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Sabas (439–532)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1573

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Sabas (439–532). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Founder of the Great Laura in Palestine. Born in Cappadocia, he left for Palestine at the age of 17. At Jerusalem he decided to settle in the nearby desert, first in the monasteries of Passario and Euthymius and later at Theoctistus where he remained until 473. After five years of eremitical life, he settled in a cave on the left bank of Cedron. This was the beginning of the monastic settlement known as the Great Laura which became the largest in Palestine. Despite the support of the patriarchs of Jerusalem, he was exiled. He then founded a second monastery at Gedara, east of Lake Tiberias. Before long the Patriarch Elias ordered him back to the Great Laura which had grown to become the central hub of all monasteries in the region. The Great Laura actively supported orthodoxy at the time of the Origenist and Monophysite controversies. In 530, following a bloody revolt by the Samaritans, Sabas traveled to Constantinople to plead the Christian cause before Emperor Justinian. The Great Laura survived until the 9th century when it was extinguished by the Arabs. During that period it produced great monks famous for their literary activity, including John of Damascus, Cosmas Melodus, Stephen Melodus, Stephen the Thaumaturge, Michael Syncellus, Theodore Graptos, and Theodore of Edessa.


  • founder of the great laura in palestine;
  • monastic settlement, the great laura;
  • the great laura, time of the origenist, monophysite controversies