Featured Saint 24/1

St Isaac the Syrian

Claim to fame: Isaac is remembered for his spiritual homilies on the inner life, which have a human breadth and theological depth that transcends the Christianity of the Church of the East, the Church to which he belonged. They survive in Syriac manuscripts and in later Greek, Arabic, and Georgian translations. From Greek they were translated into Slavonic.

Isaac consciously avoided writing on topics that were disputed or discussed in the contemporary theological debates. This gives Isaac a certain ecumenical potential, and is probably the reason that he has come to be venerated and appreciated among many different Christian traditions.

Isaac stands in the tradition of the eastern mystical saints and placed a considerable emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit.

His melancholic style as well as his affinity towards the sick and dying exerted considerable influence on Eastern Orthodoxy.


Quote: To whatever extent a person draws close to God with his intentions, is to what extent God draws close to him with His gifts.


Fun fact: Retiring to a solitary monastic life in the desert of Rabban Shapur, Isaac devoted himself to writing on mystical themes. He is reputed to have lost his sight because of assiduous reading.