John of Damascus

Saint John of Damascus (Medieval Greek Ἰωάννης ὁ Δαμασκηνός, Ioánnis o Damaskinós, Byzantine Greek pronunciation: [ioˈanis o ðamasciˈnos]; Latin: Ioannes Damascenus, Arabic: يوحنا الدمشقي‎, ALA-LC: Yūḥannā ad-Dimashqī); also known as John Damascene and as Χρυσορρόας / Chrysorrhoas (literally "streaming with gold"—i.e., "the golden speaker") was a Syrian monk and priest. Born and raised in Damascus c. 675 or 676, he died at his monastery, Mar Saba, near Jerusalem on 4 December 749.[1]

A polymath whose fields of interest and contribution included 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 his ordination.[2][3] He wrote works expounding the Christian faith, and composed hymns which are still used both liturgically in Eastern Christian practice throughout the world as well as in western Lutheranism at Easter.[4] He is one of the Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church and is best known for his strong defence of icons.[5] The Catholic Church regards him as a Doctor of the Church, often referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption due to his writings on the Assumption of Mary.[6]

The most common source of information for the life of John of Damascus is a work attributed to one John of Jerusalem, identified therein as the Patriarch of Jerusalem.[7] This is an excerpted translation into Greek of an earlier Arabic text. The Arabic original contains a prologue not found in most other translations, and was written by an Arab monk, Michael. Michael explained that he decided to write his biography in 1084 because none was available in his day. However, the main Arabic text seems to have been written by an earlier author sometime between the early 9th and late 10th centuries AD.[7] Written from a hagiographical point of view and prone to exaggeration and some legendary details, it is not the best historical source for his life, but is widely reproduced and considered to contain elements of some value.[8] The hagiographic novel Barlaam and Josaphat, traditionally attributed to John, is in fact a work of the 10th century.[9]

Saint John of Damascus
Ἰωάννης ὁ Δαμασκηνός (Greek)
Ioannes Damascenus (Latin)
يوحنا الدمشقي (Arabic)
John Damascus (arabic icon)
Saint John Damascene (Arabic icon)
Doctor of the Church
Bornc. 675 or 676
Damascus, Bilad al-Sham, Umayyad Caliphate
Died4 December 749
Mar Saba, Jerusalem, Bilad al-Sham, Umayyad Caliphate
CanonizedPre-congregation by Eastern Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Catholic Churches
Anglican Communion
Commemorated in Lutheranism
FeastDecember 4
March 27 (General Roman Calendar 1890–1969)
AttributesSevered hand, icon
PatronagePharmacists, icon painters, theology students
John Damascene
IconJonArab
Born
يوحنا الدمشقي
Notable work
Philosophical Chapters
An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
Concerning Heresy
EraMedieval philosophy
RegionEastern Christianity
Main interests
law, theology, philosophy, Geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and music
Notable ideas
Icon, Dormition of Mary, Theotokos, Perpetual virginity of Mary

Family background

John was born in Damascus in the third quarter of the 7th century AD, to a prominent Damascene Christian family known as "Mansoūr".[10] The family was named after John's grandfather, Mansour ibn Sarjun, who had been responsible for the taxes of the region during the reign of Emperor Heraclius.[11][12] Mansur seems to have played a role in the capitulation of Damascus to the troops of Khalid ibn al-Walid in 635 after securing favorable conditions of surrender.[11][12] Eutychius, a 10th-century Melkite patriarch, mentions him as one high-ranking official involved in the surrender of the city to the Muslims.[13]

Though information about the tribal background of the Mansour family are absent in contemporary sources, biographer Daniel Sahas speculates the name Mansour could have implied that they belonged to the Arab Christian tribes of Kalb or Taghlib.[14] Moreover, the family name was common among Syrian Christians of Arab origins, and Eutychius noted that the governor of Damascus, who was likely Mansour ibn Sarjun, was an Arab.[14] However, Sahas also asserts that the name does not necessarily imply an Arab background and could have been used by non-Arab, Semitic Syrians.[14] While Sahas and biographers F. H. Chase and Andrew Louth assert that Mansūr was an Arabic name, Raymond le Coz asserts that the "family was without doubt of Syrian origin";[15] indeed, according to historian Daniel J. Janosik, "Both aspects could be true, for if his family ancestry were indeed Syrian, his grandfather [Mansour] could have been given an Arabic name when the Arabs took over the government."[16] John was raised in Damascus, and Arab Christian folklore holds that during his adolescence, John associated with the future Umayyad caliph Yazid I and the Taghlibi Christian court poet al-Akhtal.[17]

When Syria was conquered by the Muslim Arabs in the 630s, the court at Damascus retained its large complement of Christian civil servants, John's grandfather among them.[11][13] John's father, Sarjun (Sergius), went on to serve the Umayyad caliphs.[11] According to John of Jerusalem and some later versions of his life, after his father's death, John also served as an official to the caliphal court before leaving to become a monk. This claim, that John actually served in a Muslim court, has been questioned since he is never mentioned in Muslim sources, which however do refer to his father Sarjun (Sergius) as a secretary in the caliphal administration.[18] In addition, John's own writings never refer to any experience in a Muslim court. It is believed that John became a monk at Mar Saba, and that he was ordained as a priest in 735.[11][19]

Education

One of the vitae describes his father's desire for him to "learn not only the books of the Muslims, but those of the Greeks as well." From this it has been suggested that John may have grown up bilingual.[20] John does indeed show some knowledge of the Quran, which he criticizes harshly.[21] (see Christianity and Islam).

Other sources describe his education in Damascus as having been conducted in accordance with the principles of Hellenic education, termed "secular" by one source and "Classical Christian" by another.[22][23] One account identifies his tutor as a monk by the name of Cosmas, who had been kidnapped by Arabs from his home in Sicily, and for whom John's father paid a great price. Under the instruction of Cosmas, who also taught John's orphan friend (the future St. Cosmas of Maiuma), John is said to have made great advances in music, astronomy and theology, soon rivalling Pythagoras in arithmetic and Euclid in geometry.[23] As a refugee from Italy, Cosmas brought with him the scholarly traditions of Western Christianity.

Career

John had at least one and possibly two careers: one (less well-documented) as a civil servant for the Caliph in Damascus, and the other (better-attested) as a priest and monk at the Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem. One source believes John left Damascus to become a monk around 706, when al-Walid I increased the Islamicisation of the Caliphate's administration.[24] However, Muslim sources only mention that his father Sarjun (Sergius) left the administration around this time, and fail to name John at all.[18] During the next two decades, culminating in the Siege of Constantinople (717-718), the Umayyad Caliphate progressively occupied the borderlands of the Byzantine Empire. An editor of John's works, Father Le Quien, has shown that John was already a monk at Mar Saba before the dispute over iconoclasm, explained below.[25]

In the early 8th century AD, iconoclasm, a movement opposed to the veneration of icons, gained acceptance in the Byzantine court. In 726, despite the protests of St. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, Emperor Leo III (who had forced the emperor to abdicate and himself assumed the throne in 717 immediately before the great siege) issued his first edict against the veneration of images and their exhibition in public places.[26]

All agree that John of Damascus undertook a spirited defence of holy images in three separate publications. The earliest of these works, his "Apologetic Treatises against those Decrying the Holy Images", secured his reputation. He not only attacked the Byzantine emperor, but adopted a simplified style that allowed the controversy to be followed by the common people, stirring rebellion among the iconoclasts. Decades after his death, John's writings would play an important role during the Second Council of Nicaea (787), which convened to settle the icon dispute.[27]

John's biography recounts at least one episode deemed improbable or legendary.[25][28] Leo III reportedly sent forged documents to the caliph which implicated John in a plot to attack Damascus. The caliph then ordered John's right hand be cut off and hung up in public view. Some days afterwards, John asked for the restitution of his hand, and prayed fervently to the Theotokos before her icon: thereupon, his hand is said to have been miraculously restored.[25] In gratitude for this miraculous healing, he attached a silver hand to the icon, which thereafter became known as the "Three-handed", or Tricheirousa.[29]

Last days

John died in 749 as a revered Father of the Church, and is recognized as a saint. He is sometimes called the last of the Church Fathers by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1890 he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII.

Veneration

When the name of Saint John of Damascus was inserted in the General Roman Calendar in 1890, it was assigned to 27 March. The feast day was moved in 1969 to the day of the saint's death, 4 December, the day on which his feast day is celebrated also in the Byzantine Rite calendar,[30] Lutheran Commemorations,[31] and the Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church.[32]

The 1884 choral work John of Damascus ("A Russian Requiem"), Op. 1, for four-part mixed chorus and orchestra, by Russian composer Sergei Taneyev, is dedicated to Saint John.

List of works

St john damascus
John of Damascus Greek icon
Ioannis Damasceni Opera
Ioannis Damasceni Opera (1603)

Besides his purely textual works, many of which are listed below, John of Damascus also composed hymns, perfecting the canon, a structured hymn form used in Byzantine Rite liturgies.[33]

Early works

  • Three Apologetic Treatises against those Decrying the Holy Images – These treatises were among his earliest expositions in response to the edict by the Byzantine Emperor Leo III, banning the veneration or exhibition of holy images.[34]

Teachings and dogmatic works

  • Fountain of Knowledge or The Fountain of Wisdom, is divided into three parts:
    1. Philosophical Chapters (Kefálea filosofiká) – commonly called 'Dialectic', it deals mostly with logic, its primary purpose being to prepare the reader for a better understanding of the rest of the book.
    2. Concerning Heresy (Perì eréseon) – the last chapter of this part (Chapter 101) deals with the Heresy of the Ishmaelites.[35] Unlike earlier sections devoted to other heresies, which are disposed of succinctly in just a few lines, this chapter runs into several pages. It constitutes one of the first Christian refutations of Islam. One of the most dominant translations his polemical work Peri haireseon, translated from Greek into Latin. His manuscript is one of the first Orthodox Christian refutations of Islam which has influenced the Western Catholic Church's attitude. It was among the first sources representing the Prophet of Islam Muhammad to the West as "false prophet," and "Antichrist."[36]
    3. An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (Ékdosis akribès tēs Orthodóxou Písteōs) – a summary of the dogmatic writings of the Early Church Fathers. This writing was the first work of systematic theology in Eastern Christianity and an important influence on later Scholastic works.[37]
  • Against the Jacobites
  • Against the Nestorians
  • Dialogue against the Manichees
  • Elementary Introduction into Dogmas
  • Letter on the Thrice-Holy Hymn
  • On Right Thinking
  • On the Faith, Against the Nestorians
  • On the Two Wills in Christ (Against the Monothelites)
  • Sacred Parallels (dubious)
  • Octoechos (the Church's liturgical book of eight tones)
  • On Dragons and Ghosts

Arabic translation

John-of-Damascus 01
John of Damascus

It is believed that the homily on the Annunciation was the first work to be translated into Arabic. Much of this text is found in Manuscript 4226 of the Library of Strasbourg (France), dating to 885 AD.[38]

Later in the 10th century, Antony, superior of the monastery of St. Simon (near Antioch) translated a corpus of Saint John Damascene. In his introduction to John's work, Sylvestre patriarch of Antioch (1724–1766) said that Antony was monk at Saint Saba. This could be a misunderstanding of the title Superior of Saint Simon probably because Saint Simon's monastery was in ruins in the 18th century.[39]

Most manuscripts give the text of the letter to Cosmas,[40] the philosophical chapters,[41] the theological chapters and five other small works.[42]

In 1085, Mikhael, a monk from Antioch wrote the Arabic life of the Chrysorrhoas.[43] This work was first edited by Bacha in 1912 and then translated in many languages (German, Russian and English).

Modern English translations

  • On holy images; followed by three sermons on the Assumption, translated by Mary H. Allies, (London: Thomas Baker, 1898).
  • Exposition of the Orthodox faith, translated by the Reverend SDF Salmond, in Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. 2nd Series vol 9. (Oxford: Parker, 1899) [reprint Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1963.]
  • Writings, translated by Frederic H. Chase. Fathers of the Church vol 37, (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1958) [ET of The fount of knowledge; On heresies; The orthodox faith]
  • Daniel J. Sahas (ed.), John of Damascus on Islam: The "Heresy of the Ishmaelites", (Leiden: Brill, 1972)
  • On the divine images: the apologies against those who attack the divine images, translated by David Anderson, (New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1980)
  • Three Treatises on the Divine Images. Popular Patristics. Translated by Andrew Louth. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0-88141-245-1.CS1 maint: others (link) Louth, who also wrote the introduction, was at the University of Durham as Professor of Patristics and Byzantine Studies.

Two translations exist of the 10th century hagiographic novel Barlaam and Josaphat, traditionally attributed to John:

  • Barlaam and Ioasaph, with an English translation by G.R. Woodward and H. Mattingly, (London: Heinemann, 1914)
  • The precious pearl: the lives of Saints Barlaam and Ioasaph, notes and comments by Augoustinos N Kantiotes; preface, introduction, and new translation by Asterios Gerostergios, et al., (Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1997)

Notes

  1. ^ M. Walsh, ed. Butler's Lives of the Saints (HarperCollins Publishers: New York, 1991), p. 403.
  2. ^ Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Idols in the East: European representations of Islam and the Orient, 1100–1450, Cornell University Press, 2009 p. 204
  3. ^ David Richard Thomas, Syrian Christians under Islam: the first thousand years, Brill 2001 p. 19.
  4. ^ Lutheran Service Book (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 2006), pp. 478, 487.
  5. ^ Aquilina 1999, p. 222
  6. ^ Rengers, Christopher (2000). The 33 Doctors of the Church. Tan Books. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-89555-440-6.
  7. ^ a b Sahas 1972, p. 32
  8. ^ Sahas 1972, p. 35
  9. ^ R. Volk, ed., Historiae animae utilis de Barlaam et Ioasaph (Berlin, 2006).
  10. ^ Griffith 2001, p. 20
  11. ^ a b c d e Brown 2003, p. 307
  12. ^ a b Janosik 2016, p. 25
  13. ^ a b Sahas 1972, p. 17
  14. ^ a b c Sahas 1972, p. 7
  15. ^ Janosik 2016, p. 26
  16. ^ Janosik 2016, pp. 26–27
  17. ^ Griffith 2001, p. 21
  18. ^ a b Hoyland 1996, p. 481
  19. ^ McEnhill & Newlands 2004, p. 154
  20. ^ Valantasis, p. 455
  21. ^ Hoyland 1996, pp. 487–489
  22. ^ Louth 2002, p. 284
  23. ^ a b Butler, Jones & Burns 2000, p. 36
  24. ^ Louth 2003, p. 9
  25. ^ a b c Catholic Online. "St. John of Damascus". catholic.org.
  26. ^ O'Connor, John Bonaventure. "St. John Damascene". The Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  27. ^ Cunningham, M. B. (2011). Farland, I. A.; Fergusson, D. A. S.; Kilby, K.; et al. (eds.). Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press – via Credo Reference.
  28. ^ Jameson 2008, p. 24
  29. ^ Louth 2002, pp. 17, 19
  30. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), pp. 109, 119; cf. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
  31. ^ Kinnaman, Scot A. Lutheranism 101 (Concordia Publish House, St. Louis, 2010) p. 278.
  32. ^ Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2006 (Church Publishing, 2006), pp. 92–93.
  33. ^ Shahîd 2009, p. 195
  34. ^ St. John Damascene on Holy Images, Followed by Three Sermons on the Assumption – Eng. transl. by Mary H. Allies, London, 1899.
  35. ^ "St. John of Damascus: Critique of Islam". orthodoxinfo.com.
  36. ^ Sbaihat, Ahlam (2015), "Stereotypes associated with real prototypes of the prophet of Islam's name till the 19th century". Jordan Journal of Modern Languages and Literature Vol. 7, No. 1, 2015, pp. 21–38. http://journals.yu.edu.jo/jjmll/Issues/vol7no12015/Nom2.pdf
  37. ^ Ines, Angeli Murzaku (2009). Returning home to Rome: the Basilian monks of Grottaferrata in Albania. 00046 Grottaferrata (Roma) – Italy: Analekta Kryptoferri. p. 37. ISBN 978-88-89345-04-7.
  38. ^ https://www.amazon.fr/Homily-Annunciation-John-Damascus-ebook/dp/B00C1SS0NS/
  39. ^ Nasrallah, Saint Jean de Damas, son époque, sa vie, son oeuvre, Harissa, 1930, p. 180
  40. ^ Habib Ibrahim. "Letter to Cosmas – Lettre à Cosmas de Jean Damascène (Arabe)". academia.edu.
  41. ^ https://www.amazon.fr/Philosophical-chapters-Arabic-ebook/dp/B00BZWCB1I/
  42. ^ Nasrallah, Joseph. Histoire III, pp. 273–281
  43. ^ Habib Ibrahim. "Arabic life of John Damascene – Vie arabe de Jean Damascène". academia.edu.

References

External links

Athleta Christi

"Athleta Christi" (Latin: "Champion of Christ") was a class of Early Christian soldier martyrs, of whom the most familiar example is one such "military saint," Saint Sebastian.

Christianity and Islam

Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions in the world and share a historical traditional connection, with some major theological differences. The two faiths share a common place of origin in the Middle East, and consider themselves to be monotheistic.

Christianity is a monotheistic religion which developed out of Second Temple Judaism in the 1st century CE. It is founded on the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and those who follow it are called Christians.Islam is a monotheistic religion that developed in the 7th century CE. Islam, which literally means "surrender" or "submission", was founded on the teachings of Muhammad as an expression of surrender to the will of God. Those who follow it are called Muslims.Muslims have a range of views on Christianity, from viewing Christians to be People of the Book to regarding them as heretics. Christian views on Islam are diverse and range from considering Islam a fellow Abrahamic religion worshipping the same God, to believing Islam to be heresy or an unrelated cult.

Islam considers Jesus to be al-Masih, the Arabic term for Messiah, sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā'īl in Arabic) with a new revelation: al-Injīl (Arabic for "the Gospel"). Christianity believes Jesus to be the Messiah of the Hebrew scripture, the Son of God, and God the Son, while Muslims consider the Trinity to be a division of God's Oneness and a grave sin (shirk). Muslims believe Jesus (Isa) to be a messenger of God, not the son of God.

Christianity and Islam have different scriptures, with Christianity using the Bible and Islam using the Quran, however Muslims believe that the Gospel was also sent by God. Both texts offer an account of the life and works of Jesus. The belief in Jesus is a fundamental part of Islamic theology, and Muslims view the Christian Injeel as altered, while Christians consider the Gospels to be authoritative and the Quran to be a later, fabricated or apocryphal work. Both religions believe in the virgin birth of Jesus through Mary, but the Biblical and Islamic accounts differ.

Christianity in the 8th century

Christianity in the 8th century was much affected by the rise of Islam in the Middle East.

By the late 8th century, the Muslim empire had conquered all of Persia and parts of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) territory including Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Suddenly parts of the Christian world were under Muslim rule. Over the coming centuries the Muslim nations became some of the most powerful in the Mediterranean basin.

Though the Roman Church had claimed religious authority over Christians in Egypt and the Levant, in reality the majority of Christians in these regions were miaphysites and other sects that had long been persecuted by Constantinople.

Church Fathers

The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers. There is no definitive list. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by AD 700 (John of Damascus died in 749 AD, Byzantine Iconoclasm began in 726 AD).In the past, the Church Fathers were regarded as authoritative and more restrictive definitions were used which sought to limit the list to authors treated as such. However, the definition has widened as scholars of patristics, the study of the Church Fathers, have expanded their scope.

Dogma

Dogma is an official system of principles or doctrines of a religion, such as Roman Catholicism, or the positions of a philosopher or of a philosophical school such as Stoicism.

In the pejorative sense, dogma refers to enforced decisions, such as those of aggressive political interests or authorities. More generally, it is applied to some strong belief whose adherents are not willing to discuss it rationally. This attitude is named as a dogmatic one, or as dogmatism; and is often used to refer to matters related to religion, but is not limited to theistic attitudes alone and is often used with respect to political or philosophical dogmas.

Elias III of Jerusalem

Elias III was the Patriarch of Jerusalem from about 879 to 907.

According to the annals of Eutychius of Alexandria, he was a descendant of the family of Mansur ibn Sarjun, the grandfather of John of Damascus.There is evidence that he sent a circular letter to European rulers asking for financial help in restoring the churches in his diocese. One of them was received by the Carolingian Emperor Charles the Fat in 881, and another was probably sent to king Alfred the Great. According to Asser, Elias corresponded with Alfred and sent him gifts, and a medical text in Old English contains information about remedies for Alfred's ailments sent to him by Elias.According to Eutychius, he was appointed in the tenth regnal year of the Abbasid caliph al-Mu'tamid (r. 870–892), and remained in office until his death, a period of 22 years.

God in Christianity

God in Christianity is the eternal being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe God to be both transcendent (wholly independent of, and removed from, the material universe) and immanent (involved in the world). Christian teachings of the immanence and involvement of God and his love for humanity exclude the belief that God is of the same substance as the created universe but accept that God's divine nature was hypostatically united to human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, in an event known as the Incarnation.

Early Christian views of God were expressed in the Pauline epistles and the early creeds, which proclaimed one God and the divinity of Jesus, almost in the same breath as in 1 Corinthians (8:5-6): "For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords'), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." "Although the Judeo-Christian sect of the Ebionites protested against this apotheosis of Jesus, the great mass of Gentile Christians accepted it." This began to differentiate the Gentile Christian views of God from traditional Jewish teachings of the time.The theology of the attributes and nature of God has been discussed since the earliest days of Christianity, with Irenaeus writing in the 2nd century: "His greatness lacks nothing, but contains all things". In the 8th century, John of Damascus listed eighteen attributes which remain widely accepted. As time passed, theologians developed systematic lists of these attributes, some based on statements in the Bible (e.g., the Lord's Prayer, stating that the Father is in Heaven), others based on theological reasoning. The Kingdom of God is a prominent phrase in the Synoptic Gospels and while there is near unanimous agreement among scholars that it represents a key element of the teachings of Jesus, there is little scholarly agreement on its exact interpretation.Although the New Testament does not have a formal doctrine of the Trinity as such, "it does repeatedly speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit... in such a way as to compel a Trinitarian understanding of God." This never becomes a tritheism, i.e. this does not imply three Gods. Around the year 200, Tertullian formulated a version of the doctrine of the Trinity which clearly affirmed the divinity of Jesus and came close to the later definitive form produced by the Ecumenical Council of 381. The doctrine of the Trinity can be summed up as: "The One God exists in Three Persons and One Substance, as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit." Trinitarians, who form the large majority of Christians, hold it as a core tenet of their faith. Nontrinitarian denominations define the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in a number of different ways.

Great martyr

Great Martyr or Great-Martyr (Greek: μεγαλομάρτυς or μεγαλομάρτυρ, megalomartys or megalomartyr, from megas, "great" + "martyr") is a classification of saints who are venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Rite of Constantinople.

Generally speaking, a Great Martyr is a martyr who has undergone excruciating tortures—often performing miracles and converting unbelievers to Christianity in the process—and who has attained widespread veneration throughout the Church. These saints are often from the first centuries of the Church, before the Edict of Milan. This term is normally not applied to saints who could be better described as hieromartyrs (martyred clergy) or protomartyrs (the first martyr in a given region).

Hymnwriter

A hymn writer (or hymnwriter or hymnist or hymnographer) is someone who writes the text, music or both of hymns. In the Judeo-Christian tradition the composition of hymns dates back to before the time of David who composed many of the Psalms. The term hymnodist, in the USA more than in other regions, broadens the scope to include the study of hymns.

Iconodulism

Iconodulism (also Iconoduly or Iconodulia) designates the religious veneration of icons. The term comes from Neoclassical Greek εἰκονόδουλος (eikonodoulos), meaning "one who serves images". It is also referred to as Iconophilism (also Iconophily or Iconophilia) designating a positive attitude towards the religious use of icons. In the history of Christianity, Iconodulism (or Iconophilism) was manifested as a moderate position, between two extremes: Iconoclasm (radical opposition to the use of icons) and Iconolatry (idolatric adoration of icons).

John V of Jerusalem

John V was Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem (706–735).

John V of Jerusalem was the patriarch of Jerusalem during the iconoclastic struggles under the Eastern Roman emperor Leo III the Isaurian as well as the time of persecution in Palestine and Syria under Muslim rulers.

John, who was a monk, succeeded Patr. Anastasius II as patriarch of Jerusalem in 706. He was a friend of John of Damascus and ordained him to the priesthood shortly after John Damascene entered the monastery to become a monk. Patr. John also supported John in his efforts against emperor Leo and the iconoclasts, including writing a number of tracts against iconoclasm.

During his patriarchate, John had to contend with the fanatical Muslim ruler of Palestine, Caliph Omar II. On coming into power in 717, Omar began a reign of persecutions against the Christians that also changed the character of Palestine from Christian to Muslim. In addition to forbidding Christians to make wine and forcing them to convert to Islam, many Christians suffered martyrdom.

John V reposed in 735 and was succeeded by a John VI, although some scholars believe the John V and John VI were the same person.

John of Damascus (poem)

John of Damascus (Иоанн Дамаскин) is a poem by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, first published in the January, No.1, 1859 issue of Russkaya Beseda magazine. Fragments of the poem have been put to music by several composers, among them Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Taneev and Vasily Kalinnikov.

Judas Barsabbas

Judas Barsabbas was a New Testament prophet and one of the 'leading men' in the early Christian community in Jerusalem at the time of the Council of Jerusalem in around 50 A.D.

List of Church Fathers

The following is a list of Christian Church Fathers. Roman Catholics generally regard the Patristic period to have closed with the death of John of Damascus, a Doctor of the Church, in 749. However, Orthodox Christians believe that the Patristic period is ongoing. Therefore, the list is split into two tables.

Muhammad and the Bible

Arguments that prophecies of Muhammad in the Bible presaged his birth, teachings, and death have formed part of Muslim tradition from the early history of Muhammad's Ummah (Arabic: أُمَّـة‎, Community), although Christians like John of Damascus, Martin Luther and John Calvin have interpreted Muhammad as being the Antichrist. However, many other Christian figures have taken alternate approaches.

Muslim writers have expanded on these viewpoints and have argued that they can specifically identify references to Muhammad in the text of the Bible, both in the Jewish Tanakh and in the Christian New Testament. Several verses in the Quran, as well as several Hadiths, state that Muhammad is described in the Bible. On the other hand, scholars have generally interpreted these verses as referring to the community of Israel or Yahweh's personal soteriological actions regarding the Israelite's or members of the faithful community. The apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas, which explicitly mentions Muhammad, is widely recognized by scholars as a fabrication from the Early Modern Age.

Octoechos

Oktōēchos (here transcribed "Octoechos"; Greek: ὁ Ὀκτώηχος Greek pronunciation: [okˈtóixos]; from ὀκτώ "eight" and ἦχος "sound, mode" called echos; Slavonic: Осмогласие, Osmoglasie from о́смь "eight" and гласъ, Glagolitic: ⰳⰾⰰⱄⱏ, "voice, sound") is the eight-mode system used for the composition of religious chant in Byzantine, Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Latin and Slavic churches since the Middle Ages. In a modified form the octoechos is still regarded as the foundation of the tradition of monodic chant in the Byzantine Rite today.

Perichoresis

Perichoresis (from Greek: περιχώρησις perikhōrēsis, "rotation") is a term referring to the relationship of the three persons of the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to one another. Circumincession is a Latin-derived term for the same concept. It was first used as a term in Christian theology, by the Church Fathers. The noun first appears in the writings of Maximus Confessor (d. 662) but the related verb perichoreo is found earlier in Gregory of Nazianzus (d. 389/90). Gregory used it to describe the relationship between the divine and human natures of Christ as did John of Damascus (d. 749), who also extended it to the "interpenetration" of the three persons of the Trinity, and it became a technical term for the latter. It has been given recent currency by such contemporary writers as Jürgen Moltmann, Miroslav Volf, John Zizioulas, and C. Baxter Kruger, and others.

Modern authors extend the original usage as an analogy to cover other interpersonal relationships. The term "co(-)inherence" is sometimes used as a synonym.Since humans are made in the image of God, a Christian understanding of an adequate anthropology of humans' social relations is informed by the divine attributes, what can be known of God's activity and God's presence in human affairs. Theologians of the Communio school such as Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, and Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) locate the reciprocal dynamism between God and God's creatures in the liturgical action of sacrament, celebrating the sacred mysteries in Eucharistic communion, in a hermeneutic of continuity and apostolic unity.

Sarjun ibn Mansur

Sarjun ibn Mansur (Arabic: سرجون بن منصور‎; Greek: Σέργιος ὁ τοῦ Μανσοῦρ) was a Melkite Arab Christian official of the early Umayyad Caliphate. The son of a prominent Byzantine official of Damascus, he was a favourite of the early Umayyad caliphs Mu'awiya I and Yazid I, and served as the head of the fiscal administration for Syria from the mid-7th century until the year 700, when Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan dismissed him as part of his efforts to Arabicize the administration of the Caliphate.

He was the father of the theologian John of Damascus and foster father of Cosmas of Maiuma.

University of Balamand

The University of Balamand (UOB; Arabic: جامعة البلمند‎) is a private institution, secular in its policies and approach to education. It welcomes faculty, students, and staff from all faiths and national or ethnic origins. The university is located in the northern district of El-Koura, Lebanon. It was founded by the Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch in 1988. The university's main campus is adjacent to Balamand Monastery, but it has two other campuses in Beirut: One is in Sin el Fil, which houses the majority of the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, and the other neighbors Saint George Hospital in Achrafieh, which houses the faculty for medicine and medical sciences. It also has campuses in Akkar and Souk El Gharb.

Formerly conceived as just a project in the Koura District, it fused administratively with the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA) and Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology to become a full-blown university.

The University of Balamand was founded by the Patriarch through the concept of a Kouranian engineer called Elias Abi Chahine of Amioun, in which the concept formed between years 1983 and 1987, in the midst of the Lebanese Civil War. The project started soon after Governmental Clearance in 1988.

As of 2014, the implementation of its Master Plan at the mount of long heritage, Balamand, proceeds steadily.

West Syriac, legacy of
the Patriarchate of Antioch
East Syriac, legacy of
the Church of the East
(the "Nestorian Church")
(active 4th century–1552)
Saint Thomas Christians,
legacy of
the Malankara Church
(active 1st century–1601)
in India
Key figures
Languages
See also
Virgin Mary
Apostles
Archangels
Confessors
Disciples
Doctors
Evangelists
Church
Fathers
Martyrs
Patriarchs
Popes
Prophets
Virgins
See also

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.