Saint John of Damascus
(December 17, December 4 old calendar).
St. John was first a minister of Caliph Abdul-Malek, and then became a monk in the monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. For his ardent advocacy of the veneration of icons while still a courtier during the reign of the iconoclast Emperor Leo the Isaurian, he was slandered by the Emperor to the Caliph, who had his right hand cut off. John fell down in prayer before the icon of the most holy Mother of God, and his hand was re-joined to his arm and miraculously healed. When he beheld this wonder, the Caliph repented, but John no longer desired to remain at court as a nobleman, but to withdraw to a monastery. There, he was from the beginning a model of humility and obedience, and of all the works of asceticism prescribed for monks. He wrote the hymns for the Parting of the Soul from the Body, put together the Octoechos, the Irmologion, the Menologion and the Easter Canon, and wrote many theological works of an inspired profundity. A great monk, hymnographer and theologian, and a great warrior for the truth of Christ, Damascene is counted among the great Fathers of the Church. He entered peacefully into rest in about 749, being seventy-five years old.
Troparion, Tone 3
Thou wast a holy instrument/ and a tuneful harp of godliness./ Thy teachings shone forth to the ends of the world,/ O righteous John,/ entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.
Kontakion, Tone 4
Let us praise the illustrious hymnographer John,/ teacher of the Church and champion against her enemies./ For armed with the weapon of the Lord's Cross,/ he has banished the errors of heresy./ He fervently intercedes with God Who grants forgiveness to all.
Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church
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