Wednesday, March 11, 2015

St Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (March 11)

"Toward the end of his life, St Sophronius and his flock lived through a two year siege of Jerusalem by the Moslems. Worn down by hunger, the Christians finally agreed to open the city gates, on the condition that the enemy spare the holy places. But this condition was not fulfilled, and St Sophronius died in grief over the desecration of the Christian holy places." (

Sophronius made numerous references to Islam and Muslim atrocities against Christians in his writings and sermons. You can explore these and more in my earlier post, St Sophronius, Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy during the First Islamic Jihad.  In my introductory comments, I note the following:
The importance of Sophronius' testimony cannot be overstated, as his references to Islam demonstrate the unbroken continuity between the ferocity and cruelty of Muhammad's first followers, and the bloodthirsty jihadists of today, who are striving to eradicate Christianity from the Middle East, and impose Islam upon the whole world, as commanded by their false prophet and their satanic Quran.

Commemorated March 11

Sophronius was born in Damascus of distinguished parents. Having acquired worldly wisdom, he was, nevertheless, not satisfied but went to seek and acquire spiritual wisdom. 

In the monastery [Lavra] of St. Theodosius, he found himself in the company of a monk, John Moschus, whom he choose for his teacher, and together with him traveled about and visited monasteries and those ascetics in Egypt who were practicing the life of asceticism. His watch word was, "Each day learn more about spiritual wisdom." All that they had learned they wrote down and later published two books under the title, "Spiritual Meadow." 

Later on, they traveled to Rome, where Moschus died leaving a testament to Sophronius to have his body taken, either to Sinai or to the Monastery of St. Theodosius. Sophronius fulfilled the desires and wishes of his teacher and translated his body to the Monastery of St. Theodosius and thereafter remained in Jerusalem which, at that time, was liberated from the Persians. 

He was present at the Translation of the Honorable Cross from Persia which the Emperor Heraclius carried on his shoulders into the Holy City. The aged Patriarch Zacharias, who had also returned from bondage, did not live long thereafter when he took up habitation in the other world. Patriarch Zacharias was replaced by Modestus who died in 634 A.D. Modestus was replaced by Blessed Sophronius. He governed the Church for ten years with exceptional wisdom and zeal. 

He rose up in defense of Orthodoxy against the heresy of Monotheletism which he condemned at his Council in Jerusalem before it was condemned at the Sixth Ecumenical Council [Constantinople, 680 A.D.]. He wrote The Life of St. Mary the Egyptian, complied The Order of the Greater Blessing of Water, and introduced several new hymns and songs in the various liturgical services. 

When the Arab Caliph captured Jerusalem, Sophronius begged him to spare the lives of the Christians which Omar insincerely promised. When Omar immediately began to plunder and maltreat the Christians in Jerusalem, Sophronius, with lamentation, prayed to God to take him from among the living on earth, so that he would not witness the desecration of the Holy Shrines. 

God heard his prayer and took Sophronius to Himself into His heavenly mansion in the year 644 A.D.