Saint Joseph of Damascus

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Saint Joseph the Hieromartyr of Damascus
Born May 15, 1793
Died July 10, 1860 (age 67)
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized 1993 by Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch
Feast July 10

Saint Joseph of Damascus (May 15, 1793 – July 10, 1860), born Joseph George Haddad Firzli (Arabic: جوزيف جورج حداد الفرزلي‎‎), was a Melkite Greek Orthodox Christian priest and educator who was canonized as a saint in 1993.

He is also known as "Father Joseph" in the Melkite Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.


Father Joseph was born in Beirut on May 15, 1793. He was the son of George MeHanna Haddad Firzli, a Lebanese craftsman of Rûm Antiochite-Byzantine descent. He was ordained a priest in 1817 for the Diocese of Damascus and served as director of the Patriarchal School in Damascus 1836–1860: under his leadership, the Patriarchal School became the leading Orthodox institution of higher learning in the Middle-East. He was martyred during the 1860 Damascus massacre[1][2] when Druze and Muslim marauders led by Druze feudal lords destroyed part of the old city of Damascus and killed more than 11,000 Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholic Christians who had taken refuge in the churches and monasteries of Bab Tuma ("Saint Thomas’s Gate").


Many alumni of Father Joseph's Patriarchal School became bishops and archpriests in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, the United States and Brazil, most notably Father Raphael Hawaweeny, known as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated on American soil.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shaw, Ezel Kural. History of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, Volume 2, Cambridge University Press, 1977
  2. ^ New , York Times. Details of the Damascus Massacre, NYT, August 13, 1860