St. John Chrysostom
Our father among the saints, John of Antioch had a unique ability to connect with the people. His powerful command of the Bible, and his beautiful eloquence, made him into the greatest and most beloved of all Christian orators. After his death, he was labeled “Chrisistomos” – the Golden Mouth – leading to him being known as St. John Chrysostom.
St. John was born in Antioch in 347 to pious parents. His father, Secundus, was a military officer, and died shortly after John’s birth. Anthusa, his young mother, devoted herself to bringing up John and his elder sister in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. John was well educated, and with such training, and with such gifts as he had by nature, John had before him a brilliant career as a rhetorician. But through the good example of his godly mother Anthusa and of the holy Bishop Meletius of Antioch, by whom he was ordained reader about the year 370, he chose instead to dedicate himself to God. John wanted to leave as a monastic, but initially agreed to stay with is widowed mother, leading an ascetic life at home.
John later become a monk, and in 386 Bishop Flavian ordained John presbyter. It was during this time, that John flourished as a preacher and teacher of the Church. His exceptional oratorical gifts were made manifest through his many sermons and commentaries. They are distinguished by their eloquence and the remarkable ease with which rich imagery and scriptural allusions are multiplied; by their depth of insight into the meaning of Scripture and the workings of God's providence; and, not least of all, by their earnestness and moral force, which issue from the heart of a blameless and guileless man who lived first what he preached to others. Although somewhat against his will, John was then was chosen to succeed Saint Nectarius as Patriarch of Constantinople.
It was during this time, that John struggled greatly. So much so, that in his last years, he faced betrayal of the worst kind. John’s unsparing censures of the lax morals in the imperial city stung the vain Eudoxia; through Theophilus' plottings and her collaboration, Saint John was banished to Pontus in 403. The people were in an uproar, and the following night an earthquake shook the city; this so frightened the Empress Eudoxia that she begged Arcadius to call Chrysostom back. While his return was triumphant, his reconciliation with the Empress did not last long. When she had a silver statue of herself erected in the forum before the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) in September of 403, and had it dedicated with much unseemly revelry, Saint John thundered against her, and she could not forgive him. In June of 404 he was exiled to Cucusus, on the borders of Cilicia and Armenia. During his travel, John reposed in the Lord
John’s last words were "Glory be to God for all things." His holy relics were brought from Comana to Constantinople thirty-one years later by the Emperor Theodosius the Younger and Saint Pulcheria his sister, the children of Arcadius and Eudoxia, with fervent supplications that the sin of their parents against him be forgiven.
John had comprehensive commentaries on the divine Scriptures and was the author of more works than any other Church Father, leaving us complete commentaries on the Book of Genesis, the Gospels of Saints Matthew and John, the Acts, and all the Epistles of Saint Paul. His extant works are 1,447 sermons and 240 epistles.
St. John Chrysostom is an example to us. Committed to the Lord during a time of his struggle. Strong in his knowledge of Scripture. Dedicated to sharing his knowledge with his community. May he guide us to the Throne of our Lord. St. John Chrysostom…pray for us!