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Chrysostom, John

(ca. 345–407). Patriarch of Constantinople. Name Chrysostom (from Gk. chrysostomos, “goldenmouthed”) not applied to him till after his death. Mem. of a rich patrician family; studied rhetoric and philos.; intended to follow law, but turned to the Bible instead, leading the life of a strict ascetic in the first yrs. after his baptism; priest in Antioch 12 yrs.; patriarch of Constantinople 398. Immediately inaugurated needed reforms and laid the foundation for systematic charitable work. But his position became increasingly insecure because of enemies he made by his rigorous rules and fearless attacks on luxury. Under auspices of Eudoxia, Theophilus* of Alexandria assembled the Syn. ad. Quercum* 403 that deposed and banished Chrysostom. After his recall another syn., at Constantinople, again condemned him; banished by force to Asia Minor; died at Comana, Asia Minor, before reaching destination. Fame rests chiefly on his sermons, in which he reached great heights of oratory. Writings may be divided chiefly into homilies, treatises, and letters and include On the Priesthood; On Penance; On Celibacy. See also Acacius of Beroea; Amulets; Agapetae; Doctor of the Church; Fathers of the Church; Patristics, 6.

C. Baur, John Chrysostom and His Time, tr. M. Gonzaga, 2 vols. (Westminster, Maryland, 1959–60); J. A. W. Neander, Der heilige Johannes Chrysostomas und die Kirche, 2 vols., 3d ed., new and improved print. (Berlin, 1858), Vol. I: The Life of St. Chrysostom, tr. J. C. Stapleton (London, 1838); W. R. W. Stephens, Saint John Chrysostom: His Life and Times, 3d ed. (London, 1883). ACR

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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