St John Chrysostom on the necessity of Christian love, a shining lamp to the world

“There is nothing colder than a Christian who is not concerned about the salvation of others . . . . Do not say, ‘I cannot help others’: for if you are truly a Christian it is impossible not to help others.

Natural objects have properties that cannot be denied; the same is true of what I have just said, because it is the nature of a Christian to act in that way. Do not offend God by deception. If you said that the sun cannot shine, you would be committing an offense against God and making a liar of Him.

It is easier for the sinner to shine or give warmth than for a Christian to cease to give light: it is easier for that to happen than for light to become darkness.

Do not say that that is impossible: what is impossible is the contrary . . . If we behave in the correct way, everything else will follow as a natural consequence.

The light of Christians cannot be hidden, a lamp shining so brightly cannot be hidden.’

-St. John Chrysostom (347-407), archbishop and Patriarch of Constantinople

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The Eastern Orthodox and Eastern-rite Catholic Churches venerate St John as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, while in the Roman Catholic Church he is revered as a great Doctor of the Church. During his tumultuous tenure as Patriarch of Constantinople, he ran afoul of the Empress Eudoxia after criticizing her for her vanity, haughtiness and indifference to the plight of the city’s poor. He offended the imperial capital’s wealthy political elites by turning over their lavish gifts to him to the poor and exhorting them to repent of their dissolute lifestyles. Extremely eloquent and persuasive as a preacher, he earned his epithet meaning “the golden mouthed” from his numerous homilies and his masterful writings as a practiced ascetic and theologian. He is the principal author of the Divine Liturgy which bears his name. The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is the most widely used liturgical form in the world today following the Novus Ordo ‘ordinary form’ of the Roman Catholic Mass, and among both Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, this Byzantine liturgical form is the most widely celebrated.

The ocean of God’s mercy

“We should often, if not daily, examine our souls, and repent of the sins that we find there.” – St Mark the Ascetic

“Let none fear death, for the death of the Saviour has set us free!” – St John Chrysostom

When compared to God’s love for us, our many sins are but rain drops disappearing into the infinite ocean of His mercy.

In baptism, we enter the Christian life through water, as the waves of faith and God’s grace wash over us, embracing us in the sea of His eternal love, pulling us on the tide of our mortal life toward the promise of eternal life with Him.

When we repent, our turning away from sinful paths often manifests physically in the shedding of heartfelt tears as the soul is pierced by the love of her Creator. Just as the ocean of God’s mercy envelops and blots out all our sins, so too are our tear drops of repentance washed away through the cleansing pool of His grace in genuine confession, by which, in obedience to the grace and direction of the Holy Spirit, we may continually be renewed, strengthened, transformed and made righteous anew.

In Christ, the sunrise is a metaphor for both birth, one’s physical entry into this world to begin this transitory life, and for the crowning sun of entry into eternal life through the body’s physical death. Likewise, the sunset heralds both the declining years of one’s human life, and the hopeful approach of life eternal beyond the ‘night’ of the grave.

When, at the end of this transitory life, we have shed countless tears, some of bitterness or despair, many more of repentance, humility and joy, we will then more fully discern the depth of God’s infinite grace and mercy for us. When we have been transformed through God’s grace and our ever-deepening faith, when we have poured out oceans of love for our Creator and all His creation, we feel called to return to His infinite, loving embrace. With radiant faces, joyous hearts, and illumined souls, those made righteous by grace, in faith, fall once more into this infinite ocean, entering unto eternal life as peacefully as gentle raindrops falling into the sea.

“As a handful of sand is thrown into the ocean, so are the sins of all flesh as compared with the mind of God. Just as a strongly flowing fountain is not blocked up by a handful of earth, so the compassion of the Creator is not overcome by the sins of His creatures. Someone who bears a grudge while he prays is like a person who sows in the sea and expects to reap a harvest.”
St. Isaac the Syrian (d. c. 700)

In Christ is our hope, our joy, our life- in this world and the next- and our very salvation- mystical and personal union with Him by the grace and power of His Holy Spirit!

On the power and selfless bonds of friendship

To have a friend is to have another self; it is concord and harmony, which nothing can equal.

In this,one is the equivalent of many. For if two, or ten, are united, none of them is merely one any longer, but each of them has the ability and value of ten; and you will find the one on the ten, and the ten in the one. If they have an enemy, attacking not one, but ten, he is defeated, for he is struck, not by one, but by ten .

Has one fallen into want? Still he is not desolate; for he prospers in his greater part; that is to say in the nine, and the needy part is protected; that is, the smaller part by that which prospers.

Each one of them has twenty hands, and twenty eyes, and as many feet. For he sees not with his own eyes alone, but with those of others; he walks not with his own feet, but with those of others; he works not with his own hands, but with those of others. He has ten souls, for he alone is not concerned about himself, but those other nine souls are concerned about him.

And if they are a hundred, the same thing will take place again, power will be increased.

-St Anthusa, the mother of St John Chrysostom, in a letter to her son, “On Ideal Friendship”

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The Eastern Orthodox and Eastern-rite Catholic Churches venerate St John (lived 347-407) as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, while in the Roman Catholic Church he is revered as a great Doctor of the Church. During his tumultuous tenure as Patriarch of Constantinople, he ran afoul of the Empress Eudoxia after criticizing her for her vanity, haughtiness and indifference to the plight of the city’s poor. He offended the imperial capital’s wealthy political elites by turning over their lavish gifts to him to the poor and exhorting them to repent of their dissolute lifestyles.
Extremely eloquent and persuasive as a preacher, he earned his epithet meaning “the golden mouthed” from his numerous homilies and his masterful writings as a practiced ascetic and leading theologian. He is the principal author of the Divine Liturgy which bears his name. The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is the most widely used liturgical form in the world today following the Novus Ordo ‘ordinary form’ of the Roman Mass. Among both Eastern Orthodox and Eastern-rite Catholics, this Byzantine liturgical form is the most widely celebrated.

On genuine friendship

“For what would a genuine friend not do? What pleasure would he not create for us? What benefit? What safety? Though you were to name a thousand treasures, there is nothing comparable to a real friend.”

-St Anthusa, mother of St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (d. 407), in a letter to her son, “On Ideal Friendship”.

St John Chrysostom on prayer

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“Prayer is a great weapon, a rich treasure, a wealth that is never exhausted, an undisturbed refuge, a cause of tranquility, the root of a multitude of blessings and their source.”

-St. John Chrysostom, d. 407.

The Eastern Orthodox and Eastern-rite Catholic Churches venerate St John as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, while in the Roman Catholic Church he is revered as a great Doctor of the Church. During his tumultuous tenure as Patriarch of Constantinople, he ran afoul of the Empress Eudoxia after criticizing her for her vanity, haughtiness and indifference to the plight of the city’s poor. He offended the imperial capital’s wealthy political elites by turning over their lavish gifts to him to the poor and exhorting them to repent of their dissolute lifestyles. Extremely eloquent and persuasive as a preacher, he earned his epithet meaning “the golden mouthed” from his numerous homilies and his masterful writings as a practiced ascetic and theologian. He is the principal author of the Divine Liturgy which bears his name. The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is the most widely used liturgical form in the world today following the Novus Ordo ‘ordinary form’ of the Roman Catholic Mass, and among both Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, this Byzantine liturgical form is the most widely celebrated.

“Put on the mildness of angels. . .”

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Let’s stop fighting and pray in a becoming way. We should put on the mildness of angels instead of the demons’ brutality.

No matter how we’ve been injured, we must soften our anger by considering our own case and our salvation.

Let us quiet the storms; we can pass through life calmly. Then, upon our departing, the Lord will treat us as we treated our neighbours. If this is a heavy, terrible thing to us, we must let Him make it light and desirable.

What we don’t have strength to carry out because of our struggle against sin, let us accomplish by becoming gentle to those who sinned against us.

-St. John Chrysostom

Remembering God’s loving mercy

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‘”Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God’s mercy and his love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.”

– St John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (AD 347-407)

St John Chrysostom, Great Hierarch of the Church: John, originally from Antioch, received the epithet “golden-mouthed” for his renown as a preacher. He died c. 404-407 after serving as Patriarch and Archbishop of Constantinople, during which time he famously castigated the Empress Eudoxia for commissioning a large public statue of herself and her extravagant dress. St. John stressed the need for active Christian charity to the poor and eschewed hosting formal and lavish dinners at his patriarchal residence, making him beloved of the common people of Constantinople but despised by the ruling elite. He was one of the most renowned early Church Fathers for his writings on the Divine Liturgy, repentance, faith, fasting and ascetic discipline, and prayer.