Commemorated on December 5
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 military-commander. 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.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.