Saint John Chrysostom

Also known as

  • Greatest of the Greek Fathers
  • Golden-Mouth
  • Giovanni Crisostomo

Memorial

Profile

John’s father died when he was young, and he was raised by a very pious mother. Well educated; studied rhetoric under Libanius, one of the most famous orators of his day. Monk. Preacher and priest for a dozen years in Syria. While there he developed a stomach ailment that troubled him the rest of his life.

It was for his sermons that John earned the title Chrysostom = golden mouthed. They were always on point, they explained the Scriptures with clarity, and they sometimes went on for hours. Made a reluctant bishop of Constantinople in 398, a move that involved him in imperial politics. He criticized the rich for not sharing their wealth, fought to reform the clergy, prevented the sale of ecclesiastical offices, called for fidelity in marriage, encouraged practices of justice and charity. Archbishop and Patriarch of Constantinople. Revised the Greek Liturgy. Because John’s sermons advocated a change in their lives, some nobles and bishops worked to remove him from his diocese; he was twice exiled from his diocese. Banished to Pythius, he died on the road.

Greek Father of the Church. Proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 451.

Born

Died

  • 407 of natural causes

Canonized

Name Meaning

  • God is gracious; gift of God (John)
  • golden-mouthed (Chrysostom)

Patronage

Prayers

Representation

Images

Storefront

Readings

When you perceive that God is chastening you, fly not to his enemies…but to his friends, the martyrs, the saints, those who were pleasing to Him, and who have great power in God. - Saint John Chrysostom, Orations, 396

Let us relieve the poverty of those that beg of us and let us not be over-exact about it. - Saint John Chrysostom

It is simply impossible to lead, without the aid of prayer, a virtuous life. - Saint John Chrysostom

What prayer could be more true before God the Father than that which the Son, who is Truth, uttered with His own lips? - Saint John Chrysostom

God asks little, but He gives much. - Saint John Chrysostom

When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration. - Saint John Chrysostom

If the Lord should give you power to raise the dead, He would give much less than He does when he bestows suffering. By miracles you would make yourself debtor to Him, while by suffering He may become debtor to you. And even if sufferings had no other reward than being able to bear something for that God who loves you, is not this a great reward and a sufficient remuneration? Whoever loves, understands what I say. - Saint John Chrysostom

It is clear through unlearned men that the cross was persuasive; in fact, it persuaded the whole world. Paul had this in mind when he said, “The weakness of God is stronger than men.” That the preaching of these men was indeed divine is brought home to us in the same way. For how otherwise could twelve uneducated men, who lived on lakes and rivers and wastelands, get the idea for such an immense enterprise? How could men who perhaps had never been in a city or public square think of setting out to do battle with the whole world? That they were fearful, timid men, the evangelist makes clear; he did not reject the fact or try to hide their weaknesses. Indeed he turned these into a proof of the truth. What did he say of them? That when Christ was arrested, the others fled, despite all the miracles they had seen, while he who was leader of the others denied him! How then account for the fact that these men, who in Christ’s lifetime did not stand up to the attacks by the Jews, set forth to do battle with the whole world once Christ was dead – if, as you claim, Christ did not rise and speak to them and rouse their courage? It is evident, then, that if they had not seen him risen and had proof of his power, they would not have risked so much. - from a homily by Saint John Chrysostom on the first letter to the Corinthians

O envious one, you injure yourself more than he whom you would injure, and the sword with which you wound will recoil and wound yourself. What harm did Cain do to Abel? Contrary to his intention he did him the greatest good, for he caused him to pass to a better and a blessed life, and he himself was plunged into an abyss of woe. In what did Esau injure Jacob? Did not his envy prevent him from being enriched in the place in which he lived; and, losing the inheritance and the blessing of his father, did he not die a miserable death? What harm did the brothers of Joseph do to Joseph, whose envy went so far as to wish to shed his blood? Were they not driven to the last extremity, and well-nigh perishing with hunger, whilst their brother reigned all through Egypt? It is ever thus; the more you envy your brother, the greater good you confer upon him. God, who sees all, takes the cause of the innocent in hand, and, irritated by the injury you inflict, deigns to raise up him whom you wish to lower, and will punish you to the full extent of your crime. If God usually punishes those who rejoice at the misfortunes of their enemies, how much more will He punish those who, excited by envy, seek to do an injury to those who have never injured them? - Saint John Chrysostom

To commit a murder, besides the not having the person in your power, there are many measures and precautions to take. A favorable opportunity must be waited for, and a place must be selected before we can put so damnable a design into execution. More than this, the pistols may miss fire, blows may not be sufficient, and all wounds are not mortal. But to deprive a man of his reputation and honor, one word is sufficient. By finding out the most sensitive part of his honor, you may tarnish his reputation by telling it to all who know him, arid easily take away his character for honor and integrity. To do this, however, no time is required, for scarcely have you complacently cherished the wish to calumniate him, than the sin is effected. - Saint John Chrysostom

I beseech you, my brothers, to be ever on your guard against the habit of swearing and blaspheming. If a slave dare to pronounce the name of his master, he does it but seldom, and then only with respect; therefore is it not a shocking impiety to speak with contempt and irreverence of the name of the Master of angels and seraphim? People handle the book of the Gospel with a religious fear, and then only with clean hands, and yet your rash tongue would inconsiderately profane the name of the Divine Author of the Gospel. Would you wish to know with what respect, fear, and wonder the choirs of the angels pronounce the adorable name? Listen to the prophet Isaiah: ” I saw,” says Isaiah, “the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated; upon it stood the seraphim, who cried one to another and said, Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of His glory.” See with what terror they are seized, even while they praise and glorify Him. As for you, my brethren, you know how cold and indifferent are the prayers you say, and you know how frequently you blaspheme a name so majestic, so sacred, and how you try to make excuses for the bad habit you have contracted. It is easy, yes, I say, it is easy, with a little care, attention, and reflection, to leave off this vicious habit. Since we have fallen, my brethren, into this sin of blasphemy, I conjure you, in the name of our Lord, to rebuke openly these blasphemers. When you meet with such who publicly sin in this respect, correct them by word of mouth, and, if necessary, by your strong arm. Let these shameless swearers be covered with confusion. You could not employ your hand to a holier work. And if you are given into custody, go boldly before the magistrate, and say in your defense that you have avenged a blasphemy. For if a person is punished for speaking contemptuously of a prince, is it not reasonable to suppose that a person who speaks irreverently of God should be sentenced to a severer punishment? It is a public crime, a common injury which all the world ought to condemn. Let the Jews and infidels see that our magistrates are Christians, and that they will not allow those to go unpunished who insult and outrage their Master. Do you remember that it was a false oath that overturned the houses, temples, and walls of Jerusalem, and from a superb city it became a mass of ruins? Neither the sacred vessels nor the sanctuary could stay the vengeance of a God justly angered against a violater of His word. Sedecias did not receive a more favored treatment than Jerusalem. Flight did not save him from his enemies. This prince, escaping secretly, was pursued and taken by the Assyrians, who led him to their king. The king, after asking him the reason of his perfidy, not only caused his children to be killed, but deprived him of his sight, and sent him back to Babylon, loaded with iron chains. Would you know the reason why? It was that the barbarians and Jews who inhabited the country adjoining Persia should know, by this terrible example, that the breach of an oath is punishable. - Saint John Chrysostom, from the Seventh Homily

MLA Citation

  • “Saint John Chrysostom“. Saints.SQPN.com. 2 July 2014. Web. 13 July 2014. <>