Deir el-Muqalik - THEOCTISTUS


During the tenth year of Sabas’ life in the same coenobium, the thrice-blessed Theoctistus died, on September 3 of the fourth indiction <really at the beginning of the fifth, AD 466>. The Great Euthymius came down there and, after having buried the victorious body, appointed as Theoctistus’ successor to the abbacy an admirable man, Maris. After he had governed the monastery for two years, Maris died a godly death, and great Euthymius came down again, laid him in the grave of the blessed Theoctistus, and entrusted the management of the coenobium into the hands of a virtuous man, Longinus. Then our father Sabas, who was now 30 years old and had outdone all the elders of the coenobium in fast, vigils, humility and obedience, begged Abba Longinus to let him live in seclusion in a cave, that is outside the coenobium, in the southern cliff (of the ravine). Abba Longinus, seeing his superior virtue, his well-balanced disposition, his chaste habits, the zeal and intensity he put into his prayers, after having referred his wish to the great man and having heard from him the answer “not to hinder (Sabas) from struggling any way he liked”, gave him permission to stay in the above-mentioned cave in seclusion for five days a week. So for five years, after he received the much longed-for permission, our father Sabas led such a way of life: on Sunday towards evening he would leave the coenobium, taking his weekly supply of palm-leaves, and he would spend the five days without any food, then on Saturday morn he would come back into the coenobium, carrying with him the product of his five days work, fully fifty baskets.

(transl. Leah Di Segni)

Sabas is granted permission by the abbot to go into seclusion in a cave, AD 469.