February 9

From the Prologue

Some think that Peter Damaskin lived in the eighth century and others think he lived in the twelfth century. This difference of thought comes from the face that there were two Peter Damaskins. The one about whom we are speaking was a great ascetic. He was unselfish beyond measure. Peter Damaskin did not even possess one book; rather, he borrowed books and read them. He read assiduously, gathering wisdom as a bee gathers honey. For a while, he was a bishop in Damascus but when he spoke out against Islam and the Manichean heresy, the Arabs severed his tongue and banished him into exile deep in Arabia. However, God granted him the power of speech so that, even in exile, he preached the Good News [Gospel] and converted many to the Faith of Christ. He compiled and bequeathed to his posterity a precious book about the spiritual life. He died as a confessor and martyr and took up habitation in the kingdom of Christ.



Damaskin numbers eight types of knowledge

For men of spiritual and divine background:


The knowledge of sorrow and all temptations,


The knowledge of the sum of one's transgressions,

one's transgressions and God's forgiveness.


The knowledge of horror, pain and fear,

Before death, in death and after separation,

when before the righteous judgement, the soul stands.


The knowledge of Christ, the Savior,

His life and all the saints,

Of the saints; their deeds, patience and words,

Which, like a silver bell resounds throughout the ages.


The knowledge of natural attributes,

Of physical phenomenon; variation and change.


The knowledge of forms and things,

Natural phantoms and all sensory beings.


The knowledge of the world; rational and spiritual

The angelic world and the world of Hades; both good and evil.


The knowledge of God,

The One, Holy, Mighty and Immortal.

This knowledge is called Theology

To it, few are rarely elevated;

The greatest purity, a theologian needs

For the impure heart, to heaven does not reach,

Damaskin, the seven elementary knowledges appropriates

And to the eighth, to the knowledge of God he reached.

And the eighth is given by God and by God bestowed,

This is neither learned nor deserved.

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