This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

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Friday, 27 March 2015

27th March, St John Damascene, Confessor and Doctor

St John Damascene, Confessor and Doctor

John, surnamed Damascene (or of Damascus), was raised up by God to defend the veneration of images, at a time when the Emperor Leo the Isaurian endeavoured to destroy it. Filled with divine knowledge (Epistle), he strongly opposed the Iconoclasts (or destroyers of images in Greek); "his heavenly teaching and his admirable power of mind" (Collect) earned for him the title of Doctor. His biography, written in the tenth century by the Patriarch John of Jerusalem, relates several legends recalled in the liturgy of his mass.

It says, for instance, that the emperor having accused him of betraying the Caliph of Damascus, whose counsellor and minister he was, he was condemned to have his right hand cut off. But as in the case of the man with the dried up hand, mentioned in the Gospel of this Mass, his hand was miraculously restored to him, for he promised the Virgin to use it henceforth in writing her praises. He kept his promise.

His numerous works, rich in knowledge and piety, and his eloquence caused him to be compared by the Second Council of Nicea to a "river of gold" and to be proclaimed a Doctor by Leo XIII.

St John Damascene fell asleep in the Lord about 749.

Let us venerate holy images so as to obtain the protection of those they represent.

Tenuisti manum dexteram meam: et in voluntate tua deduxisti me, et cum gloria suscepisti me. * Quam bonus Israel Deus his qui recto sunt corde!
Thou hast held me by my right hand, and by thy will thou hast conducted me, and with thy glory thou hast received me. * How good is God to Israel, to them that are right of heart.
(Psalm 72, from the Introit of Mass)

Almighty and eternal God, who didst fill blessed John with heavenly learning and with wonderful fortitude of spirit, tht he might uphold the veneration of holy images: grant us, through his prayers and example, that we who revere the images of the saints may both imitate their virtues and enjoy their patronage.
From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

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