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September 13

St John Chrysostom - September 13

Saint John Chrysostom
Bishop of Constantinople
Doctor of the Church
(Around 347 – 407)

“But you, when you see the priest offering the Sacrifice, consider not the priest who is ministering, but the hand of God invisibly outstretched.”

Saint John Chrysostom

His Early Years

John was born around 347 in Antioch in Syria (modern-day Antakya, Hatay, Turkey). He lost his father at a young age and was raised by his devout mother, Anthusa, who instilled in him a deep faith and piety. John received a well-rounded education and studied rhetoric under Libanius, one of the most renowned orators of his time.

Ordained Priest

In 374 upon meeting the holy bishop Meletus, John decided to devote his time to the study of religious works and the Sacred Scriptures. After three years of study, John received Baptism and became a monk joining a community of hermits in the mountains south of Antioch living the ascetic life.

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.

Deacon to Bishop

In 381, John was ordained a deacon. For twelve years afterwards this ordination, he served as a deputy to Bishop Flavian. His powerful sermons gained him significant recognition. His ability to explain the Scriptures with clarity and relevance led to the bestowed title of Chrysostom, meaning “golden-mouthed”.

Upon the death of Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople, John was selected for that see by Emperor Arcadius in 398.

Quickly, John became very popular with his flock through his example of preaching and courage in front of the imperial power, whose corruption and decadence he never shirked from criticizing in public. John fearlessly criticized the wealthy for their failure to share their abundance with the poor. In this position, John 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 emphasized the importance of faithfulness in marriage. John encouraged practices of justice and charity, challenging his listeners to live a more righteous life.

Reformation Attempts

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.

Twice Banished from Constantinople

John’s attitude naturally made an enemies that included the empress, Eudoxia as well as Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, who had him condemned on false charges. 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. So, John was banished from Constantinople to Armenia. Here, John continued to be a great presence in the Church of the East through his many letters. 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.

John 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.

Despite the adversities, John’s spirit remained unbroken, drawing solace and strength akin to his revered apostle, Saint Paul. The Pope’s unwavering support was a source of great consolation to him during these tumultuous times.

A council was called by Pope Innocent and the Emperor Honorius to restore John to his see. However, John’s enemies instead imprisoned the appointed papal legates, and sent him into further exile in Pityus at the eastern end of the Black Sea. John suffered intensely from his forced travel in the scorching heat and wet weather.

His Death

When John 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.

On the next day of his journey, September 14, 407 in Comana in Pontus (at modern Gümenek, Turkey) John died in with the words “Glory to God in all things” on his lips.

In 438, the Emperor Theodosius II of Constantinople had John’s body returned to Constantinople and did penance for the sins of his mother Eudoxia.

John is a Greek Father of the Church and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 451.

Born :                   Around 347 in Antioch in Syria (now Antakya, Hatay, Turkey)

Died:                    September 14, 407 in Comana Pontica (modern-day Gümenek, Tokat, Turkey)

Beatified:            Pre-Congregation

Canonized:         Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          September 13, January 27 (transfer of relics)

Patron Saint:     Against Epilepsy; Constantinople; Exiles; Istanbul, Turkey Lecturers; Orators; Preachers; Public Speakers; Turkey

Source:

Reflection 

Saint John Chysostom’s transition from asceticism to active ministry highlights the importance of balancing contemplation and action in our spiritual lives. His eloquence and ability to communicate complex theological ideas in a way that was accessible and compelling remind us of the power of words. His perseverance through multiple exiles and continued dedication to his mission in the face of persecution inspires us to remain resilient in our own struggles.

How can you today, nurture your spiritual growth through prayer and study while actively engaging in service to others even when faced with opposition?

Prayers

Saint John Chysostom,

You, who eloquently preached the Word of God and used the power of words to enlighten minds and inspire hearts, we seek your intercession today.

Help us to speak with wisdom, clarity, and compassion. May our words always reflect the truth of the Gospel and serve to build up and encourage those around us.

Strengthen us in our own trials, that we may remain steadfast and faithful, trusting that God is with us in every challenge.

Inspire us to nurture our relationship with God through prayer and study, while also actively engaging in works of charity.

Saint John Chysostom, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – 10 Quotes from St. John (Golden-Mouthed) Chrysostom

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 27 January – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Bishop, Confessor, Father and Doctor of the Church

Angelus – Saint of the day: John Chrysostom

Butler’s Lives Of The Saints Complete Edition – St John Chrysostom

Catholic Culture – Memorial of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Catholic Exchange – The Gift of St. John Chrysostom’s Eloquent Teaching

Catholic Fire – St. John Chrysostom, Early Father, Doctor, and Bishop of the Church

Catholic Herald – The saint who spent two years continually standing

Catholic Ireland – Sep 13 – St John Chrysostom (350-407) Bishop, Doctor of the Church

Catholic Lane – St. John Chrysostom

Catholic News Agency – St. John Chrysostom Feast day: September 13

Catholic Online – St. John Chrysostom

CatholicSaints.Info – Book of Saints – John Chrysostom – by Monks of Ramsgate

Daily Prayers – John Chrysostom

Franciscan Media – Saint John Chrysostom

Independent Catholic News – St John Chrystostom

Loyola Press – Saint John Chrysostom Feast day September 13

Melanie Rigney – John Chrysostom

National Catholic Register – St. John Chrysostom and the Plank in Your Eye

New Advent – Baur, C. (1910). St. John Chrysostom. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint John Chrysostom

RC Spirituality (Uncle Eddy) – St. John Chrysostom

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint John Chrysostom’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint John Chrysostom (347-407)

Saint of the Day – September 13 St. John Chrysostom

Saint Peter’s Basilica Info – 106. St. John Chrysostom The 140 Saints of the Colonnade

Salt + Light Media – For me, life means Christ, and death is gain

Sanctoral – Saint John Chrysostom Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church (344-407)

The Saint Challenge – St. John Chrysostom – September 13

uCatholic – Saint John Chrysostom

Video Link

Saint of the Week: St. John Chrysostom – YouTube (The True Enlightenment!)