Venerable, God-Bearing Father Sabbas the Sanctified
We celebrate our venerable Father Sabbas on December 5th, the eve of Saint Nicholas. Sabbas, born in 439 A.D. to Christian parents John and Sophia, lived in Cappadocia. Drawn to God from his earliest days, he entered monastic life before the end of his ninth year. According to tradition, Sabbas was brought up in several different monasteries, and eventually found himself under the great spiritual father Euthymius the Great. The death of Euthymius the Great lead Sabbas to withdraw into the desert. There he spent five years building up his own spiritual life. After this period of living as a hermit, God brought many men to Sabbas for their spiritual benefit.
And that is how our Venerable Father Sabbas became a great spiritual father and monastic role model to many.
One tradition about Father Sabbas revolves around his family. Upon the death of his father, John, his mother Sophia came to him in the desert. Sabbas, by the guidance of God, made his mother a nun. He provided her a place to live as a hermitess, and she lived out the rest of her days following the aesthetic lifestyle.
Another tradition holds that Father Sabbas struggled to establish the seven monasteries he founded during his life. This was due to his battles with demons, who attempted to thwart his works. It is recorded that Father Sabbas ultimately conqured these demons through faith in the name of God, and by the sign of the cross.
Finally, it was Father Sabbas who compiled the Jerusalem Typikon, an order of service for monastic settings.
Feast Day Prayers and Tropars
Troparion: (tone 8)
With streams of tears you cultivated the barren desert. And with deep sighs your toils bore fruit a hundredfold. You became a beacon, and by your wonders you shone throughout the world. O Venerable Father Sabbas, pray to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.
Kontakion: (tone 8)
In your virtue, O blessed Sabbas, you offered to God from childhood as an unblemished sacrifice. You became a gardner of the garden of holiness. And an adornment of monastics, and a citizen of the desert worthy of praise. Therefore we cry out to you: Rejoice O most wealthy Sabbas.
Prokeimenon: (tone 7)
Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His venerable ones
Verse: What shall I give to the Lord for all that He has given to me?
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