John Chrysostom despite opposition continued to serve Christ

…Prayer: As bishop of the great congregations of Antioch and Constantinople, he fearlessly bore reproach for the honor of Your name. Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and fidelity in ministering Your Word that Your people shall be partakers of the divine nature; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit one God, now and forever.

Given the added name Chrysostom, which means ‘golden-mouthed’ in Greek, St John was a dominant force in the fourth century Christian Church…John was instructed in the Christian faith by his pious mother, Anthusa… His simple but direct messages found an audience well beyond his hometown. In Ad 398, John Chrysostom was made patriarch of Constantinople. His determination to reform the church, court, and city brought him into conflict with established authorities. Eventually, he was exiled from his adopted city. Although removed from his parishes and people, he continued writing and preaching until the time of his death in AD 407. It is reported that his final words were ‘Glory be to God for all things! Ament.’

John Chrysostom never stopped preaching and writing, even when he was deposed as patriarch of Constantinople. Such proclamation was to lead people to become a sacrifice in God’s presence (Rom15:16). By proclaiming the Gospel to us, our pastors are the priests who offer believers to our Father. Their office is to proclaim the Gospel of God. Like the apostle Paul, the proclaimers are not seeking their own honor but the praise of the Word of God and its gracious giver. Their only tool in this priestly work is the ‘knife of the Gospel,’ as Chrysostom puts it, but it is God’s Gospel and so is entirely suited to the task. No wonder Chrysostom kept preaching and writing to keep aflame the fire of the Spirit.

‘[Paul] lifts his discourse, not speaking of mere service as in the beginning but of service and priestly ministry. To me this is priesthood; this is preaching and declaring. This is the sacrifice I bring. Now no one will find fault with a priest for being concerned about offering the sacrifice without blemish. He says this at once to lift their thoughts and show them that they are a sacrifice, and in defense for his own part in the matter, because he was appointed to this office. It is as though he were saying. ‘My knife is the Gospel, the word of preaching. The cause is not that I may be glorified, not that I may appear conspicuous , but ‘that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 15:16); that is that those souls taught by me may be accepted. It was not so much to honor me that God led me to this point as it was out of concern for you,

‘How are they to become acceptable? In the Holy Spirit. There is need not only of faith but also of a spiritual way of life, so that we may keep the Spirit that was given once for all. It is not wood and fire, nor altar and knife, but the Spirit that is all in us. For this reason, I take all means to prevent that fire from being extinguished, as I have been also commanded to do.

Why then do you speak to those that need it not? This is just the reason why I do not teach you, but put you in mind.’ he replies. ‘As the priest stands by stirring up the fire, so I do, arousing your ready mindedness'” (John Chrysostom, “Homilies on Romans, 29)

Scott Murray “A Year with the Church Fathers” p 28

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