By Bishop Grigorios of Mesaoria
Our Church celebrates today the memory of St. Ioannis of Damascus, also known as Ioannis Damascene, and Venerable Kassianos the Martyr.
John the Damascus, the great Father and Teacher of the Church, is the eminent theologian and poet of the 8th century AD.
Born in the famous Syrian city of Damascus in the third quarter of the 7th century AD, he was raised by his father Sarjun (Sergius). He had a great monk teacher who trained him along with his foster-brother Kosmas the Melodist in all branches of science. He was also studying the Bible and Christian theology.
When his father died, Saint Ioannis was appointed Chief Administrator to the Muslim caliph of Damascus, who later persecuted Christians. For this reason, he left, along with his brother Kosmas (then Bishop of Maiuma), Damascus and went to Jerusalem. Saint Ioannis was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of Saint Savva. He is one of the greatest hymnographers of the Orthodox Church. He devoted his whole life to praise the glory of the Church and left an immense legacy. He lived for more than a hundred years and fell asleep in the Lord in 749 AD. He was buried in the Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas. The tomb and cell of St. Ioannis of Damascus remain today a sacred pilgrimage at the Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas in Palestine.
Source: Church of Cyprus