Saint Peter Chrysologus

detail of a painting of Saint Peter Chrysologus; School of Guercino, 17th century; Diocesan Museum of Pius IX, Imola, Italy; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsMemorial

Profile

Adult convert to Christianity. Deacon. Priest. Bishop of Ravenna, Italy in 433. Fought paganism and the Monophysite heresy, enforced reforms, and built several churches and ornate altars in his see. Preacher with such language skills, he was given given the name Chrysologus, referring to his golden word. 176 of his sermons have survived; it is the strength of these beautiful explanations of the Incarnation, the Creed, the place of Mary and John the Baptist in the great plan of salvation, etc., that led to his being proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII.

Born

Died

Canonized

Patronage

Representation

Readings

A gentle maiden having lodged a God in her womb, asks as its price, peace for the world, salvation for those who are lost, and life for the dead. Saint Peter Chrysologus

Anyone who wishes to frolic with the devil cannot rejoice with Christ. Saint Peter Chrysologus

We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the Most Blessed Pope of the City of Rome; for Blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it. Saint Peter Chrysologus, from a letter to Eutyches, 449

I appeal to you by the mercy of God. This appeal is made by Paul, or rather, it is made by God through Paul, because of God’s desire to be loved rather than feared, to be a father rather than a Lord. God appeals to us in his mercy to avoid having to punish us in his severity. Listen to the Lord’s appeal: In me, I want you to see your own body, your members, your heart, your bones, your blood. You may fear what is divine, but why not love what is human? You may run away from me as the Lord, but why not run to me as your father? Perhaps you are filled with shame for causing my bitter passion. Do not be afraid. This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart. My body was stretched on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no less to shed my blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom. Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds. Listen now to what the Apostle urges us to do. I appeal to you, he says, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. By this exhortation of his, Paul has raised all men to priestly status. How marvelous is the priesthood of the Christian, for he is both the victim that is offered on his own behalf, and the priest who makes the offering. He does not need to go beyond himself to seek what he is to immolate to God: with himself and in himself he brings the sacrifice he is to offer God for himself. The victim remains and the priest remains, always one and the same. Immolated, the victim still lives: the priest who immolates cannot kill. Truly it is an amazing sacrifice in which a body is offered without being slain and blood is offered without being shed. The Apostle says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Brethren, this sacrifice follows the pattern of Christ’s sacrifice by which he gave his body as a living immolation for the life of the world. He really made his body a living sacrifice, because, though slain, he continues to live. In such a victim death receives its ransom, but the victim remains alive. Death itself suffers the punishment. This is why death for the martyrs is actually a birth, and their end a beginning. Their execution is the door to life, and those who were thought to have been blotted out from the earth shine brilliantly in heaven. Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy. The prophet said the same thing: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that he himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will. – from a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus

God sends to the Virgin an Angelic Messenger, who, while he brings grace, gives her the entrusted pledge, and receives hers. Then does Gabriel return with Mary’s plighted troth. But, before ascending to heaven, there to tell the consent promised him by the Virgin, he delivers to her the gifts due to her virtues. Swiftly does this Ambassador fly to the Spouse, that he might assert God’s claim to her as his own. Gabriel takes her not from Joseph, but he restores her to Christ, to whom she was espoused when she was first formed in the womb. Christ, therefore, did but take his own, when he thus made Mary his Spouse. It is not a separation that he thus produces, but a union to himself of his own creature by becoming Incarnate in her womb.

But let us hearken to the Angel’s words. Being come in, he said unto her: Hail, full of grace! the Lord is with thee! These words are not a mere salutation; they convey the heavenly gift.

Hail! that is, Take, O Mary, the grace I bring thee; fear not; this is not the work of nature.

Full of Grace! that is, You are not in grace as others are, you are to be filled with it.

The Lord is with thee! What means this, but that he is coming to you not merely to visit you, but to enter within you by the new mystery of becoming your Child?

Blessed art thou among women. How fittingly does he add these words! They imply, that they who heretofore were mothers with the curse of Eve upon them now have the Blessed Mary as their joy and honour and type: and whereas Eve was, by nature, the mother of children of death, Mary is, by grace, the mother of children of life. – from a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus

What reverence and awe are shown to that inner chamber of a King, where he sits in all the majesty of his power! No man may enter therein that is a stranger, or unclean, or unfaithful. The usages of courts require that, when men come to pay their homage, everything must be the best and fairest and most loyal. Who would go to the palace gate in rags? Who would go who knew he was odious to the Prince? So it is with the sanctuary of the divine Spouse. No one is permitted to come nigh, but he that is of God’s family, and is intimate, and has a good conscience, and has a fair name, and leads a holy life. Within the holy place itself God receives but the Virgin, and spotless virginity. Hence learn, O man, to examine yourself: who are you? and what are you? and what merits have you? Ask yourself, after this, if you may dare to penetrate into the mystery of the Birth of your Lord, or can be worthy to approach that living sanctuary, wherein reposes the whole majesty of the King, and your God. – from a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Peter Chrysologus“. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 November 2017. Web. 23 April 2018. <>