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E02476: John Chrysostom composes and delivers a homily On All the Martyrs during a festival held in Constantinople for an unnamed martyr from Egypt. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 397/407.

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posted on 07.03.2017, 00:00 by Bryan
John Chrysostom, On All the Martyrs (CPG 4441.5; BHG 1191s)

Brief Summary:

The sermon mostly consists of deliberations on the glorious condition of the martyrs. Paragraphs 7, 15, and 16 addresses the pagan critics of the cult of the martyrs, by comparing the courage and posthumous miracles of the Christian saints with the lives of pagan philosophers. Paragraphs 9 and 10 refer to miracles and exorcisms taking place at the resting places of the saints. Paragraph 11 reveals that the martyr under discussion was from Egypt, without giving any further information. Paragraph 12 addresses briefly Arianism, and its claim about the inferiority of the Son.

The text is unedited, but an English translation has been published in Mayer 2006, 239-255.

History

Evidence ID

E02476

Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

397

Evidence not after

407

Activity not before

397

Activity not after

407

Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Chrysostom

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Scepticism/rejection of the cult of saints

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Crowds Pagans Heretics Monarchs and their family Soldiers

Source

John of Antioch, bishop of Constantinople, who came to be known as Chrysostom (the Golden Mouth), was born in 344/354 in Antioch on the Orontes where he studied under Libanius. He joined the Nicene Christian community of Antioch, led by bishop Meletios of Antioch, and was ordained priest by Meletios’ successor, Flavianos in 386. Acquiring a great reputation as a preacher, John was appointed as bishop of Constantinople in 397. Clashing with the bishop of Alexandria Theophilos and the empress Eudoxia in 403/404, Chrysostom was deposed and banished to Cucusus in Cappadocia and died in Comana of Pontus in 407. The text is preserved in the 10th/11th century Codex 6 of the Stauroniceta Monastery on Mount Athos (fol. 138v-146). The original Greek is unedited. An English translation has been published in Mayer 2006, 239-255.

Discussion

Delivered during a festival of martyrs in Constantinople, this homily provides very little evidence for its actual venue and occasion. The manuscript title, however, reports that it was given at the basilica of *Akakios. Chrysostom's remarks in defence and justification of the cult of the martyrs are particularly interesting, especially because of their similarities with the slightly later apologies of Asterius of Amasea (E02140) and Theodoret of Cyrrhus (E03500) on the matter.

Bibliography

Translation, and commentary: Mayer, W., St John Chrysostom, The Cult of the Saints: Select Homilies and Letters Introduced, Translated, and Annotated (Popular Patristics Series; New York: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2006), 239-255. Further reading: Downey, G., Ancient Antioch (Princeton, 1961). Drobner, H.R., The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 327-337. Kelly, J.N.D., Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom. Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

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