Cosmas (usually styled "the Elder") was a monk of ST. SABA. After a youth devoted to the study of the liberal arts, philosophy, and theology, when already a presbyter, he was captured and enslaved by the Saracens in a journey from Italy to Damascus, but was redeemed by the father of Joannes Damascenus, who intrusted to his care the education of his son, with his companion Cosmas (the Younger, "Cosmas of Jerusalem"). After he had completed the instruction of his pupils he retired to the monastery of St. Saba, where he renained till his death, cir. A.D. 750 (Joann. Hierosol. in Vita Joann. Damasc.; Moschuls, Prat. Spirit. c. 40). The greater part of the hymns that pass under the name of Cosmas the Melodist are attributed to him, but in the confusion that exists between the elder and younger Cosmas, it is impossible to assign them to their respective authors with any accuacy.