Isaac of Syria

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Icon of St. Isaac of Syria
Isaac of Syria is a 7th century saint known for his strict asceticism. He was born in the region of Qatar on the western shore of the Persian Gulf. When still quite young, he entered a monastery with his brother. He gained considerable renown as a teacher and was ordained bishop of Ninevah, the former capital of Assyria to the north, but requested to abdicate after only five months. He then went south to the wilderness of Mount Matout, a refuge for anchorites. There he lived in solitude for many years studying the Scripture, but eventually blindness and old age forced him to retire to the monastery of Shabar, where he reposed and was buried. Feast day is January 28. Not to be confused with the other St. Isaac the Syrian, Abbot of Spoleto, who lived during the mid-sixth century (April 12).


  • "Be persecuted, rather than be a persecutor. Be crucified, rather than be a crucifier. Be treated unjustly, rather than treat anyone unjustly. Be oppressed, rather than zealous. Lay hold of goodness, rather than justice."
—St. Isaac of Syria
  • "A small but always persistent discipline is a great force; for a soft drop falling persistently, hollows out hard rock."
—St. Isaac of Syria

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