Saint John was born in or around A.
His father, Secundos, was a high-ranking civil servant in the Roman administration, and his mother, Anthusa, was a devout Christian, who has recently been numbered among the saints by the Church of Greece. Student and Ascetic. As a young man he was enrolled amongst the students of the greatest rhetor of the empire, the pagan Libanius.
It was under Libanius that Chrysostom learned Greek diction and elegance of expression that would serve him so well as a preacher throughout his life. The curriculum was all in Greek, Latin forming no official part of his education, and focused on the classics. Saint John passed through all three stages of the traditional paideia: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric with outstanding success.
Libanius is said to have remarked in light of his approaching death that of all his students it was John who was most accomplished to succeed him, if it had not been that the Christians had stolen him. Saint John completed his studies about A. By spiritual insight Chrysostom mastered himself during these years, and then retreated to a cave where for an additional two years he memorized the Holy Scriptures and never laid down to sleep.
Chrysostom described this period in his life as a time in which he devoted himself completely to prayer by night and Scripture study by day.
The inspired content of his preaching ministry was formed in the mountains, and the masterful pedagogical style was formed in his schooling. This combination took the Christian world by storm. Priest and Preacher in Antioch. In his first year as Bishop of Antioch Flavian ordained Chrysostom a deacon. Saint John was 32 years old, and would serve for five years as a deacon. During this period Chrysostom never preached, but launched his writing career, producing pamphlets, letters and essays on various topics, especially on the ascetical life.
Besides his liturgical and literary labors, Saint John served Flavian as his personal assistant and liaison in administering charity to the some 3, virgins and widows on the doles of the church. Immediately, Chrysostom launched his preaching career, and from this period on most of the works we have from his pen are, in fact, edited versions of his sermons.
Typically, during his years as a priest,  several stenographers recorded his sermons as he gave them in church, and then delivered them to him for editorial work prior to publication.
Bishop in Constantinople. In late October A. Instead, he was seized by imperial officials, placed inside an imperial coach, and taken km. Bishop Nektarios of Constantinople had died, and John was to be consecrated as his successor, the 12th Bishop of Constantinople. In either mid-December A. For the next ten years Saint John would receive into his heart the people of Constantinople and shepherd them as his flock.
Constantinople was exploding. There were between , and , persons in the city of Constantine, which had been consecrated in A. John took up his pastoral responsibilities immediately and continued with an unbroken stream of preaching and Scriptural commentary until the end of his life. Chrysostom entered into a visitation of the diocese and its reform.
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He began where he lived, in the episcopal palace, which had become, under his predecessor, a center of extravagant hospitality for the new upper class of Constantinople and the clergy. He took most of his meals alone. Besides all these duties in the city itself, Chrysostom was asked by surrounding dioceses to adjudicate several cases and oversee controversial elections. Chrysostom was not always well-received in his new position of authority. Unfortunately, though Chrysostom came to Constantinople as the imperial favorite, by the year he had become somewhat alienated from the Empress Eudoxia.
The Synod sent a notice to the emperor of the condemnation and suggested that Chrysostom was treasonous and should be banished. Banished by imperial edict he was, and no sooner had he been exiled than an earthquake struck the city.
Margery Kemp — The Mystic of Lynn. And, not withstanding all the remonstrances of the General Assembly, Papists were as highly favoured by him as ever. His fervid exhortation is not without its message to those men and women of today who will hear it. The choice varieties of men know that truth as it is and truth as it appears to them are very different matters. Written in the sixth century but discovered only at the beginning of the twentieth, it presents a fascinating view of a writer who strove to be faithful to the teaching of the church while at the same time allowing his imagination to make sense of the stories and visions of Revelation. She had reached a mental condition to which the time was as thoroughly out of joint as it ever appeared to Hamlet, although, unlike that impracticable character, she took great comfort in the belief that she was especially born to set it right. There are letters dealing with moral questions and pastoral problems, in both marriage and the family, as well as in larger areas of doctrine and discipline in the Church.
In fear and trembling the guilty Empress asked her husband, the weak-willed Arcadios, to recall Chrysostom from exile. Chrysostom refused to re-enter the walls of the city until the illegitimacy of the Synod of the Oak had been declared. Peace was re-established, but it was not to hold for long. Soon the empress decided to have a silver statue of herself placed in the plaza of the Cathedral, had it installed noisily and unveiled during the time while Saint John was celebrating the Divine Liturgy! Blood ran in the font, and more than catechumens were scattered. On the Thursday after Pentecost, June 9th, enemy bishops forced the imperial hand and on June 20th Chrysostom was banished for the final time.
He would spend the next three years in exile. Most of this period was spent in Cucusus in Armenia. He carried on from there a voluminous correspondence. We have over letters extant from this period.
From exile he wrote several treatises intended to encourage his Constantinopolitan flock, which was suffering severe persecution from the civil authorities for keeping their allegiance to Saint John. During his exile, Emperor Honorios, brother of Arcadios and Emperor of the West, together with Pope Innocent and leading Bishops of the West, demanded of Arcadios that Chrysostom be restored to his throne. In extreme illness and suffering abuse from the soldiery and barbarians who threatened the expedition, Chrysostom fell asleep in Christ on September 14, A.
The company had stopped outside the church of the Holy Martyr Basiliskos. In the night the Saint appeared to Chrysostom and informed him that they would soon be together. During his lifetime many of his works were published, translated and studied in the far parts of the Empire.
John Chrysostom. Saint John Chrysostom is not just a great personality, but has left an indelible stamp upon Orthodox Christianity. He made significant contributions to the life of the Church in a number of important areas, such as:. Prayer and Liturgy. Most Orthodox Christians know the name of Saint John Chrysostom not through reading his books, but by praying his liturgy. The liturgy we celebrate on all but ten Sundays of the Church year is that attributed to Saint John. While some portions of the Saint John Chrysostom Liturgy pre-date him and some post-date him, and it remains very difficult to identify the provenance of each portion of the sacred service, yet the Church affirms that Chrysostom was a master liturgist, responsible for at least the basic contours of what we know today as our Orthodox Divine Liturgy.
Besides the Liturgy itself, Saint John has consistently inspired the priesthood with a vision of the glory and necessity of preaching, and that after every Gospel lesson of every liturgy. There was probably never a person in history better qualified to preach prior to becoming a priest, but Chrysostom never did. He saw preaching as a priestly function, as a fruit of apostolic succession.
He taught us that preaching changes people and is to be a living word, not dead. In my experience many Orthodox priests have a very unorthodox conception of preaching and could benefit themselves and their people greatly by learning to take the preaching of the Word, as seriously as did the greatest preacher in the history of the Church. We could mention the prayers ascribed to Chrysostom in the Services of Preparation for and Thanksgiving after Holy Communion, which demonstrate that the Golden Mouth is the theologian of the Eucharist par excellence. His homilies and commentaries have provided spiritual fare for many a preacher to feed to his flock, and his Paschal Homily is read in every Orthodox church temple on Pascha.
His devotion to the martyrs, often preaching at their shrines and on their feast days, and his encouragement of the discipline of sacred pilgrimages has helped establish the ethos of our worship. Priesthood and Pastorate. Every Orthodox seminarian knows the influence of Saint John Chrysostom in the area of priestly formation and pastoral theology. His most famous work is On the Priesthood in 6 books , and, together with the works of St Gregory the Theologian In Defense of My Flight and Saint Gregory the Dialogist Pastoral Rule, serves as the quintessential patristic teaching on priesthood and pastorate.
Patron of Marriage and Monastic Life Both. No Father of the Church has more to contribute to the Christian understanding of marriage and monastic life, and of their interplay, than does Saint John Chrysostom. Chrysostom was a devoted monastic, and remained philo-monastic his entire life.
At the same time he spent most of his adult years pastoring married Christians and guiding the families of his parish and diocese in Christian living.
Beautifully, Chrysostom presents a unified and inspiring vision for both of these sanctified ways of life. Many of his early works, when he was focused on his ascetic brotherhood and not yet pastoring, were devoted to the exaltation of virginity. Many of his works written while pastoring and preaching to families provide concrete guidance to Christians on how to make their marriages spiritual, their families monastic, and their homes churchly.
Did Chrysostom change? I posit that such an interpretation of Chrysostom is erroneous and should be completely rejected.