St. John Chrysostom is revered as one of the Early Church Fathers, and particularly as one of the great preachers in history (“Chrysostom” means “golden-mouthed”). His homilies have had a lasting impact on Orthodox, Eastern Rite, and Roman Catholic theology and liturgy, and he is frequently cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He lived from the year 347 until 407, spending time as an ascetic hermit, a popular public speaker in Antioch, and, though it was not his idea, as Archbishop in Constantinople. John’s preaching style was direct and accessible to the common people, relating Scripture to everyday life, and he was well-known for speaking strongly against the abuses of wealth and power in both the religious and political leaders. This prophetic stance made him very popular with the public and very unpopular with the people in charge of the church and state. He died in exile.
Questions for Reflection:
- It is said that a prophet comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. Who do you think is a prophet in today’s modern world?
- Where have you heard a “golden-mouth” speaking for the poor?
- Have you ever played the role of a prophet?