Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Saint Sophronios, Patriarch of JerusalemMarch 11

Sophronius was born in Damascus of distinguished parents. Having acquired worldly wisdom, he was nevertheless unsatisfied and went to seek and acquire spiritual wisdom. In the Monastery of St. Theodosius, he found himself in the company of a monk, John Moschus, whom he chose as his teacher. Together with him, Sophronius traveled about and visited the monasteries and ascetics in Egypt. His watchword was: “Each day learn more spiritual wisdom.” All that they had learned they wrote down and later published in two books under the title, The Spiritual Meadow. Later they traveled to Rome, where Moschus died, leaving a testament with Sophronius to have his body taken either to Sinai or to the Monastery of St. Theodosius. Sophronius fulfilled the desire and wish of his teacher and translated his body to the Monastery of St. Theodosius. Thereafter he remained in Jerusalem, which had just been 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 before he took up his habitation in the other world. Patriarch Zacharias was replaced by Modestus, who died in 634. Modestus was replaced by Blessed Sophronius. Sophronius 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. He wrote The Life of St. Mary of Egypt, compiled The Order of the Great Blessing of Water and introduced several hymns and songs in the various liturgical services. When the Arab Caliph Omar 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 places. God heard his prayer and took Sophronius to Himself, into His heavenly mansion, in the year 644.

Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.

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