December 4 - Saint John Damascene

Quick Facts
  • Son of Mansur, representative of the Christians to the court of the Muslim caliph.
  • Apparently thrived as a Christian in a Saracen land, becoming the chief financial officer for caliph Abdul Malek.
  • Tutored in his youth by a captured Italian monk named Cosmas.
  • Between the Christian learning of the monk, and that of the Muslim schools, John became highly educated in the classical fields (geometry, literature, logic, rhetoric, etc.).
  • Defended the use of icons and images in churches through a series of letters opposing the anti-icon decrees of Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople.
  • Legend says that Germanus plotted against him, and forged a letter in which John betrayed the caliph; the caliph ordered John's writing hand chopped off, but the Virgin Mary appeared and reattached the hand, a miracle which restored the caliph's faith in him.
  • After this incident, John became a monk near Jerusalem.Priest.Anathematized by name by the 754 Council of Constantinople over his defense of the use of icons, but defended by the 787 Seventh Council of Nicea.
  • Wrote The Fountain of Wisdom, the first real compendium of Christian theology, along with other works defending the orthodox faith, commentaries on Saint Paul, poetry, and hymns.Philospher.
  • Orator; such an excellent speaker he was known as Chrysorrhoas (""golden-stream"").
  • Last of the Greek Fathers of the Church, and the first of the Christian Aristotleans.
  • Adapted choral music for use in the liturgy.
  • Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1890 by Pope Leo XIII.