On Repentance and Almsgiving

By Gus George Christo | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

A Concise Biographical Sketch of Chrysostom's Life

"The Golden-Mouth" orator was probably born c. 349 1. in the metropolitan city of Antioch, Syria, to faithful Christian parents. His mother bore the name Anthusa and his father, Secundus, was a noble general in the Roman army. At the tender age of eighteen (367), he completed his rhetorical studies under Libanius and his philosophical education under Andragathius.

During the celebration of the Paschal Feast in 368, Bishop Meletius of Antioch baptized Chrysostom a Christian. After his twenty-second birthday, John began his lectorate in the Church of Antioch; soon afterward, he interrupted it to begin his strict monastic life (372). He retired to the mountains and lived the life of a hermit for several years, impregnating his mind with the teachings of his Master Jesus Christ. However, since his austere regimen severely affected the functioning of his gastric organs, and the extreme cold temperature impaired the operation of his kidneys, he returned to the Church in Antioch in 378, where he resumed his duties as a lector. When he was thirty-one years old (380/381), Bishop Meletius ordained him a deacon. At thirty-six (385/386), he was ordained a priest by Bishop Flavian of Antioch, Meletius's immediate successor.

The period of his ministry at Antioch ended rather unexpectedly and abruptly when Nectarius, the Archbishop of

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1.
See R. E. Carter, "The Chronology of Saint John Chrysostom's Early Life," Traditio 18 (1962), 357-64, and G. Ettlinger, "Some Historical Evidence for the Date of St. John Chrysostom's Birth in the Treatise 'Ad Viduam Iuniorem,'" Traditio 16 (1960), 373-80.

-xi-

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