Sabbas was born at Mutalaska, near Caesarea of Cappadocia
, the son of John, a military commander, and Sophia.
Journeying to Alexandria
on military matters, his parents left their five-year-old son in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached eight years of age, he entered the nearby monastery of Bishop Flavian of Antioch
. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became an expert on the Holy Scriptures. In vain did his parents urge Sabbas to return to the world and enter into marriage.