December 5 (old calendar) / December 18 (new)
Ven. Sava the Sanctified (532). St. Gurias, Archbishop of Kazan’ (1563). Martyr Anastasius. Ven. Karion (Cyrion) and his son, Ven. Zachariah, of Egypt (4th c.). Ven. Nectarius of Mt. Athos (1406). Ven. Philotheus of Karyes (Mt. Athos—14th c.). Monk Martyrs of Karyes (Mt. Athos). St. Crispina (304).
SAINT SAVA THE SANCTIFIED
Saint Sava the Sanctified was born in the fifth century at Cappadocia of pious Christian parents, John and Sophia. His father was a military commander. Journeying to Alexandria on military matters, John and Sophia left their five-year-old son Sava in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached eight years of age, he entered the monastery of Saint Flavian located nearby. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became an expert on the Holy Scriptures. In vain did his parents urge Saint Sava to return to the world and enter into marriage.
When he was seventeen years old he received monastic tonsure, and attained such perfection in fasting and prayer that he was given the gift of wonderworking. After spending ten years at the monastery of Saint Flavian, he went to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of Saint Euthymius the Great (January 20). But Saint Euthymius sent Saint Sava to Abba Theoctistus, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict cenobitic rule. Saint Sava lived in obedience at this monastery until the age of thirty.
After the death of the Elder Theoctistus, his successor blessed Saint Sava to seclude himself in a cave. On Saturdays, however, he left his hermitage and came to the monastery, where he participated in divine services and ate with the brethren. After a certain time Saint Sava received permission not to leave his hermitage at all, and he struggled in the cave for five years.
Saint Euthymius attentively directed the life of the young monk, and seeing his spiritual maturity, he began to take him to the Rouba wilderness with him. They set out on January 14, and remained there until Palm Sunday. Saint Euthymius called Saint Sava a child-elder, and encouraged him to grow in the monastic virtues.
When Saint Euthymius fell asleep in the Lord (+ 473), Saint Sava withdrew from the Lavra and moved to a cave near the monastery of Saint Gerasimus of Jordan (March 4). After several years, disciples began to gather around Saint Sava, seeking the monastic life. As the number of monks increased, a lavra sprang up. When a pillar of fire appeared before Saint Sava as he was walking, he found a spacious cave in the form of a church.
Saint Sava founded several more monasteries. Many miracles took place through the prayers of Saint Sava: at the Lavra a spring of water welled up, during a time of drought there was abundant rain, and there were also healings of the sick and the demoniacs. Saint Sava composed the first monastic Rule of church services, the so-called “Jerusalem Typikon”, accepted by all the Palestine monasteries. The saint surrendered his soul to God in the year 532.
Troparion of the saint, tone 8
With the streams of your tears you cultivated the barrenness of the desert; and by your deep sighs, you bore fruit a hundredfold in your labors. You became a luminary, shining upon the world with miracles. O our righteous Father Sava, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved!.
Kontakion of the saint, tone 8
From your youth you offered yourself to God as a blameless sacrifice, having been dedicated to Him before your birth, blessed Sava. You were an adornment of the righteous and a praiseworthy citizen of the desert. Therefore, we cry to you: “Rejoice, ever glorious Father.”
Hebrews 9:8-10, 15-23 (Epistle)
- the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.
- It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience –
- concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.
- And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
- For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
- For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.
- Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.
- For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
- saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”
- Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.
- And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
- Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Mark 10:2-12 (Gospel)
- The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him.
- And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”
- They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.”
- And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
- But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’
- For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
- ‘and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
- Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
- In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter.
- So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.
- And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”