Damasceni Opera (Complete Works of St. John of Damascus).
Translated by Jacques de Billy. Latin (and Greek). Published 1619.
Paris. Large Leather Folio (16″ x 10′). Exterior very poor. Leaves
very good. Ornate Lettering and Edgework on Chapter headings.
Saint John Damascene (of Damascus) has the dual honor of being the last of Eastern Orthodox Church fathers and the greatest of her poets. Born in Saracen-dominated Syria sometime around 700 AD, he was nevertheless a trusted advisor to the Moslem Caliphate of Damascus. He first gained notoriety for writing three treatises defending the veneration of images, against attacks by iconoclasts, after a decree by Leo the Isaurian against images, in 730. John later devoted himself to religious poetry, theological arguments in defense of the doctrines of the Church, and refutation of all heresies. His three great hymns or “canons,” are those on Easter, the Ascension, and Saint Thomas’ Sunday. His eloquent defense of images has deservedly procured him the title of “The Doctor of Christian Art.” The date of his death cannot be fixed with any certainty; but lies between 754 and before 787.