Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Crysostom (347–407)

The western church celibrates sept. 13th, the eastern church January 27th.

John's was raised by a very pius mother after the death of his father. He was well educated. He studied rhetoric under Libanius, one of the most famous orators of his day. John was a monk, preacher and priest in Syria for more than a dozen years. While there he developed a stomach ailment that troubled him the rest of his life.
He is famous for eloquence in public speaking and his denunciation of abuse of authority in the Church and in the Roman Empire of the time. His sermons were always on point, explained the Scriptures with clarity, and sometimes went on for hours. He reluctantly became bishop of Constantinople in 398, a move that involved him in imperial politics.

He criticical of the rich for not sharing their wealth. Fought to reform the clergy. Prevented the sale of ecclesiastical offices, called for fidelity in marriage, and encouraged the practice of justice and charity.

His pionted preaching eventually caused nobles and bishops to work to remove him from his diocese. He was twice exiled from his diocese. He was eventually banished to Pythius, and died on the way.

He is most noted as the Archbishop and Patriarch of Constantinople. He revised the Greek Liturgy. After his death he was named Chrysostom, which comes from the Greek Χρυσόστομος, "golden-mouthed.

His writings deserve special mention. He harmonized the liturgical life of the Church by revising the prayers and rubrics of the Divine Liturgy. To this day, the Orthodox Church typically celebrates the Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom. This same community also read his Paschal Homily at Easter.
The Orthodox Church counts him among the Three Holy Hierarchs together with Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian.


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