Discover more from Poiema
The Man with the Golden Tongue
St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, died on this day in 407 A.D.
He was known as a friend to the poor, often excoriating those who would comfort themselves with relative wealth while others whom they could help were destitute, naked, and hungry.
He was known as the enemy of worldliness, constantly upbraiding those who spent their lives seeking pleasure at the expense of godliness.
He was known as an ascetic, devoted to the subjugation of the flesh that the body might be a Holy Temple, a perpetual House of Prayer.
He was known as a liturgist, so shaping the worship of the Church that many, including my own Anglican tradition, that he still leads us in prayer every Sunday:
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ, our Lord.
But above all things, he was known as a preacher. Such was his gift in the art of prophesying that we name him today by it—Chrysostom, “The Man with the Golden Mouth.”
He knew what it was to feel the wind of Heaven in his sails when he stood with the Book of God open before him: “Preaching improves me. When I begin to speak, weariness disappears…”
His preaching was marked by an eloquence born of deep delight in his God, and from a burning desire to see that God magnified, glorified, beautified in the hearts and minds of his hearers.
His expositions, of which we have hundreds available to us, were free from the idle speculation and abstract interpretation prevalent in his day. For him, the inspired text was not a trifling matter.
Though he cut an impressive path of preachments through the Bible, visiting its four corners and touching its farthest poles, the Pauline corpus was his home port. “I love all the Saints, but St. Paul the most of all—that vessel of election, the trumpet of heaven."
This icon shows St. Paul whispering into the ear of St. John Chrysostom as the latter writes the sermons that are drank by his hearers as the very Water of Life.
There was always an urgency in his preaching. When he mounted the pulpit, all of time convulsed into a single hour; “Now” is the accepted time; “Today” is the Day of Salvation. This conviction animating his preaching, that the Word of God was nigh, even in his mouth.
Though he was quick to denounce sin, he was quicker still to pronounce absolution to those who flew to Christ for refuge. He proclaimed the to be the office of the Great Physician, the healer of sin’s wounds, not a courthouse.
St. John Chrysostom is the patron saint of all who would echo the words of the prophet David and the Apostle Paul, “I believe, and so I speak.” Or whose homiletical impulse is bound up in that sacred nuptial hymn, “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”
Give Me that Old Time Religion
Episode 2 is now available! Check it out!
Please Consider Supporting Us
If you have found value in my work and writing, then this may be an opportunity for you to support my future endeavors. Given the time and resources it takes to research and write books, articles, lessons, and all the rest of it, I can’t do this work apart from your generosity.
If you would like to support our work on a monthly basis, consider doing so as one of our patrons through Patreon.
If you would like to make a one time donation, you can do so by sending it directly through PayPal.
Thank you for considering to help us during these difficult days. May God bless your giving.