St. John of Damascus - a Christian Saint, revered in the face of the venerable, one of the Fathers of the Church, theologian, philosopher and hymnographer

John of Damascus is of Syrian origin, born in Damascus in 675 AD to a noble family that served the Arab Caliph. John studied exact sciences and music together with his brother Kosma (later Bishop of Mayum). After the introduction of Arabic instead of Greek as the only official language, around 706 AD he took the tonsure at the monastery of St. Sabbas near Jerusalem and was ordained a priest.

During the period of iconoclasm, he defended the veneration of icons, the author of the "Three words of defense in support of iconoclasm", in which iconoclasm is understood as a Christological heresy, and also for the first time distinguishes between "worship", befitting only God, and "veneration", rendered to created things, including icons. The iconoclastic Council of 754 AD anathematize John four times (excommunicated from the Church), but the seventh Ecumenical Council confirmed the faithfulness of his teaching.

John of Damascus is known as the largest systemizer of the Christian faith. He owns the fundamental work "the Source of Knowledge", which includes philosophical ("Dialectics"), accusatory ("On heresies") and dogmatic ("an Exact statement of the Orthodox faith") sections. In addition, John wrote a number of sermons about the Mother of God.

He also wrote a number of canons, special hymns of the Palestinian type, which came into use in the Eastern Church from the 9th century. They are still sung at services today.

The cantata of the same name for choir and orchestra, written by the Russian composer S. I. Taneyev based on the words of the poem "John of Damascus" by A. K. Tolstoy, is dedicated to the Saint. He died about 753 AD, and was buried in the Lavra of St. Sabbas the Sanctified. During the reign of Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282-1328), his relics were moved to Constantinople. Currently, it is known that the relics of Saint John are found in the Lavra of Sabbas the Consecrated, the monastery of George Alaman (Cyprus), the monastery of John the Evangelist in Patmos (Greece) and in the Church of San Giorgio dei Grechi (Venice). Some of the relics are also located in the Kazan Church of the Novodevichy monastery in Saint Petersburg.


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