Saturday, November 12, 2011

St John the Golden-Mouthed

On November 13, in the Life of the Church, we commemorate our Holy Father among the Saints, John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople.

St John Chrysostom
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The Life of John Chrysostom is well recorded through his own writings and orations and the writings of numerous Church Fathers. Because many of these writings have been translated to English in the past century, great interest has been shown in this prominent Father. Saint John was surnamed Chrysostom ("Golden-mouth") because of his eloquence. He made exhaustive commentaries on the divine Scriptures and was the author of more works than any other Church Father, leaving us complete commentaries on the Book of Genesis, the Gospels of Saints Matthew and John, the Acts and all the Epistles of Saint Paul. Numerous teachers of the Church have written homilies of praise in his honor. Besides his feast today and on January 27 (Translation of his Holy Relics), he is also commemorated on January 30, together with Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Theologian on the Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers & Hierarchs.

The Service of Divine Liturgy celebrated on most Sundays and on special feast days throughout the Church Year is ascribed to Saint John Chrysostom.

This has a great deal of influence upon modern Orthodox Christians, while many denominations either attempt to turn to traditional styles or get "modern" and "fresh" in their style of worship, as Orthodox Christians, we have a practice of worship that dates back to the time of John Chrysostom in the 4th century A.D.

This rich history of Holy Tradition is what many Protestants and other forms of Christianity seem to miss out on. Some Protestant Christians make great strides to attempt to relive or recapture the "Spirit" of Christianity in the early Church, simply by reading the Bible and making their own understanding of Church Life fit in their current way of living.

For Orthodox Christians, the early Church is OUR current Church; we have the "Holy Tradition" passed on from the Apostles of Christ to the Bishops (leaders of the Church), one of whom is John Chrysostom. The practice of worship, the written works of the Bible, and Christian living was worked out and codified during the instrumental years of the 4th century during the times of such masterful teachers, preachers, and shepherds as our own John Chrysostom.

St John Chrysostom
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What we believe as modern-day Orthodox Christians is the same as what our Church Fathers learned from the Apostles and taught to their flocks; that succession of belief and faith is what allows us as followers of Christ to proudly state on the first Sunday of Great Lent during Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers:

"This is the Faith of the Apostles; this is the Faith of the Fathers; this is the Faith of the Orthodox; this is the Faith which has established the Universe!"

Saint John Chrysostom's Paschal Homily is one of the great orations of the humility of the soul and desire to receive Christ. For centuries, all Orthodox around the world proclaim this as they celebrate Pascha, the Feast of Feasts - the Resurrection of our Lord.

Our Holy Father among the Saints, John Chrysostom has made a major impact on Orthodox Christianity, as the Apostle Paul and Emperor Constantine the Great did before him. Not only do we look back on his life as inspiration for living our own life, but as we gather for worship with our parish community, we are constantly reminded of the love John Chrysostom had for his Church, his flock, and his God.

Troparion (Tone 8):

Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon has enlightened the universe. It has shown to the world the treasures of liberality; it has revealed to us the heights of humility. Teaching us by your words, O Father John Chrysostom, intercede before the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls!

Through the prayers of our Holy Father among the Saints, John Chrysostom, intercede with Christ our God, that our souls may be saved!

- A Day in the Life of Youth Director

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