Saint John Chrysostom
Jul 18, 2020 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast September 13
John – later surnamed Chrysostomos, meaning “golden-mouthed” so called on account of his eloquence – was born in Antioch in Syria around 347. Raised by his widowed mother, he studied under Libanius, a famous orator of the period.
In 374, he joined a community of hermits in the mountains south of Antioch. After four years under the direction of a Syrian monk, he left them, and for the next two years he lived as an anchorite in a cave. The conditions of his crude abode and the severity of his mortifications caused him to become dangerously ill, and he was obliged to return to Antioch in 381. John was ordained a deacon that same year and for twelve years afterwards he served as a deputy to Bishop Flavian.
Upon the death of Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople, John was selected for that see by Emperor Arcadius. In this position, Chrysostom did away with many expenses which some of his predecessors had considered necessary to the maintenance of their dignity and devoted the money saved thereby to the relief of the poor and the support of hospitals for the sick and infirm.
He also undertook the reformation of the clergy of his diocese by means of zealous exhortations and disciplinary actions which, though very necessary, were somewhat tactless in their severity. John added effect and force to these endeavors, by conducting himself as an exemplary model of what he desired so ardently to impress upon others.
Chrysostom was banished from Constantinople in 403 after he delivered too zealous a sermon against immodesty and vanity. The Empress Eudoxia took his words as a direct insult against herself. His exile was of short duration however, because a slight earthquake that shook the city was taken as a terrifying sign by the superstitious lady.
Shortly afterwards he was again banished for preaching against the disorder, impropriety, and superstition occasioned by the public games commemorating the raising of a silver statue of Eudoxia in front of the great church dedicated to the Divine Wisdom.
He was exiled to a remote place called Cucusus in the Taurus Mountains of Armenia, where he suffered greatly from the heat, fatigue, and the cruelty and brutality of his guards. The local bishop, however, vied with his people in showing the aging patriarch every mark of kindness and respect.
When a council was called by Pope Innocent and the Emperor Honorius to restore him to his see, Chrysostom’s enemies instead imprisoned the appointed papal legates, and sent him into further exile in Pityus at the eastern end of the Black Sea. He suffered intensely from his forced travel in the scorching heat and wet weather. When he and his escorts reached the Church of St. Basiliscus in Comana in Cappadocia, the clergy there, seeing he was close to death, took him in, changed him into white garments and administered Extreme Unction to him.
He died the next day, September 14, 407, with the words "Glory to God in all things" on his lips.