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St. John Damascene

Icon by the hand of Michael Goltz, Iconographer - Saint John Damascene Early Church Father and Doctor of the ChurchSt. John Damascene: Biography and Selected Writings

Early Church Father & Doctor of the Church


Icon by the hand of Michael Goltz, Iconographer


The life of St. John Damascene (also known as Saint John of Damascus) began around 675 AD, already a generation after the area had been conquered by Muslim armies.  Saint John Damascene was born into a rich family and spent the early years of his adult life serving as the official representative of the Christian community to the Muslim Caliph.  He later abandoned this political task to join the monastery of St. Sabas near Jerusalem where he became a priest and ultimately bishop. 


St. John Damascene is known as one of the last of the Fathers of the Church.  He was a strong defender of the use of images (icons) in Christian worship against the iconoclasts and wrote a book "On the Orthodox Faith" that sums up the doctrinal heritage of the earlier Greek Fathers.  In this great synthesis we find a systematic treatment of the central Christian doctrines, especially the Trinity, Creation, and the Incarnation.  St. John Damascene's treatment of the Sacraments is also extensive, and his emphasis on the real bodily presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is very strong.  Notable too in his teaching is a fully developed doctrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary including her perpetual virginity, her freedom from sin throughout the whole of her life, and her bodily assumption into heaven. 


St. John Damascene's influence on later theology was considerable indeed.  In the Latin Middle Ages, he was known to Peter Lombard and St. Thomas Aquinas.  All throughout the Middle Ages his works were known and widely used by Eastern Christian Theologians, especially the Slavs.  He died around the year 749 AD and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1890.


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The Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They MatterFathers of the Church Early Church Fathers CD by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

In a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and fascinating stories about some of the Church's most intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers.  Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most pressing questions of our day.  In this dynamic talk, available on CD or audiocassette, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us. 

Title Category Excerpt Download
Ancient Homily on Mary's Assumption -- St. John Damascene Early Church Fathers,
Blessed Virgin Mary
Yes Download
St. Joachim and St. Ann -- St. John Damascene Early Church Fathers,
Catholic Saints
Yes Download

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