Book of Saints – John Damascene

detail of an icon of Saint John of Damascus; 19th century by Ne'meh Naser Homsi; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(Saint) (March 27) Doctor of the Church. (8th century) The last of the Greek Fathers, born at Damascus, where his father was the Caliph’s Vizier. He was educated with great care by Cosmas, a Greek monk who had been brought into Syria as a slave. On his father’s deatli he succeeded him as Vizier, and had thus all that the world could give him – wealth, honours, power, learning. But, realising the danger of his high position at a Mohammedan Court, he divided his riches among the poor and went as a pilgrim to Jerusalem, eventually settling in the famous Laura or monastery of Saint Sabbas. His life henceforth is a simple record of humility, prayer, labour and obedience. He passed away May 6, A.D. 780, being as is asserted one hundred and four years old. On account of the flowing eloquence of his writings Saint John acquired the surname “Chrysorrhoes” (Golden Stream). His chief work, that on the Orthodox Faith, is the first systematic Treatise on Dogmatic Theology we possess, and has been a model to the writers of succeeding ages. His convincing discourses in defence of the veneration of Holy Pictures marked him out as a champion of the Faith against Leo the Isaurian, the Iconoclast Emperor of Constantinople, through whose machinations he was sentenced to have his right hand cut off. It was afterwards miraculously restored to him by Our Blessed Lady, whose devout client he ever was. Venerated from his own age as a Saint, Pope Leo XIII numbered him among the Doctors of the Church.

MLA Citation

  • Monks of Ramsgate. “John Damascene”. Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 August 2018. Web. 11 December 2018. <>