- Friday, 04 December 2009 11:08
Saint John of Damascus spent most of his life in the monastery of Saint Sabas, near Jerusalem, under Muslim rule, indeed, protected by it. Born in Damascus c. 676, John received a classical and theological education, and followed his father in a government position under the Muslims. He resigned after a few years so that he could go to the monastery of Saint Sabas. Saint John is considered the last of the Greek Church Fathers (his writings)
Three points to remember about the Damascene:
1. he is known for his opposition to the iconoclasts, who opposed the veneration of images. Paradoxically, it was the Eastern Christian emperor Leo who forbade the practice, and it was because John lived in Muslim territory that his enemies could not silence him.
2. he is famous for his treatise, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, a summary of the Greek Fathers. It is said that this book is the Eastern equivalent of Aquinas’ Summa.
3. he is known as a poet, one of the two greatest in the Eastern Church (the other being Romanus the Melodist). His devotion to the Theotokos (the Blessed Virgin Mary) and his sermons on her feasts are well known.