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John Chrysostom

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[[Image:John Chrysostom Russianenthroned.jpg|right|framethumb|250px|Russian icon of St. John Chrysostomenthroned]]Our father among the saints '''John Chrysostom''' (347-407), [[Archbishop]] of Constantinople, was a notable Christian [[bishop]] and preacher from the fourth and fifth centuries in Syria and Constantinople. He is famous for his eloquence in public speaking, his [[philanthropy]], his denunciation of abuse of authority in the Church and in the [[Roman Empire]] of the time, and for a [[divine liturgyDivine Liturgy]] attributed to him. He had notable [[asceticism|ascetic]] sensibilities. After his death he was named '''Chrysostom''', which comes from the Greek Χρυσόστομος, "golden-mouthed." The [[Orthodox Church]] honors him as a [[saint]] ([[feast day]], [[November 13]]) and counts him among the [[Three Holy Hierarchs]] (feast day, [[January 30]]), together with Saints [[Basil the Great]] and [[Gregory the Theologian]]. He Another feast day associated with him is [[January 27]], which commemorates the event in 437, thirty years after the saint's repose, when his [[relics]] were brought back to Constantinople from the place of his death. John Chrysostom is also recognized by the [[Roman Catholic Church]], which considers him a saint and Doctor of the Church, and by the [[Church of England]], both of whom commemorate him on [[September 13]]. His [[relics]] were stolen from Constantinople by Crusaders crusaders in 1204 (commemorated on [[January 27]]) and brought to Rome, but were returned on [[November 27]], 2004, by [[Pope]] [[John Paul II]].
He is sometimes referred to as "[[John of Antioch]]," but that name more properly refers to the bishop of Antioch in A.D. 429-441, who led a group of moderate Eastern bishops in the [[Nestorianism|Nestorian]] controversy.
==Quotes==
"In the matter of piety, poverty serves us better than wealth, and work better than idleness, especially since wealth becomes an obstacle even for those who do not devote themselves to it. Yet, when we must put aside our wrath, quench our envy, soften our anger, offer our prayers, and show a disposition which is reasonable, mild, kindly, and loving, how could poverty stand in our way? For we accomplish these things not by spending money but by making the correct choice. [[Almsgiving ]] above all else requires money, but even this shines with a brighter luster when the [[alms ]] are given from our poverty. The widow who paid in the two mites was poorer than any human, but she outdid them all."
"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 autority 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."
"Why do you beat the air and run in vain? Every occupation has a purpose, obviously. Tell me then, what is the purpose of all the activity of the world? Answer, I challenge you! It is vanity of vanity: all is vanity."
 
 
'''On Serving the Poor'''
 
“[N]othing is so strong and powerful to extinguish the fire of our sins as [[almsgiving]]. It is greater than all other virtues. It places the lovers of it by the side of the King Himself, and justly. For the effect of virginity, of fasting … is confined to those who practice them, and no other is saved thereby. But [[almsgiving]] extends to all, and embraces the members of Christ, and actions that extend their effects to many are far greater than those which are confined to one. For [[almsgiving]] is the mother of love, of that love, which is the characteristic of Christianity, which is greater than all miracles, by which the disciples of Christ are manifested. It is the medicine of our sins, the cleansing of the filth of our souls, the ladder fixed to heaven; it binds together the body of Christ.” (Homily 6 on Titus)
 
“And well does [Saint Paul] … having made mention of [[almsgiving]], call 'it grace,' now indeed saying, "Moreover, brethren, I make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the Churches of Macedonia;" and now, "they of their own accord, praying us with much entreaty in regard of this grace and fellowship:" and again, "that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you this grace also." For this is a great good and a gift of God; and rightly done assimilates us, so far as may be, unto God; for such an one is in the highest sense a man. . . ''Greater is this gift than to raise the dead.'' For far greater is it to feed Christ when hungry than to raise the dead by the name of Jesus: for in the former case you do good to Christ, in the latter He to you. And the reward surely comes by doing good, not by receiving good. For here indeed, in the case of miracles I mean, you are God's debtor. In that of [[almsgiving]], you have God for a debtor. Now it is [[almsgiving]], when it is done with willingness, when with bountifulness, when you deem yourself not to give but to receive, when done as if you were benefitted, as if gaining and not losing; for so this were not a grace.” (Homily 16 on 2 Corinthians)
 
"Do you wish to see his altar?… This altar is composed of the very members of Christ, and the body of the Lord becomes your altar… venerable because it is itself Christ's body… You venerate the altar of the church when the body of Christ descends there. But you neglect the other who is himself the body of Christ, and remain indifferent to him when he dies of hunger. This altar you can see lying everywhere, in the alleys and in the markets, and you can sacrifice upon it anytime… And as the priest stands, invoking the Spirit, so do you too invoke the Spirit, not by words, but by deeds.” (Homily 20 on 2 Corinthians)
 
“When then you see a poor believer, think that you behold an altar: when you see … a beggar, not only insult him not, but even reverence him.” (Homily 20 on 2 Corinthians)
 
“Because he is a poor man, feed him; because Christ is fed.” (Homily 48 on Matthew)
 
“I beseech you, let us be imitators of Christ: in this regard it is possible to imitate Him: this makes a man like God: this is more than human. Let us hold fast to Mercy: she is the schoolmistress and teacher of that higher Wisdom. He that has learned to show mercy to the distressed, will learn also not to resent injuries; he that has learned this, will be able to do good even to his enemies. Let us learn to feel for the ills our neighbors suffer, and we shall learn to endure the ills they inflict.” (Homily 14 on the Acts of the Apostles)
 
“There is no sin, which [[alms]] cannot cleanse, none, which [[alms]] cannot quench: all sin is beneath this: it is a medicine adapted for every wound.” (Homily 25 on the Acts of the Apostles)
 
“Where [[alms]] are, the devil dares not approach, nor any other evil thing.” (Homily 45 on Acts)
 
“If you ever wish to associate with someone, make sure that you do not give your attention to those who enjoy health and wealth and fame as the world sees it, but take care of those in affliction, in critical circumstances, who are utterly deserted and enjoy no consolation. Put a high value on associating with these, for from them you shall receive much profit, and you will do all for the glory of God. God Himself has said: ‘I am the father of orphans and the protector of widows.’ ” (Baptismal Instructions 6.12)
 
 
'''On Wealth'''
 
“…the rich man did not take Lazarus’ money, but failed to share his own…indeed this also is theft, not to share one’s possessions [with the poor]… For our money is the Lord’s, however we may have gathered it. . . The rich man is a kind of steward of the money which is owed for distribution to the poor… Therefore, let us use our goods sparingly, as belonging to others…How shall we use them sparingly, as belonging to others? When we do not spend beyond our needs, and do not spend for our needs only, but give equal shares into the hands of the poor.” (Second sermon on Lazarus and the rich man)
 
“[[Charity]] is so called because we give it even to the unworthy.” (Second sermon on Lazarus and the rich man)
 
“The poor man has one plea, his want and his standing in need: do not require anything else from him; but even if he is the most wicked of all men and is at a loss for his necessary sustenance, let us free him from hunger.” (Second sermon on Lazarus and the rich man)
 
“The [[almsgiver]] is a harbor for those in necessity: a harbor receives all who have encountered shipwreck, and frees them from danger; whether they are bad or good or whatever they are who are in danger, it escorts them into his own shelter. So you likewise, when you see on earth the man who has encountered the shipwreck of poverty, do not judge him, do not seek an account of his life, but free him from his misfortune.” (Second sermon on Lazarus and the rich man)
 
“Need alone is a poor man’s worthiness… We show mercy on him not because of his virtue but because of his misfortune, in order that we ourselves may receive from the Master His great mercy, in order that we ourselves, unworthy as we are, may enjoy His [[philanthropy]]. For if we were going to investigate the worthiness of our fellow servants, and inquire exactly, God will do the same for us. If we seek to require an accounting from our fellow servants, we ourselves will lose the [[philanthropy]] from above: ‘For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged,’ He says” (Matthew 7:2). (Second sermon on Lazarus and the rich man)
 
“Not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth, but theirs. If we have this attitude, we will certainly offer our money; and by nourishing Christ in poverty here and laying up great profit hereafter, we will be able to attain the good things which are to come, by the grace and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Second sermon on Lazarus and the rich man)
 
“I do not despise anyone; even if he is only one, he is a human being, the living creature for whom God cares. Even if he is a slave, I may not despise him; I am not interested in … his condition as master or slave, but his soul. Even if he is only one, he is a human being, for whom the heaven was stretched out, the sun appears, the moon changes, the air was poured out, the springs gush forth, the sea was spread out, the prophets were sent, the law was given—and why should I mention all these?—for whom the only-begotten Son of God became man. My Master was slain and poured out His blood for this man. Shall I despise him?” (Sixth sermon on Lazarus and the rich man)
 
“Wealth will be good for its possessor if he does not spend it only on luxury…; if he enjoys luxury in moderation and distributes the rest to the stomachs of the poor, then wealth is a good thing.” (Seventh sermon on Lazarus and the rich man)
 
=== The ''Homilies against the Judaizers'' ===
Chrysostom wrote of the [[Judaism|Jews]] and of Judaizers in [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/chrysostom-jews6.html eight homilies ''Adversus Judaeos'' (against the Judaizers)].<ref>"This [Adversus Iudaeos] is the Latin translation of the title given to the homilies in PG 48.843. The Benedictine editor, Montfaucon, gives a footnote (reprinted ibid.) which states that six MSS and [Henry] Savile [in his edition (1612) of Chrysostom] have at the head of this homily: "A discourse against the Jews; but it was delivered against those who were Judaizing and keeping the fasts with them [i.e., the Jews]." This note is not altogether accurate because Savile, for Hom. 27 of Vol. 6 (which is Disc. I among the Adversus Iudaeos in PG and in this translation), gives (p. 366) the title: "Chrysostom's Discourse Against Those Who Are Judaizing and Observing Their Fasts." In Vol. 8 (col. 798) Savile states that he has emended Hoeschel's edition of this homily with the help of two Oxford MSS, one from the Corpus Christi College and the other from the New College; he must have gotten his title from any or all of these sources. Savile gives all eight of the homilies Adverus Iudaeos (Vol. 6.312-88) but in the order IV-VIII (wich are entitled Kata Ioudaion, i.e. Adversus Iudaeos), I (with the title given above), III and II (with the title affixed to them in our translation). Because of the titles in both some MSS and editions and because of the arguments which will be set forth in this introduction, we feel justified in calling this work AgainstJudaizing Christians rather than giving it the less irenic and somewhat misleading traditional title Against the Jews." ''John Chrysostom, Discourses against Judaizing Christians'', translated by Paul W. Harkins. ''The Fathers of the Church''; v. 68 (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1979), p. xxxi, footnote 47</ref> At the time he delivered these sermons, Chrysostom was a tonsured reader and had not yet been ordained a priest or bishop.
* "The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews are soon to march upon us one after the other and in quick succession: the feast of Trumpets, the feast of Tabernacles, the [[fast]]s. There are many in our ranks who say they think as we do. Yet some of these are going to watch the festivals and others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts. I wish to drive this perverse custom from the Church right now." (Homily I, I, 5)
== Work on liturgy ==
[[Image:John Chrysostom enthronedRussian.jpg|right|thumb|250pxframe|Russian icon of St. John enthronedChrysostom]]
Two of his writings deserve special mention. He harmonized the liturgical life of the Church by revising the [[prayer]]s and [[rubrics]] of the [[Divine Liturgy]], or celebration of the Holy [[Eucharist]]. To this day, the [[Orthodox Church]] typically celebrates the Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom, together with [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] churches that are in the Eastern or Byzantine rites (i.e., [[Uniate]]s). These same churches also read his [[Paschal Homily]] at every [[Pascha]], the greatest feast of the [[Church]] year.
:Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon has enlightened the universe.
:It has shown to the world the riches of riches poverty;
:it has revealed to us the heights of humility.
:Teaching us by your words, O Father John Chrysostom,
* Robert Van de Weyer, ''On Living Simply: The Golden Voice of John Chrysostom'' (Triumph Books, 1997) (ISBN 0764800566)
* Holy Apostles Convent, ''The Lives of the Three Great Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom'' (Holy Apostles Convent Pubns, 2001) (ISBN 0944359116)
 
==See also==
*[[Philanthropy]]
*[[Almsgiving]]
== External links ==
[[ar:يوحنا الذهبي الفم]]
[[el:Ιωάννης ο Χρυσόστομος]]
[[fr:Jean Chrysostome]]
[[mk:Свети Јован Златоуст]]
[[pt:João, o Crisóstomo]]
[[ro:Ioan Gură de Aur]]
[[ru:Иоанн Златоуст]]
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