the lack of flour; faithful is He Who commanded us not to be concerned about bodily things, and mighty is He to feed us in time of hunger.'' And he placed all his hope in God. In this extremity, he was prepared to send some of the ecclesiastical vessels or vestments to be sold in the city so that neither the divine services nor the brother's customary meal would be omitted. However, before Saturday some men, moved by divine providence, brought thirty mules laden with wheat, wine and oil to the monastery. ``What do you say now, Brother?'' Savvas asked the steward. ``Shall we not strike the semantron and assemble the fathers?'' The steward was ashamed because of his lack of faith and begged the abbot for forgiveness.” **

THE SHEPHERDS
The following day, monks came from the cavern, reporting that shepherds were allowing their sheep to graze on the crops of the lavra’s fields. They also trespassed into the monastery and stole food daily, causing turmoil and distress for the monks. The saint dealt with the thieves in humility and meekness, asking them to keep away from the lavra and to cease creating problems for the brethren. They paid no attention to the elder, but did as they pleased. Nevertheless, the Lord taught them by action not to scorn His servants, --and LO, the paradoxical Wonder!-The milk of their sheep went sour and they produced no more. As a result, their offspring perished, as they had no milk to feed on. The shepherds knew then that this befell them on account of their disobedience. Therefore, they hastened to the saint and fell at his feet, lamenting their calamity, and fervently confessed their sin. They vowed that they would never approach the boundaries of the lavra again. The saint forgave and blessed them; and with that blessing, the punishment was dissolved. The sterility of the udders ceased and milk flowed again, the lambs thrived and the shepherds gloom was changed to joy.

THE MONASTERY OF THE EUNUCHS
A patrician named Juliana, the granddaughter of the emperor, reposed, having lived a life adorned with many good works even up to the end. After her death, her retinue of eunuchs came to Jerusalem. Since they had become acquainted with the saintly Savvas in Konstantinoupolis, they sought him at the Great Lavra. They offered a considerable amount of money, which they had brought along with them, and they besought him to accept them into his synodia. The elder judged well not to receive into the Lavra either the beardless or eunuchs. For he did not like at all to see men with feminine faces in his monastery, or, for that matter, in any Lavra, However, because they were acquaintances of his, he advised them and spiritually edified them. Afterwards, he sent them to the blessed Theodosios. After they remained and were instructed there in the monastic state, within a short period of time, they besought the archbishop to give them a place to pursue the monastic life alone. The Archbishop summoned Alexandros, the abbot of the Monasteries of Patriarch Elias nearby Jericho, who had succeeded in the abbacy of Nestavos and Zacharias. He asked Alexandros to accept them temporarily, for a few days. Alexandros, either because he was enslaved to avarice or because he was conquered by vainglory, would not even take into consideration the order of the patriarch. He violated his conscience and parted from the Monastery. From then on, a separate monastery took the name, “the Monastery of the Eunuchs”. 27

PATRIARCH ELIAS IN EXILE
Saint Savvas, moved by divine providence and, in the company of two other brethren, Stephanos and Efthalios, went to visit the Patriarch Elias, who was exiled for the Orthodox Christian Faith, simply because he refused to subscribe to the doctrines of Severos. When the patriarch beheld the saint, he was elated and thanked him for undertaking such a journey - a man eighty years old traversing such a distance, to find him in a remote place of exile. The Patriarch kept him by him for many days in order to enjoy his company. They met one another each day at the ninth hour and dined together. One day, the patriarch did not come out of his cell. As a result, Savvas did not eat along with the others either. Finally, at midnight, the patriarch emerged very sad and addressed them, saying: “I have no time to eat, therefore, do not wait for me.” They asked him why he appeared so downcast, and he answered with a sigh: “Know this, O blessed Savvas, that, this very hour, Emperor Anastasios has died, and I too shall depart in ten days, to stand before the dread judgment seat of Christ, that we may both be judged.” The same night, the patriarch beheld the vision, the saint saw lightening bolts striking the emperor, who fled in despair and rendered up his soul shamefully. A few days later, news arrived that the emperor had indeed reposed; afterwards, the repose of blessed Elias took place, according to his prophesy, on the 20 th of July, 518.

THE FOURTH ECUMENICAL SYNOD (COUNCIL)
Following the death of Anastasios, Justin I was proclaimed emperor (518-527). He circulated an edict to all the provinces commanding that the Orthodox Bishops be reinstated in their sees and that the Fourth Ecumenical Synod be inscribed in all sacred books, that peace might return to the Churches. At that time, the Blessed Savvas was more than eighty years of age, being infirm and wasted through abstinence, yet youthful and vigorous in his soul. He never hesitated but, for the sake of Orthodoxy, traveled to Caesarea and Skythopolis, proclaiming the pious edict of the emperor and inscribing the decisions of the Four Ecumenical Synods in the books of the churches, counseling and instructing everyone with the sweet words of his teachings. When they arrived in Caesarea, they were welcomed by St. John the Chozevite, Bishop of the City. When they completed the mission there, they left for Skythopolis. All the inhabitants, together with metropolitan Theodosios, came out, and they met in the holy Church of the Apostle Thomas. A huge crowd entered into the church with psalms on their lips. They also read the imperial decrees and entered them in the diptychs of the Four Synods. 28

THE PROPHESY CONCERNING SILVANOS
While in Skythopolis, a Hesychast named John, a former tax collector, who was a wise man and greatly enlightened in his soul, came to the diocesan house and met the holy Savvas. There, he spoke to him a great length on the matter of the Samaritan Insurrection and of one Silvanos who was one of their chiefs. John described his wicked dealings and war against God and the persecution of the Christians. Our Holy Father Savvas listened to everything he said and, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to the Bishop and them standing about: “Behold, thus says the Lord, the days are coming when shall be fulfilled upon Silvanos what is written in the 51st Psalm, for he shall be burned in the midst of the city.” This is what he prophesied concerning Silvanos, and indeed, as we shall later see, it all came about.

THE ANCHORITE JOHN
Also, in those parts, near the place of Saint John, was a Monastery named Efthemene. There lived an anchorite named John, who was enlightened in soul and endowed with the gift of foresight, though the eyes of his body were dimmed. They had become weakened from keeping all-night vigils and shedding excessive tears, besides his great old age. Many claimed he had already passed his one hundredth year. He resided at this monastery for eighty years, fifty of which were spent in complete isolation. Our Saint (Savvas) went to speak with this holy and wondrous elder as he passed through the city. 30

THE HEMORRHAGING WOMAN
After visiting the holy elder John, on the road, he encountered a woman lying by the wayside, afflicted with chronic hemorrhaging and emitting such an offensive odor, that no one could approach her. Even her own relatives repulsed and would not come nigh. The destitute women suffered interminably, as no physician would offer her treatment. When she saw the Venerable Savvas passing, she cried out unto him: “Servant of God, rescue me, wretch that I am!” He pitied her and, approaching, raised her up cured and well.

THE DEMONIZED WOMAN
After this miracle was reported everywhere, a certain man approached the saint, whose daughter was possessed by an evil demon, and begged him to cure her, and related all that the demon had caused her to undergo. The most compassionate Savvas pitied him and took oil from the oil lamp of the Venerable Cross. The saint then took both father and daughter to a garden, where he ordered them to disrobe, and they were anointed with this oil. Straightway, the maiden was delivered from the demon and returned to her father safely. (My father, says the author, was an eyewitness to this occurrence and can attest to this miracle.)

THE ARCHBISHOP’S TABLE
When our sanctified father returned from Skythopolis, Archbishop John invited him to sup, together with other holy fathers of the desert and also his own brother, Anthony, the Bishop of Askalon. Apart from the many virtues of the saint, Savvas continually fasted through the week, even when he was exhausted from working; and this occurred many times when the weather was excessively hot. However, when Savvas offered hospitality or out of love had somewhere to go, he would partake, sometimes even twice in that same day, with no effect to his stomach. The archbishop had Savvas sit down next to him and offered him bread and other foods one right after the other. Bishop Anthony, who sat at his right, did the same things and constantly urged him to eat. Our saint, on the other hand, with great simplicity tasted everything that was brought before him and said: “leave me fathers, I will take as I need.” The Great Abba Theodosios, who was also present, jokingly commented: “Our Lord Savvas is so hungry, why are we so occupied in abstaining, for, after God, we have been feeding Palestine and have neglected to eat ourselves, and that is why he endeavors to eat.” The archbishop answered: “Forgive me, O fathers; why can we not endure both fasting and overeating? This man of God has a part in the apostolic gifts and knows how to humble himself. He knows how to abide in both surplus and in hunger and be satisfied, how to abound in good things and yet deprive himself of everything, for he can do all things through Christ Who has strengthened him.”31

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SAINT
The divine Savvas possessed such grace that whatever he requested of God re received without fail, and he performed miracles. His body was always subject to his will; when he fasted during the Great and Holy Lent (Great Fast), he never fell ill due to abstinence; and even through at Lent he ate but once a week, he performed all his duties. His stomach did not trouble him when he ate once a day. 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 matter, 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.

THE DROUGHT
When the drought entered the fourth year, the monks of the cavern visited the saint, asking permission to depart, as they could not endure the absence of water. But the saint said to them: “wait a few more days, and the mercy of God will come upon you.” Thus he said, and only three days later such a driving rain fell that it filled all the cisterns. The most amazing thing of all was that it did not rain anywhere else, except over the Lavra, which they were about to abandon. At the other Monasteries in the surrounding area, not one drop of rain fell. As a result, the abbots and leaders went to the saint and fell at his feet, charging him in protest: “What have we done that thou didst not beseech the Lord to send rain upon us too? We are in desperate straits for water!” But he comforted them, saying: “To them that were in greater need, God bestowed His Blessing; in a short period of time, He will send His Mercies upon you also.” The day of the temple’s consecration came, and all the springs were dry, as there was no water to be had anywhere. As a result, there was suffering everywhere. Patriarch John III (516-524) searched and dug for water, but found none. Therefore, he lamented for the scourge that visit the city. A certain friend of his named Sumus saw him weeping and said to him: “We have no other solution, save this: Thou must beg the Great Savvas to entreat the Lord to rescue us from this scourge!” The hierarch then called Savvas to him and besought him to entreat the Lord to have compassion upon the people and send His Mercy from heaven. But the saint replied that the request was beyond his power. The patriarch then fell at the feet of the saint, clasping his knees and begging him to entreat the Lord to hearken, so that the people would not be lost because of the dearth of water. The saint could not do otherwise. Thus he enclosed himself in a house and ordered everyone to pray. He stayed there and offered fervent prayers to the Lord. On the third day, at the first hour of the night, great clouds appeared, accompanied by a wind, and so much rain fell that the rivers and streams swelled while the springs were filled with water. Then the inhabitants of the city were rescued from their, ills, and with one soul and tongue gave thanks to God. Not long after, Patriarch John reposed and was succeeded by a noted and virtuous cleric named Peter I (524-552).

THE SAINT HEALS THE PATRIARCH’S SISTER
Three years later, Emperor Justin grew ill due to old age. He was unable to govern the state and chose as co-emperor his nephew, the general and patrician Justinian. Patriarch Peter retreated often with Savvas into the desert and respected him greatly, as did his predecessors. The patriarch had a sister named Hesychia, who was very devout, but so gravely ill that no physician could treat her. He was very grieved over this and besought the saint to cure her. The saint then made the sign of the Cross over her three times, and she arose from the bed, totally cured. This was the benefit the patriarch received from Saint Savvas for the honor and respect in which he held him.

PERSECUTION OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS
Not long afterwards, the Samaritans elected their own king, a man named Julian, and they harassed the Christians excessively. Many Christians were put to death when the Samaritans raided the villages in their vicinity and, especially, the suburbs of Neapolis. There, they put the local bishop to death and imprisoned some of the priests; others they murdered or burned alive. They committed various atrocities against the lay people also. When the emperor learned of this, he dispatch an armed force and brought the Samaritans to submission, while executing their “king”, Julian. As for Silvanus, who had committed many outrages against Christians, they burned him alive, and justly so, that the prophesy of Saint Savvas might be fulfilled. However, one of his comrades, named Arsenios, a High-ranking official, sailed to Konstantinoupolis and, having access to the imperial court, uttered many lies ‘as many Jews and people related to the Jews often do.’ (I, Kyrillos, know not whence or how), to the effect that the people of Palestine had themselves provoked the insurrection of the Samaritans Consequently the emperor was worth against the Palestinians and wished to punish them.

SAINT SAVVAS SENT TO KONSTANTINOUPOLIS
When the Patriarch of Jerusalem heard this, he was alarmed and begged the holy man to venture back to Konstantinoupolis again, to plead before the emperor that he not mistreat, those that were not guilty. Now even though the saint was elderly (ninety years of age or more) was not opposed to this, nor was he indifferent or daunted by the journey's length or the possibility of physical sickness. But in order to save souls from the threat of death, the noble one went with eagerness, as though he were young. When the emperor was apprised of Savvas' arrival, he sent a royal vessel with an honor-guard to escort him with great esteem, as was meet and right. Then he also sent Patriarch Epiphanios with all the clergy to greet him, cognizant that he was not receiving an earthly man, but a heavenly angel. When Savvas arrived at the Royal Palace, the emperor saw a shining wreath on the head of the saint, gleaming brightly and adorned with many graces. He was astonished by this vision, arose quickly from the throne and kissed that sacred head with much reverence and respect. After the emperor had greeted the saint and received his blessings, he summoned the empress and asked Savvas to bless her and bestow upon her the gift of childbearing, as she was barren, and they were both distressed by this. But the saint would not wish her to become a mother, but only prayed that God would strengthen them both, give them victories over their enemies, and the like. The empress again asked him again concerning her bearing a Child, but the saint would only repeat the first wish. This happened several times so that all in attendance knew that the saint would not consent to wish her a child. So she left saddened. Some of the emperor's friends asked Savvas: "Why didst thou not pray that she give birth to a child but instead thou hast offended the Avgousta?" And he replied: "May God not grant her a child! For if a child were born to her, he would renew the doctrines of Severos and wreak more havoc and discord in the Church than Anastasios!" Justinian displayed such love and respect towards Saint Savvas, that not only did he forgive the Palestinians, but he would also drive the Samaritans out of the cities, forcing them to make their synagogues (of Satan) outside the walls, and he would enact an ordinance whereby the Samaritans could not inherit property

of their dead, so that their wealth could not accumulate; and whatsoever started an insurrection in the future was to be put to death. The aforesaid Arsenios was frightened because of this and accepted Holy Baptism at the hands of the saint, as he was a Samaritan heretofore (and valued his head). But this took place later. Now let us turn to the devout emperor and the remainder of our story. Justinian knew that the previous emperor, Anastasios, had honored Savvas by giving him a great sum of money, even though Anastasios was not Orthodox but Monophysite, and he was determined to give him even more. Saint Savvas thanked him for his good intentions.

SAINT SAVVAS’ PIOUS DEMANDS
The saint addressed Emperor Justinian: "The all-merciful Father and Sustainer of our souls and bodies, Who fed the stiff-necked people in the desert, generously cares and provides for us as well. From thee, O majesty, we request but one favor which is more precious than gold: may it please the crown to relieve the Palestinians who are suffering daily at the hands of the Samaritans. They have leveled many of their (meaning the Palestinian Orthodox Christians, the Same Christians are still suffering at the hands of Zionist Jews) buildings and churches to the ground; carried off their sheep, cattle and livestock; imprisoned many; and burned their crops and created untold damage. They have reduced them to utter penury, so that they are even bereft of food and are dying of starvation. Hence, they appeal to thy majesty that he exempt them temporarily from taxation, that they may have a breathing spell, after which they will resume payment of their obligations." "Furthermore, all they that come to worship at the Life-Giving Sepulcher of our Savior are in need of shelter, to find respite from the wearisome journey, especially those that are ill. Therefore, for this reason, it is imperative that a spacious infirmary be built." "Also, the divine Church of the Theotokos, which Patriarch Elias erected, is still unfinished and is in need of completion and adornment. Likewise, the monasteries which I have founded are bereft of a single tower in which the brethren might seek refuge in an emergency. Above all, the heresies of Arios, Nestorios, Origen and the Monophysites have created turmoil in the Church. Wherefore, thy majesty should take the initiative to extirpate these thorns by thy might. If thou wilt accomplish all that I have mentioned, I believe that God will grant thee rich rewards, so that cities such as Rome and Carthage, and all other provinces that have revolted, will be subjugated and will recognize thy sovereignty once more." These were the pious demands of Saint Savvas. The devout emperor was in earnest to please the venerable one and at once issued decrees to all the provinces against the aforesaid heretics, ordering the magistrates and governors to carry out their orders without fail. He dispatched letters to Zacharias 32 and to Bishop Anthony of Askalon, who had been ordained by Patriarch Elias. The bishop had written against Severos of Antioch, and he also happened to be a friend of Saint Savvas and assisted him in the construction of the churches in Palestine. 3Justinian had written them to determine the damages that the impious Samaritan wretches had inflicted upon the Palestinians, so that he might reimburse the latter by exempting them from taxes for a period of time. All the churches that they demolished were to be rebuilt at the expense of the state. Moreover, an infirmary was to be built in the Holy City, which would receive an annual subsidy of 1,850 (One Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty) florins. Most importantly, all the heresies were publicly anathematized and the means for their eradication was facilitated. The emperor took particular care to fulfill the request of the elder pertaining to the Church dedicated to the Theotokos. He commissioned Theodoros, a certain engineer, for the construction of the new Church of the Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. He decreed that the tax collectors in Palestine assist with as much gold as the elder required for the project. He gave full authority to Archbishop Peter and appointed Barakos, The Bishop of Bakathon (Vakathon), to oversee the work of the building. Thus, with many craftsmen and laborers, and with the utmost attention and diligence, the new Church of the All-Praised Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary was completed, adorned with every decoration and consecrated within twelve years. The dimensions of the venerable temple, the glittering glory and rich adornments, I (the author, Kyrillos of Skythopolis) consider superfluous to describe, since they are self evident and each one may marvel at them himself. It exceeds all the ancient sights, whatever has been related and created awe amongst men, and whatever we have inherited from the Greeks. Hence, this was the fruit of this request of the divine Savvas. 34 The pious emperor also saw to the petition concerning the building of a tower, he prepared a decree before Sumus (a man of vast experience, serving and passing through various political offices),who ordered the disbursing of one thousand coins for the erection of a fortress for Abba Savvas, to be taken from the Palestinian revenues. Also, there was to be placed a garrison of soldiers, who would receive wages from the municipality, to guard and protect the monasteries of the Saint, against Arab raids.35 The emperor ordered all this scrupulously. The saint thanked him, vowing that he would entreat the Lord in his behalf. Since the emperor, being preserved by God, was busy with these projects in collaboration with the tribune of Magnavra, the blessed Savvas went apart a little from them and began to recite within himself the Psalms of David and to do the Service of the Third Hour. Jeremias, a deacon the Great Lavra and one of Savvas' disciples, who was then present, approached him and said: "Honorable Father, the emperor shows great interest and tries to satisfy all thy requests; why dost thou remain standing there?" The elder replied: "My Child, they are doing their job; let us do ours!" 36 Not long after, the powerful kingdoms of the Vandals, 37 Carthage, Rome, and many other provinces came under Justinian's rule, as the saint had prayed for him.

THE SAINT IN PALESTINE
The divine presbyter arrived in Palestine on the 9th day of September, 530, the Origenist, Leo of Byzantine, and they that followed the teachings of Theodore of Mopsuestia were left behind in Constantinople, for they separated from Savvas’ company. He entered Jerusalem, venerated the Sepulcher of the Lord, and then presented the imperial decrees. The gold that he brought from Konstantinoupolis he distributed amongst his Monasteries. As the venerable elder passed by Caesarea and Skythopolis, he proclaimed Orthodoxy to all, teaching and exhorting them to keep the Faith. He also forwarded the imperial letters to the two Bishops, who went to the areas in Palestine that the Samaritans had devastated, and assessed the damages, which amounted to twelve centenaria of gold; In Skythopolis, the estimated losses were less. Justinian, indeed, waived the taxes due to the realm and spent everything on rebuilding Palestine. Shortly thereafter, the edifices and tower were completed by imperial order.

JEREMIAS THE DEACON
At that time, the aforementioned Deacon Jeremias was troubled and distressed over the distribution of the gold. Therefore, he departed the Great Lavra and went to live in the wilderness in wadi south of the monastery, at about a distance of five stadia, that is, in a valley east of Jebel Muntar. Our Father Savvas went to find him (like a lost sheep) and was successful. Just as he beheld the area about Jeremias, the elder greatly rejoiced. Savvas then went

and returned with several artisans, various vessels, money and provisions. Within a few days, with great effort, they erected a small church and various cells there and gave Jeremias also some of the brethren to abide there. He ordered Jeremias to govern the place and gave them the canons and rules of the Great Lavra. Thus, by the grace of God, this spot also became a lavra, which flowers to this day, bearing the name of Jeremias. 39

THE SAINTS REPOSE
Savvas then returned to the lavra and, shortly after, fell ill. Patriarch Peter went at once to visit him and, observing that he was not in need of intense therapy, he bade him to go to the patriarchate to find alleviation. Savvas consented and went to the patriarchate and stayed there, lingering in the illness. The time had come for his departure to his longed-for Christ, for it was revealed to him in a vision that he would be translated to the heavens. He immediately ordered them to bring him back to his cell, where he kissed all the brethren and elected another as superior, a worthy and experienced elder named Meletios, to guide all the reason-endowed sheep. Thus he surrendered his holy soul into the hands of Christ, on the fifth day of December, 533 A.D., at the age of ninety four. A great multitude assembled then, not only monks, but countless laymen, clergy and bishops, among whom was the patriarch, who, with great honor, candles, hymns, and incense, buried the saint's venerated and sacred relics. Such was the life of Saint Savvas, and many were his untold accomplishments. 40 Now let us relate a few of the numerous miracles that he wrought after his venerable release.

THE HIERODEACON ROMULOS
A certain hierodeacon named Romulos came from Gethsemane. Thieves broke into his house and stole a large amount of silver. He lamented its loss and went to the Church of Saint Theodore, who is reported to reveal the identity of thieves, and besought him to solve the mystery. After five days there, he saw the martyr at night, who said to him: "Why dost thou lament?" And he told him the reason. Then Saint Theodore replied as if he were explaining: "I was not here. The blessed Savvas was translated and all the martyrs were ordered to accompany his blessed soul to its place of rest. Go now to such and such a location and thou shalt find the thieves and the silver." And thus this vision proved trustworthy.

THE ILL FARMER
Two brothers, devoted friends of the saint, owned a farm and a vineyard. At the time of harvest, they were stricken ill and lay lingering in bed. They were about to lose their crop, since there was no one else there to harvest it. However, they remembered the love that the saint had for them when he was alive, so they called upon him to assist them. And, at once, he appeared to them individually and said: I besought the Lord for thee, and He has cured thee. Therefore, tomorrow go to the vineyard healthy." At dawn, they both arose without any trace of illness and went about proclaiming the marvelous recovery and held a joyous celebration.

GINAROUSA
A woman from Palestine named Ginarousa, very pious and devout, once promised to make two curtains for the two churches of the saint: the one at the Cave and the one at Kastellion. She entrusted the task of making the curtains to two other women, providing all the materials and paying for the labor; but they were slothful. Ginarousa, meanwhile, was disturbed, fearing lest the saint be angry, because the promise was not promptly fulfilled. But the wondrous Savvas appeared in a vision and said to her: "Grieve not, for tomorrow the curtains will be completed as thou hast promised." He said these things softly and with meekness. But to the women who were paid to sew, he appeared fearsome, and he threatened to punish them if they did not complete the task. At dawn, they awoke terror-stricken, telling each other of the vision. Straightway, they abandoned all their other chores and tended only to that one. Thus, the promise to the God-fearing woman was fulfilled.

THE SARACEN
On another occasion, merchants were transporting wheat to the Dead Sea. One of them, a Saracen, was near the lavra when he was driving his camels laden with wheat. One of his beasts stumbled by a precipice and fell with its entire load down below. As the Saracen observed the falling camel, he shouted: "Abba Savvas, by thy prayers, help me!" Before he could complete his words, he beheld an elder with a white beard, sitting atop the camel. The Saracen climbed down to the wadi from another direction that was easier to descend, and found the camel safe and unharmed. He marveled at this and thanked the saint. Thereafter, in gratitude, he made donations every year to the monastery of the saint, giving from his labor three coins. Now let us relate another most pleasant and paradoxical event in addition to those that the sanctified man performed after death.

JOHN THE HESYCHAST
When the great Savvas reposed, John grieved, and wept. Savvas appeared to him in a vision and said: ``Do not grieve, Father John, for even though I am separated from you in the body, nevertheless I am with you in the spirit.'' Then John begged him: ``Father, pray to the Lord to take me with you.'' To this Savva replied: ``For now, this cannot be. A great trial has yet to befall the Lavra, and God wants you to remain in the body to comfort and strengthen the faithful against the heretics.'' At first, John did not know what kind of heretics the holy father Savvas had spoken of, but he found out later, when the heresy of Origen began to shake the Church of God.

MAMAS AND AFXENTIOS
At another season, a severe drought visited the region and the lavra lacked water, as we mentioned earlier. The monks were so desperate because of this they wished to build a structure on top of a great rock and, below it, to dig a water tank into the bedrock instead of a cistern to collect the rainwater. They hired two expert masons for this purpose, named Mamas and Afxentios, and they constructed the building atop the rock, beneath which the relics of Saint Savvas lay. Then they hewed the rock in order to make a cistern, wherein the rainwater would collect. Suddenly, it began to rain; it rained so heavily that the water tank was filled to capacity and, unable to hold the water it broke in two and fell over the precipice. Mamas, meanwhile, managed with great difficulty to escape, but the younger Afxentios was overwhelmed by the waters and was cast over the precipice onto the rocks thirty feet below. Mamas wept over the loss of the youth, thinking that he was crushed under the debris and the falling waters. But when the rain subsided, Afxentios was seen whole and sound on the rocks below. (Behold, Thy marvels, O Almighty God!) It was our saint who preserved Afxentios by the power of his authority before the Lord. He prevented the rocks and the water from touching Afxentios, keeping him completely safe without sustaining any injuries to his body. He emerged safe and glad, proclaiming this miracle which the great Savvas did for him, to the Glory of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, the One God, to Whom is Due all Glory, Honor, and Worship, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, KYRILLOS OF SKYTHOPOLIS
Kyrillos, a faithful contemporary writer, also records that when the imperial decrees arrived at Jerusalem with Saint Savvas, the archbishop besought our holy Father Savvas to go to Caesaria and Skythopolis, to present the imperial and God-Given orders. Kyrillos explains what took place, as follows: "As Saint Savvas

arrive in Skythopolis, Metropolitan Theodosios came out to meet him with all the faithful. Amongst them was my Father, who was the Bishop's chancellor. After Saint Savvas presented the decrees, my father directed the divine elder to the diocese, where he had a chamber within the dwelling of the saintly Prokopios. My Father accompanied the great Savvas and never left his side. Consequently, also I, being a child at the time, happened to be with my father. Together we fell at Savvas' feet to venerate him. The holy elder blessed me, and after he raised me up, he embraced me and said to my father: 'This child is from henceforth my disciple and a son of the fathers of the desert.' Savvas then turned privately to the metropolitan, and said: 'Great sir, I entrust this lad to thee. Watch him, because for me he is useful.' These words were then conveyed to my father and mother. "My mother was then informed by my father that the saint was about to visit Abba Prokopios the Hesychast who lived in the Church of Saint Thomas; she took me and went to this church named after the apostle. When Savvas also reached there, he took my father in particular, who in turn took my mother to reverence him. When the saint perceived that she was a handmaiden of God, he blessed her, and upon seeing me, he again said: 'There is my disciple, Kyrillos.' I made a prostration. After he blessed me, I stood up, and he said to my father: 'Teach him the Psalter, because I need him; henceforward, he is my disciple.' When he had said this, he gave my mother leave, but my father and I stayed close. "Afterwards, we went to Abba Prokopios and ate then returned to the diocese. The next day, when he was about to travel to Jerusalem, he came to our house. He blessed my father, mother and me, then, left with the fathers that had accompanied him.' "Thenceforth, the Metropolitan would pester my father frequently, saying: 'How is the disciple of Abba Savvas coming along?' At the same time, he urged my father to teach me the Psalter and the Epistles, thus, he blessed me and cut a little of my hair, ordaining me to the first ecclesiastical degree" (probably to the rank of reader).41 Many years passed and Cyril, the monastic biographer, recorded the lives of many of the leading abbas of the desert: Saints Efthimios the Great, Theodosios the Coenobiarch, Savvas the Sanctified and John the Hesychast (The Silent, Bishop of Kolonia), to name a few."

SAINT SAVVAS’ RELICS RETURN AFTER BEING STOLEN BY HETERODOX LATINS
The Latins in their Crusades pillaged Palestine of all Orthodox Christian Holy items and Relics and took Saint Savvas’ relics back to the Frankish lands for 1200 years, finally the “head” of the Vatican Religion decided to return the stolen relics of St. Savvas’ on October 13 th, in a so-called gesture of “good will”. The Relics returned to Palestine, to the Great Lavra of Saint Savvas and –O The Wonder!—When the relics returned, The relics of Saint Savvas stood up in his casket with his arms extended and raised so that the Orthodox clergy could replace the Heterodox Vatican Religion Latin monastic garb with Traditional Orthodox Catholic Monastic garb of a Priest-Monk of Exo-Rason, Rason, Kalimafki and Epitrachelion.

The Miraculous Return of the Relics of St. Savvas the Sanctified
St. Savvas the Sanctified during his lifetime told his disciples that his incorrupt body would be removed from his monastery and later would rest in the Lavra, which he founded. He said this return of his relics would come before the end of the world. This prophecy was fulfilled when the holy relics of St. Savvas were stolen by the crusaders of the First Crusade (1096 - 1099) together with many other relics and brought to Venice, Italy where he was enshrined in a church dedicated to St. Anthony. Nearly nine centuries later his relics were returned to (Zionist-Israeli Occupied) Palestine. On 10 October 1965 the relics of St. Savvas were returned by Pope Paul VI to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The reception was made, at the direction of Patriarch Benediktos of Jerusalem, by Bishop Vasilios of Jerusalem, Fr. Theodosios the Abbot of Bethany, Fr. Seraphim the Abbot of St. Savvas Lavra, and the Hierodeacon (and future Metropolitan of Nazareth) Kyriakos. Though it is commonly recorded that this gesture on behalf of the Pope was made merely as an ecumenical gesture, such as that of the skull of St. Andrew in Patras, with regards to the return of the relics of St. Savvas there is more to the story. In fact, it was St. Savvas himself who was urging Pope Paul VI to have his relics returned, appearing first to his predecessor Pope John XXIII in his dreams and causing a scene in his reliquary. Fr. Seraphim, the Abbot of St. Savvas Lavra, explains everything as follows: "The Pope did not give us the holy relic because he “loved” us, but because he [St. Savvas] would constantly appear to him [Pope John XXIII] and would bother him to have his relics returned to his monastery. When the Pope died he did not take the wishes of the Saint into account, so he appeared again to his successor [Pope Paul VI]. Even in the church where his holy relics were treasured in a glass coffin, he would hit the glass and cause trouble, frightening the guards and the Latin/Papist monks." Patriarch Benediktos had insisted that Fr. Seraphim attend the reception of the relics. He even told the Abbot: "In your days, Fr. Seraphim, Saint Savvas has returned!" Fr. Seraphim responded: "No, in your days, Your Holiness." When the Orthodox representatives arrived at the Church of Saint Anthony in Venice they wondered if indeed these were the relics of Saint Savvas. Fr. Seraphim observed every inch of the incorrupt relic to see if he could see a sign of authenticity. He noticed that one of the eyes of St. Savvas was missing. This proved it for him, since in his biography it is said that the Monophysites removed one of his eyes. Moved by this Fr. Seraphim would not leave the side of the relics till they arrived at his monastery. Even when the holy relics arrived in Athens where they were to be venerated by the faithful prior to the return, Fr. Seraphim stood all night guarding the holy relics while everyone else was sleeping. Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth describes the scene as if Fr. Seraphim and St. Savvas were having a conversation that night. A problem arose when it came time to dress the holy relics in Orthodox vestments, since the Latins had dressed him in Latin vestments. After nine centuries it would be impossible to manoeuvre the body so as to put on the rason, the monastic schema and epitrachelion among other things. To further complicate matters, the hands of St. Savvas were crossed over his chest. Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth describes what then happened as follows: "We then saw Abbot Seraphim kneel before the holy relics and pray for a good amount of time. At one point he arose and did prostrations and lifted the arms of Saint Savvas as one would a living man before the amazed eyes of us all." They were able to change the vestments without a problem in Venice before the return to Jerusalem. When the glass coffin arrived at the Piazza San Marco on the pier, there was a gondola that transported it by escort to an area near the airport. In a strange coincidence it was the same pier the sacred relic had disembarked centuries ago. Countless pigeons were gathered there, as if they were there to honor the event. Even many years later, when Fr. Seraphim and Metropolitan Kyriakos would reminisce about those days, they would always talk about the pigeons. When the holy relics finally arrived in Jerusalem it was first brought to the Church of the Resurrection for many days. Here the women could venerate the holy relics prior to being brought permanently to the all-male monastic Lavra of St. Savvas. Fr. Seraphim tells of a certain miracle at this time in Jerusalem. An Orthodox nun who was waiting to venerate the holy relics had doubts over whether or not the Latin's had indeed given the authentic relics to the Orthodox. It was then that she saw the head of St. Savvas lift and turn to her, then it returned again in its place. Her joy removed all doubts.

(STH ELLENIKA)

Περί της επανακομιδής του ιερού λειψάνου του αγίου Σάββα.
Το 1965 έγινε με πανηγυρικές τελετές η επανακομιδή του ιερού λειψάνου του αγίου Σάββα στο μοναστήρι του. Το ιερό λείψανο το είχαν κλέψει οι σταυροφόροι της Α' σταυροφορίας (1096 - 1099) μαζί με πολλά άλλα ιερά λείψανα και το μετέφεραν στη Βενετία όπου και το έθεσαν στον ναό του αγίου Αντωνίνου. Εννέα αιώνες περίπου αργότερα έμελλε να επανέλθει και πάλι ο μεγάλος ασκητής της Ορθοδοξίας στο μοναστήρι που ο ίδιος έκτισε. Πριν την παραλαβή του ιερού λειψάνου είχαν προηγηθεί μεταξύ του Πάπα της Ρώμης Παύλου στ' και του Πατριάρχου Ιεροσολύμων Βενεδίκτου συνεννοήσεις για τον καθορισμό αντιπροσωπειών, ημερομηνιών, τελετών και άλλων θεμάτων σχετικών με την παράδοση και την παραλαβή. Από πλευράς Πατριαρχείου Ιεροσολύμων ορίσθηκε η αντιπροσωπεία στην οποία μετείχαν ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Ιορδάνου (νυν Μητροπολίτης Καισαρείας) κ. Βασίλειος, ο Αρχιμανδρίτης Θεοδόσιος ηγούμενος της Βηθανίας, ο Αρχιμανδρίτης Σεραφείμ ηγούμενος της Λαύρας και ο ιεροδιάκονος (νυν Μητροπολίτης Ναζαρέτ) κ. Κυριακός. Ο Γέρων Σεραφείμ είχε ιδιαίτερη αγάπη και ευλάβεια στον άγιο Σάββα. Εδιηγείτο στα καλογέρια του μετά την επανακομιδή του ιερού λειψάνου τα εξής: «Ο Πάπας», έλεγε «δεν μας έδωσε το ιερό λείψανο, γιατί μας αγαπούσε, αλλά γιατί συχνά εμφανιζόταν σ' αυτόν και τον ενοχλούσε για να επιστρέψει στο μοναστήρι του. Όταν πέθανε ο Πάπας που δεν έλαβε υπ' όψιν του τον Άγιο, εκείνος εμφανίστηκε και πάλι στον διάδοχό του. Αλλά και στον ναό που βρισκόταν το ιερό λείψανό του θησαυρισμένο μέσα σε γυάλινη λάρνακα χτυπούσε το τζάμι, έκανε φασαρίες, τάραζε τους φύλακες και τους Λατίνους μοναχούς». Ο άγιος Σάββας, τον οποίο ο Γέρων Σεραφείμ εσέβετο πολύ, ανταπέδωσε την αγάπη του Γέροντος και τον αξίωσε να λάβει μέρος στην επανακομιδή του ιερού σκηνώματός του από τη Βενετία το 1965. Ο μακαριστός πατριάρχης Βενέδικτος είχε τότε αποφασίσει: « Ο ηγούμενος του αγίου Σάββα πρέπει να πάει οπωσδήποτε». Πειράζοντας δε ο πατριάρχης τον Γέροντα Σεραφείμ κάποτε είπε: «Επί της εποχής σου , πάτερ Σεραφείμ, επέστρεψεν ο άγιος Σάββας!», ο δε Γέρων Σεραφείμ αντικρούοντας και ανταποδίδοντας τη φιλοφρόνηση απάντησε: «Όχι, επί της εποχής σας, Μακαριώτατε!». Παρά τις εκδηλώσεις τιμής και αγάπης εκ μέρους των Λατίνων τόσο στην αντιπροσωπεία όσο και στην Αγιοταφική Αδελφότητα υπήρχε διάχυτη η αμφιβολία εάν οι Δυτικοί απέδιδαν το πραγματικό άγιο λείψανο στην ορθόδοξη αντιπροσωπεία. Όταν η ορθόδοξη αντιπροσωπεία μετά από το μακρύ και κοπιαστικό ταξείδι έφθασε στον ναό του αγίου Αντωνίνου, ο Γέρων Σεραφείμ παρατηρούσε, προς έκπληξη των υπολοίπων, με ιδιαίτερη επιμονή το ιερό λείψανο, σαν να έψαχνε να βρει κάποιο σημάδι που να πιστοποιεί την αυθεντικότητά του. Κάποια στιγμή με έκδηλη χαρά φώναξε στους υπόλοιπους: «Πατέρες, είναι το πραγματικό λείψανο». Πιστοποίησε τη γνησιότητα από το γεγονός ότι έλειπε το ένα από τα δύο μάτια. Γνώριζε ο π. Σεραφείμ από παλαιά συναξάρια της Λαύρας ότι οι μονοφυσίτες στα χρόνια του αγίου Σάββα σε μια διαμάχη που είχαν μαζί του για την ορθή πίστη του είχαν βγάλει το μάτι. Από εκείνη τη στιγμή δεν απομακρύνθηκε από αυτό. Ακόμη και όταν το αεροπλάνο διενυκτέρευσε στην Αθήνα, για να προσκυνήσουν επί του αεροπλάνου οι αναμένοντες αυτό πιστοί, ο Γέρων παρέμεινε μόνος όλη τη νύχτα φύλακας του ιερού λειψάνου, ενώ η υπόλοιπη συνοδεία λόγω του κόπου μετέβη στην Αθήνα για ανάπαυση. Διηγείται ο Μητροπολίτης Ναζαρέτ ότι καθ' όλο το διάστημα που ο Γέρων Σεραφείμ στεκόταν φρουρός δίπλα στο άγιο λείψανο, έδιδε τόσο στον ίδιο όσο και στα υπόλοιπα μέλη της αντιπροσωπείας την αίσθηση ότι ανάμεσά τους γινόταν κάτι σαν μυστική συνομιλία, σε σημείο που να εντυπωσιάζονται και να θαυμάζουν το γεγονός. Όμως δεν άργησε να παρουσιασθεί ο μεγάλος προβληματισμός : πως δηλαδή θα γινόταν η αλλαγή των ενδυμάτων του ιερού λειψάνου βάσει των συμφωνηθέντων. Συγκεκριμένα μετά την αρπαγή του ιερού λειψάνου από το μοναστήρι, οι Λατίνοι στη Βενετία το έντυσαν με ενδύματα Λατίνου ιερέως, ενώ τα χέρια του αγίου Σάββα ήταν σταυρωειδώς επί του στήθους του. Μετά από εννέα περίπου αιώνες, η ακαμψία του σώματος δεν επέτρεπε την αλλαγή της λατινικής περιβολής με τα ράσα του Ορθόδοξου κληρικού, με το πετραχήλι και το μοναχικό σχήμα που είχε φέρει μαζί της η αντιπροσωπεία για τον σκοπό αυτόν. «Τότε είδαμε τον Γέροντα Σεραφείμ να γονατίζει μπροστά στο ιερό λείψανο και να προσεύχεται για πολύ ώρα. Κάποια στιγμή σηκώθηκε έκαμε μετάνοιες στρωτές και σήκωσε με τα χέρια του τα χέρια του αγίου Σάββα σαν να ήταν χέρια ζωντανού ανθρώπου μπροστά στα έκπληκτα μάτια όλων μας», θυμάται με ακρίβεια μέχρι σήμερα και διηγείται ο Μητροπολίτης Ναζαρέτ. Τότε άλλαξαν τα ενδύματα του αγίου Σάββα και αφού τελείωσαν οι τελετές εκ μέρους των Λατίνων, άρχισε το ταξείδι της επιστροφής. Όταν το γυάλινο φέρετρο έφθασε στην πλατεία του αγίου Μάρκου, στο μώλο, υπήρχε μια γόνδολα η οποία το μετέφερε με συνοδεία σε χώρο κοντινό προς το αεροδρόμιο. Κατά μια δε περίεργη σύμπτωση στον ίδιο μώλο είχε αποβιβασθεί το ιερό λείψανο αιώνες πριν. Θαυμαστό γεγονός που εντυπώθηκε στον νου όλων ήταν τα χιλιάδες περιστέρια της πλατείας του αγίου Μάρκου τα οποία όλα μαζί τη στιγμή που η γόνδολα με το ιερό λείψανο ξεκινούσε τον πλού της στα νερά των καναλιών σαν κύμα πέρασαν πάνω από αυτήν χαιρετώντας με τον τρόπο αυτό τον μεγάλο φιλοξενούμενο που πλέον αναχωρούσε για το μοναστήρι του. Χρόνια μετά, κάθε φορά που αντάμωναν ο Γέρων Σεραφείμ με τον Μητροπολίτη Ναζαρέτ κ. Κυριακό, του θύμιζε : «Τα περιστέρια, τα περιστέρια», σαν υπόμνηση του ότι και η άλογη ακόμη φύση συμμετείχε ως μαρτυρία τη στιγμή της αναχώρησης από τη Βενετία με προορισμό τα Ιεροσόλυμα. Εκεί παρέμεινε στον πανίερο ναό της Αναστάσεως για μέρες χάριν προσκυνήσεως των γυναικών, λόγω του αβάτου της Μονής του αγίου Σάββα. Σημειώνουμε εδώ και ένα θαύμα το οποίο διηγήθηκε ο Γέρων Σεραφείμ σχετικά με το ιερό λείψανο του αγίου Σάββα που επανακομιζόταν στα Ιεροσόλυμα. Κάποια ορθόδοξη μοναχή, που περίμενε να προσκυνήσει το ιερό λείψανο, επολεμείτο από λογισμούς δυσπιστίας για το αν το ιερό λείψανο, που δόθηκε από τους Λατίνους, ανήκε πράγματι στον άγιο Σάββα. Είδε, μόνη αυτή, το ιερό λείψανο να ανασηκώνει λίγο την κεφαλή, να τη στρέφει προς αυτήν και έπειτα να επανέρχεται στην προτέρα θέση της κατακλίσεως, οπότε εν τρόμω και χαρά απέβαλε την αμφιβολία.

+ THE END AND GLORY BE TO GOD!! +

Troparion - Tone 8
By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! Our Father Sabbas, pray to Christ God to save our souls!

Apolytikion (Troparion) in the Fourth Tone
With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Sabbas, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.

Troparion of St Sabbas the Sanctified tone 1
Sanctified from youth, O righteous Sabbas,/ thou wast a summit of righteousness equal to the Angels./ Thou didst lead a heavenly life, and guide thy flock to godliness by word and deed./ And they cry to thee with faith:/ Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee;/ glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion - Tone 8
From your youth you offered yourself to God as a blameless sacrifice, having been dedicated to Him before your birth, blessed Sabbas. You were an adornment of the righteous and a praiseworthy citizen of the desert. Therefore, we cry to you: "Rejoice, ever glorious Father."

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O blessed Sabbas, thou wast offered from thine infancy through thy great virtue as a pure and spotless sacrifice unto God, Who ere thy birth, verily foreknew thee; wherefore thou wast an adornment of the righteous Saints, an all-praised founder of cities in the wilderness. Hence, I cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father of great renown.

Kontakion of St Sabbas the Sanctified tone 8
Thou wast offered to God from childhood as a blameless sacrifice,/ as one dedicated to Him before birth,/ O blessed Sabbas,/ thou adornment of the righteous and blessed dweller in the desert./ Wherefore I cry to thee: Rejoice.

Megalynarion
We bless thee, O our venerable Father Sabbas, and we honor thy Holy Memory, Instructor of Monks and converser with Angels!

THE END AND GLORY BE TO GOD !!

Troparion - Tone 8
By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! Our Father Sabbas, pray to Christ God to save our souls!

Apolytikion (Troparion) in the Fourth Tone
With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Sabbas, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.

Troparion of St Sabbas the Sanctified tone 1
Sanctified from youth, O righteous Sabbas,/ thou wast a summit of righteousness equal to the Angels./ Thou didst lead a heavenly life, and guide thy flock to godliness by word and deed./ And they cry to thee with faith:/ Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee;/ glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion - Tone 8
From your youth you offered yourself to God as a blameless sacrifice, having been dedicated to Him before your birth, blessed Sabbas. You were an adornment of the righteous and a praiseworthy citizen of the desert. Therefore, we cry to you: "Rejoice, ever glorious Father."

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O blessed Sabbas, thou wast offered from thine infancy through thy great virtue as a pure and spotless sacrifice unto God, Who ere thy birth, verily foreknew thee; wherefore thou wast an adornment of the righteous Saints, an all-praised founder of cities in the wilderness. Hence, I cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father of great renown.

Kontakion of St Sabbas the Sanctified tone 8
Thou wast offered to God from childhood as a blameless sacrifice,/ as one dedicated to Him before birth,/ O blessed Sabbas,/ thou adornment of the righteous and blessed dweller in the desert./ Wherefore I cry to thee: Rejoice.

Megalynarion
We bless thee, O our venerable Father Sabbas, and we honor thy Holy Memory, Instructor of Monks and converser with Angels!

THE END AND GLORY BE TO GOD!

END NOTES:
1. The unabridged version of the life of our holy Father Savvas the Sanctified was written in Greek by his disciple, Kyrillos of Skythopolis, who also authored the lives of other Palestinian saint. It was St. John the Hesychast, then Bishop of Kolonia, who had commanded him to record the deifying accounts. Also, while Kyrillos was once sleeping, he beheld the two holy men, Saints Efthymios and Savvas, who commanded him to record their lives. Saint Simeon metaphrastes elaborated on Kyrillo’s writings and included them in his own collection, which begins: “Thus, neither was the soul stirred…” (Preserved in the Great Lavra, The Monastery of Iveron and other places). It was extracted therefrom, and printed by Saint Agapios of Crete, in his book, Paradise, which we have revised. According to Theodore of Kyrrhos, the name Savvas is Syrian, meaning “Presbyter” or “Elder”. But, according to the Greeks, it is an Old Greek word meaning Saturday, and also meaning “Foreseeing”. His service obtained its origin from the Church Typikon of the saint’s monastery. The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church, trans. From the Greek, 1974, Vol.XII, P.157 9hereinafter referred to as Synaxaristes.) 2. Derwas J. Chitty, The Desert A City, (New York, 1966), p.96 3. Saint Efthimios the Great introduced and established a pattern in the Judean Desert by founding and organizing a type of training ground for novices at saint Theoktistos’ Lower Monastery. In so doing, devout young monks would nurture and develop discipline and, eventually, would graduate from this larger monastic settlement to the anchoritic life of the Lavra with Saint Efthimios. This successful system was standardized by Saint Savvas the Sanctified in the next generation, whereby the coenobium became an indispensable preparatory and initiation period. In Egypt’s Antonianpachomian era, the solitary and coenobitic monastic forms were distinct and separate with no formal interconnection. The majority of the Egyptian monks at that time were generally illiterate, yet Saint Efthimios looked for his model in the Egyptian desert, which he had never visited, in the austere and highly-educated Saint Arsenios. Saint Efthimios was himself an ecclesiastic from three-years of age. Consequently, we are not surprised to learn that a feature of this form of monasticism placed special emphasis on development and encouragement of liturgical life and forms. The thrust of his efforts included hymnody, systemized singing and chanting, recording the way services were to be conducted, constant work on new hymns and dogma. The impact of his works carried forth for the next four centuries and was to be a primary influence in the teaching, traditions and standards now established and accepted by the Orthodox Church. 4. Chitty, p.85. 5. Also called melote and might be used as a blanket for the monk to sleep on; it could be used for carrying a monk’s few possessions. 6. Yiannakopoulos, Archim. Nikodemos, Flower of the Desert: The Life of Saint Savvas the Sanctified , Paraphrased from Cyril of Skythopolis[in Greek], translated by Holy Apostles Convent (Athens, Greece: Metropoleos Karystias & Skyrou, pub., 1975), Vol.X, pp.30,31,40. 7. Ibid.,p.34. 8. The God-Build Church - Theoctistos-must at once have reminded Savvas of the Cave Church of St. Theoctistos, where he served his novitiate, which is in plan remarkably similar, though, on a smaller scale, Fear of ordination made Savvas put off its consecration. The secret tunnel which he made was blocked, after his death, by the construction of the cisterns. Gifts began to come in, which he spent mostly on building. The Patriarch Martyrios knew him of Old, and no one dared oppose him. Chitty, pp. 106-107 9. Yiannakopoulos, p.42. 10. Certain records show that the sea used to be fordable. Chitty, pp. 107-108; see G. Adam Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land, (ed. 1935), p. 507, n.5. 11. Yiannakopoulos, pp. 46-47. 12. Chitty, p.107. 20. This Peter had espoused the beliefs of the Heresiarch Eftyches, who, for a second time and in a tyrannical manner, seized the cathedra (throne) of Antioch. Afterwards, he was expelled by ecclesiastic decree. But, for a third time, in an illegal fashion, he occupied that throne after the tyrannical rule of Illus from Isauria, during the rule of Zenon, with royal backing and without abolishing synodically the anathemas against him. He disrupted the entire east and was anathematized by Pope Felix of Rome for his heterodoxy and the addition to the Trisagion Hymn. For this, justifiably and with all pity, Our Father Savvas removed the addition conceived by Peter(the fuller), and they followed faithfully the Church Tradition. Ibid.,pp. 66-67

21. Ibid., pp. 84-85. 23. Ibid., p.86.

24. Chitty, p.113. 25. Yiannakopoulos, p. 87. 26. Ibid., p.94.

27. Ibid., p. 162-163. 28. Ibid., p.141.

29. Ibid., p.149. 30. Ibid., pp.149-150. 31. Ibid., pp.152-154 32. Thjs was probably the Palestinian orator Zacharias who was a prominent lawyer in Konstantinoupolis, closely connected with the imperial court. He supported the Kata Enotikon of Zeno and the policy of the heretical emperors in general, but later recanted and returned to Orthodoxy. Subsequently, he was chosen Bishop of Mytilene, and participated at the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 536, which condemned his old friend Severos. Synaxaristes, p.196. 33. Askalon was a maritime city in Palestine, lying between Gaza and Asotus, belonging in ancient times to the Philistines. Later it passed through the hands of various conquering hordes and, in A.D. 1270, was totally destroyed by Sultan Babur Bondokdar. Synaxaristes, p.196.

13. Just as the name signifies, it shows that an ancient fortress existed there, for the word Kastellion is derived from the Latin ‘castellium’ which being interpreted means “little fort”. It was erected during the Maccabean period by John Hyrkania and destroyed by the Romans. Synaxaristes, p.172. Under the rubbish they found a great double-vaulted building which he converted into a church. It was the first of several Savvaite monasteries which, like St. Efthimios’ first monastery in Wadi Mukellik, owed their origin to a Lenten retreat.” Chitty, p.108. 14. Yiannakopoulos,p.57. 15. Chitty, p.110; Yiannakopoulos, p.155. 16. Chitty, p. 110. 17. Yiannakopoulos, p. 65. 18. Ibid., pp. 78-81. 19. Ibid., 81-83. 20. Ibid., p. 43.

34. Yiannkopoulos, Pp. 173-174. 35. Ibid., pp.158, 174. Savvas came back with funds for this, but upon his death, his successor handed the money over to the patriarch, who never used it for the purpose for which it was intended. Chitty, p.116. 36. Yiannakopoulos, p.174. 37. The “Kingdom” of the vandals, in other editions as well as by the present author is called Gelimera, after the name of their medieval king, Gelimerus. 38. The centenary was a Byzantine unit of measure. Twelve centenaria were approximately 390 kg of gold. Synaxaristes, p.196. 39. Yiannakopoulos, pp.176-177 40. Savvas’ biography would seem to imply that he left a written Rule. It has come down to us, through a collection of Rules for his Monastery of several centuries later does survive in two Mss. On Sinai, and is of very great interest, perhaps remaining reminiscences at least of the original Rule. However, there remains the pattern of his living monastery, in the Typikon. Chitty, pp. 117-118. 41. Yiannakopoulos, pp.177-180.

Brief History of the Holy Laura of Saint Sabbas
1. From the foundation of the Holy Laura to the Arab occupation(483-638 A.D.)
The holy and respected Laura of our Holy Father Sabbas the Sanctified in the Judean desert is a uni¬que phenomenon in ecclesiastic history because of its contribution in forming worship and the monastic order and hymnography as well as its multitude of Saints, austere anchorites, divinly inspired theologians and martyrs; Even more significant was the decisive role of the Laura in fighting the heresies which appeared in the Holy Land after its foundation, the defense of Orthodoxy and the rights of the only legitimate Patriarchate of Jerusalem, namely the Greek Orthodox. The Great Laura of St. Sabbas, now celebrating 1500 years (483-2002) of unceasing monasticism, owes its foundation and development to the God-endowed and Spirit-bearing monk Saint Sabbas (439-532 A.D), who was the lamp4 shining from on high for those wishing to live the life of an anchorite and fervent intercessor before the Lord for all future "Sabbaite" monks. The first nucleus of the Laura was created by seventy hermits who had gathered around St. Sabbas in 483 A.D. Subsequently, the Laura was relocated from the eastern side of the Kidron valley, where the hermitage of St. Sabbas was located, to the western side, where the Theoktistos Church was built (486, consecration 491 A.D). The increased number of the brotherhood members made it necessary to build the main church of the Theotokos (502 A.D) and to organize the Laura buildings and facilities so as to serve the ever increasing needs. St. Sabbas' reputation and holiness, which resulted in his elevation to head and instructor of all the anchorites of the Jerusalem area (493 A.D), influenced even the Great Laura which became the model of monastic life and liturgical order -the Typikon- not only for the other three lauras and six coenobiums which St. Sabbas founded before his death (532 A.D), but also for the other monasteries in Palestine and, during the Middle Ages, the worldwide Church. Under the leadership of Saint Sabbas, the Great Laura initially undertook the fight against the heresy of Monophysitism from 512 to 516 A.D, confronting emperor Anastasios and the other three Patriarchates of the East, which were in the hands of the Monophysites. The courageous stand and confession of the anchorites saved the Patriarchate of Jerusalem from heresy. St. Sabbas' successors in the abbacy made the Laura a stronghold against the heresy of Origenism; Under the guidance of the Sabbaite St. John the Hesychast, former bishop of Colonia (454-558), the Laura abbots Gelasios (537-546), Kassianos (547-548) and Κοnοn (548-568) overwhelmed the wiles of Origenists and their intrigues before the emperor Justinian, yet not without cost. The monks of the Laura, which was the only monastery supporting Orthodoxy, suffered persecution and acts of violence and eνen the enforced enthronement of the Origenist Abbot Georgios (547 A,D). Neνertheless, God saνed the Laura, and Konon's actions contributed greatly to the summoning of the Fifth Ecumenical Synod (Council) (553 Α.D), which condemned the errors of Origen once and for all and favored the entire Church for eνer. The appearance of the Persians in the Holy Land (614 Α.D) was the prelude of the inνasion of the Arabs of Islam (638 Α.D). The first holy martyrs of the Laura were the forty-four Sabbaite fathers slain by the Persians on 16th May, 614 Α, D.

2. The period during the rule of the Arabs, the Crusades and the Mamluks (638- 1517 A.D.)
The reorganization of the Great Laura under Patriarch Modestos after the Arabian conquest was followed by the glorious period, the "golden age of the Laura, namely the eighth and part of the ninth century A.D. The greatest theologian of the eighth century, Saint John of Damascus, the hymnographer, Kosmas the Hagiopolite, Stephanos the Melodist, Michael the Synkellos, Theodore and Theophanes the Graptoi (Branded), Theodore, bishop of Karron (Abu Qurrah), - distinguished for their holiness and theology, and the Saints Stephanos the miracle-worker, Theodore bishop of Edessa and Michael the holy martyr enriched both the Church of Jerusalem and the Universal Church. Despite the violent and murderous invasions of various barbarians (796, 809, 813 Α.D) and general disorder, the contribution of the Laura to the Church reaches its peak with the stand in favor of the holy icons of Saint John of Damascus during the first period of Iconoclasm (726-787) and that of Saints Michael Syncellos, Theophanes and Theodore the Graptoi (Branded) during the second period of Iconoclasm (814-843 Α.D.). The significant role of the Laura for theology is evidenced by the fact that the last three above mentioned confessors were summoned to Constantinople by St. Theodore the Studite in relation to this subject. Apart from its theological literary production during this period, the Laura increased its copying and translating activities, becoming the center of Georgian literature from the seventh to the tenth century, as well as the center for translation of ecclesiastical writings from Greek into Arabic. Α characteristic example of this is the widely known Ascetic Homilies by St. Isaac the Syrian which were first translated from Syrian into Greek by the monks Αvramios and Patrikios at the end of the 8th century. The liturgical Typikon of the Laura, along with the hymns of the Sabbaite hymnographers and probably certain monastic practices of the Laura, were widely disseminated by distinguished monastery founders from the 9th till the 13th century. The Laura Typikon influenced, to a grater of lesser degree, the monastic Typika written by St. Theodore the Studite (9th cent.), St. Paul the Younger of Mount Latros (11th cent.), St. Lazaros of Mount Galesion (10th-11th cent.), St. Luke of Messina (Sicily 12th cent.), St. Neophytos the Recluse (Cyprus, 12th-13th cent.) and St. Nilos of Tamasia (monastery of Maheras, beginning of 13th cent.). Already in the 9th century the Typikon of the Laura had found its way to far-away Georgia (by Gregory Khandzta in 826 A.D.). Parallel there was also a spreading of the new hymnographic poetic form, the canon, developed mainly by St. John of Damascus and his subsequent "Sabbaite poetic school". The hymnographic production of the Laura was the foundation upon which ecclesiastical worship was shaped in the period after Iconoclasm. The eight tones in the melody, ascribed to St. John of Damascus, prevailed in worship, while his Octaechos constituted the core of the Paraklitiki the main liturgical book of the Church.

During the occupation of the Crusaders, the position of the Laura abbot appears to have been exceptionally high with the Latins, on account of the absence of an Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem. The Laura was endowed with assets by Queen Melissenda (1131-1162) while the church of the Theotokos and its frescos were renovated by the emperor Manuel Komninos (1143-1186) circa 1169. The victory of Saladin's Mamluks against the Crusaders in 1187 Α.D was the beginning of still further hardships for Palestinian Monasticism. Despite the renewed slaughter of Sabbaite monks, the Laura continued to function when all others in the desert were destroyed. During this period the Laura shrank to its core, the surrounding walls were erected and the monks adopted the coenobitic way of life abandoning the lavreotic. The Laura then went through the most difficult phase of struggle for survival within a hostile environment. Nevertheless, it became a significant school for the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre which taught the monastic way of life and matters concerning ecclesiastical subjects. Α new renovation of the Laura Katholikon and St. Sabbas' Tomb by the emperor Ioannis Kantakouzinos was carried out in the middle of the 14th cent. Even more decisive for this period and for the future of Orthodox worship was the spread of the so-called "neo-Sabbaitic liturgical Typikon" (i.e the synthesis of the old Sabbaitic Typikon with elements of the Studite Typikon). Having replaced the Typika of the Studite and the Mother of God Evergetis monasteries this Typikon was established in Constantinople in the 13th and 14th cent. (Convents of Lips, St. Demetrios Kellibara and Mother of God Bebaia Elpis). During this period, the Typikon was established as far away as Serbia by St. Sabbas the Serbian (1175-1236) and the archbishop of Serbia Nicodemos (1317-1324). The new Sabbaite Typikon, on account of the radiant theology of Hesychasm, spread throughout the Balkans, Bulgaria and Russia. From its definitive prevalence everywhere in the 16th century υntil today, the sabbaite-athonite liturgical Typikon has been established as the Typikon of universal Orthodoxy.

3. The period from the Turkis οccupation until today, The Israeli Occupation of Palestine (1517-2002)

The Turkish invasion of Palestine under sultan Selim, accompanied by a new slaughtering of the Sabbaite fathers, did not affect the life of the Laura favorably. Although the sultans had issued more than thirty firmans (between 1533 and 1735) concerning reconstruction of the Laura buildings, tax exemptions and the protection and rights of the Sabbaite Brotherhood, the Sabbaite fathers suffered greatly for many years and whole Arabic villages moved into the Laura. The significant presence of Serbian monks in the Laura, which had initially been a positive bolstering of the small number of Greek monks, ended at the beginning of the 17th when the Serbians were unable to pay off the debts accrued by their construction activities. The intervention of Patriarch Theofanes IIΙ (1608-1644) barely saved the Laura from the hands of the Armenian and Latin creditors. Among all the benefactors and donors of the Laura were the patriarchs of Jerusalem Nektarios (1660-1669) and Dositheos the Second (1669-1707), the so-called "great benefactor", since they succeeded in restoring the Laura to the exclusive use and habitation of the Sabbaite fathers. Furthermore, they undertook (chiefly Dositheos) numerous and expensive renovations and expansions of the churches, buildings, reservoirs and the wall of the Laura during the years 1667 and 1686. Our Laura owes the present condition of its buildings to constructive activity carried out after the catastrophic earthquake on 13th May 1834 and the sebsequent abbacy of Ioasaf the Cretan (1843-1874), a saintly figure of Palestinian monasticism of recent times. Proof of the spiritual depth of this holy, simple, humble and discerning monk is the fact that, for the first time after many centuries, the number of the Sabbaite fathers rose to around eighty. The continual political changes in the Near East during the 20th century have, by the Grace of God and the intercessions of Theotokos and our Father St. Sabbas, created fewer problems for the Laura than for other monasteries and shrines of the Orthodox Patriarchate. On the contrary, the return of the incorruptible Holy Relics of St. Sabbas in 1965, after their long absence (possibly since the 13th century) has proved to be a great blessing for the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre , the Laura monks and all the Orthodox Christians of the Holy Land, but also undoubtedly the cause of sure hope in God and evidence of the unceasing fatherly care of St. Sabbas for his Laura. The spirituaI life of the Laura and the diversity of its contributions to the contfrontation of the problems faced by the fathers of the Holy Sepulchre, the Orthodox flock and the pious pilgrims of the Holy Places, makes it possible even today to confirm the truth of the age-old assertion: "Just as Jerusalem is the queen οf all cities, so too the Laura of St. Sabbas is the prince of all deserts, and so far as Jerusalem is the norm of other cities, so too is St. Sabbas the exemplar for other monasteries".
The Holy Laura of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified A God - built Bastion of Orthodoxy for 1500 years

A brief reading of our holy father Savvas the blessed.

This saint lived during the period of the great Justinian in (527-565), and was from Cappadocia, from the village by the name Mutalaski and was the son of pious parents, John and Sophia. Immediately therefore, at the beginning of his life, he run to the community of monks and entered a monastery by the name Flavianes. There he became so αbstemious and glorious from an early age, that once seeing an apple in the garden and while he wished to eat it, he took it in his hands and said: "It was very beautiful, both to see it and to eat it, this fruit that killed me". Then he dropped the apple and trampled it with his feet. From then on he placed a rule and a decision on himself never again in his life to eat apples. Once the saint entered an operating oven and came out without being th touched by the fire, both himself and his clothes. In his 16 year the saint went to the Great Euthymius who then sent him to the cenobic monastery of Saint Theoktistu, because he had yet to grow a beard. There he lived the godly Savvas and was benefitting from all the brothers, because he imitated the virtuous and God pleasing way of life of each one. For this the Great Euthymius used to call him "Child elder". As the years went by, Euthymius would take him with him when he withdrew in silence during the period of the Great Tesseracost (40 days after Pascha). As he was growing, so also was his virtue. The Lord thus gave him the grace to do miracles, and he performed many wondrous things, for in dry areas with his prayer, water will spring out of the ground. He also became a teacher and Abbot of many monks and twice he was sent as ambassador to Constantinople, to the then kings, namely to Anastasius who reigned during (491-518) and to Justinian, after being prompted for this by the Patriarch of Jerusalem at various times to attend to important matters. Reaching therefore very old age, he departed to the Lord at 94 years of age. What we wrote up to here, suffices to show his great grace and frankness of the saint towards the Lord. However, let us say a few things on his path to Byzantium. During the reign of king Anastasius (491-518), there was a heated argument between the Clergy, and some who belonged to the Monophysite heresy of Dioscorus and Severus as well as the king who raised to the hierarchal thrones those who anathematized the Synod of Chalcedon and exiled the Orthodox as he unjustly exiled the blessed Elijah, the Archbishop of Palestine, who begged the great Savvas and some other virtuous Fathers to go to the king and beg him to peacefully stop the scandals. Even the Patriarch wrote a letter which said: "Longliving king, I send you ambassadors and mediators to your country, the inhabitants of the desert and especially the Great Savvas, the Head of the ascetics. Have respect therefore for their effort and their godly sweat and cease your war on the Churches. Do not allow the evil to continue, friend of Christ, if you wish to please the Lord who granted you the kingdom and the crown". When therefore the saints arrived at the Capital, the Most Good God who glorifies those that glorify Him, let the king have a vision about the Saint, for which he honoured him greatly. When the Fathers entered the palace, the guard let everybody in except Savvas, seeing him poorly dressed with worn out clothes, kept him standing outside. He was then 73. The king having read the letter, asked who was Savvas and when he learned he was kept outside, he sent the guards to find him. When the saint entered the palace, the king saw a bright angel with a brilliant uniform walking ahead of the saint and clearing the way so that he could proceed unobstructed. These visions the king saw not because he was virtuous - for as heretic he was not worthy to see such wonders - but to learn that Savvas was a holy man, so he immediately got up from his throne and honoured him greatly. When all the saints sat down, the king asked them what each one wished from him, and they having neglected the common matter of the Church, asked for worldly gifts and presents. The king satisfied all their requests but wondered about Savvas who hadn't said anything: "You, honourable Father, why have you toiled so much to come to us and yet you do not ask for anything?" He then answered : "I, almighty king, I came first to venerate your piety, before I die, and then to beg you not to have any displeasure against the Holy City of Jerusalem and its Archbishop and to pacify the Churches. When you do these things you'll become dear to God and He will forgive your sins, granting you also victories against the enemies. The king marveled at the frank speech of Savvas and for not asking temporary and inconsequential things but only the pacification of the Church and having sent away the others, he gave him one thousand florins to spent on his monasteries and he gave him authority to enter unobstructed the palace whenever he wished. The patriarch Elijah however, the king accused and was very angry with him but the blessed Savvas with great knowledge and frankness managed to cool his anger and convinced him to reconsider his unjust decision to exile him (the patriarch) for life and thus permitted him to remain on his throne for the love of Savvas. As the Saint successfully completed his mission, he did not depart immediately from Constantinople because it was winter but remained at a suburb outside the City called Rufino. Many went there from the City to visit him and many of them became his pure disciples and especially the grand daughter of king Valentine Juliani and wife of Pompius, son of the king, called Anastasia who later became a monastic at mount of Olives and struggled greatly and accomplished amazing feats for the glory of God. During that period there was a great famine and disease in the areas around Jerusalem and with the passing days this terrible evil continued to grow and spread to many areas of the Byzantium. Due to this condition many houses were deserted and remained uninhabited. So that the services of the kingdom and the king himself may not suffer, and the country's treasury not become depleted, the king passed a law that required the surviving neighbours to pay the taxes owed by those who had died. When Savvas heard of this illegitimate and ruthless law, he went again to the king and explained that this law was illogical and proved to him that it would completely destroy the poor and would not be beneficial to the kingdom but to the contrary it would cause great damage and destruction. For it was indescribable injustice for those who survived the two calamities of famine and deadly epidemic to be made by the Country to further suffer, by having to pay such an unjust tax. And while they pressed the people by force they may end up revolting, which would further damage the Country. Thus speaking Savvas begged the king wholeheartedly and with many supplications to repeal such illegitimate decision. As the king respected the Saint, he intended to satisfy his wish. But the devil again opposed, because a great lord and chief adviser to the king called Marino, opposed him, the thrice cursed, by saying: "King the majority of the people in Palestine are Nestorians and therefore you should not grant them such grace". The Saint then told him angrily: "Stop inflaming the old war to the king and repent for the words you spoke, for in a few days your remembrance will be lost with clamour, and all your glory will disappear". Marino however remained firm in his evilness, without considering at all the soul benefitting admonition of the Saint. The Saint having received a further gift of one thousand drachmas, left for Palestine. The unjust law remained in effect until the death of

st Anastasios and the succession of Justinian 1 (527-565) who completely repealed it. And as of the wretched Marino, few days after the Saint's prophesy, there was a riot in the City and they grabbed his fortune and burnt his house and he was almost beheaded had he not then repented and cried for his sins remembering the words of the Saint. This many narrate at Byzantium and especially the son of the king Pompius and his wife Anastasia, wondering at the visionary grace of the Saint. Afterwards those that followed the views of Severus departed and were trying to inflame by any means the anger of the king against the Holy Patriarchs of Antioch, Flavianus and of Palestine, Elijah. In the place of Flavianus the king installed as Patriarch of Antioch the same heretic Severus (513-518) who sent to Jerusalem his own synodic letters with some clerics and many soldiers, saying that if the blessed Elijah would not accept his and Dioscorus dogmas, they will remove him from the throne. When Savvas learnt of these, he gathered all the monks and sent away all the men of the king having achieved nothing, as if they were prisoners. And in their presence all the pious anathematized the faithful followers of Severus, and king Anastasius, who wishing to revenge such a terrible embarrassment and rebuke, sent a chief with royal authority, having first ordained him Duke of all Palestine, to expel Elijah from his throne by force if he would not accept the impious dogmas of Dioscorus and Severus. The duke, having left, immediately imprisoned the Archbishop who then asked him if he could come out of jail at a certain day during which there would be a happy celebration which will be attended by all the Christians, so that he may pronounce the declaration of the king. When the Patriarch came out he gathered all the worldly, while the godly Savvas the monks. It so happened that the nephew of the king Hypatius was also present who was jailed and then came having freed himself with ransom. As everyone had gathered at a certain large church, the Archbishop shouted the following so that everybody would hear him: "Whoever believes in the dogmas of Eutychus and Nestorius, of Severus and of Soterius, anathema. And whoever does not uphold the dogmas of the four Holy and Ecumenical Synods, let him be anathematized". Then the duke became angry because he understood that he was deceived, but because he feared the large crowd, he departed quietly from Caesaria. The nephew of the king vowed to remain in Orthodoxy and in communion with the Saints till his last breath and donated a lot of money to Savvas, to appear to him pious and faithful Orthodox. The holy one thanked him and begged him to intercede with the king asking for his mercy that he not become angry because they did not follow his declarations. The Holy one wrote with the concurrence of all the Monastics the following letter to the king: "Our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal king and God of all, granted you the scepters of the kingdom to govern with godly piety and peace the churches and especially the Mother of the Churches, where the great mystery of faith started and from which it passed on to the ends of the earth and which we, who live in this holy place, guarded to this day, unadulterated as we have received it from the Holy Apostles and we wish to guard it till the end with the Grace of God, without ever digressing at all, from the truthfulness of the word, nor damage it with desecrated innovations of those who every time oppose us". "In this pure Faith, king, your kingdom was brought up from your youth. So, we wonder how in these days of your pious kingdom so much disturbance and confusion happened to the Mother of the Churches and your servants drag in the middle of the market and in front of the Jews and idolaters the hierarchs and monastics, these holy men with such disregard as if they were criminals and law-breakers and force them to infect their pure Faith. We therefore beg your power to order that they do not disturb us in matters of faith, for it is out of place and illogical for someone to say that this many Jerusalemites ascetics and that many virtuous people were not brought up correctly in faith and now in our old age you wish to explain to us piety. It is thus clear that this recently appearing correction, as you call it on the traditional and correct faith, is not correction, but a perversion and adulteration. And certainly whoever accepts such correction goes to eternal damnation. Therefore we do not at all wish to accept any innovation of the faith and will remain firm on everything that was passed on to us by our God bearing Fathers, the 380 who gathered originally at Nicea and the others of the remaining Three Holy and Ecumenical Synods and we are not only ready to suffer every sorrow and hardship but also a thousand deaths instead of departing from Orthodoxy even for a short while. And the peace of God that protects every mind, may also guard His Church and terminate this disturbance that was created against her with a gesture and command of your power, to the glory of God and the boast of the glorious and God pleasing kingdom.

Another Excerpt.

Divine providence guided the Saint and went with two other brothers, Stephen and Euthalius to visit the blessed Patriarch Elijah, who was in exile due to his Orthodox Faith, because as we said earlier he refused to confess the dogmas of Severus. When the Patriarch saw the Saint, he became happy and thanked him that he toiled so hard, an eighty year old man making such a long trip to find him in this terrible exile and held him for a few days to comfort each other. It was customary for them to meet every day at 9 and eat together. One day though the Patriarch did not come out of his cell, so the godly Savvas with his company did not eat. Finally, at midnight the Patriarch came out very sad and told them: "I do not have time to eat, so do not wait for me". They asked him the reason and why he was so sad. He said sighing sadly : "Learn blessed Savva that this hour the King Anastasius died and I must follow him in ten days from to day, to stand at the terrible Step of the Despot Christ and both stand in judgment together". And this night when the Patriarch had a vision, the Saint could also see lightning hitting the king and trying to evade them, he separated in a disgraceful way from his soul. Actually a few days later, it was heard that the king was dead. After these events the repose of the blessed Elijah followed as he foretold. st After the death of Anastasius they elected Justinian the 1 for king (518-527) who immediately sent decrees to the whole world for the return to their th thrones of the Orthodox hierarchs and for the recording in the sacred books of the 4 Ecumenical Synod that convened in Chalcedon the restoration of peace in the Church. The thrice blessed Savvas was then an old man exceeding eighty years of age, sick and weak from asceticism, yet youngest in his will of soul and he did not hesitate at all, but with Orthodox zeal he run to Caesaria and to Scythopoli, declaring everywhere the pious commandments of the king and recording the, until then, four Holy Ecumenical Synods into the books of the Church and admonishing and guiding all to Orthodoxy with the honey of his sweetest teachings.

Another Excerpt

Because the Patriarch had earlier sent a letter to the king, which announced the presence of the godly Savvas, our God protected king, was pleased and sent his royal ships to meet him. Afterwards the entourage of the Patriarch Epiphanius and Pope Eusebius and bishop Hypatius of Ephesus, came out to welcome him. They received him and brought him to the king, while God revealed to his servant, the king, the following grace as He did earlier with Anastasius. Truly when he was entering the palace together with the above mentioned hierarchs and entered into the enclosure, God opened the eyes of the king who saw a divine grace as a crown of light which thundered and cast sunny rays over his godly head. The king was blessed by him and accepted from his hand the invitation from Palestine and convinced him to come in and bless also augusta Theodora. Truly the elder entered and augusta Theodora, having received him with joy and bowing to him she begged him with these words- "bless me for my sake father that God may grant me the fruit of the belly". The elder then said:-"God, the despot of all, will protect your royal rule". She then said again: "Bless father for God to give me a Child". And again he answered her by saying:- "The God of Glory will uphold your royal rule with piety and victory". The queen then felt sad that he did not grant her request. When he came out, the fathers who accompanied him remarked: "why did you sadden augusta Theodora by not blessing her according to her request?" The elder then answered:- "Believe me fathers that no fruit will come out of her belly, that she may not breastfeed the dogmas of Severus and disturb the Church worse than by Anastasius.

Venerable Sava the Sanctified (Sabbas, Savvas, Savva, Sabba, Sabas, Savas, Sava)
The Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified was a Palestinian monastic who is credited with composing the first monastic rule of church services, the socalled "Jerusalem Typikon". He was a staunch opponent of the heretical Monophysites and Origenist movements. His feast day is on December 5.

Which the Holy Church Commemorates on December 5 / 18 (Old Calendar) (Εορτή Σάββας, Σαββούλα, Feast Savvas, Savvoula)

Troparion - Tone 8
By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! Our Father Sabbas, pray to Christ God to save our souls!

Apolytikion (Troparion) in the Fourth Tone
With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Sabbas, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.

Troparion of St Sabbas the Sanctified- tone 1
Sanctified from youth, O righteous Sabbas,/ thou wast a summit of righteousness equal to the Angels./ Thou didst lead a heavenly life, and guide thy flock to godliness by word and deed./ And they cry to thee with faith:/ Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; Glory to Him Who has crowned thee;/ Glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Ἀπολυτίκιον Ἦχος πλ. δ' Ταῖς τῶν δακρύων σου ῥοαῖς, τῆς ἐρήμου τὸ ἄγονον ἐγεώργησας, καὶ τοῖς ἐκ βάθους στεναγμοῖς, εἰς ἑκατὸν τοὺς πόνους ἐκαρποφόρησας, καὶ γέγονας φωστήρ, τῇ οἰκουμένῃ λάμπων τοῖς θαύμασι, Σάββα Πατὴρ ἡμῶν Ὅσιε. Πρέσβευε Χριστῷ τῷ Θεῷ, σωθῆναι τὰς ψυχὰς ἠιμῶν. Άπολυτίκιον. Ήχος α'. Της ερήμου πολίτης.
Των Οσίων άκρατης και Άγγελος εφάμιλλος, ως ηγιασμένος έδείχθης, εκ παιδός Σάββα Όσιε· ουράνιον γαρ βίον ύπελθών, προς ένθεον ζωήν χειραγωγείς, δια λόγου τε και πράξεως αληθούς, τους πίστει έκβοώντας σοι· δόξα τω δεδωκότι σοι ίσχύν, δόξα τω σε στεφανώσαντι, δόξα τω ένεργούντι δια σου, πάσιν ιάματα.

Ως από βρέφους τώ Θεώ θυσία άμωμος, προσενεχθείς δι’ αρετής, Σάββα μακάριε, τώ σέ πρίν γεννηθήναι επισταμένω, εχρημάτισας Οσίων εγκαλλώπισμα, πολιστής τε τής ερήμου αξιέπαινος, διό κράζω σοι, Χαίροις Πάτερ αοίδιμε. Σοφίας υπάρχων βλάστημα, Σάββα Όσιε, παιδιόθεν επόθησας Σοφίαν τήν ενυπόστατον, ή συνοικήσασά σοι, από γής σε εχώρισε, καί πρός ύψος ανήγαγεν, εξ αϋλων ανθέων πλέξασα στέφανον, καί τή σή επιθείσα ηγιασμένη κάρα θεόφρον, ώπερ κεκοσμημένος, εξιλέωσαι τό θείον, τού δοθήναί μοι σοφίαν λόγου επαξίως, όπως ανυμνήσω τήν αγίαν σου κοίμησιν, ήν εδόξασε Χριστός ο Θεός ημών, διό καί ημείς κράζομέν σοι, Χαίροις Πάτερ αοίδιμε.

Κοντάκιον Ήχος πλ. δ’ Τή υπερμάχω

Ο Οίκος

Kontakion - Tone 8
From your youth you offered yourself to God as a blameless sacrifice, having been dedicated to Him before your birth, blessed Sabbas. You were an adornment of the righteous and a praiseworthy citizen of the desert. Therefore, we cry to you: "Rejoice, ever glorious Father."

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

O blessed Sabbas, thou wast offered from thine infancy through thy great virtue as a pure and spotless sacrifice unto God, Who ere thy birth, verily foreknew thee; wherefore thou wast an adornment of the righteous Saints, an all-praised founder of cities in the wilderness. Hence, I cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father of great renown.

Kontakion of St Sabbas the Sanctified tone 8
Thou wast offered to God from childhood as a blameless sacrifice,/ as one dedicated to Him before birth,/ O blessed Sabbas,/ thou adornment of the righteous and blessed dweller in the desert./ Wherefore I cry to thee: Rejoice.

Megalynarion
We bless thee, O our venerable Father Sabbas, and we honor thy Holy Memory, Instructor of Monks and converser with Angels! Ὤφθης ὑποτύπωσις καὶ κανών, θεοφόρε Σάββα, ὡς τοῦ Πνεύματος θησαυρός, ὁσίων πατέρων, ῥυθμίζων καὶ ἰθύνων, πρὸς κλῆρον ἀφθαρσίας, τοὺς πειθομένους σοι.

Μεγαλυνάριον.

Ο ΟΣΙΟΣ ΣΑΒΒΑΣ ό Ηγιασμένος

Ό θεοκίνητος Παύλος συμβουλεύει τους αγωνιζόμενους χριστιανούς: "Είδέναι έκαστος υμών το εαυτού σκεύος κτασθαι εν άγιασμω και τιμή"1. Πρέπει, δηλαδή, να γνωρίζει ό καθένας από σας να συγκρατεί στην κυριαρχία και κατοχή του το σώμα του και να το διατηρεί πάντοτε αγιασμένο και τιμημένο. Μέσα σ' αυτά τα πλαίσια αγωνίστηκε και ό όσιος Σάββας ό ηγιασμένος. Έζησε στα χρόνια του αυτοκράτορα Ιουστινιανού (527 μ.Χ.). Καταγόταν από το χωριό Μουταλάσκη της Καππαδοκίας και ήταν γιος ευσεβών γονέων, του Ιωάννη και της Σοφίας. Από μικρός είχε μοναχικές τάσεις και μπήκε στο μοναστήρι των Φλαβιανών. Ήταν τόσο εγκρατής, ώστε για λόγους ασκήσεως ορισμένα συνηθισμένα τρόφιμα δεν τα έβαλε ποτέ στο στόμα του. Σέ ηλικία 16 χρονών πήγε στην Ιερουσαλήμ, στη Μονή του Μεγάλου Ευθυμίου. Αυτός, λόγω του νεαρού της ηλικίας του Σάββα, τον έστειλε στη Μονή του Αγίου Θεοκτίστου. Εκεί, ό Σάββας προόδευσε ακόμα περισσότερο στην ασκητική ζωή και έγινε πατέρας και ποιμένας πολλών μοναχών της ερήμου. Προσείλκυσε με τη ζωή του πλήθη μοναχών στην περίφημη κτισθείσα από αυτόν Λαύρα. Για την αγιότητα της ζωής του και για τη μεγάλη του φήμη, είχε σταλεί από τον Πατριάρχη Ιεροσολύμων δυο φορές πρεσβευτής στην Κων/πολη, προς το βασιλιά Αναστάσιο και έπειτα προς τον Ιουστινιανό. Πέθανε ειρηνικά σε ηλικία 94 χρονών. 1. Α' προς Θεσσαλονικείς, δ' 4. (Hellenic) Έζησε την εποχή του αυτοκράτορα Θεοδοσίου του Β' του Μικρού. Καταγόταν από τη Καππαδοκία και ήταν γόνος επιφανούς και ευσεβούς οικογενείας. Από πολύ νωρίς γνώρισε τις θείες βουλές και αποφάσισε να αφιερωθεί στο μοναστικό βίο. Είχε τόση πίστη που κάποτε μπήκε σε ένα κλίβανο πυρός από τον οποίο βγήκε αβλαβής με τη βοήθεια του Θεού. Όταν ήταν δεκαοχτώ ετών έφυγε από το μοναστήρι των Φλαβιανών και πήγε στα Ιεροσόλυμα. Από εκεί κατευθύνθηκε προς την έρημο της Ανατολής για να συναντήσει τον Μέγα Ευθύμιο. Ο Ευθύμιος τον έστειλε σε ένα κοινόβιο, το οποίο διηύθυνε ο όσιος Θεόκτιστος. Ο Σάββας κατά την παραμονή του στο κοινόβιο έλαμψε λόγω του χαρακτήρά του και των αρετών του. Μάλιστα ήταν τόσο σοβαρός και ηθικός -παρά το νεαρόν της ηλικίας- που προσαγορεύτηκε παιδαριογέροντας από τον Μ. Ευθύμιο. Ο Σάββας όσο μεγάλωνε τροφοδοτούσε όλο και περισσότερο το πνεύμα του, γι' αυτό και τιμήθηκε με το χάρισμα της θαυματουργίας. Το χάρισμα αυτό το επιστράτευσε στην υπηρεσία των φτωχών και των ασθενών και έτσι επιτέλεσε σημαντικότατα έργα. Σε ηλικία ενενήντα τεσσάρων ετών ανήλθε προς Κύριον εν ειρήνη. (Hellenic 2)

Ὁ Ὅσιος Σάββας ὁ Ἡγιασμένος
Ὁ θεοκίνητος Παῦλος συμβουλεύει τοὺς ἀγωνιζόμενους χριστιανούς: «Εἰδέναι ἕκαστος ὑμῶν τὸ ἑαυτοῦ σκεῦος κτάσθαι ἐν ἁγιασμῷ καὶ τιμῇ». Πρέπει δηλαδὴ νὰ γνωρίζει ὁ καθένας ἀπὸ σᾶς, νὰ συγκρατεῖ στὴν κυριαρχία καὶ κατοχή του τὸ σῶμα του καὶ νὰ τὸ διατηρεῖ πάντοτε ἁγιασμένο καὶ τιμημένο. Μέσα σ᾿ αὐτὰ τὰ πλαίσια ἀγωνίστηκε καὶ ὁ Ὅσιος Σάββας ὁ ἡγιασμένος.Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Ἰουστινιανοῦ (527 μ.Χ.). Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὸ χωριὸ Μουταλάσκη τῆς Καππαδοκίας καὶ ἦταν γιὸς εὐσεβῶν γονέων, τοῦ Ἰωάννη καὶ τῆς Σοφίας. Ἀπὸ μικρὸς εἶχε μοναχικὲς τάσεις καὶ μπῆκε στὸ μοναστήρι τῶν Φλαβιανῶν. Ἦταν τόσο ἐγκρατής, ὥστε γιὰ λόγους ἀσκήσεως ὁρισμένα συνηθισμένα τρόφιμα δὲν τὰ ἔβαλε ποτὲ στὸ στόμα του. Σὲ ἡλικία 16 χρονῶν πῆγε στὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, στὴ Μονὴ τοῦ Μεγάλου Εὐθυμίου. Αὐτός, λόγω τοῦ νεαροῦ τῆς ἡλικίας τοῦ Σάββα, τὸν ἔστειλε στὴ Μονὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Θεοκτίστου. Ἐκεῖ, ὁ Σάββας προόδευσε ἀκόμα περισσότερο στὴν ἀσκητικὴ ζωὴ καὶ ἔγινε πατέρας καὶ ποιμένας πολλῶν μοναχῶν τῆς ἐρήμου. Προσείλκυσε μὲ τὴ ζωή του πλήθη μοναχῶν στὴν περίφημη κτισθεῖσα ἀπὸ αὐτὸν Λαύρα. Γιὰ τὴν ἁγιότητα τῆς ζωῆς του καὶ γιὰ τὴν μεγάλη του φήμη, εἶχε σταλεῖ ἀπὸ τὸν Πατριάρχη Ἱεροσολύμων δυὸ φορὲς πρεσβευτὴς στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη, πρὸς τὸ βασιλιὰ Ἀναστάσιο καὶ ἔπειτα πρὸς τὸν Ἰουστινιανό. Πέθανε εἰρηνικὰ σὲ ἡλικία 94 χρονῶν. (Hellenic 3) The Monk Sava the Sanctified was born in the V Century at Cappadocia of pious Christian parents, named John and Sophia. His father was a militarycommander. Journeying off to Alexandria on service related matters, his wife went with him, but their five year old son they left in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached eight years of age, he entered the monastery of Saint Flavian situated nearby. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became well studied in Holy Scripture. And in vain then did his parents urge Saint Sava to return to the world and enter into marriage. At 17 years of age he accepted monastic tonsure and so prospered in fasting and prayer, that he was bestown the gift of wonderworking. Having spent ten years at the monastery of Saint Flavian, the monk set off to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of the Monk Euthymios the Great (Comm. 20 January). But the Monk Euthymios sent off Saint Sava to abba Theoktistos, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict common-life monastic rule. The Monk Sava dwelt at this monastery as an obedient until age 30. After the death of the monastic-elder Theoktistos, his successor gave blessing to the Monk Sava to seclude himself within a cave: on Saturdays however the monk left his hermitage and came to the monastery, where he participated in Divine-services and partook of food. And after a certain while they gave permission to the monk not to leave his hermitage at all, and Saint Sava asceticised within the cave over the course of 5 years. The Monk Euthymios attentively oversaw the life of the young monk, and seeing how he had matured spiritually, he began to take him along with him to the Ruv wilderness (at the Dead Sea).They went out on 14 January and remained there until Palm Sunday. The Monk Euthymios called Saint Sava a child-elder and took care to encourage in him growth in the utmost monastic virtues.

When the Monk Euthymios expired to the Lord (+ 473), Saint Sava withdrew from the Laura-monastery and resettled in a cave near the monastery of the Monk Gerasimos of Jordan (+ 475, Comm. 4 March). After several years disciples began to gather to the Monk Sava -- all searching for monastic life. There thus arose the Great Laura-monastery. Through a command from above (in a pillar of fire) the monks built a church in the cave. The Monk Sava founded several more monasteries. Many a miracle was manifest through the prayers of the Monk Sava: amidst the Laura spouted forth a spring of water, during a time of drought it rained in abundance, and there likewise occurred healings of the sick and the demoniac. The Monk Sava composed the first monastic-rule of church services, the so-called "Jerusalem Rule", accepted by all the Palestine monasteries. The saint reposed peacefully to God in the year 532. (Menaion) Saint Sava the Sanctified was born in the fifth century at Cappadocia of pious Christian parents, 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 Sava to return to the world and enter into marriage. When he was seventeen years old he received monastic tonsure, and attained such perfection in fasting and prayer that he was given the gift of wonderworking. After spending ten years at the monastery of St Flavian, he went to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of St Euthymius the Great (January 20). But St Euthymius sent St Sava to Abba Theoctistus, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict cenobitic rule. St Sava lived in obedience at this monastery until the age of thirty. After the death of the Elder Theoctistus, his successor blessed St Sava 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 Sava received permission not to leave his hermitage at all, and he struggled in the cave for five years. St Euthymius attentively directed the life of the young monk, and seeing his spiritual maturity, he began to take him to the Rouba wilderness with him. They set out on January 14, and remained there until Palm Sunday. St Euthymius called St Sava a child-elder, and encouraged him to grow in the monastic virtues. When St Euthymius fell asleep in the Lord (+ 473), St Sava withdrew from the Lavra and moved to a cave near the monastery of St Gerasimus of Jordan (March 4). After several years, disciples began to gather around St Sava, seeking the monastic life. As the number of monks increased, a lavra sprang up. When a pillar of fire appeared before St Sava as he was walking, he found a spacious cave in the form of a church. St Sava founded several more monasteries. Many miracles took place through the prayers of St Sava: 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. St Sava composed the first monastic Rule of church services, the so-called "Jerusalem Typikon", accepted by all the Palestine monasteries. The saint surrendered his soul to God in the year 532. (from OCA.org) This Saint was born in 439 in Moutalaska, a small village of Cappadocia. He entered the arena of the monastic life from childhood and was under that master trainer of monastics, Euthymius, the Great, the teacher of the desert. He became the spiritual Father of many monks and an instructor for the monasteries in Palestine, and was appointed leader (archimandrite) of the desert-dwellers of Palestine by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In his old age he went to Constantinople, to the Emperors Anastasius and Saint Justinian the Great, in behalf of the Orthodox Faith and the dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon. Having lived ninetyfour years, he reposed in 533. The Typicon for the ecclesiastical services had its beginning in the monastery established by this righteous one. (from GOARCH.org)

† Our Venerable, Godbearing Father Sabbas the Sanctified (533)
"This Saint was born in 439 in Moutalaska, a small village of Cappadocia. He entered the arena of the monastic life from childhood and was under that master trainer of monastics, Euthymius the Great, the teacher of the desert. He became the spiritual father of many monks and an instructor for the monasteries in Palestine, and was appointed leader (archimandrite) of the desert-dwellers of Palestine by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In his old age he went to Constantinople, to the Emperors Anastasius and Saint Justinian the Great, in behalf of the Orthodox Faith and the dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon. Having lived ninetyfour years, he reposed in 533. The Typicon for the ecclesiastical services had its beginning in the monastery established by this righteous one." (Great Horologion)

† Indicates a Saint or day whose commemoration is at least "Doxology/VIGIL rank" (Great Doxology sung at Matins/Orthros); there is generally some
dispensation from fasting when these days fall on fast days. (from Abbamoses.com)

The Venerable Sava the Sanctified

The unknown village of Mutalaska, in the province of Cappadocia, became famous through this great luminary of the Orthodox Church. Sava was born there of his parents John and Sophia. At the age of eight, he left the home of his parents and was tonsured a monk in a nearby monastic community called Flavian's. After ten years, he moved to the monasteries of Palestine and remained longest in the Monastery of St. Euthymius the Great (January 20) and Theoctistus. The clairvoyant Euthymius prophesied of Sava that he would become a famous monk and a teacher of monks and that he would establish a lavra greater than all the lavras of that time. After the death of Euthymius, Sava withdrew to the desert, where he lived for five years as a hermit in a cave shown to him by an angel of God. Afterward, when he had been perfected in the monastic life, he began by divine providence to gather around him many who were desirous of the spiritual life. Soon, such a large number gathered that Sava had to build a church and many cells. Some Armenians also came to him, and for them he provided a cave where they would be able to celebrate services in the Armenian language. When his father died, his aged mother Sophia came to him, and he tonsured her a nun. He gave her a cell located at a distance from his monastery, where she lived a life of asceticism until her death. This holy father endured many assaults from all sides: from those who were close to him, from heretics, and from demons. But he triumphed over them all: those close to him, by kindness and indulgence; the heretics, by his unwavering confession of the Orthodox Faith; the demons, by the sign of the Cross and calling upon God for help. He had a particularly great struggle with demons on Mount Castellium, where he established his second monastery. In all, Sava established seven monasteries. He and Theodosius the Great, his neighbor, are considered to be the greatest lights and pillars of Orthodoxy in the East. They corrected emperors and patriarchs in matters of the Faith, and to everyone they served as an example of saintly humility and the miraculous power of God. After a toilsome and very fruitful life, St. Sava entered into rest in the year 532, at the age of ninety-four. Among his many wondrous and good works, let it at least be mentioned that he was the first to compile the Order of Services for use in monasteries, now known as the Jerusalem Typicon. (from Prologue of Ohrid)

Memory of our venerable and God-bearing Father Sabbas the Sanctified (439-532).
Saint Sabbas was born in 439 in Mutalascus in Cappadocia. While still very young, he embraced religious life in the monastery of Flvinia in Cappadocia. In 457, at the age of eighteen, he went to the monastery of Passarion in Jerusalem. Saint Euthymius, who had remarked about him for his eminent virtue and called him the "young old man," directed him to Saint Theoktistos in 458. After Saint Euthymius' unexpected death in 473, he spent five years in solitude. He then went to take up his abode in 478 in a grotto on the left bank of the Cedron River opposite the monastery which today bears his name. As several monks came to place themselves under his direction, he erected a tower on the right bank of the torrent and made the water gush forth over this arid land by his prayer. A vast grotto transformed into a church was blessed in 491 by Sallustos, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who conferred priestly ordination upon Saint Sabbas at the same time and named him the archimandrite of all the hermits of Palestine. The Saint undertook upon the request of the Patriarchs of Jerusalem two ambassadorships to Emperors Anastasius I, in 512, and Justinian, in 531. Reaching a great old age, he died on December 5, 532, at the age of ninety-three. The Typikon of Ecclesiastical Offices and the Typikon of Monastic Life which were preserved in his name still come from his famous laura. Pope Paul VI returned Saint Sabbas' relics to the monastery of Mar Saba in Jordan-Palestine on October 24, 1965. Saint Sabbas the Sanctified (439 - 532), a Cappadocian-Greek monk, priest and saint, lived mainly in Palestine. He was the founder of several monasteries, most notably the one known as Mar Saba. Sabbas was born at Mutalaska, near Caesarea of Cappadocia, the son of John, a military commander, and Sophia. Journeying to Alexandria on military matters, his parents left their five-year-old son in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached eight years of age, he entered the nearby monastery of Bishop Flavian of Antioch. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became an expert on the Holy Scriptures. In vain did his parents urge Sabbas to return to the world and enter into marriage. When he was seventeen years old he received monastic tonsure. After spending ten years at the monastery of Bishop Flavian, he went to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of Saint Euthymius the Great. But Euthymius sent Sabbas to Abba Theoctistus, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict cenobitic rule. Sabbas lived in obedience at this monastery until the age of thirty. After the death of the Elder Theoctistus, his successor blessed Sabbas 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 Sabbas received permission not to leave his hermitage at all, and he lived in isolation in the cave for five years. Euthymius attentively directed the life of the young monk, and seeing his spiritual maturity, he began to take him to the Rouba wilderness with him. They set out each January 14 and remained there until Palm Sunday. Euthymius called Sabbas a child-elder, and encouraged him to grow in the monastic virtues. When Euthymius died (c. 473), Sabbas withdrew from the lavra (a cluster of cells or caves for hermits, with a church and sometimes a refectory at the center) and moved to a cave near the monastery of St. Gerasimus of Jordan. After several years, disciples began to gather around Sabbas, seeking the monastic life. As the number of monks increased, the Great Lavra sprang up. The traditional dating of the founding of this lavra in the Kedron Valley, south of Jerusalem, is 484. Because some of his monks opposed his rule and demanded a priest as their abbot, the opposition continued and he withdrew to the New Lavra which he had built near Thekoa. In the lavras the young monks lived a cenobitical life, but the elders a semi-eremitical one, each in his own hut within the precincts of the lavra, attending only the solemn church services. A strenuous opponent of the Monophysites and the Origenists, he tried to influence the emperors against them by calling personally on Emperor Anastasios I at Constantinople in 511 and on Justinian I in 531.[1] The relics of St. Sabbas in the Catholicon (main church) of Mar Saba monastery, West Bank. Sabbas founded several more monasteries. Many miracles took place through the prayers of Sabbas: at the lavra a spring of water welled up, during a time of drought they received abundant rain, and there were also healings of the sick and the possessed. Patriarch Salustius of Jerusalem ordained him in 491 and appointed him archimandrite of all the monasteries in Palestine in 494. Sabbas composed the first monastic rule of church services, the so-called Jerusalem Typikon, for guidance of all the Palestinian monasteries. He died in the year 532. His feast day is on December 5. Sabbas' relics were taken by 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. His Great Lavra long continued to be the most influential monastery in those parts, and produced several distinguished monks, among them St John of Damascus. It is now known as the monastery of Mar Saba. The church of San Saba in Rome is dedicated to him. Sabbas' Life was written by his disciple Cyril of Scythopolis. The chief modern authority is A. Ehrhard in Wetzer and Welte's Kirchenlexikon (ed. 2) and Römische Quartalschaft, vii; see also Pierre Helyot, Histoire des ordres religioux (1714), i.C.16, and Max Heimbucher, Orden u. Kongregationen (1907), i, §10. (Wikipedia) The Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified was a Palestinian monastic who is credited with composing the first monastic rule of church services, the so-called "Jerusalem Typikon". He was a staunch opponent of the heretical Monophysites and Origenist movements. His feast day is on December 5.

Life
He was born in Mutalaska, near Caesarea in Cappadocia of pious Christian parents, John and Sophia, during the year 439. His father was a military commander. Traveling 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. When he was seventeen years old he received monastic tonsure, and attained such perfection in fasting and prayer that he was given the gift of wonderworking. In 456, after spending ten years at the monastery of St. Flavian, he traveled to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of St. Euthymius the Great (January 20). But St. Euthymius sent St. Sabbas to Abba Theoctistus, the head of a nearby monastery that practiced a strict cenobitic rule. St. Sabbas lived in obedience at this monastery until the age of thirty.

After the death of the Elder Theoctistus, his successor blessed St. Sabbas 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. St. Euthymius attentively directed the life of the young monk, and seeing his spiritual maturity, he began to take him to the Rouba wilderness with him. They set out on January 14, and remained there until Palm Sunday. St. Euthymius called St. Sabbas a child-elder, and encouraged him to grow in the monastic virtues. When St. Euthymius fell asleep in the Lord (+473), St Sabbas withdrew from the Lavra and moved to a cave near the monastery of St. Gerasimus of Jordan (March 4). In 478, he moved to a cave on the cliffs of the Kedron Gorge southeast of Jerusalem. His hermitage formed the foundation of the monastery later named after him (Lavra Mar Saba) and known in ancient sources as the Great Lavra. After several years, disciples began to gather around St. Sabbas, seeking the monastic life. As the number of monks increased, the lavra came into being. When a pillar of fire appeared before St. Sabbas as he was walking, he found a spacious cave in the form of a church. In 491, Patriarch Salustius of Jerusalem ordained him a priest. In 494, the patriarch named St. Sabbas the archimandrite of all the monasteries in Palestine. St. Sabbas founded several other 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. St. Sabbas composed the first monastic Rule of church services, the so-called "Jerusalem Typikon", that became accepted by all the Palestine monasteries. St. Sabbas died in his lavra on December 5, 532 and is buried in a tomb in the courtyard between two ancient churches in the midst of the remnant of the great Lavra Mar Saba monastery. His relics had been taken to Italy in the twelfth century by Crusaders, but were returned to the monastery by Pope Paul VI in 1965 in a goodwill gesture toward the Orthodox. St. Sabbas championed the Orthodox cause against the monophysite and Origenist movements of his day, personally calling upon the Roman emperors in Constantinople, Anastasius in 511 and Justinian in 531, to influence them in opposing the heretical movements. (Orthodoxwiki)

A brief reading of our holy father Savvas the blessed.
This saint lived during the period of the great Justinian in (527-565), and was from Cappadocia, from the village by the name Mutalaski and was the son of pious parents, John and Sophia. Immediately therefore, at the beginning of his life, he run to the community of monks and entered a monastery by the name Flavianes. There he became so αbstemious and glorious from an early age, that once seeing an apple in the garden and while he wished to eat it, he took it in his hands and said: "It was very beautiful, both to see it and to eat it, this fruit that killed me". Then he dropped the apple and trampled it with his feet. From then on he placed a rule and a decision on himself never again in his life to eat apples. Once the saint entered an operating oven and came out without being touched by the fire, both himself and his clothes. In his 16th year the saint went to the Great Euthymius who then sent him to the cenobic monastery of Saint Theoktistu, because he had yet to grow a beard. There he lived the godly Savvas and was benefitting from all the brothers, because he imitated the virtuous and God pleasing way of life of each one. For this the Great Euthymius used to call him "Child elder". As the years went by, Euthymius would take him with him when he withdrew in silence during the period of the Great Tesseracost (40 days after Pascha). As he was growing, so also was his virtue. The Lord thus gave him the grace to do miracles, and he performed many wondrous things, for in dry areas with his prayer, water will spring out of the ground. He also became a teacher and Abbot of many monks and twice he was sent as ambassador to Constantinople, to the then kings, namely to Anastasius who reigned during (491-518) and to Justinian, after being prompted for this by the Patriarch of Jerusalem at various times to attend to important matters. Reaching therefore very old age, he departed to the Lord at 94 years of age. What we wrote up to here, suffices to show his great grace and frankness of the saint towards the Lord. However, let us say a few things on his path to Byzantium. During the reign of king Anastasius (491-518), there was a heated argument between the Clergy, and some who belonged to the Monophysite heresy of Dioscorus and Severus as well as the king who raised to the hierarchal thrones those who anathematized the Synod of Chalcedon and exiled the Orthodox as he unjustly exiled the blessed Elijah, the Archbishop of Palestine, who begged the great Savvas and some other virtuous Fathers to go to the king and beg him to peacefully stop the scandals. Even the Patriarch wrote a letter which said: "Longliving king, I send you ambassadors and mediators to your country, the inhabitants of the desert and especially the Great Savvas, the Head of the ascetics. Have respect therefore for their effort and their godly sweat and cease your war on the Churches. Do not allow the evil to continue, friend of Christ, if you wish to please the Lord who granted you the kingdom and the crown". When therefore the saints arrived at the Capital, the Most Good God who glorifies those that glorify Him, let the king have a vision about the Saint, for which he honoured him greatly. When the Fathers entered the palace, the guard let everybody in except Savvas, seeing him poorly dressed with worn out clothes, kept him standing outside. He was then 73. The king having read the letter, asked who was Savvas and when he learned he was kept outside, he sent the guards to find him. When the saint entered the palace, the king saw a bright angel with a brilliant uniform walking ahead of the saint and clearing the way so that he could proceed unobstructed. These visions the king saw not because he was virtuous - for as heretic he was not worthy to see such wonders - but to learn that Savvas was a holy man, so he immediately got up from his throne and honoured him greatly. When all the saints sat down, the king asked them what each one wished from him, and they having neglected the common matter of the Church, asked for worldly gifts and presents. The king satisfied all their requests but wondered about Savvas who hadn't said anything: "You, honourable Father, why have you toiled so much to come to us and yet you do not ask for anything?" He then answered : "I, almighty king, I came first to venerate your piety, before I die, and then to beg you not to have any displeasure against the Holy City of Jerusalem and its Archbishop and to pacify the Churches. When you do these things you'll become dear to God and He will forgive your sins, granting you also victories against the enemies. The king marveled at the frank speech of Savvas and for not asking temporary and inconsequential things but only the pacification of the Church and having sent away the others, he gave him one thousand florins to spent on his monasteries and he gave him authority to enter unobstructed the palace whenever he wished. The patriarch Elijah however, the king accused and was very angry with him but the blessed Savvas with great knowledge and frankness managed to cool his anger and convinced him to reconsider his unjust decision to exile him (the patriarch) for life and thus permitted him to remain on his throne for the love of Savvas. As the Saint successfully completed his mission, he did not depart immediately from Constantinople because it was winter but remained at a suburb outside the City called Rufino. Many went there from the City to visit him and many of them became his pure disciples and especially the grand daughter of king Valentine Juliani and wife of Pompius, son of the king, called Anastasia who later became a monastic at mount of Olives and struggled greatly and accomplished amazing feats for the glory of God. During that period there was a great famine and disease in the areas around Jerusalem and with the passing days this terrible evil continued to grow and spread to many areas of the Byzantium. Due to this condition many houses were deserted and remained uninhabited. So that the services of the kingdom and the king himself may not suffer, and the country's treasury not become depleted, the king passed a law that required the surviving neighbours to pay the taxes owed by those who had died. When Savvas heard of this illegitimate and ruthless law, he went again to the king and explained that this law was illogical and proved to him that it would completely destroy the poor and would not be beneficial to the kingdom but to the contrary it would cause great damage and destruction. For it was indescribable injustice for those who survived the two calamities of famine and deadly epidemic to be made by the Country to further

suffer, by having to pay such an unjust tax. And while they pressed the people by force they may end up revolting, which would further damage the Country. Thus speaking Savvas begged the king wholeheartedly and with many supplications to repeal such illegitimate decision. As the king respected the Saint, he intended to satisfy his wish. But the devil again opposed, because a great lord and chief adviser to the king called Marino, opposed him, the thrice cursed, by saying: "King the majority of the people in Palestine are Nestorians and therefore you should not grant them such grace". The Saint then told him angrily: "Stop inflaming the old war to the king and repent for the words you spoke, for in a few days your remembrance will be lost with clamour, and all your glory will disappear". Marino however remained firm in his evilness, without considering at all the soul benefitting admonition of the Saint. The Saint having received a further gift of one thousand drachmas, left for Palestine. The unjust law remained in effect until the death of Anastasios and the succession of Justinian 1st (527-565) who completely repealed it. And as of the wretched Marino, few days after the Saint's prophesy, there was a riot in the City and they grabbed his fortune and burnt his house and he was almost beheaded had he not then repented and cried for his sins remembering the words of the Saint. This many narrate at Byzantium and especially the son of the king Pompius and his wife Anastasia, wondering at the visionary grace of the Saint. Afterwards those that followed the views of Severus departed and were trying to inflame by any means the anger of the king against the Holy Patriarchs of Antioch, Flavianus and of Palestine, Elijah. In the place of Flavianus the king installed as Patriarch of Antioch the same heretic Severus (513-518) who sent to Jerusalem his own synodic letters with some clerics and many soldiers, saying that if the blessed Elijah would not accept his and Dioscorus dogmas, they will remove him from the throne. When Savvas learnt of these, he gathered all the monks and sent away all the men of the king having achieved nothing, as if they were prisoners. And in their presence all the pious anathematized the faithful followers of Severus, and king Anastasius, who wishing to revenge such a terrible embarrassment and rebuke, sent a chief with royal authority, having first ordained him Duke of all Palestine, to expel Elijah from his throne by force if he would not accept the impious dogmas of Dioscorus and Severus. The duke, having left, immediately imprisoned the Archbishop who then asked him if he could come out of jail at a certain day during which there would be a happy celebration which will be attended by all the Christians, so that he may pronounce the declaration of the king. When the Patriarch came out he gathered all the worldly, while the godly Savvas the monks. It so happened that the nephew of the king Hypatius was also present who was jailed and then came having freed himself with ransom. As everyone had gathered at a certain large church, the Archbishop shouted the following so that everybody would hear him: "Whoever believes in the dogmas of Eutychus and Nestorius, of Severus and of Soterius, anathema. And whoever does not uphold the dogmas of the four Holy and Ecumenical Synods, let him be anathematized". Then the duke became angry because he understood that he was deceived, but because he feared the large crowd, he departed quietly from Caesaria. The nephew of the king vowed to remain in Orthodoxy and in communion with the Saints till his last breath and donated a lot of money to Savvas, to appear to him pious and faithful Orthodox. The holy one thanked him and begged him to intercede with the king asking for his mercy that he not become angry because they did not follow his declarations. The Holy one wrote with the concurrence of all the Monastics the following letter to the king: "Our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal king and God of all, granted you the scepters of the kingdom to govern with godly piety and peace the churches and especially the Mother of the Churches, where the great mystery of faith started and from which it passed on to the ends of the earth and which we, who live in this holy place, guarded to this day, unadulterated as we have received it from the Holy Apostles and we wish to guard it till the end with the Grace of God, without ever digressing at all, from the truthfulness of the word, nor damage it with desecrated innovations of those who every time oppose us". "In this pure Faith, king, your kingdom was brought up from your youth. So, we wonder how in these days of your pious kingdom so much disturbance and confusion happened to the Mother of the Churches and your servants drag in the middle of the market and in front of the Jews and idolaters the hierarchs and monastics, these holy men with such disregard as if they were criminals and law-breakers and force them to infect their pure Faith. We therefore beg your power to order that they do not disturb us in matters of faith, for it is out of place and illogical for someone to say that this many Jerusalemites ascetics and that many virtuous people were not brought up correctly in faith and now in our old age you wish to explain to us piety. It is thus clear that this recently appearing correction, as you call it on the traditional and correct faith, is not correction, but a perversion and adulteration. And certainly whoever accepts such correction goes to eternal damnation. Therefore we do not at all wish to accept any innovation of the faith and will remain firm on everything that was passed on to us by our God bearing Fathers, the 380 who gathered originally at Nicea and the others of the remaining Three Holy and Ecumenical Synods and we are not only ready to suffer every sorrow and hardship but also a thousand deaths instead of departing from Orthodoxy even for a short while. And the peace of God that protects every mind, may also guard His Church and terminate this disturbance that was created against her with a gesture and command of your power, to the glory of God and the boast of the glorious and God pleasing kingdom.

Another Excerpt.
Divine providence guided the Saint and went with two other brothers, Stephen and Euthalius to visit the blessed Patriarch Elijah, who was in exile due to his Orthodox Faith, because as we said earlier he refused to confess the dogmas of Severus. When the Patriarch saw the Saint, he became happy and thanked him that he toiled so hard, an eighty year old man making such a long trip to find him in this terrible exile and held him for a few days to comfort each other. It was customary for them to meet every day at 9 and eat together. One day though the Patriarch did not come out of his cell, so the godly Savvas with his company did not eat. Finally, at midnight the Patriarch came out very sad and told them: "I do not have time to eat, so do not wait for me". They asked him the reason and why he was so sad. He said sighing sadly : "Learn blessed Savva that this hour the King Anastasius died and I must follow him in ten days from to day, to stand at the terrible Step of the Despot Christ and both stand in judgment together". And this night when the Patriarch had a vision, the Saint could also see lightning hitting the king and trying to evade them, he separated in a disgraceful way from his soul. Actually a few days later, it was heard that the king was dead. After these events the repose of the blessed Elijah followed as he foretold. After the death of Anastasius they elected Justinian the 1st for king (518-527) who immediately sent decrees to the whole world for the return to their thrones of the Orthodox hierarchs and for the recording in the sacred books of the 4th Ecumenical Synod that convened in Chalcedon the restoration of peace in the Church. The thrice blessed Savvas was then an old man exceeding eighty years of age, sick and weak from asceticism, yet youngest in his will of soul and he did not hesitate at all, but with Orthodox zeal he run to Caesaria and to Scythopoli, declaring everywhere the pious commandments of the king and recording the, until then, four Holy Ecumenical Synods into the books of the Church and admonishing and guiding all to Orthodoxy with the honey of his sweetest teachings.

Another Excerpt
Because the Patriarch had earlier sent a letter to the king, which announced the presence of the godly Savvas, our God protected king, was pleased and sent his royal ships to meet him. Afterwards the entourage of the Patriarch Epiphanius and Pope Eusebius and bishop Hypatius of Ephesus, came out to welcome him. They received him and brought him to the king, while God revealed to his servant, the king, the following grace as He did earlier with Anastasius. Truly when he was entering the palace together with the above mentioned hierarchs and entered into the enclosure, God opened the eyes of the king who saw a divine grace as a crown of light which thundered and cast sunny rays over his godly head. The king was blessed by him and accepted from his hand the invitation from Palestine and convinced him to come in and bless also augusta Theodora. Truly the elder entered and augusta Theodora, having received him with joy and bowing to him she begged him with these words- "bless me for my sake father that God may grant me the fruit of the belly". The elder then said:-"God, the despot of all, will protect your royal rule". She then said again: "Bless father for God to give me a Child". And again he answered her by saying:- "The God of Glory will uphold your royal rule with piety and victory". The queen then felt sad that he did not grant her request. When he came out, the fathers who accompanied him remarked: "why did you sadden augusta Theodora by not blessing her according to her request?"

The elder then answered:- "Believe me fathers that no fruit will come out of her belly, that she may not breastfeed the dogmas of Severus and disturb the Church worse than by Anastasius.

(From IMPantokratoros)

The Life of St Savvas - Celebrated on December 5(18)
A certain way to avoid the glare of publicity, to never achieve a status that earns acclaim, in a word, to virtually assure complete obscurity, is to enter a monastery and shut yourself off from the outside world. While this is not the purpose for becoming a monk, nevertheless the conditions for notoriety remain the same, and for a man to become famous while yet cloistered in a monastery is a tribute not only to the man, but to the noble purpose to which he is committed. Unnumbered thousands of God-fearing men have sequestered themselves in monasteries throughout the world, unheralded and unsung, but now and then one of their number stands out with special contribution to the Christian cause that gives him a renown he had not sought but richly deserves. One such monk who eventually became a saint was a man named Savvas, who in his lifetime of service to Christ was accorded respect and tribute from not only his fellow monks but from the Christian community as well. He served with such distinction that he was given the title of St. Savvas “the Consecrated” in recognition of the deep respect with which he was regarded. Born in the sixth century, when Christianity was so frail its existence seemed doomed, Savvas became one of the monks to whom the Christian could look for spiritual uplifting and for support so vital to his cause. A remarkable scholar and profoundly religious figure, he had carved a reputation as a spiritual leader by the time he was twenty-one and stood out as one of Christianity’s most prominent monastic personalities, conditioned to adversity and dedicated to the word of Christ in an eminent degree. Having served with the highest honors at a monastery in Cappadocia for several years, he was summoned to the holy city of Jerusalem by St. Theoktistos to serve with another of the greatest monks of the day, St. Euthymios. This holy partnership proved itself virtually invincible in the crusade against intolerance, ignorance, and superstition. For Savvas it was to become a period of sixty-five years of unceasing effort in behalf of man and God during which time he founded many monasteries in Palestine and instituted the regimen for monasticism, which though severe by some standards, nevertheless was instrumental in producing the hardy breed of monks who were needed in the face of the open hostility toward Christianity. The structure of the Christian world would have been considerably eroded by the sinister forces about, had it not been for the dedication and courage of the monks of that day. Savvas was called upon by many of the greatest religious minds to discourse on matters of dogma, and it was he together with other leading figures of the time that staved off the heresies that lurked everywhere, seeking the Achilles heel of the Christian in vain. A master theologian, he was in the vanguard of those who protected the Church in the hour of its most severe trial, right up to the moment of his death at the age of eighty five, in about the year A.D. 540. He was laid to rest within the confines of the monastery of Jerusalem. After the conquest of the Holy Land by the Muslim leader Saladin, it seemed hardly likely that anyone would recover the precious relics which the fleeing Christians had to leave behind, but in the Crusades that ensued, the remains of St. Savvas were recovered and taken to the city of Venice and there enshrined in a cathedral. There they remained until 10 October 1965, at which time St. Savvas was returned, at the direction of Pope Paul VI, to the proper burial place at the monastery in Jerusalem. The ceremonial acceptance was made by Bishop Vasilios of Jerusalem who had gone to Venice at the direction of Patriarch Benediktos of Jerusalem. (From Australia)

HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint Sava the Sanctified Venerable Sava, chief of monks, Spiritual commander of Christ's heroes, Was glorified by fasting, vigils and meekness, By prayer and faith and blessed mercy. You taught the monks to not be concerned with bread; You entrusted yourself to heaven, with labor and prayer. You sought neither precedence nor rank of any kind. Most rarely did you taste of oil and wine. You kept all the services at the appointed time. ``Let the service be a joy and not a heavy burden,'' St. Sava told the monks, And he showed this to all by his example. Like a wise gardener, he enclosed the garden, And carefully planted many young men. The young men grew and brought forth fruit: A regiment of monks, to the glory of Sava. Fifteen hundred years have passed, Yet Sava's spiritual garden still blooms: One thousand monks, a hundred thousand, Have been raised up by Sava's community up to now. St. Sava, glorious recluse, O God-pleaser, pray for us also.

REFLECTION

A man may be great in some skill, as a statesman or a military leader, but no one among men is greater than a man who is great in faith, hope and love. How great St. Sava the Sanctified was in faith and hope in God is best shown by the following incident: One day, the steward of the monastery came to Sava and informed him that the following Saturday and Sunday he would be unable to strike the semantron, according to tradition, to summon the brethren to the communal service and meal because there was not a trace of flour in the monastery nor anything at all to eat or drink. For this same reason, even the Divine Liturgy was not possible. The saint replied without hesitation: ``I shall not cancel the Divine Liturgy because of the lack of flour; faithful is He Who commanded us not to be concerned about bodily things, and mighty is He to feed us in time of hunger.'' And he placed all his hope in God. In this extremity, he was prepared to send some of the ecclesiastical vessels or vestments to be sold in the city so that neither the divine services nor the brother's customary meal would be omitted. However, before Saturday some men, moved by divine providence, brought thirty mules laden with wheat, wine and oil to the monastery. ``What do you say now, Brother?'' Sava asked the steward. ``Shall we not strike the semantron and assemble the fathers?'' The steward was ashamed because of his lack of faith and begged the abbot for forgiveness. Sava's biographer describes this saint as ``severe with demons but mild toward men.'' Once, some monks rebelled against St. Sava, and for this they were driven from the monastery by order of Patriarch Elias. They built themselves huts by the river Thekoa, where they endured privation in all things. Hearing that they were starving, St. Sava loaded mules with flour and brought it to them personally. Seeing that they had no church, he built one for them. At first, the monks received him with hatred, but afterward they responded to his love with love and repented of their former misdeeds toward him.

Monastery of Saint Savvas (Mar Saba)

The monastery is in the desert between Bethlehem and the Dead Sea, on the chute of the Kidron Valley. Its history begins 1.500 years ago when it was founded by St. Savvas in 485 AD. The first church was buily by St. Savvas himself in 484 and was dedicated to St. Nicolas. During this time the monastery had 5.000 monks and another 5.000 ascetics in the around area. Here lead ascetic lives important figures of Christianity like St. John Damascenes, St. Cosmas and others. There is also a cave in which St. Savvas lead a hermitage life for 50 years with the companion of a lion. Inside Mar Saba is also the hermitage of St. John Damascenes and the tall tower that emperor Justinian build and was destroyed from an earthquake in 1927 and renovated in 1951 from the archbishop of Nablous Artemios. At the east of the monastery is a cave in which runs drinking water. It is said that the water came out when St. Savvas prayed to God, so that the ascetics could use it. The monastery is inaccessible to women. Abbot is the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos I Confessors: Archim. Seraphim & Archim. Eudokimos Sacristy keeper Archim. Evdokimos Econom. the monk Cheroubim Celebrations: 13th of October, Recovery of the Holy Relic of Saint Sabbas from Papists. Saint Savva, 4, 5, 6 December Address: Monastery of Saint Savva P.O. BOX 19824 AL QUDS, PALESTiNE (JERUSALEM-ISRAEL)

Mar Saba Monastery
A 5th C AD monastery, the largest in the Judean desert. The walled complex is built on the southern cliffs of the Kidron creek. It was established by Saint Sabas, and named after him. The monastery started as a place of seclusion of few monks in the caves, led by Mar Saba.

Overview:

A 5th C AD monastery, the largest in the Judean desert. The complex is built on the southern cliffs of the Kidron creek, and is protected inside a walled area with dozens of structures. It was established by Saint Sabas (Mar Saba), and named after him. The monastery started as a place of seclusion of few monks in the caves, led by Mar Saba. Over the years it was built, expanded, and fortified. During the peak times it housed about 500 monks.

Location:
The site is located 10KM east of Bethlehem, near the desert road to Jerusalem. It is 250M above sea level, hanging over a steep cliff above the Kidron creek. The Kidron starts from the valley between the temple mount and Mount of olives in Jerusalem, and flows eastwards to the Dead sea. The monastery is located on crossroads: up the creek towards Jerusalem, south-west to Bethlehem (10KM), and east towards Nebi Mussa (19KM) through the Horkania fortress.

History of the place:
Mar Saba was born in Mutalaska, Cappadocia, in 439AD. After living as a youth in Jerusalem, he moved to the Judean desert monasteries. Saba lived about 5 years in a cave near the monastery. The remote site with its local spring was a perfect place for the seclusion. He helped to establish more monasteries in the desert, including this one. Several other sites in the area are named after him. His influence reshaped the customs and living habits of the monks. After his death in 532 at the age of 93, Saba was buried in the yard of the monastery. By now, the Monastery was a small center for monks. During the years the place was expanded in order to accommodate the hundreds of monks who resided here, and walls were constructed in order to provide protection. In the Persian invasion (614AD) the monastery was damaged, and restored in 629. After being robbed in 796 its was further fortified in the 9th C AD. The Crusaders expanded the fortifications in the 12C. When the Crusaders left the Holy Land they transferred Saba's bones to Venice, which were returned here only in 1965. During the Turkish rule the monastery was raided several times by the local Bedouins. It was also damaged in a 19th C earthquake, but was restored in 1840 by the Russians. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Great Lavra of St. Sabas,[1] known in Arabic as Mar Saba (Hebrew: ‫ ,)מנזר מר סבא‬is a Greek Orthodox monastery overlooking the Kidron Valley[2] in the West Bank east of Bethlehem. It was founded by Saint Sabas of Cappadocia in the year 439 and today houses around 20 monks. It is considered to be one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world, and still maintains many of its ancient traditions. One in particular is the restriction on women entering the main compound. The only building that women can enter is the Women's Tower, near the main entrance. The monastery holds a well-preserved body, and relics believed to be those of Saint Saba. Mar Saba is occasionally referred to as the Convent or Monastery of Santa Saba.[3] Mar Saba seen from the air. Mar Saba was also the home of St. John of Damascus (b.676 - d.749-754?) St John Damascene was a key religious figure in the Iconoclastic Controversy, who in ca. 726 wrote letters to the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian refuting his edicts prohibiting the veneration of images or statues of Christ or other Christian icons. John who was born in Damascus and worked as a high financial officer to the Muslim Caliph Abd al-Malik, eventually felt a higher calling and migrated to Palestine, where he was tonsured a monk and was ordained a hieromonk (monastic priest) at the Monastery of Mar Saba. St. John's tomb lies in a cave under the monastery. The monastery is important in the historical development of the liturgy of the Orthodox Church in that the monastic Typicon (manner of celebrating worship services) of Saint Sabas became the standard throughout the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite. The Typicon took the standard form of services which were celebrated in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and added some specifically monastic usages which were local traditions at Saint Sabas. From there it spead to Constantinople, and thence throughout the Byzantine world. Although this Typicon has undergone further evolution, particularly at the Monastery of the Stoudion in Constantinople, it is still referred to as the Typicon of Saint Sabas. Mar Saba is where Morton Smith claimed to have found a copy of a letter ascribed to Clement of Alexandria containing excerpts of a so-called Secret Gospel of Mark.

Prayer to St. Sabbas the Sanctified, of Jerusalem
December 5th/18th And October 13th O wondrous and laudable Saint of God, venerable Father Sabbas! Today [in thy holy church] , devoutly standing before thy holy icon and joyously celebrating thy bright memory, we praise thee, as one who cometh to our aid. And, honoring thy great boldness before God, we humbly beseech thee, most blessed one, mercifully to receive this our hymn of praise, brought to thee in love and sincerity. And as one having great boldness before the Lord, hasten thou in thine intercession so acceptable to God, and ask from the King of kings and Lord of lords, that He continue His great and rich mercies to us sinners; that He bestow the spirit of right faith upon us, the spirit of knowledge and love, the spirit of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, that He deliver us from troubles and temptations, sending down upon us all those things that are useful unto the salvation of our souls. May He grant unto His people blessed and peaceful times; may He send down His grace upon Orthodox bishops, that they may rightly divide the word of His truth: unto those in civil authority and to judges may He send wisdom, and freedom from hypocrisy. And unto all Orthodox Christians may He grant peace, tranquillity, freedom from strife, devotion in the fulfillment of His commandments, abundance of the fruits of the earth; may He deliver [the suffering lands of Russia and Serbia,] this and every Christian land from famine, earthquake, flood, fire, the axe, the onslaught of foreign enemies and civil war, deadly contagion and from every ill. Yea, O Saint of God, despise not our petitions, but hear us who entreat thee, and keep us under thy protection and defense, [along with this monastery,] undisturbed by enemies visible and invisible, that we may be vouchsafed to complete our life in repentance, and obtain the eternal good things in the Kingdom of Christ our God, so as there to praise, together with thee and all the Saints, the rightfully worshipped name of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, unto ages of ages. Amen

Συναξάριον
Τῇ Ε' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Σάββα τοῦ Ἡγιασμένου.

Στίχοι
Ψυχὴν ὄπισθεν τοῦ Θεοῦ κολλῶν πάλαι, Ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ νῦν παρίσταται Σάββας. Θεσπεσίοιο πόλου πέμπτῃ Σάββας ἐντὸς ἐσήχθη.

SAINT SABBAS THE SANCTIFIED
Saint Sabbas the Sanctified, a Cappadocian-Greek monk, priest and Saint, lived mainly in Palaestina Prima. He was the founder of several monasteries, most notably the one known as Mar Saba. The Saint’s name is derived from Hebrew

‫[ סבא‬sava'], meaning “old man”.

Sabbas was born at Mutalaska, near Caesarea of Cappadocia, the son of John, a military commander, and Sophia. Journeying to Alexandria on military matters, his parents left their five-year-old son in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached eight years of age, he entered the nearby monastery of Bishop Flavian of Antioch. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became an expert on the Holy Scriptures. In vain did his parents urge Sabbas to return to the world and enter into marriage. When he was seventeen years old he received monastic tonsure. After spending ten years at the monastery of Bishop Flavian, he went to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of Saint Euthymius the Great. But Euthymius sent Sabbas to Abba Theoctistus, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict cenobitic rule. Sabbas lived in obedience at this monastery until the age of thirty. After the death of the Elder Theoctistus, his successor blessed Sabbas 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 Sabbas received permission not to leave his hermitage at all, and he lived in isolation in the cave for five years. Euthymius attentively directed the life of the young monk, and seeing his spiritual maturity, he began to take him to the Rouba wilderness with him. They set out each January 14 and remained there until Palm Sunday. Euthymius called Sabbas a child-elder, and encouraged him to grow in the monastic virtues. When Euthymius died [ca. 473], Sabbas withdrew from the Lavra [= a cluster of cells or caves for hermits, with a church and sometimes a refectory at the center] and moved to a cave near the monastery of Saint Gerasimus of Jordan. After several years, disciples began to gather around Sabbas, seeking the monastic life. As the number of monks increased, the Great Lavra sprang up. The traditional dating of the founding of this lavra in the Kedron Valley, south of Jerusalem, is 484. Because some of his monks opposed his rule and demanded a priest as their abbot, the opposition continued and he withdrew to the New Lavra which he had built near Thekoa. In the lavras the young monks lived a cenobitical life, but the elders a semi-eremitical one, each in his own hut within the precincts of the lavra, attending only the solemn church services. As a strenuous opponent of the Monophysites and the Origenists, Saint Sabbas tried to influence the emperors against them by calling personally on Emperor Anastasios I at Constantinople in 511 and on Justinian I in 531. Sabbas founded several more monasteries. It is claimed that many miracles took place through the prayers of Sabbas: at the lavra a spring of water welled up, during a time of drought they received abundant rain, and there were also healings of the sick and the possessed. Patriarch Salustius of Jerusalem ordained him in 491 and appointed him archimandrite of all the monasteries in Palaestina Prima in 494. Sabbas composed the first monastic rule of church services, the so-called Jerusalem Typikon, for guidance of all the Byzantine monasteries. He died in the year 532. Sabbas’ relics were taken [stolen] by 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. His Great Lavra long continued to be the most influential monastery in those parts, and produced several distinguished monks, among them Saint John of Damascus. It is now known as the monastery of Mar Saba. The church of San Saba in Rome is dedicated to him. Sabbas’ Life was written by his disciple Cyril of Scythopolis. Saint Demetrius of Rostov: “. . . while walking through the desert, Sabbas came upon four Saracens weak from hunger. The Saint fed them with his own food, the root of melagria and hearts of reed. After regaining their strength, the Saracens departed. A few days later they returned bringing bread, cheese, and dates, in thanks to Sabbas for his compassion. Moved by this, the saint lamented from the bottom of his soul, ‘Woe is me! How grateful are these people for the little favour done them! What shall become of us who live carelessly and slothfully, failing to keep God’s commandments, although we are benefitted hourly by His ineffable goodness?’ “.

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