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St. Sabbas the Great

V/VI Centuries
An influential early monastic, St. Sabas was born in Mutalaska, Cappadocia, in 439. Some legends say he, as a boy, was placed in a monastery, which he left to become a disciple of Euthymius the Great; other legends say he fled to the monastery to escape the abuse of an uncle who had administration of his estate. C. 478 Sabas, who had been a follower of Theoctist as well as of Euthymius, moved to a cave in Wadi en Nar in Judea between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. At this site, he established the Great Lavra, which is now the Mar Saba monastery, one of the oldest continuously inhabited monasteries. Sabas was later ordained a priest and made the director of all anchorites in Palestine. He was a strong voice in favor of the Council of Chalcedon and against the Eutychian heresy. He also opposed Origenism. Sabas travelled twice to Constantinople to defend the faith, and he founded three other monasteries, the New Lavra, the Lavra Heptastomos, and the Lavra of Jeremiah. He died in 532.

Karen Rae Keck


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