Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time & St. John Chrysostom, September 13,2017

Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time & St. John Chrysostom, September 13,2017

John was born in Antioch in 349 A.D., where he received a fine education and spent a period of time in uninterrupted contemplation of the Word of God as a hermit. But he found his true calling as a priest in Antioch and served eleven years as a priest before he was raised to the episcopate in Constantinople – a center of wealth, power and political intrigue. John preached Christ to rich and poor alike. After he censured the Empress Eudoxia for scandalous public behavior, he was banished to Armenia. From exile he wrote letters of comfort to his friends. “All things will certainly turn out, whether in this life or the life to come. In every circumstance, yield to the incomprehensibility of God’s providence.” According to Pope Benedict XVI, John’s perfectly pastoral theology” addressed everyday problems on marriage and family life spoke to issues that husbands and wives face, then as now, “There is nothing which so welds our life together as the love of man and wife,” he wrote. John died in exile in 407 A.D. at Comana in Pontus. In 1568 A.D. he was declared a Doctor of the Church.


Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, Fill us with the joy and happiness of heaven by giving us the grace to empty ourselves of all that would shut You out of our hearts. Give us poverty of spirit so that we may find ample room and joy in possessing You alone as the greatest treasure possible. Bless us with hunger of the spirit that seeks nourishment and strength in your Word and Spirit. Make us mourn over wasted life and sin so we may have joyful freedom from the burden of guilt and oppression. Reveal to us the humble of heart as the true source of abundant life and happiness. Lord, increase our hunger for you and show us the way that leads to everlasting happiness and peace. May we desire You above all else and find perfect joy in doing your will. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, we pray. Amen.

Reading I
Col 3:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.

Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away:
anger, fury, malice, slander,
and obscene language out of your mouths.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 145:2-3, 10-11, 12-13ab

R. (9) The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Lk 6:20-26

Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Happiness is very elusive 

God wants us to be happy. “Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, nor go the way of sinners, not sit in company with scoffers; rather, the law of the Lord is their joy; God’s law they study day and night” (Ps 1:1-2). Without God’s grace we become very unhappy. Our chief source of God’s grace is the Mass. During the celebration of the Mass, we hear the Word of God proclaimed in the Scriptures and the homily. Second is the Eucharist. They go together. As the Word enriches our faith, so the Eucharist gives us the strength we need to live in accord with our faith.

In our daily struggles in life, we know that happiness is very elusive. That is why Jesus gives us the beatitudes in the Gospel today (Lk 6:17, 20-26). Jesus said, “Happy are you poor… Happy are you who hunger… Happy are you who are weeping.” One spiritual writer interprets this teaching: “We can be happy when we are poor if our poverty makes us turn to God and trust in him. We can be happy when we are hungry if we allow our hunger to make us yearn to have God fill the emptiness of our hearts and not only our stomachs. We can be happy when we are weeping, if our sorrow centers on our failure to do God’s will in all things.”

Believing in God and following the way of Jesus is the only way to be happy, to be truly happy. Jesus promises us the eternal life and raises us to life on the last day (Jn 6:54). Is the Lord Jesus Christ the source of your happiness?

Reflection 2 – The Blessings and Woes

Today’s gospel speaks about blessings and woes that may come upon every man. Quite apart from each other, they are 180 degrees contrary to reason.

One would expect someone to say, “The rich are fortunate … but alas for the poor.” Instead, Jesus says the very opposite. He talks about something even more valuable than physical food, something that will forever satisfy the hungry. He promised that those who share God’s broken heart with the world will in the future laugh and rejoice at the great supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9) when we sit down with Him at the banquet table together with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus (Mt 8:11). Jesus reveals to us the need to shift from great materialism to deeper spirituality, as He teaches that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Dt 8:3) “ This He affirms further when He said “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Mt 6:33.

Jesus said we still struggle against rejection and seek acceptance and popularity but as His voice in this dark world, we may have to suffer and experience persecution as we speak the truth that we have in him. Popularity should not be our badge of honor but love and faithfulness to God, not the opinions of community and the many, either good or bad.

Jesus is talking about what motivates and tempts every man. Blessings will abound if we steer carefully around worldly temptations, avoiding those that are evil but doing our best to stay on the path of faithfully following Jesus and His ways. Woes and regrets are what will be upon us if we decide to take the deadly shortcuts that the devil has designed for us.

Jesus is calling all of us today to change and live by faith and a value system far different from today’s world. He promises that one day this world’s system will all be destroyed and with it will be those who have pinned their hopes on its values. On that gracious day of the Lord, only God’s eternal values will remain along with those who trust in them.

Jesus says, “Blessed are you …” and “Woe to you….”  Which way shall we all go?

Through St Paul’s letter to the Christian Community of Colossae, we receive a directive from our Lord on which way we should all go… Colossians 3:5 says: “Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires, and that lust which is idolatry.” It seems easy to do but considering our sinful nature it is quite difficult to do on our own.

Since we have been raised with our Lord Jesus, then we must put to death the sins that belong to the world and live according to His ways and the role He has asked each of us to pursue.


We should live in the Spirit, always in union with our Lord-live with Him and for Him.


Father, refine me and make my heart pure. Remove from me the impurities that drag me down but make me like gold and silver to shine for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 3 – Blessed are you poor – yours is the kingdom of God

When you encounter misfortune, grief, or tragic loss, how do you respond? With fear or faith? With passive resignation or with patient hope and trust in God? We know from experience that no one can escape all of the inevitable trials of life – pain, suffering, sickness, and death. When Jesus began to teach his disciples he gave them a “way of happiness” that transcends every difficulty and trouble that can weigh us down with grief and despair. Jesus began his sermon on the mount by addressing the issue of where true happiness can be found. The word beatitude literally means happiness or blessedness. Jesus’ way of happiness, however, demands a transformation from within – a conversion of heart and mind which can only come about through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit.

True happiness can only be fulfilled in God
How can one possibly find happiness in poverty, hunger, mourning, and persecution? If we want to be filled with the joy and happiness of heaven, then we must empty ourselves of all that would shut God out of our hearts. Poverty of spirit finds ample room and joy in possessing God alone as the greatest treasure possible. Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment and strength in God’s word and Spirit. Sorrow and mourning over wasted life and sin leads to joyful freedom from the burden of guilt and oppression.

The beatitudes strengthen us in virtue and excellence
Ambrose (339-397 A.D), an early church father and bishop of Milan, links the beatitudes with the four cardinal virtues which strengthen us in living a life of moral excellence. He writes: “Let us see how St. Luke encompassed the eight blessings in the four. We know that there are four cardinal virtues: temperance, justice, prudence and fortitude. One who is poor in spirit is not greedy. One who weeps is not proud but is submissive and tranquil. One who mourns is humble. One who is just does not deny what he knows is given jointly to all for us. One who is merciful gives away his own goods. One who bestows his own goods does not seek another’s, nor does he contrive a trap for his neighbor. These virtues are interwoven and interlinked, so that one who has one may be seen to have several, and a single virtue befits the saints. Where virtue abounds, the reward too abounds… Thus temperance has purity of heart and spirit, justice has compassion, patience has peace, and endurance has gentleness.” (EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.62–63, 68).

No one can live without joy
God reveals to the humble of heart the true source of abundant life and happiness. Jesus promises his disciples that the joys of heaven will more than compensate for the troubles and hardships they can expect in this world. Thomas Aquinas said: “No person can live without joy. That is why someone deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures.” Do you know the joy and happiness of hungering and thirsting for God alone?

“Lord Jesus, increase my hunger for you and show me the way that leads to everlasting happiness and peace. May I desire you above all else and find perfect joy in doing your will.” – Read the source:

Reflection 4 – Material and spiritual needs

In today’s Gospel we hear Luke’s version of the beatitudes. These are much more practical and concrete than Matthew’s list from the Sermon on the Mount. Where Matthew talks about the “poor in spirit” and those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” for example, Luke simply refers to “you who are poor” and “you who hunger.”

This tension between earthly and spiritual concerns has been part of our faith from the beginning, and it’s not a bad thing. It helps keep us balanced and honest before God. We can’t simply offer the poor what critics have referred to as “pie in the sky by and by.” Luke makes it very clear in his Gospel that the poor and hungry need to have their daily physical needs met here on earth. But when we get too caught up in the things of this world, we hear St. Paul reminding us to “think of what is above, not what is on earth.”

Pope Benedict issued the third encyclical of his career this past summer, called Charity in Truth. Its theme is social and economic justice and in it he calls for a return to a measure of morality and ethics in guiding global economic decisions. He recognizes that both spiritual and material hungers need to be satisfied, and that the way we live in the world is part of who we are as Catholic Christians.

St. Peter Claver (1581-1654 A.D.) understood this need to balance the spiritual and the material in his ministry to the slaves who were brought to the New World from Africa. When they arrived in port, exhausted and ill from the long journey under deplorable conditions, Claver brought them “medicines, food, bread, brandy, lemons and tobacco. With the help of interpreters he gave basic instructions and assured his brothers and sisters of their human dignity and God’s saving love. During the 40 years of his ministry, Claver instructed and baptized an estimated 300,000 slaves. He is quoted as saying, “We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak to them with our lips.

Luke, Peter Claver and Benedict all share a central truth. We are united in Christ as brothers and sisters to one another. The needs of others are as basic and as important as our own, and selfless charity, not selfish greed in the Christian way. As Paul puts it in today’s letter to the Colossians, “Here there is not Greek, Jew, … slave, free; but Christ is all in all.” (Source: Diane M. Houdek. Weekday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, September 9, 2009).

Reflection 5 – The Beatitudes

The values Jesus teaches are so different from those to which human nature is inclined: the poor and hungry are blessed. The rich and satisfied are to be pitied. The criterion of true and lasting happiness is not found in this world.

The world famous cellist Pablo Casals once gave this challenging testimony: “For the past 80 years I have started each day in the same manner…I go to the piano and I play two preludes and fugues of Bach. I cannot think of doing otherwise. It is a benediction on the house. But that is not its only meaning for me. It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part.”

If that is how a dedicated musician daily started his waking hours, we Christians – by enabling grace of the Holy Spirit – can surely dedicate each new day to our Lord. No matter where we are or what our situation may be, each day we can resolve to dedicate the hours before us to God’s praise. “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:24).

St. Augustine made his testimony, “We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated. How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life my soul and my soul draws life from you.”

God alone satisfies. And blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. It is true, because of God’s love and goodness toward us, and because he can do all things, he goes so far as to grant those who love him the privilege of seeing him…For “what is impossible for men is possible for God.”

In the Gospel Jesus invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. He teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement – however beneficial it may be – such as science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love.

So, if you are facing loneliness or pain as once again you pick up your burden, you can draw on the Lord’s resources and be a living testimony of His all-sufficiency. If you’re filled with thanksgiving and praise, you can tell to others of God’s goodness.

Reflection 6 – Blessed are you who are poor

“Poverty, understood as the use of things according to their true purpose, is a virtue for building up, a virtue animated by the certainty that God’s promises are being fulfilled. Unless you are certain of having already received everything, in fact, you cannot have the freedom to use what you hold in your hands according to its ultimate purpose. You will be out for your own safety, you will tighten your grip on things, and so you will set the stage for your own destruction.

“To be poor, then, is to use each things according to its ultimate end, placing the expectation of one’s good, not in the possession of this or that thing, but in the realization of the Kingdom of God. When we do that, we use, appreciate, and love each thing without turning it into an idol. When they become idols, persons and things cease to be ours: they are like objects that irreparably break to pieces in our hands. In a correct relationship with things and with other people, we do not refuse them the esteem that is their due – for example, you do not deny the value of a person if you are friends with him. At the same time, however, one does not expect from them the fulfillment of one’s own life. It is in the Kingdom of God that things and persons find their proper place….

“Through this stripping, however, an endless joy comes to birth. For when we live poverty, we discover that we are lacking nothing, since everything is given to us….

“We are already in the definitive hour, the hour in which, after the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, we human being possess everything, but in a new way” (Source: Bishop Massimo Camisasca, Magnificat, Vol. 17, No. 7, September 2015, pp. 123-124).

Reflection 7 – Blessings and woes

Finish this sentence: “Woe am I; I am in misery because ___.” In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus explains that as Christians, our woes are based on what is temporal (earthly, temporary) and we are blessed when we repent and move beyond it to live in the kingdom of God.

Use this scripture like a personal checklist:

Blessed are you who are poor: When the awareness of what you lack causes you to turn to God for help, you can enjoy the riches of his kingdom, including the wealth of God’s comfort.

Blessed are you in your hunger: Since no human person can satisfy all your needs, God’s love fills in the gaps.

Blessed are you who are weeping: Because you regret sinning, you mourn that it divided you from God and you rejoice that Jesus has mercifully restored you to union with God.

Blessed are you when people hate you on account of your faith: Rejected and persecuted by those who don’t understand your faith, you run to Christ for love, which he gives you through others in his community of believers, where friendships last for all of eternity.

But woe comes to us when our happiness depends on how others treat us and how quickly we get whatever we want. The word Jesus used, which we’ve translated as “woe,” is full of regret and compassion; it’s not a punishment.

Woe to you who are rich: If we cater to our earthly desires, we take pride in our accomplishments and we neglect our need for God. Thus, we only have what we have, because we fail to open ourselves to the surprise blessings that God wants to give us.

Woe to you who are now full: It’s an illusion to think that we can get everything we want and feel satisfied for very long. Only in heaven can we be fully satisfied.

Woe to you who laugh now: If we’re short-sighted and temporal-minded, we laugh at those who wait upon God, for it seems like we have the better life. But when a problem arises that we can’t readily fix, we lose our joy.

Woe to you when all speak well of you: How long does the praise of others last? Their approval disappears the moment we fail to be perfect. We need to realize that it’s only God’s approval that really matters and that he’s pleased with us for trying to imitate Christ even if we fail.

Life on earth is short. As St. Paul (1 Cor 7:25-31) says: Time is running out. You or I could die at any moment. To be blessed by that reality, we have to understand that eternal happiness only comes through a close relationship with God. – Read the source:

Reflection 8 – Living in higher realms

To receive the blessings that Jesus mentions in the Beatitudes of our Gospel reading today, and to rise above the “woes” that he warns about, we have to set our hearts on what pertains to the higher realms, “what is above,” as St. Paul says in today’s first reading.

Are we a new creation or not? When you were baptized, you were made holy, a new creation that was different from the solely human, sin-prone life into which you had been born. But that’s not enough.

When we make a conscious decision to allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, our baptisms became more than a sacrament. They became a way of living. Every time we make this decision, Jesus takes our self-centered lifestyles and our reliance on worldly wisdom and carries it to the cross of 2000 years ago — God does a time warp! And then he raises us to new life in the Easter power of his heaven-filled life.

Just because it doesn’t feel or look like we’re experiencing a heaven-filled life doesn’t mean that we’re not. Heaven is within us until we physically die, at which time we’ll enter into the fullness of heaven (first purging out any remnant impurities, a process called “purgatory”). When the Father raised Jesus from the tomb, he took us with him! (There’s that time warp again.) Our bodies have not yet received this blessing and our souls are not yet in heaven, but heaven is in our souls.

Everything we long for from God is already ours. If it doesn’t seem so, the reason you can’t feel it or see it is because you’re approaching it from old ways, non-Christian ways, deadly ways. You’re reacting with your flesh nature (your woundedness or your sinful tendencies), which belongs to this world, instead of with your soul, which belongs to heaven. Rather than react (i.e., “re-act”) in old ways, act with Christ.

Look at Paul’s checklist of what’s worldly. Any of these that are still alive in us can be put to death by making the conscious decision to do its opposite and imitate Jesus: How we speak to others, how we speak about others, how we seek love from others, how we solve problems, how we get work done, how we participate in the Church, etc., can either be deadly or put to death in exchange for new life.

The immoral habit, for example, of gossiping can be replaced by praying for those we feel tempted to gossip about. Anger, fury, and malice can be replaced by doing a good deed for the one who’s irritated us. Obscene language and lying can be replaced by taking a vow of silence except when speaking words that heal or uplift.

The choice is ours. Are we going to accept the life of Christ as our own or will we take the self-centered, very unheavenly path? We always have the choice. If we react to our circumstances, we’re enslaved to the fallen humanity of our flesh nature, but when we stop, pray, discern and act with Christ, we become free to experience our baptized divine nature, which is the glory of the risen Christ. – Read the source:

Reflection 9 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst

“Witnessing as I do, dearly beloved, you daily gathering here with such enthusiasm, I am filled with deep satisfaction, and I do not fail to praise the loving God for your progress. I mean, just as hunger is a sign of bodily health, so, too, interest in listening to the divine sayings would be taken by anyone as a sure pointer to spiritual wellbeing.

“Accordingly, our Lord Jesus Christ, too, in the Beatitudes pronounced on the Mount, declared, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will have their fill. So who could adequately commend you, now that you have already received this blessing from the Lord of all, and are looking forward to so many more good things from him? Our Lord, you see, is like that: when he sees a soul seeking the things of the Spirit with great desire and earnest zeal, he bestows on it his graces in abundance.

“Hence, with a view to your greater benefit, I, too, look forward to being the occasion of an instructive sermon that will lead to an increase in your love. I mean, for you and your improvement we undergo any effort so that you too may climb more rapidly to the heights of virtue and become teachers about life in God to all those who associate with you, and that we may feel comfortable in more forthright speech seeing that our effort was not in vain or to nor purpose.” (Source: Saint John Chrysostom, +407 A.D., Magnificat, Vol. 19, No. 7, September 2017, p. 170).

Reflection 10 – St. John Chrysostom (d. 407 A.D.)

The ambiguity and intrigue surrounding John, the great preacher (his name means “golden-mouthed”) from Antioch, are characteristic of the life of any great man in a capital city. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John became a bishop under the cloud of imperial politics.

If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without a point. Sometimes the point stung the high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.

His lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man.

His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed their way into office were deposed. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor. The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because of Adam’s fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital fidelity just as much as their wives were. When it came to justice and charity, John acknowledged no double standards.

Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism and personal trouble. He was accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines and fine foods. His faithfulness as spiritual director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where wealth and chastity were concerned. His actions taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor were viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.

Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia were determined to discredit John. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel (1 Kings 9:1—21:23)  and impious Herodias (Mark 6:17-29) were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407.


John Chrysostom’s preaching, by word and example, exemplifies the role of the prophet to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. For his honesty and courage he paid the price of a turbulent ministry as bishop, personal vilification and exile.


Bishops “should set forth the ways by which are to be solved very grave questions concerning the ownership, increase and just distribution of material goods, peace and war, and brotherly relations among all people” (Vatican II, Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops, 12).

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
This article is about the Christian saint. For other uses, see Chrysostomos (disambiguation).

Byzantine mosaic of John Chrysostom
from the Hagia Sophia.
BORN c. 349[1]
DIED 14 September 407
(aged c. 58)[2]
Comana in Pontus[3]
VENERATED IN Eastern Orthodoxy
Roman Catholicism
Oriental Orthodoxy
Church of the East
BEATIFIED does not apply
CANONIZED already considered a saint before the mid-5th century in Constantinople
FEAST Eastern Orthodoxy
13 November (Accession to the archbishopric of Constantinople)
27 January (Translation ofRelics)
30 January (Three Holy Hierarchs)
Western Christianity
13 September (Repose—transferred from 14 September)
ATTRIBUTES Vested as a Bishop, holding aGospel Book or scroll, right hand raised in blessing. He is depicted as emaciated from fasting, with a high forehead, balding with dark hair and a small beard. Symbolsbeehive, a white dove, a pan,[4] chaliceon a biblepen and inkhorn
PATRONAGE Constantinopleeducation,epilepsylecturersorators,preachers [4]

John Chrysostom (/ˈkrɪsəstəmkrɪˈsɒstəm/GreekἸωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος), c. 349 – 407,[5] Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his preachingand public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority[6] by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. The epithet Χρυσόστομος(Chrysostomos, anglicized as Chrysostom) means “golden-mouthed” in Greek and denotes his celebrated eloquence.[2][7]

He is honored as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox and Catholicchurches, as well as in some others. The Eastern Orthodox, together with the Byzantine Catholics, hold him in special regard as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs(alongside Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus). The feast days of John Chrysostom in the Eastern Orthodox Church are 13 November and 27 January. In the Roman Catholic Church he is recognized as a Doctor of the Churchand commemorated on 13 September. Other churches of the Western tradition, including some Anglican provinces and some Lutheran churches, also commemorate him on 13 September. However, certain Lutheran churches and Anglican provinces commemorate him on the traditional Eastern feast day of 27 January. The Coptic Churchalso recognizes him as a saint (with feast days on 16 Thout and 17 Hathor).[8]


Early life and education[edit]

John was born in Antioch in 349 to Greco-Syrian parents. Different scholars describe his mother Anthusa as a pagan[9]or as a Christian, and his father was a high-ranking military officer.[10] John’s father died soon after his birth and he was raised by his mother. He was baptised in 368 or 373 and tonsured as a reader (one of the minor orders of the Church).[11]

As a result of his mother’s influential connections in the city, John began his education under the pagan teacherLibanius.[12] From Libanius, John acquired the skills for a career in rhetoric, as well as a love of the Greek language and literature.[13]

As he grew older, however, John became more deeply committed to Christianity and went on to study theology underDiodore of Tarsus, founder of the re-constituted School of Antioch. According to the Christian historian Sozomen, Libanius was supposed to have said on his deathbed that John would have been his successor “if the Christians had not taken him from us”.[14]

John lived in extreme asceticism and became a hermit in about 375; he spent the next two years continually standing, scarcely sleeping, and committing the Bible to memory. As a consequence of these practices, his stomach and kidneys were permanently damaged and poor health forced him to return to Antioch.[15]

Diaconate and service in Antioch[edit]

A sculpture of John Chrysostom inSaint Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City

John Chrysostom confronting Aelia Eudoxia, in a 19th-century painting by Jean-Paul Laurens.

For more details on this topic, see Meletian schism.

John was ordained as a deacon in 381 by Saint Meletius of Antiochwho was not then in communion with Alexandria and Rome. After the death of Meletius, John separated himself from the followers of Meletius, without joining Paulinus, the rival of Meletius for the bishopric of Antioch. But after the death of Paulinus he was ordained a presbyter (priest) in 386 by Evagrius, the successor of Paulinus.[16]He was destined later to bring about reconciliation betweenFlavian I of Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome, thus bringing those three sees into communion for the first time in nearly seventy years.[17]

In Antioch, over the course of twelve years (386–397), John gained popularity because of the eloquence of his public speaking at the Golden Church, Antioch’s cathedral, especially his insightful expositions of Bible passages and moral teaching. The most valuable of his works from this period are hisHomilies on various books of the Bible. He emphasised charitable giving and was concerned with the spiritual and temporal needs of the poor. He spoke against abuse of wealth and personal property:

Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked. Do not pay him homage in the temple clad in silk, only then to neglect him outside where he is cold and ill-clad. He who said: “This is my body” is the same who said: “You saw me hungry and you gave me no food”, and “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did also to me”… What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices when your brother is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying his hunger and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well.[18]

His straightforward understanding of the Scriptures – in contrast to the Alexandrian tendency towards allegorical interpretation – meant that the themes of his talks were practical, explaining the Bible’s application to everyday life. Such straightforward preaching helped Chrysostom to garner popular support. He founded a series of hospitals in Constantinople to care for the poor.[19]

One incident that happened during his service in Antioch illustrates the influence of his homilies. When Chrysostom arrived in Antioch, Flavian, the bishop of the city had to intervene with Emperor Theodosius I on behalf of citizens who had gone on a rampage mutilating statues of the Emperor and his family. During the weeks of Lent in 387, John preached more than twenty homilies in which he entreated the people to see the error of their ways. These made a lasting impression on the general population of the city: many pagans converted to Christianity as a result of the homilies. As a result, Theodosius’ vengeance was not as severe as it might have been.[6]

Archbishop of Constantinople[edit]

In the autumn of 397, John was appointed Archbishop of Constantinople, after having been nominated without his knowledge by the eunuch Eutropius. He had to leave Antioch in secret due to fears that the departure of such a popular figure would cause civil unrest.[20]

During his time as Archbishop he adamantly refused to host lavish social gatherings, which made him popular with the common people, but unpopular with wealthy citizens and the clergy. His reforms of the clergy were also unpopular. He told visiting regional preachers to return to the churches they were meant to be serving—without any payout.[21]

His time in Constantinople was more tumultuous than his time in Antioch. Theophilus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, wanted to bring Constantinople under his sway and opposed John’s appointment to Constantinople. Theophilus had disciplined four Egyptian monks(known as “the Tall Brothers“) over their support of Origen‘s teachings. They fled to John and were welcomed by him. Theophilus therefore accused John of being too partial to the teaching of Origen. He made another enemy in Aelia Eudoxia, wife of Emperor Arcadius, who assumed that John’s denunciations of extravagance in feminine dress were aimed at herself.[6] Eudoxia, Theophilus and other of his enemies held a synod in 403 (the Synod of the Oak) to charge John, in which his connection to Origen was used against him. It resulted in his deposition and banishment. He was called back by Arcadius almost immediately, as the people became “tumultuous” over his departure, even threatening to burn the royal palace.[22]There was an earthquake the night of his arrest, which Eudoxia took for a sign of God‘s anger, prompting her to ask Arcadius for John’s reinstatement.[23]

Peace was short-lived. A silver statue of Eudoxia was erected in the Augustaion, near his cathedral. John denounced the pagan dedication ceremonies. He spoke against her in harsh terms: “Again Herodias raves; again she is troubled; she dances again; and again desires to receive John’s head in a charger”,[24] an allusion to the events surrounding the death of John the Baptist. Once again he was banished, this time to the Caucasus in Abkhazia.[25]

Around 405, Chrysostom began to lend moral and financial support to Christian monks who were enforcing the emperors’ anti-Pagan laws, by destroying temples and shrines in Phoenicia and nearby regions.[26]

Death and canonization[edit]

Faced with exile, John Chrysostom wrote an appeal for help to three churchmen: Pope Innocent I, the Bishop of Milan, Venerius, and the third to the Bishop of Aquileia, Chromatius.[27][28][29] In 1872, church historian William Stephens wrote, “The Patriarch of the Eastern Rome appeals to the great bishops of the West, as the champions of an ecclesiastical discipline which he confesses himself unable to enforce, or to see any prospect of establishing. No jealousy is entertained of the Patriarch of the Old Rome by the Patriarch of the New Rome. The interference of Innocent is courted, a certain primacy is accorded him, but at the same time he is not addressed as a supreme arbitrator; assistance and sympathy are solicited from him as from an elder brother, and two other prelates of Italy are joint recipients with him of the appeal.”[30]

The return of the relics of St. John Chrysostom to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.

Pope Innocent I protested John’s banishment from Constantinople to the town of Cucusus in Cappadocia, but to no avail. Innocent sent a delegation to intercede on behalf of John in 405. It was led by Gaudentius of Brescia; Gaudentius and his companions, two bishops, encountered many difficulties and never reached their goal of entering Constantinople.[31]

John wrote letters which still held great influence in Constantinople. As a result of this, he was further exiled from the Caucasus (where he stayed from 404 to 407) to Pitiunt (Pityus) (in modern Abkhazia) where his tomb is a shrine for pilgrims. He never reached this destination, as he died at Comana Pontica on 14 September 407 during the journey. His last words are said to have been “δόξα τῷ θεῷ πάντων ἕνεκεν” (Glory be to God for all things).[23]

Byzantine 11th-century soapstonerelief of John Chrysostom, Louvre

John came to be venerated as a saint soon after his death. Three decades later, some of his adherents in Constantinople remained in schism.[32] Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople (434–446), hoping to bring about the reconciliation of the Johannites, preached a homily praising his predecessor in the Church of Hagia Sophia. He said, “O John, your life was filled with sorrow, but your death was glorious. Your grave is blessed and reward is great, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ O graced one, having conquered the bounds of time and place! Love has conquered space, unforgetting memory has annihilated the limits, and place does not hinder the miracles of the saint.”[33]

These homilies helped to mobilize public opinion, and the patriarch received permission from the emperor to return Chrysostom’s relics to Constantinople, where they were enshrined in the Church of the Holy Apostles on 28 January 438. The Eastern Orthodox Churchcommemorates him as a “Great Ecumenical Teacher”, with Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian. These three saints, in addition to having their own individual commemorations throughout the year, are commemorated together on 30 January, a feast known as the Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs.[citation needed]

There are several feast days dedicated to him:

  • 27 January, Translation of the relics of St John Chrysostom from Comana to Constantinople
  • 30 January, Synaxis of the Three Great Hierarchs
  • 14 September, Repose of St John Chrysostom
  • 13 November, St John Chrysostom the Archbishop of Constantinople



Paschal Homily[edit]

The Byzantine emperor Nicephorus III receives a book of homilies from John Chrysostom, the Archangel Michael stands on his left (11th-century illuminated manuscript).

The best known of his many homilies, the Paschal Homily(Hieratikon), is rather brief. In the Eastern Orthodox Church it is traditionally read in full each year at the Paschal Divine Liturgy (eucharistic) service following the midnight Orthros (orMatins).[34]


Chrysostom’s extant homiletical works are vast, including many hundreds of exegetical homilies on both the New Testament(especially the works of Saint Paul) and the Old Testament (particularly on Genesis). Among his extant exegetical works are sixty-seven homilies on Genesis, fifty-nine on the Psalms, ninety on the Gospel of Matthew, eighty-eight on the Gospel of John, and fifty-five on the Acts of the Apostles.[35]

The homilies were written down by stenographers and subsequently circulated, revealing a style that tended to be direct and greatly personal, but formed by the rhetorical conventions of his time and place.[36] In general, his homiletical theology displays much characteristic of the Antiochian school (i.e., somewhat more literal in interpreting Biblical events), but he also uses a good deal of the allegorical interpretation more associated with the Alexandrian school.[35]

John’s social and religious world was formed by the continuing and pervasive presence of paganism in the life of the city. One of his regular topics was the paganism in the culture of Constantinople, and in his homilies he thunders against popular pagan amusements: the theatrehorseraces, and the revelry surrounding holidays.[37] In particular, he criticized Christians for taking part in such activities:

“If you ask [Christians] who is Amos or Obadiah, how many apostles there were or prophets, they stand mute; but if you ask them about the horses or drivers, they answer with more solemnity than sophists or rhetors”.[38]

One of the recurring features of John’s homilies is his emphasis on care for the needy.[39] Echoing themes found in the Gospel of Matthew, he calls upon the rich to lay aside materialism in favor of helping the poor, often employing all of his rhetorical skills to shame wealthy people to abandon conspicuous consumption:

“Do you pay such honor to your excrements as to receive them into a silver chamber-pot when another man made in the image of God is perishing in the cold?”[40]

Homilies on Jews and Judaizing Christians[edit]

Main article: Adversus Judaeos

During his first two years as a presbyter in Antioch (386–387), John denounced Jews and Judaizing Christians in a series of eight homilies delivered to Christians in his congregation who were taking part in Jewish festivals and other Jewish observances.[41] It is disputed whether the main target were specifically Judaizers or Jews in general. His homilies were expressed in the conventional manner, utilizing the uncompromising rhetorical form known as the psogos (Greek: blame, censure).[citation needed]

One of the purposes of these homilies was to prevent Christians from participating in Jewish customs, and thus prevent the perceived erosion of Chrysostom’s flock. In his homilies, John criticized those “Judaizing Christians”, who were participating in Jewish festivals and taking part in other Jewish observances, such as theshabbat, submitted to circumcision and made pilgrimage to Jewish holy places.[42]

John claimed that synagogues were full of Christians on the shabbats and Jewish festivals, especially of Christian women, because they loved the solemnity of the Jewish liturgy and enjoyed listening to the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, and applauded famous preachers in accordance with the contemporary custom.[43] A more recent theory is that he instead tried to persuade Jewish Christians, who for centuries had kept connections with Jews and Judaism, to choose between Judaism and Christianity.[44]

In Greek the homilies are called Kata Ioudaiōn (Κατὰ Ιουδαίων), which is translated as Adversus Judaeos in Latin and Against the Jewsin English.[45] The original Benedictine editor of the homilies, Bernard de Montfaucon, gives the following footnote to the title: “A discourse against the Jews; but it was delivered against those who were Judaizing and keeping the fasts with them [the Jews].”[45]

According to Patristics scholars, opposition to any particular view during the late 4th century was conventionally expressed in a manner, utilizing the rhetorical form known as the psogos, whose literary conventions were to vilify opponents in an uncompromising manner; thus, it has been argued that to call Chrysostom an “anti-Semite” is to employ anachronistic terminology in a way incongruous with historical context and record.[46] This does not preclude assertions that Chrysostom’s theology was a form of Anti-Jewish supersessionism.[47]


Apart from his homilies, a number of John’s other treatises have had a lasting influence. One such work is John’s early treatise Against Those Who Oppose the Monastic Life, written while he was a deacon (sometime before 386), which was directed to parents, pagan as well as Christian, whose sons were contemplating a monastic vocation.[48] Chrysostom wrote that, already in his day, it was customary for Antiochenes to send their sons to be educated by monks.[49]

Other important treatises written by John include On the Priesthood(written 390/391, it contains in Book 1 an account of his early years and a defence of his flight from ordination by Bishop Meletios of Antioch, and then proceeds in later books to expound on his exalted understanding of the priesthood), Instructions to Catechumens, and On the Incomprehensibility of the Divine Nature.[50] In addition, he wrote a series of letters to the deaconess Olympias, of which seventeen are extant.[51]


Beyond his preaching, the other lasting legacy of John is his influence on Christian liturgy. Two of his writings are particularly notable. He harmonized the liturgical life of the Church by revising the prayers and rubrics of the Divine Liturgy, or celebration of the Holy Eucharist. To this day, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches of the Byzantine Rite typically celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as the normal Eucharistic liturgy, although his exact connection with it remains a matter of debate among experts.[52]

Legacy and influence[edit]

During a time when city clergy were subject to criticism for their high lifestyle, John was determined to reform his clergy in Constantinople. These efforts were met with resistance and limited success. He was an excellent preacher[52] whose homilies and writings are still studied and quoted. As a theologian, he has been and continues to be very important in Eastern Christianity, and is generally considered the most prominent doctor of the Greek Church, but has been less important to Western Christianity. His writings have survived to the present day more so than any of the other Greek Fathers.[2]

Influence on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and clergy[edit]

John’s influence on church teachings is interwoven throughout the current Catechism of the Catholic Church (revised 1992). The Catechism cites him in eighteen sections, particularly his reflections on the purpose of prayer and the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer:

Consider how [Jesus Christ] teaches us to be humble, by making us see that our virtue does not depend on our work alone but on grace from on high. He commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For he did not say “thy will be done in me or in us”, but “on earth”, the whole earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and earth no longer differ from heaven.[53]

Christian clerics, such as R.S. Storr, refer to him as “one of the most eloquent preachers who ever since apostolic times have brought to men the divine tidings of truth and love”, and the 19th-century John Henry Newman described John as a “bright, cheerful, gentle soul; a sensitive heart.”[54]

Music and literature[edit]

John’s liturgical legacy has inspired several musical compositions. Particularly noteworthy are Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 31, composed in 1910,[55] one of his two major unaccompanied choral works; Pyotr Tchaikovsky‘s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 41; and Ukrainian composerKyrylo Stetsenko‘s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Arvo Pärt‘s Litany sets Chrysostom’s twenty-four prayers, one for each hour of the day,[56] for soli, mixed choir and orchestra.

James Joyce‘s novel Ulysses includes a character named Mulligan who brings ‘Chrysostomos’ into another character (Stephen Dedalus)’s mind because Mulligan’s gold-stopped teeth and his gift of the gab earn him the title which St. John Chrysostom’s preaching earned him, ‘golden-mouthed’:[57] “[Mulligan] peered sideways up and gave a long low whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos”.[58]

The legend of the penance of St. John Chrysostom[edit]

The Penance of St. John Chrysostom. Engraving by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1509. The saint can be seen in the background on all fours, whilst the princess and their baby dominate the foreground.

A late medieval legend (not included in the Golden Legend) relates that, when John Chrysostom was a hermit in the desert, he was approached by a royal princess in distress.[59] The Saint, thinking she was a demon, at first refused to help her, but the princess convinced him that she was a Christian and would be devoured by wild beasts if she were not allowed to enter his cave. He therefore admitted her, carefully dividing the cave in two parts, one for each of them. In spite of these precautions, the sin of fornication was committed, and in an attempt to hide it, the distraught saint took the princess and threw her over a precipice. He then went to Rome to beg absolution, which was refused. Realising the appalling nature of his crimes, Chrysostom made a vow that he would never rise from the ground until his sins were expiated, and for years he lived like a beast, crawling on all fours and feeding on wild grasses and roots. Subsequently the princess reappeared, alive, and suckling the saint’s baby, who miraculously pronounced his sins forgiven. This last scene was very popular from the late 15th century onwards as a subject for engravers and artists. The theme was depicted by Albrecht Dürer around 1496,[60] Hans Sebald Beham and Lucas Cranach the Elder, among others. Martin Luther mocked this same legend in his Die Lügend von S. Johanne Chrysostomo (1537).[61][62] The legend was recorded in Croatia in the 16th century.[63]


John Chrysostom died in the city of Comana in the year 407 on his way to his place of exile. There his relics remained until 438 when, thirty years after his death, they were transferred to Constantinopleduring the reign of the Empress Eudoxia‘s son, the Emperor Theodosius II (408–450), under the guidance of John’s disciple, St. Proclus, who by that time had become Archbishop of Constantinople (434–447).

Most of John’s relics were looted from Constantinople by Crusadersin 1204 and taken to Rome, but some of his bones were returned to the Orthodox Church on 27 November 2004 by Pope John Paul II.[64] They are now enshrined in the Church of St. George, Istanbul.[65]

The skull, however, having been kept at the monastery at Vatopedion Mount Athos in northern Greece, was not among the relics that were taken by the crusaders in the 13th century. In 1655, at the request of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, the skull was taken to Russia, for which the monastery was compensated in the sum of 2000 rubles. In 1693, having received a request from the Vatopedi Monastery for the return of St John’s skull, Tsar Peter the Great ordered that the skull remain in Russia but that the monastery was to be paid 500 rubles every four years. The Russian state archives document these payments up until 1735. The skull was kept at theMoscow Kremlin, in the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God, until 1920, when it was confiscated by the Soviets and placed in the Museum of Silver Antiquities. In 1988, in connection with the 1000th Anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, the head, along with other important relics, was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and kept at the Epiphany Cathedral, until being moved to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour after its restoration.[citation needed]

Today, the monastery at Vatopedi posits a rival claim to possessing the skull of John Chrysostom, and there a skull is venerated by pilgrims to the monastery as that of St John. Two sites in Italy also claim to have the saint’s skull: the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence and the Dal Pozzo chapel in Pisa. The right hand of St. John[66] is preserved on Mount Athos, and numerous smaller relics are scattered throughout the world.[67]


  1. Jump up^ The exact date of John’s birth is in question, and dates between 344 and 349 are given. In the most recent general biography of Chrysostom, eminent patristics scholar JND Kelly, after a review of the evidence and literature, favours 349 as the date that best fits all available evidence, in agreement with Robert Carter. See Kelly, Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom: Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 1998: originally published Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), p. 4 fn. 12; esp. Appendix B passim. For a discussion of alternatives presented in the literature, see Robert Carter, “The Chronology of St. John Chrysostom’s Early Life”, in Traditio 18:357–64 (1962); Jean Dumortier, “La valeur historique du dialogue de Palladius et la chronologie de saint Jean Chrysostome”, in Mélanges de science religieuse, 8:51–56 (1951). Carter dates his birth to the year 349. See also Robert Louis Wilken, John Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the Late Fourth Century, (Berkeley: University of California Press: 1983), p. 5.
  2. Jump up to:a b c “St John Chrysostom” profile, Catholic Encyclopedia (see here); retrieved 20 March 2007.
  3. Jump up^
  4. Jump up to:a b
  5. Jump up^ The exact date of John’s birth is in question, and dates between 344 and 349 are often given, and limits set at 340 and 350 (Kelly 296). In the most recent general biography of Chrysostom, eminent patristics scholar JND Kelly, after a review of the evidence and literature, favours 349 as the date that best fits all available evidence, in agreement with Robert Carter. See Kelly, Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom: Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998: originally published Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), p. 4 fn. 12; esp. 296–298 passim. For a concurring analysis which is followed in most recent reconstructions of the early life of Chrysostomos, see Robert Carter, “The Chronology of St. John Chrysostom’s Early Life”, in Traditio 18:357–64 (1962). For a discussion of alternatives, often in older literature, see especially G. Ettlinger,Traditio 16 (1960), pp. 373–80, Jean Dumortier, “La valeur historique du dialogue de Palladius et la chronologie de saint Jean Chrysostome”, Mélanges de science religieuse, 8:51–56 (1951)
  6. Jump up to:a b c Robert Wilken, “John Chrysostom” profile, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity(ed. Everett Ferguson), New York: Garland Publishing, 1997
  7. Jump up^ Pope VigiliusConstitution of Pope Vigilius, pg. 553
  8. Jump up^ Coptic synaxarium
  9. Jump up^ “John Chrysostom”, Encyclopaedia Judaica
  10. Jump up^ The Encyclopaedia Judaica describes Chrysostom’s mother as a pagan. In Pauline Allen and Wendy Mayer, John Chrysostom (pg. 5), she is described as a Christian.
  11. Jump up^ Wilken (p. 7) prefers 368 for the date of Chrysostom’s baptism, theEncyclopaedia Judaica prefers the later date of 373.
  12. Jump up^ Cameron, Averil (1998) “Education and literary culture” in Cameron, A. andGarnsey, P. (eds.) The Cambridge ancient history: Vol. XIII The late empire, A.D. 337–425. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pg. 668.
  13. Jump up^ Wilken, pg. 5.
  14. Jump up^ Sozomen (1995) [1890]. “Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Book VIII, Chapter II: Education, Training, Conduct, and Wisdom of the Great John Chrysostom”. InSchaff, Philip and Wace, Henry (trs., eds.). Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Volume II: Socrates and Sozomenus Ecclesiastical Histories. Zenos, A. C. (rev., notes) (reprint ed.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. p. 399. ISBN 1-56563-118-8. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  15. Jump up^ Allen, Pauline & Wendy Mayer, John Chrysostom, Routledge: 2000, pg. 6
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  17. Jump up^ Philip Hughes, History of the Church, Sheed and Ward, 1934, vol I, pp. 231–232.
  18. Jump up^ Chrysostom, John. In Evangelium S. Matthaei, homily 50:3–4, pp 58, 508–509
  19. Jump up^ Baluffi, Catejan. The Charity of the Church (trans. Denis Gargan), Dublin: M H Gill and Son, 1885, p. 39
    Schmidt, Alvin J. Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization, Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, 2001, p. 152
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  21. Jump up^ Farmer, David H. The Oxford Dictionary of the Saints(2nd ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, 1987, pg. 232
  22. Jump up^ Socrates Scholasticus (1995) [1890]. “Book VI, Chapter XVI: Sedition on Account of John Chrysostom’s Banishment”. InSchaff, Philip and Wace, Henry (trs., eds.). Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Volume II: Socrates and Sozomenus Ecclesiastical Histories. Zenos, A. C. (rev., notes) (reprint ed.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. p. 149. ISBN 1-56563-118-8. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  23. Jump up to:a b “St John Chrysostom the Archbishop of Constantinople”. Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  24. Jump up^ Socrates Scholasticus, op cit “Chapter XVIII: Of Eudoxia’s Silver Statue”, p. 150.
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  27. Jump up^ (Ep. CLV: PG LII, 702)
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  31. Jump up^ St Gaudentius profile,; accessed 20 June 2015.
  32. Jump up^ Holum, K.G., (1982) “Theodosian Empresses”, (University of California Press), pg. 184
  33. Jump up^ The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Primedia E-launch LLC. 1980. pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-1-61979-382-8.
  34. Jump up^ Barker, Jason (2005). “Pascal Homily”Be Transformed. Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, dept. of Youth Ministry. Retrieved17 November 2009.
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  36. Jump up^ Yohanan (Hans) Lewy, “John Chrysostom” in Encyclopaedia Judaica (ed. Cecil Roth), Keter Publishing House: 1997; ISBN 965-07-0665-8
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  38. Jump up^ Chrysostom, John (quoted in Wilken, p. 30)
  39. Jump up^ Liebeschuetz, J.H.W.G. Barbarians and Bishops: Army, Church, and State in the age of Arcadius and Chrysostom, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990, pp. 175–176
  40. Jump up^ Chrysostom, John (quoted in Liebeschuetz, p. 176)
  41. Jump up^ See Wilken, p. xv, and also “John Chrysostom” in Encyclopaedia Judaica
  42. Jump up^ Wilken, p. xv.
  43. Jump up^ “John Chrysostom” profile, Encyclopaedia Judaica.
  44. Jump up^ Stark, Rodney. The Rise of Christianity. How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries, Princeton University Press: 1997, pp. 66–67
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  46. Jump up^ Wilken, Robert Louis. John Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the Late Fourth Century (1983), University of California, Berkeley Press; ISBN 978-0-520-04757-0, pp. 124–126. Cited in CCL 2.0 at “John Chrysostom” profile, New World Encyclopedia; retrieved 25 October 2011.
  47. Jump up^ Fonrobert, Charlotte. “Jewish Christians, Judaizers, and Anti-Judaism”Late Ancient Christianity (2010), Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, pp. 234–254
  48. Jump up^ Wilken, p. 26.
  49. Jump up^ Woods, Thomas. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, Washington, D.C.: Regenery, 2005; ISBN 0-89526-038-7, pg. 44
  50. Jump up^ On the Priesthood was well-known already during Chrysostom’s lifetime, and is cited by Jerome in 392 in his De Viris Illustribus, chapter 129
  51. Jump up^ Kirsch, Johann Peter (1911). “St. Olympias”Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  52. Jump up to:a b Parry (2001), pp. 268–269
  53. Jump up^ Chrysostom, John. Hom. in Mt. 19,5: pp. 57, 280.
  54. Jump up^ Newman, John Cardinal, “St. Chrysostom” profile, The Newman Reader, Rambler: 1859 available online (see esp. chapter 2); retrieved 20 March 2007.
  55. Jump up^ “The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31”. Hyperion Records, Ltd.
  56. Jump up^ “Litany” Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  57. Jump up^ Blaimes (1996, 3).
  58. Jump up^ Joyce (1961, 3).
  59. Jump up^ A variant relates that this was Genevieve of Brabant, wife of Count Siegfried ofTreves, who was unjustly accused of infidelity and sentenced to death. She was led into the forest to be put to death, but her executioners relented and there abandoned her.
  60. Jump up^ [1]
  61. Jump up^ Available online
  62. Jump up^ Fenelli, Laura. “From the Vita Pauli to the Legenda Breviarii: Real and imaginary animals as a Guide to the Hermit in the Desert”Animals and Otherness in the Middle Ages: Perspectives Across Disciplines, Oxford, Archaeopress (BAR International Series 2500), 2013, p. 41, fn. 40
  63. Jump up^ “Legend of St John Chrysostom”, Zgombic Miscellany. 16th-century Glagoliticmanuscript [in Croatian Church Slavonic]. Zagreb, Archive of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Shelf-mark VII 30. pp. 67–75.
  64. Jump up^ Pope John Paul II. “Letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Bartholomew I”. Retrieved 30 March2007.
  65. Jump up^ Relics of St. John Chrysostom at the Church of St. George, Istanbul,; retrieved 13 September 2010.
  66. Jump up^
  67. Jump up^ “Thousands queue outside Cyprus church after reports of miracle-working relic”International Herald Tribune. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2015.


  • Allen, Pauline and Mayer, Wendy (2000). John Chrysostom. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-18252-2
  • Attwater, Donald (1960). St. John Chrysostom: Pastor and Preacher. London: Catholic Book Club.
  • Blamires, Harry (1996). The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-13858-2
  • Brändle, R., V. Jegher-Bucher, and Johannes Chrysostomus (1995). Acht Reden gegen Juden (Bibliothek der griechischen Literatur 41), Stuttgart: Hiersemann.
  • Brustein, William I. (2003). Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe before the Holocaust. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-77308-3
  • Carter, Robert (1962). “The Chronology of St. John Chrysostom’s Early Life.” Traditio18:357–64.
  • Chrysostom, John (1979). Discourses Against Judaizing Christians, trans. Paul W. Harkins. The Fathers of the Church; v. 68. Washington: Catholic University of America Press.
  • Chuvin, Pierre (1990). “A chronicle of the last pagans”. Harvard University Press
  • Dumortier, Jean (1951). “La valeur historique du dialogue de Palladius et la chronologie de saint Jean Chrysostome.” Mélanges de science religieuse 8, 51–56.
  • Hartney, Aideen (2004). John Chrysostom and the Transformation of the City. London: Duckworth. ISBN 0-520-04757-5.
  • Joyce, James (1961). Ulysses. New York: The Modern Library.
  • Kelly, John Norman Davidson (1995). Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom-Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-3189-1.
  • Laqueur, Walter (2006). The Changing Face of Antisemitism: From Ancient Times To The Present Day. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-530429-2.
  • Liebeschuetz, J.H.W.G. (1990) Barbarians and Bishops: Army, Church and State in the Age of Arcadius and Chrysostom. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-814886-0.
  • Lewy, Yohanan [Hans] (1997). “John Chrysostom”. Encyclopaedia Judaica (CD-ROM Edition Version 1.0). Ed. Cecil Roth. Keter Publishing House. ISBN 965-07-0665-8.
  • Meeks, Wayne A., and Robert L. Wilken (1978). Jews and Christians in Antioch in the First Four Centuries of the Common Era (The Society of Biblical Literature, Number 13). Missoula: Scholars Press. ISBN 0-89130-229-8.
  • Morris, Stephen. “‘Let Us Love One Another’: Liturgy, Morality, and Political Theory in Chrysostom’s Sermons on Rom. 12–13 and II Thess. 2,” in: Speculum Sermonis: Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Medieval Sermon, ed. Georgiana Donavin, Cary J. Nederman, and Richard Utz. Turnhout: Brepols, 2004. pp. 89–112.
  • Palladius, Bishop of Aspuna. Palladius on the Life And Times of St. John Chrysostom, transl. and edited by Robert T. Meyer. New York: Newman Press, 1985. ISBN 0-8091-0358-3.
  • Parks, James (1969). Prelude to Dialogue. London.
  • Parry, David; David Melling, eds. (2001). The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-18966-1.
  • Pradels, W. (2002). “Lesbos Cod. Gr. 27 : The Tale of a Discovery”, Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 6, pp. 81–89.
  • Pradels, W., R. Brändle, and M. Heimgartner (2001). “Das bisher vermisste Textstück in Johannes Chrysostomus, Adversus Judaeos, Oratio 2”, Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 5, pp. 23–49.
  • Pradels, W., R. Brändle, and M. Heimgartner (2002). “The sequence and dating of the series of John Chrysostom’s eight discourses Adversus Judaeos”, Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 6, 90–116.
  • Schaff, Philip, and Henry Wace (eds.) (1890). Socrates, Sozomenus: Church Histories(A Select Library of Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, second series, vol. II). New York: The Christian Literature Company.
  • Stark, Rodney (1997). The Rise of Christianity. How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries. Princeton University Press.
  • Stephens, W.R.W. (1883). Saint John Chrysostom, His Life and Times. London: John Murray.
  • Stow, Kenneth (2006). Jewish Dogs, An Imagine and Its Interpreters: Continiuity in the Catholic-Jewish Encounter. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5281-8.
  • Wilken, Robert Louis (1983). John Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the Late Fourth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Willey, John H. (1906). Chrysostom: The Orator. Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham.
  • Woods, Thomas (2005). How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Washington, D.C.: Regenery. ISBN 0-89526-038-7

Collected works[edit]

Widely used editions of Chrysostom’s works are available in Greek, Latin, English, and French. The Greek edition is edited by Sir Henry Savile (eight volumes, Eton, 1613); the most complete Greek and Latin edition is edited by Bernard de Montfaucon (thirteen volumes, Paris, 1718–38, republished in 1834–40, and reprinted in Migne’s “Patrologia Graeca”, volumes 47–64). There is an English translation in the first series of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (London and New York, 1889–90). A selection of his writings has been published more recently in the original with facing French translation in Sources Chrétiennes.

Further reading[edit]

Primary sources
  • Sermon on Alms Translated by Margaret M. Sherwood from the Parallel Greek and Latin Text of the Abbé Migne (New York: The New York School of Philanthropy, 1917)
  • The priesthood: a translation of the Peri hierosynes of St. John Chrysostom, by WA Jurgens, (New York: Macmillan, 1955)
  • Commentary on Saint John the apostle and evangelist: homilies 1–47, translated by Sister Thomas Aquinas Goggin, Fathers of the Church vol 33, (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc, 1957)
  • Commentary on Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist, translated by Sister Thomas Aquinas Goggin. Homilies 48–88, Fathers of the Church vol 41, (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1959) [translation of Homiliae in Ioannem]
  • Baptismal instructions, translated and annotated by Paul W Harkins, (Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1963)
  • Discourses against judaizing Christians, translated by Paul W Harkins., Fathers of the Church vol 68, (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1979)
  • On the incomprehensible nature of God, translated by Paul W Harkins. Fathers of the Church vol 72, (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1984)
  • On wealth and poverty, translated and introduced by Catharine P Roth, (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1984)
  • Chrysostom, John (1985). Apologist. Margaret A. Schatkin and Paul W. Harkins, trans. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. ISBN 0-8132-0073-3. [translations of Discourse on blessed Babylas, and Against the Greeks: Demonstration against the pagans that Christ is God.]
  • Chrysostom, John (1986). Homilies on Genesis. Robert C. Hill, trans. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. ISBN 0-8132-0074-1. [translation of Homilies on Genesis 1–17]