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John of Damascus

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Saint John of Damascus
John Damascus (arabic icon).gif

Saint John Damascene (Arabic icon)
Doctor of the Church
Bornc. 675 or 676 AD, Damascus
DiedDecember 4, 749, Mar Saba, Jerusalem
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Catholic Churches
Lutheran Church
Anglican Communion
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Feast December 4
March 27 (General Roman Calendar 1890-1969)
Saint John of Damascus[1] (c. 675 or 676 – 4 December 749) was a Christian leader from Damascus. He was a monk and a priest (a Christian preacher). He was born and raised in Damascus, which is today the capital of the country of Syria. He died in the Jerusalem in Palestine, at the Mar Saba monastery.[2]

John of Damascus studied religion. He also studied law, theology, philosophy and music. He is said by some sources to have served as a Chief Administrator to the Muslim caliph of Damascus before he became a priest.[3][4] He wrote works about Christianity. He composed hymns that are still used by Greek Orthodox churches around the world. He is considered "the last of the Fathers" of the Eastern Orthodox church. He is best known for arguing to let people use pictures of Greek Orthodox saints, which are called "icons".[5] He is also honored by Catholic churches, specifically the Roman Catholic Church.


  1. Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Δαμασκηνός, Iōannēs ho Damaskēnos; Latin: Iohannes Damascenus; Arabic: يوحنا الدمشقي, Yuḥannā Al Demashqi; also called John Damascene, Chrysorrhoas (meaning "streaming with gold", that is, "the golden speaker", a very good speaker).
  2. M. Walsh, ed. Butler's Lives of the Saints(HarperCollins Publishers: New York, 1991), pp. 403
  3. Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Idols in the East: European representations of Islam and the Orient, 1100-1450, Cornell University Press, 2009 p.204
  4. David Richard Thomas, Syrian Christians under Islam: the first thousand years, Brill 2001 p.19.
  5. Aquilina 1999, pp. 222