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.

Fasting is a medicine. But medicine, as beneficial as it is, becomes useless because of the inexperience of the user. He has to know the appropriate time that the medicine should be taken and the right amount of medicine and the condition of the body which is to take it, the weather conditions and the season of the year and the appropriate diet of the sick and many other things. If any of these things are overlooked, the medicine will do more harm than good. So, if one who is going to heal the body needs so much accuracy, when we care for the soul and are concerned about healing it from bad thoughts, it is necessary to examine and observe everything with every possible detail.

If you say, Would there were no wine because of the drunkards, then you must say, going on by degrees, Would there were no steel, because of the murderers, Would there were no night, because of the thieves, Would there were no light, because of the informers, and Would there were no women, because of adultery.

Musicke doth withdraw our mindes from earthly cogitations, lifteth up our spirits into heaven, maketh them light and celestial

The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.

When one is required to preside over the Church, and be entrusted with the care of so many souls, the whole female sex must retire before the magnitude of the task, and the majority of men also.

Fasting is the change of every part of our life, because the sacrifice of the fast is not the abstinence but the distancing from sins. Therefore, whoever limits the fast to the deprivation of food, he is the one who, in reality, abhors and ridicules the fast. Are you fasting? Show me your fast with your works. Which works? If you see someone who is poor, show him mercy. If you see an enemy, reconcile with him. If you see a friend who is becoming successful, do not be jealous of him! If you see a beautiful woman on the street, pass her by. In other words, not only should the mouth fast, but the eyes and the legs and the arms and all the other parts of the body should fast as well. Let the hands fast, remaining clean from stealing and greediness. Let the legs fast, avoiding roads which lead to sinful sights. Let the eyes fast by not fixing themselves on beautiful faces and by not observing the beauty of others. You are not eating meat, are you? You should not eat debauchery with your eyes as well. Let your hearing also fast. The fast of hearing is not to accept bad talk against others and sly defamations.

In children we have a great charge committed to us. Let us bestow great care upon them, and do everything that the Evil One may not rob us of them. But now our practice is the reverse of this. We take all care indeed to have our farm in good order, and to commit it to faithful manager, we look out for it an ass-driver, and muleteer, and bailiff, and a clever accomptant. But we do not look out for what is much more important, for a person to whom we may commit our son as the guardian of his morals, though this is a possession much more valuable than all others. It is for him indeed that we take such care of our estate. We take care of our possessions for our children, but of the children themselves we take no care at all. Form the soul of thy son aright, and all the rest will be added hereafter.

Never deem it an unnecessary thing that he should be a diligent hearer of the divine Scriptures. For there the first thing he hears will be this, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’; so that this makes for thee. Never say, this is the business of monks. Am I making a monk of him? No. There is no need he should become a monk. Why be so afraid of a thing so replete with so much advantage? Make him a Christian.

The belief in stars is a foolish disbelief against God’s omnipotence and creativity, for God is subjected to the star’s power.

When we once begin to form good resolutions, God gives us every opportunity of carrying them out.

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

Feeding the hungry is a greater work than raising the dead.

Intemperance is a hydra with a hundred heads. She never stalks abroad unaccompanied with impurity, anger, and the most infamous profligacies.

No one can harm the man who does himself no wrong.

The divine law indeed has excluded women from this ministry, but they endeavor to thrust themselves into it; and since they can affect nothing of themselves, they do all through the agency of others.

Wherefore, I exhort you, when we receive children from the nurse, let us not accustom to old wives’ stories, but let them learn from their first youth that there is a Judgment, that there is a punishment; let it be infixed in their minds. This fear being rooted in them produces great good effects. For a soul that that has learnt from its first youth to be subdued by this expectation will not soon shake off this fear. But like a horse obedient to the bridle, having the thought of hell seated upon it, walking orderly, it will both speak and utter things profitable; and neither youth nor riches, not an orphan state, not any other thing, will be able to injure it, having its reason so firm and able to hold out against everything.

A comprehended god is no god

For as the rich in money can bear fines and damages, so he that is rich in the doctrines of [Christian] philosophy will bear not poverty only, but all calamities also easily, more easily than that rich one.

Is it not strange that those who sit in the marketplace tell the names, and races, and cities and talents of charioteers and dancers, even accurately state the good and bad qualities of horses, while those who assemble in this place [the church] understand nothing of what is taking place here and even are ignorant of the number of the [sacred] Books?

Nothing is more fallacious than wealth. It is a hostile comrade, a domestic enemy.

The drunken man is a living corpse.

Why, you ask, do we see evil doers thriving and healthy and enjoying great prosperity? Let us weep for them, because they’re not having to suffer in this world is a guarantee of greater punishment in the next! To show this, St. Paul said, ‘But when we are judged, we are being chastised by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with this world. Afflictions here are a form of reproof, while this in the other world are a form of punishment for those who were evil in their lives.’

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