Re: John of Damascus is our Church Father?
- Dear Rev. Fr. Prince:
St. John of Damascus is a widely known Chalcedonian Orthodox (Melkite or Rum Orthodox) saint. You can find several biographies of his on the web. I will recommend the article by Rev. Sidney Griffith, "John of Damascus and the Church in Syria in the Umayyad Era: The Intellectual and Cultural Milieu of Orthodox Christians in the World of Islam" in Hugoye Vol. 11, 2.
[ http://bethmardutho.cua.edu/hugoye/Vol11No2/HV11N2Griffith.html ]
He wrote apologetic treatises, "Against the Jacobites" and "Against the Nestorians." That leaves no room for doubt about his Christological convictions. Yet, our Church has adopted many of his hymns, some of which are in the Quqalya (Syr. plural of the Greek êύêëéïí - kuklion) we chant in the Holy Qurbono. (These hymns are sung in the melody of the Qonune Yawnoye, Greek Canons, which is a category of melodies in the Beth Gazo; these melodies are distinct from other Syriac melodies even to the untrained ear.) The compositions of St. John of Damascus that the Syr. Orth. Church adopted are obviously free of the Christological doctrines he subscribed to.
It is notable that even when the Syr. Orth. Church considered certain doctrines and their adherents heretical, the Church took what was worthy and in agreement with its doctrinal positions from among the works of those who held such doctrinal positions. There are other examples such as works of St. Isaac of Nineveh and apparently even Theodore of Mopsuestia (whose commentary on baptism has influenced the Syr. Orth. baptismal liturgy), both from the Church of the East.
Thomas Joseph, Ph.D.
Tech. Editor, Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies [ http://bethmardutho.cua.edu/Hugoye/ ]
Web Master, Syriac Orthodox Resources [ http://sor.cua.edu/ ]
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Rev. Fr.Prince Mannathoor wrote:
> Dear all,
> John of Damascus is our Church Father?
> Is it accepted he is the saint of Syrian Orthodox Church?
> Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches considered he is as a saint. Is our Church accepted this?
> Thank you.
> Fr.Prince Mannathoor.
- Dear Thomas Joseph,
Thank you so much for providing me more details about John of Damascus. I came to notice that John of Damascus is also listed as the Syrian Orthodox Church Father in one of the books of Very. Rev. Dr. Mani Rajan Cor Episcopa.(Vol.4/p.44) I thank you once again.