Our Patron — Saint John Chrysostom

Feast Day: 13 November

Troparion of Saint John Chrysostom – Tone 8

The grace shinning forth from your mouth like a torch has enlightened the universe; * it has stored up in the world the treasure of disdain for wealth. * It has shown us the heights of humility. * Instruct us by your words, John Chrysostom our father, * and intercede with the Word, Christ God, to save our souls.

Kontakion of Saint John Chrysostom – Tone 6

You have received divine grace from heaven * and with your lips you teach all how to worship * one God in the Trinity, * most blessed venerable John Chrysostom. * It is fitting that we praise you; * for you are the teacher who reveals the divine.

 

A Brief Biography

Our heavenly patron is Saint John Chrysostom, one of the most renowned Eastern Fathers of the both the Catholic and Orthodox Church. He was born in Antioch about the year 354 AD. His father was a wealthy grand lord who died when Saint John was in his early childhood. His widowed mother dedicated her whole life towards the proper education of the child destined to become a famous prelate of Holy Mother Church.

Having received his education from pagan educators, Saint John entered public life and, like the youth of his day, he was attracted by public entertainments, games, etc.

But these enjoyments did not satisfy his immortal soul, which was created to know the Truth. Therefore, he quickly changed his mode of living, and undertook the study of Holy Scriptures. He chose saintly people for his friends. Filled with a deep love for God, he spent most of his time in prayers and meditation. At the age of twenty-five Saint John received the Mystery of Baptism and from that time on he resolved to live a life worth of the Christian name.

Upon the death of his mother, Saint John distributed his entire wealth among the poor, liberated his servants, and dedicated his like to monasticism. The news of his charitable deeds, accentuated by his virtuous living, was quickly spread far and wide. There were some who wanted him to be bishop. Having heard of this movement, he retired to a monastery in a neighboring mountain where he endured many hardships, performing difficult tasks, praying and fasting continuously. Even there, people who wanted instructions visited him. The ill asked him to beseech God to cure them. To those who were being cured, Saint John would say: “If you believe with your entire soul that God can help you get well and you will leave behind your evil deeds, you will, indeed, see the glory of God.”

The strict, ascetic living so sapped his strength that Saint John was forced to return to Antioch. Saint Meletius, bishop of Antioch, soon conferred upon him the diaconate. Five years later, Bishop Flavius ordained him to the Holy Presbyterate.

For twenty years he performed his priestly duties at the Antioch church in a very exemplary manner. The effect of his homilies was everywhere marvelous. He was very urgent that his parishioners should frequent the Holy Sacrifice, and – in order to remove all excuse – he abbreviated the Anaphora of Saint Basil the Great to the liturgy bearing his name, and now celebrated, with few exceptions, on practically every Sunday and Holy Day of the Church Calendar.

At first, the average parishioners who had little, if any education did not easily understand his homilies. After completing one of his earlier homilies, Saint John was astounded to hear an old lady say: “Dear Spiritual Father John, yours is a golden mouth; your education is penetrating and profound, but our weak minds can not comprehend what you preach.” The parishioners began to call him “Golden-mouthed” or Chrysostom, and Saint John started to preach homilies that were easily understood by all.

In the year 398, although he did not eek the honor, Saint John Chrysostom was consecrated Archbishop of Constantinople. Saint Nilus of Sinai related that Saint John was wont to see, when the priest began the Holy Sacrifice of the Liturgy, “Many of the blessed ones coming down from Heaven in shining garments, and with bare feet, eyes intent, and bowed heads, in utter stillness and silence, assisting at the consummation of the tremendous mystery.”

Beloved as Saint John Chrysostom was in Constantinople, his denunciation of vice made him numerous enemies, one of whom was Queen Eudoxia. In 403, the enemies procured his banishment, and although he was almost immediately recalled, it was not more than a reprieve. In 404 he was banished to the deserts of Taurus. Three year later, his impatient enemies hurried him off to Pytius on the Euxine, a rough journey of almost 400 miles. He was assiduously exposed to many hardships: coldness, wetness and semi-starvation, but nothing was able to subdue his cheerfulness and his consideration for others.

On the 400-mile journey his sickness increased, and he was warned that his death was near. Thereupon, exchanging his travel-stained clothes for white garments, he received Sacred Host, and with his customary words “Glory to God for all things. Amen.” Saint John Chrysostom – our patron – passed into Christ.

May our Heavenly Patron pray before the throne of God for all members of our parish, under whose patronage we abide.

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