Saint John Damascene

December 4 – St. John Damascene (c.675 – c.749) –

Representative of the Christians to the court of the Muslim caliph. Thrived as a Christian in a Saracen land, becoming the chief financial officer for caliph Abdul Malek. Tutored in his youth by a captured Italian monk named Cosmas. Between the Christian teaching from the monk, and that of the Muslim schools, John became highly educated in the classical fields (geometry, literature, logic, rhetoric, etc.). He defended the use of icons and images in churches through a series of letters opposing the anti-icon decrees of Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople. Later, John became a monk near Jerusalem. He wrote The Fountain of Wisdom, the first real compendium of Christian theology, and other works defending the orthodox faith, commentaries on Saint Paul, poetry, and hymns.