John Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom

John
Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom
c. 345
407

Greek Archbishop of Constantinople known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders

Author Quotes

The house of mourning teaches charity and wisdom.

Sin is a suppurating wound; punishment is the surgeon’s knife.

Laughter does not seem to be a sin, but it leads to sin.

But now your children will utter songs and dances of Satan, like cooks, and caterers, and musicians; no one knows any psalm but it seems a thing to be ashamed of even, a mockery and a joke. There is the treasury house of all these evils. For whatsoever soil the plant stands in, such is the fruit it bears; if in a sandy and salty soil, of like nature is its fruit; if in a sweet and rich one, it is again similar. So the matter of instruction is a sort of fountain. Teach him to sing those psalms which are so full of the love of wisdom. When in these you have led him on from childhood, by little and little you will lead him forward even to the higher things.

Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty, then the person may receive your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed. This is because he will feel beholden to you. If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.

Let the mouth also fast from disgraceful speeches and railings. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and fowl and yet bite and devour our brothers and sisters? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbor.

Prayer should be the means by which I, at all times, receive all that I need, and, for this reason, be my daily refuge, my daily consolation, my daily joy, my source of rich and inexhaustible joy in life.

The rich man is not one who is in possession of much, but one who gives much.

Charity is the scope of all God's commands.

I do not know whether anyone has ever succeeded in not enjoying praise. And, if he enjoys it, he naturally wants to receive it. And if he wants to receive it, he cannot help but being distraught at losing it. Those who are in love with applause have their spirits starved not only when they are blamed off-hand, but even when they fail to be constantly praised.

Let them hear, as many of us as neglect the reading of the Scriptures, to what harm we are subjecting ourselves, to what poverty.

Riches are not forbidden, but the pride of them is.

Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Consider how august a privilege it is, when angels are present, and archangels throng around, when cherubim and seraphim encircle with their blaze the throne, that a mortal may approach with unrestrained confidence, and converse with heaven's dread Sovereign! O, what honor was ever conferred like this?

I hear no one boast, that he hath a knowledge of the Scriptures, but that he owneth a Bible written in golden characters. And tell me then, what profiteth this? The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.

Let us pass to the despotic part of the soul, spirit. We must not eliminate it utterly from the youth nor yet allow him to use it all the time. Let us train boys from earliest childhood to be patient when they suffer wrongs themselves, but, if they see another being wronged, to sally forth courageously and aid the sufferer in fitting measure. –

Sins that are easiest to amend bring the greatest punishment. Anger is a strong fire, consuming all things its path; it wastes the body and corrupts the body, and renders a man base and odious to look upon. And if it were possible for the angry man to see himself at the time of his anger he would not need any other admonition, for there is nothing less pleasing than an angry countenance. Anger is an intoxicant and more wretched than God does not insist or desire that we should mourn in agony of heart: Rather, it is His wish that out of love for Him we should rejoice with laughter in our soul. Take away sin, and tears become superfluous; where there is no bruising, no ointment is required. Before the fall, Adam shed no tears and in the same way there will be no more tears after the resurrection from the dead, when sin has been destroyed. For pain, sorrow and lamentation will then have fled away.

There is no service more agreeable to God than helping to save souls. To employ one’s life in this blessed labor is more pleasing to God than to suffer martyrdom!

Depart from the highway, and transplant thyself in some enclosed ground; for it is hard for a tree that stands by the wayside to keep her fruit till it be ripe.

I know my own soul, how feeble and puny it is: I know the magnitude of this ministry, and the great difficulty of the work; for more stormy billows vex the soul of the priest than the gales which disturb the sea.

Lift up and stretch out your hands, not to heaven, but to the poor; for if you stretch forth your hands to the poor, you have reached the summit of heaven, but if you lift up your hands in prayer without sharing with the poor, it is worth nothing.

Slander is worse than cannibalism

They think that when they enter in here [the church], that they enter into our presence [the clergy], they think that they hear from us. They do not lay to heart, they do not consider that they are entering the presence of God, that it is He who addresses them. For when the Reader standing up says Thus says the Lord, and the Deacon stands and imposes silence on all, he does not say this as doing honor to the Reader but to honor Him who speaks to all through him [the Reader]. If they knew that it was God who through His prophet speaks these things, they would cast away all their pride. For if rulers are addressing them, they do not allow their minds to wander, much else would they when God is speaking. We are ministers, beloved. We speak not our own things, but the things of God. Letters coming from heaven are read every day.… These letters are sent from God; therefore let us enter with becoming reverence into the churches and let us hearken with fear to the things here said.

Do not say I use what is mine: you use what is alien to you; the indulgent, selfish use makes what is yours something alien; that is why I call it alien good, because you use it with a hardened heart and claim that it is right, that you alone live from what is yours.

I would like to have a voice strong enough to make myself heard from the four corners of the world. I would climb the ugliest mountain in the universe and I would cry out to all men, save, save your soul!

Author Picture
First Name
John
Last Name
Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom
Birth Date
c. 345
Death Date
407
Bio

Greek Archbishop of Constantinople known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders