John Chrysostom is one of the most popular figures in the early church. He was known as the “golden-mouthed” because of his majestic oratory. He become the Bishop of Constantinople, the most powerful city in the empire at that time. He was drawn to the ascetic life for a time, so this shaped his teaching and preaching. In fact, although beloved for his homilies, it was his preaching that got him in trouble with the authorities of the city and eventually exiled from his office.
Chrysostom wrote many homilies. He wrote much commentary on Scripture. He seemed to support the poor and disenfranchised. Sadly, some of his preaching seems overbearing and harsh toward women and Jews, but overall he left a positive reputation on the memory of most Christians.
I found his work On the Priesthood to be quite encouraging, especially as one who sees too many people who think the pastorate is a place for religious celebrities, rather than servants of the church. He reminded priests/pastors that they care for souls and that this is no task for the flippant. I admit, any friend of mine who tells me they want to pastor is likely to receive my recommendation of this book.
Lastly, if I remember correctly Chrysostom influenced the liturgy of the church. I don’t know the details, but I know he did! What else should I know about Chrysostom?
See my other posts wherein I prepare for my Th.M. oral defense:
If you’d like to discuss Origen of Alexandria and Irenaeus of Lyons, go here.
If you’d like to discuss Athanasius of Alexandria, go here.
If you’d like to discuss Basil the Great, go here.
If you’d like to discuss Gregory of Nazianzus, go here.
If you’d like to discuss Gregory of Nyssa, go here.
In my WordPress feed, the above picture of John C. is massive; his bulging cranium expands across the monitor like an infant star. I am caught in the surreal orbit of his gaze, slowly spinning into an infinite blackness of hollow unknowing.
What should you know about Chrysostom? Unable to answer your question, I can only stare slackjawed as his gaunt cheeks become my strange new reality, a hypnotic waking nightmare. The Golden Mouth gobbles my soul…
In all seriousness, and aside from the terrifying icon above (seriously folks – click it twice), John’s theology of marriage is interesting, both as an example of an individual’s theological evolution over the course of a career, and for (later in his ministry) its frank and evocative theologizings on marital love. The idea that the child is physical proof of his or her parents spiritual unity (“one flesh of purest gold”) is particularly memorable for me.
Brief article on this here: http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=21-01-022-f
Chrysostom does have a large, scary cranium! Thank you for sharing the article. I’ll take a look at it.
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