He was born in Antioch of noble parents: his father was a high-ranking military officer. His father died soon after his birth and so he was brought up by his mother Anthusa. He was [[baptism|baptized]] in 370 and [[tonsure]]d a [[reader]] (one of the [[minor orders]] of the Church). He began his education under a [[paganism|pagan]] teacher named Libanius, but went on to study [[theology]] under [[Diodore of Tarsus]] (one of the leaders of the later [[Antiochian School]]) while practising extreme asceticism. He was not satisfied, however, and became a [[hermit]] (circa 375) and remained so until poor health forced a return to Antioch.
He was then [[ordination|ordained]] a [[deacon]] in 381 by St. [[Meletius of Antioch]], and was ordained a [[presbyter]] in 386 by Bishop [[Flavian I of Antioch]]. It seems this was the happiest period of his life. Over about twelve years, he gained much popularity for the eloquence of his public speaking. Notable are his insightful expositions of [[Bible]] passages and moral teaching. The most valuable of his works are his ''Homilies'' on various books of the Bible. He particularly emphasized [[almsgiving]]. He was also most concerned with the spiritual and temporal needs of the poor. He spoke out against abuse of wealth and personal property. In many respects, the following he amassed was no surprise. His straightforward understanding of the Scriptures (in contrast to the Alexandrian tendency towards allegorical interpretation) meant that the themes of his talks were eminently social, explaining the Christian's conduct in life.
[[Image:John Chrysostom.jpg|left|thumb|250px|Modern Greek icon]]