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John of Damascus

(964 words)

Author(s): FitzGerald, Thomas
St. John of Damascus, also known as John Damascene, was born into an affluent Christian family known as Mansour about the year 676, not long after the city’s capture by Muslims (though some date his birth to as early as 655). An adviser to Caliph Abdul Malek, John’s father, Sergius, was well respected and influential in the city’s government. As a young man, John received the best education available, much of it coming from the tutoring of Cosmas, a Sicilian monk who had been captured by pirate…

Ecumenical Patriarchate

(1,516 words)

Author(s): FitzGerald, Thomas
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is the ranking church within the communion of the 14 autocephalous and 2 autonomous churches that presently compose Orthodox Christianity (Orthodox Church). The patriarch of Constantinople, present-day Istanbul, is regarded as the “first among equals” within the hierarchy of Orthodox bishops. His full title is “Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.” The patriarchate includes episcopal sees—metropolitanates, archdioceses, and…