Mar Saba or Saint Saba, is venerated in the Maronite Calendar on 5 December. He was born in what is modern day Turkey to noble parents. He sought to leave his life and live secluded from society. However, like St Charbel, his family tried to persuade him many times to return home and be married, but he refused. At the age of eighteen, he dedicated his whole life to being a monk, he also travelled to Jerusalem to learn about living in solitude.
Saint Saba lived in a monastery where he worked manual labour during the day and spent his nights in prayer. By the age of thirty, he had been given permission to spend five days a week in a nearby remote cave. He later retired further into the desert of Jericho, where he spent four years in complete isolation.
Many came to him desiring to serve God under his direction, and at first hesitated. Eventually Saint Saba founded a cave where the monks could spend their time. The monks increased in number, although none of them served the community.
Although Saba sought seclusion, he was persuaded by the bishop to prepare himself for the priesthood to better serve his monastic community as a leader. Saint Saba travelled through Palestine, preaching the faith and bringing many to the Church. Today his monastery is still occupied by monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Mar Saba is one of the great eastern fathers of monasticism. He sought to reside in solitude to focus on his prayer life. As we prepare ourselves for the birth of our Lord, let us focus on renewing our prayer life. By the example of Saint Saba let us steer away from any distractions we may have (e.g. phones, internet…) and work on increasing our prayer.
By Christina Maksisi
Go back to Saints