St. Sophronius of Jerusalem

Thursday, July 8, 2010

St. Sophronius is a very interesting person. Born in Damascus, an Arab, an ascetic, and finally Patriarch of Jerusalem when the Muslims took over. He viewed the Muslim control of Palestine as "unwitting representatives of God's inevitable chastisement of weak and wavering Christians". As Wikipedia summarises... he died soon after the fall of Jerusalem to the caliph Umar I in 637, but not before he had negotiated the recognition of civil and religious liberty for Christians in exchange for tribute - an agreement known as Umari Treaty. The caliph himself came to Jerusalem, and met with the patriarch at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Sophronius invited Umar to pray there, but Umar declined, fearing to endanger the Church's status as a Christian temple. It sure would be interesting to interview him! (Oh for a TARDIS).


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