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St. John Damascene

Saint John of Damascus

Confessor & Doctor of the Church

John was born to a noble family in Damascus around the year 676. Though a Christian, he rose to such favor with the Muslim caliph that he was appointed chief councilor. John used his prominent position to fiercely oppose the heresy of iconoclasm, defending the veneration of holy images in terms that even common laymen could easily understand. The iconoclasts attempted to frame him for treason, and the caliph was fooled and ordered John’s hand cut off in punishment. Yet the Blessed Virgin Mary miraculously restored John’s hand, and with it the caliph’s trust, though John took the matter as a sign and resigned his post. In gratitude to Our Lady he attached a silver replica of his hand to his icon of the Theotokos. This “three-handed” icon still resides in a monastery on Mount Athos. John became a monk and then a priest, at the monastery of St. Sabas in the Holy Land, where he wrote many hymns and works of theology, philosophy, and other subjects. He is considered the last of the Greek Fathers and the first of the Scholastics, and died on December 4th in the year of Our Lord 749. John is celebrated on that day in the East and on the modern calendar.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for March 27th

THE festival of St. John Damascene, confessor and doctor of the Church. He is mentioned on the 6th of May.

At Drizipara, in Pannonia, St. Alexander, a soldier, in the time of emperor Maximian. Having overcome many tribulations for Christ, and wrought many miracles, he completed his martyrdom by decapitation.

The same day, the Saints Philetus, senator, his wife Lydia, and their sons Macedon and Theoprepides; also Amphilochius, an officer in the army, and Chronidas, a notary, who were put to death for the confession of Christ.

In Persia, in the reign of King Sapor, the holy martyrs Zanitas, Lazarus, Marotas, Narses, and five others, who merited the palm of martyrdom by being barbarously murdered.

At Salzburg, St. Rupert, bishop and confessor, who spread the Gospel extensively in Bavaria and Austria.

In Egypt, the hermit St. John, a man of great holiness, who among other virtues, was replenished with the spirit of prophecy, and predicted to the emperor Theodosius that he would gain the victory over the tyrants Maximus and Eugenius.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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