Born in 349 AD in Antioch, John came from a wealthy family. He received a classical Greek education, studying under the famous pagan rhetorician Libanius. Deeply moved by the Christian faith, John eventually chose a life dedicated to God over a promising secular career.
John initially lived in seclusion in the mountains, embracing an ascetic lifestyle. However, due to health reasons, he returned to Antioch and was ordained a deacon and later a priest. His eloquent sermons attracted vast audiences, ranging from the common folk to the intellectual elite.
In 398 AD, John was consecrated the Archbishop of Constantinople. As archbishop, he initiated significant reforms in the Church, targeting clerical corruption and excesses. His straightforwardness and criticism of the lavish lifestyles of the elite often led to confrontations with the imperial court and other bishops.
Saint John Chrysostom's literary legacy is extensive. His homilies and treatises addressed various theological, moral, and liturgical topics. His commentary on the Pauline epistles and the Gospel of Matthew are particularly revered. Additionally, the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is celebrated by most Orthodox Christian communities on Sundays and significant feast days.
John's outspokenness resulted in multiple exiles. The final and most rigorous exile was imposed in 404 AD, causing his health to deteriorate rapidly. On September 14, 407 AD, while journeying to his designated place of exile, Saint John Chrysostom reposed in the city of Comana. His last words were "Glory to God for all things."
Chrysostom's teachings, writings, and liturgical contributions left an indelible mark on Christianity. His emphasis on social justice, care for the poor, and the centrality of Scripture in the Christian life resonates with believers across generations.
For those interested in exploring more about Orthodox Saints, we invite you to explore our collection here. Discover the inspiring life and works of a saint who greatly impacted Orthodox spiritual life.