In Judea, St. Sabbas the Abbot. He was born in the town of Mutala in Cappadocia and was renowned for his exemplary sanctity. He labored for the catholic faith against those who opposed the holy Synod of Chalcedon. He went to rest in peace in the monastery in the diocese of Jerusalem that was later named after him. – Roman Martyrology for December 5
St. Sabas founded a monastery near Jerusalem and was its abbot (Butler, 494-97). In portraits he wears a black hood and has a long, white, bifurcated beard. The length and color of the beard may allude to his name, which means "old man" in Aramaic.
His left hand holds a book in the first of the images at right and a scroll in the second. These may refer to his authorship of a monastic rule for church services called the Jerusalem Typikon.1
Several episodes in this saint's legend concern access to water in his desert home. In one, needing water for the men who have come to seek his guidance, he sees a wild ass pawing and nosing at the ground. He has a pit dug at that spot, and a spring flows forth.2
Prepared in 2015 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University. Revised 2021-11-19.