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Newsletter: The Feast of the Golden-Mouthed Father of the Church

“The greatest of the Greek Fathers, St. John Chrysostom, is remembered on September 13, a man celebrated for his preaching and his orthodoxy”

September 13 – St. John Chrysostom

September 13th is the feast day of St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, Father of the Greek Church, and considered to be the greatest preacher ever heard. St. John was dubbed with the name “Chrysostom” some decades after his death, during the papacy of Pope Vigilius in year 553.
The term means “Golden Mouthed” and was applied to St. John because of his eloquence in giving homilies and writing letters. The Great Liturgy which he codified, and which is named after him, is still the primary Eucharistic Liturgy in both the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
The saint was born in Antioch; his father died when he was young and the boy was raised by a pious mother. He was well educated and studied under Libanius, considered one of the greatest orators of the time. Around the age of 20, after meeting the bishop Meletius, he began to move away from classical studies to study scripture. In a few years he was ordained a lector (in the Greek and other Eastern churches, a minor order preparatory to the diaconate) and after some time lived withdrawn in a cave near Antioch for 4 years. He then
returned to Antioch because of his health, where he was in time, ordained a deacon, and later priest.
As a priest in Antioch, John’s chief task was preaching and his education had prepared him well for speaking. His homilies were always on point and explained scriptures with great clarity. He encouraged justice, prayer, fidelity in marriage, and charity, among other moral things. His preaching was so highly regarded that he was well-known not only in Antioch but in areas throughout the Byzantine empire. Upon the death of Nectarius, John was appointed bishop at Constantinople. He reformed Greek liturgy and preached, as he had as a priest, against extravagance. His homilies were upsetting to many nobles and bishops who succeeded in banishing him to Pythius; John died on his way there. He died in the year 407 and many of his homilies have been well preserved, their eloquence and truth as relevant today as ever.
Adapted from the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia entry on St. John
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Interested in Eastern Catholicism, or want to know more about this branch of the Catholic Church? Our Eastern Catholicism specialty page has links to resource sites about it, as well as all our Eastern Catholic related items such as icons, three bar crosses, and books on the subject. Visit the specialty page here
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Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.
Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving his own “to the end,” he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.”
Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.” The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.
The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: “charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
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Watch the stories of your favorite saints with DVDs from our Saints and Jesus DVDs section. From St. Bernadette of Lourdes to St. John Bosco to St. Paul the Apostle, there is a great selection of DVDs about saints from which to choose.

Let Us Pray

Dear Saint John, your oratorical gifts inspired thousands and earned you the name “golden-mouthed.” Continue to inspire Christians through your writings and grant us a rebirth of Christian preaching for the spiritual renewal of the Church. Obtain from God preachers like yourself who, animated by the Holy Spirit, deserve to be called other Christs and forcefully preach the Good News.


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