Saint John Chrysostom


Saint John Chrysostom, 347-407

September 13

Saint John Chrysostom was born in Antioch (modern day Antakya, Turkey) in 347. He is one of the most important of the early Church fathers and is honored as a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic churches and the Orthodox Church as well as some Protestant churches.

Saint John is best known for his writing and homilies on the Bible. He spoke plainly and in words that everyone could understand but his teachings were so profound, he was given the title “chrysostomos,” which means "golden mouthed" in English. Eventually it was changed to Chrysostom and now is always used as a part of his name.

Saint John was particularly concerned with taking care of the poor. He wrote: “What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices when your brother is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying his hunger and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well.”

He was named the Patriarch (Archbishop) of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) in 397/398. Even today, the Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite of the Catholic Church that is said the most often is the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which he helped write during his time as Patriarch.

When he got on the wrong side of Aelia Eudoxia, the wife of the Eastern Emperor, he was exiled to Pitiunt in modern Georgia, but died on route. Saint John Chrysostom was named a Saint soon after his death in 407. His last words are said to have been, “Glory be to God for all things.”

Discuss: Who has taught you about God, Jesus, or your faith with words you could understand?

Golden Mouthed

Saint John was able to teach people about God, Jesus, and their faith in a way that people could easily understand. Because of that, he was called "golden mouthed."

  • Have the young people pretend that they are teaching someone about Jesus that has never heard of Jesus. Have them write down what they would say.