Saba (St), Monastery of
Saba (St.), Monastery Of, now called Deir Mar Saba, still exists on the brink of Wady Nar, the extension of the valley of the Kidron, near the Dead Sea. The surrounding scenery is of the wildest and most romantic character. SEE KIDRON. The convent hangs on the precipitous side of the ravine, being partly excavated out of the rock, and surrounded by a strong wall, accessible only on one side. The edifices within are extensive and commodious, being occupied by about sixty monks of the Greek rite, who are said to be quite rich. The original cell of the founder is shown, said to have been a cave occupied by a lion, which voluntarily relinquished it to the saint. The convent was plundered by the Persians in 533, and forty-four of the monks were then massacred; but it has survived all the vicissitudes of the Holy Land, of which it is one of the earliest monastic relics. No women are ever admitted within its portals, although the monks are hospitable to male visitors, provided they are furnished with the proper credentials. For a full description, see Robinson, Researches, 1, 382, 521; Thomson, Land and Book, 2, 435; Porter, Handbook for Pal. p. 229.