The saint who put wisdom to the service of God

Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem, splendid boast of the Orthodox

Saint Sophronius

His books in Christian dogmatics strengthened the foundations of Christian beliefs. His liturgical texts form an essential part of the Orthodox worship service. He wrote the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt, and almost 950 Troparia and Stichera for the church feasts from Pascha to the Ascension. His three Canons for the Holy Forty Day Great Fast are included in the contemporary Lenten Triodion. Together with his spiritual father, he documented the wisdom and ascetic feats of the monastics of his time, and collected his writings in the book called The Spiritual Meadow, acclaimed by the Church at its seventh ecumenical council.

He received a brilliant classical education, and was so versed in philosophy that he received the nickname "Sophronius the Wise". Yet he found true wisdom in the Christian faith and monasticism and dedicated his scholarly talent to the development of the Christian doctrine. He set foot for the monastery of Saint Theodosius in Jerusalem, and once there, he conversed with monks and desert-dwellers. He became the spiritual son of Saint Moschus of the monastery and went into his obedience.

siege of Jerusalem

Fleeing the attacks of the Persians he travelled with Saint Moschus to Egypt, where he took tonsure from his spiritual father. In Alexandria, he served under Patriarch John the merciful, helping him muster theological and philosophical arguments to refute the heresy of the Monophysites. There, he had an illness of the eyes and turned prayerfully to the unmercenaries Cyrus and John. After receiving healing, he wrote the life of these saints in gratitude.

In 633, he was chosen Patriarch of Jerusalem, and for two years he worked hard for the well-being of the church and its faithful. He served as primate of the Church during the two-year siege of the city by the Muslims. The siege led to food shortages, and eventually to hunger among the city dwellers. Worn down, the Christian defenders of the city agreed to surrender on the condition that their holy places would remain intact. However, the invaders did not keep their word, and he died in grief over the desecration of the Christian churches.

December 16, 2021
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