Saint John Chrysostom

detail of a statue of Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York, New YorkAlso known as

  • Greatest of the Greek Fathers
  • Golden-Mouth
  • Giovanni Crisostomo
  • John Chrysostum



John’s father died when he was young, and he was raised by a very pious mother. Well educated; studied rhetoric under Libanius, one of the most famous orators of his day. Monk. Preacher and priest for a dozen years in Syria. While there he developed a stomach ailment that troubled him the rest of his life.

It was for his sermons that John earned the title Chrysostom = golden mouthed. They were always on point, they explained the Scriptures with clarity, and they sometimes went on for hours. Made a reluctant bishop of Constantinople in 398, a move that involved him in imperial politics. He criticized the rich for not sharing their wealth, fought to reform the clergy, prevented the sale of ecclesiastical offices, called for fidelity in marriage, encouraged practices of justice and charity. Archbishop and Patriarch of Constantinople. Revised the Greek Liturgy. Because John’s sermons advocated a change in their lives, some nobles and bishops worked to remove him from his diocese; he was twice exiled from his diocese. Banished to Pythius, he died on the road.

Greek Father of the Church. Proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 451.



  • 407 of natural causes


Name Meaning

  • God is gracious; gift of God (John)
  • golden-mouthed (Chrysostom)



Additional Information


But you, when you see the priest offering the Sacrifice, consider not the priest who is ministering, but the hand of God invisibly outstretched. Saint John Chrysostom

When you perceive that God is chastening you, fly not to his enemies…but to his friends, the martyrs, the saints, those who were pleasing to Him, and who have great power in God. Saint John Chrysostom, Orations, 396

If we approach with faith, we too will see Jesus…for the Eucharistic table takes the place of the crib. Here the Body of the Lord is present, wrapped not in swaddling clothes but in the rays of the Holy Spirit. Saint John Chrysostom

Let us relieve the poverty of those that beg of us and let us not be over-exact about it. Saint John Chrysostom

It is simply impossible to lead, without the aid of prayer, a virtuous life. Saint John Chrysostom

What prayer could be more true before God the Father than that which the Son, who is Truth, uttered with His own lips? Saint John Chrysostom

God asks little, but He gives much. Saint John Chrysostom

The love of husband and wife is the force that welds society together. Saint John Chrysostom

Why force the day to receive more than the distress which is allotted to it, and together with its own trouble add to it also the burden of the following day? Saint John Chrysostom

When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration. Saint John Chrysostom

If the Lord should give you power to raise the dead, He would give much less than He does when he bestows suffering. By miracles you would make yourself debtor to Him, while by suffering He may become debtor to you. And even if sufferings had no other reward than being able to bear something for that God who loves you, is not this a great reward and a sufficient remuneration? Whoever loves, understands what I say. Saint John Chrysostom

Do you want to honor Christ’s body? Then do not scorn him in his nakedness, nor honor him here in the church with silken garments while neglecting him outside where he is cold and naked. For he who said: ‘This is my body,’ and made it so by his words also said: ‘You saw me hungry and did not feed me, and inasmuch as you did not do it for one of these, the least of my brothers, you did not do it for me.’ Saint John Chrysostom

To commit a murder, besides the not having the person in your power, there are many measures and precautions to take. A favorable opportunity must be waited for, and a place must be selected before we can put so damnable a design into execution. More than this, the pistols may miss fire, blows may not be sufficient, and all wounds are not mortal. But to deprive a man of his reputation and honor, one word is sufficient. By finding out the most sensitive part of his honor, you may tarnish his reputation by telling it to all who know him, and easily take away his character for honor and integrity. To do this, however, no time is required, for scarcely have you complacently cherished the wish to calumniate him, than the sin is effected. Saint John Chrysostom

There was a law in Constantinople that if the emperor or empress set foot on a plot of ground, took a fancy to it, and partook of its produce, then the owner must part with it at a valuation. The empress Eudoxia one day went into the vineyard belonging to the widow of Theognostes, greatly admired the place, plucked a few grapes, and demanded that the widow sell the vineyard. Saint Chrysostom interfered on the widow’s behalf, and Eudoxia forbade the archbishop ever to set foot in the royal palace again. Now the feast of The Exhaltation of the Cross was at hand, and on the feast day the emperor Arcadius and his nobles enter to the cathedral services as usual. After they left, Saint John ordered the doors to be closed and bolted. Soon after, the empress Eudoxia and her retinue arrived at the church and demanded admission. The doorkeepers advised that they were under strict orders not to open the doors for anyone. The empress ordered one of her bodyguards to break open the door with his axe. As the man raised his arm to strike, the arm became paralyzed, and the axe fell to the ground. The empress, greatly alarm, fled to the palace. Saint Chrysostom prayed for the guard who was immediately healed. Saint John was soon exiled for this offense. – Ecclesiastical History, bk 4, ch 16

MLA Citation

  • “Saint John Chrysostom“. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 November 2021. Web. 29 January 2022. <>