December 18, 2023

Synaxarion of Venerable Sophia, Mother of Venerable Savvas the Sanctified

By Hieromonk Euphrosynos the Hagiosabbaite
 On the 18th of this month [December], we commemorate Venerable Sophia, the mother according to the flesh of Venerable Savvas the Sanctified.


Land of Bethlehem bury the body of Sophia,
Land of the meek receive the soul of the venerable one.
On the eighteenth Sophia gladly flew away from life.

This Venerable gave birth to Venerable Savvas the Sanctified, around the year 439, during the reign of Theodosius the Younger, in the village of Moutalaske in Cappadocia. Because her husband John was a soldier in the higher offices of the Roman military, he was transferred to Egypt, where Sophia followed him, and they lived there until his death. Around the year 491, when the Venerable was at an old age, she heard about the accomplishments of her son, so she went to the desert of Judea, where she offered all her possessions to the Venerable. Savvas, because his Lavra was to be untrodden by women, sent her to the Coenobium of Venerable Paula in Bethlehem, where Sophia struggled well, and attained to a perfect measure of virtue. A few years later, during the reign of Empreror Anastasios, she reposed peacefully in the Lord, and buried in a venerable coffin by Savvas, and with the money of his mother, Savvas founded a metochion in Jericho, for the respite of the Fathers. After the translation of the relics of the Venerable, the Fathers built a small hesychasterion in her honor next to the Lavra, and there they placed her relics. However, due to security reasons, they were transferred to the Monastery during the abbacy of Joasaph the Cretan (1835-1874), where they were hidden in an unknown crypt within the Monastery. A small portion of her relic is preserved in an old reliquary within the Skeuophylakion.

Through her holy intercessions, Christ God, have mercy on us. Amen.

Fourth Tone. Tachy Prokatalave.
Wisdom you strove to embody, venerably you shined in ascetic struggle, the boast of mothers, you gave birth to the Sanctified, Savvas the God-bearer, O divinely-minded Sophia, do now with him entreat on behalf of our souls.

Third Tone. Ei Parthenos Simeron.
With prudence you sprouted, an adornment of flowers O Venerable, in the wilderness you shined, with angelic conduct, all-reverence, was preserved in you through marriage, wondrously, you were glorified by the Lord, for this reason it is our duty, august Sophia, to celebrate you with hymns.

Divine offshoot of Cappadocia, and the mother and nurturer of God-bearing Savvas; rejoice in your old age, having conducted yourself in wisdom, all-blessed Sophia, do remember us.

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