My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
OUR FATHER AMONG THE SAINTS JOHN CHRYSOSTOMOS,
ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE ( + November 13th)
This greatest and most beloved of all Christian orators was born in Antioch the Great in the year 344 A.D. or 347 A.D.; his pious parents were called Secundos and Anthusa. After his mother was widowed at the age of twenty, she devoted herself to bringing up John and his elder sister in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. John received his literary training under Anthragathios the philosopher and Libanius the sophist, who was the greatest Greek scholar and rhetorician of his day. Libanius was a pagan, and when asked before his death whom he wished to have for his successor, he said, "John, had not the Christians stolen him from us." With such a 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 Meletios of Antioch (see Feb. 12), by whom he was ordained Reader about the year 370 A.D., he chose instead to dedicate himself to God. From the years 374 to 381 A.D. he lived the Monastic life in the hermitages that were near Antioch. His extreme asceticism undermined his health, compelling him to return to Antioch, where Saint Meletios ordained him Deacon about the year 318 A.D. Saint Meletios was called to Constantinople later that year to preside over the Second Ecumenical Synod (Council), during which he fell asleep in the Lord. In 386 A.D. Bishop Flavian ordained John Presbyter (Priest) of the Church of Antioch. Upon his elevation, to the Priesthood his career as public preacher began, and his exceptional oratorical gifts were made manifest through his many sermons and commentaries. They are distinguished by their eloquence and the remarkable case with which rich imagery and scriptural allusions are multiplied; by their depth of insight into the meaning of Holy 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. Because of his fame, he was chosen to succeed Saint Nektarios as Patriarch of Constantinople. He was taken away by stealth, to avoid the opposition of the people, and consecrated Patriarch of Constantinople on February 28, 398 A.D., by Theophilos, Patriarch of Alexandria, who was to prove his mortal enemy.
At that time the Emperor of the East was Arcadios, who had Saint Arsenios the Great as his tutor (see May 8th); Arcadios was a man of weak character and much under the influence of his wife Evdoxia. The zealous and upright Chrysostom’s unsparing censures of the lax morals in the imperial city stung the vain Evdoxia, through Theophilos’ plottings and her collaboration, Saint John was banished to Pontos in 403 A.D. The people were in an uproar, and the following night an earthquake shook the city; this so frightened the Empress Evdoxia that she begged Arcadios 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 (Saint Sophia) in September of 403 A.D. and had dedicated with much unseemly revelry, Saint John thundered against her, and she could not forgive him. In June of 404 A.D., he was exiled to Cucusus, on the borders of Cilicia and Armenia. From here he exchanged letters with Pope Innocent of Rome, who sent bishops and priests to Constantinople requesting that a council be held. Saint John’s enemies, dreading his return, prevailed upon the Emperor to see an insult in this and had John taken to a more remote place of banishment called Pityus near the Caucasus. The journey was filled with bitter sufferings for the aged bishop, both because of the harshness of the elements and the cruelty of one of his guards. He did not reach Pityus, but gave up his soul to the Lord near Comana in Pontus, at the chapel of the Martyr Vasiliscos (see May 22nd), who had appeared to him shortly before, foretelling the day of his death, which came to pass on September 14, 407 A.D. His last words were "GLORY BE TO GOD FOR ALL THINGS" ("Δόξα Σοι ο Θεός, πάντων ένεκεν!") His holy relics were brought from Comana to Constantinople thirty-one years later by the Emperor Theodosios the Younger and Saint Pulcheria his sister, the children of2 Arcadios and Evdoxia, with fervent supplications that the sin of their parents against him be forgiven; this return of his holy relics is celebrated on January 17th.
Saint John was surnamed Chrysostomos ("Golden-mouth") because of his eloquence. He made exhaustive commentaries on the Holy Scripture and was the author of more works than any other Church Holy Father, leaving us complete commentaries on the Book of Genesis, the Gospels of Saint Matthew and John, the Acts of the Apostles, and all the Epistles of Saint Paul. His extant works are 1, 447 sermons and 240 epistles (letters). Twenty-two teachers, of the Church have written homilies of praise in his honor. Besides his feasts today, November 13th, and on January 17th, he is celebrated as one of the Three Hierarchs on January 30th, together with Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Theologian. (Source: The Great Horologion)
[ It should be noted that, because September 14th is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Saint's memory has been transferred to November 13th.]
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of Saint John Chrysostomos. Plagal of Fourth Tone
GRACE shining forth from thy mouth like a beacon hath illumined
the universe, and disclosed to the world treasures of uncovetousness,
and shown us the heights of humility; but whilst instructing us by
thy words, O Fathr John Chrysostomos, intercede with the Word,
Christ our God, to save our souls.
Kontakion Hymn. Plagal of Second Tone
FROM the Heavens hast thou received divine grace, and by thy lips
thou dost teach all to worship the One God in Trinity, O John
Chrysostomos, all-blessed righteous one. Rightly do we acclaim thee,
for thou art teacher revealing things Divine.
"Glory Be To GOD
– Sain John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George