IN TODAY’S LIVES OF THE SAINTS AND MARYTRS, A RENAISSANCE MAN OF SORTS
Written by Jennifer Snow on 12/04/2017
Winchester, VA – Born around 675 in Damascus in the time of the Umayyad Caliphate, John was a polymath, or a Renaissance man of sorts, whose specialties included law, theology, philosophy and music. He is believed to have been bilingual, and had enough familiarity with the Koran to deliver a harsh criticism of it. He was purported to have been Chief Administrator to the Muslim caliph of Damascus before his ordination in 735, but records fail to corroborate this. An author and composer of hymns, he is regarded as a father of the Eastern Orthodox Church and a Doctor of the Catholic Church. He is referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption for his teachings on this subject. When the iconoclastic movement burst onto the scene in the early 8th century, John wrote spirited defenses of religious images in three publications. He gained enemies over this and had his hand chopped off and hung on display after being falsely set up in a plot. Receiving his hand back, he prayed before an icon of the Theotokos, asking the Blessed Virgin to intercede for the restitution of his hand. It was restored, and he heard the Blessed Virgin instruct him to toil unceasingly with his restored hand. St. John Damascene died in 749 and is regarded as the last of the Early Church Fathers. St. John Damascene, pray for us!
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