The New Evangelization - Asia





































SAINT GEORGE
Martyr -
AD c.303 (April 23)

ST GEORGE is honoured in the Catholic Church as one of the most illustrious martyrs of Christ. The Greeks have long distinguished him by the title of The Great Martyr, and keep his festival a holiday of obligation. There stood formerly in Constantinople five or six churches dedicated in his honour, the oldest of which was always said to have been built by Constantine the Great, who seems also to have been the founder of the church of St. George, which stood over his tomb in Palestine. Both these churches were certainly built under the first Christian emperors. In the middle of the sixth age, the Emperor Justinian erected a new church in honour of this saint at Bizanes, in Lesser Armenia: the Emperor Mauritius founded one in Constantinople. It is related in the life of St. Theodorus of Siceon that he served God a long while in a chapel which bore the name of St. George, had a particular devotion to this glorious martyr, and strongly recommended the same to Mauritius when he foretold him the empire. One of the churches of St. George in Constantinople, called Manganes, with a monastery adjoining, gave to the Hellespont the name of the Arm of St. George. To this day is St. George honoured as principal patron, or tutelar saint, by several Eastern nations, particularly the Georgians. The Byzantine historians relate several battles to have been gained, and other miracles wrought, through his intercession. From frequent pilgrimages to his church and tomb in Palestine, performed by those who visited the Holy Land, his veneration was much propagated over the West. St. Gregory of Tours mentions him as highly celebrated in France in the sixth century. 1 St. Gregory the Great ordered an old church of St. George, which was fallen to decay, to be repaired. 2 His office is found in the sacramentary of that pope and many others. 3 St. Clotildis, wife of Clovis, the first Christian king of France, erected altars under his name; and the church of Chelles, built by her, was originally dedicated in his honour. The ancient life of Droctovaeus mentions, that certain relics of St. George were placed in the church of St. Vincent, now called St. Germaris, in Paris, when it was first consecrated. Fortunatus of Poitiers wrote an epigram on a church of St. George, in Mentz. The intercession of this saint was implored especially in battles and by warriors, as appears by several instances in the Byzantine history, and he is said to have been himself a great soldier. He is, at this day, the tutelar saint of the republic of Genoa; and was chosen by our ancestors in the same quality under our first Norman kings. The great national council, held at Oxford in 1222, commanded his feast to be kept a holiday of the lesser rank throughout all England.4 Under his name and ensign was instituted by our victorious king, Edward III, in 1330, the most noble Order of knighthood in Europe, consisting of twenty-five knights besides the sovereign. Its establishment is dated fifty years before the knights of St. Michael were instituted in France by Louis XI; eighty years before the Order of the Golden Fleece, established by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy; and one hundred and ninety years before the Order of St. Andrew was set up in Scotland by James V. The emperor Frederic IV instituted, in 1470, an Order of knights in honour of St. George; and an honourable military Order in Venice bears his name.5

The extraordinary devotion of all Christendom to this saint is an authentic proof how glorious his triumph and name have always been in the church. All his acts relate that he suffered under Diocletian at Nicomedia. Joseph Assemani6 shows, from the unanimous consent of all churches, that he was crowned on the 23rd of April. According to the account given us by Metaphrastes, he was born in Cappadocia, of noble Christian parents. After the death of his father he went with his mother into Palestine, she being a native of that country, and having there a considerable estate, which fell to her son George. He was strong and robust in body, and having embraced the profession of a soldier, was made a tribune, or colonel, in the army. By his courage and conduct he was soon preferred to higher stations by the Emperor Diocletian. When that prince waged war against the Christian religion, St. George laid aside the marks of his dignity, threw up his commission and posts, and complained to the emperor himself of his severities and bloody edicts. He was immediately cast into prison, and tried, first by promises, and afterwards put to the question and tortured with great cruelty; but nothing could shake his constancy. The next day he was led through the city and beheaded. Some think him to have been the same illustrious young man who tore down the edicts when they were first fixed up at Nicomedia, as Lactantius relates in his book, On the Death of the Persecutors, and Eusebius in his history.7 The reason why St. George has been regarded as the patron of military men is partly upon the score of his profession, and partly upon the credit of a relation of his appearing to the Christian army in the holy war, before the battle of Antioch. The success of this battle proving fortunate to the Christians, under Godfrey of Bouillon, made the name of St. George more famous in Europe and disposed the military men to implore more particularly his intercession. This devotion was confirmed, as it is said, by an apparition of St. George to our king, Richard I, in his expedition against the Saracens; which vision being declared to the troops, was to them a great encouragement, and they soon after defeated the enemy.8 St. George is usually painted on horseback and tilting at a dragon under his feet; but this representation is no more than an emblematical figure, purporting that by his faith and Christian fortitude he conquered the devil, called the dragon in the Apocalypse.

Though many dishonour the profession of arms by a licentiousness of manners, yet, to show us that perfect sanctity is attainable in all states, we find the names of more soldiers recorded in the Martyrologies than almost of any other profession. Every true disciple of Christ must be a martyr in the disposition of his heart, as he must be ready to lose all, and to suffer anything, rather than to offend God. Every good Christian is also a martyr, by the patience and courage with which he bears all trials. There is no virtue more necessary, nor of which the exercise ought to be more frequent, than patience. In this mortal life we have continually something to suffer from disappointments in affairs, from the severity of the seasons, from the injustice, caprice, peevishness, jealousy, or antipathy of others; and from ourselves, in pains either of mind or body. Even our own weaknesses and faults are to us subjects of patience. And as we have continually many burdens, both of our own and others, to bear, it is only in patience that we are to possess our souls. This affords us comfort in all our sufferings and maintains our souls in unshaken tranquillity and peace. This is true greatness of mind and the virtue of heroic souls. But, alas! every accident ruffles and disturbs us; and we are insupportable even to ourselves. What comfort should we find, what peace should we enjoy, what treasures of virtue should we heap up, what an harvest of merits should we reap, if we had learned the true spirit of Christian patience! This is the martyrdom and the crown of every faithful disciple of Christ.


SAINT GREGORY of NYSSA
Bishop & Doctor - AD 385 (March 9)

Date of birth unknown; died after 385 or 386. He belongs to the group known as the "Cappadocian Fathers", a title which reveals at once his birthplace in Asia Minor and his intellectual characteristics. Gregory was born of a deeply religious family, not very rich in worldly goods, to which circumstances he probably owed the pious training of his youth. His mother Emmelia was a martyr's daughter; two of his brothers, Basil of Cæsarea and Peter of Sebaste, became bishops like himself; his eldest sister, Macrina, became a model of piety and is honoured as a saint. Another brother, Naucratius, a lawyer, inclined to a life of asceticism, but died too young to realize his desires. A letter of Gregory to his younger brother, Peter, exhibits the feelings of lively gratitude which both cherished for their elder brother Basil, whom Gregory calls "our father and our master". Probably, therefore, the difference in years between them was such as to have enabled Basil to supervise the education of his younger brothers. Basil's training was an antidote to the lessons of the pagan schools, wherein, as we know from a letter of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa spent some time, very probably in his early youth, for it is certain that while still a youth Gregory exercised the ecclesiastical office of rector. His family, it would seem, had endeavoured to turn his thoughts towards the Church, for when the young man chose a secular career and began the study of rhetoric, Basil remonstrated with him long and earnestly; when he had failed he called on Gregory's friends to influence him against that objectionable secular calling. It was all in vain; moreover, it would seem that the young man married. There exists a letter addressed to him by Gregory of Nazianzus condoling with him on the loss of one Theosebeia, who must have been his wife, and with whom he continued to live, as with a sister, even after he became bishop. This is also evident from his treatise "De virginitate".

Some think that Gregory spent a certain time in retreat before his consecration as bishop, but we have no proof of the fact. His extant letters make no mention of such retirement from the world. Nor are we better informed of the circumstances of his election to the See of Nyssa, a little town on the banks of the Halys, along the road between Cæsarea and Ancyra. According to Gregory of Nazianzus it was Basil who performed the episcopal consecration of his brother, before he himself had taken possession of the See of Sozima; which would place the beginning of Gregory of Nyssa's episcopate about 371. Was this brusque change in Gregory's career the result of a sudden vocation? St. Basil tells us that it was necessary to overcome his brother's repugnance, before he accepted the office of bishop. But this does not help us to an answer, as the episcopal charge in that day was beset with many dangers. Moreover in the fourth century, and even later, it was not uncommon to express dislike of the episcopal honour, and to fly from the prospect of election. The fugitives, however, were usually discovered and brought back, and the consecration took place when a show of resistance had saved the candidate's humility. Whether it was so in Gregory's case, or whether he really did feel his own unfitness, we do not know. In any case, St. Basil seems to have regretted at times the constraint thus put on his brother, now removed from his influence; in his letters he complains of Gregory's naive and clumsy interference with his (Basil's) business. To Basil the synod called in 372 by Gregory at Ancyra seemed the ruin of his own labours. In 375 Gregory seemed to him decidedly incapable of ruling a Church. At the same time he had but faint praise for Gregory's zeal for souls.

On arriving in his see Gregory had to face great difficulties. His sudden elevation may have turned against him some who had hoped for the office themselves. It would appear that one of the courtiers of Emperor Valens had solicited the see either for himself or one of his friends. When Demosthenes, Governor of Pontus, convened an assembly of Eastern bishops, a certain Philocares, at one of its sessions, accused Gregory of wasting church property, and of irregularity in his election to the episcopate, whereupon Demosthenes ordered the Bishop of Nyssa to be seized and brought before him. Gregory at first allowed himself to be led away by his captors, then losing heart and discouraged by the cold and brutal treatment he met with, he took an opportunity of escape and reached a place of safety. A Synod of Nyssa (376) deposed him, and he was reduced to wander from town to town, until the death of Valens in 378. The new emperor, Gratian, published an edict of tolerance, and Gregory returned to his see, where he was received with joy. A few months after this (January, 379) his brother Basil died; whereupon an era of activity began for Gregory. In 379 he assisted at the Council of Antioch which had been summoned because of the Meletian schism. Soon after this, it is supposed, he visited Palestine. There is reason for believing that he was sent officially to remedy the disorders of the Church of Arabia. But possibly his journey did not take place till after the Council of Constantinople in 381, convened by Emperor Theodosius for the welfare of religion in that city. It asserted the faith of Nicæa, and tried to put an end to Arianism and Pneumatism in the East. This council was not looked on as an important one at the time; even those present at it seldom refer to it in their writings. Gregory himself, though he assisted at the council, mentions it only casually in his funeral oration over Meletius of Antioch, who died during the course of this assembly.

An edict of Theodosius (30 July, 381; Cod. Theod., LXVI, tit. I., L. 3) having appointed certain episcopal sees as centres of Catholic communion in the East, Helladius of Cæsarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Otreius of Melitene were chosen to fill them. At Constantinople Gregory gave evidence on two occasions of his talent as an orator; he delivered the discourse at the enthronization of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, also the aforesaid oration over Meletius of Antioch. It is very probable that Gregory was present at another Council of Constantinople in 383; his "Oratio de deitate Filii et Spiritus Sancti" seems to confirm this. In 385 or 386 he preached the funeral sermon over the imperial Princess Pulcheria, and shortly afterwards over Empress Flaccilla. A little later we meet him again at Constantinople, on which occasion his counsel was sought for the repression of ecclesiastical disorders in Arabia; he then disappears from history, and probably did not long survive this journey. From the above it will be seen that his life is little known to us.


SAINT GREGORY NAZIANZEN
Bishop & Doctor - AD 389 (January 2)

Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same
place, 389. He was sonone of three childrenof Gregory, Bishop of
Nazianzus (329-374), in the south-west of Cappadocia, and of Nonna, a daughter
of Christian parents. The saint's father was originally a member of the heretical
sect of the Hypsistarii, or Hypsistiani, and was converted to Catholicity by the
influence of his pious wife. His two sons, who seem to have been born between
the dates of their father's priestly ordination and episcopal consecration, were
sent to a famous school at Caesarea, capital of Cappadocia, and educated by
Carterius, probably the same time who was afterwards tutor of St. John
Chrysostom. Here commenced the friendship between Basil and Gregory which
intimately affected both their lives, as well as the development of the theology of
their age. From Caesarea in Cappadocia Gregory proceeded to Caesarea in
Palestine, where he studied rhetoric under Thespesius; and thence to
Alexandria, of which Athanasius was then bishop, through at the time in exile.
Setting out by sea from Alexandria to Athens, Gregory was all but lost in a great
storm, and some of his biographers infer -- though the fact is not certain -- that
when in danger of death he and his companions received the rite of baptism. He
had certainly not been baptized in infancy, though dedicated to God by his pious
mother; but there is some authority for believing that he received the sacrament,
not on his voyage to Athens, but on his return to Nazianzus some years later. At
Athens Gregory and Basil, who had parted at Caesarea, met again, renewed
their youthful friendship, and studied rhetoric together under the famous teachers
Himerius and Proaeresius. Among their fellow students was Julian, afterwards
known as the Apostate, whose real character Gregory asserts that he had even
then discerned and thoroughly distrusted him. The saint's studies at Athens
(which Basil left before his friend) extended over some ten years; and when he
departed in 356 for his native province, visiting Constantinople on his way home,
he was about thirty years of age. 

Arrived at Nazianzus, where his parents were now advanced in age, Gregory,
who had by this time firmly resolved to devote his life and talents to God,
anxiously considered the plan of his future career. To a young man of his high
attainments a distinguished secular career was open, either that of a lawyer or of
a professor of rhetoric; but his yearnings were for the monastic or ascetic life,
though this did not seem compatible either with the Scripture studies in which he
was deeply interested, or with his filial duties at home. As was natural, he
consulted his beloved friend Basil in his perplexity as to his future; and he has
left us in his own writings an extremely interesting narrative of their intercourse at
this time, and of their common resolve (based on somewhat different motives,
according to the decided differences in their characters) to quit the world for the
service of God alone. Basil retired to Pontus to lead the life of a hermit; but
finding that Gregory could not join him there, came and settled first at Tiberina
(near Gregory's own home), then at Neocaesarea, in Pontus, where he lived in
holy seclusion for some years, and gathered round him a brotherhood of
cenobites, among whom his friend Gregory was for a time included. After a
sojourn here for two or three years, during which Gregory edited, with Basil some
of the exegetical works of Origen, and also helped his friend in the compilation of
his famous rules, Gregory returned to Nazianzus, leaving with regret the peaceful
hermitage where he and Basil (as he recalled in their subsequent
correspondence) had spent such a pleasant time in the labour both of hands and
of heads. On his return home Gregory was instrumental in bringing back to
orthodoxy his father who, perhaps partly in ignorance, had subscribed the
heretical creed of Rimini; and the aged bishop, desiring his son's presence and
support, overruled his scrupulous shrinking from the priesthood, and forced him
to accept ordination (probably at Christmas, 361). Wounded and grieved at the
pressure put upon him, Gregory fled back to his solitude, and to the company of
St. Basil; but after some weeks' reflection returned to Nazianzus, where he
preached his first sermon on Easter Sunday, and afterward wrote the remarkable
apologetic oration, which is really a treatise on the priestly office, the foundation
of Chrysostom's "De Sacerdotio", of Gregory the Great's "Cura Pastoris", and of
countless subsequent writings on the same subject. 

During the next few years Gregory's life at Nazianzus was saddened by the
deaths of his brother Caesarius and his sister Gorgonia, at whose funerals he
preached two of his most eloquent orations, which are still extant. About this
time Basil was made bishop of Caesarea and Metropolitan of Cappadocia, and
soon afterwards the Emperor Valens, who was jealous of Basil's influence,
divided Cappadocia into two provinces. Basil continued to claim ecclesiastical
jurisdiction, as before, over the whole province, but this was disputed by
Anthimus, Bishop of Tyana, the chief city of New Cappadocia. To strengthen his
position Basil founded a new see at Sasima, resolved to have Gregory as its first
bishop, and accordingly had him consecrated, though greatly against his will.
Gregory, however, was set against Sasima from the first; he thought himself
utterly unsuited to the place, and the place to him; and it was not long before he
abandoned his diocese and returned to Nazianzus as coadjutor to his father. This
episode in Gregory's life was unhappily the cause of an estrangement between
Basil and himself which was never altogether removed; and there is no extant
record of any correspondence between them subsequent to Gregory's leaving
Sasima. Meanwhile he occupied himself sedulously with his duties as coadjutor
to his aged father, who died early in 374, his wife Nonna soon following him to
the grave. Gregory, who was now left without family ties, devoted to the poor the
large fortune which he had inherited, keeping for himself only a small piece of
land at Arianzus. He continued to administer the diocese for about two years,
refusing, however, to become the bishop, and continually urging the appointment
of a successor to his father. At the end of 375 he withdrew to a monastery at
Seleuci, living there in solitude for some three years, and preparing (though he
knew it not) for what was to be the crowning work of his life. About the end of this
period Basil died. Gregory's own state of health prevented his being present
either at the death-bed or funeral; but he wrote a letter of condolence to Basil's
brother, Gregory of Nyssa, and composed twelve beautiful memorial poems or
epitaphs to his departed friend. 

Three weeks after Basil's death, Theodosius was advanced by the Emperor
Gratian to the dignity of Emperor of the East. Constantinople, the seat of his
empire, had been for the space of about thirty years (since the death of the
saintly and martyred Bishop Paul) practically given over too Arianism, with an
Arian prelate, Demophilus, enthroned at St. Sophia's. The remnant of persecuted
Catholics, without either church or pastor, applied to Gregory to come and place
himself at their head and organize their scattered forces; and many bishops
supported the demand. After much hesitation he gave his consent, proceeded to
Constantinople early in the year 379, and began his mission in a private house
which he describes as "the new Shiloh where the Ark was fixed", and as "an
Anastasia, the scene of the resurrection of the faith". Not only the faithful
Catholics, but many heretics gathered in the humble chapel of the Anastasia,
attracted by Gregory's sanctity, learning and eloquence; and it was in this chapel
that he delivered the five wonderful discourses on the faith of Nicaeaunfolding
the doctrine of the Trinity while safeguarding the Unity of the Godheadwhich
gained for him, alone of all Christian teachers except the Apostle St. John, the
special title of Theologus or the Divine. He also delivered at this time the
eloquent panegyrics on St. Cyprian, St. Athanasius, and the Machabees, which
are among his finest oratorical works. Meanwhile he found himself exposed to
persecution of every kind from without, and was actually attacked in his own
chapel, whilst baptizing his Easter neophytes, by a hostile mob of Arians from
St. Sophia's, among them being Arian monks and infuriated women. He was
saddened, too, by dissensions among his own little flock, some of whom openly
charged him with holding Tritheistic errors. St. Jerome became about this time
his pupil and disciple, and tells us in glowing language how much he owed to his
erudite and eloquent teacher. Gregory was consoled by the approval of Peter,
Patriarch of Constantinople (Duchesne's opinion, that the patriarch was from the
first jealous or suspicious of the Cappadocian bishop's influence in
Constantinople, does not seem sufficiently supported by evidence), and Peter
appears to have been desirous to see him appointed to the bishopric of the
capital of the East. Gregory, however, unfortunately allowed himself to be
imposed upon by a plausible adventurer called Hero, or Maximus, who came to
Constantinople from Alexandria in the guise (long hair, white robe, and staff) of a
Cynic, and professed to be a convert to Christianity, and an ardent admirer of
Gregory's sermons. Gregory entertained him hospitably, gave him his complete
confidence, and pronounced a public panegyric on him in his presence.
Maximus's intrigues to obtain the bishopric for himself found support in various
quarters, including Alexandria, which the patriarch Peter, for what reason
precisely it is not known, had turned against Gregory; and certain Egyptian
bishops deputed by Peter, suddenly, and at night, consecrated and enthroned
Maximus as Catholic Bishop of Constantinople, while Gregory was confined to
bed by illness. Gregory's friends, however, rallied round him, and Maximus had to
fly from Constantinople. The Emperor Theodosius, to whom he had recourse,
refused to recognize any bishop other than Gregory, and Maximus retired in
disgrace to Alexandria. 

Theodosius received Christian baptism early in 380, at Thessalonica, and
immediately addressed an edict to his subjects at Constantinople, commanding
them to adhere to the faith taught by St. Peter, and professed by the Roman
pontiff, which alone deserved to be called Catholic. In November, the emperor
entered the city and called on Demophilus, the Arian bishop, to subscribe to the
Nicene creed: but he refused to do so, and was banished from Constantinople.
Theodosius determined that Gregory should be bishop of the new Catholic see,
and himself accompanied him to St. Sophia's, where he was enthroned in
presence of an immense crowd, who manifested their feelings by hand-clappings
and other signs of joy. Constantinople was now restored to Catholic unity; the
emperor, by a new edict, gave back all the churches to Catholic use; Arians and
other heretics were forbidden to hold public assemblies; and the name of
Catholic was restricted to adherents of the orthodox and Catholic faith. 

Gregory had hardly settled down to the work of administration of the Diocese of
Constantinople, when Theodosius carried out his long-cherished purpose of
summoning thither a general council of the Eastern Church. One hundred and
fifty bishops met in council, in May, 381, the object of the assembly being, as
Socrates plainly states, to confirm the faith of Nicaea, and to appoint a bishop for
Constantinople. Among the bishops present were thirty-six holding semi-Arian or Macedonian opinions; and neither the arguments of the orthodox prelates nor the eloquence of Gregory, who preached at Pentecost, in St. Sophia's, on the subject of the Holy Spirit, availed to persuade them to sign the orthodox creed. As to the appointment of the bishopric, the confirmation of Gregory to the see could only be a matter of form.
The orthodox bishops were all in favor , and the objection (urged by the Egyptian
and Macedonian prelates who joined the council later) that his translation from
one see to another was in opposition to a canon of the Nicene council was
obviously unfounded. The fact was well known that Gregory had never, after his
forced consecration at the instance of Basil, entered on possession of the See of
Sasima, and that he had later exercised his episcopal functions at Nazianzus,
not as bishop of that diocese, but merely as coadjutor of his father. Gregory
succeeded Meletius as president of the council, which found itself at once called
on to deal with the difficult question of appointing a successor to the deceased
bishop. There had been an understanding between the two orthodox parties at
Antioch, of which Meletius and Paulinus had been respectively bishops that the
survivor of either should succeed as sole bishop. Paulinus, however, was a
prelate of Western origin and creation, and the Eastern bishops assembled at
Constantinople declined to recognize him. In vain did Gregory urge, for the sake
of peace, the retention of Paulinus in the see for the remainder of his life, already
fare advanced; the Fathers of the council refused to listen to his advice, and
resolved that Meletius should be succeeded by an Oriental priest. "It was in the
East that Christ was born", was one of the arguments they put forward; and
Gregory's retort, "Yes, and it was in the East that he was put to death", did not
shake their decision. Flavian, a priest of Antioch, was elected to the vacant see;
and Gregory, who relates that the only result of his appeal was "a cry like that of
a flock of jackdaws" while the younger members of the council "attacked him like
a swarm of wasps", quitted the council, and left also his official residence, close
to the church of the Holy Apostles. 

Gregory had now come to the conclusion that not only the opposition and
disappointment which he had met with in the council, but also his continued
state of ill-health, justified, and indeed necessitated, his resignation of the See of
Constantinople, which he had held for only a few months. He appeared again
before the council, intimated that he was ready to be another Jonas to pacify the
troubled waves, and that all he desired was rest from his labours, and leisure to
prepare for death. The Fathers made no protest against this announcement,
which some among them doubtless heard with secret satisfaction; and Gregory
at once sought and obtained from the emperor permission to resign his see. In
June, 381, he preached a farewell sermon before the council and in presence of
an overflowing congregation. The peroration of this discourse is of singular and
touching beauty, and unsurpassed even among his many eloquent orations. Very
soon after its delivery he left Constantinople (Nectarius, a native of Cilicia, being
chosen to succeed him in the bishopric), and retired to his old home at
Nazianzus. His two extant letters addressed to Nectarius at his time are note
worthy as affording evidence, by their spirit and tone, that he was actuated by no
other feelings than those of interested goodwill towards the diocese of which he
was resigning the care, and towards his successor in the episcopal charge. On
his return to Nazianzus, Gregory found the Church there in a miserable condition,
being overrun with the erroneous teaching of Apollinaris the Younger, who had
seceded from the Catholic communion a few years previously, and died shortly
after Gregory himself. Gregory's anxiety was now to find a learned and zealous
bishop who would be able to stem the flood of heresy which was threatening to
overwhelm the Christian Church in that place. All his efforts were at first
unsuccessful, and he consented at length with much reluctance to take over the
administration of the diocese himself. He combated for a time, with his usual
eloquence and as much energy as remained to him, the false teaching of the
adversaries of the Church; but he felt himself too broken in health to continue the
active work of the episcopate, and wrote to the Archbishop of Tyana urgently
appealing to him to provide for the appointment of another bishop. His request
was granted, and his cousin Eulalius, a priest of holy life to whom he was much
attached, was duly appointed to the See of Nazianzus. this was toward the end
of the year 383, and Gregory, happy in seeing the care of the diocese entrusted
to a man after his own heart, immediately withdrew to Arianzus, the scene of his
birth and his childhood, where he spent the remaining years of his life in
retirement, and in the literary labours, which were so much more congenial to his
character than the harassing work of ecclesiastical administration in those
stormy and troubled times. 

Looking back on Gregory's career, it is difficult not to feel that from the day when
he was compelled to accept priestly orders, until that which saw him return from
Constantinople to Nazianzus to end his life in retirement and obscurity, he
seemed constantly to be placed, through no initiative of his own, in positions
apparently unsuited to his disposition and temperament, and not really
calculated to call for the exercise of the most remarkable and attractive qualities
of his mind and heart. Affectionate and tender by nature, of highly sensitive
temperament, simple and humble, lively and cheerful by disposition, yet liable to
despondency and irritability, constitutionally timid, and somewhat deficient, as it
seemed, both in decision of character and in self-control, he was very human,
very lovable, very gifted -- yet not, one might be inclined to think, naturally
adapted to play the remarkable part which he did during the period preceding and
following the opening of the Council of Constantinople. He entered on his difficult
and arduous work in that city within a few months of the death of Basil, the
beloved friend of his youth; and Newman, in his appreciation of Gregory's
character and career, suggests the striking thought that it was his friend's lofty
and heroic spirit which had entered into him, and inspired him to take the active
and important part which fell to his lot in the work of re-establishing the orthodox
and Catholic faith in the eastern capital of the empire. It did, in truth, seem to be
rather with the firmness and intrepidity, the high resolve and unflinching
perseverance, characteristic of Basil, than in his own proper character, that of a
gentle, fastidious, retiring, timorous, peace-loving saint and scholar, that he
sounded the war-trumpet during those anxious and turbulent months, in the very
stronghold and headquarters of militant heresy, utterly regardless to the actual
and pressing danger to his safety, and even his life which never ceased to
menace him. "May we together receive", he said at the conclusion of the
wonderful discourse which he pronounced on his departed friend, on his return to
Asia from Constantinople, "the reward of the warfare which we have waged, which
we have endured." It is impossible to doubt, reading the intimate details which he
has himself given us of his long friendship with, and deep admiration of, Basil,
that the spirit of his early and well-loved friend had to a great extent moulded and
informed his own sensitive and impressionable personality and that it was this,
under God, which nerved and inspired him, after a life of what seemed, externally,
one almost of failure, to co-operate in the mighty task of overthrowing the
monstrous heresy which had so long devastated the greater part of Christendom,
and bringing about at length the pacification of the Eastern Church. 

During the six years of life which remained to him after his final retirement to his
birth-place, Gregory composed, in all probability, the greater part of the copious
poetical works which have come down to us. These include a valuable
autobiographical poem of nearly 2000 lines, which forms, of course, one of the
most important sources of information for the facts of his life; about a hundred
other shorter poems relating to his past career; and a large number of epitaphs,
epigrams, and epistles to well-known people of the day. Many of his later
personal poems refer to the continuous illness and severe sufferings, both
physical and spiritual, which assailed him during his last years, and doubtless
assisted to perfect him in those saintly qualities which had never been wanting to
him, rudely shaken though he had been by the trails and buffetings of his life. In
the tiny plot of ground at Arianzus, all (as has already been said) that remained
to him of his rich inheritance, he wrote and meditated, as he tells, by a fountain
near which there was a shady walk, his favourite resort. Here, too, he received
occasional visits from intimate friends, as well as sometimes from strangers
attracted to his retreat by his reputation for sanctity and learning; and here he
peacefully breathed his last. The exact date of his death is unknown, but from a
passage in Jerome (De Script. Eccl.) it may be assigned, with tolerable
certainty, to the year 389 or 390. 


SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH
Bishop & Martyr - AD c.107 (October 17)

Also called Theophorus (ho Theophoros); born in Syria, around the year 50....

More than one of the earliest ecclesiastical writers have given credence, though apparently without good reason, to the legend that Ignatius was the child whom the Savior took up in His arms, as described in Mark, ix, 35. It is also believed, and with great probability, that, with his friend Polycarp, he was among the auditors of the Apostle St. John. If we include St. Peter, Ignatius was the third Bishop of Antioch and the immediate successor of Evodius (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl.", II, iii, 22). Theodoret ("Dial. Immutab.", I, iv, 33a, Paris, 1642) is the authority for the statement that St. Peter appointed Ignatius to the See of Antioch. St. John Chrysostom lays special emphasis on the honor conferred upon the martyr in receiving his episcopal consecration at the hands of the Apostles themselves ("Hom. in St. Ig.", IV. 587). Natalis Alexander quotes Theodoret to the same effect (III, xii, art. xvi, p. 53).

All the sterling qualities of ideal pastor and a true soldier of Christ were possessed by the Bishop of Antioch in a preeminent degree. Accordingly, when the storm of the persecution of Domitian broke in its full fury upon the Christians of Syria, it found their faithful leader prepared and watchful. He was unremitting in his vigilance and tireless in his efforts to inspire hope and to strengthen the weaklings of his flock against the terrors of the persecution. The restoration of peace, though it was short-lived, greatly comforted him. But it was not for himself that he rejoiced, as the one great and ever-present wish of his chivalrous soul was that he might receive the fullness of Christian discipleship through the medium of martyrdom. His desire was not to remain long unsatisfied. Associated with the writings of St. Ignatius is a work called "Martyrium Ignatii ", which purports to be an account by eyewitnesses of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius and the acts leading up to it. In this work, which such competent Protestant critics as Pearson and Ussher regard as genuine, the full history of that eventful journey from Syria to Rome is faithfully recorded for the edification of the Church of Antioch. It is certainly very ancient and is reputed to have been written by Philo, deacon of Tarsus, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian, who accompanied Ignatius to Rome. It is generally admitted, even by those who regarded it as authentic, that this work has been greatly interpolated. Its most reliable form is that found in the "Martyrium Colbertinum" which closes the mixed recension and is so called because its oldest witness is the tenth-century Codex Colbertinus (Paris).

According to these Acts, in the ninth year of his reign, Trajan, flushed with victory over the Scythians and Dacians, sought to perfect the universality of his dominion by a species of religious conquest. He decreed, therefore, that the Christians should unite with their pagan neighbors in the worship of the gods. A general persecution was threatened, and death was named as the penalty for all who refused to offer the prescribed sacrifice. Instantly alert to the danger that threatened, Ignatius availed himself of all the means within his reach to thwart the purpose of the emperor. The success of his zealous efforts did not long remain hidden from the Church's persecutors. He was soon arrested and led before Trajan, who was then sojourning in Antioch. Accused by the emperor himself of violating the imperial edict, and of inciting others to like transgressions, Ignatius valiantly bore witness to the faith of Christ. If we may believe the account given in the "Martyrium", his bearing before Trajan was characterized by inspired eloquence, sublime courage, and even a spirit of exultation. Incapable of appreciating the motives that animated him, the emperor ordered him to be put in chains and taken to Rome, there to become the food of wild beasts and a spectacle for the people.

That the trials of this journey to Rome were great we gather from his letter to the Romans (par. 5): "From Syria even to Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only grow worse when they are kindly treated." Despite all this, his journey was a kind of triumph. News of his fate, his destination, and his probable itinerary had gone swiftly before. At several places along the road his fellow-Christians greeted him with words of comfort and reverential homage. It is probable that he embarked on his way to Rome at Seleucia, in Syria!a, the nearest port to Antioch, for either Tarsus in Cilicia, or Attalia in Pamphylia, and thence, as we gather from his letters, he journeyed overland through Asia Minor. At Laodicea, on the River Lycus, where a choice of routes presented itself, his guards selected the more northerly, which brought the prospective martyr through Philadelphia and Sardis, and finally to Smyrna, where Polycarp, his fellow-disciple in the school of St. John, was bishop. The stay at Smyrna, which was a protracted one, gave the representatives of the various Christian communities in Asia Minor an opportunity of greeting the illustrious prisoner, and offering him the homage of the Churches they represented. From the congregations of Ephesus, Magnesia, and Tralles, deputations came to comfort him. To each of these Christian communities he addressed letters from Smyrna, exhorting them to obedience to their respective bishops, and warning them to avoid the contamination of heresy. These, letters are redolent with the spirit of Christian charity, apostolic zeal, and pastoral solicitude. While still there he wrote also to the Christians of Rome, begging them to do nothing to deprive him of the opportunity of martyrdom.

From Smyrna his captors took him to Troas, from which place he dispatched letters to the Christians of Philadelphia and Smyrna, and to Polycarp. Besides these letters, Ignatius had intended to address others to the Christian communities of Asia Minor, inviting them to give public expression to their sympathy with the brethren in Antioch, but the altered plans of his guards, necessitating a hurried departure, from Troas, defeated his purpose, and he was obliged to content himself with delegating this office to his friend Polycarp. At Troas they took ship for Neapolis. From this place their journey led them overland through Macedonia and Illyria. The next port of embarkation was probably Dyrrhachium (Durazzo). Whether having arrived at the shores of the Adriatic, he completed his journey by land or sea, it !s impossible to determine. Not long after his arrival in Rome he won his long-coveted crown of martyrdom in the Flavian amphitheater. The relics of the holy martyr were borne back to Antioch by the deacon Philo of Cilicia, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian, and were interred outside the gates not far from the beautiful suburb of Daphne. They were afterwards removed by the Emperor Theodosius II to the Tychaeum, or Temple of Fortune which was then converted into a Christian church under the patronage of the martyr whose relics it sheltered. In 637 they were translated to St. Clement's at Rome, where they now rest. The Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius on 1 February.

The character of St. Ignatius, as deduced from his own and the extant writings of his contemporaries, is that of a true athlete of Christ. The triple honor of apostle, bishop, and martyr was well merited by this energetic soldier of the Faith. An enthusiastic devotion to duty, a passionate love of sacrifice, and an utter fearlessness in the defense of Christian truth, were his chief characteristics. Zeal for the spiritual well-being of those under his charge breathes from every line of his writings. Ever vigilant lest they be infected by the rampant heresies of those early days; praying for them, that their faith and courage may not be wanting in the hour of persecution; constantly exhorting them to unfailing obedience to their bishops; teaching them all Catholic truth ; eagerly sighing for the crown of martyrdom, that his own blood may fructify in added graces in the souls of his flock, he proves himself in every sense a true, pastor of souls, the good shepherd that lays down his life for his sheep.


SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Archbishop & Doctor - AD 407 (September 13)


Doctor of the Church, born at Antioch, c. 347; died at Commana in Pontus, 14
September, 407. Johnwhose surname "Chrysostom" (Chrysostomos, "golden-mouthed" so called on account of his eloquence) occurs for the first time
in the "Constitution" of Pope Vigilius (cf. P.L., LX, 217) in the year 553is
generally considered the most prominent doctor of the Greek Church and the
greatest preacher ever heard in a Christian pulpit. His natural gifts, as well as
exterior circumstances, helped him to become what he was. 

1. Boyhood 

At the time of Chrysostom's birth, Antioch was the second city of the Eastern
part of the Roman Empire. During the whole of the fourth century religious
struggles had troubled the empire and had found their echo at Antioch. Pagans,
Manichaeans, Gnostics, Arians, Arians, Apollinarians, Jews, made their
proselytes at Antioch, and the Catholics were themselves separated by the
schism between the bishops Meletius and Paulinus. Thus Chrysostom's youth
fell in troubled times. His father, Secundus, was an officer of high rank in the
Syrian army. On his death soon after the birth of John, Anthusa, his wife, only
twenty years of age, took the sole charge of her two children, John and an elder
sister. Fortunately she was a woman of intelligence and character. She not only
instructed her son in piety, but also sent him to the best schools of Antioch,
though with regard to morals and religion many objections could be urged against
them. Beside the lectures of Andragatius, a philosopher not otherwise known,
Chrysostom followed also those of Libanius, at once the most famous orator of
that period and the most tenacious adherent of the declining paganism of Rome.
As we may see from the later writings of Chrysostom, he attained then
considerable Greek scholarship and classical culture, which he by no means
disowned in his later days. His alleged hostility to classical learning is in reality
but a misunderstanding of certain passages in which he defends the philosophia
of Christianity against the myths of the heathen gods, of which the chief
defenders in his time were the representatives and teachers of the sophia ellenike [Hellenic wisdom] ... 

2. Chrysostom as Lector and Monk 

It was a very decisive turning-point in the life of Chrysostom when he met one
day (about 367) the bishop Meletius. The earnest, mild, and winning character of
this man captivated Chrysostom in such a measure that he soon began to
withdraw from classical and profane studies and to devote himself to an ascetic
and religious life. He studied Holy Scriptures and frequented the sermons of
Meletius. About three years later he received Holy Baptism and was ordained
lector. But the young cleric, seized by the desire of a more perfect life, soon
afterwards entered one of the ascetic societies near Antioch, which was under
the spiritual direction of Carterius and especially of the famous Diodorus, later
Bishop of Tarsus (see Palladius, "Dialogus", v; Sozomenus, "Hist. eccles.", VIII,
2). Prayer, manual labour and the study of Holy Scripture were his chief
occupations, and we may safely suppose that his first literary works date from
this time, for nearly all his earlier writings deal with ascetic and monastic
subjects [cf. below Chrysostom writings: (1) "Opuscuia"]. Four years later,
Chrysostom resolved to live as an anchorite in one of the caves near Antioch. He
remained there two years, but then as his health was quite ruined by indiscreet
watchings and fastings in frost and cold, he prudently returned to Antioch to
regain his health, and resumed his office as lector in the church. 

3. Chrysostom as Deacon and Priest at Antioch 

As the sources of the life of Chrysostom give an incomplete chronology, we can
but approximately determine the dates for this Aniochene period. Very probably
in the beginning of 381 Meletius made him deacon, just before his own departure
to Constantinople, where he died as president of the Second Ecumenical
Council. The successor of Meletius was Flavian. Ties of sympathy and
friendship connected Chrysostom with his new bishop. As deacon he had to
assist at the liturgical functions, to look after the sick and poor, and was
probably charged also in some degree with teaching catechumens. At the same
time he continued his literary work, and we may suppose that he composed his
most famous book, "On the Priesthood", towards the end of this period (c. 386,
see Socrates, "Hist. eccl.", VI, 3), or at latest in the beginning of his priesthood
(c. 387...).
There may be some doubt if it was occasioned by a real historical fact, viz., that
Chrysostom and his friend Basil were requested to accept bishoprics (c. 372). All
the earliest Greek biographers seem not to have taken it in that sense. In the
year 386 Chrysostom was ordained priest by Flavian, and from that dates his real
importance in ecclesiastical history. His chief task during the next twelve years
was that of preaching, which he had to exercise either instead of or with Bishop
Flavian. But no doubt the larger part of the popular religious instruction and
education devolved upon him. The earliest notable occasion which showed his
power of speaking and his great authority was the Lent of 387, when he delivered
his sermons "On the Statues" (P.G., XLVIII, 15, xxx.). The people of Antioch,
excited by the levy of new taxes, had thrown down the statues of Emperor
Theodosius. In the panic and fear of punishment which followed, Chrysostom
delivered a series of twenty or twenty-one (the nineteenth is probably not
authentic) sermons, full of vigour, consolatory, exhortative, tranquilizing, until
Flavian, the bishop, brought back from Constantinople the emperor's pardon. But
the usual preaching of Chrysostom consisted in consecutive explanations of Holy
Scripture. To that custom, unhappily no longer in use, we owe his famous and
magnificent commentaries, which offer us such an inexhaustible treasure of
dogmatic, moral, and historical knowledge of the transition from the fourth to the
fifth century. These years, 386-98, were the period of the greatest theological
productivity of Chrysostom, a period which alone would have assured him for ever
a place among the first Doctors of the Church. A sign of this may be seen in the
fact that in the year 392 St. Jerome already accorded to the preacher of Antioch
a place among his Viri illustres ("De Viris ill.", 129, in P.L., XXIII, 754), referring
expressly to the great and successful activity of Chrysostom as a theological
writer. From this same fact we may infer that during this time his fame had
spread far beyond the limits of Antioch, and that he was well known in the
Byzantine Empire, especially in the capital. 

4. St. Chrysostom as Bishop of Constantinople 

In the ordinary course of things Chrysostom might have become the successor of
Flavian at Antioch. But on 27 September 397, Nectarius, Bishop of
Constantinople, died. There was a general rivalry in the capital, openly or in
secret, for the vacant see. After some months it was known, to the great
disappointment of the competitors, that Emperor Areadius, at the suggestion of
his minister Eutropius, had sent to the Prefect of Antioch to call John
Chrysostom out of the town without the knowledge of the people, and to send
him straight to Constantinople. In this sudden way Chrysostom was hurried to
the capital, and ordained Bishop of Constantinople on 26 February, 398, in the
presence of a great assembly of bishops, by Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria,
who had been obliged to renounce the idea of securing the appointment of
Isidore, his own candidate. The change for Chrysostom was as great as it was
unexpected. His new position was not an easy one, placed as he was in the
midst of an upstart metropolis, half Western, half Oriental, in the neighbourhood
of a court in which luxury and intrigue always played the most prominent parts,
and at the head of the clergy composed of most heterogeneous elements, and
even (if not canonically, at least practically) at the head of the whole Byzantine
episcopate. The first act of the new bishop was to bring about a reconciliation
between Flavian and Rome. Constantinople itself soon began to feel the impulse
of a new ecclesiastical life. 

The necessity for reform was undeniable. Chrysostom began "sweeping the
stairs from the top" (Palladius, op. cit., v). He called his oeconomus, and ordered
him to reduce the expenses of the episcopal household; he put an end to the
frequent banquets, and lived little less strictly than he had formerly lived as a
priest and monk. With regard to the clergy, Chrysostom had at first to forbid
them to keep in their houses syneisactoe, i.e. women housekeepers who had
vowed virginity. He also proceeded against others who, by avarice or luxury, had
given scandal. He had even to exclude from the ranks of the clergy two deacons,
the one for murder and the other for adultery. Of the monks, too, who were very
numerous even at that time at Constantinople, some had preferred to roam about
aimlessly and without discipline. Chrysostom confined them to their
monasteries. Finally he took care of the ecclesiastical widows. Some of them
were living in a worldly manner: he obliged them either to marry again, or to
observe the rules of decorum demanded by their state. After the clergy,
Chrysostom turned his attention to his flock. As he had done at Antioch, so at
Constantinople and with more reason, he frequently preached against the
unreasonable extravagances of the rich, and especially against the ridiculous
finery in the matter of dress affected by women whose age should have put them
beyond such vanities. Some of them, the widows Marsa, Castricia, Eugraphia,
known for such preposterous tastes, belonged to the court circle. It seems that
the upper classes of Constantinople had not previously been accustomed to
such language. Doubtless some felt the rebuke to be intended for themselves,
and the offence given was the greater in proportion as the rebuke was the more
deserved. On the other hand, the people showed themselves delighted with the
sermons of their new bishop, and frequently applauded him in the church
(Socrates, "Hist. eccl." VI). They never forgot his care for the poor and miserable,
and that in his first year he had built a great hospital with the money he had
saved in his household. But Chrysostom had also very intimate friends among
the rich and noble classes. The most famous of these was Olympias, widow and
deaconess, a relation of Emperor Theodosius, while in the Court itself there was
Brison, first usher of Eudoxia, who assisted Chrysostom in instructing his choirs,
and always maintained a true friendship for him. The empress herself was at first
most friendly towards the new bishop. She followed the religious processions,
attended his sermons, and presented silver candlesticks for the use of the
churches (Socrates, op. cit., VI, 8; Sozomenus, op. cit., VIII, 8). 

Unfortunately, the feelings of amity did not last. At first Eutropius, the former
slave, now minister and consul, abused his influence. He deprived some wealthy
persons of their property, and prosecuted others whom he suspected of being
adversaries of rivals. More than once Chrysostom went himself to the minister
(see "Oratio ad Eutropium" in P.G., Chrys. Op., III, 392) to remonstrate with him,
and to warn him of the results of his own acts, but without success. Then the
above-named ladies, who immediately surrounded the empress, probably did not
hide their resentment against the strict bishop. Finally, the empress herself
committed an injustice in depriving a widow of her vineyard (Marcus Diac., "Vita
Porphyrii"
, V, no. 37, in P.G., LXV, 1229). Chrysostom interceded for the latter.
But Eudoxia showed herself offended. Henceforth there was a certain coolness
between the imperial Court and the episcopal palace, which, growing little by
little, led to a catastrophe. It is impossible to ascertain exactly at what period
this alienation first began; very probably it dated from the beginning of the year
401. But before this state of things became known to the public there happened
events of the highest political importance, and Chrysostom, without seeking it,
was implicated in them. These were the fall of Eutropius and the revolt of Gainas.

In January, 399, Eutropius, for a reason not exactly known, fell into disgrace.
Knowing the feelings of the people and of his personal enemies, he fled to the
church. As he had himself attempted to abolish the immunity of the
ecclesiastical asylums not long before, the people seemed little disposed to
spare him. But Chrysostom interfered, delivering his famous sermon on
Eutropius, and the fallen minister was saved for the moment. As, however, he
tried to escape during the night, he was seized, exiled, and some time later put
to death. Immediately another more exciting and more dangerous event followed.
Gainas, one of the imperial generals, had been sent out to subdue Tribigild, who
had revolted. In the summer of 399 Gainas united openly with Tribigild, and, to
restore peace, Arcadius had to submit to the most humiliating conditions.
Gainas was named commander-in-chief of the imperial army, and even had
Aurelian and Saturninus, two men of the highest rank at Constantinople,
delivered over to him. It seems that Chrysostom accepted a mission to Gainas,
and that, owing to his intervention, Aurelian and Saturninus were spared by
Gainas, and even set at liberty. Soon afterwards, Gainas, who was an Arian
Goth, demanded one of the Catholic churches at Constantinople for himself and
his soldiers. Again Chrysostom made so energetic an opposition that Gainas
yielded. Meanwhile the people of Constantinople had become excited, and in one
night several thousand Goths were slain. Gainas however escaped, was
defeated, and slain by the Huns. Such was the end within a few years of three
consuls of the Byzantine Empire. There is no doubt that Chrysostom's authority
had been greatly strengthened by the magnanimity and firmness of character he
had shown during all these troubles. It may have been this that augmented the
jealousy of those who now governed the empirea clique of courtiers, with the
empress at their head. These were now joined by new allies issuing from the
ecclesiastical ranks and including some provincial bishopsSeverian of Gabala,
Antiochus of Ptolemais, and, for some time, Acacius of Beroeawho preferred
the attractions of the capital to residence in their own cities (Socrates, op. cit.,
VI, 11; Sozomenus, op. cit., VIII, 10). The most intriguing among them was
Severian, who flattered himself that he was the rival of Chrysostom in eloquence.
But so far nothing had transpired in public. A great change occurred during the
absence of Chrysostom for several months from Constantinople. This absence
was necessitated by an ecclesiastical affair in Asia Minor, in which he was
involved. Following the express invitation of several bishops, Chrysostom, in the
first months of 401, had come to Ephesus, where he appointed a new
archbishop, and with the consent of the assembled bishops deposed six bishops
for simony. After having passed the same sentence on Bishop Gerontius of
Nicomedia, he returned to Constantinople. 

Meanwhile disagreeable things had happened there. Bishop Severian, to whom
Chrysostom seems to have entrusted the performance of some ecclesiastical
functions, had entered into open enmity with Serapion, the archdeacon and
oeconomus of the cathedral and the episcopal palace. Whatever the real reason
may have been, Chrysostom, found the case so serious that he invited Severian
to return to his own see. It was solely owing to the personal interference of
Eudoxia, whose confidence Serapion possessed, that he was allowed to come
back from Chalcedon, whither he had retired. The reconciliation which followed
was, at least on the part of Severian, not a sincere one, and the public scandal
had excited much ill-feeling. The effects soon became visible. When in the spring
of 402, Bishop Porphyrius of Gaza (see Marcus Diac., "Vita Porphyrii", V...) 
went to the Court at Constantinople to obtain a favour for his diocese, Chrysostom answered that he could do nothing for him, since he was himself in disgrace with the empress. Nevertheless, the party of malcontents were not really dangerous, unless they could find some prominent and unscrupulous leader. Such a person presented himself sooner than might have been expected. It was the well-known Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria. He appeared under rather curious circumstances, which in no way foreshadowed the final result. Theophilus, toward the end of the year 402, was summoned by the emperor to Constantinople to apologize before a synod, over which
Chrysostom should preside, for several charges, which were brought against him
by certain Egyptian monks, especially by the so-called four "tall brothers". The
patriarch, their former friend, had suddenly turned against them, and had them
persecuted as Origenists (Palladius, "Dialogus", xvi; Socrates, op. cit., VI, 7;
Sozomenus, op. cit., VIII, 12). 

However, Theophilus was not easily frightened. He had always agents and friends
at Constantinople, and knew the state of things and the feelings at the court. He
now resolved to take advantage of them. He wrote at once to St. Epiphanius at
Cyprus, requesting him to go to Constantinople and prevail upon Chrysostom at
to condemn the Origenists. Epiphanius went. But when he found that Theophilus
was merely using him for his own purposes, he left the capital, dying on his
return in 403. At this time Chrysostom delivered a sermon against the vain luxury
of women. It was reported to the empress as though she had been personally
alluded to. In this way the ground was prepared. Theophilus at last appeared at
Constantinople in June, 403, not alone, as he had been commanded, but with
twenty-nine of his suffragan bishops, and, as Palladius (ch. viii) tells us, with a
good deal of money and all sorts of gifts. He took his lodgings in one of the
imperial palaces, and held conferences with all the adversaries of Chrysostom.
Then he retired with his suffragans and seven other bishops to a villa near
Constantinople... A long list of the most ridiculous accusations was drawn up against
Chrysostom, who, surrounded by forty-two archbishops and bishops assembled to judge Theophilus in accordance with the orders of the emperor, was now summoned to
present himself and apologize. Chrysostom naturally refused to recognize the
legality of a synod in which his open enemies were judges. After the third
summons Chrysostom, with the consent of the emperor, was declared to be
deposed. In order to avoid useless bloodshed, he surrendered himself on the third
day to the soldiers who awaited him. But the threats of the excited people, and a
sudden accident in the imperial palace, frightened the empress (Palladius,
"Dialogus", ix). She feared some punishment from heaven for Chrysostom's exile,
and immediately ordered his recall. After some hesitation Chrysostom re-entered
the capital amid the great rejoicings of the people. Theophilus and his party
saved themselves by flying from Constantinople. Chrysostom's return was in
itself a defeat for Eudoxia. When her alarms had gone, her rancour revived. Two
months afterwards a silver statue of the empress was unveiled in the square just
before the cathedral. The public celebrations which attended this incident, and
lasted several days, became so boisterous that the offices in the church were
disturbed. Chrysostom complained of this to the prefect of the city, who reported
to Eudoxia that the bishop had complained against her statue. This was enough
to excite the empress beyond all bounds. She summoned Theophilus and the
other bishops to come back and to depose Chrysostom again. The prudent
patriarch, however, did not wish to run the same risk a second time. He only
wrote to Constantinople that Chrysostom should be condemned for having
re-entered his see in opposition to an article of the Synod of Antioch held in the
year 341 (an Arian synod). The other bishops had neither the authority nor the
courage to give a formal judgment. All they could do was to urge the emperor to
sign a new decree of exile. A double attempt on Chrysostom's life failed. On
Easter Eve, 404, when all the catechumens were to receive baptism, the
adversaries of the bishop, with imperial soldiers, invaded the baptistery and
dispersed the whole congregation. At last Arcadius signed the decree, and on 24
June, 404, the soldiers conducted Chrysostom a second time into exile. 

5. Exile and Death 

They had scarcely left Constantinople when a huge conflagration destroyed the
cathedral, the senate-house, and other buildings. The followers of the exiled
bishop were accused of the crime and prosecuted. In haste Arsacius, an old
man, was appointed successor of Chrysostom, but was soon succeeded by the
cunning Atticus. Whoever refused to enter into communion with them was
punished by confiscation of property and exile. Chrysostom himself was
conducted to Cucusus, a secluded and rugged place on the east frontier of
Armenia, continually exposed to the invasions of the Isaurians. In the following
year he had even to fly for some time to the castle of Arabissus to protect
himself from these barbarians. Meanwhile he always maintained a
correspondence with his friends and never gave up the hope of return. When the
circumstances of his deposition were known in the West, the pope and the
Italian bishops declared themselves in his favour. Emperor Honorius and Pope
Innocent I endeavoured to summon a new synod, but their legates were
imprisoned and then sent home. The pope broke off all communion with the
Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch (where an enemy of Chrysostom had
succeeded Flavian), and Constantinople, until (after the death of Chrysostom)
they consented to admit his name into the diptychs of the Church. Finally all
hopes for the exiled bishop had vanished. Apparently he was living too long for
his adversaries. In the summer, 407, the order was given to carry him to Pithyus,
a place at the extreme boundary of the empire, near the Caucasus. One of the
two soldiers who had to lead him caused him all possible sufferings. He was
forced to make long marches, was exposed to the rays of the sun, to the rains and the cold of the nights. His body, already weakened by several severe
illnesses, finally broke down. On 14 Sept. the party were at Comanan in Pontus.
In the morning Chrysostom had asked to rest there on the account of his state of
health. In vain; he was forced to continue his march. Very soon he felt so weak
that they had to return to Comana. Some hours later Chrysostom died. His last
words were: Doxa to theo panton eneken (Glory be to God for all things)
(Palladius, xi, 38). He was buried at Comana. On 27 January, 438, his body was
translated to Constantinople with great pomp, and entombed in the church of the
Apostles where Eudoxia had been buried in the year 404. 


Sources include the Catholic Encyclopedia, Butler's Lives of the Saints, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Church and L'Osservatore Romano.

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