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The Life of St. John Chrysostom | The Archbishop of Constantinople

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The enlightener and teacher of the world, the pillar, and strength of the Church are known through his life, which is the life of St. John Chrysostom. This preacher of repentance, John Chrysostom was born in Antioch, Syria, to unbelieving parents. Who held the Hellenistic faith, but were glorious and rich. His father was a king servant named Secundus, and his mother, Anza.

The life of st. John Chrysostom was mirrored in his devotion to the holy scriptures, and his whole mind was directed to it, to teach the people in the church and to bring sinners to repentance.

When he came of age, he was given by his parents the teaching of Hellenistic wisdom. To Albania the sophist, and andagratia the philosopher. And being still young, he began to understand better than the elders, the holy spirit understanding him. For he, knowing the ae true God, the creator of all, rejected the Hellenistic faith. And, running to the holiest meletius, who was then pastor of the church of Antioch. Received from him holy baptism.

At what age did John Chrysostom go to Athens?

After receiving holy baptism, the viceroy Secundus, having lived not long, went to the lord for a better life. And Santuzza, the mother of st. John became a widow at a very young age. Less than twenty years after her birth.

Saint John, having reached the age of eighteen, went to Athens. And in a short time, he overcame with wisdom those older than himself. And many philosophers were there. For he, having received all the Hellenic teachings. It made him a chosen philosopher and orator of preachy words.

In Athens, he had against him a philosopher by the name of the antivirus. A very zavistine, who, pitying his greatness, did not love him. But railed against him, speaking evil of him. This philosopher st. John overcame before all with wisdom. And God-breathed words then brought him to faith in Christ, and in this way. Together with him, many others.

Who raised John?

This great and famous teacher of the world was most likely born in 354 in the city of Antioch in Syria into a noble Christian family. 

Orphaned, st John was brought up by his mother who, although widowed at the age of 20, did not remarry but devoted herself entirely to the education of her two children.

Thus young John received a select education in the most famous schools. With famous teachers: the rhetor libations and the philosopher andragatius. After completing his studies, at the age of 18. He devoted himself to the study of holy scripture and prayer.

When did John become archbishop of Constantinople?

In 397, when the nectarines, archbishop of Constantinople, died. Although there were many contenders for the episcopal chair. Including a priest Isidor, supported by Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, and God-ordained st john Chrysostom to the dignity. His election was at the suggestion of neutrophils, the first minister of emperor Arcadius. Who ordered that the priest john be brought from Antioch and consecrated bishop.

The ordination of st John as archbishop of Constantinople took place on 17 December 397 and his enthronement on 28 February 398.

The new bishop of Constantinople carried out intense missionary activity. And work to correct the morals and vices of his time. The saint had special care for the poor and powerless. Feeding the needy and widows from church funds. He built hospitals for the sick, and shelters for the elderly and the poor. He systematically organized social welfare work.

The Life of St. John Chrysostom

What else did st John Chrysostom do?

Even though the life of St. John Chrysostom was on the highest rung of the hierarchy, st John remained humble. And prayerful monk, self-controlled, eating little barley bread and drinking only water. He also slept little and not on his bed, and he denied himself harshly.

In addition to his social work, St John Chrysostom also carried out rich missionary work: he brought many of the goths living around Constantinople to orthodoxy. And gave them a church in which to serve. Ordained priests from among the goths, and ordered church services. And sermons be conducted in the gothic language.

He sent monks to spread Christianity in Scythia, Persia, and Phoenicia. Although this work was time-consuming. The saint still found the resources to preach and write. St John was concerned for the correction of the people of the church. Loving the worthy and rebuking and guiding others to correction.

Primary Takeaways

  • He was particularly concerned with the interpretation of Holy Scripture, his work being a true practical gospel.
  • Exhausted by sickness and weakness, in terrible heat, in July 407, escorted by soldiers, Saint John had to God the road of his last exile. 
  • The saint entered the church, celebrated the holy mass, and received the holy sacraments. Then he thanked God, gave the last kiss to those near him, and went to bed saying: “Glory to God for everything!”. After making the sign of the holy cross and saying the word “amen”, he gave up his soul.


In honor of St John Chrysostom, the Orthodox Church has appointed several days of commemoration: 13 November, to commemorate the saint’s passing to the Lord; 15 December, to commemorate his ordination as Archbishop of Constantinople; 27 January, to commemorate the bringing of the relics of St John Chrysostom to Constantinople; 30 January, to commemorate his memory along with two other great teachers of the Church: St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianz.

For the beauty and brilliance of his words, St John was called by his contemporaries ‘Hrisoroas’, meaning ‘river in whose waves flows gold’. A century later, he was given the nickname “Hrisostom”, meaning “Golden Mouth“.