Savvas the New of Kalymnos
Our venerable and God-bearing father Sava the New (also spelled Savvas or Savas) is the patron saint of the Greek island of Kalymnos (Calymna), where he lived during the last twenty years of his life as the priest and spiritual father of the nuns of the Convent of All Saints. He was a great ascetic, confessor, iconographer, and miracle-worker. He is one of the recently recognized saints in the Greek Orthodox Church.
The feast of St. Sava the New of Kalymnos is celebrated on various dates in different traditions, including February 7, April 7 (March 25 in the Old Calendar), December 5 with St. Sava the Sanctified, and the fifth Sunday of Great Lent with St. Mary of Egypt.
Saint Sava was born in 1862 in Herakleitsa, Eastern Thrace to Constantine and Smaragda, very poor and he was there only son. When he was baptized he was given the name Vasilios.
From a young age he had a calling for the holy monastic life and secretely left for Mount Athos at the age of twelve where he entered St. Anne's Skete. Along with the usual monastic duties, this is where he learned iconography and Byzantine music.
After twelve years, he traveled to Jerusalem for a pilgrimage to the holy sites. He arrived in 1887 and entered the monastery of St. George Hozevitou and lived there for seventeen years as a hermit in the deserted and rugged cliffs. After serving for a period as a novice, he was tonsured a monk and given the name Sava.
In 1890, he joined the brotherhood of the Abbott Kallinikos (from Alatsata of Asia Minor) and in 1902 was ordained a deacon. In 1903, a year later, he was ordained to the holy priesthood by Archbishop Nikodemos from Diokesaria. He spent almost 10 years in the desert by the Jordan where he led an austere life and occupied himself with prayer and iconography. His dwelling consisted of two cells which he reached by ascending up a rope ladder. This isolation was necessary for successful inner concentration and noetic prayer and he made great spiritual progress there.
Due to the irregularities caused by the raids of the Arabs in the Holy Land, and health reasons, Sava was forced to leave. He returned to Greece where he searched for a quiet place to continue his monastic life. He was attracted to the island of Patmos, where he lived for a while in the hermitage of Grava and later at the Monastery of St. John. 
He later traveled throughout Greece for three years. He went to Mount Athos, then to the Monastery of Phaneromenis, Salamina and to Hydra but could not find a suitable place to stay.
In 1919, he was invited, to the Greek island of Aegina, by St. Nektarios, to serve as a priest at the Holy Trinity Convent. He stayed at this convent for six years, from 1919 until 1925. There he taught the nuns the sacred art of iconography and Byzantine music.
This time at the Convent was one of the most significant events in the saint's life due to his association with St. Nektarios who was at the height of his spiritual development. St. Sava had the opportunity to confess and receive counsel from St. Nektarios. The two had the highest esteem for each other and each considered the other a saint. Saint Savvas also conducted Saint Nektarios' funeral service.
St. Sava is also renowed for painting the first icon of St. Nektarios: One day St. Sava asked the abbess not to let anyone disturb him for forty days, during which he remained confined to his cell in which the nuns could hear constant conversation between the living Saint and the reposed Saint. After 40 days, he came out of his cell holding an icon of St. Nektarios. He handed it to the abbess and asked her to place it in the church for veneration. The abbess was surprised since St. Nektarios had not been glorified ("canonized") as a saint yet, and she was afraid that the convent would get into trouble. Although the saint was always meek and humble, he insisted, and told her in a commanding manner: "You must show obedience. Take the icon and place it on the icon stand, and do not scrutinize the will of God." He knew the holiness and purity of St. Nektarios.
After St. Nektarios reposed, more and more pilgrims would come to the convent due to the growing reputation of St. Nektarios as a miracle-worker. This disrupted the quiet life that St. Sava loved, and so he departed the convent in 1925, again for a quieter life.
St. Sava spent the last years of his life as the priest and spiritual father at the Convent of All Saints on the island of Kalymnos. As a confessor, he combined leniency with severity. He was lenient on certain sins and severe to others. He remained an ardent spiritual striver until the end of life and practiced extreme forms of self-restraint with regard to food, drink, and sleep. St. Sava became a shining example of virtue to all who came into contact with him. Many smelled a heavenly fragrance in his presence and some even saw him rising above the ground as he stood at prayer.
Towards the end of his life, St. Sava was in a state of intense prayer and holy contrition. For three days he did not receive anyone and he gave his last counsels: requested love and obedience in Christ. When he was on the point of death taking his last breath, suddenly he received strength, brought his blessed small hands together, and clapped them repeatedly saying his last holy words: "The Lord! The Lord! The Lord!" He went to the Lord in 1948 on the eve of the feast of the Annunciation. One nun saw the soul of the saint ascending in a golden cloud towards heaven. After about 10 years when the saint's grave was opened in accordance to the Greek Orthodox custom, a heavenly fragrance emanated from the grave which covered the whole island of Kalymnos, this phenomenon was witnessed by many, including the local bishop. This was a testament to the sanctity of the saint. Numerous miracles and healings have since been attributed to St. Sava the New of Kalymnos.
- ↑ This is verified by an inscription on an icon painted by St. Sava at the monastery "In the month of December in 1914 this icon was painted by the hand of the iconographer, holy monk Savvas the Hosevite."
- Let us faithful praise Holy Savas, the glory and protector of Kalymnos,
- and peer of the Holy Ascetics of old;
- for he has been glorified resplendently as a servant of Christ,
- with the gift of working miracles,
- and he bestows upon all God's grace and mercy.
- Today the island of the Kalymnians celebrates your holy memory with a rejoicing heart;
- for it possesses as truly God-given wealth,
- your sacred body that has been glorified by God, O Father Savas,
- approaching which they receive health of both soul and body.
- Rejoice, thou new star of the Church,
- the offspring of Thrace and the beauty of Kalymnos,
- O God-inspired Savas, fellow citizen of angels and equal of all the saints.
- Modern Orthodox Saints, Vol. 8. "St. Savvas the New" by Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies ISBN 0914744631
- Icon of St. Savas of Kalymnos
- Saint Savvas the New of Kalymnos (1948) (March 25 OC) (under the entry for April 7)