Monday, September 13, 2010

St. John Chrysostom

St. John Chrysostom's feast day has been moved from January 27, the day his remains were re-buried in Constantinople, to September 13, the day before his death in 407 because the 14th was already taken with the major feast of the Holy Cross. (January 27 will now be Lydia, Dorcas and Phoebe, all worthy of remembrance but a) why are they combining these women on one day?--grr; and b) why not have them on an open day rather than rebury Chrysostom yet again? Deep breath. OK. I'm calmer now.)

BUT I wanted to talk about John Chrysostom, seeing as he is a preacher of renown, his name meaning "Golden Mouth." According to one bio, "Audiences were warned not to carry large sums of money when they went to hear him speak, since pickpockets found it very easy to rob his hearers -- they were too intent on his words to notice what was happening." It goes on:

He loved the city and people of Antioch, and they loved him. However, he became so famous that the Empress at Constantinople decided that she must have him for her court preacher, and she had him kidnapped and brought to Constantinople and there made bishop. This was a failure all around. His sermons against corruption in high places earned him powerful enemies (including the Empress), and he was sent into exile, where he died.

How sad! But how brave, that he continued to preach and not simply speak to get along. How true to his call and to his Lord.

"Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering your Word, that your people shall be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed." So be it. Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nothing to say about St. Chrysostom, I'm sorry to say, but perhaps this is as good a place as any to report my own latest experience with the revised rota in "Holy Women/Holy Men."

This Saturday was the new feast day of Henry Thacker Burleigh, celebrated largely for bringing the African-American spiritual tradition into the musical tradition of the Episcopal Church. You can find his biography here:

Saturday was also a day that I went to a funeral for a much-loved one-time music teacher, and the service included moving renditions of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Deep River," a song that apparently initially came to be particularly popular in churches in Burleigh's arrangement.

A funeral can be sad, but I was happy to hear these songs on this day. I doubt that the people who put the service together had any idea that Burleigh was behind some of the songs they chose, but I found some comfort in the coincidence.