The protagonists of Italo-Greek hagiographies of the X-XII centuries appear to be endowed with medical knowledge obtained through the reading of Classical works; however, the ritual aspects in the description of healing miracles in their bioi are equally important. This paper presents an analysis of episodes of the life of St. Sabas of Collesano, written at the end of the X century by Orestes, patriarch of Jerusalem, where the saint performs healing rituals comparable to those of the other Italo-Greek bioi, except that he does not seem able to heal his patients and limits himself to predicting their prognosis. The author links such episodes to the new wave of Arab raids in Calabria in the second half of the X century, with its aftermath of famines and epidemics. "Non thaumaturgical" behaviour such as that of St Sabas could therefore reveal the difficulty of reconciling the faith in a providential plan with the recurrent misfortunes experienced by the population. It highlights the helplessness of the saint in providing the locals with material help, while on the other hand the emphasis on his prophetical skills re-establishes faith in a divine plan operating even in these circumstances.
Keywords: Hagiography, illness, Calabria, Byzantine Italy, monasticism, Divine Providence