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St. John of Damascus

John of Damascus is by far the most prominent, and most poetical of all the Greek Christian poets. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but he died c. 780 A.D. the last of the theologians of the Greek Church. He dwelt for many years in Damascus, his native city, a valiant champion of orthodoxy against all opponents. His influence on Greek hymnody was immense, and he was held in high esteem by the Greek Church for his work in that department. The Octoechus, which contains the Ferial Office, was largely the work of John. There his canons are found which are perhaps his greatest work in hymnody. The canons under the name of John Arklas are usually attributed to St. John, and also those under the name of John the Monk. John, in company with Cosmas his foster-brother, retired eventually to the monastery of St. Sabas, in Palestine, where he spent a life of devotion, and sang those Christian hymns which have 44 cheered and inspired so many generations of Christians in the East. There he penned the "Golden Canon" for Easter Day, which breathes the glorious hopes of the Resurrection. He lived, it is believed, to extreme old age, dying at the close of the year 780.

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