Saturday Saints- #11

The Saint for today is Saint John of Damascus:

Saint John of Damascus (Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Δαμασκηνός / Iōannēs ho Damaskēnos; Latin: Iohannes Damascenus; Arabic: يوحنا الدمشقي / ALA-LC: Yūḥannā ad-Dimashqī; also known as John Damascene, and as Χρυσορρόας / Chrysorrhoas, literally “streaming with gold”—i.e., “the golden speaker”; c. 675 or 676 – 4 December 749) was a Syrian monk and priest. Born and raised in Damascus, he died at his monastery, Mar Saba, near Jerusalem.

A polymath whose fields of interest and contribution included law, theology, philosophy, and music, he is said by some sources to have served as a Chief Administrator to the Muslim caliph of Damascus before his ordination. He wrote works expounding the Christian faith, and composed hymns which are still used both liturgically in Eastern Christian practice throughout the world as well as in western Lutheranism at Easter.He is considered “the last of the Fathers” of the Eastern Orthodox church and is best known for his strong defense of icons. The Catholic Church regards him as a Doctor of the Church, often referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption due to his writings on the Assumption of Mary.

(Wiki article here)

Here we have yet another influential Saint who I wasn’t familiar with. What I found especially interesting about him was the impact he had on the church and the theology of Christianity, and the time that he did so. He marks the end of the Fathers of the Church- those leaders and thinkers who came afterward were no longer building new foundations so much as reinforcing existing structures. That this took place during the heyday of the original Islamic expansion is probably no coincidence; Christianity was (in my view) forced to grow up and solidify as a result of the rise of Islam.

It is interesting to me as well that there is a lot known about his works and influence, but less so about the man himself. I suspect that he wouldn’t mind, St. John of Damascus strikes me as the kind of man who would want to be remembered for his teachings more than anything else. As always, I recommend reading the whole article.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Saturday Saints- #11

  1. Pingback: Saturday Saints- Registry | Donal Graeme

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