Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem

Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, was born in Damascus around 560. He was patriarch during the time that Jerusalem fell to Umar I and his Saracens in 637. He was of Arab descent. Nothing is known of his early life. He was a monk and theologian. A teacher of rhetoric, he became an ascetic in Egypt about 580 and then joined the Monastery of St. Theodosius near Bethlehem.

From his youth he was distinguished for his piety and his love for classical studies. He was especially proficient in philosophy, and so he was known as Sophronius the Wise. The future hierarch, however, sought the true philosophy of monasticism, and conversations with the desert-dwellers.

He arrived in Jerusalem at the monastery of Saint Theodosius, and there he became close with the hieromonk John Moschus, becoming his spiritual son and submitting himself to him in obedience. They visited several monasteries, writing down the lives and spiritual wisdom of the ascetics they met. From these notes emerged their renowned book, the LEIMONARION or SPIRITUAL MEADOW, which was highly esteemed at the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

To save themselves from the devastating incursions of the Persians, Saints John and Sophronius left Palestine and went to Antioch, and from there they went to Egypt. In Egypt, Saint Sophronius became seriously ill. During this time he decided to become a monk and was tonsured by Saint John Moschus.Read More »