Saba or Sabas

Saba Or Sabas

(Σάβας), the name of several saints of the Roman Catholic Church. SEE SABBAS.

1. A Gothic soldier who was martyred at Rome with 170 other persons under the emperor Aurelian (Martyr. Rom. April 24; Tillemont, Memoires, 4, 363).

2. Another Goth and martyr who suffered many cruel tortures in the persecution under Athanaric, king of the Goths, and was finally drowned in the river Mussaeus. His relics, together with a letter from the Gothic to the Cappadocian Church (which is preserved among the epistles of St. Basil), were sent to Cappadocia by the Roman governor on the Scythian border (Basil, Epp. 155, 164, 165; Martyr. Rom. and Acta SS. April 12; Stolberg, 12, 209).

3. A hermit of Mount Sinai who, according to a statement by the hermit Ammonius (Combefis, Acta SS.; Eust., etc. [Paris, 1660]), was mortally wounded in a surprise by the Saracens towards the close of the 4th century (Tillemont, Memoires, 7, 575).

4. The name Sabas or Sabbas (according to Theodoret, Vit. Patr. c. 2, equivalent to πρεσβύτης) was conferred upon the hermit Julian of Edessa by the Mesopotamians. Julian was accounted one of the leading hermits by Jerome and Chrysostom. He spent forty years of his life (about A.D. 330- 370) in a narrow and damp cave in the desert of Osroene, practicing the utmost austerity, performing miracles — chiefly works of healing and exorcisms, descriptions of which are given by Theodoret and instructing a band of nearly 100 pupils. The death of Julian the Apostate was revealed to tins saint at the moment when that emperor fell in battle (A.D. 363), though twenty days journey separated him from the scene of conflict (Theodoret, H.E. 3, 24). In the reign of Valens the Arians of Antioch claimed that this hermit, whose fame extended over the entire East, belonged to their party; but Sabas, in response to the request of the Catholics, forsook his solitude for the first time in forty years, and appeared at Antioch to contradict the Arian boast, his journey to that place and back being signalized by the performance of numerous miracles. The recollection of this visit was still fresh when Chrysostom preached at Antioch. Sabas died in his cave, an old man. His festival is observed by the Greeks on Oct. 18 and 28, and by the Latins on Jan. 14 (Acta SS. Jan. 14; Tillemont, Memoires, 7, 581; Stolberg, 12, 198).

5. The most noted saint of this name appeared at the beginning of the 6th century in connection with the Monophysite controversy. He was born about A.D. 439 at Mutalasca, in Cappadocia, of good family. At first a monk under the rule of St. Basil, he became a hermit in Palestine before completing the eighteenth year of his age, and was received into favor as a pupil by the hermit Euthymius, to whose prayers he owed the preservation of his life at a subsequent day, when he was dying of thirst in the desert (Stolberg, 17, 168). He was made a priest in A.D. 484, and placed over all the hermits in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, eventually filling his station with great success, though at first the strictness of his rule gave much dissatisfaction and caused his withdrawal to a distant solitude. At the time of the Monophysite controversy, the patriarch Elias of Jerusalem sent him with other hermits to Constantinople with a view to dispose the emperor Anastasius more favorably towards the Catholic cause, but his mission failed to produce lasting results. Elias having been superseded in the patriarchate by John, who belonged to the party of Severus (q.v.), Sabas and others induced the new primate to renounce his views and acknowledge the Council of Chalcedon. The emperor endeavored to reclaim John, but was met with a spirit of defiant opposition, which found further expression in the pronouncing of a solemn anathema upon Nestorius, Eutyches, Severus, and all other opponents of the Council of Chalcedon. The revolt of Vitalian in the meantime diverted attention from the insubordinate monks, and in 518 the emperor Anastasius died. Sabas afterwards performed a second journey to Constantinople, a year before he died, for the purpose of obtaining a reduction of the oppressive imposts exacted from the population of Palestine, and also to counteract the influence of Origenism, which began to make itself felt among the monks under his direction. He was received with great pomp, the emperor Justinian sending Epiphanius, the patriarch, and a number of bishops and courtiers in the imperial galleys to meet him, and on his arrival prostrating himself before the aged hermit to receive his blessing. The petition in behalf of Palestine was granted, and a large sum of money was offered to Sabas for the use of his convent; but this Sabas declined to receive, and asked that it be appropriated to other useful purposes in Palestine. Nothing, however, was done against Origenism while Sabas lived. SEE

ORIGENISTIC CONTROVERSY. A joyful welcome awaited him on his return to Palestine, after which he retired to his laura, and died Dec. 5, A.D. 531 or 532. There is a Greek liturgy entitled Τυπικόν, etc. (printed at Venice, 1603, 1613, 1643, fol.), attributed to St. Saba, but of unknown authorship. See Cyrilli Vita S. Saboe in Cotelerii. Monum. Eccl. Gr. 3, and Latin in Surius, Dec. 5; Tillemont, Memoires, 16, 701 sq.

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