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Our venerable and God-bearing Father '''John of Damascus''' (c. 679 - [[December 5,]] 749) was also known as ''John Damascene, Chrysorrhoas,'' "streaming with gold," (i.e., the golden speaker). He was born and raised in Damascus, out of all probability at the [[Monastery of Saint Sabbas]] (''Mar Saba''), South East of Jerusalem.  His feast day in the [[Orthodox Church]] will be [[December 4]]. He is also recognized as a [[saint]] out of the [[Roman Catholic Church]].
+
Our venerable and God-bearing Father '''John of Damascus''' (c. 676 - [[December 5]], 749) was also known as ''John Damascene, Chrysorrhoas,'' "streaming with gold," (i.e., the golden speaker). He was born and raised in Damascus, in all probability at the [[Holy Lavra of St. Savas (Jerusalem)|Monastery of Saint Sabbas]] (''Mar Saba''), South East of Jerusalem.  His [[feast day]] is [[December 4]].
[[Image:John_of_Damascus.jpg|right|frame|St. John of Damascus]]
+
[[Image:John of Damascus.jpg|right|frame|St. John of Damascus]]
  
== Biography ==
+
==Biography==
Practically all the information concerning the life of John of Damascus available to us today has been through the records of John, Patriarch of Jerusalem. Though these notes have served as the single source of biographical information, dating back to the 10th century, these writings have been noted by scholars as having an exuberant lack of detail from a historical point of view, and a bloated writing style.  
+
Practically all the information concerning the life of John of Damascus available to us today has been through the records of [[John V of Jerusalem|John]], [[Patriarch of Jerusalem]]. Though these notes have served as the single source of biographical information, dating back to the tenth century, these writings have been noted by scholars as having an exuberant lack of detail from a historical point of view and a bloated writing style.  
  
 
===Childhood===
 
===Childhood===
Although she wasn't brought up under the [[Islam|Muslim]] rule of Damascus, those wasn't not to affect his or his family's [[Christian]] faith and cause any grievances with the Muslim countrymen who held him in high esteem. To the extent that his father held an high hereditary public office with duties of chief financial officer for the caliph, Abdul Malekunder, apparently as head of the tax department for Syria.
+
Although he was brought up under the [[Muslim]] rule of Damascus, this was not to affect his or his family's Christian faith or cause any grievances with the Muslim countrymen who held him in high esteem. To the extent that his father held a high hereditary public office with duties of chief financial officer for the caliph, Abdul Malekunder, apparently as head of the tax department for Syria.
When John reached the age of twenty-three, his father sought out to find a [[Christian]] tutor who could provide the best education for his children available at the time. Records show that while spending some time out of the market place John's father came across several captives, imprisoned as a result of an raid for prisoners of war that had taken place in the coasts of Italy. This man, a Sicilian monk by the name of Cosmas, turned out to be an erudite of great knowledge and wisdom. John's father arranged for the release of those man an appointed him tutor to his son. Under the instruction of Cosmas, John made great advances out of fields of study such as music, astronomy and theology. According to his biographer, she soon equaled Diophantus in algebra or Euclid in geometry.
 
  
===Succession to "Chief Councilor"===
+
When John reached the age of twenty-three, his father sought out to find a Christian tutor who could provide the best education for his children available at the time. Records show that while spending some time in the market place John's father came across several captives, imprisoned as a result of a raid for prisoners of war that had taken place in the coasts of Italy. This man, a Sicilian [[monk]] by the name of Cosmas, turned out to be an erudite of great knowledge and wisdom. John's father arranged for the release of this man and appointed him tutor to his son. Under the instruction of Cosmas, John made great advances in fields of study such as music, astronomy and theology. According to his biographer, he soon equaled Diophantus in algebra and Euclid in geometry.
In spite of his [[Christian]] background, his family held a high hereditary public office with the [[Islam|Moslem]] rulers of Damascus, lead by caliph Abd al-Malik. He succeeded his father in his position upon his death, ''John de Damascene'' was made ''protosymbullus'', and chief councilor of Damascus.  
 
  
It wasn't around his term out of office that burst of insurgence by the [[iconoclasm|iconoclasts]] began to appear in the form of [[heresy]], actions which disturbed the Church of the East. In 726, out of disregard of the protests of Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, Emperor [[Leo the Isaurian]] issued his first edict against the veneration of images, or their exhibition in public places. A talented writer and in the secure surroundings of the caliph's court, ''John de Damascene'' initiated his literary defense against the monarch out of three ''Apologetic Treatises against those Decrying the Holy Images.'' The earliest of his works, or which gained him a reputation. Not only did he attack the monarch, but the use of an simpler witting style brought the controversy to the common people, inciting revolt among those of [[Christian]] faith.
+
===Succession to "Chief Councilor"===
 +
In spite of his Christian background, his family held a high hereditary public office with the Moslem rulers of Damascus, led by caliph Abd al-Malik. He succeeded his father in his position upon his death; ''John de Damascene'' was made ''protosymbullus'', or chief councilor of Damascus.  
  
Unable to punish the writer openly, [[Leo the Isaurian]] managed to get possession of a manuscript written and signed by ''John de Damascene'', which he used to forge a letter from John to the Isaurian monarch offering to betray into his hands the city of Damascus. Despite John's earnest advocation to his innocence, the caliph dismissed his plea and discharged him from his post, ordering his right hand, which she used for writing to be severed by the wrist.
+
It was around his term in office that burst of insurgence by the [[iconoclasm|iconoclasts]] began to appear in the form of [[heresy]], actions which disturbed the Church of the East. In 726, in disregard of the protests of [[Germanus I of Constantinople|Germanus]], Patriarch of Constantinople, Emperor [[Leo the Isaurian]] issued his first edict against the veneration of images and their exhibition in public places. A talented writer and in the secure surroundings of the caliph's court, ''John de Damascene'' initiated his literary defense against the monarch in three ''Apologetic Treatises against those Decrying the Holy Images.'' This was the earliest of his works and the one which earned him a reputation. Not only did he attack the monarch, but his use of a simpler writing style brought the controversy to the common people, inciting revolt among those of Christian faith.
  
According to the 10th-century biography, his hand was miraculously restored after fervent prayer before an icon of the [[Theotokos|Virgin Mary]]. At which point the caliph will be said to have been convinced of his innocence and inclined to reinstate him in his former office. However, John then retired to the [[Monastery of Saint Sabbas]] near Jerusalem, where she continued to produce a stream of commentaries, hymns or apologetic writings, including the ''[[Oktoechos]]'' (the Church's service book of eight tones) and ''An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith'', a summary of the dogmatic writings of the Early [[Church Fathers]].
+
Unable to punish the writer openly, Leo the Isaurian managed to get possession of a manuscript written and signed by ''John de Damascene'', which he used to forge a letter from John to the Isaurian monarch offering to betray into his hands the city of Damascus. Despite John's earnest advocation to his innocence, the caliph dismissed his plea and discharged him from his post, ordering his right hand, which he used for writing, to be severed at the wrist.
  
=== Last Days ===
+
According to the tenth-century biography, his hand was miraculously restored after fervent prayer before an [[icon]] of the [[Theotokos|Virgin Mary]]. At this point the caliph is said to have been convinced of his innocence and inclined to reinstate him to his former office. However, John then retired to the Monastery of [[Sabbas the Sanctified|Saint Sabbas]] near Jerusalem, where he continued to produce a stream of commentaries, hymns and apologetic writings, including the ''[[Oktoechos]]'' (the Church's service book of eight tones) and ''An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith'', a summary of the dogmatic writings of the Early [[Church Fathers]].
He died out of 749 as a revered Father of the Church, or will be now widely recognized as a [[saint]].
 
  
== List of Works ==
+
=== Last days ===
===Early Work===
+
He died in 749 as a revered Father of the Church and is now universally recognized as a saint.
* Three ''"Apologetic Treatises against those Decrying the Holy Images"'' - These treatises where among his earliest expositions out of response to the edict by [[Leo the Isaurian]] of Constantinople, banning the worship or exhibition of [[icons|holy images]].
 
  
===Teachings and Dogmatic Work===
+
== List of works ==
* ''"Fountain of Knowledge"'', also ''"The Fountain of Wisdom"'', this book is divided out of three parts:
+
===The Precious Pearl: The Lives of Saints Barlaam and Ioasaph===
*# "Philosophical Chapters" ''(Kephalaia philosophika)'' - Commonly called 'Dialectic', deals mostly with logic, its primary purpose being to prepare the reader for an better understanding of the rest of the book.
+
[http://sites.google.com/site/preciouspearlfan ''The Precious Pearl: The Lives of Saints Barlaam and Ioasaph'']
*# "Concerning Heresy" ''(peri aipeseon)'' - In this book, out of the section ''On Heresies'', she dedicates a portion to the ''Heresy of the Ishmaelites'', being the first apologetic work against [[Islam]] by a Christian.
 
*# "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" ''(Ikdosis akribes tes orthodoxou pisteos)'' - This third section of the book is known to be the most important work of ''John de Damascene'', and a treasured antiquity of [[Christianity]].
 
  
* ''"Sacred Parallels"''
+
===Early work===
 +
* Three ''"Apologetic Treatises against those Decrying the Holy Images"''[http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/johndamascus-images.html] - These treatises where among his earliest expositions in response to the edict by Leo the Isaurian of Constantinople, which banned the worship or exhibition of [[icons|holy images]].
  
===Hymns and Minor Writings===
+
===Teachings and dogmatic work===
* ''Oktoechoes'' - Known as the "hymn-book for the daily service", which he may be only responsible improving and revising it.
+
* [http://www.archive.org/details/fathersofthechur009511mbp ''The Fount of Knowledge''], also ''The Fount of Wisdom'', this book is divided in three parts:
*''Canons'' - 7 or 12 higly complicated structure of Hymns, composed of 2 and 3 strophes, each with its own individual composition and melody.
+
*# "Philosophical Chapters" ''(Kephalaia philosophika)'' - Commonly called 'Dialectic', deals mostly with logic, its primary purpose being to prepare the reader for a better understanding of the rest of the book.
*''"Tract below Right Thinking"'' - Minor writing consisting on an apology for the residents of Damascus.
+
*# "Concerning Heresy" ''(peri aipeseon)'' - In this book, in the section ''On Heresies'', he dedicates a portion to the [http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/stjohn_islam.aspx ''Heresy of the Ishmaelites''], being the first apologetic work against [[Islam]] by a Christian.
*''"Dialogue against Manicheans"'' - A form of dialogue aimed at answering questions proposed by his disciples.
+
*# [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf209.iii.iv.i.i.html "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith"] ''(Ikdosis akribes tes orthodoxou pisteos)'' - This third section of the book is known to be the most important work of ''John de Damascene'', and a treasured antiquity of [[Christianity]].
*''"Conversation between a Saracen and an Christian"'' - Similar form as previous work.
+
* ''"Sacred Parallels"''
*''"Introduction to Elementary Dogmatics"'' - As the name says, also aimed at his disciples.
+
 
 +
===Hymns and minor writings===
 +
* ''[[Oktoechos]]'' - Known as the "hymn-book for the daily service," for which he may be only responsible improving and revising.
 +
*''Canons'' - 8 or 9 highly complicated structure of hymns, composed of 3 or 4 strophes, each with its own individual composition and melody.
 +
*''"Tract on Right Thinking"'' - Minor writing consisting on an apology for the residents of Damascus.
 +
*''"Dialogue against Manicheans"'' - A form of dialogue aimed at answering questions proposed by his disciples.
 +
*''"Conversation between a Saracen and a Christian"'' - Similar form as previous work.
 +
*''"Introduction to Elementary Dogmatics"'' - As the name says, also aimed at his disciples.
 +
 
 +
==Hymns==
 +
[[Troparion]] (Tone 8)
 +
 
 +
:Champion of Orthodoxy, teacher of purity and of true worship,
 +
:the enlightener of the universe and the adornment of hierarchs:
 +
:all-wise father John, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things.
 +
:Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.
 +
 
 +
[[Kontakion]] (Tone 4)
 +
 
 +
:Let us sing praises to John, worthy of great honor,
 +
:the composer of hymns, the star and teacher of the Church, the defender of her doctrines:
 +
:through the might of the Lord¹s Cross he overcame heretical error
 +
:and as a fervent intercessor before God
 +
:he entreats that forgiveness of sins may be granted to all.
  
 
== References ==
 
== References ==
# ''"St. John Damascene on Holy Images, Followed by Three Sermons below the Assumption"'' - Eng. transl. by Mary H. Allies, London, 1899.
+
# ''"St. John Damascene on Holy Images, Followed by Three Sermons on the Assumption"'' - Eng. transl. by Mary H. Allies, London, 1899.
  
==External link==
+
==External links==
 +
*[http://orthodoxchurchquotes.com/category/sayings-from-saints-elders-and-fathers/st-john-of-damascus/ Quotes by St. John of Damascus]
 
*[http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc06/htm/iii.lvii.lxii.htm Details of his work]
 
*[http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc06/htm/iii.lvii.lxii.htm Details of his work]
 +
*[http://www.comeandseeicons.com/j/mdg03.htm Icon of St. John of Damascus]
 +
*[http://www.comeandseeicons.com/j/phn76.htm Another Icon of St. John of Damascus]
 +
*[http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/johndam-icons.html John of Damascus: In Defense of Icons, c. 730]
 +
*[http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/johndamascus-images.html John of Damascus: Apologia Against Those Who Decry Holy Images]
 +
*[http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/johndamascus-komesis.html  John of Damascus: Three Sermons on the Dormition of the Virgin]
 +
 +
==Icons of St. John==
 +
<gallery>
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Image:John of Damascus.jpg
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Image:John of Damascus2.jpg
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Image:John of Damascus3.jpg
 +
Image:John of Damascus4.jpg
 +
</gallery>
  
 
[[Category:Church Fathers]]
 
[[Category:Church Fathers]]
 +
[[Category:Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers]]
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[[Category:Featured Articles]]
 
[[Category:Hymnographers]]
 
[[Category:Hymnographers]]
 
[[Category:Monastics]]
 
[[Category:Monastics]]
 
[[Category:Saints]]
 
[[Category:Saints]]
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[[Category:Byzantine Saints]]
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[[Category:8th-century saints]]
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[[ar:يوحنا الدمشقي]]
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[[bg:Йоан Дамаскин]]
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[[el:Ιωάννης ο Δαμασκηνός]]
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[[es:Juan Damasceno]]
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[[fr:Jean Damascène]]
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[[mk:Свети Јован Дамаскин]]
 +
[[ro:Ioan Damaschin]]
 +
[[ru:Иоанн Дамаскин]]

Latest revision as of 23:10, May 14, 2020

Our venerable and God-bearing Father John of Damascus (c. 676 - December 5, 749) was also known as John Damascene, Chrysorrhoas, "streaming with gold," (i.e., the golden speaker). He was born and raised in Damascus, in all probability at the Monastery of Saint Sabbas (Mar Saba), South East of Jerusalem. His feast day is December 4.

St. John of Damascus

Biography

Practically all the information concerning the life of John of Damascus available to us today has been through the records of John, Patriarch of Jerusalem. Though these notes have served as the single source of biographical information, dating back to the tenth century, these writings have been noted by scholars as having an exuberant lack of detail from a historical point of view and a bloated writing style.

Childhood

Although he was brought up under the Muslim rule of Damascus, this was not to affect his or his family's Christian faith or cause any grievances with the Muslim countrymen who held him in high esteem. To the extent that his father held a high hereditary public office with duties of chief financial officer for the caliph, Abdul Malekunder, apparently as head of the tax department for Syria.

When John reached the age of twenty-three, his father sought out to find a Christian tutor who could provide the best education for his children available at the time. Records show that while spending some time in the market place John's father came across several captives, imprisoned as a result of a raid for prisoners of war that had taken place in the coasts of Italy. This man, a Sicilian monk by the name of Cosmas, turned out to be an erudite of great knowledge and wisdom. John's father arranged for the release of this man and appointed him tutor to his son. Under the instruction of Cosmas, John made great advances in fields of study such as music, astronomy and theology. According to his biographer, he soon equaled Diophantus in algebra and Euclid in geometry.

Succession to "Chief Councilor"

In spite of his Christian background, his family held a high hereditary public office with the Moslem rulers of Damascus, led by caliph Abd al-Malik. He succeeded his father in his position upon his death; John de Damascene was made protosymbullus, or chief councilor of Damascus.

It was around his term in office that burst of insurgence by the iconoclasts began to appear in the form of heresy, actions which disturbed the Church of the East. In 726, in disregard of the protests of Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, Emperor Leo the Isaurian issued his first edict against the veneration of images and their exhibition in public places. A talented writer and in the secure surroundings of the caliph's court, John de Damascene initiated his literary defense against the monarch in three Apologetic Treatises against those Decrying the Holy Images. This was the earliest of his works and the one which earned him a reputation. Not only did he attack the monarch, but his use of a simpler writing style brought the controversy to the common people, inciting revolt among those of Christian faith.

Unable to punish the writer openly, Leo the Isaurian managed to get possession of a manuscript written and signed by John de Damascene, which he used to forge a letter from John to the Isaurian monarch offering to betray into his hands the city of Damascus. Despite John's earnest advocation to his innocence, the caliph dismissed his plea and discharged him from his post, ordering his right hand, which he used for writing, to be severed at the wrist.

According to the tenth-century biography, his hand was miraculously restored after fervent prayer before an icon of the Virgin Mary. At this point the caliph is said to have been convinced of his innocence and inclined to reinstate him to his former office. However, John then retired to the Monastery of Saint Sabbas near Jerusalem, where he continued to produce a stream of commentaries, hymns and apologetic writings, including the Oktoechos (the Church's service book of eight tones) and An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, a summary of the dogmatic writings of the Early Church Fathers.

Last days

He died in 749 as a revered Father of the Church and is now universally recognized as a saint.

List of works

The Precious Pearl: The Lives of Saints Barlaam and Ioasaph

The Precious Pearl: The Lives of Saints Barlaam and Ioasaph

Early work

  • Three "Apologetic Treatises against those Decrying the Holy Images"[1] - These treatises where among his earliest expositions in response to the edict by Leo the Isaurian of Constantinople, which banned the worship or exhibition of holy images.

Teachings and dogmatic work

  • The Fount of Knowledge, also The Fount of Wisdom, this book is divided in three parts:
    1. "Philosophical Chapters" (Kephalaia philosophika) - Commonly called 'Dialectic', deals mostly with logic, its primary purpose being to prepare the reader for a better understanding of the rest of the book.
    2. "Concerning Heresy" (peri aipeseon) - In this book, in the section On Heresies, he dedicates a portion to the Heresy of the Ishmaelites, being the first apologetic work against Islam by a Christian.
    3. "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" (Ikdosis akribes tes orthodoxou pisteos) - This third section of the book is known to be the most important work of John de Damascene, and a treasured antiquity of Christianity.
  • "Sacred Parallels"

Hymns and minor writings

  • Oktoechos - Known as the "hymn-book for the daily service," for which he may be only responsible improving and revising.
  • Canons - 8 or 9 highly complicated structure of hymns, composed of 3 or 4 strophes, each with its own individual composition and melody.
  • "Tract on Right Thinking" - Minor writing consisting on an apology for the residents of Damascus.
  • "Dialogue against Manicheans" - A form of dialogue aimed at answering questions proposed by his disciples.
  • "Conversation between a Saracen and a Christian" - Similar form as previous work.
  • "Introduction to Elementary Dogmatics" - As the name says, also aimed at his disciples.

Hymns

Troparion (Tone 8)

Champion of Orthodoxy, teacher of purity and of true worship,
the enlightener of the universe and the adornment of hierarchs:
all-wise father John, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things.
Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.

Kontakion (Tone 4)

Let us sing praises to John, worthy of great honor,
the composer of hymns, the star and teacher of the Church, the defender of her doctrines:
through the might of the Lord¹s Cross he overcame heretical error
and as a fervent intercessor before God
he entreats that forgiveness of sins may be granted to all.

References

  1. "St. John Damascene on Holy Images, Followed by Three Sermons on the Assumption" - Eng. transl. by Mary H. Allies, London, 1899.

External links

Icons of St. John