Saint John Chrysostom (c. 349 – 407), Greek Ioannes Chrysostomos, early Christian theologian, archbishop of Constantinople, saint. "Chrysostom" means "Golden-mouthed", a tribute to his exemplary talent as an orator. He is known for his preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. His writings were originally written in Greek.
- For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious. He both honors the work and praises the intention.
- Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness. Let no one lament their poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free.
- Paschal Homily
- Christ is risen, and you are overthrown! Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen! Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen, and life reigns! Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb! For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that have slept.
- Paschal Homily
- For what advantage is it, that the world enjoys profound peace, if thou art at war with thyself? This then is the peace we should keep. If we have it, nothing from without will be able to harm us. And to this end the public peace contributes no little: whence it is said, ‘That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.’ But if any one is disturbed when there is quiet, he is a miserable creature. Seest thou that He speaks of this peace which I call the third (inner, ed.) kind? Therefore when he has said, ‘that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life,’ he does not stop there, but adds ‘in all godliness and honesty.’ But we cannot live in godliness and honesty, unless that peace be established. For when curious reasonings disturb our faith, what peace is there? or when spirits of uncleanness, what peace is there?
- Homilies on Timothy, Homily VII
- Just as maniacs, who never enjoy tranquility, so also he who is resentful and retains an enemy will never have the enjoyment of any peace; incessantly raging and daily increasing the tempest of his thoughts calling to mind his words and acts, and detesting the very name of him who has aggrieved him. Do you but mention his enemy, he becomes furious at once, and sustains much inward anguish; and should he chance to get only a bare sight of him, he fears and trembles, as if encountering the worst evils, Indeed, if he perceives any of his relations, if but his garment, or his dwelling, or street, he is tormented by the sight of them. For as in the case of those who are beloved, their faces, their garments, their sandals, their houses, or streets, excite us, the instant we behold them; so also should we observe a servant, or friend, or house, or street, or any thing else belonging to those We hate and hold our enemies, we are stung by all these things; and the strokes we endure from the sight of each one of them are frequent and continual. What is the need then of sustaining such a siege, such torment and such punishment? For if hell did not threaten the resentful, yet for the very torment resulting from the thing itself we ought to forgive the offences of those who have aggrieved us. But when deathless punishments remain behind, what can be more senseless than the man, who both here and there brings punishment upon himself, while he thinks to be revenged upon his enemy!
- Homilies on the Statues, Homily XX
- As it is not to be imagined that the fornicator and the blasphemer can partake of the sacred Table, so it is impossible that he who has an enemy, and bears malice, can enjoy the holy Communion.… I forewarn, and testify, and proclaim this with a voice that all may hear! ‘Let no one who hath an enemy draw near the sacred Table, or receive the Lord’s Body! Let no one who draws near have an enemy! Do you have an enemy? Draw not near! Do you wish to draw near? Be reconciled, and then draw near, and touch the Holy Thing!’
- Homilies on the Statues, Homily XX
- We are commanded to have only one enemy, the devil. With him never be reconciled! But with a brother, never be at enmity in thy heart.
- Homilies on the Statues, Homily XX
- For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force...it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have authority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.
- On the Priesthood, Book II
- A servant, indeed, one will be able perhaps to bind down by fear; nay, not even for him, for he will soon leave you. But the partner of one's life, the mother of one's children, the foundation of one's every joy, one ought never to chain down by fear and threats, but with love and good temper. For what sort of union is that, where the wife trembles at her husband? And what sort of pleasure will the husband have if he dwells with his wife as with a slave? Yea, even though you suffer everything on her account, do not scold her; for neither did Christ do this to the Church.
- Homilies on Ephesians, Homily XX
- Do you wish to honor the Body of the Savior? Do not despise it when it is naked. Do not honor it in church with silk vestments while outside it is naked and numb with cold. He who said, “This is my body,” and made it so by his word, is the same that said, “You saw me hungry and you gave me no food. As you did it not to the least of these, you did it not to me.” Honor him then by sharing your property with the poor. For what God needs is not golden chalices but golden souls.
- Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily L
- If you are a Christian, no earthly city is yours. Of our City ‘the Builder and Maker is God.’ Though we may gain possession of the whole world, we are withal but strangers and sojourners in it all. We are enrolled in heaven: our citizenship is there! Let us not, after the manner of little children, despise things that are great, and admire those which are little! Not our city’s greatness, but virtue of soul is our ornament and defence. If you suppose dignity to belong to a city, think how many persons must partake in this dignity, who are whoremongers, effeminate, depraved and full of ten thousand evil things, and at last despise such honour! But that City above is not of this kind; for it is impossible that he can be a partaker of it, who has not exhibited every virtue.
- Homilies on the Statues, Homily XVII
- Beloved, we need much care, much watchfulness, to be able to look into the depth of the Divine Scriptures. For it is not possible to discover their meaning in a careless way, or while we are asleep, but there needs close search, and there needs earnest prayer, that we may be enabled to see some little way into the secrets of the divine oracles.
- Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily XXI
- Is it not excessively ridiculous to seek the good opinion of those whom you would never wish to be like?
- Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily III
- He that practiceth showing mercy to him that needeth, will soon cease from covetousness, he who continues in giving to the poor, will soon cease from anger, and will never even be high-minded. For as the physician continually tending wounded persons is easily sobered, beholding human nature in the calamities of others; so we, if we enter upon the work of aiding the poor, shall easily become truly wise, and shall not admire riches, nor deem present things any great matter, but despise them all, and soaring aloft to heaven, shall easily obtain the eternal blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
- Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, Homily LXXXI
- [T]he Jewish people were driven by their drunkenness and plumpness to the ultimate evil; they kicked about, they failed to accept the yoke of Christ, nor did they pull the plow of his teaching. Another prophet hinted at this when he said: "Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn heifer." … Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: "But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them." (Luke 19:27)
- Eight Homilies Against the Jews, Homily 1
- Nothing is more miserable than those people who never failed to attack their own salvation. When there was need to observe the Law, they trampled it under foot. … On this account Stephen said: "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart, you always resist the Holy Spirit", not only by transgressing the Law but also by wishing to observe it at the wrong time.
- Where dance is, there is the devil.
- Homily on Matt.48.3
- O most grateful burden, which comforts them that carry it! The burdens of earthly masters gradually wear out the strength of those who carry them; but the burden of Christ assists the bearers of it, because we carry not grace, but grace us.
- Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 98
- Yet of old the matter seemed even to be a law, and a certain law-giver among them bade the domestic slaves neither to use ointments when dry (i.e. except in bathing) nor to keep youths, giving the free this place of honor, or rather of shamefulness. Yet they, however, did not think the thing shameful, but as being a grand privilege, and one too great for slaves, the Athenian people, the wisest of people, and Solon who is so great among them, permitted it to the free alone. And sundry other books of the philosophers may one see full of this disease. But we do not therefore say that the thing was made lawful, but that they who received this law were pitiable, and objects for many tears. For these are treated in the same way as women that play the whore. Or rather their plight is more miserable. For in the case of the one the intercourse, even if lawless, is yet according to nature: but this is contrary both to law and nature. For even if there were no hell, and no punishment had been threatened, this were worse than any punishment. Yet if you say they found pleasure in it, you tell me what adds to the vengeance. For suppose I were to see a person running naked, with his body all besmeared with mire, and yet not covering himself, but exulting in it, I should not rejoice with him, but should rather bewail that he did not even perceive that he was doing shamefully.
- But lo! now they that have run into this fury have done more grievously by themselves. For it is not the same thing to change into the nature of women, as to continue a man and yet to have become a woman; or rather neither this nor that. But if you would know the enormity of the evil from other grounds, ask on what account the lawgivers punish them that make men eunuchs, and you will see that it is absolutely for no other reason than because they mutilate nature. And yet the injustice they do is nothing to this. For there have been those that were mutilated and were in many cases useful after their mutilation. But nothing can there be more worthless than a man who has pandered himself. For not the soul only, but the body also of one who has been so treated, is disgraced, and deserves to be driven out everywhere. How many hells shall be enough for such? But if you scoff at hearing of hell and believest not that fire, remember Sodom
Quotes about Chrysostom
A bright, cheerful, gentle soul; a sensitive heart, a temperament open to emotion and impulse; and all this elevated, refined, transformed by the touch of heaven,—such was St. John Chrysostom; winning followers, riveting affections, by his sweetness, frankness, and neglect of self. In his labours, in his preaching, he thought of others only.Newman, John Cardinal, "St. Chrysostom" profile, The Newman Reader, Rambler: 1859 available online (see esp. chapter 2)
His oratorical power was but the instrument, by which he readily, gracefully, adequately expressed,—expressed without effort and with felicity,—the keen feelings, the living ideas, the earnest practical lessons which he had to communicate to his hearers. He spoke, because his heart, his head, were brimful of things to speak about. His elocution corresponded to that strength and flexibility of limb, that quickness of eye, hand, and foot, by which a man excels in manly games or in mechanical skill. It would be a great mistake, in speaking of it, to ask whether it was Attic or Asiatic, terse or flowing, when its distinctive praise was that it was natural. His unrivalled charm, as that of every really eloquent man, lies in his singleness of purpose, his fixed grasp of his aim, his noble earnestness.Newman, John Cardinal, "St. Chrysostom" profile, The Newman Reader, Rambler: 1859 available online (see esp. chapter 2)