Saint John of Damascus, also known as John Damascene, was a Christian monk, theologian, and priest who lived in the 8th century. He is considered one of the greatest theologians in the Eastern Orthodox Church and is known for his defense of icons in the Iconoclastic Controversy.
John was born in Damascus, Syria in 675 AD, the son of a high-ranking government official. He was well-educated and fluent in several languages, including Greek, Arabic, and Syriac. As a young man, he entered the monastery of St. Sabas near Jerusalem, where he eventually became a priest and monk.
John is known for his defense of icons, which were being destroyed during the Iconoclastic Controversy of the 8th and 9th centuries. He argued that icons were not idolatrous, but rather a way to venerate and honor the saints. He wrote several works on the subject, including "On the Divine Images," which is still considered a classic in Eastern Orthodox theology.
In addition to his work on icons, John is also known for his "Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith," a comprehensive summary of Christian theology. He also wrote hymns, many of which are still used in the Eastern Orthodox Church today. He is considered a Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church, a title given to saints recognized as having made a significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research, study, or writing.
Saint John died in 749 AD and was canonized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church. His feast day is celebrated on December 4th. He is the patron saint of Damascus and is also venerated as a patron of theology and hymnography.