Today is the feat of St. John Damascene, the last of the Greek Church Fathers. St. John was an extraordinary saint, living in an extraordinary time. He lived under Muslim rule all his life, and this fact actually helped him in his great battles against the iconoclasts. Because he was not part of the Eastern Empire, he was protected against the iconoclastic Eastern Emperor as well as the iconoclastic Patriarch of Constantinople.
Along with his work against the iconoclasts, he also wrote An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, which cataloged the teachings of the Greek Fathers who proceeded him, and which in many ways is the Eastern equivalent of the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas. In fact, some even consider him the first scholastic (a term I’m sure most Eastern Christians would not use).
St. John Damascene, pray for us!