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Commemorated on March 11th

St Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Sophronius_of_Jerusalem 11th Mar

St Sophronios was born in Damascus. As a young man he became a monk at the Monastery of St Theodosius the Cenobiarch in Palestine, where he met John Moschos and became his close friend. Having a common desire to search out ascetics from whom they could receive further spiritual instruction, they journeyed together through Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt, where they met the Patriarch of Alexandria, St John the Almsgiver, with whom they remained until 614 AD, when Persians captured Jerusalem.

St Sophronios and John Moschos departed Alexandria for Rome, where they remained until 619 AD, the year of John Moschos' death. St Sophronios returned to the Monastery of St Theodosius the Cenobiarch, and there buried the body of his friend. He laboured much in defence of the Holy Fourth Synod (Council) of Chalcedon, and travelled to Constantinople to remonstrate with Patriarch Sergios and the Emperor Heraclius for changing the Orthodox Faith with their Monothelite teachings.

After the death of Patriarch Modestos in December of 634 AD, Sophronios was elected Patriarch of Jerusalem. Although no longer in the hands of the Persians, the Holy Land was now besieged by the armies of the newly-appeared religion of Mohammed, which had already take Bethlehem; in the Saint's sermon for the Nativity of our Lord in 634 AD, he laments that he could not celebrate the feast in Bethlehem. In 637 AD, for the sins of the people, to the uttermost grief of St Sophronios, the Caliph Omar captured Jerusalem. Having tended the flock of his Master for three years and three months, St Sophronios departed in peace to Him Whom he loved on March 11, 638 AD.

St Sophronios has left to the Church many writings, including the life of St Mary of Egypt. The hymn, "O Joyous Light", which is wrongly ascribe to him, is more ancient than St Basil the Great, as the Saint himself confirms in his work "On the Holy Spirit". However, it seems that this hymn, which was chanted at the lighting of the lamps and was formerly called "The Triadic Hymn", was later supplemented somewhat by St Sophronios, bringing it into the form in which we now have it. Hence, some have ascribed it to him.

Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

The truth of things have revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Sophronios, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

Inspired by the Spirit, blessed Sophronios, you was a righteous Hierarch in Zion as an emulator of the Apostles.