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Title: Saint John Chrysostom, his Life and Times - A sketch of the church and the empire in the fourth century
Author: Stephens, W. R. W.
Language: English
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  With Portrait.



  _The right of translation is reserved._


The present edition of this Essay is substantially a reproduction
of the first. It is possible, indeed, and I hope probable, that the
fruits of nine years’ more experience and study would have manifested
themselves in some marked improvements upon the former work had I
rewritten or recast the whole of it. But after mature consideration
it did not seem to me that the defects of my original attempt were
sufficient to warrant such an expenditure of time and toil.

I have therefore contented myself with carefully revising the text and
references, and making here and there a few slight alterations in the
way either of addition or omission.

  _Feby. 20, 1880_.


The considerations which induced me to undertake this monograph are
mentioned in the introductory chapter. How far the design there
indicated has been satisfactorily fulfilled, it is for others to
decide. I am of course conscious of defects, for every workman’s ideal
aim should be higher than what he can actually accomplish. The work has
incurred a certain risk from having been once or twice suspended for a
considerable period; but I have always returned to it with increased
interest and pleasure, nor can I charge myself with having wittingly
bestowed less pains on one part than another. I have endeavoured to
make it a trustworthy narrative by drawing from the most original
sources to which I could gain access; and where, as in those portions
which touch on secular history, the lead of general historians, such
as Gibbon or De Broglie has been followed, I have, as far as possible,
consulted the authorities to which they refer. To modern authors from
whom I have derived valuable assistance for special parts of the
work, such as M. Amédée Thierry and Dr. Foerster, my obligations are
acknowledged in their proper place.

Neander’s Life of St. Chrysostom has, of course, throughout been
frequently consulted. It is marked by the customary merits and defects
of that historian. It is full of research, information, thought, and
refined religious sentiment; but he fails to bring out strongly the
personality of his subject. We have abundance of Chrysostom’s sayings
and opinions, but somehow too little of Chrysostom himself. The fact
is that Neander seems always to be thinking more of those views and
theories about the growth of Christian doctrine and the Church, which
he wishes to impress upon men’s minds, than of the person about whom
he is writing. Thus, the subject of his biography becomes too much a
mere vehicle for conveying Neander’s own opinions, and the personality
of the character fades away in proportion. Some passages in the life
of his subject are related at inordinate length; others, because less
illustrative of Neander’s views, are imperfectly sketched, if not

In extracts from the works of Chrysostom, the somewhat difficult
question of the comparative advantages of translation and paraphrase
has been decided, on the whole, in favour of the latter. The
condensation of matter gained by a paraphrase is an important, indeed
necessary, object, if many specimens are to be given from such a very
voluminous author as Chrysostom. A careful endeavour, at the same time,
has been made to render faithfully the general sense of the original;
and wherever the peculiar beauty of the language or the importance of
the subject seemed to demand it, a translation has been given.

From an early date in the sixteenth century down to the present
time the works of Chrysostom have occupied the attention of learned
editors. The first attempts, after the invention of printing, were
mainly confined to Latin translations of different portions. Afterwards

(1.) In 1529 the Greek text of the Homilies on St. Paul, published at
Vienna, “typis Stephani et fratrum,” with a preface by Maximus Donatus.
This was followed by the Commentaries on the New Testament, published
by Commelin, a printer at Heidelberg, four vols. folio, A.D. 1591-1602.

(2.) In 1612 appeared a magnificent edition of the whole works, in
eight thick folio volumes, printed at Eton, and prepared by Sir
Henry Savile. Savile, born in 1549, was equally distinguished for
his knowledge of mathematics and Greek, in which he acted for a time
as tutor to Queen Elizabeth. He became Warden of Merton in 1585, and
Provost of Eton in 1596. Promotion in Church and State was offered
to him by James I., but declined, though he accepted a knighthood in
1604. His only son died about that time, and he devoted his fortune
henceforth entirely to the promotion of learning. The Savilian
Professorships of Geometry and Astronomy in Oxford were founded by
him, and a library furnished with mathematical books for the use of
his Professors. He spared no labour or expense to make his edition of
St. Chrysostom handsome and complete. He personally examined most of
the great libraries in Europe for mss., and, through the kindness of
English ambassadors and eminent men of learning abroad, his copyists
were admitted to the libraries of Paris, Basle, Augsburg, Munich,
Vienna, and other cities. He used the Commelinian edition as his
printer’s copy, carefully compared with five mss., the various readings
of which are marked (by a not very distinct plan) in the margin. The
chief value of the work consists in the prefaces and notes, contributed
some of them by Casaubon and other learned men, though by far the best
are Savile’s own. The whole cost of bringing out this grand edition is
said to have been £8000. Savile’s wife was so jealous of her husband’s
attachment to the work that she threatened to burn it.

(3.) Meanwhile, Fronton le Duc, a French Jesuit, had been labouring
independently, but in most amicable intercourse with Savile, not only
to edit the works of Chrysostom complete, but accompanied by a Latin
translation, which he supplied himself for those pieces of which he
failed to find any good one already existing. His death arrested the
work, which was taken up, after a time, by the two brothers, Frederick
and Claude Morel, and completed by the latter in 1633. It was published
in Paris in 1636, in twelve large folio volumes. The Commelinian was
again used as the printer’s copy, with fewer alterations than in the
edition of Savile.

(4.) We now come to the great Benedictine edition, prepared under the
care of Bernard de Montfaucon, who deserted the profession of arms at
the age of twenty to become, as a member of the brotherhood of St Maur,
one of the most marvellously industrious workers in literature that the
world has ever seen. In 1698, when the Benedictines had completed their
editions of SS. Augustine and Athanasius, they began to prepare for
an edition of Chrysostom, which they had intended to do for more than
thirty years. Montfaucon was sent to Italy, where he spent three years
in examining libraries; and, on his return, obtained leave from the
presidents of the congregation to employ four or five of the brethren
in collating mss. in the Royal Library at Paris, and in those of
Colbert and Coislin. Their labours extended over thirteen years; more
than 300 MSS., containing different portions of Chrysostom’s works,
having been discovered in those libraries. Montfaucon, meanwhile,
corresponded with learned men in all parts of Europe, in order to
procure materials and further collations. His correspondents in England
were Potter, Bishop of Oxford, Bentley, and Needham; and in Ireland,
Godwin, Bishop of Kilmore. The result was that, after more than twenty
years of incessant toil, Montfaucon produced an edition, in which
several pieces saw the light for the first time, and others, imperfect
in previous editions, were presented entire. The text after all is the
least satisfactory part of the work. Mr. Field has discovered that the
eight principal MSS. employed were not very carefully collated, and
that, though Savile’s text is extremely praised, that of Morel, by a
curious inconsistency, is most closely followed, which is little more
than a reproduction of the original Commelinian. The main value of the
edition consists in the prefaces, written by Montfaucon to every set
of homilies and every treatise, in which the chronology, contents, and
character of the composition are most fully and ably discussed. The
chronological arrangement also of the pieces is a great improvement
on the editions of Savile and Fronton le Duc, who had made no attempt
of that kind. The last volume, the thirteenth, contains a life of St
Chrysostom, a most copious index, and dissertations on the doctrine,
discipline, and heresies prevalent in his age, illustrated by notices
collected from his works. On the whole, the edition must be pronounced
a marvellous monument of ability and industry, especially when it is
considered that at the date of its completion, 1738, Montfaucon was
eighty-three years of age, and had been engaged for upwards of fifty
years in literary work of a most laborious description. He died in 1741.

(5.) The last edition, which leaves little or nothing to be desired,
is that which I have used in preparing this volume—the Abbé Migne’s,
in 13 vols., Paris, 1863. It is substantially a reproduction of the
Benedictine, in a rather less cumbrous size, and embodies some of
the best corrections, notes, and prefaces of modern commentators,
especially those of Mr. Field to the Homilies of St. Matthew, and some
by the learned editor himself.

A brief sketch of the principal forms in which Chrysostom’s works have
appeared seemed an appropriate introduction to the history of the man
himself. If the perusal of that history shall afford to readers half
as much interest, pleasure, and instruction as I have myself derived
from the composition of it, I shall feel amply rewarded for my labour;
and I gladly take this opportunity of expressing my gratitude to my
father-in-law for originally suggesting a work of this kind, and to
many friends, and especially my wife, for constant encouragement,
without which a mixture of indolence and diffidence might have
prevented the completion of my design.

  _All Saints Day 1871_.



  Introductory,                                                        1


  From his Birth to his Appointment to the Office of
  Reader, A.D. 345 or A.D. 347 to A.D. 370,                            9


  Commencement of ascetic life-Study under
  Diodorus—Formation of an ascetic Brotherhood—The Letters
  to Theodore, A.D. 370,                                              24


  Chrysostom evades forcible Ordination to a Bishopric—The
  Treatise “On the Priesthood.” A.D. 370, 371,                        40


  Narrow Escape from Persecution—His Entrance into a
  Monastery—The Monasticism of the East. A.D. 372,                    57


  Works produced during his monastic life—The letters to
  Demetrius and Stelechius—Treatises addressed to the
  Opponents of Monasticism—Letter to Stagirius,                       69


  Ordination as Deacon—Description of Antioch—Works
  composed during his Diaconate. A.D. 381-386,                        86


  Ordination to the Priesthood by Flavian—Inaugural
  Discourse in the Cathedral—Homilies against the
  Arians—Animadversions on the Chariot Races, A.D. 386,              103


  Homilies against Pagans and Jews—Condition of the Jews in
  Antioch—Judaising Christians—Homilies on Christmas Day
  and New Year’s Day—Censure of Pagan Superstitions. A.D.
  386, 387,                                                          120


  Survey of the first Decade of the Reign of Theodosius—His
  Character—His Efforts for the Extirpation of Paganism
  and Heresy—The Apologies of Symmachus and Libanius. A.D.
  379-389,                                                           139


  The Sedition at Antioch—The Homilies on the Statues—The
  Results of the Sedition, A.D. 387,                                 150


  Illness of Chrysostom—Homilies on Festivals
  of Saints and Martyrs—Character of these
  Festivals—Pilgrimages—Reliques—Character of Peasant
  Clergy in neighbourhood of Antioch. A.D. 387,                      177


  Survey of Events between A.D. 387 and A.D. 397—Ambrose
  and Theodosius—Revolt of Arbogastes—Death of
  Theodosius—The Ministers of Arcadius—Rufinus and
  Eutropius,                                                         186


  Death of Nectarius, Archbishop of
  Constantinople—Eager Competition for the See—Election
  of Chrysostom—His compulsory Removal from
  Antioch—Consecration—Reforms—Homilies on various
  subjects—Missionary Projects,                                      212


  The Fall of Eutropius—His Retreat to the Sanctuary of the
  Church—Right of Sanctuary maintained by Chrysostom—Death
  of Eutropius—Revolt of Gothic Commanders Tribigild and
  Gaïnas—Demand of Gaïnas for an Arian Church refused by
  Chrysostom—Defeat and Death of Gaïnas. A.D. 399-401,               240


  Chrysostom’s Visit to Asia—Deposition of six simoniacal
  Bishops—Legitimate Extent of his Jurisdiction—Return to
  Constantinople—Rupture and reconciliation with Severian,
  bishop of Gabala—Chrysostom’s increasing unpopularity
  with the Clergy and wealthy Laity—His Friends—Olympias
  the Deaconess—Formation of hostile Factions, which invite
  the aid of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria. A.D. 400,
  401,                                                               265


  Circumstances which led to the interference of Theophilus
  with the affairs of Chrysostom—Controversy about the
  Writings of Origen—Persecution by Theophilus of the Monks
  called “The Tall Brethren”—Their Flight to Palestine—To
  Constantinople—Their Reception by Chrysostom—Theophilus
  summoned to Constantinople. A.D. 395-403,                          286


  Theophilus arrives in Constantinople—Organises a Cabal
  against Chrysostom—The Synod of the Oak—Chrysostom
  pronounced contumacious for Non-appearance and expelled
  from the city—Earthquake—Recall of Chrysostom—Ovations on
  his Return—Flight of Theophilus. A.D. 403,                         306


  An Image of Eudoxia placed in front of the
  Cathedral—Chrysostom denounces it—Anger of the
  Empress—The enemy returns to the charge—Another Council
  formed—Chrysostom confined to his Palace—Violent scene in
  the Cathedral and other places—Chrysostom again expelled,
  A.D. 403, 404,                                                     326


  Fury of the people at the removal of
  Chrysostom—Destruction of the Cathedral Church and
  Senate-house by Fire—Persecution of Chrysostom’s
  followers—Fugitives to Rome—Letters of Innocent
  to Theophilus—To the Clergy of Constantinople—To
  Chrysostom—Deputation of Western Bishops to
  Constantinople repulsed—Sufferings of the Eastern
  Church—Triumph of the Cabal. A.D. 404, 405,                        341


  Chrysostom ordered to be removed to Cucusus—Perils
  encountered at Cæsarea—Hardships of the Journey—Reaches
  Cucusus—Letters written there to Olympias and other
  Friends. A.D. 404,                                                 361


  Chrysostom’s Sufferings from the winter cold—Depredations
  of the Isaurians—The Mission in Phœnicia—Letters to
  Innocent and the Italian Bishops—Chrysostom’s enemies
  obtain an order for his Removal to Pityus—He dies
  at Comana, A.D. 407—Reception of his Reliques at
  Constantinople, A.D. 438,                                          379


  Survey of Chrysostom’s Theological Teaching—Practical
  tone of his Works—Reason of this—Doctrine of
  Man’s Nature—Original Sin—Grace—Free-will—How
  far Chrysostom Pelagian—Language on the
  Trinity—Atonement—Justification—The two Sacraments—No
  trace of Confession, Purgatory, or Mariolatry—Relations
  towards the Pope—Liturgy of Chrysostom—His character as a
  Commentator—Views on Inspiration—His Preaching—Personal
  Appearance—References to Greek Classical
  Authors—Comparison with St. Augustine,                             390

  APPENDIX,                                                          433

  INDEX,                                                             435






I. There are many great names in history which have been familiar to
us from almost our earliest years, but of the personal character, the
actual life of those who bore them, we are comparatively ignorant. We
know that they were men of genius; industrious, energetic workers, who,
as statesmen, reformers, warriors, writers, speakers, exercised a vital
influence for good or ill upon their fellow-men. They have achieved
a reputation which will never die; but from various causes their
personality does not stand out before us in clear and bold relief.
We know something about some of the most important passages in their
life, a few of their sayings, a little of their writings; but the men
themselves we do not know.

Frequently the reason of this is, that though they occupy a place,
perhaps an important place, in the great drama of history, yet they
have not played one of the _foremost_ parts; and general history cannot
spare much time or space beyond what is necessary to describe the main
progress of events, and the actions and characters of those who were
most prominently concerned in them. Other men may have been greater
in themselves; they may have been first-rate in their own sphere, but
that sphere was too much secluded or circumscribed to admit of the
extensive and conspicuous public influence of which alone history takes
much cognisance. They are to history what those side or background
figures in the pictures of great medieval painters are to the grand
central subject of the piece: they do but help to fill up the canvas,
yet the picture would not be complete without them. They are notable
personages, well worthy of being separately depicted, though in the
large historical representation they play a subordinate part.

To take out one of these side figures of history, and to make it the
centre of a separate picture, grouping round it all the great events
and characters among which it moved, is the work of a biographer. And
by many it will be felt that nothing invests the general history of
any period with such a living interest as viewing it through the light
of some one human life. How was this individual soul affected by the
movement of the great forces with which it was surrounded? How did it
affect them, in its turn, wherever in its progress it came into contact
with them? This one consideration will confer on many details of
history an importance and freshness of which they seemed too trivial or
too dull to be susceptible.

II. Among these side characters in history, characters of men in
themselves belonging to the first rank, men whose names will be
renowned and honoured to the end of time, but precluded, by disposition
or circumstances, from taking the foremost place in the larger canvas
of general history, must be reckoned many of the great ecclesiastics of
the first four or five centuries of Christianity. Every one recognises
as great such names as Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Basil, the two
Gregories, and many more. Every one would admit that the Church owes
them a debt, but it may be safely affirmed that here the acquaintance
of many with these eminent men begins and ends. A few scraps from
their writings quoted in commentaries, one or two remarkable acts
or sayings which have been thought worthy to be handed down, a few
passages in which their lives flit across the stage of general history,
complete the knowledge of many more. Such men, indeed, as Athanasius
and Ambrose are to some extent exceptions. The magnitude of the
principles for which they contended, the energy and ability which
they displayed in the contest, were too conspicuous to be passed over
by the general historian, civil or ecclesiastical. The proverbial
expression “Athanasius contra mundum” attests of itself the pre-eminent
greatness of the man. But with other luminaries of the Church, whose
powers were perhaps equally great, but not exercised on so public a
field or on behalf of such apparently vital questions, history has not
dealt, perhaps cannot consistently with its scope deal, in any degree
commensurate with their merits. Nor does this remark apply entirely to
civil history. Ecclesiastical history also is so much occupied with
the consideration of subjects on a large scale and covering a large
space of time,—the course of controversies, the growth of doctrines,
the relations between Church and State, changes in discipline, in
liturgies, in ritual,—that the history of those who lived among these
events, and who by their ability made or moulded them, is comparatively
lost sight of. The outward operations are seen, but the springs
which set them going are concealed. How can general history, for
instance, adequately set forth the character and the work of such men
as Savonarola or Erasmus, both in their widely different ways men of
such incomparable genius and incessant activity? It does not; it only
supplies a glimpse, a sketch, which make us long for a fuller vision,
a more finished picture.[1]

III. It is designed to attempt, in the following pages, such a
supplementary chapter in ecclesiastical history. An endeavour will be
made not merely to chronicle the life and estimate the character of the
great preacher of Antioch and Constantinople, but to place him in the
centre of all the great movements, civil as well as religious, of his
time, and see what light he and they throw upon one another.

The age in which he lived was a troublous one. The spectacle of a
tempestuous sea may in itself excite our interest and inspire us with
awe, but place in the midst of it a vessel containing human life, and
how deeply is our interest intensified!

What was the general character and position of the clergy in the fourth
century? What was the attitude of the Church towards the sensuality,
selfishness, luxury, of an effete and debased civilisation on the one
hand, and the rude ferocity of young and strong barbarian races on the
other? To what extent had Christianity leavened, or had it appreciably
leavened at all, popular forms of thought and popular habits of life?
What was the existing phase of monasticism? what the ordinary form of
worship in the Catholic Church? what the established belief respecting
the sacraments and the great verities of the Christian faith? In answer
to such inquiries, and to many more, much useful information may be
extracted from the works of so prolific a writer and preacher as
Chrysostom. Being concerned also, as a preacher, with moral practice
more than with abstract theology, his homilies reflect, like the
writings of satirists, the manners of the age. The habits of private
life, the fashionable amusements, the absurdities of dress, all the
petty foibles, as well as the more serious vices of the society by
which he was surrounded, are dragged out without remorse, and made
the subjects of solemn admonition, or fierce invective, or withering
sarcasm, or ironical jest.

IV. Nor does secular history, from which not a single chapter in
ecclesiastical history can without injury be dissociated, want for
copious illustration. Not only from the memorable story of the sedition
at Antioch, and from the public events at Constantinople, in which
Chrysostom played a conspicuous part, but from many an allusion or
incidental expression scattered up and down his works, we may collect
rays of light on the social and political condition of the Empire. We
get glimpses in his pages of a large mass of the population hovering
midway between Paganism and Christianity; we detect an oppressive
system of taxation, a widely-spread venality in the administration
of public business, a general insecurity of life arising from the
almost total absence of what we understand by police regulations, a
depressed agriculture, a great slave population, a vast turbulent army
as dangerous to the peace of society as the enemies from whom it was
supposed to defend it, the presence of barbarians in the country as
servants, soldiers, or colonists, the constantly-impending danger from
other hordes ever hovering on the frontier, and, like famished wolves,
gazing with hungry eyes on the plentiful prey which lay beyond it. But
in the midst of the national corruption we see great characters stand
out; and it is remarkable that they belong, without exception, to the
two elements which alone were strong and progressive in the midst of
the general debility and decadence. All the men of commanding genius
in this era were either Christian or barbarian. A young and growing
faith, a vigorous and manly race: these were the two forces destined to
work hand in hand for the destruction of an old and the establishment
of a new order of things. The chief doctors of Christianity in the
fourth century—Augustine, Chrysostom, Ambrose—are incomparably greater
than their contemporary advocates of the old religion and philosophy,
Symmachus or Libanius; even as the Gothic Alaric and Fravitta, and the
Vandal Stilicho, were the only generals who did not disgrace the Roman

V. Some remarks on the theology of Chrysostom will be found in the
concluding chapter. The appellation of preacher,[2] by which he is
most generally known, is a true indicator of the sphere in which his
powers were greatest. It was in upholding a pure and lofty standard of
Christian morality, and in denouncing unchristian wickedness, that his
life was mainly spent, rather than, like Augustine’s, in constructing
and teaching a logical system of doctrine. The rage of his enemies,
to which he ultimately fell a victim, was not bred of the bitterness
of theological controversy, but of the natural antagonism between the
evil and the good. And it is partly on this account that neither the
remoteness of time, nor difference of circumstances, which separate
us from him, can dim the interest with which we read his story. He
fought not so much for any abstract question of theology or point
of ecclesiastical discipline, which may have lost its meaning and
importance for us, but for those grand principles of truth and justice,
Christian charity, and Christian holiness, which ought to be dear to
men equally in all ages.

VI. But there is also in the struggle of Chrysostom with the secular
power an ecclesiastical and historical interest, as well as a moral
one. We see prefigured in his deposition the fate of the Eastern Church
in the Eastern capital of the Empire. As the papacy grew securely by
the retreat from the old Rome of any secular rival, so the patriarchate
of the new Rome was constantly, increasingly depressed by the presence
of such a rival. Of all the great churchmen who flourished in the
fourth century, Athanasius, Basil, the Gregories, Ambrose, Jerome,
Augustine, and Chrysostom, the last three alone survived into the
fifth century. But the glory of the Western Church was then only in
its infancy; the glory of the Eastern culminated in Chrysostom. From
his time the patriarchs of Constantinople fell more and more into
the servile position of court functionaries. The working out of that
grand idea, a visible organised Catholic Church, uniform in doctrine
and discipline, an idea which grew more and more as the political
disintegration of the Empire increased, was to be accomplished by the
more commanding, law-giving spirit of the West. Intrepid in spirit,
inflexible of purpose, though Chrysostom was, he could not subdue,
he could only provoke to more violent opposition, the powers with
which he was brought into collision. Ineffectual was his contest
with ecclesiastical corruption and secular tyranny, as compared
with a similar contest waged by his Western contemporary, Ambrose;
ineffectual also were the efforts, after his time, of the Church which
he represented to assert the full dignity of its position.

VII. Chrysostom, and the contemporary fathers of the Eastern Church,
naturally seem very remote from us; but, in fact, they are nearer to
us in their modes of thought than many who in point of time are less
distant. They were brought up in the study of that Greek literature
with which we are familiar. Philosophy had not stiffened into
scholasticism. The ethics of Chrysostom are substantially the same
with the ethics of Butler. So, again, Eastern fathers of the fourth
century are far more nearly allied to us in theology than writers of
a few centuries later. If we are to look to “the rock” whence our
Anglican liturgy “was hewn,” and “to the hole of the pit” whence
Anglican reformed theology “was digged,” we must turn our eyes, above
all other directions, to the Eastern Church and the Eastern fathers.
It was observed by Mr. Alexander Knox,[3] that the earlier days of
the Greek Church seem resplendent with a glow of simple, fervent
piety, such as in a Church, as a whole, has never since been seen; and
that this character is strikingly in harmony with our own liturgy, so
overflowing with sublime aspirations, so Catholic, not bearing the
impress of any one system of theology, but containing what is best in
all. We may detect in Chrysostom the germ of medieval corruptions,
such as the invocation of saints, the adoration of relics, and a
sensuous conception of the change effected in the holy elements in the
Eucharist; but these are the raw material of error, not yet wrought
into definite shape. The Bishop of Rome is recognised, as will be seen
from Chrysostom’s correspondence with Innocent, as a great potentate,
whose intercessions are to be solicited in time of trouble and
difficulty, and to whose judgment much deference is to be paid, but by
no means as a supreme ruler in Christendom.

Thus, the tone of Chrysostom’s language is far more akin to that of
our own Church than of the medieval or present Church of Rome. In his
habit of referring to Holy Scripture as the ultimate source and basis
of all true doctrine, “so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor
may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man as an article
of faith;” in his careful endeavour to ascertain the real meaning of
Scripture, not seeking for fanciful or mystical interpretations, or
supporting preconceived theories, but patiently labouring, with a
mixture of candour, reverence, and common sense, to ascertain the exact
literal sense of each passage;—in these points, no less than in his
theology, he bears an affinity to the best minds of our own reformed
Church, and fairly represents that faith of the Catholic Church before
the disruption of East and West in which Bishop Ken desired to die;
while his fervent piety, and his apostolic zeal as a preacher of
righteousness, must command the admiration of all earnest Christians,
to whatever country, age, or Church, they may belong.


  READER, A.D. 345 OR A.D. 347 TO A.D. 370.

It has been well remarked by Sir Henry Savile, in the preface to his
noble edition of Chrysostom’s works, published in 1612, that, as with
great rivers, so often with great men, the middle and the close of
their career are dignified and distinguished, but the primary source
and early progress of the stream are difficult to ascertain and trace.
No one, he says, has been able to fix the exact date, the year, and the
consulship of Chrysostom’s birth. This is true; but at the same time
his birth, parentage, and education are not involved in such obscurity
as surrounds the earliest years of some other great luminaries of the
Eastern Church; his own friend, for instance, Theodore, Bishop of
Mopsuestia, and yet more notably, the great Athanasius.

There is little doubt that his birth occurred not later than the year
A.D. 347, and not earlier than the year A.D. 345; and there is no doubt
that Antioch in Syria was the place of his birth, that his mother’s
name was Anthusa, his father’s Secundus, and that both were well born.
His mother was, if not actually baptized, very favourably inclined
to Christianity,[4] and, indeed, a woman of no ordinary piety. The
father had attained the rank of “magister militum” in the Imperial
army of Syria, and therefore enjoyed the title of “illustris.” He
died when his son John was an infant, leaving a young widow, about
twenty years of age, in comfortable circumstances, but harassed by the
difficulties and anxieties of her unprotected condition as mistress
of a household in days when servants were slaves, and life in large
cities altogether unguarded by such securities as are familiar to us.
Greatly did she dread the responsibility of bringing up a son in one of
the most turbulent and dissolute capitals of the Empire. Nothing, she
afterwards[5] declared to him, could have enabled her to pass through
such a furnace of trial but a consoling sense of divine support, and
the delight of contemplating the image of her husband as reproduced
in his son. How long a sister older than himself may have lived we
do not know; but the conversation between him and his mother, when
he was meditating a retreat into a monastery, seems to imply that he
was the only surviving child. All her love, all her care, all her
means and energies, were concentrated on the boy destined to become so
great a man, and exhibiting even in childhood no common ability and
aptitude for learning. But her chief anxiety was to train him in pious
habits, and to preserve him uncontaminated from the pollutions of the
vicious city in which they resided. She was to him what Monica was to
Augustine, and Nonna to Gregory Nazianzen.

The great influence, indeed, of women upon the Christianity of
domestic life in that age is not a little remarkable. The Christians
were not such a pure and single-minded community as they had been.
The refining fires of persecution which burnt up the chaff of
hypocrisy or indifference were now extinguished; Christianity had a
recognised position; her bishops were in kings’ courts. The natural
consequences inevitably followed this attainment of security; there
were more Christians, but not more who were zealous; there were many
who hung very loosely to the Church—many who fluctuated between
the Church and Paganism. In the great Eastern cities of the Empire,
especially Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, the mass of the
so-called Christian population was largely infected by the dominant
vices—inordinate luxury, sensuality, selfish avarice, and display.
Christianity was in part paganised long before it had made any
appreciable progress towards the destruction of Paganism. But the
sincere and ardent piety of many amongst the women kept alive in many
a home the flame of Christian faith which would otherwise have been
smothered. The Emperor Julian imagined that his efforts to resuscitate
Paganism would have been successful in Antioch but for the strenuous
opposition of the Christian women. He complains “that they were
permitted by their husbands to take anything out of the house to bestow
it upon the Galilæans, or to give away to the poor, while they would
not expend the smallest trifle upon the worship of the gods.”[6] The
efforts also of the Governor Alexander, who was left in Antioch by
the Emperor to carry forward his designs of Pagan reformation, were
principally baffled through this female influence. He found that the
men would often consent to attend the temples and sacrifices, but
afterwards generally repented and retracted their adherence. This
relapse Libanius the sophist, in a letter[7] to the Governor, ascribes
to the home influence of the women. “When the men are out of doors,” he
says, “they obey you who give them the best advice, and they approach
the altars; but when they get home, their minds undergo a change; they
are wrought upon by the tears and entreaties of their wives, and they
again withdraw from the altars of the gods.”

Anthusa did not marry again; very possibly she was deterred from
contracting a second marriage by religious scruples which Chrysostom
himself would certainly have approved.[8] The Pagans themselves
admired those women who dedicated themselves to a single life, or
abstained from marrying again. Chrysostom himself informs us that when
he began to attend the lectures of Libanius, his master inquired who
and what his parents were; and on being told that he was the son of a
widow who at the age of forty had lost her husband twenty years, he
exclaimed in a tone of mingled jealousy and admiration: “Heavens! what
women these Christians have!”[9]

What instruction he received in early boyhood, beside his mother’s
careful moral and religious training; whether he was sent, a common
custom among Christian parents in that age,[10] to be taught by the
monks in one of the neighbouring monasteries, where he may have
imbibed an early taste for monastic retirement, we know not. He was
designed, however, not for the clerical but for the legal profession,
and at the age of twenty he began to attend the lectures of one of
the first sophists of the day, capable of giving him that secular
training and learning which would best enable him to cope with men of
the world. Libanius had achieved a reputation as a teacher of general
literature, rhetoric, and philosophy, and as an able and eloquent
defender of Paganism, not only in his native city Antioch, but in
the Empire at large. He was the friend and correspondent of Julian,
and on amicable terms with the Emperors Valens and Theodosius. He
had now returned to Antioch after lengthened residence in Athens
(where the chair of rhetoric had been offered to him, but declined),
in Nicomedia, and in Constantinople.[11] In attending daily lectures
at his school, the young Chrysostom became conversant with the best
classical Greek authors, both poets and philosophers. Of their teaching
he in later life retained little admiration,[12] and to the perusal
of their writings he probably seldom or never recurred for profit
or recreation, but his retentive memory enabled him to the last to
point and adorn his arguments with quotations from Homer, Plato, and
the Tragedians. In the school of Libanius also he began to practise
those nascent powers of eloquence which were destined to win for him
so mighty a fame, as well as the appellation of Chrysostomos, or the
Golden Mouth, by which, rather than by his proper name of John, he will
be known to the end of time.[13] Libanius, in a letter to Chrysostom,
praises highly a speech composed by him in honour of the Emperors,
and says they were happy in having so excellent a panegyrist.[14] The
Pagan sophist helped to forge the weapons which were afterwards to be
skilfully employed against the cause to which he was devoted. When he
was on his deathbed, he was asked by his friends who was in his opinion
capable of succeeding him. “It would have been John,” he replied, “had
not the Christians stolen him from us.”[15] But it did not immediately
appear that the learned advocate of Paganism was nourishing a traitor;
for Chrysostom had not yet been baptized, and began to seek an opening
for his powers in secular fields of activity.[16] He commenced practice
as a lawyer; some of his speeches gained great admiration, and were
highly commended by his old master Libanius. A brilliant career of
worldly ambition was open to him. The profession of the law was at that
time the great avenue to civil distinction. The amount of litigation
was enormous. One hundred and fifty advocates were required for the
court of the Prætorian Prefect of the East alone. The display of
talent in the law-courts frequently obtained for a man the government
of a province, whence the road was open to those higher dignities of
vice-prefect, prefect, patrician, consul, which were honoured by the
title of “illustrious.”[17]

But the pure and upright disposition of the youthful advocate recoiled
from the licentiousness which corrupted society; from the avarice,
fraud, and artifice which marked the transactions of men of business;
from the chicanery and rapacity that sullied the profession which he
had entered.[18] He was accustomed to say later in life that “the
Bible was the fountain for watering the soul.” If he had drunk of
the classical fountains in the school of Libanius, he had imbibed
draughts yet deeper of the spiritual well-spring in quiet study of Holy
Scripture at home. And like many another in that degraded age, his
whole soul revolted from the glaring contrast presented by the ordinary
life of the world around him to that standard of holiness which was
held up in the Gospels.

He had formed also an intimate friendship with a young man, his equal
in station and age, by whose influence he was diverted more and more
from secular life, and eventually induced altogether to abandon it.
This was Basil, who will come before us in the celebrated work on
the priesthood. He must not be confounded with the great Basil,[19]
Bishop of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, who was some fifteen years older
than Chrysostom, having been born in A.D. 329, nor with Basil, Bishop
of Seleucia, who was present at the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451,
and must therefore have been considerably younger. Perhaps he may be
identified with a Basil, Bishop of Raphanea in Syria, not far from
Antioch, who attended the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381.

Chrysostom has described his friendship with Basil in affecting
language:[20] “I had many genuine and true friends, men who understood
and strictly observed the laws of friendship; but one there was out of
the many who exceeded them all in attachment to me, and strove to leave
them all behind in the race, even as much as they themselves surpassed
ordinary acquaintances. He was one of those who accompanied me at all
times; we engaged in the same studies, and were instructed by the same
teachers; in our zeal and interest for the subjects on which we worked,
we were one. As we went to our lectures or returned from them, we were
accustomed to take counsel together on the line of life it would be
best to adopt; and here, too, we appeared to be unanimous.”

Basil early determined this question for himself in favour of
monasticism; he decided, as Chrysostom expresses it, to follow the
“true philosophy.” This occasioned the first interruption to their
intercourse. Chrysostom, soon after the age of twenty, had embarked
on a secular career, and could not immediately make up his mind to
tread in the footsteps of his friend. “The balance,” he says, “was no
longer even;” the scale of Basil mounted, while that of Chrysostom was
depressed by the weight of earthly interests and desires.[21] But the
decisive act of Basil made a deep impression on his mind; separation
from his friend only increased his attachment to him, and his aversion
from life in the world. He began to withdraw more from ordinary
occupations and pleasures, and to spend more of his time in the study
of Holy Scripture. He formed acquaintance with Meletius, the deeply
respected Catholic Bishop of Antioch, and after three years, the usual
period of probation for catechumens, was baptized by him.

A natural question arises: Why was he not baptized before, since his
mother was a Christian, and there is abundant evidence that infant
baptism was and had been the ordinary practice of the Church?[22] In
attempting a solution of the difficulty, it will be proper to mention
first certain reasons for delaying baptism which were prevalent in that
age, and which may partially have influenced the mind of Chrysostom’s
mother or himself. It may sound paradoxical to say that an exaggerated
estimation of the import and effect of baptism contributed in two ways
to its delay. But such appears to have been the case. It was regarded
by many as the most complete and final purgation of past sin, and
the most solemn pledge of a new and purified life for the future. To
sin, therefore, before baptism was comparatively harmless, if in the
waters of baptism the guilty stains could be washed away; but sin after
the reception of that holy sacrament was almost, if not altogether,
unpardonable—at least fraught with the most tremendous peril. Hence
some would delay baptism, as many now delay repentance, from a secret
or conscious reluctance to take a decisive step, and renounce the
pleasures of sin; and under the comfortable persuasion that some
day, by submitting to baptism, they would free themselves from the
responsibilities of their past life. Others, again, were deterred from
binding themselves under so solemn a covenant by a distrust of their
ability to fulfil their vows, and a timorous dread of the eternal
consequences if they failed. Against these misconceptions of the true
nature and proper use of the sacrament, the great Basil, the two
Gregories, and Chrysostom himself contend[23] with a vehemence and
indignation which proves them to have been common. Many parents thought
they would allow the fitful and unstable season of youth to pass before
they irrevocably bound their children under the most solemn engagements
of their Christian calling. The children, when they grew up, inherited
their scruples, and so the sacrament was indefinitely deferred.

It is not impossible that such feelings may have influenced
Chrysostom’s mother and himself; but considering the natural and
healthy character of his piety, which seems to have grown by a gentle
and unintermitting progress from his childhood, they do not seem very
probable in his case. A more cogent cause for the delay may perhaps be
found in the distracted state of the Church in Antioch, which lasted,
with increasing complications, from A.D. 330, or fifteen years prior to
Chrysostom’s birth, up to the time of his baptism by Meletius, when a
brighter day was beginning to dawn.

The vicissitudes of the Church in Antioch during that period form
a curious, though far from pleasing, picture of the inextricable
difficulties, the deplorable schisms, into which the Church at large
was plunged by the Arian controversy. Two years after the Council of
Nice, A.D. 327, the Arians, through the assistance of Constantia,
the Emperor’s sister, won the favour of Constantine. He lost no
time during this season of prosperity in procuring the deposition
of Catholic bishops. Eminent among these was Eustathius, Bishop of
Antioch. He was ejected by a synod held in his own city on false
charges of Sabellianism and adultery.[24] An Arian Bishop, Euphronius,
was appointed, but the Catholic congregation indignantly withdrew to
hold their services in another quarter of the town, on the opposite
side of the Orontes.[25] The see remained for some time entirely in
the hands of the Arians. When the Council of Sardica met in A.D. 342,
and the Arian faction seceded from it to hold a Council of their own
in Philippopolis, Stephen, Bishop of Antioch, was their president.
He was deposed in A.D. 349 by the Emperor Constantius, having been
detected as an accomplice in an infamous plot against some envoys
from the Western Church.[26] But “uno avulso non deficit alter;” he
was succeeded by another Arian, the eunuch Leontius.[27] He tried
to conciliate the Catholics by an artful and equivocating policy,
of which his manner of chanting the doxology was an instance. The
Arian form of it was “Glory be to the Father BY the Son _in_ the Holy
Ghost;” this the bishop was accustomed to slur in such an indistinct
voice that the prepositions could not be clearly if at all heard,
while he joined loudly in the second part of the hymn where all were
agreed.[28] He died towards the close of A.D. 357, when the see was
fraudulently seized by Eudoxius, Bishop of Germanicia. He favoured the
extreme Arians so openly that the Semi-Arians appealed to the Emperor
Constantius to summon a General Council. Their request was granted; but
the Arians, fearing that the Catholics and Semi-Arians would coalesce
to overwhelm them, artfully suggested that Rimini, the place proposed
for the Council, was too distant for the Eastern prelates, and that
the Assembly should be divided, part meeting at Rimini, and part at
Nice.[29] Their suggestion was accepted, and the result is well known.
Partly by arguments, partly by artifices and delays which wore out the
strength and patience of the members, the Arians completely carried the
day; the creed of Rimini was ordered by the Emperor to be everywhere
signed, and in the words of Jerome, “the world groaned and found itself
Arian.”[30] An Arian synod sat at Constantinople. Macedonius, the
archbishop, being considered too moderate, was deposed, and Eudoxius,
the usurper of Antioch, was elevated to the see in his stead;[31] and
Meletius, Bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia, was translated to the vacant
see of Antioch, A.D. 361. But in him the Arians had mistaken their man.
He was one of those who attended more to the practical moral teaching
than to the abstract theology of Christianity; and, being not perhaps
very precise in his language on doctrinal points, he had been reckoned
an Arian.[32] After his elevation to the see of Antioch, he confined
himself in his discourses to those practical topics on which all could
agree. But this was not allowed to last long. The Emperor Constantius
paid a visit to Antioch soon after the appointment of Meletius, and he
was instigated by the Arians to put the bishop to a crucial test. He
was commanded to preach on Proverbs viii. 22: “The Lord _possessed_
me” (Septuagint ἔκτισε, that was the fatal word) “in the beginning,”
etc. The interpretation put on the word “formed” ἔκτισε would reveal
the man. Two other bishops discoursed first upon the same text: George
of Laodicea, Acacius of Cæsarea. The first construed the passage in a
purely Arian sense: the Word was a κτίσμα, “a created being,” though
the first in time and rank; the second preacher took a more moderate
line. Then came the turn of Meletius; short-hand writers took down
every word as it fell. Meletius was a mild and temperate man, but he
had his convictions, and he was no coward. To the horror of the Arians
(the secret joy, perhaps, of those who disliked him) he entirely
dissented from the Arian interpretation. The people loudly applauded
his sermon, and called aloud for some brief and compendious statement
of his doctrine. Meletius replied by a symbolical action: he held
up three fingers, and then closing two of them, he said: “Our minds
conceive of three, but we speak as to one.”[33] This was conclusive;
the objectionable prelate was banished to Melitene, his native place
in Armenia, thirty days after he had entered Antioch. Euzoius, who had
been an intimate friend and constant associate of Arius himself, was
put into the see. The Church of Antioch now split into three parties:
the old and rigid orthodox set, who, ever since the deposition of
Eustathius in A.D. 327, had adhered to his doctrine, and were called
after his name; the moderate Catholics, who regarded Meletius as their
bishop; and the Arians under Euzoius. The synod which had deposed him
published a thoroughly Arian creed, which declared the Son to have been
created out of nothing, and to be unlike the Father both in substance
and will.[34]

This first banishment of Meletius, which occurred in A.D. 361, did
not last long. Julian, who became Emperor the same year, recalled all
the prelates who had been exiled in the two preceding reigns; partly,
perhaps, from a really liberal feeling, partly from a willingness to
foment the internal dissensions of the Church by placing the rival
bishops in close antagonism. Athanasius returned to Alexandria amidst
great ovations.[35] One of the questions which occupied the attention
of a synod convened by him was the schism of Antioch. Eusebius, Bishop
of Vercelli, a staunch Italian friend of Athanasius, was despatched
to Antioch in order to heal the division; but he had been unhappily
anticipated by another Western prelate, Lucifer of Cagliari, in
Sardinia, a brave defender of orthodoxy, for which with Eusebius he had
suffered exile, but a most unskilful peacemaker. He only complicated
the existing confusion by consecrating as bishop a priest of the
old Eustathian party, named Paulinus, instead of strengthening the
hands of Meletius.[36] The unhappy Church at Antioch, where the whole
Christian community amounted to not more than 100,000 souls,[37] was
thus torn to tatters. There were now three bishops: the Arian Euzoius,
Meletius, generally acknowledged by the Eastern Church, and Paulinus
by the Western. And, as if three rival heads were not sufficient, the
Apollinarians soon afterwards added a fourth. But the mild, prudent,
and charitable disposition of Meletius procured for him the affection
and esteem of the largest and most respectable part of the population,
as well as of the common people. Even when he was banished for the
first time after he had been only a month in Antioch, the populace
endeavoured to stone the prefect as he was conducting the bishop out
of the city. He was saved by Meletius himself, who threw a part of his
own mantle round him, to protect him from their fury. And after he
returned from exile the popularity of Meletius increased. In paintings
on the walls of houses and engravings on signet rings, his face was
often represented, and parents gave his name to their children both
to perpetuate his memory and to remind them of an example which was
worthy of their imitation.[38] Once more in A.D. 367, and yet again
in A.D. 370 or A.D. 371, when the Arians recovered the favour of the
Court under the Emperor Valens, he was sent into exile, but he returned
after the death of Valens in A.D. 378; and it was as Bishop of Antioch
that he presided over the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381, and
died during its session.[39] His funeral oration, pronounced by Gregory
Nyssen, is extant. The final reparation of that schism which he nobly
and constantly endeavoured to heal was not effected for nearly twenty
years, when Chrysostom, then Archbishop of Constantinople, accomplished
that good service for his native city.

It is interesting to dwell at some length upon the history of the
Church in Antioch at this period, because it represents the painful
feuds in which the Church at large became entangled through the baneful
influence of the Arian controversy, that first great blow to the unity
of Christendom; when bishop was set up against bishop, and rival
councils manufactured rival creeds, when violence, and intrigue, and
diplomatic arts were employed too often by both sides to gain their
ends. But the distracted state of the Church at Antioch also supplies
a possible answer to the question why the baptism of Chrysostom was
delayed so long. One of the reasons frequently alleged for deferring
the reception of that sacrament was the desire of the candidate to
receive it at the hands of some particular bishop.[40] Now who were
the bishops of Antioch during the infancy and boyhood of Chrysostom?
The Arians were in possession of the see at the time of his birth, and
retained it till A.D. 361, when Meletius was appointed, but banished
almost immediately. The pious sensible mother and the well-disposed
youth would not unnaturally hold aloof from a Church over which
presided such prelates as Stephen, Leontius, Eudoxius, Euzoius. Their
minds may well have been so sorely perplexed and suspended between the
claims of opposing factions as to delay the reception of baptism from
the hands of any.

But the prudent, conciliatory policy, the mild and amiable disposition
of Meletius, would engage the sympathy and respect of an affectionate,
pious, and sensible youth, such as Chrysostom was. He was about twenty
when Meletius was banished in 367 by the Emperor Valens; but the bishop
returned in a short time, when Chrysostom’s friend Basil had withdrawn
into religious seclusion, and he himself was feeling an increasing
repugnance to the world. He presented himself as a candidate for
baptism to the bishop, and after the usual three years of preparation
as a catechumen, was admitted into the Christian Church.

There can be no doubt that baptism, from whatever cause delayed, must
on that very account have come home to the recipient with a peculiar
solemnity of meaning. It was an important epoch, often a decisive
turning-point in the life, a deliberate renunciation of the world, and
dedication of the whole man to God. So Chrysostom evidently felt it;
from this point we enter on a new phase in his life. He becomes for
a time an enthusiastic ascetic, and then settles down into that more
tranquil and steady, but intense glow of piety and love to God which
burned with undiminished force till the close of his career.

The wise Bishop Meletius, however, desired to employ his powers in some
sphere of active labour in the Church. As a preliminary step to this
end, he ordained him soon after his baptism to the office of reader.
This order appears not to have been instituted in the Church before
the third century; at least there is no allusion to it in writers of
the first two centuries, and frequent references in writers of the
third and fourth.[41] The duty of readers was to read those portions
of Scripture which were introduced into the first service or “Missa
Catechumenorum,” which preceded the Communion, or “Missa Fidelium,” so
called because only the baptized were admitted to it. They read from
the Pulpitum or Tribunal Ecclesiæ, or Ambo, the reading-desk of the
Church, which must not be confounded with the Bema, or Tribunal of the
Sanctuary. This last was identical with the altar, or rather the steps
of the altar, and no rank lower than that of deacon was permitted to
read from this position. By the Novells of Justinian,[42] eighteen was
fixed as the youngest age at which any one could be ordained to this
office. But previous to this limitation, it was not uncommon to appoint
mere children. Cæsarius of Arles is said to have been made a reader at
the tender age of seven, and Victor Uticensis, describing the cruelties
of the Vandalic persecution in Africa, affirms that among 500 clergy or
more who perished by sword or famine, were many “infant readers.”[43]

The ceremony of ordination appears to have been very simple. The Fourth
Council of Carthage ordains that the bishop should testify before
the congregation to the purity, the faith, and conversation of the
candidate. Then in their presence he is to place a Bible in his hands
with these words: “Take thou this book, and be thou a reader of the
word of God, which office if thou discharge faithfully and profitably
thou shalt have part with those who have ministered the word of


  TO THEODORE. A.D. 370.

The enthusiasm of minds newly awakened to a full perception of
Christian holiness, and a deep sense of Christian obligations, was in
early times seldom contented with anything short of complete separation
from the world. The Oriental temperament especially has been at all
times inclined to passionate extremes. It oscillates between the most
abandoned licentiousness and intense asceticism. The second is the
corrective of the first; where the disease is desperate, the remedies
must be violent. Chrysostom, as will be perceived throughout his life,
was never carried to fanatical extremes; a certain sober-mindedness and
calm practical good sense eminently distinguished him, though mingled
with burning zeal. But in his youth especially he was not exempt from
the spirit of the age and country in which he lived. He irresistibly
gravitated towards that kind of life which his friend Basil had already
adopted—a life of retirement, contemplation, and pious study—“the
philosophy” of Christianity, as it was called at that time.[45]

It does not appear that Basil had actually joined any monastic
community, but merely that he was leading a life of seclusion, and
practising some of the usual monastic austerities. Chrysostom,
indeed, distinctly asserts that, previous to his own baptism, their
intercourse had not been entirely broken off; only that it was
impossible for him, who had his business in the law-courts and found
his recreation in the theatre, to be so acceptable as formerly to one
who now never entered public places, and who was wholly devoted to
meditation, study, and prayer.[46] Their intercourse was necessarily
more rare, though their friendship was substantially unshaken. “When,
however, I had myself also lifted my head a little above this worldly
flood, he received me with open arms” (probably referring here to
his baptism or preparation for it); “but even then I was not able to
maintain my former equality, for he had the advantage of me in point of
time, and having manifested the greatest diligence, he had attained a
very lofty standard, and was ever soaring beyond me.”[47]

This disparity, however, could not diminish their natural affection
for one another; and Basil at length obtained Chrysostom’s consent
to a plan which he had frequently urged—that they should abandon
their present homes and live together in some quiet abode, there to
strengthen each other in undisturbed study, meditation, and prayer.
But this project of the young enthusiasts was for a time frustrated
by the irresistible entreaties of Chrysostom’s mother, that he would
not deprive her of his protection, companionship, and help. The scene
is described by Chrysostom himself,[48] with a dramatic power worthy
of Greek tragedy. It reminds the reader of some of those long and
stately, yet elegant and affecting, narratives of the messenger who,
at the close of the play, _describes_ the final scene which is not
represented. Certainly it bespeaks the scholar of a man who had made
his pupils familiar with the best classical writers in Greek. “When
she knew that we were meditating this course, my mother took me by the
right hand and led me into her own chamber, and there, seating herself
near the bed on which she had given birth to me, wept fountains of
tears; to which she added words of lamentation more pitiable even than
the tears themselves. ‘I was not long permitted to enjoy the virtue of
thy father, my child: so it seemed good to God. My travail-pangs at
your birth were quickly succeeded by his death; bringing orphanhood
upon thee, and upon me an untimely widowhood, with all those miseries
of widowhood which those only who have experienced them can fairly
understand. For no description can approach the reality of that storm
and tempest which is undergone by her who having but lately issued
from her father’s home, and being unskilled in the ways of the world,
is suddenly plunged into grief insupportable, and compelled to endure
anxieties too great for her sex and age. For she has to correct the
negligence, to watch against the ill-doings, of her slaves, to baffle
the insidious schemes of kinsfolk, to meet with a brave front the
impudent threats and harshness of tax-collectors.’”[49]

She then describes minutely the expense, and labour, and constant
anxiety which attended the education of a son; how she had refrained
from all thoughts of second marriage, that she might bestow her
undivided energies, time, and means upon him; how amply it had all been
rewarded by the delight of his presence, recalling the image of her
husband;—and now that he had grown up, would he leave her absolutely
forlorn? “In return for all these my services to you,” she cried, “I
implore you this one favour only—not to make me a second time a widow,
or to revive the grief which time has lulled. Wait for my death—perhaps
I shall soon be gone; when you have committed my body to the ground,
and mingled my bones with your father’s bones, then you will be free to
embark on any sea you please.” Such an appeal to his sense of filial
gratitude and duty could not be disregarded. Chrysostom yielded to
his mother’s entreaties, although Basil did not desist from urging his
favourite scheme.[50]

At the same time he assimilated his life at home as much as possible
to the condition of a monk. He entirely withdrew from all worldly
occupations and amusements. He seldom went out of the house; he
strengthened his mind by study, his spirit by prayer, and subdued his
body by vigils and fasting, and sleeping upon the bare ground. He
maintained an almost constant silence, that his thoughts might be kept
abstracted from mundane things, and that no irritable or slanderous
speech might escape his lips. Some of his companions naturally lamented
what they regarded as a morose and melancholy change.[51]

But the intercourse between him and Basil was more frequent than
before; and two other young men, who had been their fellow-students
at the school of Libanius, were persuaded to adopt the same kind
of secluded life. These two were Maximus, afterwards Bishop of
Seleucia, in Isauria; and Theodore, who became Bishop of Mopsuestia,
in Cilicia.[52] This little fraternity formed, with some others not
named, a voluntary association of youthful ascetics. They did not
dwell in a separate building, nor were they in any way established
as a monastic community, but (like Wesley and his young friends at
Oxford) they lived by rule, and practised monastic austerities. The
superintendence of their studies and general conduct they submitted
to Diodorus and Carterius, who were presidents of monasteries in the
vicinity of Antioch.[53] In addition to his own intrinsic merits and
eminence, Diodorus claims our attention, because there can be no doubt
that he exercised a great influence upon the minds of his two most
distinguished scholars, Chrysostom and Theodore. Indeed, judging from
the fragments of his works, and the notices of him by historians, it
is not too much to say that he was the founder of a method of Biblical
interpretation of which Chrysostom and Theodore became the most able

He was of noble family, and the friend of Meletius, who confided to
him and the priest Evagrius the chief care of his diocese during his
second exile under Valens about A.D. 370. And one of the first acts
of Meletius, on his return in A.D. 378, was to make Diodorus Bishop
of Tarsus. His writings in defence of Christianity were sufficiently
powerful and notorious to provoke the notice of Julian, who, in a
letter to Photinus, attacks him with no small asperity.[54] The Emperor
finds occasion for ridicule in the pale and wrinkled face and the
attenuated frame of Diodorus, wasted by his severe labours and ascetic
practices; and represents these disfigurements as punishments from the
offended gods against whom he had directed his pen. Being well known
as a warm friend of Meletius, Diodorus was exposed to some risk from
the Arian party during the exile of the bishop from A.D. 370-378. But
he was not deterred from frequenting the old town on the south side of
the Orontes, where the congregation of Meletius held their assemblies,
and diligently ministering to their spiritual needs. He accepted no
fixed stipend, but his necessities were supplied by the hospitality
of those among whom he laboured.[55] Of his voluminous writings,
a commentary on the Old and New Testament is that most frequently
quoted by ecclesiastical writers. They expressly and repeatedly
affirm that he adhered very closely to the literal and historical
meaning of the text, and that he was opposed to those mystical and
allegorical interpretations of Origen and the Alexandrian school,
which often disguised rather than elucidated the true significance
of the passage.[56] One evil of the allegorical method was, that it
destroyed a clear and critical perception of the differences between
the Older Revelation and the New. The Old Testament was regarded as a
kind of vast enigma, containing _implicitly_ the facts and doctrines
of the New. To detect subtle allusions to the coming of our Saviour,
to the events of his life, to his death and resurrection, in the acts,
speeches, and gestures of persons mentioned in the Old Testament,
was regarded as a kind of interpretation no less satisfactory than
it was ingenious. To believe indeed that the grand intention running
through Scripture from the beginning to the end is to bring men to
Jesus Christ; that the history of the fall of man is given to enable
us to appreciate the need of a Restorer, and to estimate his work at
its proper value; that the history of a dispensation based on law
enables us to accept with more thankfulness a dispensation of spirit;
that the history of the Jewish system of sacrifices is intended to
conduct us to the one great Sacrifice as the substance of previous
shadows, the fulfilment of previous types; that, alike in the law and
the prophets, intimations and hints and significant parallels of the
subsequent history to which they lead on are to be discerned;—this may
be reasonable, profitable, and true: but it can be neither profitable
nor true to see allusions, prophecies, and parallels in every minute
and trivial detail of that earlier history.

From this vital error Diodorus appears to have emancipated himself and
his disciples. He perceived, as we shall see Chrysostom perceived, a
gradual development in Revelation: that the knowledge, and morality,
and faith of men under the Old Dispensation were less advanced than
those of men who lived under the New. One instance must suffice. He
remarks that the Mosaic precept, directing the brother of a man who had
died childless to raise up posterity to his brother by marrying his
wife, was given for the consolation of men who had as yet received no
clear promise respecting a resurrection from the dead.[57] There is
an approach to what some might deem rationalistic criticism, when he
affirms that the speech of God to men in the Old Testament was not an
external voice, but an inward spiritual intimation. When, for instance,
it is said that God gave a command to Adam, it is evident, he says,
that it was not made by a sound audible to the bodily ear, but that
God impressed the knowledge of the command upon him according to his
own proper energy, and that when Adam had received it his _condition_
was the same _as_ if it had come to him through the actual hearing of
the ear. And this, he observes, is what God effected also in the case
of the prophets.[58] A similar rationalistic tendency is observable
in his explanation of the relation between the Divine and human
elements in the person of our blessed Lord. His language, in fact, on
this subject is Nestorian: a distinction was to be made between Him
who, according to his essence, _was_ Son of God—the Logos—and Him who
through Divine decree and adoption _became_ Son of God. He who was
born as Man from Mary was Son according to grace, but God the Logos
was Son according to nature. The Son of Mary became Son of God because
He was selected to be the receptacle or temple of God the Word. It was
only in an improper sense that God the Word was called Son of David;
the appellation was given to Him merely because the human temple in
which He dwelt belonged to the lineage of David.[59] It is clear that
Diodorus would have objected equally with Nestorius to apply the title
of “God-bearer” (Θεοτόκος) to the blessed Virgin. Sixty years later,
in A.D. 429, the streets of Constantinople and Alexandria resounded
with tumults excited by controversy about the subject of which this was
the watchword. But Diodorus happily lived too early for these dreadful
conflicts, and his scholar Theodore was not personally disturbed;
though long after his death, in A.D. 553, his writings were condemned
by the Fifth Œcumenical Council, because the Nestorians appealed
to them in confirmation of their tenets, and revered his memory. The
practical element in Diodorus, his method of literal and common-sense
interpretation of Holy Scripture, was inherited chiefly by Chrysostom;
the intellectual vein, his conceptions of the relation between the
Godhead and Manhood in Christ, his opinions respecting the final
restoration of mankind, which were almost equivalent to a denial of
eternal punishment, were reproduced mainly by Theodore.

It was inevitable that those who, in an access of religious fervour,
had renounced the world and subjected themselves to the sternest
asceticism, should sometimes find that they had miscalculated their
powers. The passionate enthusiasm which for a time carried them
along the thorny path would begin to subside; a hankering after a
more natural, if not more worldly, life ensued; and occasionally the
reaction was so violent, the passions kept down in unnatural constraint
reasserted themselves with such force, that the ascetic flew back
to the pleasures and sometimes to the sins of the world, with an
appetite which was in painful contrast to his previous abstinence.
The youthful Theodore was for a time an instance, though far from an
extreme instance, of such reaction: the strain was too great for him;
he relapsed for a season into his former habits of life; he retired
from the little ascetic brotherhood to which Chrysostom and Basil
belonged. There is no evidence that he fell into any kind of sin; he
simply returned to the occupations and amusements of ordinary life. He
was in love with and desirous of marrying a young lady named Hermione.
But Chrysostom was at this period such an ardent ascetic; he was so
deeply impressed with the evil of the world; and regarded an austere
and absolute separation from it as so indispensable to the highest
standard of Christian life, that to him any divergence from that path,
when once adopted, seemed a positive sin. The relapse of Theodore
called forth two letters of lamentation, remonstrance, and exhortation
from his friend. They are the earliest of his extant works, and exhibit
a command of language which does credit to the training of Libanius
as well as to his own ability, and an intimate acquaintance with Holy
Scripture, which proves how much time he had already spent in diligent
and patient study. Since these epistles have been justly considered
among the finest of his productions, and represent his opinions at
an early stage of his life respecting repentance, a future life, the
advantages of asceticism and celibacy, some paraphrases from them will
be presented to the reader.

He begins his first letter by quoting the words of Jeremiah: “Oh that
my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears!”

“If the prophet uttered that lamentation over a ruined city, surely I
may express a like passionate sorrow over the fallen soul of a brother.
That soul which was once the temple of the Holy Spirit now lies open
and defenceless to become the prey of any hostile invader. The spirit
of avarice, of arrogance, of lust, may now find a free passage into
a heart which was once as pure and inaccessible to evil as heaven
itself. Wherefore I mourn and weep, nor will I cease from my mourning
until I see thee again in thy former brilliancy. For though this may
seem impossible to men, yet with God it is possible, for He it is
who lifteth the beggar from the earth and taketh the poor out of the
dunghill, that He may set him with the princes, even with the princes
of his people.” An eminent characteristic of Chrysostom is that he
is always hopeful of human nature; he never doubts the capacity of
man to rise, or the willingness of God to raise him. Theodore himself
appears to have been stricken with remorse, and to have drooped into
despondency, to rouse him from which and lead him to repose more
trustfully on the goodness of God, was one main purpose of Chrysostom’s
letters. “Despair was the devil’s work;” “it is he who tries to cut
off that hope whereby men are saved, which is the support and anchor
of the soul, which, like a long chain, let down from heaven, little
by little draws those who hold tightly to it up to heavenly heights,
and lifts them above the storm and tempest of these worldly ills. The
devil tries to extinguish that trust which is the source and strength
of prayer, which enables men to cry, ‘as the eyes of a maiden look unto
the hand of her mistress, even so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God
until He have mercy upon us.’ Yet if man will only believe it, there
is never a time at which any one, even the most abandoned sinner, may
not turn and repent and be accepted by God. For God being impassible,
his wrath is not a passion or an emotion; He punishes not in anger,
since He is unsusceptible by nature of injury from any insult or wrong
done by us, but in mercy, that He may bring men back to Himself.[60]
The many instances of God’s mercy; his relenting towards the Jews, and
even to Ahab, when he humbled himself; the repentance of Manasseh—of
the Ninevites—of the penitent thief—all accepted, although preceded by
a long course of sin, prove that the words ‘today if ye will hear his
voice’ are applicable to any time:—it is always ‘to-day’ as long as a
man lives; repentance is estimated not by length of time, but by the
disposition of the heart.” He acutely observes that “despondency often
conceals moral weakness; a secret though perhaps unconscious sympathy
with the sin which the man professes to deplore and hate.” “To fall is
natural, but to remain fallen argues a kind of acquiescence in evil, a
feebleness of moral purpose which is more displeasing to God than the
fall itself.”[61]

But although he speaks in the most hopeful, encouraging language of
the efficacy of repentance, however late, if sincere, in _this life_,
no one can assert more strongly the impossibility of restoration when
the limits of this present existence have once been passed. In this
respect he differs alike from Origen, Diodorus, and his fellow-student
Theodore, and from believers in the later developed doctrine of
purgatory. “As long as we are here, it is possible, even if we sin
ten thousand times, to wash all away by repentance; but when once we
have been taken to that other world, even if we manifest the greatest
penitence, it will avail us naught, but however much we may gnash
with our teeth, and beat our breasts, and pour forth entreaties, no
one will be able even with the tip of his finger to cool us in the
flame; we shall only hear the same words as the rich man: ‘between us
and you there is a great gulf fixed.’”[62] Nothing is more remarkably
characteristic of Chrysostom’s productions, especially the earlier,
than a frequent recurrence to this truth: the existence of a great
impassable chasm between the two abodes of misery and bliss. Heaven
and hell were no distant dreamlands to him, but realities so nearly
and vividly present to his mind that they acted as powerful motives,
encouraging to holiness, deterring from vice. He paints the two
pictures in glowing colours, and submits them to the contemplation of
his friend. “When you hear of fire, think not that the fire in that
other world is like it; for this earthly fire burns up and consumes
whatever it lays hold of, but that burns continually those who are
seized by it and never ceases, wherefore it is called unquenchable.
For sinners must be clothed with immortality, not for honour, but
merely to supply a constant material for this punishment to feed upon;
and how terrible this is, a description would indeed never be able to
present, but from our experience of small sufferings it is possible to
form some little conception of those greater miseries. If you should
ever be in a bath which has been overheated, then I pray you consider
the fire of hell; or if ever you have been parched by a severe fever,
transfer your thoughts to that flame, and you will be able clearly to
distinguish the difference. For if a bath or a fever so distress and
agitate us, what will be our condition when we fall into that river of
fire which flows past the terrible Judge’s throne.”[63] “Heaven is,
indeed, a subject which transcends the powers of human language, yet
we can form a dim image of what it is like. It is the place ‘whence
sorrow and sighing shall flee away’ (Is. xxxv. 10); where poverty and
sickness are not to be dreaded; where no one injures or is injured, no
one provokes or is provoked; no one is harassed by anxiety about the
necessary wants, or frets over the loftier ambitions, of life; it is
the place where the tempest of human passions is lulled; where there is
neither night nor cold nor heat, nor changes of season, nor old age;
but everything belonging to decay is taken away, and incorruptible
glory reigns alone. But far above all these things, it is the place
where men will continually enjoy the society of Jesus Christ, together
with angels and archangels and all the powers above.”[64] “Open
your eyes,” he cries in a transport of feeling, “and contemplate in
imagination that heavenly theatre crowded not with men such as we see,
but with those who are nobler than gold or precious stones or sunbeams,
or any brilliant thing that can be seen; and not with men only, but
angels, thrones, dominions, powers ranged about the King whom we dare
not describe for his transcendent beauty, majesty, and splendour. If we
had to suffer ten thousand deaths every day; nay, if we had to undergo
hell itself, for the sake of beholding Christ coming in his glory, and
being numbered among the band of saints, would it not be well to submit
to all these things? ‘Master, it is a good thing for us to be here:’
if such an exclamation burst from St. Peter on witnessing a partial and
veiled manifestation of Christ’s glory, what are we to say when the
reality shall be displayed, when the royal palace shall be thrown open
and we shall see the King Himself; no longer by means of a mirror, or
as it were in a riddle, but face to face; no longer through faith, but
actual sight.”[65] He passes on to some remarks upon the soul, which
are Platonic in character: “Man cannot alter the shape of his body,
but God has conceded to him a power, with the assistance of Divine
grace, of increasing the beauty of the soul. Even that soul which has
become deformed by the ugliness of sin may be restored to its pristine
beauty. No lover was ever so much captivated by the beauty of the
body as God loves and longs for the beauty of the human soul.[66] You
who are now transported with admiration of Hermione’s beauty” (the
girl whom Theodore wished to marry) “may, if you will, cultivate a
beauty in your own soul as far exceeding hers as heaven surpasses
earth. Beauty of the soul is the only true and permanent kind, and
if you could see it with the eye, you would admire it far more than
the loveliness of the rainbow and of roses, and other flowers which
are evanescent and feeble representations of the soul’s beauty.”[67]
He tells some curious stories of men who had relapsed from monastic
life and subsequently been reclaimed to it. One, a young man of noble
family and heir to great wealth, had thrown up all the splendour which
he might have commanded, and exchanged his riches and his gay clothing
for the poverty and mean garb of a recluse upon the mountains, and had
attained an astonishing degree of holiness. But some of his relations
seduced him from his retreat, and once more he might be seen riding on
horseback through the forum followed by a crowd of attendants. But the
holy brethren whom he had deserted ceased not to endeavour to recover
him; at first he treated them with haughty indifference, when they met
and saluted him, as he proudly rode through the streets. But at last,
as they desisted not day by day, he would leap from his horse when
they appeared, and listen with downcast eyes to their warnings; till,
as time went on, he was rescued from his worldly entanglements, and
restored to his desert and the study of the true philosophy, and now,
when Chrysostom wrote, he bestowed his wealth upon the poor, and had
attained the very pinnacle of virtue.[68] Earnestly, therefore, does he
implore Theodore to recover his trust in God, to repent and return to
the brotherhood which was buried in grief at his defection. “Now the
unbelieving and the worldly rejoice; but return to us, and our sorrow
and shame will be transferred to the adversary’s side.” “It was the
beginning of penitence which was arduous; the devil met the penitent
at the door of the city of refuge, but, if defeated there, the fury of
his assaults would diminish.” He warned him against an idle confession
of sinfulness not accompanied by any honest effort to amend. “Such was
no true confession, because not joined with the tears of contrition or
followed by alteration of life.”[69] But of Theodore he hoped better
things; as there were different degrees of glory reserved for men,
implied in our Lord’s mention of “many mansions,” and his declaring
that every one should be rewarded according to his works, he trusted
that Theodore might still obtain a high place; that he might be a
vessel of silver, if not of gold or precious stone, in the heavenly

In the second epistle Chrysostom expresses more distinctly his view
respecting the solemn obligations of those who joined a religious
fraternity. “If tears and groanings could be transmitted through a
letter, this of mine would be filled with them; I weep that you have
blotted yourself out of the catalogue of the brethren, and trampled
on your covenant with Christ.” “The devil assaulted him with peculiar
fury, because he was anxious to conquer so worthy an antagonist; one
who had despised delicate fare and costly dress, who had spent whole
days in the study of Holy Scripture, and whole nights in prayer, who
had regarded the society of the brethren as a greater honour than any
worldly dignity. What, I pray you, is there that appears blessed and
enviable in the world? The prince is exposed to the wrath of the people
and the irrational outbursts of popular feeling—to the fear of princes
greater than himself—to anxieties about his subjects; and the ruler of
to-day is to-morrow a private man: for this present life no way differs
from a stage; as on that, one man plays the part of a king, another of
a general, a third of a common soldier; but when evening has come the
king is no king, the ruler no ruler, the general no general; so will
it be in _that_ day; each will receive his due reward, not according
to the character which he has enacted, but according to the works
which he has done.”[71] Theodore had clearly expressed his intention
of honourably marrying Hermione; but though Chrysostom allows that
marriage is an honourable estate, yet he boldly declares that for one
who like Theodore had made such a solemn renunciation of the world, it
was equally criminal with fornication. He had wholly dedicated himself
to the service of God, and he had no right to bind himself by any other
tie: to marry would be as culpable as desertion in a soldier. He points
out the miseries, the anxieties, the toils, often fruitless, which
accompanied secular life, especially in the married state. From all
such ills the life of the brotherhood was exempt: he alone was truly
free who lived for Christ; he was like one who, securely planted on
an eminence, beholds other men below him buffeting with the waves of
a tumultuous sea. For such a high vantage-ground Chrysostom implores
Theodore to make. He begs him to pardon the length of his letter:
“nothing but his ardent love for his friend could have constrained him
to write this second epistle. Many indeed had discouraged what they
regarded as a vain task and sowing upon a rock; but he was not so to
be diverted from his efforts: he trusted that by the grace of God his
letters would accomplish something; and if not, he should at least have
delivered himself from the reproach of silence.”[72]

These letters are the productions of a youthful enthusiast, and
as such, allowances must be made for them. They abound not only
in eloquent passages, but in very fine and true observations upon
human nature—on penitence—on God’s mercy and pardon. It is only the
application of them to the case of Theodore which seems harsh and
overstrained. At a later period Chrysostom’s views on ascetic and
monastic life were modified; but in early life, though never fanatical,
they were what we should call extreme. His earnest efforts for the
restoration of his friend were crowned with success. Theodore abandoned
the world once more and his matrimonial intentions, and retired into
the seclusion of the brotherhood. Some twenty years later, in A.D.
394, he was made Bishop of Mopsuestia, which is pretty nearly all we
know about him, but the extant fragments of his voluminous writings
prove him to have been a man of no ordinary ability, and a powerful
commentator of the same sensible and rational school as Chrysostom
himself. We may be disposed to say, What of Hermione? Had she no claims
to be considered? But the ascetic line of life was regarded by the
earnest-minded as so indisputably the noblest which a Christian could
adopt, that her disappointment would not have been allowed to weigh
in the balance for a moment against what was considered the higher


THE PRIESTHOOD.” A.D. 370, 371.

We now come to a curious passage in Chrysostom’s life; one in which
his conduct, from our moral standpoint, seems hardly justifiable. Yet
for one reason it is not to be regretted, since it was the originating
cause of his treatise “De Sacerdotio;” one of the ablest, most
instructive, and most eloquent works which he ever produced.

Bishop Meletius had been banished in A.D. 370 or 371. The Arian Emperor
Valens, who had expelled him, was about to take up his residence in
Antioch. It was desirable therefore, without loss of time, to fill up
some vacant sees in Syria. The attention of the bishops, clergy, and
people was turned to Chrysostom and Basil, as men well qualified for
the episcopal office.

According to a custom prevalent at that time, they might any day be
seized and compelled, however reluctant, to accept the dignity. So St.
Augustine was dragged, weeping, by the people before the bishop, and
his immediate ordination demanded by them, regardless of his tears.[74]
So St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, was torn from his cell, and conveyed
under a guard to his ordination.[75] The two friends were filled with
apprehension and alarm. Basil implored Chrysostom that they might act
in concert at the present crisis, and together accept or together evade
or resist the expected but unwelcome honour.

Chrysostom affected to consent to this proposal, but in reality
determined to act otherwise. He regarded himself as totally unworthy
and incompetent to fill so sacred and responsible an office; but
considering Basil to be far more advanced in learning and piety, he
resolved that the Church should not, through his own weakness, lose
the services of his friend. Accordingly, when popular report proved
correct, and some emissaries from the electing body were sent to carry
off the young men (much, it would seem from Chrysostom’s account,
as policemen might arrest a prisoner), Chrysostom contrived to hide
himself. Basil, less wary, was captured, and imagined that Chrysostom
had already submitted; for the emissaries acted with subtlety when
he tried to resist them. They affected surprise that he should make
so violent a resistance, when his companion, who had the reputation
of a hotter temper, had yielded so mildly to the decision of the
Fathers.[76] Thus Basil was led to suppose that Chrysostom had already
submitted; and when he discovered too late the artifice of his friend
and his captors, he bitterly remonstrated with Chrysostom upon his
treacherous conduct. “The character of them both,” he complained, “was
compromised by this division in their counsels.” “You should have told
us where your friend was hidden,” said some, “and then we should have
contrived some means of capturing him;” to which poor Basil was ashamed
to reply that he had been ignorant of his friend’s concealment, lest
such a confession should cast a suspicion of unreality over the whole
of their supposed intimacy. “Chrysostom, on his side, was accused of
haughtiness and vanity for declining so great a dignity; though others
said that the electors deserved a still greater dishonour and defeat
for appointing over the heads of wiser, holier, and older men, mere
lads,[77] who had been but yesterday immersed in secular pursuits; that
they might now for a little while knit their brows, and go arrayed
in sombre robes and affect a grave countenance.”[78] Basil begged
Chrysostom for an explanation of his motives in this proceeding. “After
all their mutual protestations of indivisible friendship, he had been
suddenly cast off and turned adrift, like a vessel without ballast, to
encounter alone the angry tempests of the world. To whom should he now
turn for sympathy and aid in the trials to which he would surely be
exposed from slander, ribaldry, and insolence? The one who might have
helped him stood coldly aloof, and would be unable even to hear his
cries for assistance.”[79]

We may be strongly disposed to sympathise with the disconsolate Basil.
But the conscience of Chrysostom appears to have been quite at ease
from first to last in this transaction. He regarded it as a “pious
fraud.” “When he beheld the mingled distress and displeasure of his
friend, he could not refrain from laughing for joy, and thanking God
for the successful issue of his plan.”[80] In the ensuing discussion
he boldly asserted the principle that deceit claims our admiration
when practised in a good cause and from a good motive. The greatest
successes in war, he argues, have been achieved through stratagem, as
well as by fair fighting in the open field; and, of the two, the first
are most to be admired, because they are gained without bloodshed,
and are triumphs of mental rather than bodily force.[81] But, retorts
poor Basil, I was not an enemy, and ought not to have been dealt
with as such. “True, my excellent friend,” replies Chrysostom, “but
this kind of fraud may sometimes be exercised towards our dearest
acquaintance.” “Physicians were often obliged to employ some artifice
to make refractory patients submit to their remedies. Once a man in a
raging fever resisted all the febrifugal draughts administered to him,
and loudly called for wine. The physician darkened the room, steeped
a warm oyster shell in wine, then filled it with water, and put it to
the patient’s lips, who eagerly swallowed the draught, believing it,
from the smell, to be wine.”[82] In the same category of justifiable
stratagem he places, not very discriminatingly, the circumcision of
Timothy by St. Paul, in order to conciliate the Jews, and St. Paul’s
observance of the ceremonial law at Jerusalem (Acts xxi. 26), for the
same purpose. Such contrivances he calls instances, not of treachery,
but of “good management” (οἰκονομία). There is something highly
Oriental, and alien to our Western moral sense, in the sophistical tone
of this whole discussion. If Basil really submitted to such arguments,
he was easily vanquished. He says, however, no more about the injustice
of his treatment, but, apparently accepting Chrysostom’s position that
for a useful purpose deceit is justifiable, he begs to be informed
“what advantage Chrysostom thought he had procured for himself or his
friend by this piece of management, or good policy, or whatever he
pleased to call it.”

The remaining books on the Priesthood are occupied with the answer
to this inquiry. The line which Chrysostom takes is to point out the
pre-eminent dignity, difficulty, and danger of the priestly office, and
then to enlarge upon the peculiar fitness of his friend to discharge
its duties.[83] “What advantage could be greater than to be engaged
in that work which Christ had declared with his own lips to be the
special sign of love to Himself? For when He put the question three
times to the leader of the apostles (κορυφαῖος), ‘Lovest thou me?’ and
had been answered by a fervent asseveration of attachment, he added
each time, ‘Feed my sheep,’ or ‘Feed my lambs.’ ‘Lovest thou me _more_
than these?’ had been the question, and the charge which followed it
had been always, ‘Feed my sheep;’ not, If thou lovest Me, practise
fasting, or incessant vigils, and sleep on the bare ground, or protect
the injured and be to the orphans as a father, and to their mother
as a husband; no, he passes by all these things, and says, ‘Feed my
sheep.’ Could his friend, therefore, complain that he had done ill in
compassing, even by fraud, his dedication to so glorious an office?[84]
As for himself, it was obvious that he could not have refused so great
an honour out of haughty contempt or disrespect to the electors. On
the contrary, it was when he considered the exceeding sanctity and
magnitude of the position, and its awful responsibilities—the heavenly
purity, the burning love towards God and man, the sound wisdom and
judgment, and moderation of temper required in those who were dedicated
to it—that his heart failed him. He felt himself utterly incompetent
and unworthy for so arduous a task. If some unskilled person were
suddenly to be called upon to take charge of a ship laden with a costly
freight, he would immediately refuse; and in like manner he himself
dared not risk by his present inexperience the safety of that vessel
which was laden with the precious merchandise of souls.[85] Vain-glory,
indeed, and pride would have induced him not to reject, but to covet,
so transcendent a dignity. The office of priest was discharged indeed
on earth, yet it held a place among heavenly ranks. And rightly;
for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor created power of any
kind, but the Paraclete Himself, ordained this ministry. Therefore,
it became one who entered the priesthood to be as pure as if he had
already taken his stand in heaven itself among the powers above. ‘When
thou seest the Lord lying slain, and the priest standing and praying
over the sacrifice, when thou seest all sprinkled with that precious
blood, dost thou deem thyself still among men, still standing upon
this earth? art thou not rather transported immediately to heaven,
and, every carnal imagination being cast out, dost thou not, with
soul unveiled and pure mind, behold the things which are in heaven?
O miracle! O the goodness of God! He who is sitting with the Father
is yet at that hour held in the hands of all, and gives Himself to be
embraced and grasped by those who desire it. And this all do through
the eye of faith. Do these things seem to you to merit contempt? does
it seem possible to you that any one should be so elated as to slight

“Human nature possessed in the priesthood a power which had not been
committed by God to angels or archangels; for to none of _them_ had it
been said, ‘Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth or loose on earth shall
be bound or loosed in heaven.’ Was it possible to conceive that any
one should think lightly of such a gift? Away with such madness!—for
stark madness it would be to despise so great an authority, without
which it was not possible for man to obtain salvation, or the good
things promised to him. For if it were impossible for any one to enter
into the kingdom of heaven, except he were born again of water and
the Spirit; and if he who did not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink
his blood was ejected from life eternal, and if these things were
administered by none but the consecrated hands of the priest, how would
any one, apart from them, be able to escape the fire of hell, or obtain
the crown laid up for him?”[87]

There are, perhaps, no passages elsewhere in Chrysostom expressed in
such a lofty sacerdotal tone; but it must be remembered that on any
supposition as to the date of this treatise, he was young when it was
composed, holding therefore, as on the subject of monasticism, more
enthusiastic, highly-wrought opinions than he afterwards entertained;
and moreover, that the whole treatise is written in a somewhat vehement
and excited style, as by one who was maintaining a position against an

Having proved that his evasion of the episcopal office could have
arisen from no spirit of pride, but from a consciousness of his
infirmity and incapacity, he proceeds to point out the manifold and
peculiar dangers which encompassed it. “Vain-glory was a rock more
fatal than the Sirens. Many a priest was shipwrecked there, and torn to
pieces by the fierce monsters which dwelt upon it—wrath, despondency,
envy, strife, slander, falsehood, hypocrisy, love of praise, and a
multitude more. Often he became the slave and flatterer of great
people, even of women who had most improperly mixed themselves up with
ecclesiastical affairs, and especially exercised great influence in the

The scenes, indeed, which often took place about this period at the
elections to bishoprics occasioned much scandal to the Church. In
earlier times, when the Christians were less numerous, more simple in
their habits, more unanimous,—when liability to persecution deterred
the indifferent, or pretenders, from their ranks,—the episcopal
office could be no object of worldly ambition. The clergy and the
people elected their bishop; and the fairness and simplicity with
which the election was usually conducted won the admiration of the
Emperor Alexander Severus.[89] But when Christianity was recognised
by the State, a bishopric in towns of importance became a position
of high dignity; and warm debates, often fierce tumults, attended
the election of candidates. Up to the time of Justinian at least, the
whole Christian population of the city or region over which the bishop
was to preside possessed a right to elect. Their choice was subject to
the approval of the bishops, and the confirmation of the metropolitan
of the province; but, on the other hand, neither the bishops nor the
metropolitan could legally obtrude a candidate of their own upon the
people. A charge brought against Hilary of Arles was, that he ordained
several bishops against the will and consent of the people. A just and
legitimate ordination, according to Cyprian, was one which had been
examined by the suffrage and judgment of all, both clergy and people.
Such, he observes, was the election of Cornelius to the see of Rome in
A.D. 251.[90] If the people were unanimous, there were loud cries of
ἄξιος, _dignus_, ἀνάξιος, _indignus_, as the case might be; but if they
were divided, it was usual for the metropolitan to give the preference
to the choice of the majority; or, if they appeared equally divided,
the metropolitan and his synod selected a man indifferent, if possible,
to both parties. Occasionally also, as in the case of Nectarius, the
predecessor of Chrysostom in the see of Constantinople, the Emperor
interposed, and appointed one chosen by himself. Sanguinary often
were the tumults which attended contested elections. The greater the
city, the greater the strife. In the celebrated contest for the see of
Rome in A.D. 366, between Damasus and Ursicinus, there was much hard
fighting and copious bloodshed. Damasus, with a furious and motley mob,
broke into the Julian Basilica, where Ursicinus was being consecrated
by Paul, Bishop of Tibur, and violently stopped the proceedings. Frays
of this kind lasted for some time. On one occasion, one hundred and
thirty dead bodies strewed the pavement of the Basilica of Licinius
till Damasus at last won the day. It is especially mentioned that
the ladies of Rome favoured his side.[91] It seems scarcely possible
to doubt that as these events must have been fresh in Chrysostom’s
recollection, he must be specially referring to them when, insisting on
freedom from ambition as one grand qualification for the priesthood,
he says “that he will pass by, lest they should seem incredible, the
tales of murders perpetrated in churches, and havoc wrought in cities
by contentions for bishoprics;” and when also he alludes indignantly
to the interference of women in the elections. “The elections,” he
says, “were generally made on public festivals, and were disgraceful
scenes of party feeling and intrigue. The clergy and the people were
never unanimous. The really important qualifications for the office
were seldom considered. Ambitious men spared no arts of bribery or
flattery by which to obtain places for themselves in the Church,
and to keep them when obtained. One candidate for a bishopric was
recommended to the electors because he belonged to a distinguished
family; another because he was wealthy, and would not burden the funds
of the Church.”[92] The provocations to ambition and worldly glory were
so great, both in the acquisition and in the exercise of the episcopal
office, that Chrysostom says he had “determined partly for these
reasons to avoid the snare.”[93] He shrank also from many other trials
incident to the office. There were always persons ready to detect and
magnify the slightest mistake or transgression in a priest. One little
error could not be retrieved by a multitude of successes, but darkened
the man’s whole life; for a kind of immaculate purity was exacted by
popular opinion of a priest, as if he were not a being of flesh and
blood, or subject to human passions. Often his brethren, the clergy,
were the most active in spreading mischievous reports about him, hoping
to rise themselves upon his ruin; like avaricious sons waiting for
their father’s death. Too often St. Paul’s description of the sympathy
between the several parts of the Christian body was inverted. ‘If one
member suffered, all the others rejoiced; if one member rejoiced, the
others suffered pain.’ A bishop had need be as impervious to slander
and envy as the three children in the burning fiery furnace.[94] What
a rare and difficult combination of qualities was required for the
efficient discharge of his duties in the face of such difficulties!
‘He must be dignified, yet not haughty; formidable, yet affable;
commanding, yet sociable; strictly impartial, yet courteous; lowly,
but not subservient; strong, yet gentle; promoting the worthy in spite
of all opposition, and with equal authority rejecting the unworthy,
though pushed forward by the favour of all; looking always to one
thing only—the welfare of the Church; doing nothing out of animosity
or partiality.’[95] The behaviour also of a priest in ordinary society
was jealously criticised. The flock were not satisfied unless he was
constantly paying calls. Not the sick only, but the sound desired to be
‘looked after’ (ἐπισκοπεῖσθαι),—not so much from any religious feeling,
as because the reception of such visits gratified their sense of their
own importance. Yet if a bishop often visited the house of a wealthy or
distinguished man to interest him in some design for the advantage of
the Church, he would soon be stigmatised as a parasitical flatterer.
Even the manner of his greetings to acquaintance in the streets was
criticised: ‘He smiled cordially on Mr. Such-an-one, and talked much
with him; but to me he only threw a commonplace remark.’”[96]

It is amusing and instructive to read these observations. They prove
what important personages bishops had become. The interests of the
people were violently excited over their elections. They were subjected
to the mingled reverence, deference, and court, criticism, scandal,
and gossip, which are the inevitable lot of all persons who occupy an
exalted position in the world.

In the fourth book Chrysostom speaks of some of the more mental
qualifications indispensable for a priest. Foremost among these was a
power of speaking: “That was the one grand instrument which enabled
him to heal the diseases of the body intrusted to his care. And, in
addition to this, he must be armed with a prompt and versatile wit, to
encounter the various assaults of heretics. Jews, Greeks, Manichæans,
Sabellians, Arians, all were narrowly watching for the smallest
loophole by which to force a breach in the walls of the Church. And,
unless the defender was very vigilant and skilful, while he was
keeping out the one he would let in the other. While he opposed the
blind deference of the Jews to their Mosaic Law, he must take care
not to encourage the Manichæans, who would eliminate the Law from
the Scriptures. While he asserted the Unity of the Godhead against
the Arians, there was danger of slipping into the Sabellian error of
confounding the Persons; and, while he divided the Persons against the
Sabellians, he must be careful to avoid the Arian error of dividing the
substance also. The line of orthodoxy was a narrow path hemmed in by
steep rocks on either side. Therefore it was of the deepest importance
that the priest should be a learned and effective speaker, that he
might not fall into error himself or lead others astray. For, if he
was seen to be worsted in a controversy with heretics, many became
alienated from the truth, mistaking the weakness of the defender for a
weakness in the cause itself.”[97]

“But there was yet another task fraught with peril—the delivery of
sermons. The performances of a preacher were discussed by a curious and
critical public like those of actors. Congregations attached themselves
to their favourite preachers. Woe to the man who was detected in
plagiarisms! He was instantly reprobated like a common thief.

“To become an effective preacher two things were necessary: first,
indifference to praise; secondly, power of speech; two qualities, the
one moral, the other intellectual, which were rarely found coexisting.
If a man possessed the first only, he became distasteful and despicable
to his congregation; for if he stood up and at first boldly uttered
powerful words which stung the consciences of his hearers, but, as he
proceeded, began to blush and hesitate and stumble, all the advantage
of his previous remarks would be wasted. The persons, who had secretly
felt annoyed by his telling reproofs would revenge themselves by
laughing at his embarrassment in speaking. If, on the other hand,
he was a weighty speaker, but not indifferent to applause, he would
probably trim his sails to catch the popular breeze, and study to be
pleasant rather than profitable, to the great detriment of himself and
of his flock.”[98]

He makes some remarks eminently wise and true on the necessity of
study for the preparation of sermons. “It might seem strange, but in
truth study was even more indispensable for an eloquent than for an
ordinary preacher. Speaking was an acquired art, and when a man had
attained a high standard of excellence he was sure to decline unless
he kept himself up by constant study. The man of reputation was always
expected to say something new, and even in excess of the fame which
he had already acquired. Men sat in judgment on him without mercy, as
if he were not a human being subject to occasional despondency, or
anxiety, or irritation of temper; but as if he were an angel or some
infallible being, who ought always to remain at the same high level
of excellence. The mediocre man, on the other hand, from whom much was
not expected, would obtain a disproportionate amount of praise if he
said a good thing now and then.[99] The number of persons, however, in
any congregation, who were capable of appreciating a really learned
and powerful preacher, was very small; therefore a man ought not to
be much disheartened or annoyed by unfavourable criticisms. He should
be his own critic, aiming in all his work to win the favour of God.
Then, if the admiration of men followed, he would quietly accept it;
or, if withheld, he would not be distressed, but seek his consolation
in honest work and in a conscience void of offence.[100] But if a
priest was not superior to the love of admiration, all his labour
and eloquence would be wasted; either he would sacrifice truth to
popularity, or, failing to obtain so much applause as he desired, he
would relax his efforts. This last was a common defect in men whose
powers of preaching were only second-rate. Perceiving that even the
highly gifted could not sustain their reputation without incessant
study and practice, while they themselves, by the most strenuous
efforts, could gain but a very slender meed of praise, if any, they
abandoned themselves to indolence. The trial was especially great when
a man was surpassed in preaching by one who occupied an inferior rank
in the hierarchy, and who perhaps took every opportunity of parading
his superior powers. A kind of passion for listening to preaching
possessed, he says, both Pagans and Christians at this time; hence it
was very mortifying for a man to see a congregation looking forward to
the termination of his discourse, while to his rival they listened with
the utmost patience and attention, and were vexed only when his sermon
had come to an end.”[101]

In the sixth book, Chrysostom enlarges on the dangers and trials which
beset the priest as compared with the tranquillity and security of the
monk—that life to which he still felt himself powerfully attracted.
“‘Who watch for your souls as they that must give an account.’ The
dread of the responsibility implied in that saying constantly agitated
his mind. For if it were better to be drowned in the sea than to offend
one of the little ones of Christ’s flock, what punishment must they
undergo who destroyed not one or two but a whole multitude?”[102] “Much
worldly wisdom was required in the priest; he must be conversant with
secular affairs, and adapt himself with versatility to all kinds of
circumstances and men; and yet he ought to keep his spirit as free, as
unfettered by worldly interests and ambitions as the hermit dwelling on
the mountains.”[103]

The trials, indeed, which beset the priest so far exceeded those of
the monk, that Chrysostom considered the monastery, on the whole, a
bad school for active clerical life. “The monk lived in a calm; there
was little to oppose or thwart him. The skill of the pilot could not
be known till he had taken the helm in the open sea amidst rough
weather. Too many of those who had passed from the seclusion of the
cloister to the active sphere of the priest or bishop proved utterly
incapable of coping with the difficulties of their new situation.
They lost their head (ἰλιγγιῶσιν), and, often, instead of adding to
their virtue, were deprived of the good qualities which they already
possessed. Monasticism often served as a screen to failings which the
circumstances of active life drew out, just as the qualities of metal
were tested by the action of fire.”[104]

Chrysostom concludes by saying that he was conscious of his own
infirmities; the irritability of his temper, his liability to
violent emotions, his susceptibility to praise and blame. All such
evil passions could, with the help of God’s grace, be tamed by the
severe treatment of the monastic life; like savage beasts who must
be kept on low fare. But in the public life of a priest they would
rage with incontrollable fury, because all would be pampered to the
full—vain-glory by honour and praise, pride by authority, envy by
the reputation of other men, bad temper by perpetual provocations,
covetousness by the liberality of donors to the Church, intemperance
by luxurious living.[105] He bids Basil picture the most implacable
and deadly contest between earthly forces which his imagination could
draw, and declares that this would but faintly express the conflict
between the soul and evil in the spiritual warfare of the world. “Many
accidents might put an end to earthly combat, at least for a time—the
approach of night, the fatigue of the combatants, the necessity of
taking food and sleep. But in the spiritual conflict there were no
breathing spaces. A man must always have his harness on his back, or he
would be surprised by the enemy.”[106]

It is not surprising that Basil, after the fearful responsibilities
and perils of his new dignity had been thus powerfully set before him,
should declare that his trouble now was not so much how to answer the
accusers of Chrysostom as to defend himself before God. He besought his
friend to promise that he would continue to support and advise him in
all emergencies. Chrysostom replied that as far as it was possible he
would do so; but that he doubted not Christ, who had called Basil to
this good work, would enable him to discharge it with boldness. They
wept, embraced, and parted. And so Basil went forth to the unwelcome
honours and trials of his bishopric, while Chrysostom continued to lead
that monastic kind of life which was only a preparatory step to the
monastery itself. His friendship with Basil is curious and romantic.
Their intercourse was brought to a singular conclusion by the stratagem
of Chrysostom. Basil may have, according to his own earnest request,
continued to consult his friend in any difficulty or distress; but he
is never mentioned again. Although so intimately bound up with this
passage in Chrysostom’s life, there is something indistinct and shadowy
about his whole existence. He flits across the scene for a few moments,
and then disappears totally and for ever.

The books on the Priesthood may be regarded as containing partly a real
account of an actual conversation between the two friends. But, as in
the dialogues of Plato, far more was probably added by the writer, so
that in parts the dialogue is only a form into which the opinions of
the author at the time of composition were cast. It is impossible to
decide with certainty the exact time at which the treatise may have
been written. It is not likely to have been later than his diaconate
in 381,[107] but more probably[108] the work may be assigned to the
six years of leisure spent in the seclusion of the monastery and
mountains—that is, to the period between Basil’s election to the
bishopric, and his own ordination as deacon. The treatise reads like
the production of one who had acquired considerable experience of
monastic life; who had deliberately calculated its advantages on the
one hand, and, on the other, had keenly observed and seriously weighed
the temptations and difficulties which attended the more secular career
of priest or bishop. It is a more mature work than the Epistles to
Theodore, and is free from such rapturous and excessive praise of the
ascetic life as they contain.


  It may excite surprise that men so young as Chrysostom
  and Basil, the former at least being not more than
  twenty-five or twenty-six, and not as yet ordained
  deacon, should have been designated to the highest
  office in the Church. The Council of Neocæsarea (about
  A.D. 320—_vide_ Hefele, vol. i., Clark’s transl. p. 222)
  fixed thirty as the age at which men became eligible for
  the priesthood. The same age, then, at least, must have
  been required for a bishop.

  The Constitutions called Apostolical fix the age at
  fifty, but add a clause which really lets in all the
  exceptions, “unless he be a man of singular merit and
  worth, which may compensate for the want of years.” And,
  in fact, there are numerous instances of men, both before
  and after the time of Chrysostom, who were consecrated as
  bishops under the age of thirty. The Council of Nice was
  held not more than twenty years after the persecution of
  Maximian, which Athanasius (Epist. ad Solitar., p. 382,
  Paris edition) says he had only heard of from his father,
  yet in five months after that Council he was ordained
  Archbishop of Alexandria. Remigius of Rheims was only
  twenty-two when he was made bishop, in A.D. 471. In like
  manner, though it was enacted by the Council of Sardica,
  A.D. 343-344, that none should rise to the Episcopal
  throne _per saltum_, yet there are not a few examples of
  this rule being transgressed.

  Augustine, when he created a See at Fassula, presented
  Antonius, a reader (the very position Chrysostom now
  filled) to the Primate, who ordained him without scruple
  on Augustine’s recommendation (Aug. Ep. 261, ad Cælest.).
  Cyprian, Ambrose, and Nestorius are celebrated instances
  of the consecration of laymen to bishoprics.



About this time, 372-373, while Chrysostom was still residing in
Antioch, he narrowly escaped suffering the penalties of an imperial
decree issued by Valentinian and Valens against the practisers of
magical arts, or possessors even of magical books. A severe search was
instituted after suspected persons; soldiers were everywhere on the
watch to detect offenders. The persecution was carried on with peculiar
cruelty at Antioch, where it had been provoked by the detection of a
treasonable act of divination. The twenty-four letters of the alphabet
were arranged at intervals round the rim of a kind of charger, which
was placed on a tripod, consecrated with incantations and elaborate
ceremonies. The diviner, habited as a heathen priest, in linen robes,
sandals, and with a fillet wreathed about his head, chanted a hymn
to Apollo, the god of prophecy, while a ring in the centre of the
charger was slipped rapidly round a slender thread. The letters in
front of which the ring successively stopped indicated the character
of the oracle. The ring on this occasion was supposed to have pointed
to the first four letters in the name of the future Emperor, Θ Ε Ο
Δ. Theodorus, and probably many others who had the misfortune to own
the fatal syllables, were executed. There were, of course, multitudes
of eager informers, and zealous judges, who strove to allay the
suspicious fears of the Emperors, and to procure favour for themselves
by vigorous and wholesale prosecutions. Neither age, nor sex, nor rank
was spared; women and children, senators and philosophers, were dragged
to the tribunals, and committed to the prisons of Rome and Antioch
from the most distant parts of Italy and Asia. Many destroyed their
libraries in alarm—so many innocent books were liable to be represented
as mischievous or criminal; and thus much valuable literature
perished.[109] It was during this dreadful time, when suspicion was
instantly followed by arrest, and arrest by imprisonment, torture,
and probably death, that Chrysostom chanced to be walking with a
friend to the Church of the Martyr Babylas, outside the city. As they
passed through the gardens by the banks of the Orontes, they observed
fragments of a book floating down the stream. Curiosity led them to
fish it out; but, to their dismay, on examining it, they found that it
was inscribed with magical formulæ, and, to increase their alarm, a
soldier was approaching at no great distance. At first they knew not
how to act; they feared the book had been cast into the river by the
artifice of an informer to entrap some unwary victim. They determined,
however, to throw their dangerous discovery back into the river, and
happily the attention or suspicions of the soldier were not roused.
Chrysostom always gratefully looked back to this escape as a signal
instance of God’s mercy and protection.[110]

It must have been soon after this incident and previous to the edict of
persecution against the monks issued by Valens in 373, that Chrysostom
exchanged what might be called the amateur kind of monastic life passed
in his own home for the monastery itself. Whether his mother was now
dead or had become reconciled to the separation, or whether her son’s
passionate enthusiasm for monastic retirement became irresistible,
it is impossible to determine. His mother is not mentioned by him in
his writings after this point, except in allusion to the past, which
is a strong presumption that she was no longer living. Bishop Meletius
would probably have endeavoured to detain him for some active work in
the Church, but he was now in exile; and to Flavian, the successor of
Meletius, Chrysostom was possibly not so intimately known.

During the first four centuries of the Christian era, the enthusiasm
for monastic life prevailed with ever increasing force. We are,
perhaps, naturally inclined to associate monasticism chiefly with the
Western Christianity of the Middle Ages. But the original and by far
the most prolific parent of monasticism was the East. There were always
ascetics in the Christian Church; yet asceticism is the product not
so much of Christianity as of the East; of the oriental temperament,
which admires and cultivates it; of the oriental climate, which makes
it tolerable even when pushed to the most rigorous extremes. Asceticism
is the natural practical expression of that deeply-grounded conviction
of an essential antagonism between the flesh and spirit which pervades
all oriental creeds. Even the monastic form of it was known in the East
before Christianity. The Essenes in Judæa, the Therapeutæ in Egypt,
were prototypes of the active and contemplative communities of monks.

The primitive ascetics of the Christian Church were not monks. They
were persons who raised themselves above the common level of religious
life by exercises in fasting, prayer, study, alms-giving, celibacy,
bodily privations of all kinds. These habits obtained for them great
admiration and reverence. Such persons are frequently designated by
writers of the first three centuries as “an ascetic,” “a follower of
the religious ascetics.”[111] But they did not form a class distinctly
marked off by dress and habitation from the rest of the world, like the
monks or even the anchorites of later time. They lived in the cities or
wherever their home might be, and were not subject to any rules beyond
those of their own private making. Eusebius calls them σπουδαῖοι,
“earnest persons;” and Clemens Alexandrinus ἐκλεκτῶν ἐκλεκτότεροι,
“more elect than the elect.”[112] Midway between the primitive ascetic
and the fully-developed monk must be placed the anchorite or hermit,
who made a step in the direction of monasticism by withdrawing
altogether from the city or populous places into the solitudes of
mountain or desert. Persecution assisted the impulse of religious
fervour. Paul retired to the Egyptian Thebaid during the persecution of
Decius in A.D. 251, and Antony during that of Maximin in A.D. 312. They
are justly named the fathers or founders of the anchorites, because,
though not actually the first, they were the most distinguished; and
the fame of their sanctity, their austerities, their miracles, produced
a tribe of followers. The further Antony retired into the depths of
the wilderness the more numerous became his disciples. They grouped
their cells around the habitation of the saintly father, and out of
the clusters grew in process of time the monastery. A number of cells
ranged in lines like an encampment, not incorporated in one building,
was called a “Laura” or street.[113] This was the earliest and simplest
kind of monastic establishment. It was a community, though without much
system or cohesion.

The real founder of the Cœnobia or monasteries in the East was the
Egyptian Pachomius; he was the Benedict of the East. His rule was that
most generally adopted, not only in Egypt but throughout the oriental
portions of the Empire. He and Antony had now been dead about twenty
years, and Hilarius, the pupil and imitator of Antony, had lately
introduced monasticism on the Pachomian model into Syria. In about
fifty years more, the nomadic Saracens will gaze with veneration and
awe at the spectacle of Simeon on his pillar, forty miles from Antioch.
Thousands will come to receive baptism at his hands; his image will
have been placed over the entrance of the shops in Rome.[114] The
spirit had been already caught in the West. The feelings of abhorrence
with which the Italians first beheld the wild-looking Egyptian monks
who accompanied Athanasius to Rome had soon been exchanged for
veneration. The example of Marcellina, and the exhortations of her
brother Ambrose of Milan, had induced multitudes of women to take vows
of celibacy.[115] Most of the little islands on the coasts of the
Adriatic could boast of their monasteries or cells.[116] St. Martin
built his religious houses near Poitiers and Tours, and was followed to
his grave by two thousand brethren.[117] But St. Jerome, perhaps, more
than any one else, promoted the advance of monasticism in the West.
Born on the borders of East and West,[118] he mingled with the Eastern
Church at Antioch and Constantinople, and in the desert of Chalcis
had inured himself to the most severe forms of oriental asceticism,
and returned to Rome eager to impart to others a kindred spirit of
enthusiasm for the ascetic life. A little later, early in the fifth
century, John Cassianus, president of a religious establishment in
Marseilles, propagated monastic institutions of an oriental type in the
south of France, and made men conversant with the system by his work
on the rules of the cloister. These were the scattered forces which in
the West awaited the master mind and strong hand of Benedict to mould
and discipline them into a mighty system. The nearest approach in the
West to the Egyptian system of Pachomius was among the Benedictines of

There is every reason to suppose on general grounds, and the
supposition is corroborated by notices in the writings of Chrysostom,
that the monasteries near Antioch, like the rest of the Syrian
monasteries, were based on the Pachomian model. Pachomius was a native
of the Thebaid, born in A.D. 292. He began to practise asceticism as
a hermit, but, according to the legend, was visited by an angel who
commanded him to promote the salvation of other men’s souls besides his
own, and presented him with a brazen tablet, on which were inscribed
the rules of the Order which he was to found. He established his first
community on Tabennæ, an island in the Nile, which became the parent of
a numerous offspring. Pachomius had the satisfaction in his lifetime of
seeing eight monasteries, containing in all 3000 monks, acknowledging
his rule; and after his death, in the first half of the fifth century,
their numbers had swelled to 50,000.[119] Chrysostom exulted with
Christian joy and pride over the spectacle of “Egypt, that land which
had been the mother of pagan literature and art, which had invented and
propagated every species of witchcraft, now despising all her ancient
customs, and holding up the Cross, in the desert no less if not more
than in the cities: ... for the sky was not more beautiful, spangled
with its hosts of stars, than the desert of Egypt studded in all
directions with the habitations of monks.”[120]

By the Pachomian rule no one was admitted as a full monk till after
three years of probation, during which period he was tested by the most
severe exercises. If willing, after that period, to continue the same
exercises, he was admitted without further ceremony beyond making a
solemn declaration that he would adhere to the rules of the monastery.
That no irrevocable vow was taken by the members of the monastery near
Antioch which Chrysostom joined seems proved by his return to the
city after a residence in the monastery of several years’ duration.
According to Sozomen, the several parts of the dress worn by Pachomian
monks had a symbolical meaning. The tunic (a linen garment reaching as
far as the knees) had short sleeves, to remind the wearers that they
should be prompt to do such honest work only as needed no concealment.
The hood was typical of the innocence and purity of infants, who wore
the same kind of covering; the girdle and scarf, folded about the
back, shoulders, and arms, were to admonish them that they should
be perpetually ready to do active service for God. Each cell was
inhabited by three monks. They took their chief meal in a refectory,
and ate in silence,[121] with a veil so arranged over the face that
they could see only what was on the table. No strangers were admitted,
except travellers, to whom they were bound, by the rule of their
Order, to show hospitality. The common meal or supper took place at
three o’clock,[122] up to which time they usually fasted. When it was
concluded, a hymn was sung, of which Chrysostom gives us a specimen,
though not in metrical form:[123] “Blessed be God, who nourisheth me
from my youth up, who giveth food to all flesh: fill our hearts with
joy and gladness, that we, having all sufficiency at all times, may
abound unto every good work, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with Whom
be glory, and honour, and power to Thee, together with the Holy Ghost,
for ever and ever, Amen. Glory to Thee, O Lord! Glory to Thee, Holy
One! Glory to Thee, King, who hast given us food to make us glad! Fill
us with the Holy Spirit, that we may be found well pleasing in thy
sight, and not ashamed when Thou rewardest every man according to his

The whole community in a Pachomian monastery was divided into
twenty-four classes, distinguished by the letters of the Greek
alphabet; the most ignorant, for instance, under class Iota, the more
learned under Xi or Zeta, such letters being in shape respectively
the simplest and the most complicated in the alphabet. Those hours
which were not devoted to services or study were occupied by manual
labour, partly to supply themselves with the necessaries of life,
partly to guard against the incursion of evil thoughts. There was a
proverbial saying attributed to some of the old Egyptian fathers, that
“a labouring monk was assaulted by one devil only, but an idle one
by an innumerable legion.” They wove baskets and mats, agriculture
was not neglected, nor even, among the Egyptian monks, ship-building.
Palladius, who visited the Egyptian monasteries about the close of the
fourth century, found, in the monastery of Panopolis, which contained
300 members, 15 tailors, 7 smiths, 4 carpenters, 12 camel-drivers,
15 tanners. Each monastery in Egypt had its steward, and a chief
steward stationed at the principal settlement had the supervision of
all the rest. All the products of monkish labour were shipped under
his inspection on the Nile for Alexandria. With the proceeds of their
sale, stores were purchased for the monasteries, and the surplus was
distributed amongst the sick and poor.[124]

A monastery founded on this model might be fairly described as a kind
of village containing an industrial and religious population; and had
the Eastern monks adhered to this simple and innocent way of life,
such communities might have become more and more schools of learning,
centres of civilisation, and homes of piety. But they were increasingly
forgetful of the wholesome saying of Antony, that a monk in the city
was like “a fish out of water.” Instead of attending exclusively to
their pious and industrial exercises, they mixed themselves up with the
theological and political contests which too often convulsed the cities
of the Eastern Empire. Their influence or interference was frequently
the reverse of peace-making, judicious, or Christian. They would rush
with fanatical fury into the city, to rescue the orthodox, or to attack
those whom they considered heretical. The evil had grown to such a
height by the reign of Arcadius, that a law was passed by which monks
were strictly forbidden to commit such outrages on civil order, and
bishops were commanded to prosecute the authors of such attempts.[125]
Eastern monasticism, in fact, partook of the character which
distinguished the Eastern Church as a whole, and which we may regard as
one principal cause of its corruption and decay. A certain stability,
sobriety, self-control, a law-making and law-respecting spirit, as it
is the peculiar merit of the Western, so the want of it is the peculiar
defect of the Oriental temperament. Hence a curious co-existence of
extremes; the passions, unnaturally repressed at one outlet by intense
asceticism, burst forth with increased fury at another. He who had
subdued his body in the wilderness or on the mountains by fastings and
macerations entertained the most implacable animosity towards pagans
and heretics, and fought them like a ruffian (the word is not too
strong for truth), when some tumult in an adjacent city afforded him
an opportunity for this robust mode of displaying and defending his
orthodoxy. Western monasticism, on the other hand, is distinguished
by more gravity, more of the old Roman quality, a love of stern
discipline. It did not run to such lengths of fanatical asceticism,
and consequently was exempt from such disastrous reactions. It never
produced such a caricature of the anchorite as Simeon Stylites, or
such savage zealots as the monkish bands who dealt their sturdy blows
in the religious riots of Constantinople and Alexandria. From the
notices scattered up and down Chrysostom’s writings of the monasteries
in the neighbourhood of Antioch, it appears that they conformed in all
essential respects to the Pachomian model. We might anticipate, indeed,
that, where such a man as Diodorus was president or visitor, they would
be conducted on a simple and rational system.

South of Antioch were the mountainous heights of Silpius and Casius,
whence rose the springs which in a variety of channels found their
way into the city, provided it with a constant and abundant supply
of the purest water, and irrigated the gardens for which it was
celebrated.[126] In this mountain region dwelt the communities of
monks, in separate huts or cells (κάλυβαι[127]), but subject to an
abbot, and a common rule. Chrysostom has in more passages than one
furnished us with a description of their ordinary costume, fare, and
way of life. He is fond of depicting their simple, frugal, and pious
habits, in contrast to the artificial and luxurious manners of the
gay and worldly people of the city. They were clad in coarse garments
of goat’s hair or camel’s hair, sometimes of skins, over their linen
tunics, which were worn both by night and day.[128] Before the first
rays of sunlight, the abbot went round, and struck those monks who were
still sleeping with his foot, to wake them. When all had risen,—fresh,
healthy, fasting, they sang together, under the precentorship of their
abbot, a hymn of praise to God. The hymn being ended, a common prayer
was offered up (again under the leadership of their abbot), and then
each at sunrise went to his allotted task, some to read, others to
write, others to manual labour, by which they made a good deal to
supply the necessities of the poor. Four hours in the day, the third,
the sixth, the ninth, and some time in the evening, were appointed for
prayers and psalms. When the daily work was concluded, they sat down,
or rather reclined, on strewn grass, to their common meal, which was
sometimes eaten out of doors by moonlight, and consisted of bread and
water only, with occasionally, for invalids, a little vegetable food
and oil. This frugal repast was followed by hymns, after which they
betook themselves to their straw couches, and slept, as Chrysostom
observes, free from those anxieties and apprehensions which beset the
worldly man. There was no need of bolts and bars, for there was no
fear of robbers. The monk had no possession but his body and soul,
and if his life was taken he would regard it as an advantage, for he
could say that to live was Christ, and to die was gain.[129] Those
words “mine and thine,” those fertile causes of innumerable strifes,
were unknown.[130] No lamentations were to be heard when any of the
brethren died. They did not say, “such a one is dead,” but, “he has
been perfected” (τετελείωται), and he was carried forth to burial
amidst hymns of praise, thanksgiving for his release, and the prayers
of his companions that they too might soon see the end of their labours
and struggles, and be permitted to behold Jesus Christ.[131] Such was
the simple and industrial kind of monastic body to which Chrysostom
for a time attached himself; and to the end of his life he regarded
such communities with the greatest admiration and sympathy. But he
never failed to maintain also the duty of work against those who
represented the perfection of the Christian life as consisting in mere
contemplation and prayer. Such a doctrine of otiose Christianity he
proved to be based on a too exclusive attention to certain passages in
the New Testament. If, for instance, our blessed Lord said to Martha,
“Thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is
needful;” or again, “Take no thought for the morrow;” or, “Labour not
for the meat that perisheth”—all such passages were to be balanced and
harmonised by others, as, for example, St. Paul’s exhortation to the
Thessalonians to be “quiet and to do their own business,” and “let
him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with
his hands that which is good, that he may have to give to him that
needeth.” He points out that the words of our Lord do not inculcate
total abstinence from work, but only censure an undue anxiety about
earthly things, to the exclusion or neglect of spiritual concerns.
The contemplative form of monasticism, based on misconception of
Holy Scripture, had, he observes, seriously injured the cause of
Christianity, for it occasioned practical men of the world to deride it
as a source of indolence.[132]



Several treatises were composed by Chrysostom during his monastic
life. Among the first must be placed two books addressed to Demetrius
and Stelechius. Of these the former was evidently written soon after
the commencement of his retreat, for he speaks of having recently
determined to take the step, and of the petty anxieties about food
and other personal comforts which had at first unsettled his purpose
a little. But he had soon conquered these hankerings after the more
luxurious life which he had abandoned. It seemed to him a disgrace
that one to whom heaven and celestial joys were offered, such as eye
had not seen nor ear heard, should be so hesitating and timorous, when
those who undertook the management of public affairs did not shrink
from dangers and toil, and long journeys, and separation from wife and
children, and perhaps unfavourable criticism, but only inquired whether
the office were honourable and lucrative.[133]

The aim of the books is to animate torpid characters to a warmer piety,
first by drawing a lively picture of the depravity of the times,
secondly by a glowing description of the fervent energy of apostles and
apostolic saints, and insisting that those lofty heights of Christian
holiness were not unattainable by the Christian of his own day, if
he bent the whole energy of his will, aided by Divine grace, to the

“So great,” he observes, “was the depravity of the times that if a
stranger were to compare the precepts of the Gospel with the actual
practice of society, he would infer that men were not the disciples,
but the enemies of Christ. And the most fatal symptom was their total
unconsciousness of this deep corruption. Society was like a body which
was outwardly vigorous, but concealed a wasting fever within; or like
an insane person who says and does all manner of shocking things,
but, instead of being ashamed, glories in the fancied possession of
superior wisdom.”[134] Chrysostom applies the test of the principal
precepts of morality in the Sermon on the Mount to the existing state
of Christian morals. Every one of them was shamelessly violated. A
kind of regard, superstitious or hypocritical, was paid to the command
in the letter, which was broken in the spirit. Persons, for instance,
who scrupled to use the actual expressions “fool” or “Raca,” heaped
all kinds of opprobrious epithets on their neighbours.[135] So the
command to be reconciled with a brother before approaching the altar
was really broken though formally kept. Men gave the kiss of peace
at the celebration of Holy Communion when admonished by the deacon
so to do, but continued to nourish resentful feelings in the heart
all the same.[136] Vainglory and ostentation robbed prayer, fasting
and almsgiving of their merit; and as for the precept “Judge not,” a
most uncharitable spirit of censoriousness pervaded every class of
society, including monks and ecclesiastics.[137] Contrast with this
false and hollow religion of the world the condition of one in whom
a deep compunction for sin, and a genuine love of Jesus Christ, was
awakened. The whole multitude of vain frivolous passions was dispersed
like dust before the wind. So it was with St. Paul. Having once turned
the eye of his soul towards heaven, and being entranced by the beauty
of that other world, he could not stoop to earth again. As a beggar,
in some gloomy hovel, if he saw a monarch glittering with gold and
radiant with jewels, might altogether for a time forget the squalor of
his dwelling-place in his eagerness to get inside the palace of the
king, so St. Paul forgot and despised the poverty and hardship of this
present world because the whole energy of his being was directed to the
attainment of that heavenly city.[138] But men objected to the citation
of apostolic examples. Paul and Peter, they said, were superhuman
characters; models beyond our limited powers. “Nay,” Chrysostom
replies, “these are feeble excuses. The Apostles were in all essential
points like ourselves. Did they not breathe the same kind of air? eat
the same kind of food? were not some of them married men? did they not
follow mechanical trades? nay more, had not some of them deeply sinned?
Men at the present day did not indeed receive grace at baptism to
work miracles, but they received enough to enable them to lead a good
and holy Christian life.[139] And the highest blessing of Christ—his
invitation to those who were called ‘blessed children’ to inherit the
kingdom prepared for them—was addressed, not to those who had wrought
miracles, but to those who had ministered to himself through feeding
the hungry, entertaining the stranger, visiting the sick and the
prisoners, who were his brethren. But grace, though undoubtedly given
by God, required man’s own co-operation to become effectual. Otherwise,
since God is no respecter of persons, it would have resided in equal
measure in all men; whereas we see that with one man it remains, from
another it departs; a third is never affected by it at all.”[140] The
second book on the same subject, addressed to another friend, named
Stelechius, is an expression of more rapturous and highly-wrought
feeling, and is more rhetorical in style. His description in the
beginning of the blessed freedom of the monk’s life from secular
vanities and cares, his remarks on David and St. Paul,[141] two of his
most favourite characters, and still more his masterly enumeration of
the manifold ways in which God manifests his providential care for
man,[142] well deserve to be read. They are too long to be translated
here in full, and a paraphrase would very inadequately represent such
passages, of which the peculiar beauty consists in the language more
even than in the ideas. One special interest of these books, written
immediately after his retirement from the world, is that they put
clearly before us what it was which drove him and many another to the
monastic life. It was a sense of the glaring and hideous contrast
between the Christianity of the Gospel and the Christianity of ordinary
society. A kind of implacable warfare,[143] as he expresses it, seemed
to be waged in the world against the commands of Christ; and he had
therefore determined, by seclusion from the world, to seek that kind of
life which he saw exhibited in the Gospels, but nowhere else.[144]

But the largest and most powerful work which Chrysostom produced during
this period was occasioned by the decree of the Emperor Valens in A.D.
373—a decree which struck at the roots of monasticism. It directed
that monks should be dragged from their retreats, and compelled to
discharge their obligations as citizens, either by serving in the
army, or performing the functions of any civil office to which they
might be appointed.[145] The edict is said to have been enforced with
considerable rigour, and in Egypt this seems to have been the case.
But it was evidently far from complete or universal in its operation.
None of Chrysostom’s brethren appear to have been compelled to return
to the city; certainly he himself was not. But they were liable, of
course, to the persecution which, under the shelter of the decree, all
the enemies of their order directed against them. These enemies of
monasticism were of several kinds. There were the zealous adherents of
the old paganism; men like Libanius, who were opposed to Christianity
on principle, and especially to the monastic form of it, as encouraging
idleness, and the dereliction of the duties of good citizens.
There were also the more worldly-minded Christians who had adopted
Christianity more from impulse or conformity than from conviction, and
who disliked the standing protest of monastic life against their own
frivolity. They were irritated also by the influence which the monks
often acquired over their wives and children, sometimes alluring the
latter from that lucrative line of worldly life which their fathers had
marked out for them. And lastly, there were those who regretted that
some men should have taken up a position of direct antagonism to the
world, instead of mingling with it, and infusing good leaven into the
mass of evil. The treatise of Chrysostom addressed “to the assailants
of monastic life” was intended to meet most of these objections.

A friend had brought the terrible tidings to his retreat of the
authorised persecution which had just broken out. He heard it with
indescribable horror. It was a sacrilege far worse than the destruction
of the Jewish Temple. That an Emperor (an Arian, indeed, yet professing
himself Christian) should organise the persecution, and that some
actually baptized persons should take, as his friend informed him, a
part in it, was an intolerable aggravation of the infliction. He would
rather die than witness such a calamity, and was ready to exclaim with
Elijah, “Now, O Lord, take away my life!” His friend roused him from
this state of despondency by suggesting that, instead of giving way
to useless lamentations, he should write an admonitory treatise to
the originators and abettors of this horrible persecution. At first
Chrysostom refused, partly from a feeling of incompetency, partly from
a dread of exposing to the pagans by his writings some of the internal
corruptions, dissensions, and weaknesses of the Church. His friend
replies that these were already but too notorious; and as for the
sufferings of the monks, they formed the topic of public conversation,
too often of public jest. In the market-place and in the doctors’ shops
the subject was freely canvassed, and many boasted of the part which
they had taken against the victims. “I was the first to lay hands on
such a monk,” one would cry, “and to give him a blow;” or, “I was
the first to discover his cell;” or, “I stimulated the judge against
him more than any one.” Such was the spirit of cruelty and profanity
by which even Christians were animated; and, as for the pagans,
they derided both parties. Roused by these dreadful communications,
the indignation of Chrysostom no longer hesitated to set about the

His pity, he says, was excited chiefly for the persecutors; they were
purchasing eternal misery for themselves, while the future reward of
their victims would be in proportion to the magnitude of their present
sufferings, since “Blessed were those whom men should hate, persecute,
and revile for Christ’s sake, and great was to be their reward in

To persecute monks was to hinder that purity of life to which Christ
attached so deep an importance. It might be objected, Cannot men lead
lives uncontaminated at home? to which Chrysostom replies that he
heartily wishes they could, and that such good order and morality might
be established in cities as to make monasteries unnecessary. But at
present such gross iniquity prevailed in large towns, that men of pious
aspirations were compelled to fly to the mountain or the desert. The
blame should fall, not on those who escaped from the city, but on those
who made life there intolerable to virtuous men. He trusted the time
might come when these refugees would be able to return with safety to
the world.[148]

If it was objected that on this principle of reasoning the mass of
mankind was condemned, he could only reply, in the words of Christ
himself, “Narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be
that find it.” We must not honour a multitude before truth. If all
flesh was once destroyed except eight persons, we cannot be surprised
if the number of men eventually saved shall be few. “I see,” he says,
“a constant perpetration of crimes which are all condemned by Christ
as meriting the punishment of hell—adultery, fornication, envy, anger,
evil speaking, and many more. The multitude which is engaged in this
wickedness is unmolested, but the monks who fly from it themselves, and
persuade others to take flight also, are persecuted without mercy.” So
much for the Christianity of the world.[149]

In Book II. he expresses his astonishment that fathers should so
little understand what was best for their sons as to deter them from
studying “the true philosophy.” But in combating this error he will
put forward all that can be urged on their side. He imagines the case
of a pagan father, possessed of great worldly distinction and wealth.
He has an only son, in whom all his pride and hopes are centred; one
whom he expects to surpass himself in riches and honour. Suddenly this
son becomes converted to monasticism; this rich heir flies to the
mountains, puts on a dress coarser than that of the meanest servant,
toils at the menial occupations of gardening and drawing water,
becomes lean and pale. All the schemes of his father for the future
are frustrated, all past efforts for his education seem to have been
squandered. The little vessel which was his pride and pleasure is
wrecked at the very mouth of the harbour from which it was setting out
on the voyage of life. The parent has no longer any pleasure in life;
he mourns for his son as for one already dead.[150]

Having thus stated the case on his adversary’s side as strongly as
possible, Chrysostom begins his own defence by asking which would be
best: that a man should be subject to thirst all his life, or wholly
exempt from it? Surely to be exempt from it. Apply this to the moral
appetites—love, avarice, and the rest. The monk is exempt from them;
the man of the world is distracted by them, if not overwhelmed. Again,
if the monk has no wealth of his own, he exercises a powerful influence
in directing the wealth of others. Religious men will part with much
of their riches according to his suggestions; if one refuses, another
will give. The resources, in fact, of the monk are quite inexhaustible;
many will subscribe to supply his wants or to execute his wishes, as
Crito said that he and his friends would subscribe for Socrates. It is
impossible to deprive the monk of his wealth or of his home; if you
strip him of everything he has, he rejoices, and thanks you for helping
him to live the life which he desires; and as for his home, the world
is his home; one place is the same as another to him; he needs nothing
but the pure air of heaven, wholesome streams, and herbs. As for high
place and rank, history suffices to teach us that the desert does not
destroy, and the palace does not give, true nobility. Plato—planting,
watering, and eating olives—was a far nobler personage than Dionysius
the Tyrant of Sicily, amidst all the wealth and splendour of a monarch.
Socrates—clad in a single garment, with his bare feet and his meagre
fare of bread, and dependent upon others for the mere necessaries of
life—was a far more illustrious character than Archelaus, who often
invited him, but in vain, to court. Real splendour and distinction
consisted not in fine raiment, or in positions of dignity and power,
but only in excellence of the soul and in philosophy.[151]

He then proceeds to maintain that the influence of the monk was more
powerful than that of the man of the world, however distinguished he
might be. If he descended from his mountain solitude, and entered the
city, the people flocked round him, and pointed him out with reverence
and admiration, as if he were a messenger from heaven. His mean dress
commanded more respect than the purple robe and diadem of the monarch.
If he was required to interfere in matters of public interest, his
influence was greater than that of the powerful or wealthy; for he
could speak before an emperor with boldness and freedom, and without
incurring the suspicion of self-interested or ambitious motives. He was
a more effectual comforter of the mourners than any one in a prosperous
worldly condition was likely to be. If a father had lost his only son,
the sight of other men’s domestic happiness only revived his grief; but
the society of the monk, who disdained the ties of home and family, and
who talked to him of death as only a sleep, soothed his grief. Thus the
man who wished his son to possess real honour and power would permit
him to become a monk; for monks who were once mere peasants had been
visited in their cells and consulted by kings and ministers of state.

Chrysostom concludes this book by relating the history of one of his
own brethren in the monastery, who, when first he desired to become
a monk, had been disowned by his father, a wealthy and distinguished
pagan, who threatened him with imprisonment, turned him out of doors,
and allowed him almost to perish with hunger. But, finding him
inflexible in his purpose, the father at last relented, and, at the
time when Chrysostom wrote, honoured, he might say venerated, that son,
considering the others, who occupied distinguished positions in the
world, scarcely worthy to be his servant.[152]

As the second book was intended to meet the objections of a pagan
father, so the third contains admonitions to one who was professedly
Christian, but worldly-minded, on the duty of parents in regard to the
moral and religious education of their children.

It appeared to him that the fathers of that day gave their sons none
but worldly counsel, inculcated none but worldly industry and prudence,
and encouraged to the emulation of none but worldly examples.[153]
The force of habit was intensely strong, especially when pleasure
co-operated with it, and parents, instead of counteracting habits of
worldliness, promoted them by their own example. God led the Israelites
through the wilderness as a kind of monastic training, to wean them
from the luxurious and sensual habits of an Egyptian life; yet even
then they hankered after the land of their bondage. How, then, could
the children of parents who left them in the midst of the Egypt of
vice, escape damnation? If they achieved anything good of themselves,
it was speedily crushed by the flood of worldly conversation which
issued from the parent. All those things which were condemned by
Christ—as wealth, popularity, strife, an evil eye, divorce—were
approved by parents of that day, and they threw a veil over the
ugliness of these vices, by giving them specious names. Devotion to
the hippodrome and theatre was called fashionable refinement; wealth
was called freedom; love of glory, high spirit; folly, boldness;
prodigality, benevolence; injustice, manliness. Virtues, on the
contrary, were depreciated by opprobrious names: temperance was called
rusticity; equity, cowardice; justice, unmanliness; modesty, meanness;
endurance of injury, feebleness. He truly remarks, that nothing
contributes so much to deter men from vice as calling vices plainly by
their proper names.[154]

“How can children escape moral ruin, when all the labour of their
fathers is bestowed on the provision of superfluous things—fine houses,
dress, horses, beautiful statues, gilded ceilings—while they take no
pains about the soul, which is far more precious than any ornament
of gold?”[155] And there were worse evils behind: vice too monstrous
and unnatural to be named, but to which he was constrained to allude,
because he felt that it was poisoning with deadly venom the very vitals
of the social body. “Well,” but worldly men reply, “Would you have us
all turn philosophers, and let our worldly affairs go to ruin? Nay,”
says Chrysostom, “it is the want of the philosophic spirit and rule
which ruins everything now; it is your rich men—with troops of slaves
and swarms of parasites, eager for wealth and ambitious of distinction,
building fine houses, adding field to field, lending money at a
usurious rate of interest—who propagate the strife and litigation, and
envy, and murder, and general confusion, by which life is distracted.
These are they who bring down the vengeance of Heaven, in the shape of
droughts, and famines, and inundations, and earthquakes, and submersion
of cities, and pestilences. It is not the simple monk, or the
philosophic Christian, who is contented with a humble dwelling, a mean
dress, a little plot of ground. These last, shining like bright beacons
in a dark place, hold up the lamp of philosophy on high, and endeavour
to guide those who are tossing on the open sea in a dark night into the
haven of safety and repose.”[156]

“In spite of law, disorder prevailed to such an extent, that the very
idea of God’s providence was lost. Men assigned the course of events
to fate, or to the stars, or to chance, or to spontaneous force. God
did, indeed, still rule; but He was like a pilot in a storm, whose
skill in managing and conducting the vessel in safety was not perceived
or appreciated by the passengers, owing to the confusion and fright
caused by the raging of the elements. In the monastery, on the other
hand, all was tranquillity and peace as in a community of angels.
He strenuously combated the error of supposing that sin was more
pardonable in a man of the world than in a monk. Anger, uncleanness,
swearing, and the like, were equally sinful in all. Christ made no
distinctions, but propounded one standard of morality for all alike.
Nothing had inflicted more injury on the moral tone of society than
the supposition that strictness of life was demanded of the monk
only.”[157] He strongly urges the advantage of sending youths for
education to monasteries, even for so long a period as ten or twenty
years. Men consented, he says, to part with their children, for the
purpose of learning some art or trade, or even so low an accomplishment
as rope-dancing; but when the object was to train their souls for
heaven, all kinds of impediments were raised. To object that few
attained through residence in a monastery that perfection of spiritual
life which some expected of them, was a mere excuse. In the case of
worldly things, on which men’s hearts were set, they thought of getting
as much as they could, not of reaching absolute perfection. A man did
not prevent his son from entering military service because the chances
of his becoming a prefect were small; why, then, hesitate to send your
son to a monastery because all monks do not become angels?[158]

These treatises are remarkable productions, and deserve to be read,
not only because they exhibit Chrysostom’s best powers of argument
and style, but also because they throw light upon the character of
the man and the times in which he lived. He pleads his cause with the
ingenuity, as well as eloquence, of a man who had been trained for the
law courts. We find, indeed, that his opinions on the advantages of the
monastic life were modified as he grew older; but his bold condemnation
of worldliness, his denunciation of a cold secularised Christianity,
as contrasted with the purity of the Gospel standard, the deep
aspirations after personal holiness, the desire to be filled with a
fervent and overflowing love of Christ, the firm hold on the idea of
a superintending Providence, amidst social confusion and corruption;
these we find, as here, so always, conspicuous characteristics of the
man, and principal sources of his influence.

From the frightful picture here drawn of social depravity, we perceive
the value—we might say, the necessity—of monasteries, as havens of
refuge for those who recoiled in horror from the surrounding pollution.
It is clear also that the influence of the monks was considerable.
Monasteries were recognised places of education, where pious parents
could depend on their children being virtuously brought up. The
Christian wife of a pagan or worldly husband could here find a safe
home for her boy, where he could escape the contamination of his
father’s influence or example. Chrysostom relates, in chapter 12, how
a Christian lady in Antioch, being afraid of the wrath of a harsh
and worldly-minded husband if she sent away her son to school at the
monastery, induced one of the monks, a friend of Chrysostom’s, to
reside for a time in the city, in the character of pedagogue. The boy,
thus subjected to his training, afterwards joined the society of the
monks; but Chrysostom, fearing the consequences both to the youth and
to the monastic body, should his father detect his secession, persuaded
him to return to the city, where he led an ascetic life, though not
habited in monkish dress. Out of these monastic schools, after years
of discipline and prayer, and study of the Word, there issued many a
pastor and preacher, well-armed champions of the truth, strong in the
Lord, and in the power of His might; like Chrysostom himself, instant
in season and out of season; stern denouncers of evil, even in kings’
courts; holding out the light of the Gospel in the midst of a dark and
crooked generation.

The foregoing extracts and paraphrases from these treatises prove
also that as philosophy was considered the highest flight in the
intellectual culture of the pagan, so was asceticism regarded as the
highest standard of Christian life; it was to the education of the
soul what philosophy was to the education of the mind, and hence it
was called by the same name. Possessed by this idea, Chrysostom threw
himself at this period of his life into the system with all the ardour
of his nature. If asceticism was good, it was right to carry it as
far as nature could bear it. He adopted the habits of an old member
of the brotherhood named Syrus, notorious for the severity of his
self-inflicted discipline. The day and greater part of the night were
spent in study, fastings and vigils. Bread and water were his only
habitual food. At the end of four years he proceeded a step further.
He withdrew from the community to one of those solitary caves with
which the mountains overhanging Antioch on its southern side abounded.
In fact, he exchanged the life of a monk for that of an anchorite.
His frame endured this additional strain for nearly two years, and
then gave way. His health was so much shattered that he was obliged to
abandon monastic life, and to return to the greater comfort of his home
in Antioch.[159]

Meanwhile a friend of his, Stagirius by name—a person of noble birth,
who, in spite of his father’s opposition, had embraced monasticism—was
reduced to a more deplorable condition. While Chrysostom was confined
to his house by illness, a friend common to him and Stagirius brought
him the sad intelligence that Stagirius was affected with all the
symptoms of demoniacal possession—wringing of the hands, squinting of
the eyes, foaming at the mouth, strange inarticulate cries, shiverings,
and frightful visions at night.[160] We shall perhaps find little
difficulty in accounting for these distressing affections, as the
consequence of excessive austerities. The young man, who formerly lived
a gay life in the world, and in the midst of affluence, had in the
monastery fared on bread and water only, often kept vigil all night
long, spent his days in prayer and tears of penitence, preserved an
absolute silence, and read so many hours continuously, that his friends
and brother monks feared that his brain would become disordered.[161]
Very probably it was, and hence his visions and convulsions; but those
were not days in which men readily attributed any strange phenomena,
mental or bodily, to physical causes. We may believe in the action of
a spirit-world on the inhabitants of this earth; but we require good
evidence that any violent or strange affection of mind or body is due
to a directly spiritual agency, rather than to the operation of God
according to natural law. The cases of demoniacs in the Gospel stand
apart. Our Lord uses language which amounts to a distinct affirmation
that those men were actually possessed by evil spirits. To use such
expressions as “come out of him,” “enter no more into him,” and the
like, if there was no spirit concerned in the case at all, would have
been, to say the least, a mere unmeaning piece of acting, of which it
would be shocking to suppose our Lord capable. But to admit the direct
agency of spirit, when confirmed by such authoritative testimony,
is widely different from the hasty ascription to spiritual agency,
by an uncritical and unscientific age, of everything which cannot
be accounted for by the most superficial knowledge and observation.
Chrysostom, of course, not being beyond his age in such matters, did
not for a moment dispute the supposition that Stagirius was actually
possessed by a demon, but he displays a great deal of good sense in
dealing with the case. As the state of his own health did not permit
him to pay Stagirius a visit in person, he wrote his advice instead. He
perceived the fatal temptation to despair in a man who imagined that
the devil had got a firm hold upon him, and that every evil inclination
proceeded directly from this demoniacal invader. He will not allow
that the suggestion to suicide, of which Stagirius complained, came
direct from the demon, but rather from his own despondency,[162] with
which the devil had endeavoured to oppress him, that he might, under
cover of that, work his own purposes more effectually, just as robbers
attack houses in the dark. But this was to be shaken off by trust in
God; for the devil did not exercise a compulsory power over the hearts
of men; there must be a co-operation of the man’s own will. Eve fell
partly through her own inclination to sin: “When she saw that the
tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, she took of the
fruit thereof and did eat;” and if Adam was so easily persuaded to
participate in her sin, he would have fallen even had no devil existed.

Chrysostom endeavours also to console his friend by going through
the histories of saints in all times who have been afflicted. His
sufferings were not to be compared to those of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
Moses, David, and St. Paul. “These afflictions were sent for remedial,
purgatorial purposes—that the soul might be saved in the day of the
Lord. It was not easy to say why such a person was tried by this or
that form of suffering, but if we knew exactly God’s motives, there
would be no test of faith. The indispensable thing was to be firmly
convinced that whatever God sent was right. Some men were disturbed
because the good were often troubled, and the wicked prosperous; but
such inequality in the distribution of reward and punishment in this
life suggested a future state where they would be finally adjusted. The
wicked who had here received his good things would there receive his
evil.[163] Stagirius had not been attacked by any demon when he was
living in carelessness and worldly pleasure, but when he had buckled
on his armour and appeared as an antagonist, then the devil descended
to the assault. Hence he had no need to be ashamed of his affliction;
the only thing to be ashamed of was sin, and it was owing to his
renunciation of sin that the devil assailed him. The real demoniacs
were those who were carried away by the impulses of unregulated
passions.” His summaries of the lives of the Old Testament saints,
which fill the rest of the second book and most of the third, are very
masterly, and display most intimate acquaintance with Holy Scripture in
all its parts. A powerful mind and retentive memory had profited by six
years of retirement largely devoted to study.


DIACONATE. A.D. 381-386.

Probably one of the last acts of Bishop Meletius before he left
Antioch to attend the Council of Constantinople in 381, was to ordain
Chrysostom a deacon. The bishop never returned. He died during the
session of the council of which he was president, leaving both that
and the see of Antioch distracted by the most deplorable factions. It
will be remembered[164] that the Catholics of Antioch had, ever since
the ill-judged mission of Lucifer of Cagliari, been divided between
allegiance to Paulinus, a priest of the old Eustathian party, who had
been consecrated bishop by Lucifer, and Meletius, bishop of the more
moderate party. With the laudable purpose of healing this schism, it
is said that several of the clergy at Antioch, who were considered
most likely to succeed to a vacancy, bound themselves under an oath,
that in the event of either bishop dying, they would decline the offer
of the see, if made, and acknowledge the survivor. But on the death
of Meletius, their plan was frustrated. Either the Asiatics, who
generally favoured Meletius, refused to submit to the authority of
Paulinus, because he had been ordained by a Western prelate, or the
Eustathians who acknowledged Paulinus were unwilling on their side to
admit Meletians into their fold. In any case, the earnest endeavours
of Gregory of Nazianzum, now President of the Council, to unite the
two factions under one prelate were unsuccessful.[165] The Meletians
elected Flavian to be their bishop, one of the very priests who had,
under oath, renounced their pretensions to the see. This appointment
of course exposed Flavian to the imputation of perjury, but we may
hope that, like Gregory, he yielded to a pressing necessity only,
and to a conviction that the dissension would have been aggravated
and protracted if he had obdurately refused.[166] At any rate, as
will hereafter appear, his conduct, wherever it comes before us, is
worthy of all admiration, and Chrysostom must have filled the office
of deacon with happiness under his administration. A greater contrast
than the initiation of Chrysostom into clerical life, and that of a
young deacon in modern times, can scarcely be imagined. He was in his
thirty-seventh year, and had supplemented the good liberal education
of his youth by several years of devotion to close study of Scripture,
to rigorous mortification of the body, to prayer and meditation, and
to every means of promoting the culture of the soul. After this long
and careful training, he enters the subordinate ranks of the clergy,
not to discharge, like a modern deacon, duties as laborious, and often
as responsible, as those which pertained to the priest, but such light
and irresponsible tasks as were suitable to men who might be young,
and were necessarily inexperienced in pastoral work. The deacons were
sometimes called the Levites of the Christian Church.[167] It was their
office to take care of the holy table and its furniture, to administer
the cup to the laity, but not to a priest or a bishop, and occasionally
to read the Gospel.[168] They were in most churches permitted to
baptize.[169] But their peculiar duty in the services of the Church
was to call the attention of the people to every fresh movement, to
use a musical expression, in the progress of the service. Thus at the
close of the sermon, the deacon’s voice was heard crying: “Let the
hearers [_i.e._ the second order of catechumens who were permitted to
hear the sermon, but not the conclusion of the Eucharistic service] and
the unbelievers depart!”[170] Then he bid the remaining orders of the
catechumens, _i.e._ the energumens, the competentes, and the penitents
to pray for one another, and the people also to pray for them; ἐκτενῶς
δεηθῶμεν, “let us ardently pray for them”—such was the form. Again when
they were dismissed by the command ἀπολύεσθε, “disperse,” the faithful
were invited by the deacon to pray for the whole state of Christ’s
Church.[171] Thus the deacons were the sacred criers or heralds of
the Church; they “proclaimed or bid prayer,” they announced each part
as it was unfolded in the sacred drama of the Liturgy. The frequent
recurrence in our own Liturgy, without much apparent significance, of
the form “Let us pray,” is a remnant of these old diaconal invitations.
The deacons were not permitted to preach except by a special direction
of the bishop. Their duty in part corresponded to that of our
churchwardens; they were to reprove any improper behaviour during
divine service,[172] to bring cases of poverty and sickness before the
notice of the bishop, to distribute the alms under his direction, and
also to report to him grave moral offences.[173] They were essentially,
as the name implies, ministers to the bishops and priests, and were
often styled, in symbolical language, “the bishop’s eyes,” or “ears,”
or “right hand.” The attitude of respect, which they were bound to
maintain in church towards bishops and priests was in keeping with the
servitorial character of their office as a whole. While the priests had
their chairs ranged on either side of the central chair of the bishop
in the choir, the deacons stood humbly by, as if ready to receive and
execute the directions of their superiors.[174] Even the Roman deacons,
who rose rather above the natural lowliness of their office, did not
presume to sit in the church.[175]

The duties of the diaconate must have brought Chrysostom into constant
intercourse with the Christian population of Antioch, and especially
with the poorer portion of it. The whole population of the city
amounted, according to Chrysostom’s statement, to 200,000,[176] and
the Christians to 100,000,[177] of whom 3000 were indigent, and mainly
supported by the bounty of the Church.[178] The deacon’s function of
searching out and relieving the necessitous by distribution of alms
must have been peculiarly congenial to him. There is no Christian
duty on which he more constantly and earnestly insists than that of
almsgiving, not only in order to alleviate the sufferings of poverty,
but as a means of counteracting the inordinate avarice and selfish
luxury which were the prevailing vices in the higher ranks of society,
both in Antioch and Constantinople. His hold upon the affections of the
common people, partly no doubt through his sympathy with their needs,
partly by his bold denunciation of the vices of the wealthy, partly by
his affectionate and earnest plain-speaking of Christian truth, was
remarkably strong throughout his life. As during the secluded leisure
of his monastic life he had acquired a profound intimacy with Holy
Scripture, so in the more active labours of his diaconate he enlarged
his knowledge of human nature, and stored up observations on the
character and manners of the people among whom he moved; qualifications
no less important for the formation of a great and effective preacher.

It may not be uninteresting to take a brief glance at the character of
the city and its inhabitants among whom he was destined to labour for
the next seventeen years of his life.

Both nature and art combined to make Antioch one of the most
delectable and luxurious residences in the world. The advantages of
its situation, in some most important respects, could scarcely be
exceeded. The river Orontes, connecting it with the sea about three
miles distant, was the throat through which the city was fed with
merchandise from all parts of the world. The wooded shores of the large
lake of Antioch some miles above the city, supplied the inhabitants
with fuel, and its waters yielded fish in great abundance. The hills
which impended over the town on the southern side sent down numerous
and copious streams, whose water, unsurpassed in purity, bubbled
up through the fountains which stood in the court of every house.
Northwards extended a fertile plain between the Orontes and Mount
Coryphæus. The northern winds were occasionally keen and searching,
but the prevailing western breezes coming up from the sea were so
delicately soft, yet refreshing, that the citizens delighted in summer
to sleep upon the flat roofs of their dwellings. These advantages,
however, were in some degree balanced by a liability to inundations
and earthquakes. Those hill-streams, the blessing and delight of the
inhabitants in summer, were sometimes swollen in winter by excessive
rains into torrents of incontrollable fury, and caused much damage
to the buildings which were situated near their course. But far more
destructive were the earthquakes. More than once, indeed, especially in
the reigns of Caligula, Claudius, and Trajan, the whole city was almost
shattered to pieces; but on each occasion, through public and private
exertions, it arose from its ruins in new and, if possible, increased
magnificence. The peculiar glories of Antioch were its gardens, and
baths, and colonnaded streets. As in its population, and religion, and
customs, so also in its architecture, it presented, as time went on, a
remarkable mixture of Asiatic, Greek, and Roman elements. The aim of
each Greek king and Roman emperor was to leave it more beautiful than
he had received it from the hands of his predecessor. Each marked his
reign by the erection of a temple or basilica, or bath, or aqueduct, or
theatre, or column. The church in which Chrysostom officiated, usually
called “the great Church,” to distinguish it from the smaller and older
church, called the Church of the Apostles, was begun by Constantine
and finished by Constantius. In the main principles of structure, we
may find some parallel to it in St. Vitale at Ravenna. It stood in
the centre of a large court, and was octangular in shape; chambers,
some of them subterranean, were clustered round it; the domed roof,
of an amazing height, was gilded on the inside; the floor was paved
with polished marbles; the walls and columns were adorned with images,
and glistened with precious stones; every part, indeed, was richly
embellished with bronze and golden ornament.[179] Among the principal
wonders of Antioch was the great street constructed by Antiochus
Epiphanes, nearly four miles in length, which traversed the city from
east to west; the natural inequalities of the ground were filled up, so
that the thoroughfare was a perfect level from end to end; the spacious
colonnades on either side were paved with red granite. From the centre
of this magnificent street, where stood a statue of Apollo, another
street, similar in character, but much shorter, was drawn at right
angles, leading northwards in the direction of the Orontes. Many of the
other streets were also colonnaded, so that the inhabitants, as they
pursued their errands of business or pleasure, were sheltered alike
from the scorching sun of summer and the rains of winter. Innumerable
lanterns at night illuminated the main thoroughfares with a brilliancy
which almost rivalled the light of day, and much of the business, as
well as the festivity, of the inhabitants was carried on by night.[180]

The character of the inhabitants partook of the various
elements—Asiatic, Syrian, Greek, Jewish, Roman—which composed the whole
population. But the impulsive oriental temperament, subject at times
to fits of gloomy despondency, and to outbursts of wild ferocity, was
undoubtedly the most dominant. When not driven under the pressure of
excitement to either of these extremes, they abandoned themselves
very freely to those voluptuous recreations for which the character
of their city and climate afforded every facility and inducement.
The bath, the circus, the theatre, were the daily amusements of the
citizen; the Olympic games (instituted in the time of Commodus), which
were celebrated in the grove of Daphne, and the festivities held at
particular seasons in honour of different deities, were the greater
occasions to which he looked forward with all the eagerness of a
pleasure-loving nature.

These main characteristics of the people are abundantly illustrated in
detail, as will be seen hereafter, in the homilies of Chrysostom. He is
ever, in them, labouring with indefatigable industry and earnestness
to lift the Christians above the frivolity and vices of the rest of
the population. His opportunities for investigating the condition of
the Christian community were great during his diaconate. He did not
as yet preach; but by observations on life and manners, he laid up
copious materials for preaching. And he was not idle in the use of his
pen, for to this period may be assigned the treatise on Virginity; a
letter addressed to a young widow; a book on the martyr Babylas; and,
perhaps, though this cannot certainly be determined, the six books on
the Priesthood.[181]

The letter to a young widow must have been written soon after the
destruction of the Emperor Valens and his army by the Goths in
A.D. 378, since it contains a reference to that event as a recent
occurrence,[182] yet it must have been antecedent to the crushing
defeats inflicted on them by Theodosius in A.D. 382, because the writer
implies that at the time of composition the Goths were overrunning
large tracts of the empire with impunity, and mocking the helplessness
and timidity of the imperial troops.[183] The whole book is penetrated
with that profound sense of the misery and instability of things human,
which the corruption of society and recent calamities of the empire
impressed with peculiar force on the minds of reflecting persons; which
produced among pagans either melancholy or careless indifference, but
made Christians cling with a more earnest and tenacious trust to the
hopes and consolations of the Gospel.

Therasius, the husband of the young widow, had died after five
years of married life. He is described by Chrysostom as having been
distinguished in rank, in ability, and, above all, in virtue; as having
held a high position in the army, with a reasonable expectation of
soon becoming a prefect. But these very excellencies and brilliant
prospects, which seemed to aggravate the sense of his loss, “ought,”
Chrysostom observes, “to be regarded as sources of consolation. If
death were a final and total destruction, then indeed it would have
been reasonable to lament the extinction of one so benevolent, so
gentle, so humble, prudent, and devout, as her late husband. But if
death was only the landing of the soul in a tranquil haven, only a
transition from the worse to better, from earth to heaven, from men
to angels and archangels, and to Him who is the Lord of angels, then
there was no place left for tears. It was better that he should depart
and be with Christ, his true King, serving Whom in that other world,
he would not be exposed to the dangers and animosities which attended
the service of an earthly monarch. They were, indeed, separated in
body, but neither length of time nor remoteness of place could sunder
the friendship of the soul. Endure patiently for a little time, and
you will behold again the face of your desire; perhaps even now, in
visions, his form will be permitted to visit you.”[184] If it was the
loss of the prefecture that she specially deplored, let her think
from what dangerous ambitions her husband had been preserved; think
of the fate of Theodorus, who was tempted by his high station to lay
a plot against the Emperor, and suffered capital punishment for his
treason.[185] The loftier a man’s ambitions in life, the more probable
a disastrous fall. Look at the tragical fate of the Emperors in the
course of the past fifty years. Two only, out of nine, had died natural
deaths; of the other seven, one had been killed by a usurper,[186] one
in battle,[187] one by a sedition of his domestic guards,[188] one by
the man who had invested him with the purple.[189] Julian had fallen
in battle in the Persian expedition. Valentinian I. died in a fit of
rage, and Valens had been burnt, together with his retinue, in a house
to which the Goths set fire. And of the widows of these Emperors, some
had perished by poison, others had died of despair and broken hearts.
Of those who yet survived, one was trembling for the safety of an
orphan son,[190] another had with difficulty obtained permission to
return from exile.[191] Of the wives of the present Emperors, one was
racked by constant anxiety on account of the youth and inexperience
of her husband,[192] the other was subject to no less anxiety for her
husband’s safety, who ever since his elevation to the throne had been
engaged in incessant warfare with the Goths.[193] Human ambition was
a hard taskmistress, who employed arrogance and avarice as her agents;
“do not then, mourn that your husband has been emancipated from her
tyranny.” Most of the wisest and noblest characters even of the pagan
world had resisted the allurements of ambition—Socrates, Epaminondas,
Aristides, Diogenes, Crates. Shall the Christian then complain, if God
takes one away from these temptations? He who cared least about glory,
who was natural and modest, and unambitious, often acquired most glory,
whereas he who was most eager and anxious to secure it, often obtained
nothing but derision and reproach. She believed that her husband might
have obtained the prefecture; it was a reasonable hope, but there was
many a slip betwixt the cup and the lip, and he who was king to-day was
dead to-morrow. “Strive, then, to equal and even surpass your husband
in piety and goodness, that you may be admitted into the same home, and
reunited to him in a bond far more lovely and enduring than that of
earthly wedlock.”

In the long treatise “De Virginitate,” Chrysostom boldly declares his
preference for celibacy, but at the same time he exposes and denounces
the mischievous error of Marcionites and Manichæans, who condemned
marriage altogether as positive sin. “They were mistaken in supposing
that abstinence from marriage would procure them a high place in
heaven, because, even if it were granted that marriage was a positive
sin, it must be remembered that not those who abstained from sin, but
those who did positive good, would receive the highest rewards; not one
who abstained from calling his brother ‘Raca,’ but he who loved his
enemies. The celibacy of heretics, such as the Manichæans, was based on
the false conception that all created matter was evil, and that the
Creator Himself was an inferior being to the Supreme Deity. Hence their
celibacy was the work of the devil; they belonged to those mentioned
only to be condemned in 1 Tim. iv. 1-3 ‘as forbidding to marry.’[194]
Chastity of body was worthless, if the soul within was depraved; but
celibacy rightly cultivated, to preserve the purity of the soul towards
God, was better than marriage, better as heaven was better than earth,
and angels better than men.” He confronts the common objection: if
all men embraced celibacy, how would the race be propagated? “Myriads
of angels inhabit heaven, yet we believe they are not propagated by
matrimony, and it was only by the special provision and will of God,
that matrimony itself produced offspring. Sarah was barren till God
vouchsafed her Isaac. Marriage was the inferior state to conduct us
to the higher; it was to celibacy as the Law to the Gospel, it was
a crutch to support those who would otherwise fall into sin, but to
be dispensed with when possible. Let those, then, who reproached and
derided celibacy, put a restraint upon their lips, lest like Miriam, or
the children who mocked Elisha, they should be severely punished for
pouring contempt on so holy a state.”[195]

We are enabled to understand from this work why the best Christianity
in the East was so disparaging of the married state. The woman had
not attained her proper place in society. She seems to have been
ill-educated, to have been kept, especially before marriage, in a state
of unnatural seclusion, which she broke when she could, and was too
often treated by the husband like a slave, with severity and distrust.
This degrading position was partly a remnant of a pagan state of
society, partly the offspring of oriental character and habits of life.
Christianity perceived the evil, but had not effected much towards
a remedy. Instead of endeavouring to elevate, to soften, and refine
the relation of one sex to the other, it encouraged rather a total
separation. The treatise now under notice presents curious pictures
of domestic life, if such it can be called, in that age. Matrimonial
matches were arranged entirely by the parents, the attentions of the
suitors were paid to the parents, not to the maiden herself. She
suffered an agony of suspense, while the favourite of yesterday was
supplanted by the superior charms of some rival of to-day, who in his
turn was superseded by a third. Sometimes, on the very eve of marriage,
the suitor whom she herself preferred was dismissed, and she was
finally handed over to another whom she disliked. The suitors also, on
their side, were racked by anxiety; for it was difficult to ascertain
what the real character, personal appearance, and manners were of the
maiden, who was always kept in the strictest seclusion. Then there was
often great difficulty in getting the dowry paid by the father-in-law,
which was an annoyance to each of the newly-married pair.[196]

He draws a highly-wrought picture, with some caustic humour, of the
miseries of jealous wives and husbands. When a man constantly suspects
“his dearest love,”[197] for whom he would willingly sacrifice life
itself, what can console him? By day and night he has no peace, and
is irritable to all. Some men have even slain their wives, without
succeeding in cooling their own jealous rage. The trials of the wife
were more severe; her words, her very looks and sighs, were watched by
slaves, and reported to her husband, who was too jealous to distinguish
false tales from the true. The poor woman was reduced to the wretched
alternative of keeping her own apartment, or, if she went out, of
rendering an exact account of her proceedings. Untold wealth, sumptuous
fare, troops of servants, distinguished birth, amounted to nothing
when placed in the balance against such miseries as these. If it was
the woman who was jealous, she suffered more than the man, for she
could not keep him at home, or set the servants to watch him. If she
remonstrated with him, she would be told that she had better hold her
tongue, and keep her suspicions to herself. If the husband instituted
a suit against the wife, the laws were favourable to him, and he
could procure her condemnation, and even death; but if she were the
petitioner, he would escape.[198]

It was very natural that the woman, who, before marriage, was cooped
up like a child in the parental home, should break out afterwards into
extravagance, dissipation, and frivolity, if not worse. An inordinate
amount of time and money was bestowed upon dress, though perhaps not
more than by the fashionable ladies of modern times. Women loaded
themselves with ornaments, under the delusion that these added to
their charms, whereas, Chrysostom observes, if the woman was naturally
beautiful, the ornaments only concealed and detracted from her charms.
If she was ugly, they only set off her ugliness by the glaring
contrast, and the effect on the spectator was ludicrous or painful.
But the adornment of the virgin who had dedicated herself to God was
altogether spiritual. She arrayed herself in gentleness, modesty,
poverty, humility, fasting, vigils. Incorporeal graces and incorporeal
beauty were the objects of her love and contemplation. She treated
enemies with such perfect courtesy and forbearance, that even the
depraved were put to shame in her presence. The goodness of the soul
within overflowed into all her outer actions.[199] From this rapturous
description of a highly spiritual kind of life, Chrysostom passes,
with versatile quickness, to a somewhat ludicrous picture of the petty
cares of life in the world. “The worldly lady thinks it a fine thing
to drive round the Forum; how much better to be independent, and use
her feet for the purpose for which God gave them! There was always some
difficulty about the mules: she and her husband wanted them at the
same time; one or both were lame or turned out to grass. A quiet and
modestly-dressed woman needed no carriage and attendants to protect
her in her passage through the streets, but might walk through the
Forum, free from any annoyance. Some might say it was pleasant to be
waited on by a troop of handmaids; but, on the contrary, such a charge
was attended with much anxiety. Not only had the sick to be taken care
of, but the indolent to be chastised, mischief, quarrels, and all
kinds of evil doings to be corrected; and if there happened to be one
distinguished by personal beauty, jealousy was added to all these other
cares, lest the husband should be so captivated by her charms as to
pay more attention to her than to her mistress.[200] If it was replied
to all these objections against married life, that Abraham and other
saints in the Old Testament were all married men, it must be remembered
that a much higher standard was required under the New Dispensation.
There were degrees of perfection. When Noah was said to be ‘perfect in
his generation,’ it meant relatively to that age in which he lived, for
what is perfect in relation to one era becomes imperfect for another.
Murder was forbidden by the Old Law, but hatred and wrath under the
New. A larger effusion of the Holy Spirit rendered Christian men fully
grown as compared with the children of the Old Dispensation. Degrees of
virtue, impossible then, were attainable now; and as the moral standard
under the Old Dispensation was lower, so the rewards of obedience were
less exalted. The Jews were encouraged to obedience by the promise of
an earthly country, Christians by the prospect of heaven. The Jews
were deterred from sin by menaces of temporal calamity; the Christian,
of eternal punishment. Let us, therefore, not spend our care upon
money-getting and wives and luxurious living, else how shall we ever
become men rather than children, and live in the spirit? for when we
have taken our journey to that other world, the time for contest will
have passed; then those who have not oil in their lamps will be unable
to borrow it from their neighbours, or he who has a soiled garment to
exchange it for another robe. When the Judge’s throne has been placed,
and He is seated upon it, and the fiery stream is ‘coming forth from
before Him’ (Dan. vii. 10), and the scrutiny of past life has begun:
though Noah, Daniel, and Job were to implore an alteration of the
sentence passed upon their own sons and daughters, their intercession
would not avail.”[201]

The long treatise “De S. Babyla contra Julianum et Gentiles” presents
several interesting subjects for consideration. In the history of
the grove of Daphne we have a singular instance of the way in which
Grecian legend was transplanted into foreign soil. Daphne, the daughter
of the Grecian river-god Ladon, was, according to the Syrian version
of the myth, overtaken by Apollo near Antioch. Here it was, on the
banks, not of the Peneus, but of the Orontes, that the maiden prayed
to her mother earth to open her arms and shelter her from the pursuit
of the amorous god, and that the laurel plant sprang out of the spot
where she disappeared from the eyes of her disappointed lover. The
horse of Seleucus Nicator, founder of the Syrian monarchy, was said
to have struck his hoof upon one of the arrows which Apollo had
dropped in the hurry of his chase; in consequence of which the king
dedicated the place to the god. A temple was erected in his honour,
ample in proportions, and sumptuous in its adornments; the interior
walls were resplendent with polished marbles, the lofty ceiling was of
cypress wood. The colossal image of the god, enriched with gold and
gems, nearly reached the top of the roof; the draped portions were of
wood, the nude portions of marble. The fingers of the deity lightly
touched the lyre which hung from his shoulders, and in the other
hand he held a golden dish, as if about to pour a libation on the
earth, “and supplicate the venerable mother to give to his arms the
cold and beauteous Daphne.”[202] The whole grove became consecrated
to pleasure, under the guise of festivity in honour of the god. A
more beautiful combination of delights cannot well be conceived. The
grove was situated five miles to the south-west of Antioch, among the
outskirts of the hills, where many of the limpid streams, rushing down
towards the valley of the Orontes, mingled their waters. The road
which connected the city with this spot was lined on the left hand
with large gardens and groves, baths, fountains, and resting-places;
on the right were villas with vineyards and rose-gardens irrigated by
rivulets. Daphne itself was, according to Strabo,[203] eighty stadia,
or about ten miles, in circumference. It contained everything which
could gratify and charm the senses; the deep impenetrable shade of
cypress trees, the delicious sound and coolness of falling waters,
the fragrance of aromatic shrubs. Such a combination of all that was
voluptuous told with fatal and enervating effect upon the morals of
a people who were at all times disposed to an immoderate indulgence
in luxurious pleasures. Roman troops, and even Roman emperors, fell
victims to the allurements of the spot.[204] The annual celebration
of the Olympian games instituted here by Commodus was especially the
occasion of shocking excesses of every kind. But by the order of Gallus
Cæsar an attempt was made to introduce a pure association into the spot
hitherto abandoned to the licentiousness of pagan rites. The remains
of Babylas, the Bishop of Antioch, who had suffered martyrdom in the
reign of Decius, were transferred from their resting-place in the city
to the grove of Daphne. The chapel or martyry erected over the bones of
the Christian saint stood hard by the temple of the pagan deity. Here
it confronted the Christian visitor, as a warning to him not to take
part in pagan and licentious rites, abhorrent to the faith for which
the Bishop had died. But the remains of the martyr were not permitted
to rest in peace. When Julian visited Antioch, he consulted the oracle
of Apollo at Daphne respecting the issue of the expedition which he
was about to make into Persia. But the oracle was dumb. At length the
god yielded to the importunity of repeated prayers and sacrifices so
far as to explain the cause of his silence. He was disturbed by the
proximity of a dead body: “Break open the sepulchres, take up the
bones, and remove them hence.” The demand was interpreted as referring
to the remains of Babylas, and the wishes of the crestfallen oracle
were complied with.[205] But the insult done to the Christian martyr
was speedily avenged. Soon after the accomplishment of the impious
act, a violent thunderstorm broke over the temple, and the lightning
consumed both the roof of the building and the statue of the deity. At
the time when Chrysostom wrote, some twenty years after the occurrence,
the mournful wreck was yet standing; but the chapel again contained the
relics of the saint and martyr, and conferred blessings on the pilgrims
who resorted thither in crowds. The ruined and deserted temple, side
by side with the carefully-preserved church of the martyr, thronged
by devotees, presented a striking emblem of the fate of paganism,
crumbling and vanishing away before the presence of the new faith,
blasted by the lightning flash of a mightier force. A great portion of
the treatise of Chrysostom is occupied by an analysis of his old master
Libanius’s elegy over the fate of the stricken shrine of pagan worship.
The affected and inflated tone of the sophist’s composition deserves
the sarcasm and scorn which his pupil unsparingly pours upon it.



Chrysostom had used the office of a deacon well. The lofty tone of
Christian piety, the boldness, the ability, the command of language
manifested in his writings, marked him out as eminently qualified for
a preacher. His treatises, indeed, are distinguished by a vehemence
and energy which belong more to the fervour of the orator than to the
calmness of the writer. No doubt also men had not forgotten the talent
for speaking which he had displayed when he began to practise, nearly
twenty years before, as a lawyer. The Bishop Flavian ordained him a
priest in 386, and immediately appointed him to be one of the most
frequent preachers in the church. The bishop of a see like Antioch
at that time rather resembled the rector of a large town parish than
the bishop of modern times. He resided in Antioch, and discharged the
duties of a chief pastor, assisted by his staff of priests and deacons.
Where the whole Christian population amounted to not more than 100,000
souls, as in Antioch,[206] that division into distinct districts,
such as were formed in Alexandria,[207] Rome, and Constantinople,
with separate churches, served by members of the central staff in
rotation, or by pastors especially appropriated to them, does not seem
to have been made. Chrysostom officiated and preached in the great
church, where the bishop also officiated. The less learned and less
able priests were appointed to the less responsible duties of visiting
the sick and the poor, and administering the sacraments. The vocation
of Chrysostom, however, was especially that of a teacher. It will be
readily acknowledged how difficult, how delicate an office preaching
was, in an age when Christianity and Paganism were still existing side
by side, and when the opinions of many men were floating in suspense
between the old faith and the new, and were liable to be distracted
from a firm hold upon the truth by Judaism and heresies of every shade.

Either on the occasion of his ordination, or very soon after it,
Chrysostom preached an inaugural discourse, in the presence of the
bishop. It is distinguished by that flowery and exaggerated kind of
rhetoric which he occasionally displays in all its native oriental
luxuriance, and which is due to the school in which he was brought up,
rather than to the man. On such a public and formal occasion he appears
less as the Christian teacher than as the scholar of Libanius the
Rhetorician. His self-disparagement at the opening of his discourse,
and his flattering encomiums on Flavian and Meletius at the close,
would to modern, certainly at least to English, ears sound intolerably
affected. No doubt, however, they were acceptable to the taste of
his audience at Antioch; and, indeed, the whole discourse contains
nothing more overstrained or ornate than is to be found in some of
the most celebrated performances of the great French preachers in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

A few paraphrases will suffice to illustrate the character of his

“He could scarcely believe what had befallen him, that he, an
insignificant and abject youth,[208] should find himself elevated to
such a height of dignity. The spectacle of so vast a multitude hanging
in expectation on his lips quite unnerved him, and would have dried up
fountains of eloquence, had he possessed such. How, then, could he hope
that his little trickling stream of words would not fail, and that the
feeble thoughts which he had put together with so much labour would not
vanish from his mind?

“Wherefore he besought them to pray earnestly that he might be inspired
with courage to open his mouth boldly in this hitherto unattempted
work.[209] He wished to offer the first-fruits of his speech in praise
to God. As the tiller of the ground gave of his wheat, grapes, or
olives, so he would fain make an offering in kind; he would ‘praise the
name of God with a song, and magnify it with thanksgiving.’ But the
consciousness of sin made him shrink from the task, for as in a wreath
not only must the flowers be clean, but also the hands which wove it,
so in sacred hymns not only must the words be holy, but also the soul
of him who composed them. The words of the wise man who said, ‘praise
is not becoming in the mouth of a sinner,’[210] sealed up his lips, and
when David invited all creation, animate and inanimate, visible and
invisible, to ‘praise the Lord of Heaven, to praise him in the height,’
he did not include the sinner in the invitation. He would rather
therefore dilate on the merits of some of his fellow-men who were
worthier than himself. The mention of their Christian virtues would be
an indirect way, legitimate for a sinner, of paying glory and honour
to God himself. And to whom should he address his praises first but
to their bishop, whom he might call the teacher of their country, and
through their country of the world at large? To enter fully, however,
into his manifold virtues was to dive into so deep a sea that he
feared he should lose himself in its profundities. To do justice to the
task would require an inspired and apostolic tongue. He must confine
himself to a few points. Although reared in the midst of affluence,
Flavian had surmounted the difficulties which impeded the entrance of
a rich man into the kingdom of heaven. He had been distinguished from
youth by perfect temperance and control over the bodily appetites,
by contempt of luxury and a costly table. Though untimely deprived
of parental care, and exposed to the temptations incident to wealth,
youth, and good birth, yet had he triumphed over them all. He had
assiduously cultivated his mind, and had put the bridle of fasting on
his body sufficient to curb excess, without impairing its strength and
usefulness; and though he had now glided into the haven of a calm old
age, yet he did not relax the severity of this personal discipline.
The death of their beloved father Meletius had caused great distress
and perplexity to the Church, but the appearance of his successor had
dispersed it, as clouds vanished before the sun. When Flavian mounted
the episcopal throne, Meletius himself seemed to have risen from his

All that can be collected from history respecting Flavian’s character
confirms and justifies these eulogiums, though English taste would
prefer them to have been uttered after his death rather than in his
actual presence. Chrysostom concludes by saying that he had prolonged
his address beyond the bounds which became his position, but the
flowery field of praise had tempted him to linger. “He would conclude
his task by asking their prayers: prayers that their common mother
the Church might remain undisturbed and steadfast, and that the life
of their father, teacher, spiritual shepherd, and pilot, might be
prolonged; prayers finally that he, the preacher, might be strengthened
to bear the yoke which was laid upon him, might in the great day
restore safely the deposit which his Master had committed to his trust,
and obtain mercy for his sins through the grace and goodness of the
Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, and power, and worship for ever
and ever.”

We now enter on a period of ten years, during which Chrysostom
constantly resided in Antioch, and was occupied in the almost incessant
labour of preaching. The main bulk of those voluminous works which have
been preserved to our times belongs to this period; yet there can be
no doubt that, numerous as are the extant works, they represent but a
fraction of the discourses which he actually delivered. For we know,
on his own authority, that he frequently preached twice, occasionally
oftener, in the course of a week.[211]

It does not fall within the scope of this essay to determine how many
of the homilies which we possess were delivered in each year, or to
enter into a critical examination of every set. But an attempt will be
made to extract from them whatever seems to throw light upon the life
and times of their author, upon events in which he played a conspicuous
part, or which were of great public importance; whatever also
illustrates the special condition of the Church,—her general practice,
her merits and defects, the dangers and difficulties with which, from
dissension within or heresy without, she had at this era to contend.

The field of subjects on which the preacher was called to exercise
his powers was varied and extensive. Christianity was imperilled by
corruption of morals and corruption of faith. Not the laity only,
but the clergy also, at least in the great towns, had become deeply
infected by the prevalent follies and vices of the age. Again,
between the orthodox Christian and the Pagan every variety of heresy
intervened. The Arian, the Manichæan, the Marcionite, the Sabellian,
the Jew,—all were, so to say, touching and fraying the edge of pure
Christianity; the danger was, lest they should gradually so wear it
away as to injure the very vitals of the faith. Such were the evils
which Chrysostom bent his energies to redress, such the enemies whom he
manfully endeavoured to repel. He is alternately the champion of a pure
morality and of a sound faith.

Among the discourses which belong to the first year of his priesthood
falls one delivered in commemoration of Bishop Meletius, the
predecessor of Flavian.[212] He had died at Constantinople about
the end of May A.D. 381, and Chrysostom in the commencement of his
homily remarks, that five years had now elapsed since the bishop had
taken his journey to the “Saviour of his longings.” The tone of the
discourse illustrates a characteristic of the times; a passionate
devotion to the memory of departed saints which was rapidly passing
into actual adoration; a subject on which more will be said hereafter.
The shrine which contained the reliques of Meletius was placed in the
sight of the preacher and the congregation, who swarmed round it like
bees.[213] When Chrysostom looked at the great multitude assembled
he congratulated the holy Meletius on enjoying such honour after his
death, and he congratulated the people also on the endurance of their
affection to their late spiritual father. Meletius was like the sound
root which though invisible proved its strength by the vigour of
its fruit. When he had returned from his first banishment the whole
Christian population had streamed forth to meet him. Happy those who
succeeded in clasping his feet, kissing his hand, hearing his voice.
Others who beheld him only at a distance felt that they too had
obtained a blessing from the mere sight. A kind of spiritual glory
emanated from his holy person, even as the shadows of St. Peter and St.
John had healed the sick on whom they fell. “Let us all, rulers and
ruled, men and women, old and young, free men and slaves, offer prayer,
taking the blessed Meletius into partnership with this our prayer
(since he has more confidence now in offering prayer, and entertains a
warmer affection towards us), that our love may be increased and that
as now we stand beside his shrine, so one day we may all be permitted
to approach his resting-place in the other world.”

The discourses of Chrysostom against Arians and Jews fall within the
first year of his priesthood.[214] They are among the finest of his
productions, and deserve perusal on account of their intrinsic merit
no less than of the important points of doctrine with which they
are concerned. Antioch, indeed, may in some sort be regarded as the
cradle of Arianism. Paul of Samosata, who was deposed from the see of
Antioch in A.D. 272, advocated doctrines of a Sabellian character, but
that sophistical dialectical school of thought of which the Arians
were the most conspicuous representatives may be traced to him. His
original calling had been that of a sophist, and he was therefore by
training more fitted to attack established doctrines than to build up
a definite system of his own. Hence it is not surprising that, though
his own tendency was to Sabellian opinions, Lucian, his intimate
friend and fellow-countryman, held doctrines diametrically opposite,
or what were afterwards called Arian.[215] Lucian, when presbyter at
Antioch, was the teacher of Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, of Leontius,
the Arian Bishop of Antioch, and perhaps also of Arius himself.[216]
Aëtius, and his pupil Eunomius, originators of the most extreme and
undisguised form of Arianism, resided in the beginning of their career
at Antioch. Eunomius, in fact, was the founder of a sect which was
called Eunomian after him; or sometimes Anomœan, because it denied not
only equality but even similarity (ὁμοιότης) between the Father and
the Son in the Holy Trinity. It was the most materialistic phase which
Arianism developed. Mystery was to be eliminated from revelation as
much as possible, sacramental grace was little recognised, asceticism
disparaged. Adherents of this school seem to have existed still in
some force at Antioch. A system marked by so much of cold intellectual
pride was especially repugnant to the fervid and humble faith of
Chrysostom. Yet in his assaults upon it he was neither precipitate nor
harsh. In his first homily “On the incomprehensible Nature of God,” he
says that, having observed several persons who were infected by this
heresy listening to his discourses, he had abstained from attacking
their errors, wishing to gain a firmer hold upon their interest before
engaging with them in controversy. But having been invited by them to
undertake the contest, he could not decline it, but would endeavour to
conduct it in a spirit of gentleness and love, since “the servant of
the Lord must not strive, but be gentle towards” all, as well as “apt
to teach.” He urges all disputants to remember our Lord’s answer when
He was buffeted, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but
if well, why smitest thou me?”[217]

He dilates on the arrogance of the Anomœans in pretending to understand
and to define the exact nature of God. “Professing themselves wise
they only discovered their folly. Imperfect knowledge on so profound a
subject was an inevitable part of the imperfection of our human state.
The condition of our present knowledge was this: we know many things
_about_ God, but we do not know _how_ they are or take place. For
example, we may know that He is everywhere and without beginning or
end, but _how_ He is thus, we know not. We know that He begat the Son,
and that the Holy Spirit proceeded from Him, but _how_ these things
can be we are unable to tell. This is analogous to our knowledge of
many things which are called natural. We eat various kinds of food, but
_how_ they nourish us and are transmuted into the several humours of
the body we do not understand.”[218]

“Again, if the wisest and holiest men have confessed themselves
incompetent to fathom the _purposes_ and _dispensations_ of God, how
far more inscrutable must His _essence_ be! If David exclaims ‘Such
knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me, I cannot attain unto
it;’ and St. Paul, ‘Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom of God! how
unsearchable are His judgments, how untraceable His ways!’ if the very
angels do not presume to discuss the nature of God, but humbly adore
Him with veiled faces, crying ‘Holy, Holy, Holy,’ how monstrous is the
conceit and irreverence of those who curiously investigate and pretend
to define the exact nature of the Godhead!”[219]

He proceeds to dwell upon the littleness and feebleness of man, as
contrasted with the amazing and boundless power of God. The Eunomians
maintained that man could know the nature of God as much as God Himself
knew it. “What mad presumption was this! The Prophets exhaust all
available metaphors to express the insignificance of man as compared
with God. Men are ‘dust and ashes,’ ‘grass,’ and the ‘flower of
grass,’ ‘a vapour,’ ‘a shadow.’ Inanimate creation acknowledges the
irresistible supremacy of His power; ‘if He do but touch the hills they
shall smoke,’ ‘He shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars
thereof tremble’ (Job ix. 6).” “Seest thou not yon sky, how beautiful
it is, how vast, spangled with what a choir of stars? Five thousand
years and more has it stood, yet length of time has left no mark of
old age upon it: like a youthful vigorous body it retains the beauty
with which it was endowed at the beginning. This beautiful, this vast,
this starry, this ancient firmament, was made by that God into whose
nature you curiously pry, was made with as much ease as a man might for
pastime construct a hovel: ‘He established the sky like a roof, and
stretched it out like a tent over the earth’ (Isa. xl. 22). The solid,
durable earth He made, and all the nations of the world, even as far
as the British Isles, are but as a drop in a bucket; and shall man, who
is but an infinitesimal part of this drop, presume to inquire into the
nature of Him who made all these forces and whom they obey?”[220] “God
dwells in the light which no man can approach unto. If the light which
surrounds Him be inaccessible, how much more God Himself who is within
it? St. Paul rebukes those who presume to question the dispensation of
God. ‘Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall
the thing formed say unto him that formed it, Why hast thou made me
thus?’ How much more, then, would he have reproved dogmatic assumptions
respecting the nature of the great Dispenser?[221] The declaration
of St. John, that no man had seen God at any time, might appear at
variance with the descriptions in the prophets of visions of the Deity.
As: ‘I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, high and lifted up’ (Isa.
vi. 1). ‘I saw the Lord standing above the altar’ (Amos ix. 1). ‘I
beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did
sit, whose garment was white as snow,’ etc. (Dan. vii. 9). But the very
variety of forms under which God is said to have appeared proves that
these manifestations were merely condescensions to the weakness of
human nature, which requires something that the eye can see and the ear
can hear. They were only manifestations of the Deity adapted to man’s
capacity; not the Divine Nature itself, which is simple, incomposite,
devoid of shape. So also, when it is said of God the Son that He is
‘in the bosom of the Father,’ when He is described as standing, or
sitting, on the right hand of God, these expressions must not be
interpreted in too material a sense; they are expressions accommodated
to our understandings, to convey an idea of such an intimate union and
equality between the two Persons as is in itself incomprehensible.”[222]

And this leads him on to consider the second error of the Arians—their
denial of absolute equality between the three Persons in the Godhead.
His arguments are based, as usual, entirely on an appeal to Holy
Scripture. He makes a skilful selection and combination of texts to
prove his point: that the titles “God” and “Lord” are common to the
first two Persons in the Trinity—the names Father and Son being added
merely to distinguish the Personality. Had the Father alone been God,
then it would have been superfluous to add the name Father at all:
“there is one God” would have been sufficient. But, as it was, the
titles “God” and “Lord” were applied to both Persons to prove their
equality in respect of Godhead. That the appellation of Lord no way
indicated inferiority was plain, because it was frequently applied to
the Father. “The Lord our God is one Lord,” Exod. xx. 2. “Great is our
Lord, and great is his power,” Ps. cxlvii. 5. On the other hand, Christ
is frequently entitled _God_, e.g. “Immanuel—_God_ with us.” “Christ
according to the flesh, who is over all, _God_ blessed for ever.” In
some instances the Father and the Son are both called Lord, or both
God, in the _same_ passage; as, for example, “The Lord said unto my
Lord, ... Thy throne, O God (the Son), is for ever and ever; ...
wherefore God (the Father), even thy God, hath anointed thee with the
oil of gladness,” etc.[223]

The reason why Christ sometimes acted and spoke in a manner which
implied human infirmity and inferiority to the Father was twofold:
First, that men might be convinced that He did really, substantially,
exist in the truth of our human nature; that He was not a mere
phantom—the error of Marcion, Manes, and Valentinus—an error which
would have been still more prevalent had He not so clearly manifested
the reality of his humanity. On the other hand, He was reserved and
cautious in declaring the highest mystery—his divine union and
equality with the Father—out of condescension to the weakness of man’s
intellect, which recoiled from the more recondite mysteries. When He
told them that “Abraham rejoiced to see his day,” that “before Abraham
was He was,” “that the bread from heaven was his flesh, which He would
give for the life of the world,” that “hereafter they should see the
Son of Man coming in the clouds,” they were invariably offended. But,
on the contrary, He was chiefly accepted when He spoke words implying
more humiliation—for example, “I can of my own self do nothing, but as
my Father taught me, even so I speak.” “As He spake these words,” we
are told, “many believed on Him.”[224]

Two other reasons might be assigned for this language of
self-abasement. One was, that He came to teach us humility,—“Learn of
me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.” He “came not to be ministered
unto but to minister.” He who bids others be lowly must first and
pre-eminently be lowly himself. Therefore He performed such acts
as washing his disciples’ feet; and the Incarnation itself was no
sign, as the Arian maintained, of inferiority, but only the highest
expression of that great principle of self-sacrificing love which He
came to teach. Lastly, by such language He directs our minds to the
apprehension of a clear distinction between the Persons in the Godhead.
If his sayings about Himself had all been of the same type as “I and my
Father are one,” the Sabellian error of confounding the Persons would
have become yet more prevalent than it was. Thus, we find throughout
our Lord’s life, in his acts and language, a careful mixture and
variation of character in order to present the two elements—the human
and divine—in equal proportions. He predicts his own sufferings and
death, yet quickly afterwards He prays the Father that He might be, if
possible, spared undergoing them. In the first act is pure divinity;
in the second, humanity shrinking from that pain which is abhorrent to
human nature.[225]

This very fact, however, of our Lord’s praying, was laid hold of by
the Arians to prove the inferiority of his nature. This argument
Chrysostom meets in Homilies IX. and X. The raising of Lazarus had been
read in the Gospel for the day. “I perceive,” he says, “that many of
the Jews and heretics will find an excuse, in the prayer offered by
Christ before performing this miracle, to impugn his power, and say
He could not have done it without the Father’s assistance.” But this
fell to the ground, because on most other occasions our Lord wrought
his miracles without any prayer at all. To the dead maiden he simply
said, “Talitha cumi,” and she arose; the woman with an issue of blood
was healed without any word or touch from Him. In the case of Lazarus
He prayed, as He Himself declared, for the sake of the people, that
they might perceive that God heard his prayers—that there was a perfect
unanimity between the Father and the Son. Martha, in fact, had asked
for a prayer—“I know whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give it
thee;” therefore He prayed; just as, when the centurion said, “Speak
the word only,” He spake the word and the servant was healed. If He had
needed help He would have invoked it before all his miracles. In fact
there was no kind of sovereign power which He hesitated to exercise.
“Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee” ... “the Son of man
hath power on earth to forgive sins;”—to an evil spirit, “_I_ charge
thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him;” ... “to them of
old it was said, Thou shalt not kill; but _I_ say, whosoever is angry
with his brother without a cause,” etc. He represents Himself as saying
on the final day, “Come, ye blessed;” or “Depart, ye cursed.” Thus He
claims authority to absolve, to judge, to legislate.

Homilies XI. and XII., against the Anomœans, were delivered some
ten years later at Constantinople, but as they contain no special
references to the events of that time, the continuity of this subject
may be maintained by extracting from them the argument there employed
to prove the equality of the Son with the Father. It is based on the
passage, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (St. John v. 17); by
which our Saviour justified Himself from the accusation of breaking the
Sabbath when He healed the paralytic. The words “My Father worketh,”
Chrysostom observes, refer to the daily operations of God’s providence,
by which he sustains in being those things which he commanded into

This upholding energy, our Lord declares, is active at all times and on
all days alike; and if it were not, the fabric of the universe would
fall to pieces. He claims a similar right to providential rule, which
implies equality with the Father. “My Father worketh, _and I_ work.” If
the Son had been inferior, such a method of justifying Himself would
only have added force to the charges of his enemies. If a subject of
the Emperor were to put on the imperial diadem and purple, it would be
no excuse to say that he wore them _because_ the Emperor wore them—“the
Emperor wears them, _and I_ wear them;”—on the contrary, it would
augment the offensiveness of his presumption and arrogance. If Christ
were not equal with the Father, it was the height of presumption to use
those words, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”

In dealing with such lengthy homilies, it has been impossible to do
more than give specimens in a very condensed form of the main lines
of argument which Chrysostom adopts. They vary greatly in value; but
two points cannot fail to arrest the notice of any one who reads these
homilies through:—First, the profound acquaintance of their author
with Holy Scripture; extending apparently with equal force to every
part of the sacred volume. Old and New Testament and Apocrypha are
almost equally employed for argument, illustration, adornment; he is at
home everywhere. Secondly, upon Scripture all his arguments are based:
in none of his controversial homilies does Chrysostom take his stand
upon the platform of existing tradition, or rely on the authority of
the Church alone; “to the law and to the testimony” is always the way
with him. And this was a test at that time universally accepted. The
dispute with the most rationalistic and critical Arians seems never to
have turned on the _authority_, but only on the _interpretation_ of
Scripture. Scripture is appealed to as the supreme court for trying all
their differences; the only question was, as to the exact meaning of
its decisions.

Again, we cannot fail to be struck by the ease and rapidity with which
he glances off from the most controversial and theological parts of his
discourse to practical reproof and exhortation. Nothing provoked him
more than to see the bulk of that large concourse of people, who had
been listening with profound attention to his address, leave the church
just as the celebration of the Eucharist was about to commence. “Deeply
do I groan to perceive that when your fellow-servant is speaking,
great is your earnestness, strained your attention, you crowd one upon
another, and stay till the very end; but that, when Christ is about
to appear in the holy mysteries, the church is empty and deserted....
If my words had been laid up in your hearts they would have kept you
here, and brought you to the celebration of these most solemn mysteries
with greater piety; but as it is, my speech seems as fruitless as
the performance of a lute-player, for as soon as I have finished you
depart. Away with the frigid excuse of many: I can say prayers at
home, but I cannot at home hear homilies and doctrine. Thou deceivest
thyself, O man; you may indeed pray at home, but it is impossible to
pray _in the same manner_ as at church, where there is so large an
assembly of your spiritual fathers, and the cry of the worshippers
is sent up with one accord; where there is unanimity and concert in
prayer; and where the priests preside, that the weaker supplications
of the multitude being supported by theirs, which are more powerful,
may ascend together with these to heaven. First prayer, then discourse;
so say the Apostles—“But we will give ourselves to _prayer and_ to the
ministry of the word.”[226]

Again, as frequently in other discourses, he reproves the congregation
for testifying their admiration of his words by applause. “You praise
what I have said, you receive my exhortation with tumults of applause;
but show your approbation by obedience; that is the praise which I
seek, the applause which comes through deeds.”[227]

His hearers, in fact, were so closely packed, and so much absorbed in
listening to his discourse, that pickpockets often practised on them
with some success. Chrysostom advises them, therefore, to bring no
money or ornaments about their persons to church. It was a device of
the devil, who hoped by means of this annoyance to chill their zeal
in attending the services, just as he stripped Job of everything, not
merely to make him poor but to rob him if possible of his piety.[228]

But the most inveterate enemy with which Chrysostom had to contend
was the circus. Against this he declaims with all the vehemence of
Evangelical invectives against horse-racing in modern times. The
indomitable passion for the chariot-races, and the silly eagerness
displayed about them by the inhabitants of Rome, Constantinople, and
Antioch, are among the most remarkable symptoms of the depraved state
of society under the later Empire. The whole populace was divided
into factions distinguished by the different colours adopted by the
charioteers, of which green and blue were the two chief favourites.
The animosity, the sanguinary tumults, the superstitions,[229]
folly, violence of every kind, which were mixed up with these popular
amusements, well deserved the unsparing severity with which they were
lashed by the great preacher.

A few specimens shall be collected here from other homilies, as well as
from those immediately under consideration.

“Again we have the horse-races; again our assembly is thinned. There
were many indeed whose absence he little regretted: they were to
the faithful amongst the congregation only as leaves to fruit.[230]
Sometimes, however, the church was deserted by those of whom he had
expected more fidelity. He felt disheartened, like a sower who had
scattered good seed plentifully, but with no adequate result. Gladly
and eagerly would he continue his exertions could he see any fruit of
his labours; but when, forgetful of all his exhortations and warnings,
and solemn remindings of the terrible doom, the unquenchable fire,
the undying worm, they again abandoned themselves to the diabolical
exhibitions of the race-course, with what heart could he return
to the unthankful task? They manifested, indeed, by applause, the
pleasure with which they heard his words, and then they hurried off
to the circus, and, sitting side by side with Jew or Pagan, they
applauded with a kind of frenzied eagerness the efforts of the several
charioteers; they rushed tumultuously along, jostling one another, and
shouting, ‘that horse didn’t run fairly,’ ‘that was tripped up and
fell,’ and the like.[231] Various excuses were pleaded for absence
from church—the exigencies of business, poverty, ill health, lameness;
but these impediments never prevented attendance at the Hippodrome.
In the church the chief places even were not always all occupied, but
_there_ old and young, rich and poor, crowded every available space
for standing or sitting; pushing, and squeezing, and trampling on
one another’s feet, while the sun poured down on their heads: yet
they appeared thoroughly to enjoy themselves, in spite of all these
discomforts; while in the church the length of the sermon, or the heat,
or the crowd, were perpetual subjects of complaint.”[232]

Such are a few illustrations of one, but perhaps the most notable,
form among many in which the impulsiveness and frivolity of the people
of Antioch were displayed. “The building which the preacher had so
laboriously and industriously reared in the hearts of his disciples was
thus cruelly dashed down and levelled to the very ground by a few hours
of dissolving pleasure and iniquitous frivolity.”[233]

Truly indeed might the lamentation of the prophet over the evanescent
piety of Ephraim and Judah have been applied to these people: “Your
goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away”
(Hos. vi. 4).


  386, 387.

In dealing with the Arians, the contest mainly turned, as has been
pointed out in the previous chapter, on the interpretation of
Scripture; but in doing battle with Pagans and Jews, with the former
especially, Chrysostom had of course to take up a different attitude.
The method which he adopts towards the Jew is to demonstrate the
fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy in the person and work of Jesus
Christ, and to insist on the consequent abrogation of the Jewish
dispensation. The ground on which he mainly relies against the Pagan is
the miraculous establishment and progress of Christianity in the face
of unprecedented opposition, as an evidence of its divine origin.

The treatise addressed to Jews and Gentiles combined exhibits a
powerful application of both these methods.[234] “He would first of
all enter the lists against the Pagan. And here caution was requisite.
He would not say, when the Pagan asked how the divinity of Christ was
to be proved, that Christ created the world, raised the dead, healed
the sick, expelled demons, promised a resurrection and a heavenly
kingdom, because these were the very questions upon which they joined
issue. But he would start from a ground which even the Pagan would
accept: no one would venture to deny that the Christian religion was
founded by Jesus Christ, and from this simple fact he would undertake
to prove that Christ could be no less than God. No mere man could, in
so short a time, with such feeble instruments, and in the face of such
opposition arising from inveterate custom and forms of faith, have
subdued so many and such various races of mankind.[235] How contrary
to the common course of events, that He who was despised, weak, and
put to an ignominious death, should now be honoured and adored in all
regions of the earth! Emperors who have made laws, and altered the
constitution of states, who have ruled nations by their nod, in whose
hands was the power of life and death, pass away; their images are in
time destroyed, their actions forgotten, their adherents despised,
their very names buried in oblivion:—present grandeur is succeeded by
nothingness. In the case of Jesus Christ all is reversed. During his
lifetime, all seemed failure and degradation, but a career of glory
and triumph succeeded his death.[236] Before his death Judas betrayed
him, St. Peter denied him; after his death, St. Peter and the rest
of the Apostles traversed the world to bear witness to his truth,
and thousands of people have died rather than utter what the chief
of the Apostles once uttered from fear of a maid-servant’s taunts.
‘His rest shall be glorious:’—this was true, not only of the Master,
but also of his disciples. In that most royal city of Rome, monarchs,
prefects, generals, flocked to the sepulchres of the fisherman and the
tent-maker; and in Constantinople they who wore the diadem were content
to lay their bones in the porch of the Apostles’ Church, and to become
as it were the door-keepers of humble fishermen.[237] Christ had made
the most ignominious death, and the instrument of it, glorious. It
was written, ‘Cursed is he that hangeth on a tree,’ yet the cross had
become the object of desire and love; it was more honourable than the
whole world, for the imperial crown itself was not such an ornament
to the head: princes and subjects, men and women, bond and free, all
delighted to wear it imprinted on the brow. It was conspicuous on the
Holy Table, and in the ceremony of ordaining priests; in houses, in
market-places, by the wayside, and on mountain sides, on couches and
on garments, on ships, on drinking vessels, in mural decorations, the
cross was depicted. Whence all this extraordinary honour to a piece of
wood, unless the power of him who died upon it was divine?”[238]

Christ had declared that the gates of hell should not prevail against
his Rock-founded Church. How far had this prediction been verified? In
a short space of time Christianity had abolished ancestral customs,
plucked up deeply-rooted habits, overturned altars and temples, caused
unclean rites and ceremonials to vanish away. Christian altars had been
erected in Italy, in Persia, in Scythia, in Africa. “What say I? even
the British Isles, which lie outside the boundaries of our world and
our sea, in the midst of the ocean itself, have experienced the power
of the Word, for even there churches and altars have been set up.”
Thus the world had been, so to say, cleared of thorns, and purified to
receive the seed of godliness. What a proof of superhuman power! The
progress of the Church had been encountered by customs which were not
only venerated but pleasant; yet these traditions, handed down through
long lines of ancestors, were abandoned for a religion far more severe
and laborious, a religion which substituted fasting for enjoyment,
poverty for money-getting, temperance for lasciviousness, meekness for
wrath, benevolence for ill-will. Men who had long been enervated
by luxury, and accustomed to the broad way, had been converted into
the narrow, rugged path, not by tens or twenties, but by multitudes
under the whole heaven. By whose agency had these mighty results been
wrought? By a few unlearned obscure men, without illustrious ancestors,
without money, without eloquence.[239] And all this in the teeth
of opposition of the most varied kind. For where the new doctrine
penetrated, it excited divisions and strife; children were set at
variance with parents, brother with brother, husband with wife, master
with servant. Yet, in spite of persecution and disruption of social
ties, the new faith grew and flourished. How could such unprecedented
marvels have come to pass but through the divine power, and in
obedience to that Word of God which is creative of actual results? Just
as, when He said “Let the earth bring forth grass,” the wilderness
became a garden, so when the expression of His purpose had gone forth,
“I will build my Church,” straightway the process began, and though
tyrants and people, sophists and orators, custom and religion, had been
arrayed against it, yet the Word, going forth like fire, consumed the
thorns, and scattered the good seed over the purified soil.[240]

In attempting to convince the Jews of the divinity of Jesus Christ by
proving the exact fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy in his person
and work, Chrysostom displays that intimate familiarity with every part
of Scripture which is his eminent characteristic.

The passages are, on the whole, most judiciously selected; some
corresponding passage from the New Testament being placed, if possible,
against each, with a careful attention even to verbal parallelism. For
instance, against the passage in Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord shall
_rest_ upon him,” he places the verse from St. John i. 32, “I beheld
the Spirit descending like a dove, and it _abode_ upon him.”[241] He
refers each event in Christ’s life, his Incarnation, his rejection by
the Jews, his betrayal, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, the descent
of the Holy Ghost, and the beginning of the Apostolic labours to some
corresponding prediction.[242] He sometimes, however, falls into the
error, less common in him than in other patristic interpreters, of
seeing direct references to the Messiah and the Messianic kingdom, to
the almost total exclusion of any other meaning. For instance, such
passages as “Their sound is gone out into all lands,” “That thou mayest
make princes in all lands,” are cited as if exclusively predictive of
the propagation of Christianity. In such words as “The virgins that be
her fellows shall bear her company,” he sees a distinct foreshadowing
of the honour to be paid to virginity under Christianity.[243] In other
passages, again, he is misled by ignorance of the Hebrew, and a too
literal adherence to the Septuagint translation. In the passage, “I
will make thy officers peace,” thine “exactors” being rendered in the
Septuagint bishops or overseers, he extracts from this word a direct
reference to the Christian priesthood.[244] “He shall descend like rain
into a fleece of wool” is interpreted as significant of the extreme
secrecy of Christ’s birth, and the noiseless gentleness with which his
kingdom was founded.[245] Whereas, the strict translation being “like
rain upon new-mown grass,” it is rather illustrative of the fruitful
results of Christ’s advent.[246]

Such occasional defects, however, will not prevent us from according
the praise due to the great skill with which, on the whole, he has
worked out this method of argument, and the noble vindication of
Christianity in this treatise has seldom if ever been surpassed by
Chrysostom elsewhere. The several parts of his argument are unfolded in
orderly procession, and expressed with an eloquence at once luminous
and earnest, and which, though at times copious and ornate, does not
degenerate into the mere redundancy, still less into the affectations
and flowery artifices, of rhetoric; he is always real and earnest, he
is sometimes sublime.

Closely connected with this treatise in subject, and not far distant
in time of composition, are the Homilies directed against Jews and
Judaising Christians. The Jews, ever since the time of Antiochus the
Great, were a considerable body in Antioch, and over the Christian
population exerted a seriously pernicious influence. Their position,
indeed, in the Empire at large had been increasingly favourable from
the reign of Hadrian to Constantine. Though they were not permitted
to approach Jerusalem, yet the worship in their synagogues was freely
tolerated; they were permitted to circumcise their own children though
not the children of proselytes; and their religious organisation
in the Empire was held together under the sway of the Patriarch of
Tiberias.[247] After the recognition of Christianity by the Empire,
the Jews, as a natural consequence, were less favourably treated. The
statutes of Constantine and Constantius were severe. Those Jews who
attempted the life of a Christian were to be burned. No Christians were
to become Jews, under pain of punishment. Jews were forbidden to marry
Christian women or to possess Christian slaves. The national character
of the Jew seems to have deteriorated, as the race became more widely
dispersed, and as their wealth and importance increased. They were no
longer indeed so morosely and sullenly proud as when they gloried in
the possession of a holy city and distinct religious ordinances, and
a geographical position which isolated them from the rest of mankind,
but neither were their faith or morals so pure. Self-indulgence,
sensualism, and low cunning corrupted their life; a superstitious and
material cast of thought depraved their faith. Their habits harmonised
too well with that propensity to luxury and licentiousness which was
the besetting vice of the people of Antioch; their materialism worked
hand in hand with the prevailing Arianism, if, indeed, Arianism may
not be regarded as in some sort its product. Certainly, whenever
popular insurrections caused by religious dissensions occurred either
in Antioch or in Alexandria, the Jews ranged themselves on the Arian
side, as if the spirit and character of the Arian sect were the most
congenial to their own.[248]

Allowing for some exaggerations in the preacher, carried away by the
impulse of the moment, the invectives of Chrysostom must be permitted
to prove that the Jewish residents in Antioch were of a low and vicious
order. They seem to have been regarded by the common people with a
mixture of dislike and awe; the age was superstitious, and the Jews
availed themselves of superstitious terrors to make a livelihood,
especially through a kind of quackery in medicine. Their quarters
are denounced by Chrysostom as dens of robbers and habitations of
demons.[249] A whole day would not suffice to tell the tale of their
extortions, their thefts, their deceptions, their base methods of
traffic, such as the sale of amulets and charms.[250] Their priests
were no better than counterfeits, because they had not gone through all
the elaborate rites of consecration. They had no sacred ephod, no Urim
and Thummim, no altar, no sacrifice, no prophecy.

The Festival of Trumpets was a scene of great debauchery, more
iniquitous than the proceedings in the theatre. Any catechumen who was
detected attending that festival was to be excluded from the porch of
the church; any communicant so detected was to be denied access to the
Holy Table. The booths erected at the Feast of Tabernacles were like
taverns, crowded with flute-players and ill-conditioned women. The
synagogues were frequented by the most abandoned characters of both
sexes, and dancers, actors, and charioteers were largely drawn from
the Jewish population. In spite of this, many Christians were seduced
to attend the Jewish festivals and fasts, and even to swear Jewish
oaths in the synagogues, under the superstitious impression that such
were more solemn and binding than any Christian forms. He had himself,
only three days ago, rescued a woman being dragged off, against her
will, to take an oath of this kind, by a man who professed himself
a Christian. On stopping to rebuke him in the sternest language,
Chrysostom was shocked to learn that the practice was extremely common
among Christians. He passionately exhorts the faithful to reclaim their
deluded brethren from these pernicious ways:—If twelve Apostles had
converted the larger part of the world, it would be a shame that the
Christians, who were the majority in the population of Antioch, should
fail to allay the plague of Judaism. What treason! what inconsistency,
that they, who worshipped the Crucified One, should associate with
the race which crucified Him.[251] The synagogue ought not to be an
object of reverence because it contained the Books of the Law and the
Prophets, but rather of abhorrence, because those who possessed the
Prophets refused to recognise Him of whom their writings spoke. Was the
temple of Serapis holy because it contained the Septuagint, deposited
there by Ptolemy Philadelphus?[252]

Christians seem to have attended Jewish services much in that spirit
of curiosity with which Protestants sometimes go to Roman Catholic
churches, to be entertained by music, incense, and a grand ritual. They
maintained that the effect was solemnising; but, observes Chrysostom,
the value of the offering to God depends not on the nature of the
offering, but on the heart of the offerers. The worshippers sanctify
the temple, not the temple the worshippers. You would not touch or
address the murderer of your own son, and will you court the society
of those who slew the Son of God?[253] Let them consider that cry
uttered by the deacon from time to time in the celebration of the holy
mysteries: “Discern one another.”[254] So let them do. “If you discern
any one Judaising, hold him fast and expose him, that you may not
yourself participate in the danger.”

“In military camps, if any soldier be detected sympathising with the
barbarian or the Persian, not only does he himself run a risk of his
life, but also any of his comrades who were conscious of his defection,
but did not represent it to the general. Since, then, you are the army
of Christ, search diligently whether any stranger has intruded into
your camp, and expose him, not that we may put him to death, but that
we may punish him, deliver him from his error and impiety, and render
him wholly our own; but if you willingly conceal him, be well assured
that you will sustain the same punishment with him.” This homily is
concluded by a solemn adjuration: “In the words of Moses, I call heaven
and earth to record against you this day, that if any of you now
present or absent attend the Feast of Trumpets, or enter a synagogue,
or observe a fast, or a sabbath, or any Jewish rite whatever, I am
guiltless of your blood. These discourses will rise up for both of
us in the great day of our Lord: if you shall have obeyed them, they
will give you confidence; but if otherwise, they will stand as severe
accusers against you.” Therefore he implored them to institute the most
rigorous search after the Judaising brethren. When their mother the
Church had lost a child, it was criminal to conceal either the captor
or the captured; let the men seek out the men, the women the women, the
slave his fellow-servant, and present the culprit to him before the
next assembly.

Another Judaising practice, which he condemns in the severest
language, was the custom of keeping Easter on the 14th day of the
month, according to Jewish calculation, irrespective of the week-day
on which it might fall; thus sometimes feasting when the rest of
the Church was fasting, or fasting when the rest was feasting. The
existence of such a practice at this time was a remarkable instance of
the increasing influence of the Jews in Antioch and the neighbouring
regions. For up to the year A.D. 276, the Antiochene patriarchate had
observed Easter in conformity with the Catholic usage; the adoption
of the Jewish calculation was made after that date, when most of the
rest of Christendom had dropped it, and was therefore the subject of
special condemnation at the Council of Nice.[255] Such a discrepancy
in practice was regarded as a most serious rent in the unity of the
Church. Chrysostom denounces it especially as a contumacious disregard
of the Council of Nice, which had distinctly ordained by the mouths
of three hundred bishops that Easter should be kept at one and the
same time throughout Christendom. He implores the Judaisers to desist
from the idle inquiry into the exact dates of seasons; to follow the
Church, and to place harmony and charitable peace before all things.
It was impossible, in fact, to fix the actual day on which Christ
rose; therefore let them observe that day which the Church through her
bishops had prescribed. It was a less offence to fast on the wrong
day than to rend the unity of the Church. “How long halt ye between
two opinions?” if Judaism be true, embrace it altogether, and “cease
to annoy the Church; if Christianity be true, abide in it, and follow

The Jews themselves could not, in Chrysostom’s opinion, legally perform
sacrifices, or observe festivals of any kind. Jerusalem was the only
place in which such observances were commanded; and Jerusalem being
destroyed they became void.[257] They had been suspended during
the Captivity, to be resumed when the people returned to the holy
soil. If the Jews of the present day also expected restoration, let
them likewise suspend their rites; but, in fact, this never would
occur. The Temple never would be rebuilt, and restoration was a
vain hope. Jerusalem was to be trodden down of Gentiles till the
times of the Gentiles were fulfilled; and by the fulfilment of those
times Chrysostom understood the end of the world.[258] All four
Captivities of the Jews—their subjection to the Egyptians, Babylonians,
Antiochus, and the Romans—had been distinctly foretold. To each of
the _first three_ prophecy had assigned a limit; but to the last
_none_—it reached into all time; there was no sign or intimation of
any probable cessation.[259] The revolt of the Jews under Hadrian,
and under Constantine,[260] had ignominiously failed; the attempt of
Julian to rebuild the Temple had been frustrated by portents: fire
issuing from the foundations had consumed some of the workmen, and
scared the spectators; the naked substructions, left just as they
were when the work was abandoned, presented a visible monument of the
divinely-arrested work.[261]

The eager exhortation reiterated in his last homily, that the faithful
should seek out their brethren who had been caught in the Jewish
snare, is a powerful rush of indignant eloquence, and a wholesome
admonition on the responsibility of all for the spiritual welfare of
their fellow-men. “Say not within thyself, I am a man of the world;
I have a wife and children; these matters belong to the priests and
the monks. The Samaritan in the parable did not say, Where are the
priests? where are the Pharisees? where are the Jewish authorities?
but seized the opportunity of doing a good deed, as if it was a great
advantage. In like manner, when you see any one requiring bodily or
spiritual care, say not within thyself, Why did not this or that man
attend to him?—but deliver him from his infirmity. If you find a piece
of gold in your path, you do not say, Why did not some other person
pick it up? but you eagerly anticipate others by seizing it yourself.
Even so, in the case of your fallen brethren, consider that you have
found a treasure in them and give the attention necessary for their
wants.” He besought them not to proclaim the calamity of the Church by
idly gossiping about the numbers of those who had observed some Jewish
custom, but to search them out; and, if necessary, to enter their
houses, tax them with their guilt, and solemnly warn them against the
iniquity of consorting with the enemies of Jesus Christ. “Listen not
to any excuses which they may plead on the ground of cures effected by
the Jews; expose their impostures, their incantations, their amulets,
their charms, their drugs.” Even if they really effected cures, it
would be better to die and save the soul, than resort to the enemies of
Christ to heal the body. Let them rather appeal to the assistance of
the martyrs and saints who were His friends, and had great confidence
in addressing Him. “Why did the Son of Man Himself enter the world? Was
it not to seek and to save wandering sheep? This do thou, according to
thy ability. I will not cease to speak, whether you hear or whether you
forbear. If you heed not, I shall do it, but with grief; if you listen
and obey, I shall do it, but with joy.”[262]

It is difficult for us, in our altered position towards Jews and
heretics of all kinds, to sympathise with the vehemence of Chrysostom’s
feelings and language. Yet there can be no doubt that such dabbling,
if the word may be used, in the customs, the observances, the ritual of
an obsolete dispensation, and a debased people, did seriously imperil
purity of faith and morals, and unity of discipline, in the Christian

Towards dissentient Christians, not infected by Judaism, Chrysostom
adopts a milder tone, and indeed restrains the immoderation of
party feeling in others with wholesome censure. He laments[263] the
distracted state of the Church in Antioch, which was now divided
into the three sections of Meletians, Eustathians, and Arians; but
he denounces the practice of anathematising. It was uncharitable and
presumptuous. St. Paul anathematised once only; the casting off of a
heretic ought to be as painful as plucking out an eye or cutting off
a limb. A holy man before their times, one of the successors of the
Apostles, and judged worthy of the honour of martyrdom, used to say,
that to assume the right to anathematise was as great a usurpation of
Christ’s authority as for a subject to put on the Imperial purple.
In dealing with erring brethren, the Christian should “in meekness
instruct those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will
give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” “If a man
accepts your counsel and confesses his error, you have saved him, and
delivered your own soul also; but if he will not, do you nevertheless
continue to testify with long-suffering and kindness, that the Judge
may not require his soul at thy hand. Hate him not; turn not from him;
persecute him not, but catch him in the net of sincere and genuine
charity. The person whom you anathematise is either living or dead;
if living, you do wrong to cut off one who may still be converted;
if dead, much more you do wrong; ‘to his own master he standeth or
falleth;’ and ‘who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been
his counsellor?’ You may anathematise heretical dogmas, but towards
the persons who hold them show the greatest possible forbearance, and
pray for their salvation.”

In the winter of 386, Chrysostom preached a sermon on Christmas Day,
which, though not distinguished by any unusual merit, possesses an
interest of its own. We learn from it, that this festival was not
originally celebrated in the Eastern Church; it had been adopted from
the West, and, in Antioch at least, less than ten years before the year
of Chrysostom’s discourse. It had gradually increased in popularity,
and this year Chrysostom rejoiced to observe that the church was
crowded to overflowing. Rome had fixed the observance of the 25th of
December, and this was the day kept throughout Christendom from Thrace
to Gades; but the propriety of the date was much debated in the Eastern
Churches, and the observance of the festival at all was considered by
some as a questionable innovation. Chrysostom energetically vindicates
the dignity of the festival and the correctness of the date.[264] It
was the metropolis, so to say, of all other festivals, and as such
it was the most solemn and awful. For the incarnation of Christ was
the necessary condition of all the succeeding events of His career
on earth, and in the profundity of its mystery it exceeded them all.
That Christ should die was a natural consequence of human nature once
assumed; but that He, being God, should have stooped so low as to
assume that nature, was a mystery unfathomable to the mind of man!
“Wherefore I specially welcome and belove this day, and desire to make
you partakers in my affection. I pray and implore you all to come with
zeal and alacrity, every man first purging his own house, to behold
our Lord wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger; for if we
come with faith, we shall indeed behold Him lying in the manger; for
this Table supplies the place of the manger, and here also the body
of the Lord will lie, not wrapped in swaddling clothes, but invested
on all sides by the Holy Spirit. The initiated (or the baptized)
understand what I mean.”[265] But he warns his hearers against crowding
in a tumultuous and disorderly manner to partake of the holy feast.
“Approach with fear and trembling, with fasting and prayer, not making
an uproar, hustling and jostling one another: consider, O man, what
kind of sacrifice thou art about to handle; consider that thou, who
art dust and ashes, dost receive the body and blood of Christ.”[266]
This irreverent conduct at the reception of the Eucharist frequently
provoked the indignation and censure of Chrysostom. It occurred
especially at the greater festivals, because on those days multitudes
received the Eucharist who did not enter the church at other times.
“How,” he cries in the homily on the Epiphany, “shall we teach you what
is necessary concerning your soul, immortality, the kingdom of heaven,
the long-suffering and mercy of God, and a future judgment, when you
come to us only once or twice in the year?” Many of those who pushed
and kicked one another in the eagerness of each to get foremost to the
holy Table, withdrew from the church before the final thanksgiving.
“What,” Chrysostom cries, “when Christ is present, and the angels are
standing by, and this awe-inspiring Table is spread before you, and
your brethren are still partaking of the mysteries, will you hurry
away?” Too often they who thronged the church on these great occasions
led worldly and even vicious lives; they hurried away before the sacred
feast was ended, like Judas, to do the devil’s work.[267] Such is one
among many examples which may be elicited from Chrysostom’s works
of that Pagan grossness and superstition which was mingled with the
faith and the most solemn observances of Christianity. The vitality
of superstitious customs, the subtlety with which they have grafted
themselves upon Christianity, the tenacity with which they have clung
to men in spite of it late into modern times, is indeed extraordinary;
but for centuries their existence and influence were not appreciably if
at all affected by Christianity. A half Oriental, half Greek, partly
Jewish population, like that of Antioch, whose purer feelings and
nobler reason were seriously impaired by habits of licentiousness and
luxury, was naturally liable to superstitious terrors, and addicted
to superstitious practices of all kinds. Chrysostom is frequently
reproving his people for being anxious and afraid where there was no
cause, while they abandoned themselves to vice, the only worthy cause
for fear, without scruple or alarm. If Christmas Day was observed as a
Christian festival, though without becoming reverence, New Year’s Day
was given up to riotous festivity, thoroughly Pagan in character. The
houses were festooned with flowers, the inns were scenes of the most
disgraceful intemperance; men and women drinking undiluted wine there
from an early hour in the morning; auguries and omens were consulted
by which the horoscope of the year was cast. Good luck in the coming
year was supposed to depend (how is not clearly stated) on the manner
in which the first day was spent. This is the theme of the preacher’s
righteous indignation. The real happiness of the year was determined,
not by the observation of particular feasts, but by the amount of
goodness which we put into it. Sin was the only real evil, virtue the
only real good; therefore, if a man practised justice, almsgiving,
and prayer, his year could not fail to be propitious; for he who had
a clean conscience carried about with him a perpetual holy day, and
without this, the most brilliant and joyous festival was obscured by
darkness. “When thou seest the year completed, thank God that He has
brought thee safely to the conclusion of the cycle: prick thine heart,
reckon up the time of thy life, and say to thyself, The days are
hurrying along, the years are being fulfilled, I have advanced far on
the road, the judgment is at the doors, my life is pressing on towards
old age: well! what good have I done? shall I depart hence destitute
and empty of all righteousness?”[268]

There is a fuller notice, in some of his homilies on the Epistle to
the Ephesians, of the many gross and senseless forms of superstition
which prevailed even among the communicants in the Christian Church.
He laments the decay of discipline, by which a more rigorous scrutiny
was once instituted into the characters of those who came to the holy
feast. If any one were to examine the lives of all those who partake
of the mysteries on Easter Day, he would find amongst them persons
who consulted auguries, who used drugs, and omens, and incantations;
even the adulterer, curser, and drunkard, dared to partake. Iniquitous
men had crept into the Church, the highest places of command were
bought and sold, till the pure livers had betaken themselves to the
mountains to escape from the contamination.[269] Some of the vulgar
superstitions of the day were ludicrously puerile. “This or that man
was the first to meet me as I walked out; consequently innumerable
ills will certainly befall me: that confounded servant of mine, in
giving me my shoes, handed me the left shoe first; this indicates dire
calamities and insults: as I stepped out, I started with the left foot
foremost; this too is a sign of misfortune: my right eye twitched
upwards as I went out; this portends tears.”[270] To strike the woof
with the comb in a particular way, the braying of a donkey, the crowing
of a cock, a sudden sneeze,—all these were indications of something
or other. “They suspect everything, and are more in bondage than if
they were slaves many times over. But let not us, brethren, fear such
things, but laughing them to scorn as men who live in the light, and
whose citizenship is in heaven, and who have nothing in common with
this earth, let us regard one thing only as terrible,—and that is,



Before Chrysostom had laboured two full years in “confirming the souls
of the disciples” at Antioch, that city became the scene of events
memorable in history; and events in which the great preacher played an
honourable and distinguished part.

The foremost man of the age, not only by position but also to a
great extent in character, was Theodosius the Emperor; Theodosius
the Great, deservedly so called in spite of one prominent defect in
character, and a few glaring misdeeds which tarnish his reputation. The
military exploits of his father, Theodosius the elder, had provoked
the jealousy of the court[272] and cost him his life, and the son,
who had manifested ability almost equal, in serving under him both
by land and sea against Scots and Saxons, Moors and Goths, was glad
to escape a similar ungrateful return for his services, by retiring
to the obscurity of his native village in Spain. He was disgraced
when the Empire had been liberated from danger by the exertions of
his father and himself; but in the hour of its utmost jeopardy, and
direst distress, he was recalled to more than his former position. The
total defeat and death of Valens, and the almost extermination of his
army before Hadrianople in A.D. 378, placed the Empire at the mercy
of victorious barbarians within the frontier, and on the edge of the
horizon more storm-clouds of Gothic or Hunnish invasion were lowering.
There was but one person to whom the mind of Gratian, the young Emperor
of the West, and his advisers, overwhelmed by the prospect of impending
calamity, instinctively turned as capable of saving the State in this
crisis. For three years Theodosius had been quietly cultivating his
farm between Valladolid and Segovia, when he was summoned to accept the
title of Augustus, together with all the responsibilities and perils
which attended the possessor, at such a time, of that venerable name.
He was equal to the situation; handsome with a manly beauty, courageous
and determined of purpose, just and politic in intention if not always
in act, he was endowed with some of the noblest qualities of a soldier
and a statesman, by which to rescue and reorganise a panic-stricken
and crumbling State. This is not the place to narrate the military
achievements of Theodosius. The original materials for information
respecting them are scanty; but they have been collected and arranged
by that historian whose indefatigable industry brings order out of
confusion, and whose luminous style lights up with interest even
the darkest and most meagre annals.[273] It is sufficient to remind
the reader of Gibbon, that Theodosius subdued the Goths, not in any
one or two great battles, but by frequent and skilfully contrived
engagements on a smaller scale. He thus gradually revived the drooping
courage and discipline of the imperial troops, and wore out the enemy.
The several tribes, on their submission, were settled in the waste
tracts of country, which they were to occupy free of taxation, on the
wise condition that they kept the land in a state of cultivation.
So a numerous colony of Visigoths was established in Thrace, and of
Ostrogoths in Phrygia and Lydia. The ability of Theodosius is proved
more by the results of his energy than by anything that we know of the
manner in which he accomplished them. He not only vanquished the Goths,
but arrested the progress of the usurper Maximus in the West, who was
leading his victorious legions to Italy, flushed with success after
the ignominious flight and assassination of Gratian. Theodosius was
not in a position, surrounded as he was by half-vanquished barbarians,
to dispute the passage of the conqueror; but by assuming a firm tone
in negotiations, he secured for Valentinian, Gratian’s brother and
successor, the sovereignty of Italy, Africa, and Western Illyricum,
surrendering for the present to the usurper the regions north of the

Theodosius was a Christian; as a Spaniard he was a Trinitarian, and as
a soldier he was anxious to establish one uniform type of religious
faith and ecclesiastical discipline throughout the Empire. But such a
task proved more impracticable than the reduction of military foes.
Neither Paganism nor Arianism could be extinguished in a few years
by suppressive edicts. Theodosius himself had been baptized in the
first year of his reign, A.D. 380, when his life was threatened by a
severe illness, and he had then announced his will and pleasure that
his own solemn declaration of faith should be accepted by his subjects
also. That faith which was “professed by the Pontiff Damasus, and
Peter, Bishop of Alexandria” was to be the faith of the Empire. “Let
us believe the sole deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
under an equal majesty and a pious Trinity. We authorise the followers
of this doctrine to assume the title of Catholic Christians, and as we
judge that all others are extravagant madmen, we brand them with the
infamous name of heretics.”[274] Their places of assembly were not to
enjoy the title of churches, and they themselves were to expect severe
civil penalties as well as the Divine condemnation. Damophilus, the
Arian Bishop of Constantinople, preferred exile to signing the creed
of Nice; and Gregory of Nazianzus was conducted by the Emperor in
person through the streets of Constantinople (though not without a
strong guard) to occupy the episcopal throne. A project for another
general council (after the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 381) was
entertained but abandoned, for the factious demeanour of the several
prelates and their partisans on their arrival did not augur a very
successful settlement of differences by that method. The Emperor fell
back, for the accomplishment of his object, on his own authority. On
July 25, A.D. 383, an edict was posted in Constantinople, prohibiting
all the heretics therein named, Arians, Eunomians, Macedonians, and
Manichæans, from holding any kind of assembly, public or private,
either in the cities or in the country. Any ground or building used
for such illegal purpose was to be confiscated to the State; and
the penalty of banishment was pronounced against those who allowed
themselves to be ordained priests or bishops of the heretical sects.
Historians concur in the opinion that few of these penalties were
actually enforced. The heretical sects were not animated by a spirit
of martyrdom; the intimidation was generally sufficient.[275] The
hypocrite or the indifferent conformed, the more conscientious retired
into obscurity. There seem to have been few if any Arian prelates of
great and commanding ability. All the leading ecclesiastics of the
day—Chrysostom, Jerome, Basil, the two Gregories, and Ambrose—were by
conviction on the side of the Emperor, and added all the weight of
their influence to his decrees.

When measures had been taken for the suppression of heresy, it was the
Pagan’s turn to suffer. The spectacle of temples standing open for
worship side by side with Christian churches was a painful incongruity
in the eyes of Theodosius, with his soldier-like ideas of uniformity
and discipline. The first blow was directed against those disloyal sons
of the Church who had seceded to Paganism. They were deprived of the
power to make wills or to receive bequests.[276] The second step was
absolutely to prohibit all sacrifices in those temples which were still
open. Nearly twenty years before, the sacrifice of animals had been
forbidden by Valentinian and Valens, owing to their connection with
arts of divination, which were used for political purposes. As long
as such sacrifices were permitted, the priests could not refrain from
consulting the entrails of the victims, and pretending to read therein
future events: the death of this Emperor, the elevation of that, the
success or failure of expeditions, and the like, were intimated to
the people, always eager to know what is beyond the limits of human
knowledge. Such divinations encouraged a restless spirit in the
subjects, and often disaffected them towards the ruling power. That
these laws of Valentinian were renewed by Theodosius in 381, and again
in A.D. 385, proves that they had been imperfectly obeyed.[277]

They were followed up by a yet more decisive step in A.D. 392.
Cynegius, the Prætorian Prefect of the East, the Counts Jovinus and
Gaudentius in the West, were commissioned to shut up the temples, to
destroy their contents, images, and vessels, and to confiscate their
property. In many instances the executors of the edict, aided by the
fanatical fury of monks, seem to have exceeded their instructions.
The great temple of Jupiter, at Apamea, in Syria, of which the roof
was supported on sixty massive columns, fell, but not unavenged; for
the Bishop Marcellus, who headed the assailants, fell a victim to the
rage of the exasperated rustics who defended it.[278] The safety of
the universe was represented by Pagans to depend on the preservation
of the colossal gold and silver image of Serapis at Alexandria. Even
Christians beheld with some trepidation an audacious soldier deal a
blow with a battle-axe on the cheek of this awful deity; but as the
only result of the gash was the issue of a swarm of rats who had
harboured in the sacred head, instead of the avenging thunders which
had been expected, a revulsion of feeling was experienced. The huge
idol was hewn to pieces, the limbs were dragged through the streets,
and the remains of the carcase burned in the amphitheatre, amidst the
derision of the populace.

These were shattering blows to Paganism. But the religion of sentiment
and custom long survives the extinction of more solid if not reasonable
convictions. Chrysostom’s homily on New Year’s Day is only one among
many illustrations of the way in which Pagan rites and superstitions
lingered, especially in connection with public festivals. All the
Pagan concomitants of these festivals in the country districts—hymns,
libations, garlands, incense, lights—were strictly prohibited,
under heavy penalties, by Theodosius in A.D. 392, but, in the West
especially, the extirpation was very incomplete. The Bishops of Verona
and of Brescia protested, but in vain, against the proprietors of land
indulging their tenantry in these practices. Sicily, Corsica, and
Sardinia, were strongholds of Paganism as late as A.D. 600. Sacrifices
were offered to Apollo on Monte Casino till the establishment of St.
Benedict’s monastery in A.D. 529.

The riotous populace of towns, and the simple country folk attached
to old customs, thus evinced some spirit in their resistance to
repressive enactments. But the hold which Paganism retained upon
intellectual people was feeble indeed. Two apologists only, with any
pretensions to ability, stepped forward to plead for the sinking
cause: Symmachus[279] in the West, and Libanius in the East; and their
intercessions are addressed to sentiments of affection for antiquity,
and compassion for oppressed weakness, rather than to the reason.
Symmachus, as is well known, pleaded twice for the retention of the
altar and statue of Victory in the senate-house at Rome. Eloquent and
touching, his appeal is directed to patriotic feeling and a sense of
political expediency, not to religious conviction. He does not profess
to _believe_ in the Pagan deities, but regards with a philosophic eye
the various kinds of faith in the world as so many forms of homage to
the great unknown Being who presides over the universe. “It is right to
recognise that what all adore can be at bottom but one Being only. We
contemplate the same stars; the same sky covers us; the same universe
encloses us. What matters it by what reasonings each seeks the truth?
a single path cannot conduct us to the grand secret of nature. As an
individual, a man may be a worshipper of Mithras, or of Christ, but as
a citizen it is his duty to conform to that worship which is bound up
with the history and glory of his country; to part from it is heartless
and disloyal.”[280]

The memorial of Symmachus got into the hands of Ambrose, and was rather
rudely treated by him. He subjects it to a stern test of facts. Had
the national gods indeed protected the Romans from disaster? It was
maintained that by their aid the conquest of Italy by Hannibal had been
averted. Why then did they permit the invader to inflict such ravages
as he had done? Would not the Gauls also have captured the Capitol, but
for the timely cry of the goose? Where was Jupiter _then?_ but perhaps
he was speaking through the goose. The Carthaginians worshipped some
of the same deities as the Romans. If then the gods conquered with
the Romans they yielded with the Carthaginians. Paganism declined,
notwithstanding support; the Church flourished, in spite of opposition.
As to the abandonment of ancient customs, was not progress the law of
improvement? The glimmering dawn gradually brightened into the full and
perfect day; the riches of harvest and vintage came in the maturity
of the year; even so the faith of Christ had gradually planted itself
on the ruins of a worn-out creed, and was now reaping an abundant
harvest among all nations of the earth.[281] The whole reply of Ambrose
is pitched in the positive, confident, authoritative tone of one who
speaks from a conviction that he stands on the platform of absolute
truth, and that his cause is therefore inevitably destined to win.

If the appeal of Symmachus was addressed to the sentiment of reverence
for _national_ antiquity, that of Libanius was directed to a sentiment
of attachment to _classical_ antiquity. The citizen mourns over the
suppression of a worship which was bound up with the history and
the glory of his country; the scholar sighs over the degradation of
that which was connected with all that was most beautiful in the
literature and life of the olden time—with the poetry of Homer and
the tragedians—with the festive song and dance—with the hills, and
fountains, and groves of Greece. He clings to the past with the love of
the antiquarian. Though his actual belief in the myths of the classical
era may not have been very deep or earnest, there is no doubt that
he entertained a genuine animosity towards the new faith which was
usurping their place. A flowery description of the origin and antiquity
of the honour paid to the gods is followed by a vehement invective
against the monks, “those black-robed creatures, more voracious
than elephants, who rush upon the temples, armed with stones, wood,
and fire; who break up the roofs, destroy the walls, throw down the
statues, raze the altars.” They glaringly exceeded the edicts of the
Emperor, which had forbidden the offering of sacrifice in the temples,
but had not commanded the actual destruction of the buildings.[282]
There is real feeling also in his description of the distress caused
in country districts by the demolition of the temples. “They were the
centres round which human habitations and civilisation grew; in them
the labourer placed all his hopes; to them he commended his wife, his
children, his plantation, his crops. Deprived of the gods, from whom
he expected the rewards of toil, he felt as if henceforth his labours
would be vain. Sometimes the very land was wrested from them on the
pretext that it had been consecrated to gods; if the poor despoiled
owners sought redress from the pastor (_i.e._ the bishop) of the
neighbouring town (falsely called pastor, since there was no gentleness
in his nature), he praised the robber and dismissed the complainers.”
No doubt to a great extent this was a true picture, and such harshness
and injustice must have retarded (as always happens when an attempt is
made to coerce opinion) the cause of Christianity, which the law was
intended to promote.

Theodosius, however, was in principle far too upright to treat the
Church with a blind partiality. Cynegius, the Prefect, was ordered to
enforce the law at Alexandria with full rigour against those despicable
beings who sought to make traffic by informing against Pagans.
Constantine had exempted the clergy from serving in curial offices;
Theodosius compelled them to pay for substitutes, and renounce their
claims to patrimony. They were to enjoy immunity from torture when
brought to trial, but if detected in falsehood were to be visited with
penalties of peculiar severity, because they had abused the shelter of
the law which favoured them.[283]

Such was Theodosius—a prudent and skilful general, a firm and upright
ruler; a sincere and simple-minded believer in Christianity, who did
his best, as head at once of the army, the civil government, and
the Church, to consolidate the fabric of the Empire. The barbarians
were repelled, or held down; taxes were collected with honesty and
firmness,—some of the most burdensome were taken off; Paganism and
heresy languished, however far from being extinguished, and the Emperor
fondly hoped that uniformity in faith and discipline would soon be
established throughout Christendom.

The good genius of his life was the Empress Flacilla; she was a
Christian of a pure and noble type; imperial state had not corrupted
the simplicity or hardened the tenderness of her disposition. She was
accustomed to visit the hospitals in Constantinople, not attended by a
single slave or waiting-woman; administered food and medicine to the
patients, and dressed their wounds with her own hands. She was wont to
remind her husband of the great change in their worldly position, as a
motive to humility and gratitude to God. “It behoves thee to consider
what thou wert and what thou hast become; by constantly reflecting on
this thou wilt not be ungrateful to thy benefactor, but wilt guide the
kingdom which thou hast received with a due regard to law, and by so
doing wilt pay homage to Him who gave it thee.”

She, we may well believe, restrained the impulses of that choleric
temper which was the principal defect in the Emperor’s character, and
which occasionally after her death burst forth into acts of deplorable
violence. This wise and pious monitress was taken from him in A.D.
385. She died at a watering-place in Thrace, whither she had gone to
recover her health after the shock caused by the death of the infant
Princess Pulcheria. Her body was brought back to Constantinople on a
melancholy day in autumn, when the skies poured down a gentle rain, as
if mingling their tears with those of the disconsolate people.[284]

This condensed survey of the character and work of Theodosius, during
the first ten years of his reign, will assist us in forming a proper
estimate of his conduct in that memorable occurrence which brings his
life into contact with the life of Chrysostom.



The wise counsel and softening influence of the Empress were removed
from her husband at an inopportune season. Political storms were
approaching, and the passionate temper of Theodosius was soon to be
subjected to a most severe trial.

The year 388 would have completed the first decade of his reign. The
year 387 was the fifth of the reign of his son Arcadius, whom he had
nominally associated with himself in the government. The celebration
of these two events Theodosius, from motives of prudent economy and
convenience, resolved to combine. The army on such occasions claimed
a liberal donative, five gold pieces to each man. It was obviously
desirable, therefore, to avoid, if possible, the repetition of such a
donative within a short space of time. It was always a strain on the
royal treasury, and at the present juncture the strain was increased,
for the Goths were assuming a menacing attitude on the Danubian
frontier. It was necessary to mass troops in that direction, and,
with a view to provide for these expenses, it was proposed to raise
a special subsidy from the opulent cities of the Eastern empire. But
the inhabitants of Alexandria and Antioch were loath to part with
any of the wealth which they had accumulated during nearly ten years
of peace and exemption from onerous taxation. Large meetings were
held by the citizens of Alexandria in the theatres and other public
places; inflammatory and seditious speeches were made. “If we are to be
treated thus,” they cried, “a simple remedy is open: we will appeal to
Maximus in the West; he knows how to shake off a troublesome tyrant.”
Fortunately the Prefect Cynegius was a man of firmness and promptitude;
he made some arrests of the most conspicuous leaders of the mutinous
faction, and enforced an immediate payment of the tribute, and by these
decisive measures public order was restored. Either the people of
Antioch were more deeply disaffected, or no such energetic officer was
in that city to nip the spirit of rebellion in the bud. It is said that
the inhabitants entertained a grudge against the Emperor, because he
had never visited their city, which had been frequently graced by the
royal presence of his predecessors.[285]

The edict which enjoined the levying of the tribute was proclaimed by
a herald on February 26. Large numbers of the people assembled on the
spot, collected chiefly into groups, amongst which were some persons
of distinction, senators and other civic functionaries, noble ladies,
and retired soldiers. An ominous silence succeeded the announcement
of the edict. The crowd then dispersed, but reassembled about the
prætorium, where the governor resided.[286] There they stood in gloomy
silence, save that the women, from time to time, raised a wailing
lamentation, crying that the ruin of the city was determined, and that
since the Emperor had abandoned them, God alone from henceforth could
come to their succour. At last a little band detached itself from the
mass, shouting that they must go and seek the Bishop Flavian, and
constrain him to intercede with the Emperor on their behalf. Flavian,
by accident or design, was absent from the episcopal residence, and
the mob returned to the prætorium, crying that the governor must
do them justice. The people appear to have been excited to violence
chiefly by those turbulent foreign adventurers who abounded in Antioch,
sordid venal creatures, often hired by actors to get up applause in
the theatres, or by great men not over popular to raise cheers when
they appeared in public places. But however stimulated, the passions
of the mob were thoroughly roused, and their fury vented itself in a
tumultuous rush into one of the great public baths, where they soon
tore everything to pieces. Having completed this work of destruction,
they hurried back once more to the hall of the unfortunate governor.
Here they were kept at bay by a guard for a sufficient time to
enable the governor to escape by a back-door, and when they at last
succeeded in bursting in, the vacancy of the place aggravated their
rage. The governor was not seated in the judicial chair, but they
found themselves face to face with the statues of the imperial family,
which as emblems of authority were ranged above it. They paused for a
few moments; highly excited as they were, imperial majesty, even so
represented, had some deterrent influence upon their fury.

But, unfortunately, there were boys in the crowd; the love of
stone-throwing without respect of persons was as ardent in boy nature
fifteen hundred years ago as it is now. A stone was cast by one
of these juvenile hands, which hit one of the sacred statues. The
momentary feelings of reverence which had arrested the people were
dissipated. The images were mutilated, almost battered to pieces, and
the fragments dragged through the streets. Other images of the imperial
family with which the city was adorned were treated in the same manner;
the equestrian statue of Count Theodosius, father of the Emperor, was
dislodged from its pedestal and hacked about, amidst derisive shouts of
“Defend thyself, grand cavalier!”[287]

The unrestrained fury of the people was inflamed by success; they began
to bring up torches and actually set fire to one of the principal
buildings of the city, when the governor, who had escaped their hands,
returned at the head of a company of archers. As usual with disorderly
mobs, however furious, they were unable to face the discipline of
military force; the soldiers were no sooner drawn up and preparing to
fix their weapons than rage turned to panic, and the mob, lately so
formidable, melted away.

The whole tumult had not lasted more than three hours; before noon,
every one had returned to his home, the streets and squares were empty,
and a death-like stillness pervaded the city. Remorse was mingled with
great terror respecting the consequences of the outrage which had been
perpetrated. The Emperor, indeed, was humane and forgiving of wrongs
which concerned himself alone, but how would he brook the insults
done to the memory of his father and his tenderly beloved Empress?
One hope remained: Flavian, the bishop, was a favourite at court; his
intercessions might avail; the people besought him with tears to stand
their friend in this distress. From Antioch to Constantinople was a
long and perilous journey of 800 miles, and the winter was not yet
ended. Flavian was old, his only sister was seriously ill, and the
approaching season of Lent required his presence at Antioch, but a
sense of the emergency prevailed over all these obstacles. Animated by
the spirit of the Good Shepherd the intrepid old man was ready to lay
down his life for his flock, and set out upon his errand of mercy with
all possible speed, in the hope of overtaking the messengers who had
started before him, but had been detained at the foot of Mount Taurus
by a fall of snow.[288]

During the absence of Flavian all the powers of Chrysostom as an
orator, a pastor, and a citizen, were called forth in attempting to
calm the fears and revive the deeply-dejected spirits of the people.
Perseveringly did he discharge this anxious and laborious task; almost
every day, for twenty-two days, that small figure was to be seen either
sitting in the Ambo, from which he sometimes preached on account of
his diminutive stature, or standing on the steps of the altar, the
preacher’s usual place;[289] and day after day, the crowds increased
which came to listen to the stream of golden eloquence which he poured
forth. With all the versatility of a consummate artist, he moved from
point to point. Sometimes a picture of the city’s agony melted his
hearers to tears, and then again he struck the note of encouragement
and revived their spirits by bidding them take comfort from the
well-known clemency of the Emperor, the probable success of the mission
of Flavian, and, above all, from trust in God.

“The gay and noisy city, where once the busy people hummed like
bees around their hive, was petrified by fear into the most dismal
silence and desolation; the wealthier inhabitants had fled into the
country, those who remained shut themselves up in their houses, as if
the town had been in a state of siege. If any one ventured into the
market-place, where once the multitude poured along like the stream of
a mighty river, the pitiable sight of two or three cowering dejected
creatures in the midst of solitude soon drove him home again. The
sun itself seemed to veil its rays as if in mourning. The words of
the prophet were fulfilled, ‘Their sun shall go down at noon, and
their earth shall be darkened in a clear day’ (Amos viii. 9). Now
they might cry, ‘Send to the mourning women, and let them come, and
send for cunning women that they may come’ (Jer. ix. 17). Ye hills
and mountains, take up a wailing, let us invite all creation to
commiserate our woes, for this great city, this capital of Eastern
cities, is in danger of being destroyed out of the midst of the earth,
and there is no man to help her, for the Emperor, who has no equal
among men, has been insulted; therefore let us take refuge with the
King who is above, and summon Him to our aid.”[290]

The chief reason of the people’s extreme dejection was, that the
governor and magistrates, probably to disarm any suspicion at court
of their own complicity in the sedition, were daily seizing real or
supposed culprits, and punishing them with the utmost rigour. Even
those who might have been pardoned on account of their tender age were
mercilessly handed over to the executioner. Chrysostom speaks of some
even having been burnt, and others thrown to wild beasts. The weeping
parents followed their unhappy offspring at a distance, powerless to
help but fearing to plead, like men on shore beholding with grief
shipwrecked sailors struggling in the water, but unable to rescue

But the object of Chrysostom was, not to utter ineffectual
lamentations. He aimed at rousing the people from their profound
dejection, and printing, if possible, on their hearts, humbled and
softened by distress, deep and lasting impressions of good. He told
them that there was everything to be hoped for from the embassy of
Flavian. “The Emperor was pious, the bishop courageous, yet prudent and
adroit; God would not suffer his errand to be fruitless. The very sight
of that venerable man would dispose the royal mind to clemency. Flavian
would not fail to urge how especially suitable an act of forgiveness
was to that holy season, in which was commemorated the Death of Christ
for the sins of the whole world. He would remind the Emperor of the
parable of the two debtors, and warn him not to incur the risk of
being one day addressed by the words, ‘Thou wicked servant, I forgave
thee all that debt; shouldest not thou also have had compassion on
thy fellow-servants?’ He would represent that the outrages had not
been committed by the whole community, but chiefly by some lawless
strangers. He would plead that the inhabitants, even had they all
offended, had already undergone sufficient punishment in the anxiety
and alarm which they endured. It would be unreasonable to visit the
crime of a few by the extirpation of a whole city, a city which was the
most populous capital of the East, and dear to Christians as the place
where they had first received that sweet and lovely name.”[292]

Meanwhile he earnestly calls upon the people to improve this season
of humiliation by a thorough repentance and reformation in respect of
the prevailing vices and follies. The words of St. Paul in writing
to the Philippians, “To write the same things to you, to me indeed
is not grievous, and for you it is safe,” might be aptly applied to
Chrysostom. He is never tired of denouncing special sins and exhorting
to the renunciation of them in every variety of language. Ostentatious
luxury, sordid avarice, religious formalism, a profane custom of
taking rash oaths, were the fashionable sins against which he waged an
incessant and implacable warfare.

His exhortations are generally based on some passage read in the lesson
of the day. “What have we heard today? ‘Charge them that are rich in
this world, that they be not high-minded.’ He who says ‘the rich in
this world’ proves thereby that there are others rich in regard to a
future world, like Lazarus in the parable.” Wealth of this world was
a thankless runaway slave, which, if bound with thousands of fetters,
made off, fetters and all. Not that he would quarrel with wealth; it
was good in itself, but became evil when inordinately desired and
paraded, just as the evil of intoxication lay not in wine itself, but
in the abuse of it. The Apostle did not charge those who were rich to
become poor, but only not to be high-minded. “Let us adorn our own
souls before we embellish our houses. Is it not disgraceful to overlay
our walls with marbles and to neglect Christ, who is going about
unclothed? What profit is there, O man, in thy house? Wilt thou carry
it away with thee? Nay, thou must leave thy _house_; but thy _soul_
thou wilt certainly take with thee. Lo! how great the danger which has
now overtaken us: let our houses, then, be our defenders; let them
rescue us from the impending peril;—but they will not be able. Be those
witnesses to my words who have now deserted their houses, and hurried
away to the wilderness as if afraid of nets and snares. Do you wish
to build large and splendid houses? I forbid you not, only build them
not upon the earth; build yourselves tabernacles in heaven—tabernacles
which never decay. Nothing is more slippery than wealth, which to-day
is with thee and to-morrow is against thee; which sharpens the eyes of
the envious on all sides; which is a foe in your own camp, an enemy in
your own household. Wealth makes the present danger more intolerable;
you see the poor man unencumbered and prepared for whatever may happen,
but the rich in a state of great embarrassment, and going about seeking
some place in which to bury his gold, or some person with whom to
deposit it. Why seek thy fellow-servants, O man? Christ stands ready
to receive and guard thy deposits—yea, not only to guard, but also to
multiply and to return with rich interest. No man plucks out of His
hand; men, when they receive a deposit from another, deem that they
have conferred a favour upon him; but Christ, on the contrary, declares
that He receives a favour, and, instead of demanding a reward, bestows
one upon you.”[293]

He entreated them to make the present Lent a season of spiritual
renovation. Lent fell in the spring, when the stream of industry
which the winter had frozen began to flow again. The sailor launched
his vessel, the soldier furbished his sword, the farmer whetted his
scythe, the traveller set out confidently on his long journey, the
athlete stripped for the contest. “Even so let this fast be to us a
spiritual spring-tide; let us polish our spiritual armour, let us
breast the waves of evil passions, set out like travellers on our
journey heavenwards, and prepare like athletes for the combat. For the
Christian is both husbandman, and pilot, and soldier, and athlete, and
traveller. Hast thou seen the athlete? hast thou seen the soldier? if
thou art an athlete thou must strip to enter the lists; if thou art a
soldier thou must put on armour before taking thy place in the ranks.
How then to the same man can both these things be possible? How, dost
thou ask? I will tell thee. Strip thyself of thy worldly business, and
thou hast become an athlete; clothe thyself with spiritual armour,
and thou hast become a soldier. Strip thyself, for it is a season of
wrestling; clothe thyself, for we are engaged in a fierce warfare with
devils. Till thy soul, and cut away the thorns; sow the seed of piety,
plant the good plants of philosophy, and tend them with much care, and
thou hast become a husbandman, and St. Paul will say to thee, ‘The
husbandman which laboureth must first be a partaker of the fruits.’
Whet thy sickle which thou hast blunted by surfeiting; sharpen it, I
say, by fasting. Enter on the road which leads to heaven, the rugged
and narrow road, and travel along it. And how shalt thou be able to set
out and travel? By buffeting thy body and bringing it into subjection;
for where the road is narrow, obesity, which comes from surfeiting,
is a great impediment. Repress the waves of foolish passions, repulse
the storm of wicked imaginations, preserve the vessel, display all
thy skill, and thou hast become a pilot.”[294] The originator and
instructor of all these arts was abstinence; not the vulgar kind of
abstinence, not abstinence from food only, but also from sins. “If thou
fastest, show me the results by thy deeds. What deeds, do you ask?
If you see a poor man, have pity on him; if an enemy, be reconciled;
if a friend in good reputation, regard him without envy. Fast not
only by thy mouth, but with thine eyes, thine ears, thy hands, thy
feet; avert thine eyes from unlawful sights, restrain thy hands from
deeds of violence, keep thy feet from entering places of pernicious
amusement, bridle thy mouth from uttering, and stop thine ears from
listening to tales of slander.” This kind of fast would be acceptable
to God, only it should be co-extensive with life. To spend a few days
in penance and then to relapse into the former course of life was only
an idle mockery.[295] He disparaged that rigorous kind of fasting which
some had carried to the extent of taking no food but bread and water.
Many boasted of the number of weeks they had fasted; this excessive
abstinence was likely to be followed by a reaction. Let them seek
rather to subdue evil passions and habits; let one week be devoted to
the suppression of swearing, another of anger, a third of slander, and
so gradually advancing they might at last attain the consummation of
virtue, and propitiate the displeasure of God.[296] “Let us not do now
what we have so often done, for frequently when earthquakes, or famine,
or drought have overtaken us, we have become temperate for three or
four days, and then have returned to our former ways of life. But, if
never before, now at least let us remain steadfast in the same state
of piety, that we may not again require to be chastised by another

Almost all the homilies are concluded by an admonition against the
sin of swearing, and the greater portion of some is devoted to this
topic. The passionate impetuous people of Antioch seem to have been
constantly betrayed into the folly of binding themselves by rash
oaths. The master, for instance, would take an oath to deprive his
slave of food, or the tutor his scholar, till a certain task was
accomplished, a threat which it was of course often impossible to
enforce. Hence perjury on the part of a superior, and loss of respect
on the side of the subordinate. Chrysostom himself had often dined at
a house where the mistress swore that she would beat a slave who had
made some mistake, while the husband would with another oath forbid
the punishment. Thus one of the two would be inevitably involved in
perjury.[298] He frequently exhorted his hearers to form a kind of
Christian club amongst themselves for the suppression of this vice. In
one place he suggests a stern remedy: “When you detect your wife or any
of your household yielding to this evil habit, order them supperless to
bed, and if you are guilty impose the same penalty on yourself.”[299]
Near the close of Lent he declares that he will repel from the holy
Table at Easter those whom he detects still addicted to this vice.[300]

On the whole, the eager and earnest pastor may be said to have
rejoiced at the grand opportunity afforded by the humiliation of the
city, to effect a reformation in the moral life of the people. He
observed with great satisfaction, that if the forum was deserted the
church was thronged, just as in stormy weather the harbour is crowded
with vessels.[301] Many an intemperate man had been sobered, the
headstrong softened, or the indolent quickened into zeal. Many who once
assiduously frequented the theatre now spent their day in the church.
Meanwhile they must abide God’s pleasure for the removal of their
affliction. He had sent it for the purpose of purifying and chastening
them; He was waiting till He saw a genuine, an unshakeable repentance,
like a refiner watching a piece of precious metal in a crucible, and
waiting the proper moment for taking it out.[302] As for those who
said what they feared was not so much death, as _ignominious_ death by
the hand of the executioner, he protested that the only death really
miserable was a death in sin. Abel was murdered and was happy, Cain
lived and was miserable. John the Baptist was beheaded, St. Stephen was
stoned, yet their deaths were happy. To the Christian there was nothing
formidable in death itself. To dread death but not to be afraid of sin
was to act like children who are frightened by masks whilst they were
not afraid of fire. “What, I pray you, is death? It is like the putting
off of a garment, for the soul is invested with a body[303] as it were
with a garment, and this we shall put off for a little while by death,
only to receive it again in a more brilliant form. What, I pray you,
is death? It is but to go a journey for a season, or to take a longer
sleep than usual.” Death was but a release from toil, a tranquil haven.
“Mourn not over him who dies, but over him who, living in sin, is dead
while he liveth.”[304]

Chrysostom’s own calmness, and his skill in diverting the thoughts of
his flock from present alarm, are manifested by the power and ease
with which he dilates on such grand topics as the creation, Divine
Providence, the nature of man, and his place in the scale of created
beings. His best thoughts, expressed in his best style on these
subjects, are to be found in the homilies now under consideration.

The size and beauty of the universe, but still more the perfect
regularity with which the system worked, proclaimed a designing power.
The succession of day and night, the series of the seasons, like a
band of maidens dancing in a circle, the four elements of which the
world was composed, mingling in such exquisite proportions that they
exactly balanced one another, the sun tempering the action of water,
the water that of the sun, the sea unable to break its bounds or reduce
the earth to a mass of clay; who could contemplate all these forces at
work and suppose that they moved spontaneously, instead of adoring Him
who had arranged them all with a wisdom commensurate with the results?
As the health of the body depended on the due balance of those humours
of which it was composed, if the bile increased fever was produced, or
if the phlegmatic element prevailed many diseases were engendered, so
was it in the case of the universe: each element observed its proper
limits, restrained, as it were, with a bridle by the will of the Maker;
and the struggle between these elements was the source of peace for the
whole system. As the body failed, languished, died, in proportion as
the soul was withdrawn from it, so if the regulating and life-giving
power of God’s providence were removed from the earth, all would go to
rack and ruin, like a vessel deserted by her pilot.[305]

In treating this subject, he manifests a keen appreciation of natural
beauties. The infinite varieties of flowers and herbs, trees, animals,
insects, and birds—the flowery fields below, the starry fields
above—the never-failing fountains—the sea receiving countless streams
into its bosom, yet never overflowing,—all proclaimed a Creator and
an Upholder, and drew from man the exclamation, “How manifold are Thy
works; in wisdom hast Thou made them all!” Yet, lest they should be
worshipped instead of the Maker, conditions of change, as decay or
death, were imposed upon all.[306] His observation of nature appears
in some of his similes. The poor female relatives hovering about the
courts of justice, when the culprits of the outrage on the statues were
being tried, he compares to parent birds, which wildly flutter round
the hunter who has stolen the young from their nest, in an agony of
grief, but impotent from weakness and fear.[307] He perceives in some
of the lower animals characteristics to be imitated or avoided, and
describes them with a kind of humour. The bee especially was a pattern
for imitation, not merely because it was industrious, but because it
toiled with an unconscious kind of self-sacrifice for the benefit of
others as well as itself. It was the most honourable of insects; the
spider, on the contrary, was the most ignoble, because it spread its
fine web for its own selfish gratification only. The innocence of the
dove, the docility of the ox, the light-heartedness of birds, were all
examples for imitation. The ferocity, or the cunning of other animals
or insects, were examples for avoidance. The good which brutes had by
nature man might acquire by force of moral purpose; and the sovereign
of the lower animals ought to comprise in his nature all the best
qualities of his subjects.[308] The plumage of the peacock, excelling
in variety and beauty all possible art of the dyer, evinced the
superhuman power of the Maker of all things.[309]

His ethical doctrine bears singular resemblance to that of Butler.
God has bestowed on man a faculty of discerning right from wrong; He
has impressed upon him a natural law, the law of conscience. Hence
some commands are delivered without explanation: for instance, the
prohibition to kill, or to commit adultery, because these merely enjoin
what is already evident by the light of the natural law. On the other
hand, for the command to observe the Sabbath a reason is assigned,
because this was a special and temporary enactment. The obligation of
the law of conscience was universal and eternal. As soon as Adam had
sinned, he hid himself, a clear evidence of his consciousness of guilt,
although no written law existed at that time.

The Greeks might attempt to deny the universality of this inherent law,
but to what other origin could they ascribe the laws which had been
made by their own ancestors concerning respect for life, the marriage
bond, covenants, trusts, and the like? They had indeed been handed down
from generation to generation; but whence did the first promulgators
derive the idea of them, if not from this moral sense? To the law
of conscience was added the energy of a moral purpose, προαίρεσις,
which enabled man to practise what conscience prescribed: conscience
informs man that temperance is right; moral purpose enables him to
become temperate. God had also endowed man with some natural virtues:
indignation at injustice, compassion for the injured, sympathy with the
joys and sorrows of our fellow-men.[310] At the same time Chrysostom
fully allows the value of training and teaching as supplementary to
and co-operating with all these natural gifts.[311] If conscience
grew languid, the admonition of parent and friend, and, in the case
of public offences, the law, stepped in, to effect what conscience
failed to do; and frequently God sent afflictions for the same remedial

Thus day after day the indefatigable preacher sounded the note of
encouragement, or warning, or instruction. He not only held the
Christian flock together, but largely increased its numbers. His
eloquence frequently excited rapturous applause, which was invariably
repressed with sternness. On one occasion the congregation yielded
to a panic; a false rumour was circulated that a body of troops was
entering the city, to take vengeance on the inhabitants. The Prefect
entered the church to allay the fears of the affrighted people who
had fled thither, but Chrysostom was overwhelmed with shame, and
sharply upbraided them that a Christian congregation should owe the
restoration of calmness to a Pagan, whom they ought to have impressed,
like Paul before Agrippa, by a display of Christian firmness and

About the middle of Lent, two commissioners, Hellebicus and Cæsarius,
arrived at Antioch, invested with full powers to inquire into the late
outrage. Their authority was backed by a considerable military force.
They were men not only of intelligence and humanity, but Christians
in faith; and they had many friends in Antioch. They entered the
city, surrounded by a large multitude, who turned weeping faces and
held out supplicating hands towards them. The commissioners were
moved, and in deep silence entered the lodging provided for them; but
it was necessary for them to perform their duty, which was in the
first place to announce that Antioch was degraded from the rank of
capital of Syria, and its metropolitan honours were transferred to
the neighbouring city of Laodicea. Secondly, all the public baths,
circuses, theatres, and other places of recreation, were to be closed
for an indefinite time. Thirdly, the commissioners were to revise the
trials already held by the local governor, and to inflict rigorous
sentences upon all the guilty, especially any persons of distinction.
These judicial proceedings were to begin on the following day.

The scene at the entrance of the court was a melancholy spectacle; the
wives and daughters of the accused hung around it in mean garments
sprinkled with ashes, and in attitudes of supplication or despair.

There were no lawyers to plead for the prisoners; they had run away
or concealed themselves, to evade the perilous duty. Libanius alone,
towards evening, crept timidly into the court. Cæsarius, to whom he was
known, observed him, beckoned him to approach, and placed him by his
side. In a low voice he bade him take courage; he and his colleague
would endeavour as much as possible to spare life. Libanius earnestly
thanked him, and promised if he kept his word to immortalise him by an
oration in his honour.[314]

An appeal, however, more effectual, was made to the mercy of the
commissioners, by persons widely different from Libanius. As they were
riding in state to the hall of justice on the second day, they saw
amongst the people a group of strange half-wild-looking beings, in
rough coarse garments, with long unkempt hair. These were hermits, who
had descended from their solitudes in the neighbouring mountains—some
who for years had not been seen in the streets of the city, but now
appeared to plead on behalf of the offending people. An old man,
diminutive in stature, whose clothing was in tatters, started forward
from the group as the commissioners passed by, seized the bridle of
one, and commanded them in a tone of authority to dismount. “Who is
this mad fellow?” inquired the commissioners. They were informed that
he was the revered hermit Macedonius, surnamed Crithophagus, or the
barley-eater, because barley was his only sustenance. Hellebicus and
Cæsarius immediately alighted, and, falling on their knees before him,
craved his pardon for having received him so rudely. “My friends,”
replied the solitary, “go to the Emperor and say, ‘You are an emperor,
but also a man, and you rule over beings who are of like nature with
yourself. Man was created after a Divine image and likeness; do not,
then, mercilessly command the image of God to be destroyed, for you
will provoke the Maker if you punish his image. For, consider that you
are doing this from displeasure at the injury inflicted on a statue
of bronze; and how far does a living rational creature exceed the
value of such an inanimate object! Let him consider that it is easy
to manufacture many statues in the place of those destroyed, but it
is wholly impossible for him to make a single hair again of those men
who have been put to death.’”[315] The other hermits declared that
they were all prepared to shed their blood and lay down their lives
for the culprits; that they would not withdraw from the city until
they were sent as ambassadors to the Emperor, or until the city itself
had been acquitted. The joy of Chrysostom at the courage displayed by
these hermits was extreme; their noble conduct compensated for the sad
pusillanimity lately exhibited by the congregation in the church. He
triumphantly contrasts them with the so-called philosophers of Antioch,
who appear to have displayed anything but philosophic calmness in the
hour of danger. “Where now are those long-bearded, cloak-wearing,
staff-bearing fellows—cynic refuse, more degraded than dogs licking
up the crumbs under the table, doing everything for their belly? Why,
they have all hurried out of the city and hidden themselves in caves
and dens, whilst those who inhabited the caves have entered the city,
and boldly walk about the forum as if no calamity had happened. Their
conduct illustrates what I have never ceased to maintain, that even
the furnace cannot injure one who lives in virtue. Such is the power
of philosophy introduced to man by Christ.”[316] The result of this
singular intercession was, that the commissioners consented to suspend
the execution of their sentence on those pronounced guilty, until an
appeal had been made to the Emperor. Meanwhile the prisoners were to
remain in confinement, and their property to be held by the State.

The hermits were anxious to repair to the court of Theodosius, but
the commissioners wisely refused, making the length of the journey
an objection, but perhaps really because they feared such excitable
zealots might frustrate the object of their embassy by imprudent
behaviour. It was finally decided that Hellebicus should remain to
preserve order in Antioch, while his colleague went to Constantinople,
carrying with him an intercessory letter signed by the hermits, and
declaring that they were ready to give their own lives in ransom for
the city.

Cæsarius departed amidst the blessings and acclamations of the

What had the energetic preacher, who had sustained the spirits of
the people so long, been doing, since the arrival of the Emperor’s
legates? It had been, indeed, a relief to find that the city was not
to be surrendered to the sword; but to a proud and luxurious people
the loss of metropolitan rank, and the closing of the public baths,
theatres, and public places of amusement, were severe blows. Loud and
general was the lamentation over their fallen grandeur and their lost
enjoyments. Chrysostom expostulated with them on their discontent.
The real dignity of a city did not consist in pre-eminence of rank
or vastness of population, but in the virtue of its citizens. What
constituted the noblest distinction of Antioch?—the fact that the
disciples there were the first to be called Christians—that they had
sent relief to the distressed brethren in Judæa in the time of the
famine (Acts xi. 28, 29)—that they had sent Paul and Barnabas to that
Council at Jerusalem which had emancipated the Gentile Christians from
Judaic bondage. These were honourable distinctions, which no other
city, not even Rome itself, could rival. They enabled Antioch to look
the whole Christian world in the face, for they proved how great had
been her Christian courage and her Christian love. These were her true
metropolitan honours; and, if these were in aught diminished, not by
the size or beauty of her buildings, not by her airy colonnades or
her spacious porticos and promenades,[318] not by the sacred Grove of
Daphne, not by the number and loftiness of her cypresses, not by her
fountains or her multitudinous population, or her genial climate,—not
by these could she recover her tarnished reputation, but by equity,
almsgiving, vigils, prayers, temperance. External size and beauty did
not constitute real greatness. David was little of stature, yet he
prostrated by a single blow a very tower of flesh. Away with these
womanish complaints! “I have heard many in the forum saying, ‘Woe to
thee, Antioch! what has become of thee? how art thou dishonoured!’ and
when I heard I laughed at the childish understanding of those who say
such things. It behoves you not to speak thus now; but, when you see
dancing, and drunkenness, and singing, and blaspheming, and swearing,
then utter the cry, ‘Woe to thee, O city! what has become of thee?’ but
when you see only a few equitable, temperate, and moderate men in the
forum, then call the city happy.”[319]

He remonstrates indignantly with them for their querulous complaints
of the prohibition to use the public baths. Bathing, indeed, was a
luxury so indispensable to the bodily health and comfort of the people,
that they now resorted to the river in large numbers, with very little
regard to decency. He reminds those who murmured over this deprivation
of their favourite indulgence, that a short time ago, when they were
daily expecting an incursion of soldiers, and were flying to the desert
and mountains, they would have been too thankful to escape with so
cheap a penalty. He urges the duty of reconciliation with enemies as
specially incumbent on them when such great efforts were being made
to obtain mercy for themselves. They should have one enemy alone, the
devil, with whom they should wage an implacable warfare.[320]

Thus the prophet, ever vigilant for the true welfare and honour of his
people, ceased not to lift up his voice.

Cæsarius travelled day and night, and in the course of a week
accomplished the eight hundred miles which separated Antioch from
Constantinople. But his arrival and his errand had been anticipated.
Flavian had reached the court a week before, and the pardon of Antioch
was already secured. The aged bishop returned to Antioch just in
time to celebrate Easter, and to augment the natural joyfulness of
the festival by the tidings which he brought. He had, however, been
preceded a few days by an express courier, who delivered the imperial
rescript to Hellebicus. When the contents were publicly proclaimed,
the pent-up feelings of the people burst forth into demonstrations of
almost frantic joy. Hellebicus was received with ovation wherever he
went. Libanius walked by his side, reciting passages from his orations,
in honour of Theodosius and praise of the two commissioners.[321] On
Holy Saturday, Flavian himself entered the city, partly attended,
partly borne along, by vast crowds of grateful people. On that night
the forum was decorated with garlands and illuminated by lanterns. On
the next morning, Easter Day, a vast concourse thronged the church,
and once more the well-known voice, which had exhorted and encouraged
and warned, during the days of their gloom, now poured forth in the
sunshine of their joy a pæan of thanksgiving and praise.

“Blessed be God, who hath vouchsafed us to celebrate this holy feast
with great joy and gladness, who has restored the Head to the body,
the Shepherd to the sheep, the Master to his disciples, the Pontiff to
the priests. Blessed be God, who hath done exceeding abundantly above
all that we ask or think, for it seemed to us sufficient to be for a
time released from the impending calamities; but the merciful God, ever
exceeding in His gifts our petitions, has restored to us our father
sooner than all our expectation. And not only has our beloved prelate
escaped all the perils incident to so long a journey in the winter
season, but has found his sister, whom he left on the point of death,
still living to welcome his return.”[322]

He then proceeds to describe the interview of Flavian with Theodosius,
as it had been related to him by an eye-witness. The bishop, when
introduced into the royal presence, stood at a distance, silently
weeping, bending low, and covering his face, as if he himself had been
the author of all the late offences. By this attitude he hoped to expel
emotions of anger, and introduce the emotion of pity into the Emperor’s
breast, before he undertook the actual defence of the city.

Theodosius was moved; he advanced to the bishop, and used no harsh
or indignant language, but only mildly reproached with ingratitude a
city which he had always treated with lenity, and had long desired and
intended to visit. Even had the people been able to accuse him of any
injury done to them, they might at least have respected the dead, who
could do them no harm (alluding to the destruction of his wife’s and
father’s images).

The aged prelate no longer remained silent. With a fresh flood of
tears, he poured forth his pathetic appeal to the Christian clemency
and forbearance of the Emperor. “He would not attempt to extenuate
the offence, the sense of their ingratitude caused them the deepest
distress, and they frankly confessed that it deserved the severest
chastisement which could be inflicted. Yet the noblest kind of revenge
which he could take was freely to forgive the insult; thereby he would
defeat the malice of those demons who had tried to work the ruin of
the people by seducing them from their allegiance. In like manner,
the devil had tried to compass the death of the human race, but his
malevolence had been frustrated by God, who offered even heaven to
those who had been excluded from paradise. A free pardon would secure
for him a station in the hearts of all his subjects, far more enduring
than those statues which had been broken down. He reminded him, how
once his great predecessor, Constantine, when urged to revenge some
insult done to one of his statues, passed his hand over his face,
and observed, with a quiet smile, that he did not feel the blow;—a
saying which had endeared him to his people more than his military
exploits. But why need he refer to Constantine? Theodosius himself, on
a previous Easter, had commanded a general release of prisoners, and
had nobly exclaimed, ‘Would that it were possible also for me to recall
the dead to life!’[323] Now he might in some sort realise that wish,
by restoring to life a whole city, which lay, as it were, dead under
remorse and fear. Such an act of clemency would both strengthen his
own throne and the cause of Christianity. Greeks, Jews, and barbarians
were waiting to hear his decision. If it was on the side of mercy,
all would applaud it, saying, ‘Heavens! how mighty is the power of
Christianity, which has restrained the wrath of a monarch who has not
his peer in the world.’ How noble a tale for posterity to hear, that
what the governor and magistrates of a great city dared not ask, had
been granted to the prayer of an old man, because he was the priest of
God, and from reverence to the Divine laws. He would solemnly remind
him of the words, ‘If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither
will your Father which is in heaven forgive you your trespasses.’ He
begged him to remember that there was a day coming in which all men
would render an account of their actions, and to imitate the example
of God, who, though daily sustaining insults from man, did not cease
to bestow blessings upon him. He concluded by declaring that he would
never return to Antioch unless he could take back the imperial pardon,
but would enrol himself in another city.”[324]

If Flavian’s intercession was thrown into the form of an oration at
all, it is clear that Chrysostom’s version of it, which has been here
greatly condensed from the original, must be his own, rather than the
speech actually delivered. If it had been only half as long, it could
not have been accurately related to him from memory, or faithfully
rehearsed by him afterwards. The excitement of addressing so large an
audience, on so great an occasion, would naturally stimulate him to
amplify and embellish.

There is, however, no reason to doubt that Chrysostom has furnished us
with an accurate description of Flavian’s conduct in the interview,
and given us the main substance of his arguments. The whole narrative
of the occurrence illustrates the difference between the Eastern and
Western character. Compare the demeanour of Ambrose and of Flavian.
The first speaks in a tone of majestic authority, which brooks no
disputing; the other, though far from deficient in courage, approaches
the Emperor with that deferential and submissive manner which the
Oriental is accustomed to adopt in the presence of a potentate. His
tone is that of an appeal, though based upon the highest grounds; not
of a command. There is something of the courtier in Flavian; in Ambrose
there is more of the pope.

To conclude Chrysostom’s account: the Emperor was deeply affected,
though, like Joseph, he refrained himself in the presence of
spectators. He declared his intention of granting a free pardon, in
language eminently Christian. “If the Lord of the earth, who became
a servant for our sakes, and was crucified by those whom He came to
benefit, prayed for the pardon of his crucifiers, what wonder was it
that a man should forgive his fellow-servants?” He begged Flavian to
return with all expedition, that he might release the people from the
agony of their suspense. The bishop entreated that the young prince
Arcadius might accompany him as a pledge of imperial favour to the
city. But Theodosius said that he designed to confer on Antioch a
greater honour. He requested the bishop to offer up prayers for the
termination of the present war, that he might ratify his pardon by a
visit to the city in person. The express courier was then despatched,
while Flavian followed at a pace more suitable to his dignity and
advanced age.

Chrysostom concludes his discourse by a moral exhortation suggested
by those festive demonstrations of joy already described. “Let the
lanterns and the chaplets be to them emblems of spiritual things. Let
them not cease to be crowned with virtue or to light up a lamp in their
soul by the diligent practice of good works; let them rejoice with holy
joy, and thank God not only for rescuing them from destruction, but for
sending them so wholesome a chastisement, the salutary effects of which
would, he trusted, extend to many generations.”[325]

Thus terminated the celebrated sedition of Antioch. It is a singular
and instructive picture of the times: the impulsive character of the
people in the great Eastern cities of the Empire, alternating between
frantic rage and abject despondency; the expectation of violent
imperial vengeance, nothing less than the extermination of the city;
the remarkable veneration paid to monks,—these are points which stand
out in vivid colours. But still more remarkably does this event supply
an example of the softening, humanising influence of Christianity, in
a fierce and heartless age. The issue reflects the greatest honour
on those who brought it to pass; and they were _all Christians_: the
intrepid old bishop, sacrificing comfort and risking life to intercede,
the generous Emperor who yielded to the persuasion of his Christian
arguments; the humane commissioners; and last, but not least, the
pastor and preacher, who with unwearied patience, invincible courage,
unfailing eloquence, sustained the fainting spirits of his flock, and
endeavoured to convert their calamity into an occasion of lasting good.

One great and happy result of the recent trouble was a large accession
of Pagans to the ranks of the Church. When the city lay under ban,
the baths, theatres, and circus were closed, and the panic-stricken
people had no heart to pursue their ordinary business. But one place
had been constantly open. All knew that in the church prayer was being
offered up day by day; and to the first portion of the service, up
to the end of the sermon, there was free admission for all without
respect of creed. Curiosity alone, if not any deeper feeling, would
lead many Pagans to turn into the church, to hear what consolations,
what encouragements, the Christian preacher had to offer in this
season of general distress and painful suspense. And what had they
heard? They had heard an unsparing exposure and denunciation of the
follies and vices which prevailed in that great and dissolute city, a
trumpet-call to repentance and reformation; they had heard the fleeting
nature of earthly honour and earthly riches, their impotence to satisfy
the heart or to save the life in the time of danger and distress
vividly contrasted with the Christian’s aim of laying up incorruptible
treasure in an imperishable world; they had heard of the Christian’s
faith that righteousness was the only permanent good, as sin was the
only real evil, that to a good man death was only the transition to
a more blessed life, and that affliction was useful in purifying and
elevating the soul. They had heard the proofs of a Creator, and of His
providential care for the things which he had made as evinced by the
majesty, beauty, and organisation of the universe, by the conscience
and moral faculties of man, as well as by the more direct testimony
of the written word.[326] There is no evidence as to the number of
converts reclaimed from Paganism. Chrysostom only informs us[327]
that he was occupied for some time after the return of Flavian with
confirming in the faith those who “in consequence of the calamity had
come to better mind and deserted from the side of Gentile error.”

The sermons themselves are lost.



Very probably the physical labour and mental strain which Chrysostom
had undergone during the events recorded in the previous chapter may
have brought on the illness to which he alludes in the homily preached
on the Sunday before Ascension Day.[328] He was prevented by this
attack from taking part in the services which were held some time after
Easter under the conduct of Bishop Flavian at the chapels built over
the remains of martyrs and saints.[329] A variety of homilies delivered
by Chrysostom at such “martyries” on other occasions are extant, and it
may be as well to introduce here such indications as can be collected
from them of the general feeling of the Church, as well as of himself,
with regard to saints, and such kindred subjects as pilgrimages and

Churches had in most instances been erected to commemorate the death of
a martyr, or to mark the spot where he died. Tertullian’s saying that
“the blood of martyrs was the seed of the Church” thus became verified
in a literal, material sense. Socrates (iv. 23) even speaks of the
churches of St. Paul and St. Peter at Rome as their “martyries,” as
Eusebius[330] also calls the church which Constantine built on Golgotha
the “martyry” of our Saviour. By the age of Chrysostom the festivals
of martyrs and saints had grown so numerous that frequently more than
one occurred in the same week.[331] Good Friday and Ascension Day, and
the Sunday after Whitsun Day (not observed as Trinity Sunday till much
later), were especially dedicated to the commemoration of saints.[332]
The congregation kept a vigil the night before, or very early before
dawn on the Saints’ day itself. The vigil consisted of psalms, hymns,
and prayers, and was followed early in the day by a full service, when,
in addition to the ordinary lessons of the day, the acts or passions
of the saint or martyr were read. St. Augustine permitted his people
to sit during the reading of them because they were often of great
length. Pope Gelasius forbade them to be read because they were so
seldom authentic.[333] The martyries were generally outside the city
walls, not always built over the grave of the saint, but close to it;
in which case the congregation assembled at the grave first, and walked
in procession from it to the church, singing hymns as they went. There
can be no doubt that Chrysostom believed in the intercessory power of
departed saints, and encouraged the invocation of their intercession.
They were nearer to the Divine ear, and by virtue of their glorious
deaths had justly obtained more confidence in making their requests to
God than had the inhabitants of earth. He implores Christians not to
resort for medical assistance to Jews, who were the enemies of Christ,
but to seek aid from His friends the saints and martyrs, who had much
confidence in addressing God.[334] At the close of his homily on the
festival of two soldiers who had been beheaded by Julian for obstinate
adherence to Christianity, he says: “Let us constantly visit them,
touch their shrine, and with faith embrace their reliques, that we may
derive some blessing therefrom; for like soldiers who converse freely
with their sovereign when they display their wounds, so these, bearing
their heads in their hands, are easily able to effect what they desire
at the court of the King of Heaven.”[335] So, again, in the homily on
Bernice and Prosdoke: “Let us fall down before their reliques ... let
us embrace their shrines: not only on their festival, but at other
times, let us resort to them and invoke them to become our protectors;
for they can use much boldness of speech when dead, more, indeed, than
when they were alive, for now they bear in their bodies the marks of
Jesus Christ ... let us therefore procure for ourselves, through them,
favour from God.”[336] Thus the saint is to be appealed to as a kind
of friend at court, who will present petitions, and use his influence
to obtain a favourable answer from the Monarch; but the further step
of invoking saints as the _direct_ dispensers of spiritual and other
benefits had not yet been taken. The feeling of the Church of Smyrna
towards their beloved martyr and bishop Polycarp, as expressed in
A.D. 160 to the Church of Philomelium, still represented the general
state of feeling in the Church.[337] The Jews and other malignants had
suggested, when the remains of Polycarp had been earnestly asked for,
that the Christians intended to worship him; and “this they said, being
ignorant that we should never be able to desert Christ, or worship any
other Being. For Him, being the Son of God, we adore, but the martyrs,
as the disciples and imitators of the Lord, we love with a deserved
affection; desiring to become partners and fellow-disciples with them.”
The language of St. Augustine and St. Chrysostom thoroughly corresponds
to that in the passage just cited. “Our religion,” says Augustine,
“consists not in the worship of dead men; because if they lived piously
they are not considered likely to desire that kind of honour; but would
wish Him to be worshipped by us through whose illumination they rejoice
to have us partners with them in their merit. They are therefore to be
honoured for the sake of imitation, not to be worshipped as a religious
act.”[338] And in another place: “Christian people celebrate the
memory of martyrs with religious solemnity, to stimulate imitation, to
become partners in their merits, and to be assisted by their prayers;
but in doing this we never offer sacrifice to a martyr, but only to
Him who is the God of martyrs.”[339] A multitude of passages might be
cited from Chrysostom’s homilies on Saints’ Festivals, in which he
passionately exhorts to the imitation and emulation of their noble
lives and glorious deaths, and dwells on the great advantages to the
Church arising from these solemn commemorations. The very memory of
the martyrs wrought upon the minds of men in confirming them against
the assaults of wicked spirits, and delivering them from impure and
unseemly thoughts; ... the death of the martyrs was the exhortation
of the faithful, the confidence of Churches, the confirmation of
Christianity, ... the reproach of devils, the condemnation of Satan,
a consolation in affliction, a motive to patience, encouragement to
fortitude, the root, fountain, mother of all which is good.[340]

But if no inculcations to direct worship of saints are to be found in
Chrysostom, it is evident that no small virtue was ascribed by popular
faith (and, in his opinion, justly) to their remains.[341] Miracles
of healing were wrought, or supposed to be wrought, at their tombs;
demons were expelled by the application of their ashes to the persons
possessed. It is obvious that, where such a belief has taken possession
of the popular mind, prayer will very soon be addressed to the saint
for the direct bestowal of those advantages which are supposed to be
derivable from his reliques. Pilgrimages were fashionable in all parts
of Christendom. Prefects and generals, when they visited Rome, hastened
to pay their devotion at the tombs of the tentmaker and fisherman;
journeys were made into Arabia to visit the supposed site of Job’s

Two different causes seem to have led on the mind of the Church to an
increasing veneration of martyrs. First, the Church owed to them a real
debt; the heroic steadfastness of their deaths contributed much to
promote and establish Christianity. Chrysostom observes how the sight
of the aged Ignatius going to die at Rome for his faith—going not only
with calmness, but even with alacrity—mightily confirmed the souls of
the disciples in the several cities through which he passed.[343] “As
irrigation made gardens fruitful, so the blood of martyrs gave drink
to the Churches.”[344] Honour, affection, veneration, easily pass into
actual adoration.

Secondly, there is a natural desire to bridge over the chasm which
divides the human nature from the Divine, and earth from heaven, by
enlisting the agency of some intermediate being. In its earliest
conflicts with heresy, theology was chiefly engaged in zealously
defending the pure divinity of Christ—his co-equal, co-eternal
power and majesty with the Father. The more He was withdrawn into a
less accessible region of exalted deity, the more this need of the
half-deified human interpositor was felt, and worked itself out at last
into a distinct article of faith.

Some of those abuses of saints’ days, which we are apt to associate
more especially with medieval times, were far from uncommon in the days
of Chrysostom. The day which had begun in fasting, and was preceded
by a vigil, too often terminated in a very carnal kind of revelry.
“Ye have turned night into day by your holy vigils: do not turn day
into night by drunkenness, surfeiting, and lascivious songs; let not
any one see you misbehaving in an inn on your return home.”[345] A
custom prevailed of holding a “love-feast,” at or near the tomb of
the saint, which was furnished by the oblations of the wealthier
devotees. Chrysostom on one occasion urges his congregation to attend
such a sacred banquet when they dispersed after service, instead of
hurrying off to the diabolical entertainments at Daphne. The sight
of the martyrs, standing as it were near their table, would prevent
their pleasure from running to excess.[346] But there is abundant
evidence in other contemporary writers that these meetings too often
did degenerate into scenes of mere conviviality and intemperance.
St. Augustine speaks of those who “made themselves drunk at the
commemoration of martyrs.”[347] St. Ambrose prohibited all such feasts
in the churches of Milan; and St. Augustine cited his example to obtain
a similar prohibition from Aurelius, the Primate of Carthage.[348]
St. Basil reprobates a growing custom of trading near the martyries
on festival days, under pretence of making a better provision for the
feasts, to which we may fairly, perhaps, attribute the universal
custom in Christendom of holding fairs on saints’ days.[349] As they
were in medieval times, so in Roman Catholic countries at the present
day, the booths of the fair are in close contiguity with the walls of
the church, and they who attend mass in the morning, as well as those
who do not attend it at all, may disgrace themselves by drunkenness
and all kinds of folly in the evening. Such abuses are an inevitable
consequence of keeping up the observance of days after the real
enthusiasm for the person or cause which they commemorate has begun to
grow, or has altogether grown, cold. Little may ever have been really
known about the saint whose memory is celebrated, and that little
ceases to speak with any meaning to the minds of later generations.
The service, which was once a living reality, becomes a cold and empty
form, or the place of religious enthusiasm is supplied by some form of
sensual excitement. Crowds of peasants will not fail to be attracted to
a church which blazes with thousands of candles arranged in fantastic
patterns, and which rings with noisy sensational music: they probably
place a superstitious faith in the tutelary power of their patron: but
how different is all this from the hearty, genuine, reasonable devotion
of more enlightened worshippers to the Lord Himself, and the less
strong but more real respect and honour paid by such to His day! It is
surely one among many proofs of the deep and lasting hold of Christ’s
character upon the mind of men, of the applicability of its influence
to all times and places, and of its Divine superiority to that of all
His followers, however exalted, that abuses which have accompanied the
commemorations of saints have never extended in the same degree to His

As already remarked, Chrysostom was prevented this year by illness
from attending the festivals of saints and martyrs, which fell very
thickly between Easter and Whitsun Day. He commences his homily
preached on the Sunday before Ascension Day with an allusion to his
recent sickness, and tells his congregation that, though absent in body
from their sacred festivities, he had been present and rejoiced with
them in spirit; and now, though he had not fully recovered his health,
he could not refrain from meeting his beloved and much-longed-for
flock again. He was the more anxious also to occupy his accustomed
place on that day, because large numbers of the rustic population
from the neighbouring country had flocked into the city and attended
the services of the church. They spoke a different dialect, but they
were one with the Christian inhabitants of the town in the soundness
of their faith; and their habits of simple piety, pure morality, and
honourable industry, put to shame the dissolute manners and indolence
which prevailed in the city. Their peasant clergy were a noble race of
men; they might be seen, one while yoking their oxen to the plough,
and marking out furrows in the soil, another while mounting the pulpit
and ploughing the hearts of their flock; now cutting away thorns from
the ground with a sickle, now cleansing men’s minds from sin by their
discourse: for they were not ashamed of hard work, like the people of
the city, but of idleness, knowing that it was idleness which taught
men vice, and had been from the beginning to those who loved it the
schoolmaster of all iniquity. Though little skilled, by training,
in reasoning or rhetoric, they proved more than a match for those
counterfeit philosophers who paraded themselves about the streets with
their professional cloak, staff, and beard, but who could not give
any satisfactory information on the subjects upon which they expended
such a heap of words,—as the immortality of the soul, the creation of
the world, Divine Providence, a future world and judgment. The rustic
pastor, being simply and firmly persuaded of the truth of these things,
could instruct men with clearness and decision about them; he could
give solid matter, the others only polished language, like a man who
should have a sword with a silver ornamented hilt, but a weak blade.
Their wives were not luxurious creatures, covering themselves with
unguents, paints, and dyes, but simple, sober, quiet matrons; which
increased the influence of the pastor over the people committed to his
charge, and caused the precept of St. Paul, “having food and raiment,
let us be therewith content,” to be strictly observed[351] among them.



Some account has now been given of the most remarkable among the
homilies delivered by Chrysostom during the first year of his
priesthood; not only because to follow the course of the Christian
seasons through the cycle of one year seemed the most convenient
method of giving specimens of his ordinary style of preaching, but
also because these first efforts were seldom if ever surpassed in
power and beauty by his later productions. A more extensive survey of
his theology, under its several heads, is reserved for the concluding
chapter; and the remainder of the ten years during which he resided at
Antioch being uneventful as regards his life, it will be profitable to
fill up the gap by taking a glance at the world outside his present
sphere. Some knowledge of contemporary events and men is indeed
necessary to a just appreciation of his position and conduct, when he
is summoned to occupy a more public and exalted station.

It is a melancholy scene which meets the eye. The mighty fabric of
the Empire crumbles, perhaps more rapidly in this decade than in any
previous period of equal length—like an old man whose constitution is
thoroughly broken.

Effeminate luxury in the civilised population is matched by the rude
ferocity of the barbarians who hem it in or mingle with it, and the new
barbarian patch agrees ill with the old garment, which is not strong
enough to bear it. The pages of historians are filled with tales of
murder, massacre, treachery, venality, corruption, everywhere and of
all kinds. There is no national greatness, but great men move across
the stage: Theodosius himself, generous, just though passionate,
vigorous when roused to a sense of emergency; the last Emperor who
deserved the name of “great;” Ambrose, the intrepid advocate of
religious duty to God and man, the champion of the rights of Church and
hierarchy; Stilicho, the skilful commander of armies and able guardian
of the Empire after the death of Theodosius; Alaric, the very type of
Gothic force; Rufinus and Eutropius, the clever, scheming adventurers,
destitute of all nobility, who in a degenerate court contrive to raise
themselves to the pinnacle of power, and are suddenly toppled headlong
from it.

The most commanding public character in the West at this time was, and
for some years had been, Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan. Disliked but
feared by the Arian court, respected and beloved by the people, he
fought in some respects a similar battle to that in which Chrysostom
was afterwards engaged in the East, and amidst many differences there
are also many parallels in the character and history of the two men:
the same fearless courage to speak what they believed to be God’s
truth, in the face of royalty itself, animated both; in both cases
was it rewarded by virulent persecution; both had to contend with an
imperious, passionate woman; both were protected from her fury by the
populace keeping guard night and day before the walls of the church.
In A.D. 384, Ambrose had been summoned before a royal council, and, in
the presence of the young Emperor Valentinian II. and the Queen-mother
Justina, had been commanded to surrender the Portian Basilica for the
use of the Arians. But Ambrose had replied undauntedly, that not one
inch of ground which had been consecrated to truth would he concede
to error.[352] For more than two years Ambrose maintained his ground
against all the stratagems of his adversaries. On one occasion they
seized the Portian Basilica, but dared not hold it in the face of the
infuriated people. Messengers from court endeavoured to maintain before
the archbishop that the Emperor had a right to dispose of the churches
as he pleased, but the argument was contemptuously dismissed as a base
sophistry. “What!” he cried; “the Emperor has no right to violate the
house of a private individual, and think you that he may do violence
to the house of God? No! let him take all that is mine—my land, my
money, though these belong to the poor; if he seeks my patrimony, let
him seize it; if my person, I will present it to him: but the church it
is not lawful for me to surrender, or for him to accept.”[353] Force
was not more successful than argument. Soldiers were sent to dislodge
him and his congregation from one of the basilicas, but instead of
drawing their swords they fell on their knees, and declared that they
came not to attack the archbishop, but to pray with him. The effect of
an edict was tried in A.D. 386,[354] which permitted free worship to
all who professed the creed of Rimini (an Arian creed), and rendered
liable to capital punishment any who should impede the action of the
edict, as offenders against the imperial majesty. Under shelter of this
edict, the Portian Basilica was again demanded, but Ambrose refused to
recognise such an edict, which militated against his sense of duty to
a higher power. “God forbid that I should yield the heritage of Jesus
Christ. Naboth would not part with the vineyard of his fathers to Ahab,
and should I surrender the house of God? the heritage of Dionysius, who
died in exile for the faith; of Eustorgius the confessor; of Miroclus,
and all the faithful bishops which were before me?”[355] But though
Ambrose disobeyed, the penalties of the edict were not enforced upon
him. An order of banishment was served upon him, expressed in vague
terms: “Depart from the city, and go where you please.” But Ambrose
did not please to go anywhere, and remained where he was, moving up
and down the city, and officiating as usual in the churches, using in
his sermons the same Scripture parallels to indicate the Queen-mother,
“Herodias” and “Jezebel,” which Chrysostom afterwards applied to the
Empress Eudoxia. He preaches day after day, guarded by his faithful
flock, who during passion-tide suffered him not to quit the cathedral
for fear of violence to his person. Amongst that crowd, touched by the
spell of the chants and hymns which Ambrose taught the people[356] to
beguile the tediousness of their watch, and impressed by his pungent
and decisive doctrine, are two remarkable persons, a mother and her
son. They are Monica and Augustine. Monica is among the most faithful
in watching, the most earnest in praying for the welfare of the bishop
and the church. Augustine is about thirty-two years old; he has been in
many places and passed through many phases of thought. He has subdued
the vices and follies which stained his youth; he has shaken off the
errors of Manicheism which for a time enthralled him; he has been a
teacher of rhetoric at Tagaste, at Carthage, at Rome; and Symmachus
has now obtained for him a professorial chair at Milan. But Pagan
literature is losing its hold upon him. Plato no longer fascinates
him equally with Holy Scripture. He is gravitating steadily towards
Christianity, and in another year, April 387, just about the time that
Chrysostom is delivering his homilies on the Statues, he will crown
his mother’s hopes by making a public confession of his faith, and
receiving baptism at the hands of Ambrose.[357]

One more effort was made to win the contest, this time through
diplomacy. The court proposed that the question under dispute should
be settled by arbitration, the judges to be selected by Ambrose
and Auxentius the Arian bishop. But Ambrose would not accept the
arbitrators nominated by Auxentius, four of whom were Pagans and one a
catechumen. In the name of himself and the clergy of his province he
denied the validity of the tribunal. In an address to the people the
same lofty tone of independence was maintained. “He would pay deference
to the Emperor, but never yield in things unlawful: the Emperor was ‘in
the Church, not above it.’”[358] So he remained master of the field.
The unfinished basilica, which had been the prize contended for, was
consecrated by Ambrose with great pomp, and the joy of the people
was completed by the discovery of the martyrs’ skeletons beneath the
pavement, pronounced to be those of Gervasius and Protasius, who had
suffered in the persecution of Diocletian. When demoniacs shuddered on
being placed in proximity to these reliques, and a blind man was cured
by the application to his eyes of a handkerchief which had been placed
in contact with these same reliques, the crown was put on the triumph
of Ambrose; the people were more firmly convinced than ever that his
cause was the cause of God.[359]

He was so indisputably the ablest man of the time in the West, that,
when danger impended over the state, the very court which persecuted
him turned to him to rescue the country. Threatening messages came from
the court of Maximus at Treves. Ambrose was the ambassador selected to
go and pacify or intimidate the tyrant. Maximus was a Catholic, and
a ruthless persecutor of those whom he deemed heretics, especially
Priscillianists; yet Ambrose did not hesitate to denounce his cruelty
to brethren who were Christians, however erring, as well as his
disloyal attitude towards Valentinian. The embassy was unsuccessful,
but the dignity of the ambassador and of the court which he represented
was fully maintained. The artifices by which another ambassador, the
Syrian Domninus, was blinded to the preparations of Maximus for the
invasion of Italy; the passage of the Alps by the usurper; the flight
of Justina and her son to Thessalonica; the prompt march of Theodosius
to the succour of Italy, and his complete victory over Maximus, near
Aquileia,—belong to the secular historian; but the connection between
Theodosius and Ambrose will be related here more in detail.

There is no account of the first meeting between the two great
characters of the day—the Emperor and the archbishop. That Ambrose
immediately exercised influence over the imperial mind may be inferred
from the mildness of the measures by which the embers of the late
revolution were extinguished. No bloody executions took place; no
rigorous search for rebels was made; the mother and daughter of
Maximus—who had been himself beheaded—were provided with a maintenance.
Ambrose, in one of his letters, thanks the Emperor for granting
liberty, at his request, to several exiles and prisoners, and for
remitting the sentence of death to others.

Theodosius could be generous to enemies, and was the zealous friend of
Catholic Christianity, but he was a strict punisher of any violations
of civil order, even when the offenders were Christian. The people of
Callinicum in Osrhoene, instigated by the bishop and some fanatical
monks, had set fire to a Jewish synagogue, and to a church of the sect
of Valentinians. The Emperor directed the Count of the East to punish
the offenders, and commanded the bishop to restore the buildings at the
expense of the Church. But the extension of such favour to heretics was
in the sight of Ambrose intolerable. It might, indeed, have been wrong
to disturb civil order, but it was far more wrong to reinstate error:
to order Christians to rebuild a place of worship for those who set
Christ at naught was, in his eyes, simple profanity. He expressed his
opinion to the Emperor in a letter. It is the first great instance of
the Church distinctly claiming a pre-eminence of authority superseding
that of civil law. “If I am not worthy to be listened to by you, how
can I be worthy to transmit, as your priest, your vows and prayers
to God?” Basing on this ground his right to speak out his mind, he
declares that “if the Bishop of Callinicum obeyed the imperial command,
he would be guilty of culpable weakness, and the Emperor would be
responsible for it. If he refused to obey, the Emperor could execute
his will by force of arms only; the labarum, perhaps the standard
of Christ, would be employed to rebuild a temple where Christ would
be denied. What a monstrous inconsistency!” The last words which it
contained were: “I have endeavoured to make myself heard in the palace;
do not place me under the necessity of making myself heard in the
church;” but the letter was unanswered, and so Ambrose put his threat
into execution. He preached in Milan in the presence of the Emperor;
“he compared the Christian priest to the prophets of the Old Testament,
whose duty it was to proclaim God’s message to the king himself, as
Nathan did to David. As the Israelites were warned not to say, when
they entered the land of Canaan, ‘My virtue has deserved these good
things,’ but ‘the Lord God has given them,’ so the Emperor should
remember that he was what he was by the mercy of God. Therefore, he
ought to love the body of Christ, the Church—to wash, kiss, and anoint
her feet, that all the dwelling where Christ reposes might be filled
with the odour; that is, he ought to honour his least disciples, and
pardon their faults; every one of the members of the Christian body was
necessary to it, and ought to receive his protection.”

Having uttered such words, he descended from the altar steps.
Theodosius perceived that the archbishop had taken up his parable
against him, and as Ambrose was going out of the church he stopped him,
saying, “Is it I whom you have made the subject of your discourse?”
“I have said that which I deemed useful for you,” Ambrose replied.
“I perceive it is of the synagogue that you would speak,” rejoined
Theodosius. “I own that my commands have been a little severe, but
I have already softened them, and these monks are troublesome men.”
“I am going to offer the sacrifice,” said Ambrose; “enable me to do
so without fear for you; deliver me from the load which oppresses my
spirit.” “It shall be so,” responded the Emperor; “my orders shall be
mitigated; I give you my promise.” But Ambrose was not satisfied with
so vague an assurance. “Suppress the whole matter,” he said; “swear it
to me, and, on your sworn promise, I proceed to offer the sacrifice.”
The Emperor swore; Ambrose celebrated mass; “and never,” said he, in
a letter written the day after to his sister, “did I experience such
sensible marks of the presence of God in prayer.”[360]

In the spring of A.D. 389, Theodosius made his triumphal entry into
Rome, accompanied by Valentinian and his own son Honorius, a boy
of ten. His arrival was preceded by two popular enactments: one
a decree, renouncing for himself and family all bequests made by
codicils—striking a blow at a vicious custom, which had long prevailed,
of bribing imperial favour for particular families, by bequeathing
large legacies to the reigning sovereign. By heathen emperors these
bequests had been sought with great cupidity; sick or old men were
sometimes threatened with an acceleration of death, unless they
satisfied the royal expectations in this way. The other, no less
popular, decree was, to abolish the custom by which royal couriers,
when conveying news of victory, exacted donations from the villages
through which they passed. The victory of Theodosius over Maximus was
the first which had been gratuitously proclaimed along the route to
Rome; and the people greeted the Emperor as he made his progress to the
capital with all the warmer welcome in consequence.[361]

Rome had at this period scarcely recovered from the ferment into which
society had been thrown by the three years’ residence of Jerome, A.D.
382-385. His denunciations of clerical luxury; his cutting satires on
the vices and follies of the laity; his allurement to monastic life of
some of the wealthiest and noblest of the Roman ladies, had stirred up
a tumult of feeling for the most part adverse to him. But Theodosius
prudently abstained from interfering with the religious debates of
Rome. In Constantinople he was the absolute sovereign; in Rome he
desired to appear simply as the successful general and the foremost
citizen. He assumed no imperial or Asiatic splendour; he exhibited
no fastidious abhorrence of statues, temples, and other remnants of
Paganism. Symmachus, the most eminent Pagan citizen, was cordially
received, and gratified by the promise of consulship. The result of
this amiable and moderate conduct was that some of the most powerful
Roman families embraced the faith of the Emperor.

A.D. 390. But the generosity which Theodosius had manifested towards
the people of Antioch, his moderation after the defeat of Maximus, and
during his triumphal residence in Rome, was presently stained by one
of those paroxysms of anger to which he was occasionally subject. The
intercession of Flavian had averted any such outburst in the case of
the sedition of Antioch; the authority of Ambrose, too late to prevent
the crime, enforced penance for the cruel vengeance executed on the
people of Thessalonica.

Botheric, the governor of Thessalonica, had imprisoned a favourite
charioteer for attempting to commit a disgusting crime. The people,
passionately attached to the races of the circus, demanded his release
on a certain day to take part in the contest. The governor refused,
and the people then broke out into rebellion; the tumult was with
difficulty quelled by the troops, and not before Botheric had been
mortally wounded, several other officers torn to pieces, and their
mangled remains dragged through the streets. The irritation of the
Emperor, on hearing of this barbarous violence, was extreme; and all
the more so, because of Thessalonica he could have expected better
things. It did not contain, like Antioch, Rome, or Alexandria, a large
mixed population, but one almost exclusively Christian, and for the
most part even Catholic. The city was the scene of his early triumphs,
and frequently honoured by his visits. It is possible that Ambrose may
have pushed his exhortations to clemency too far in the first glow of
the Emperor’s resentment. At any rate, the counsel of those rivals or
enemies of Ambrose, who represented that the affair belonged purely to
civil government, and should be decided independently of all clerical
interference, prevailed. Rufinus, the flattering, heartless courtier,
persuaded Theodosius that a public offence of such magnitude deserved
the most merciless punishment which could be inflicted. Orders were
issued to the officials at Thessalonica to assemble the populace, as
if for a fête, in the circus, and then to let in the troops upon them.
This barbarous mandate was too faithfully executed. The unsuspecting
victims crowded into their favourite place of amusement; at a given
signal the soldiers rushed in, and in the course of two or three
hours the ground was strewn with some 7000 corpses of men, women, and
children.[362] The horror of the people of Milan was only equalled by
their astonishment. Was it possible that he who had displayed such
magnanimity and Christian moderation could be guilty of an act which
savoured of the most heathen treachery and ferocity? When the Emperor
returned from Rome, Ambrose withdrew from Milan into the country,
and thence wrote to him a letter expressing his horror at the recent
massacre; exhorting him to the deepest repentance and humiliation as
the only hope of obtaining mercy from God, and declaring that he could
not celebrate mass again in his presence. The mode by which the Emperor
was to expiate his guilt is not indicated in this epistle, and he
presented himself soon afterwards at the doors of the cathedral church
with his usual royal retinue. But he was confronted by Ambrose in his
pontifical robes, who with flashing eyes expressed his astonishment
at such audacity, and barred the entrance with his person. “I see,
Emperor, you are ignorant of the flagrancy of the murder which you have
perpetrated. Perhaps your unlimited power blinds you to your guilt,
and obscures your reason. Yet consider your frail and mortal nature;
think of the dust from which you were formed, and to which you will
return, and beneath the splendid veil of your purple recognise the
infirmity of the flesh which it covers. You rule over men who are your
brethren by nature, and by service to a common King, the Creator of all
things. How then will you dare to plant your feet in His sanctuary,
and elevate your hands towards Him, all dripping as they are with the
blood of men unjustly slain? How will you take into your hands the
sacred body of the Lord, or dare to put His precious blood to those
lips, which by a word of anger have spilt the blood of so many innocent
victims? Withdraw, then, and add not a fresh crime to those with which
you are already burdened.” The Emperor returned, conscience-stricken
and weeping, to his palace. For eight months no intercourse took place
between him and Ambrose. Christmas approached; exclusion from the
church at such a season seemed insupportable to the Emperor. Rufinus
found him one day dissolved in tears. “The church of God,” he cried,
“is open to the slave and the beggar, but to me it is closed, and
with it the gates of heaven; for I remember the words of the Lord:
‘Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.’” Rufinus
sought to console him: “I will hasten to Ambrose, and force him to
release you from this bond.” “No,” said the Emperor, “you will not
persuade Ambrose to violate divine law from any fear of imperial
power.” Rufinus, however, sought an interview with the archbishop;
but Ambrose spurned him indignantly from him, as being the chief
counsellor of the late massacre. Rufinus informed him that the Emperor
was approaching. “If he comes,” said the prelate, “I will repel him
from the vestibule of the church.” The minister returned to the Emperor
discomfited, and advised him to abstain from visiting the church; but
Theodosius had subdued all pride, and replied that he would now go and
submit to any humiliation which Ambrose might see proper to impose. He
advanced to the church. Perceiving the archbishop in the exterior court
or atrium, he cried, “I have come; deliver me from my sins.” “What
madness,” replied Ambrose, “has prompted you to violate the sanctuary,
and to trample on divine law?” “I ask for my deliverance,” said the
humbled monarch; “shut not the door which God has opened to all
penitents.” “And where is your penitence?” said the archbishop; “show
me your remedies for healing your wounds.” “It is for _you_ to show
them to _me_,” Theodosius replied; “for me to accept them.” Once more
Ambrose had gained the day. He could prescribe his own terms. First,
he required that the recurrence of a similar crime should be guarded
against by a decree which should interpose a delay of thirty days
between a sentence of confiscation or death and the execution of it. At
the expiration of this period the sentence was to be presented to the
Emperor for final reconsideration. Theodosius consented, ordered the
law to be drawn up, and subscribed it with his own hand. He was then
admitted within the walls, but in deeply penitential guise; stripped
of imperial ornaments, prostrate on the pavement, beating his breast,
tearing his hair, and crying aloud, “My soul cleaveth unto the dust,
quicken thou me according to thy word.” So he remained during the first
portion of the Liturgy. When the offertory began, he rose, advanced
within the choir to present his offering, and was about to resume the
place which at Constantinople he usually occupied—a seat in the midst
of the clergy, in the more elevated portion of the choir. But Ambrose
determined, by taking advantage of the Emperor’s present humiliation,
to put a stop to this custom. An archdeacon stepped up to Theodosius,
and informed him that no layman might remain in the choir during the
celebration. The submissive Emperor withdrew outside the rails. When
he had returned to Constantinople, he was invited by Nectarius, the
archbishop, to occupy his accustomed chair in the choir. “No!” replied
Theodosius, with a sigh; “I have learned at Milan the insignificance
of an Emperor in the Church, and the difference between him and a
bishop. But no one here tells me the truth. I know not any bishop
save Ambrose who deserves the name.”[363] He had hit the truth. The
difference between the conduct of Ambrose and of Nectarius symbolised
the difference between the character of the Western and Eastern Church
generally: the one stern, commanding, jealous of any encroachment of
the civil power; the other, subservient, submissive, courtier-like; the
one aspiring and advancing, the other receding and decadent. Chrysostom
would have told him the truth; but Chrysostom, in his uncompromising
and fearless honesty of purpose and speech, is such a grand exception
among the patriarchs of Constantinople, that he proves the general
rule. Even Flavian had only _supplicated_ mercy from the Emperor;
Ambrose _commanded_ it.

On one subject the deference of Theodosius for the opinion of Ambrose
caused him some embarrassment. Ambrose, in common with the other
Western prelates, had recognised Paulinus as Bishop of Antioch—the
priest of the Eustathian party who had been consecrated by Lucifer of
Cagliari; and he now acknowledged Evagrius, his successor. Theodosius
was distracted between his friendship for Flavian, the rival of
Evagrius, and for Ambrose. Flavian was summoned to court. The Emperor
implored him to go to Rome and justify his claims before the Pope; but
Flavian refused. At the suggestion of Ambrose, the Western Bishops
assembled in council at Capua, and there delegated the decision to
Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria. Once more Flavian was summoned to
court, and advised to submit to the arbitration of Theophilus; but he
was still intractable. “Take my bishopric at once, and give it to whom
you please; but I will submit neither my honour nor my faith to the
judgment of my equals.” Nearly eighteen months were consumed in these
negotiations. The West grew impatient. The letters of Ambrose took a
severer tone: “Flavian has something to fear; that is why he avoids
examination. Will he place himself outside the Church, the communion
of Rome, and intercourse with his brethren?” The strife was mercifully
broken off by the sudden death of Evagrius, before he had time to
designate a successor; and the wound was salved, though not healed.
That final good work was destined to be accomplished by Chrysostom.[364]

A.D. 392. Only a few years more of life remained for Theodosius, and
his reign was occupied at the end as at the beginning by quelling
rebellion in the West. When he returned to the East, in A.D. 391, after
the defeat of Maximus, he had generously left the youthful Valentinian
in full possession of all his hereditary dominions, which he had
rescued for him from the usurper. Arbogastes, a Gaul, was appointed
general of the forces; Ambrose was a kind of general counsellor. But
Arbogastes was bold, ambitious, unscrupulous. He possessed much
power; he determined to acquire the whole. He obeyed the commands of
his young sovereign or not, as suited his pleasure and purposes, and
surrounded him with creatures of his own, who, under the semblance
of courtiers, acted as spies and gaolers. Valentinian’s residence at
Vienne, in Gaul, became his prison rather than his palace. The sequel
belongs to secular history, and is well known. An open rupture took
place. Arbogastes threw off the mask. Valentinian was found strangled,
too late to receive baptism at the hands of Ambrose, whose coming he
had awaited with great eagerness as soon as he knew that his life was
in danger.[365] Once more Italy became the prey of a usurper; once more
the veteran Emperor of the East roused himself from his well-earned
repose, collected a huge force, consulted John, the hermit of the
Thebaid, on the issue of the war, solicited the favour of Heaven by
visiting the principal places of devotion in the city, and kneeling
on flint before the tombs of martyrs and apostles, then set out on
his march, and by the summer of A.D. 394 again looked down from the
Alps on the plains of Venetia, near the scene of his former victory
over one usurper, and now covered with the tents belonging to the
army of another. He prosecuted the campaign in the same religious
spirit in which he had undertaken it. The first assault made on the
5th of September against the enemy was repulsed. Theodosius rallied
and harangued the troops lifted up his eyes to heaven, and cried: “O
Lord, Thou knowest that I have undertaken this war only for the honour
of thy Son, and to prevent crime going unpunished; stretch forth, I
pray Thee, thy hand over thy servants, that the heathen say not of us,
‘Where is their God?’” The second assault was more successful; the
night was spent by the Emperor in prayer, who was rewarded towards dawn
by a vision of two horsemen, clothed in white, who bade him be of good
cheer, for that they were the apostles St. Philip and St. John, and
would not fail to come to his succour on the following day. The issue
of that day was decisive; the overthrow of Arbogastes complete; his
army routed; himself slain.[366]

The conqueror was received by Ambrose, at Milan, with transports
of joy. The victory was nobly signalised by a display of Christian
clemency. Free pardon was proclaimed in the church (whither the
offenders had fled for refuge) to all those Milanese who had joined the
side of the usurper. Among them were the children of Arbogastes, and of
the puppet king whom he had set up, Eugenius. They were made to expiate
the crimes of their Pagan fathers by submitting to baptism.[367]

But there was an increasing shade of gloom which overcast the general
sunshine of joy. The health of Theodosius, long undermined by a
disease, was now manifestly fast giving way. He was sensible of his
danger, and despatched a message to Constantinople, desiring that his
younger son, Honorius, should be sent to join him at Milan. The young
prince, accompanied by his cousin Serena (the wife of Stilicho) and
his little sister Placidia, set off without delay. They reached Milan
early in the year A.D. 395. Some shocks of earthquake, and terrific
storms, which coincided with their arrival, were regarded as portents
of future evil. The malady of Theodosius, a dropsical disorder, was
rapidly gaining ground. He revived a little at the sight of his son,
and received the Eucharist from the hands of Ambrose, which he had
hitherto refused, as having too recently been engaged in the sanguinary
scenes of war. He gave audience to a deputation of Western bishops,
who came to pay him homage, and besought them to heal the schism of
Antioch by acknowledging Flavian. He besought the Pagan members of the
senate of Rome to embrace the Christian faith, adding the somewhat
potent argument, that Pagan worship must no longer expect any pecuniary
aid from the State. He appeared for a few times at the circus, where
races were held in honour of his victory and the arrival of the young
prince; but one day, while dining, he was taken suddenly worse, and
expired early the next morning, Jan. 17th, A.D. 395, in the fiftieth
year of his age, and the sixteenth of his reign. Those who watched by
his bedside thought they detected the name of Ambrose faintly murmured
by his dying lips.[368]

So passed away the last great Emperor of the Roman world.[369] He had
persistently kept in view a single and noble aim—the consolidation
of the Empire. He had repelled invasion, crushed rebellion, laboured
to extirpate heathenism, to suppress heresy, to reconcile opposing
factions in the Church; and the work seemed advancing when he was
called away, and years ensued of misrule and disorder, Gothic
devastation, and internal corruption and decadence.

The history of the Empire under Arcadius and Honorius presents a
pitiable picture of imbecility on the part of the sovereigns; of
infidelity and unscrupulous ambition on the part of their ministers.
Theodosius himself, as he lay on his death-bed, was perhaps conscious
of impending troubles. The words supposed by Claudian to be spoken by
the shade of Theodosius to his son Arcadius: “Res incompositas fateor
tumidasque reliqui,”[370] express at any rate the true condition of
affairs. To Stilicho he commended his younger son, Honorius, and the
interests of the Western Empire, but added a request that he would not
neglect Arcadius and the Eastern portion of the Empire also. The legal
guardian, however, of Arcadius was not a man who would tamely submit
to any supervision, or to any encroachment, fancied or real, upon the
rights of his office. He was as jealous of Stilicho as Constantinople
was of Rome. Discernment of character cannot be reckoned among the
great qualities of Theodosius; otherwise he would not have intrusted
his two sons to the guardianship of two men dissimilar in all respects
but one—an insatiable love of power. He had placed the two weak princes
in the hands of deadly rivals.

Rufinus, the guardian of Arcadius and regent of the East, was an
Aquitanian Gaul, born at Elusa, the modern Eauze, at the foot of the
Pyrenees.[371] He was the very model of an accomplished adventurer.
Sprung from poverty and obscurity, he was gifted by nature with a
handsome figure, a noble demeanour, a ready tongue, an inventive,
versatile wit.[372] He made his way, after residing in Milan and Rome,
to the court of Constantinople; and found in Theodosius a patron who
could appreciate his talents without detecting his vices. He rapidly
rose till he had attained the high distinction of “Master of the
Offices,” in A.D. 390; of consul, in connection with Arcadius, in A.D.
392; and, in A.D. 394, prætorian prefect _in presenti_, a position
second only to that of the Emperor himself.[373] He affected the
warmest zeal for the Catholic faith, and threw himself heartily into
the schemes of Theodosius for the suppression of heresy, no less than
into those for the consolidation of the social and political fabric.

But underneath this appearance of patriotic enthusiasm he indulged what
Claudian terms an “accursed thirst” for gain.[374] By unjust law-suits
he wrested patrimonies from the poor, and manœuvred to marry the
daughters and widows of the wealthy to his own favourites, in order
that he might reap their legacies and gifts. If any exposure of these
iniquities was threatened, he stopped the mouths of accusers by large
bribes, and compensated his extortions from towns by making presents to
their churches or enlarging their public buildings.

When Theodosius departed for the Italian war, Rufinus, being left
as guardian of Arcadius, began to conceive the project of elevating
himself to the imperial throne. He made a magnificent display of his
piety. Hard by his villa, or rather palace, in the suburb of Chalcedon,
called the Oak, a spot which afterwards acquired a melancholy notoriety
in the history of Chrysostom, he had built a church and a monastery
attached to it. This church he now determined to dedicate with great
pomp, and at the same time to be baptized himself. For this purpose
he assembled nineteen Eastern bishops, chiefly metropolitans, and a
number of Egyptian hermits; strange-looking figures, who, with their
raiment of skins, their flowing beards and long hair, excited much
superstitious reverence. In the midst of this august assembly, the
depredator of the East descended into the baptismal waters, arrayed in
the white robes typical of innocence. The celebrated Egyptian solitary,
Ammonius (who will come before us again), administered the sacrament,
and Gregory of Nyssa delivered a discourse.[375] Rufinus now surrounded
himself with a powerful party of followers; Arcadius was too stupid to
see, or too timid to oppose, the dangerous ambition of his so-called

But the death of Theodosius and the elevation of Stilicho to the
guardianship of the West brought the intriguer face to face with an
able and determined soldier, who united some of the ferocity of the
barbarian with the steadfast patriotism of an old Roman. This last,
indeed, was the character which Stilicho, a Vandal by birth, but
educated at Rome, more especially emulated. It was his ambition to be
compared to Fabricius, Curtius, Camillus.[376] Great was his delight
when Claudius, himself called a second Virgil, likened him in his
verses to Scipio.[377] The poet declared that Theodosius had never
fought without Stilicho, though Stilicho had fought without Theodosius.
He was made not only the guardian but father-in-law of Honorius,
who was betrothed to his eldest daughter beside the death-bed of
Theodosius; the father dying in the happy assurance that, by creating
this parental tie, he had secured the fidelity of his minister. The boy
and girl were brought into the sick-room, exchanged rings, and repeated
the words which were dictated to them.[378]

The regent of the East naturally became profoundly jealous of the
regent of the West, and in point of royal connection determined to
be even with him. He humoured Arcadius into a consent to marry his
own daughter; and his scheme seemed on the point of completion when
an inopportune matter of business took him away to Antioch, and his
enemy, the chamberlain Eutropius, took advantage of his absence to
frustrate the plan. A Frankish general, called Bautho, who had been
elevated to the consulship, but had prematurely died, left a daughter
of rare beauty named Eudoxia. The orphan girl was brought up by a
friend of Bautho, the son of Promotus, a magister militum, whom
Rufinus, in revenge for an insult, had caused to be assassinated.
Eutropius introduced a portrait of the young beauty to the notice
of Arcadius. Curiosity, and soon a tenderer sentiment, were excited
in the young Emperor’s breast; the cunning chamberlain fanned the
flame, till he was able to persuade the royal youth that Eudoxia was
a more eligible bride than the daughter of the low-born Gaul.[379]
The intrigue was conducted with such secrecy that Rufinus, on his
return from Antioch, remained unsuspicious, and his boastful remarks
on the approaching nuptials excited the indignation of the public. The
wedding-day was fixed for April 25, A.D. 395. Eutropius selected from
the imperial wardrobe some of the costliest female robes and jewels
which it contained. They were placed on litters, which, escorted by a
large train of splendidly apparelled serving-men, paraded the streets,
on the way, as was supposed, to the house of Rufinus. What was the
astonishment of the populace when the procession suddenly turned in
another direction, and presently stopped in front of the house of
Promotus! A loud shout of joy burst from the lips of the multitude, and
proclaimed to Rufinus the unpopularity of his project, and the general
satisfaction at its defeat. The bride thus cunningly substituted was
destined to play a conspicuous part in the later scenes of Chrysostom’s
career. She inherited the fair beauty, the energetic spirit, the
impulsive, sometimes fierce, temper of the race from which she sprang.
Her father had remained firmly attached to the Pagan religion of his
ancestors, but, in deference to Theodosius, his patron, he had allowed
his daughter to be baptized and educated in the Christian faith.[380]
Impatient of control, she resolved to possess herself of her husband’s
confidence in order to govern through him, and gradually to disengage
herself from the management alike of Rufinus and Eutropius.

Rufinus had been thoroughly outwitted in his matrimonial scheme, but
his resources were far from being exhausted. The sequel of his life
belongs too exclusively to secular history to be more than glanced at
here. He played a subtle and desperate game, seldom if ever surpassed
in villainy. Some Hunnish tribes, encouraged by him, made incursions
into Armenia, Pontus, Cappadocia, and even as far as the vicinity
of Antioch.[381] The court was in the extremity of alarm, for the
main forces of the army and treasury had been drained to the West
when Theodosius marched against Arbogastes, and remained in the hands
of Stilicho. Worse still, the formidable chieftain Alaric, of the
royal race of the Visigoths, who had lately distinguished himself in
the Italian wars under Theodosius, began to complain of unrequited
services, and with a motley force of Huns, Alani, Sarmatians, and
Goths, descended into Thrace, and ravaged the country up to the walls
of Constantinople. The inhabitants were convulsed with panic; all
except the artful intriguer, who had already struck his bargain with
the invaders. He rode out of Constantinople accoutred as a Gothic
warrior, went through the farce of an interview with Alaric, and
returned with the joyful intelligence that his intercessions had
saved the city, and that the Gothic prince had consented to withdraw
his troops. And so he did; not, however, to retire to the Gothic
settlements in the north, but to pour southwards in a devastating
flood over Greece. This was the plot of Rufinus. The possession of the
Illyrian provinces was disputed between the courts of East and West.
Alaric occupied these. Stilicho, with extraordinary energy, collected a
large army, advanced against the devastator, who was supposed to be the
common enemy of the whole Empire; but when on the point of attacking
him, he was arrested by a message from Constantinople, which commanded
him to abstain from any hostilities against the ravager of Greece. “He
was the good friend of Arcadius: he occupied the province of Illyria as
his ally, which Stilicho was to evacuate immediately, and to restore
the troops and treasure which belonged to the East.” The troops were
sent back by Stilicho under the command of Gaïnas, but with the
secret understanding that he should compass the death of Rufinus. The
result is well known. Rufinus fell just as he was placing his foot on
the topmost round of his ladder of ambition. He was standing on the
tribune, where Arcadius was to proclaim him Cæsar, in the presence
of a vast multitude; he was making a flowery harangue to the troops,
complimenting them on their exploits, congratulating them on their
restoration to their homes, when those very troops closed in upon him,
plunged their swords into his body, and presently hacked it to pieces.
A soldier who got hold of his right arm, and having crooked the fingers
of the hand, went about the town, holding it in front of him, and
crying, “An obol, an obol for him who never had enough,” collected a
large sum by his grim and savage jest.[382]

Arcadius was quite incapable of handling the reins of government
himself, and the downfall of one all-powerful minister would in any
case have been quickly followed by the rise of another; but, as it
happened, there was one ready to step immediately into the vacant
place. The fortunes of this person, the eunuch Eutropius, ran a strange
career. Born a slave, somewhere in the region of the Euphrates, and
condemned in infancy to the most degraded condition possible even to
slavery, he passed in boyhood and youth through the hands of many
owners. He performed the most menial offices as a household slave,
cutting wood, drawing water, or whisking the flies from his mistress’s
face with a large fan. Arinthus, an old magister militum, who had
become possessed of him, presented him to his daughter on her marriage;
and, in the words of Claudian, “the future consul of the East was
made over as part of a marriage dowry.”[383] But the young lady grew
tired of the slave, who was getting elderly and wrinkled, and without
attempting to sell him, simply turned him out of doors.[384] He lived
for a time, picking up a precarious livelihood, and often in great
want, till an officer about court at Constantinople took pity on him,
and with some difficulty obtained for him a situation in the lowest
ranks of the imperial chamberlains.[385] This was the beginning of
his rise. By the diligence and precision with which he discharged his
ordinary duties, by occasional witty sayings, and the semblance of a
fervent piety, he attracted the notice of the Emperor Theodosius, and
gradually acquired his confidence so as to be employed on difficult
and delicate missions. He it was whom the Emperor sent to consult the
hermit John in Egypt before undertaking the Italian campaign in A.D.

On the death of Theodosius he became, in the capacity of grand
chamberlain, the intimate adviser and constant attendant of Arcadius;
and, when Rufinus was removed, the government was practically in his
hands, though he was careful to avoid the error of his late rival,
and was content with the reality without the display of power. He
continued to execute all the household duties which fell to his lot
as chamberlain with humble assiduity, and sought no other title than
what he possessed.[387] But it was soon apparent, to the amusement of
the East and the indignation of the West, that the eunuch slave was
really master of the Emperor of half the Roman world. He gradually
removed by his arts the friends of Theodosius from the principal posts
of trust, and replaced them by creatures of his own. By surrounding
his royal charge with a crowd of frivolous companions; by dissipating
his thoughts amidst a perpetual round of amusement, public spectacles,
chariot races, and the like; by taking him every spring to Ancyra in
Phrygia, where he was subjected to the soft enchantments of a delicious
climate and luxurious manner of life, he made the naturally feeble mind
of Arcadius more feeble still, and withdrew it from the influence of
every superior intellect but his own.[388]

Whilst the effeminate monarch languished in inglorious ease in Phrygia,
the fairest and most renowned portions of his Empire were overrun by
the barbarian forces of Alaric. The sacred pass of Thermopylæ was
violated by the Gothic prince, and the ravager spread his devastations
over Peloponnesus. Once more Stilicho hastened to the rescue; once more
his hand was stayed by the astonishing announcement that Alaric was
rewarded for his career of spoliation by being made commander-in-chief
of the forces of the East. Thus the invader was turned into the
position of friend, and the defender into the position of rebel, who
had to withdraw with feelings of shame, disappointment, and rage.
To such base arts did the court of Arcadius, under the direction of
Eutropius, stoop to protect itself in its pitiful jealousy of its rival
in the West.[389]

Eutropius mounted to the summit of power by the simple process of
putting all dangerous competitors out of the way, under various
pretexts, as treasonable or otherwise public offenders.[390] He
deprived them of their last hope of escape, by abolishing the right
of the Church to afford asylum to fugitives.[391] He sold the chief
functions of the State, and the command of the provinces, to the
highest bidders. He was ambitious even of military glory; and, to the
amusement of the enemy, as well as of the imperial army, appeared in
military costume at the head of the troops, to repel an incursion
of Huns. He succeeded, however, more in his negotiations by which
he bought off the enemy, than in his martial exploits, and returned
mortified by the ridicule which had attended his attempts in war.[392]

From the pettiest detail of domestic life to the most serious affairs
of state, the minister was supreme. Arcadius was little more than a
magnificently dressed puppet. The descriptions of his palace read like
accounts in fairy tales: it swarmed with slaves of every conceivable
variety of race, profession, and costume; the floors of the imperial
apartments were sprinkled with gold dust, in the carriage of which
from Asia a special service of vessels and wagons was constantly
engaged.[393] The great annual public spectacle was the departure of
the Emperor for his summer sojourn in Phrygia. From an early hour the
streets were thronged with people eagerly waiting for the pageant.
At length, from the portals of the palace there issued a gorgeous
procession; soldiers in white uniform, with gold-brocaded ensigns; then
the body guard, called domestics, with their tribunes and generals
arrayed in robes flashing with gold, mounted on horses with golden
caparisons; each rider bore a gilded lance in the right hand, and in
the left a gilded shield studded with precious stones. In the rear,
surrounded by a grand cortége of state officials, came the imperial
car, drawn by milk-white mules, clothed in purple housings, which
were tricked out with gold and jewels. The sides of the car also were
gilded, and flashed out rays of golden light as it moved along towards
the harbour, where rode a fleet of barges richly decorated, waiting
to convey the royal traveller to the opposite shore of the Bosporus.
In strange contrast to all this splendour appeared in the centre of
the car the dull and somnolent countenance of the young Arcadius and
the wrinkled visage of his old minister. The multitude, ever greedy of
show, would eagerly strain forward their necks to catch a glimpse, if
it were only of the imperial ear-rings, or the circlet of his diadem,
or the strings of pearls upon his robe. With such empty exhibitions of
their puppet king did the wily minister seek to amuse the frivolous
inhabitants of the capital, while he himself enjoyed the exercise of
real power.[394]



Such was the political and social condition of the Empire in the year
A.D. 397. In September of that year died Nectarius, Archbishop of
Constantinople, a man of an easy, amiable disposition, who, not taking
a very elevated or severe view of the duties of his position, had
administered the see for sixteen years, without annoyance, but without
distinction.[395] A conscientious discharge, indeed, of episcopal
duties was at this epoch beset by no small difficulties in the great
cities of the Empire. Bishops of important sees now occupied a high
social rank.[396] This had to be assumed (in Constantinople at least)
in the midst of an intriguing, factious court, a corrupt, frivolous
people, and a demoralised, or at least secularised, clergy. “Nothing,”
said St. Augustine, “can in this life, and especially at this time,
be easier or more agreeable than the office of bishop, presbyter, or
deacon, if discharged in a perfunctory and adulatory manner; nothing
can in this life, and especially at this time, be more laborious and
perilous than such an office, if discharged as our heavenly Commander
bids us.”[397] And the testimony of Chrysostom’s friend, Isidore, Abbot
of Pelusium, is to the same effect: “True freedom and independence are
not to be found in these distinguished positions: it is so difficult to
rule some, and to submit to others; to direct some, and to be directed
by others; to be complaisant to some and severe to others.” Into this
difficult and delicate position the pious, single-minded, unworldly,
but courageous preacher of Antioch was to be suddenly transplanted,
and that in a city where the difficulties incident to such a position
existed in peculiar force.

At the time of the decease of Nectarius, several bishops happened to
be sojourning in Constantinople on business, and as tidings of the
vacancy of the see got abroad, the number of episcopal visitors largely
increased; some coming as candidates, others by the invitation of the
Emperor, who wished to make the ceremony of consecration as dignified
and august as possible.[398] Constantinople became convulsed by all
those factious disputes and dissensions which usually attended the
election of a bishop to an important see, and which Chrysostom has so
vividly described in his treatise on the priesthood.[399] From dawn
of day the places of public resort were occupied by the candidates
and their partisans paying court, or paying bribes to the common
people; canvassing the nobles and the wealthy not without the potent
aid of rich and costly gifts, some statue from Greece or silk from
India, or perfumes from Arabia.[400] One of the most conspicuous
candidates was Isidore, a presbyter of Alexandria. His claims were
eagerly pushed by Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, who had a
strong personal interest in securing his success. For Isidore was in
possession of a rather awkward secret in the past history of Theophilus
himself. When the war between Theodosius and the usurper Maximus was
impending, Isidore had been despatched by the Archbishop to Italy
with letters of congratulation to be presented to him who should
prove the conqueror. Isidore waited till victory had declared itself
in favour of Theodosius; presented the humble felicitations of the
patriarch, and returned to Alexandria. But he was unable on his return
to produce the other letter, designed for Maximus had he proved the
victor. According to his own account, it had been abstracted by the
reader who had accompanied him on the journey. Theophilus, however,
suspected the fidelity of Isidore himself, and that some ugly stories
which began to circulate respecting the affair had emanated from him.
The see of Constantinople, if secured through his interest, would be
an effectual means, he thought, of stopping the mouth of Isidore.[401]
But he was doomed to disappointment. While the several candidates and
their patrons were exhausting all their arts on the spot to obtain
the favour of the electors, the clergy and people, distracted by
conflicting bribes and arguments, unanimously decided to summon a man
from a distance who had not come forward at all. They submitted the
name of Chrysostom to the Emperor, who immediately approved their
choice.[402] In fact, the election of Chrysostom was in all probability
the suggestion of Eutropius. During a recent visit on public business
to Antioch, he had heard and recognised the eloquence of the great
preacher. Even if the heart of the man was not touched by the pungent
warnings, or warmed by the kindling exhortations of Chrysostom, he had
plenty of astuteness to perceive, if only such an eloquence could be
employed in the service of the Government, what a powerful engine it
would be.[403] The appointment, at any rate, was certain to be welcomed
by the people, and of popularity Eutropius stood greatly in need. By
the people of Antioch indeed Chrysostom was so deeply and ardently
beloved, that the question was how to remove him without causing
a disturbance of the public peace. The excitable feelings of the
populace at Antioch were at all times a train of powder which needed
but the application of a spark to cause a serious explosion of tumult.
The difficulty was solved by a mixture of force and fraud highly
characteristic of the chief designer and executor of the project.
Eutropius addressed a letter to Asterius, the Count of the East, who
resided in Antioch, and who promptly acted on his instructions. He
proposed to the unsuspecting Chrysostom that they should pay a visit
together to one of the martyries outside the city walls. Well pleased
to make this pious pilgrimage, the saintly preacher accompanied his
captor through the Roman gate, and turned his back on his beloved
native city, which he was destined never to revisit. At the martyry he
was seized by some Government officials, and carried on to Pagræ, the
first station on the high road for Constantinople. Here a chariot and
horses awaited them, together with one of the imperial chamberlains,
a “magister militum,” and an escort of soldiers. The bewildered
Chrysostom was hurried into the chariot, without any attention being
paid to his remonstrances or inquiries; the horses were put into a
smart gallop, and the pace well kept up to the next stage, where a
similar equipage was in waiting. Such was the rapid, but, considering
all the circumstances, undignified approach of the future archbishop to
take possession of his see.[404]

Great was the joy of the people on his arrival, great the mortification
and consternation of the rival candidates. Theophilus loudly declared
that he would take no part in the ordination. “You will ordain him,”
said Eutropius, “or take your trial on the charges contained in these
documents;” producing certain papers of accusations brought against
him from various quarters, at the sight of which Theophilus turned
pale. His opposition was effectually silenced, though he nourished his
revenge for a future day.[405] And we may presume that he took the
lead, by virtue of his rank, in the ceremony of consecration—that is,
that he pronounced the consecration prayer and blessing, while two
other bishops held the gospels over the head, and the other prelates
who were present laid their hands on the head of the recipient of
consecration.[406] The ceremony took place on February 26, A.D. 398,
in the presence of a vast concourse of people, who came, no doubt,
not only to witness the spectacle, but to hear from the lips of one
so famed for eloquence the “Sermo enthronisticus,” or homily on the
lesson for the day, which was delivered by the new Patriarch[407] after
he had been conducted to his throne, and which was regarded as a test
of his powers. This discourse has not been preserved, but Chrysostom
alludes to it in the homily numbered xi. against the Anomœans, which
was the second discourse he delivered as archbishop. He there reminds
his hearers how in his first discourse he had promised, in his warfare
with heretics, to trust, not in the carnal weapons of human dialectic,
but in the spiritual armour of Holy Scripture, even as David had
confronted and prevailed over the Philistine with weapons which the
warrior despised, but which were crowned with success because blessed
by God.[408] In the review already taken of his discourses against
Arians and other heretics, it has been seen how faithfully he adhered
to this principle.

The disadvantages of a monastic, secluded training, in one who was
called upon to occupy a large and important see, have been pointed
out by no one better than by Chrysostom himself,[409] and he now
experienced the truth of his own observations. His genius was not
of that practical order which displays itself in great discernment
of character and tact in the management of men; and his virtues were
of that austere kind, the virtues of the monk rather than of the
Christian citizen, joined to a certain irritability of temper and
inflexibility of will, which were ill calculated to first conciliate
and then delicately lead on to a purer way of life the undisciplined
flock committed to his care.[410] If Nectarius had been too much the
man of the world, his successor was, for the position in which he was
placed, too much the saint of the cloister. The new wine burst the old
bottles. He began immediately to reform with an unsparing hand—first
of all within the limits of his own palace. The costly store of silken
and gold-embroidered robes, the rich marbles, ornaments, and vessels of
various kinds which his courtly predecessor had accumulated, were sold
in exchange for homelier articles, and the surplus was applied to the
aid of hospitals and the relief of the destitute.[411] The bishop, and
many of the clergy of Constantinople, had been accustomed to entertain
and be entertained by the wealthy and the great. Ammianus Marcellinus
contrasts the luxurious style of living affected by the bishops of
great cities, who “rode about in their carriages, elaborately dressed,
and gave princely banquets,” with the frugal fare, the cheap clothing,
the modest deportment of the provincial bishops.[412] The admonition
of Jerome also to an episcopal friend demonstrates the tendency at
this period to an immoderate and worldly hospitality on the part of
the clergy. “Avoid,” he says, “giving great entertainments to the
laity, and especially to those who occupy high stations; for it is
not very reputable to see the lictors and guards of a consul waiting
outside the doors of a priest of Jesus Christ, nor that the judge of
a province should dine more sumptuously with you than in the palace.
If it be pretended that you do this only to be able to intercede with
him for poor criminals, there is no judge who will not pay greater
respect to a frugal priest than to a rich one, and show more deference
to your piety than to your wealth.”[413] Chrysostom, like Jerome, was
an uncompromising ascetic in his views on clerical life. He ate in
solitude the spare and simple diet of a monk, and declared that he
would never set foot at Court except on pressing affairs concerning
the welfare of the Church. When one considers what the character of
that Court was, it must be confessed that the resolution highly became
a Christian bishop.[414] His own seclusion might have been easily
tolerated if he had not exacted the same severe simplicity of life
in his clergy. He denounced their parasitical flatteries, and their
propensity to seek entertainments at the tables of the wealthy, and
insisted that their stipends must be quite sufficient to supply them
with the necessaries of life. He suspended many from their cures on
account of worldly or immoral conduct, and repelled others from the
Eucharist. Several of these became the most active organisers of
hostile cabals.

But there was another cause of the archbishop’s unpopularity with
his clergy, which arose from his vigorous assaults upon a deep and
apparently most prevalent evil.

Celibacy appears never to have been made obligatory on the clergy
of the Eastern Church. The Synod of Elvira, which enjoins celibacy,
was a purely Spanish synod;[415] and the decree of Pope Siricius to
the same effect, in A.D. 385, could not affect any countries beyond
Italy, Spain, and perhaps Southern Gaul. That decree is a remarkable
instance of the law-giving spirit of the Western Church, which hardened
tendencies into binding statutes. But sentiment and opinion were quite
as strong in favour of clerical celibacy in the East as in the West.
It was proposed at the Council of Nice that a canon should be passed
enforcing it upon every order of the clergy; a proposal which was
defeated only by the influence of the aged Egyptian monk Paphnutius,
who, though he had never been married, and had always lived an ascetic
life, earnestly deprecated the imposition of a burden upon all men
which some men only were able to bear. The result was that the clergy
were permitted to retain their wives whom they had married before
ordination, but were forbidden to marry after ordination. And this is
called “the ancient tradition of the Church.”[416] There can be no
doubt, however, that a profound conviction possessed the minds of all
the most earnest Christians in Eastern Christendom that the unmarried
life was inherently better than the married; and, consequently,
clerical celibacy was honoured and encouraged, though marriage was
allowable. On the other hand, there grew up, side by side with the
practice of celibacy, a custom which broke it in the spirit while it
was preserved in the letter. The same Council of Nice which by one
canon freely granted to the clergy the society of their lawful wives,
by another prohibits unmarried clergy of every rank to have any woman
dwelling under the same roof who was not their mother, sister, or
aunt.[417] It was the transgression of this canon which was indignantly
complained of by several writers[418] and at councils[419] in or near
the time of Chrysostom, as well as by Chrysostom himself. Under the
name of spiritual sisters, young women, often consecrated virgins of
the Church, lived, as they maintained, in all innocent and sisterly
affection with unmarried priests. But the risk to the morals of both
was imminent, and the scandal which it brought upon the clergy in the
eyes of the world was certain. Chrysostom denounces the custom on both
these grounds. Whether two treatises, one addressed to the men, the
other to the women, were composed at Constantinople, or, as Socrates
says, during his diaconate, they embody his views on the whole subject,
and afford a curious insight into clerical life in the great cities at
this epoch.[420]

He places the offenders on the horns of a dilemma. “If you are weak,
the temptation to evil is so great, that for your own sake you ought
to avoid it; if you are strong, you ought to abandon the practice for
the sake of those who are weak.” They brought a great scandal on the
Church and opened the mouths of adversaries. An isolated sin would be
less severely visited than one which, though comparatively small in
itself, caused others also to offend. They should imitate the wisdom
of St. Paul, who would not do a thing in itself desirable or harmless,
if the evil resulting to some exceeded any possible advantage to
others.[421] A pretext for the reception of these unmarried women was
made on the ground that they were orphans who had no protectors. But
this became a great snare both to the women and the clergy: they were
occupied with the management of property instead of devoting themselves
to spiritual concerns. It would be far better that a maiden should
marry, than, by abstaining from marriage, involve herself and others in
worldly business who ought to be free from it. If poor, it was better
she should remain poor and friendless, than be received into a home
where the danger incurred by the soul would far exceed the advantages
procured for the body. There were many aged women who were poor,
friendless, maimed, or diseased; the city was full of them. These were
the most deserving objects of clerical charity, and on them it could
be exercised without fear of reproach.[422] These “spiritual sisters”
appear from Chrysostom’s account to have often lived very much like
fine ladies of fashion. “How incongruous and ludicrous,” he says,
“when you enter the house of one who calls himself a single man, to see
articles of female dress and instruments of female occupation lying
about—girdles, head-gear, wool-baskets, spindles, distaffs!” In the
elaboration of their dress these companions often surpassed actresses;
they were gossips and match-makers. The man who ought to have renounced
all worldly calls might be seen inquiring at the silversmith’s if his
lady’s mirror was ready, her casket finished, her flask returned;
from the silversmith’s he hurried to the perfumer’s to see about her
scents; from the perfumer to the linen-draper, and so on upon a round
of shopping. All this business and worldly worry made them harsh to
the servants, who retaliated by secretly abusing their master and
mistress.[423] This was bad enough, but the clergy were not ashamed to
display their servile attachment to these women even in the churches.
They received them at the doors, forced others to make way for them,
and walked in front of them with a proud air, when they ought not to
have been able to lift up their heads for shame.[424]

Chrysostom implores the clergy as a suppliant, to free themselves from
these disgraceful and degrading connections. “Christ would have them be
strenuous soldiers and combatants. He did not arm them with spiritual
weapons to help women sew and weave, but to engage with the invisible
powers, to put to flight the forces of Satan, and to lead captive the
rulers of spiritual darkness. If a soldier who was fully equipped were
to run in-doors and sit down with the women just at the moment of the
enemy’s attack, when the trumpet summoned every one to the combat,
would you not run your sword through the craven on the spot? How much
more would God be offended with the Christian soldier who evaded the
combat with the spiritual enemy?”[425]

The rigour with which Chrysostom pressed reformation upon the clergy
in these and many other points, not being tempered by a conciliatory
manner or genial way of life, excited a vehement spirit of opposition.
He was encouraged in his severity by his Archdeacon Serapion, who on
one occasion had said, in the hearing of a large body of clergy: “You
will never subdue these mutinous priests, my Lord Bishop, till you
drive them all before you as with a single rod.”[426] In fact, a large
body of the more worldly clergy seem to have regarded the archbishop
and his deacon with much the same mingled feelings of fear and aversion
which unruly schoolboys entertain towards an austere master.

The rigorous discipline exacted from the clergy was probably by no
means distasteful to the people or the Court, and by the eloquence of
their new bishop they were entranced so long as his declamations were
poured forth against the vices and follies of society in general. The
Empress and archbishop stood for a time high in each other’s favour.
She conducted with him a vast torchlight procession in which the
reliques of some martyrs were conveyed to the martyry of St. Thomas in
Drypia, a considerable distance outside the city. A rapturous homily
was delivered by Chrysostom when they reached the chapel at dawn of
day. “What shall I say? I am verily mad with joy; yet such a madness
is better than even wisdom itself. Of what shall I most discourse?—the
virtue of the martyrs, the alacrity of the city, the zeal of the
Empress, the concourse of the nobles, the worsting of the demons?”...
“Women, more delicate than wax, leaving their comfortable homes,
emulated the stoutest men in the eagerness with which they made this
long pilgrimage on foot. Nobles, leaving their chariots, their lictors,
their attendants, mingled in the common crowd. And why speak of them
when she who wears the diadem, and is arrayed in purple, has not
consented along the whole route to be separated from the rest even by
a little space, but has followed the saints like their handmaid, with
her finger on the shrine and upon the veil covering it—she, visible to
the whole multitude, whom not even all the chamberlains of the palace
are usually permitted to see?” The mixture of races in Constantinople
is indicated in one passage, where, comparing the Empress to Miriam
leading the chorus of triumphant Israelites, he says: “_She_, indeed,
led forth a people of one language only, but _thou_ innumerable bands,
chanting the Psalms of David, some in the Roman, some in the Syrian,
some in a barbarian, some in the Greek tongue.” The procession moved
along like a stream of fire, or continuous golden chain; the moon shone
down upon the crowd of the faithful, and in the midst the Empress, more
brilliant than the moon itself; for what was the moon compared to a
soul adorned with such faith? He called her blessed, for the ends of
the earth would hear of and extol this glorious act of piety. If the
deed of the poor sinful woman in the Gospel, who anointed our Lord’s
feet, was to be proclaimed throughout the world, how much more that
of a modest, dignified, chaste woman, who displayed such piety in the
midst of imperial state. And there is much more of the same Oriental,
rhapsodical, rhetoric.[427]

The Emperor made a pilgrimage on the following day to the shrine,
accompanied by all the great officials of the Court; and another
discourse, similar in tone though not quite so extravagantly rapturous,
was delivered by the archbishop.

As in Antioch, so also and with still greater vehemence in
Constantinople, the voice of Chrysostom was incessantly lifted up
against those vices which specially beset a large mixed population
living under a corrupt despotism. Here, as there, the avarice and
luxury of the wealthy are the themes of his indignant invective; the
wrongs and pitiable poverty of the poor the occasions of his pathetic
appeal. One day lamenting the paucity of worshippers, he exclaims: “O
tyranny of money which drives the greater part of our brethren from the
fold! for it is nothing but that grievous disease, that never-quenched
furnace, which drives them hence; this mistress, more ferocious than
any barbarian or wild beast, fiercer than the very demons, taking her
slaves with her, is now conducting them round the Forum, inflicting
upon them her oppressive commands, nor suffers them to take a little
breath from their destructive labours.”... “May you derive great good
from the zeal with which you listen to these words, for your groanings
and the smitings of your foreheads prove that the seed which I have
sown is already bearing fruit.”[428]

A signal instance of the passionate attachment of the people to the
Circensian and theatrical exhibitions occurred about the close of the
first year of his episcopate.[429] A violent rain had half inundated
the fields and almost destroyed the growing crops; solemn processional
litanies were made to the churches of the Apostles on both sides of
the Bosporus; yet two days later the majority of that multitude, which
had just been invoking the intercession of saints and supplicating
the mercy of God, poured into the circus, and might be seen wildly
applauding and cheering on the chariots; and from that they hastened
to witness with eager eyes the indecent performances of the theatre:
“while I,” said the archbishop, “sitting at home and hearing your
shouts, suffered worse agonies than those who are tossed by storms at
sea.”[430]... “What defence will you be able to make when you have
to render an account of that day’s work? For thee the sun rose, the
moon lit up the night, choirs of stars spangled the sky; for thee the
winds blew, and rivers ran, seeds germinated, plants grew, and the
whole course of nature kept its proper order: but thou, when Creation
is ministering to thy needs, thou fulfillest the pleasure of the
devil.”[431]... “Say not that few have wandered from the fold; though
it were but five or two or one, the loss would be great. The shepherd
in the Gospel left the ninety-and-nine, and hastened after the one, nor
did he return till he had made up the complete number of the flock by
its restoration. Though it be only one, yet it is a soul for which this
visible world was created, for which laws and statutes and the diverse
operations of God have been put in motion, yea, for whose sake God
spared not His only Son.”... “Therefore I loudly declare that if any
one after this admonition shall desert the fold for the pestilent vice
of the theatre, I will not admit him inside these rails.[432] I will
not administer to him the holy mysteries or allow him to touch the holy
table, but expel him as shepherds drive out the diseased sheep from the
fold lest they should contaminate the rest.”

The iniquity of the people’s defection had been aggravated on this
occasion by the fact that the days on which they had rushed in such
crowds to the circus and theatre were Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
On the Sunday following Easter Day the church was fully thronged. An
aged Galatian bishop, being present, was requested, according to a
polite custom of that time, to preach. But the congregation expressed
their disapproval by shouts of dissent, and by withdrawing in large
numbers. They wanted to hear what more their eloquent castigator had to
say on the subject on which he had so vehemently declaimed on Easter
Day. Chrysostom was so much gratified and encouraged by the alacrity
which the people had thus manifested to listen to his objurgations
that his censures of the chariot races, the next time he preached,
were milder than usual. He contents himself with observing that the
shocking accident of the day before, when a young man about to be
married had been run over in the course and cut to pieces by the
chariot wheels, was a damning proof of the wild folly and wickedness
of these spectacles. Nor does he rebuke them very sharply for their
discourtesy to the Galatian prelate.[433] They always resented the
preaching of a stranger; on several occasions Chrysostom had to appeal
to their feelings of respect for the custom of the Church, or enlarge
on the reverence due to the preacher, either on account of his age or
his great virtues, before they would listen patiently.

It is impossible to determine in the case of every homily or set of
homilies whether they were delivered at Antioch or Constantinople,
but the character of society seems to have been in its main features
so similar in the two cities that it may be allowable to collect into
one place notices on various social subjects scattered up and down
Chrysostom’s works.

The extremes of wealth and poverty, barbaric splendour, and abject
beggary, existed side by side in hideous and glaring contrast. The
passion for the use of the precious metals was amazing. Vessels for
the meanest purposes were made of silver; superfluous display without
regard to utility prevailed everywhere. “If it were in their power, I
verily believe that some men would have the ground they walk on,[434]
the walls of their houses, and perhaps even the sky and air, made of
gold.” Clothes were in the opinion of Chrysostom a memorial of man’s
fall from that state of innocence in which they had been unnecessary,
and were therefore to be made of as little consequence as possible.
“Say, ye who indulge in such grandeur as to discard all woollen
garments and array yourselves in silk only, and have even advanced to
such a height of madness as to weave gold into your robes (for most
women do this), to what purpose do you deck out your persons in these
things, not perceiving that the covering of dress was devised for us
after the transgression in the place of a severe punishment?”[435]

The particular make of shoes worn by the fashionable young ladies and
gentlemen of the day seems to have excited his special indignation. “To
put silk threads into your boots, how disgraceful, how ridiculous![436]
Ships are built, sailors hired, pilots appointed, the sails are
spread, the sea crossed, wife, children, and home left behind, the
country of the barbarian entered, and the life of the merchant exposed
to a thousand perils, in order that after it all you may trick out
the leather of your boots with these silken threads: what form of
madness can be worse?”... “He who ought to bend his thoughts and eyes
heavenwards casts them down upon his shoes instead. His chief care, as
he walks delicately through the Forum, is to avoid soiling his boots
with mire or dust. Will you let your soul grovel in the mire while you
are taking care of your boots? Boots were made to be soiled; if you
cannot bear this, take them off and wear them on your head instead of
on your feet. You laugh when I say these words, but I rather weep for
your folly.”[437] Again, “You may see one sitting in his chariot with
haughty brow, touching as it were the clouds in the senseless pride of
his heart; but think him not really lofty, for it is not the sitting up
in a chariot drawn by mules, but only virtue mounting to the vault of
heaven which really elevates a man. Or if you see another on horseback,
attended by a troop of lictors driving the multitude out of his way in
the Forum, call him not happy on that account. How ridiculous! why,
prithee, do you drive your fellow-creatures before you? Were you made
a wolf or a lion? Your Lord Jesus Christ raised man to heaven; you do
not condescend to share even the market-place with him. When you put
a gold bit on your horse, a gold bracelet on your slave’s arm, when
your clothes even to your shoes are gilded, you are feeding that most
ferocious of monsters, avarice; you are robbing the orphan, denuding
the widow, and acting as the common enemy of all. When your body is
committed to the ground the memory of your ambition will not be buried
with you, for each passer-by, as he contemplates the height and size
of your grand mansions, will say to himself or his neighbour, ‘How
many tears did it cost to build that house! how many orphans were left
naked! how many widows wronged! how many persons deprived of wages!’
Thus the exact contrary of what you expected comes to pass: you desired
to obtain glory during your life, and lo! even after death you are not
delivered from accusers.”[438]

Such are the natural expressions of indignation on the part of one
trained in a monkish school of piety and austere simplicity of life,
when brought into practical contact with a corrupt civilisation. Every
denunciation of inordinate luxury is coupled with an exhortation to the
relief of distress. Almsgiving is represented as the one certain method
of laying up treasure in heaven, and the true riches are increased
in proportion as this world’s goods are given away. He lived in the
days when social science and political economy did not exist; he only
perceived the moral wrong of profuse luxury and extreme destitution
side by side, and the only method which he could suggest for rectifying
the evil was to impress on the wealthy the duty of almsgiving on a
large scale. Beggars swarmed in the streets, and thronged the entrances
of the churches and public baths;[439] and he is for ever exhorting
his congregations to relieve these unfortunate people. All honour to
his simple Christian charity! though of course he could not have given
worse advice with a view to curing the evil which he deplored. The
man who wore shoes inwoven with silk or gold threads may have been a
ridiculous fop, and yet have done more good by buying his finery, the
produce of honest labour, than did the pious member of Chrysostom’s
congregation who flung his money to the beggars congregated at the
church doors.

The luxurious habits and extravagant dress of the ladies were especial
objects of Chrysostom’s attack; but he draws a charming picture, on
the other side, of the influence which good Christian wives might,
and which many did, exercise upon their husbands. The close of the
exhortation in our own “Marriage Service” seems almost as if suggested
by a passage in which he quotes Sarah the wife of Abraham as a pattern
of dutiful obedience to her husband, as adorned with virtue, instead
of the outward adorning of “plaiting the hair and putting on of
apparel.”[440] “The good wife, as she remains more at home than the
man, and has more leisure for ‘pious contemplation’ (φιλοσοφία), can
calm and soothe the husband when he returns harassed by business, cut
off his superfluous cares, and so send him back free of the troubles
contracted in the Forum, and carrying with him the good lessons which
he has learned at home.”... “No influence is more potent than that
of a careful and discreet wife to harmonise and mould the soul of a
man.”... “I could mention many hard, intractable men who have been
softened in this manner.” And this influence would be in proportion
to the Christian purity and simplicity of her own life. “When thy
husband shall see thee modest, not a lover of ornament, not demanding
an unnecessary allowance, then he will listen to thy counsel. When you
seek not gold or pearls, or costly array, but modesty, temperance,
and benevolence, in proportion as you manifest these virtues yourself,
you may demand them of him; these are the ornaments which never fail
to attract; this is the adornment which old age does not dissolve or
disease destroy.”... “When your husband sees you laying aside luxury,
he will lay aside the love of gain, and will be more inclined to deeds
of charity. With what face, O ye wives, can you exhort your husbands to
almsgiving, when you consume the largest portion of his means on the
decoration of your own persons?”[441]

He urgently represents to the wealthy proprietors of land in the
country the solemn duty incumbent on them of providing for the
spiritual welfare of the people on their estate, by building a church
and maintaining a pastor among them. “There are many who possess farms
and fields, but all their anxiety is to make a bath-house to their
mansion, to build entrance courts and servants’ offices; but how the
souls of their dependants are cultivated they care not.”... “If you
see thorns in a field, you cut them down and burn them; but when you
see the souls of your labourers beset with thorns and cut them not
down, tell me, do you not fear when you reflect on the account which
will be exacted from you for these things? Ought not every Christian
estate-holder to build a church and to make it his aim before all
things else that his people should be Christian?”... “Therefore I
exhort, I supplicate as a favour, or rather I affirm it as a principle,
that no one should be seen in possession of an estate which is not
provided with a church.” He concludes by drawing a pleasing picture
of the benefit derived from the residence of a pastor in the quiet
country village; the softening, humanising, civilising effect of his
presence; the relief given to the needy, the comfort to the sick and
dying; the pleasant repose which the proprietor may enjoy when he
withdraws for a time from the turmoil of city life, and worships among
his grateful people in the church which he has founded, and where his
name will be blessed for many future generations. “And think of the
reward in heaven; Christ said, ‘If thou lovest me feed my sheep.’ If
you were to see any of the royal sheep or horses destitute of shelter
and exposed to attack, and were to house them, provide stabling for
them, and appoint some one to tend them, with how great a gift would
the sovereign requite you. And think you that, if you fold Christ’s
flock and set a shepherd over them, He will not do some great thing for

The responsibility indeed of _every_ Christian man to promote the
spiritual welfare of his brethren is one of the topics on which
Chrysostom most constantly and earnestly dilates. “Nothing can be more
chilling than the sight of a Christian who makes no efforts to save
others. Neither poverty, nor humble station, nor bodily infirmity
can exempt men and women from the obligation of this great duty. To
hide our Christian light, under pretence of weakness, is as great an
insult to God as if we were to say that He could not make His sun to

The practice of swearing deep oaths about trifles appears to have
been as prevalent at Constantinople as at Antioch, and equally to
have excited the indignation of the Archbishop. He would not cease
to denounce this devilish habit, and that vehemently, lest he should
incur the condemnation pronounced on Eli, who rebuked, but not with
sufficient severity. He would unsparingly repel from the threshold of
the Church any who persisted in this pernicious vice, were he emperor
or prince. Men might deride his vehemence, but they forgot that he was
only the servant of Jesus Christ; their mockery fell on the Master
rather than the minister. Let them laugh and jest as much as they
would; he was placed there to suffer it. “Obey my voice or depose me
from this my office. I cannot consent to mount this throne unless I
accomplish something great. If I cannot do this, it were better for me
to stand below. As long as I sit here I cannot refrain, not so much out
of fear of punishment to myself as on account of your salvation, which
I earnestly desire.”[444]

Immoderate addiction to the pleasures of the table is a frequently
recurring subject of censure. He depicts in lively terms the freshness,
activity, and good health of the temperate man; the lethargy, the
headaches, the cramps, the gout, the sickness of the glutton. Here is
his portrait of a fat gourmand:—“To whom is not the man disagreeable
who makes obesity his study, and has to be dragged about like a
seal? I speak not of those who are such by nature, but of those who,
naturally graceful, have brought their bodies into this condition
through luxurious living. The sun has risen, he has darted everywhere
his brilliant rays, he has roused every one to his work: the tiller has
taken his hoe, the smith his hammer, each workman his proper tool; the
woman sets to work to spin or weave; while he like a hog goes forth
to the occupation of filling his stomach, seeking how to provide for
a costly table. When the sun has filled the market-place, and other
men have already tired themselves with work, he rises from his bed,
stretching himself like a fatting pig. Then he sits a long time on his
couch to shake off the drunkenness of the previous evening, after which
he adorns himself and walks out a spectacle of ugliness, not so much
like a man as a man-shaped beast.”... “Who might not justly say, ‘this
fellow is a burden to the earth; he has come into the world in vain;
nay, not in vain, alas! but to the injury both of himself and other

Such passages as these prove that the power of Chrysostom to captivate
his hearers consisted not always in eloquence or ornate rhetoric,
but in a kind of bold and rough plain-speaking, which dragged out
into broad daylight the most flagrant evils of the time, and painted
them in strong coarse colours, to excite derision or disgust. But the
fickleness and impulsiveness of the people were fatal obstacles to
the retention of fixed and durable impressions. The population upon
whom Chrysostom poured forth his torrents of exhortation or invective
was more debased than that to which Savonarola preached; not so
vigorous, not so homogeneous, not so much animated by a sentiment of
citizenship, not under the refining influence of a taste for literature
and art.[446] It was a vast, disorderly medley of incoherent elements,
destitute of those political privileges, and of that industrial
commercial spirit, which inspire the character with manly energy and
independence. A passionate, invincible love of pleasure, an abandoned
devotion to such public amusements as in no way appealed to the
intellect, and were calculated to debase and relax the finer moral
feelings,—these were insuperable bars to the substantial success of
the Christian reformer. A large proportion of his hearers seem to have
listened to his discourses as pleasant exhibitions of bold satire
and eloquent declamation; they applauded, they laughed, they wept,
they were smitten with something like compunction; and Chrysostom
confesses that at the moment he could not repress a natural feeling
of gratification at the effect produced; but that when he went home,
and reflected that the benefit which his hearers should have derived
generally evaporated in empty applause, instead of manifesting itself
in some solid improvement, he wept and groaned from vexation. What men
learned in the church was undone in the theatre: “his work was like
that of a man who attempted to clean a piece of ground into which a
muddy stream was constantly flowing.”[447]

His letters to individuals, and the eulogia which he passes at the
beginning of some of his homilies on the zeal, piety, and attention
of his flock, prove indeed that there were bright exceptions, but the
mass of the people remained irreclaimable. On grand festivals, such as
Easter Day, vast crowds attended the church; the very precincts were
thronged, and the multitude surged backwards and forwards like the
waves of the sea. A large portion was composed of the fashionable and
rich; but Chrysostom greatly preferred those smaller congregations,
consisting chiefly of poor, who attended regularly, and on whose
attachment to the Church he could depend. He enjoyed these quiet
services, free from the bustle and disturbance of large crowds.[448]
The wealthy and the gay spared little time for the services of the
Church, though they never pleaded business as an excuse for absence
from the theatre. If they came now and then, they did so as a kind
of condescension and favour shown to God and his priest. They lazily
slumbered, or idly gossiped during the service; yet they boasted of
their attendance afterwards.[449]

After the account in previous chapters of Chrysostom’s method of
dealing with the prevalent heresies of the day at Antioch, there
is no occasion to say much more. The same forms of error had to be
encountered at Constantinople by much the same arguments. Only one,
Novatianism, appears to have been more prominent in this city than at
Antioch. The exclusive pretensions to purity of doctrine and moral life
made by the Novatians excited his special indignation. “What arrogance!
what boastfulness is this! Can you, being a man, call yourself clean?
Nay, what madness is it? As well call the sea free from waves; for as
waves never cease to move on the sea, so do sins never cease to work in
us.”[450] The harshness of the Novatians, in refusing the readmission
of apostates on repentance, was peculiarly offensive to his merciful
and hopeful view of human nature. Sicinnius, the Novatian bishop in
Constantinople, wrote a book against him, in which he makes a handle
of particular expressions in Chrysostom’s homilies detached from their
context; such as, “Repent a thousand times, and enter the Church;” ...
“let the unclean person, the adulterer, the thief, enter;” but omitting
the words which follow—“that he may learn to do these things no more.
I draw all, I throw my net over all, desiring to catch not those only
who are sound, but those who are sick.”[451] A hopefulness and love,
which never despaired of the sinner, are eminently characteristic of
Chrysostom; and the strong words of encouragement and comfort which he
used were of course susceptible of a construction injurious to him, by
those who prided themselves on enforcing a very rigid standard of moral
and ecclesiastical discipline.

Twenty years had elapsed since Gregory Nazianzenus, with much
reluctance and trembling, had accepted the See of Constantinople. The
city was at that time a very stronghold of Arianism. Arians had held
the see for nearly forty years. The services of the orthodox were held
in a private house, and were at first exposed to violent disturbance
from the populace, which, hounded on by the Arian clergy, hooted and
threw stones at the worshippers. But the eloquence, combined with
the holiness, of Gregory had subdued this violent opposition. The
ranks of the orthodox were swelled, and the little house was enlarged
into a noble church, under the name of Anastasia, as significant of
the revival of the true faith.[452] Imperial authority completed the
work which Gregory had begun. The Arians and other sectaries were
prohibited by various enactments from assembling for worship within
the city walls;[453] but in the time of Chrysostom they began again to
molest the faithful. On Saturdays and Sundays they made a practice of
assembling in colonnades and public places, and there loudly singing
Arian songs—songs, that is, embodying Arian doctrine, like the Thalia
composed by Arius; abstract statements of theology, very unpoetical in
form, very incapable, as we should have supposed, of exciting popular
feeling.[454] This noisy singing went on during the greater part of the
night; at dawn they marched through the streets singing antiphonally,
and then held assemblies for worship outside the gates. Chrysostom,
with more of zeal perhaps than wisdom, organised rival processions
of antiphonal singers; the Empress supplied them with tapers mounted
on silver crosses. Street frays were the inevitable consequence of
these counter demonstrations; the Arians took to their old practice of
stone-throwing; Briso, one of the Emperor’s chamberlains, was wounded
by a stone in the forehead, and several persons killed on both sides,
after which the Arian assemblies were suppressed by royal order.

The practical energy of Chrysostom was not confined within the limits
of his own diocese. He did not forget his native city, but laboured,
and laboured successfully, to heal the schism by which the Church
of Antioch had been so long distracted. Theophilus, Patriarch of
Alexandria, consented at his earnest request to join with him in the
despatch of an embassy to Rome, to supplicate the recognition of
Flavian as sole bishop. Acacius, Bishop of Berœa, and Isidore, for
whom Theophilus had striven to obtain the See of Constantinople, were
selected to carry the petition, and they returned with a favourable
answer from the Bishops of the West. It is a satisfaction to find
Chrysostom united in this charitable work with those who afterwards
became his most malignant enemies.[455]

His missionary efforts extended northwards to the Danube, and
southwards to Phœnicia, Syria, and Palestine. He sought out men of
apostolic zeal to evangelise some Scythian tribes on the banks of the
Danube, and appointed a Gothic bishop, Unilas, who accomplished great
things, but died in A.D. 404, when Chrysostom was in exile, and unable
to appoint a successor.[456] A novel spectacle was witnessed one day
in the Church of St. Paul. A large number of Goths being present,
Chrysostom ordered some portions of the Bible to be read in Gothic, and
caused a Gothic presbyter to address his countrymen in their native
tongue. The Archbishop, who preached afterwards, rejoiced in the
occurrence as a visible illustration of the diffusion of the Gospel
among all nations and languages, a triumph before their very eyes over
Jews and Pagans, and a fulfilment of such prophecy as “Their sound is
gone out into all lands;” “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” “Where is the philosophy
of Plato and Pythagoras? Extinguished. Where is the teaching of the
tent-maker and the fisherman? Not only in Judæa, but also among the
barbarians, as ye have this day perceived, it shines more brilliantly
than the sun itself. Scythians, and Thracians, Samaritans, Moors, and
Indians, and those who inhabit the extremities of the world, possess
this teaching translated into their own language; they possess such
philosophy as was never dreamed of by those who wear a beard and thrust
passengers aside with their staff in the Forum, and shake their wise
locks, looking more like lions than men.”... “Nay! our world has not
sufficed for these evangelists; they have betaken themselves even to
the ocean, and enclosed barbarian regions and the British Isles in
their net.”[457] Chrysostom assigned a church in Constantinople for
the use of the Scythian inhabitants (probably Gothic, for the Greek
historians used the word Scythian very vaguely), ordained native
readers, deacons, and presbyters, and frequently preached there himself
through the medium of an interpreter.[458] Some of his letters when
in exile are addressed to Gothic monks, who occupied the house where
Promotus had lived.[459] They were staunch friends to him during his
exile, and the monastic body established in this house existed in the
seventh century.

Porphyry, Bishop of Gaza, wrote a letter to Chrysostom in A.D. 398,
urging him to obtain an order from the Emperor for the destruction
of Pagan temples in that city. Chrysostom did not cease to solicit
Eutropius till he had procured an edict, not indeed for the
destruction, but for the closing of the temples, and the demolition of
the idols which they contained. In the following year, however, A.D.
399, an edict was issued addressed to Eutychianus, Prefect of the East,
directing that the temples should be demolished throughout the country.
This appears to have been obtained chiefly through the influence of
Chrysostom; and large bodies of monks were sent by him into Phœnicia,
where especially paganism prevailed, who were to use every effort to
extirpate it, both by assisting in the destruction of temples, and
by the propagation of Christian truth. The money required for this
missionary expedition was supplied by the liberality of some ladies
in Constantinople, rich not only in faith, but also in the wealth of
this world. The welfare of these missionary projects continued, as will
hereafter be seen, to engage his most anxious attention throughout his
exile to the very close of his life.[460]



The Empress Eudoxia had rejoiced to discover that the new Archbishop,
although he mainly owed his promotion to the supreme minister of
the Court, was by no means disposed to be ruled by him. If, indeed,
Eutropius had expected to be rewarded for the elevation of Chrysostom
by finding in him a complaisant servant, he sustained a severe
disappointment. Some little pretences which the minister made of
assisting the Church, by patronising Chrysostom’s missionary projects,
could not disguise the iniquitous venality of his administration, or
protect him from the solemn warnings and severe censure of one who
was no respecter of persons. In fact, when the Archbishop declaimed
against the cupidity, injustice, and extortions of the rich, it was
obvious to all that Eutropius was the most signal example of those
vices. Eudoxia was anxiously aiming to compass the fall of the detested
minister; detested by her more especially, not only because he thwarted
her influence with Arcadius generally, but had also persuaded him to
withhold from her the title of Augusta until she should present a male
heir to the throne. She spared no pains therefore to conciliate the
Archbishop, who might prove a valuable ally to her cause. It has been
seen with what an appearance at least of humble piety she took part in
the nocturnal procession which conducted some sacred reliques to their
resting-place outside Constantinople.

Her chamberlain, Amantius (himself distinguished for unaffected
Christian piety), was the frequent bearer to the Archbishop of her
liberal contributions to the support of churches, or the relief of the
poor. With her own hands, it is said, she traced designs for basilicas
to be erected at her expense in some of the country districts.[461]
Chrysostom was always ready to welcome as genuine any manifestations
of religious feeling. Such practical proofs of her attachment to
the Church completely captivated him, and for the present his rich
vocabulary could hardly furnish language adequate to express his
admiration and gratitude.[462]

Meanwhile, the poor doomed minister, not content to remain as he
began, enjoying the reality of power without the name, prepared the
way for his own destruction by inducing the Emperor to bestow on him
the titles of Patrician and Consul. The acquisition of these venerated
and venerable names by the eunuch slave caused a profound emotion of
indignation and shame throughout the Empire, but especially in the
Western capital, where they were bound up with all the most noble
and glorious memories in the history of the nation. It is true the
consulship was now an empty honour, destitute of all the great duties
and responsibilities which formerly were attached to it. But the year
was still named after the consul, and the character of the man was by
a superstitious feeling projected on to the year which he inaugurated.
The name of the odious Eutropius, eunuch and slave, if prefixed to the
year, would seem to overshadow it with a kind of ominous and baleful
blight, and to be in itself a portent of incalculable disaster.
In short, after their indignation had vented itself in much bitter
sarcasm, the Romans resolved that the consulship of Eutropius should
never be inscribed at the Capitol. A solemn deputation from the people
and senate waited on Honorius and Stilicho at Milan, to submit their
decision, and to implore the imperial assent. Their spokesman recounted
the glorious exploits of Theodosius and (by a flattering courtesy)
of his son. The Saxon by the ocean, defeated; Britain delivered from
the Picts; Gaul protected from the menaces of Germany! “Through thee
Rome beholds the Frank humbled at her feet, the Suevian discomfited,
and the Rhine, submissive to thy rule, salutes thee under the name of
Germanicus. But the East, alas! envies us our prosperity; abominable
conspiracies are fermenting there which tend to break up our unity” ...
the revolt of Gildo, the destruction of African towns, the famine of
Rome, all these calamities were the work of Eutropius, and for these he
was rewarded with the consulship! The East, accustomed to stoop under
the sceptre of women, might accept the rule of a eunuch slave; but that
to which the Orontes and the Halys submitted as ordinary custom would
be a foul stain on the waters of the Tiber. The image of Eutropius
should never be placed in the same rank with those of Æmilius, of
Decius, of Camillus, the saviours and supporters of their country, the
champions of Roman freedom!... “Rise from your tombs, ancient Romans,
pride of Latium; behold an unknown colleague on your curule chairs;
rise and avenge the majesty of the Roman name!”[463]

Honorius, prompted no doubt by Stilicho, accorded a favourable reply
to the supplication of the Roman people. Mallius Theodorus, prætorian
prefect of Italy, a man eminent in virtue and ability as lawyer,
soldier, and writer, and not less popular than distinguished, was
nominated Consul by Honorius amidst general approbation, and his name
appears in the Fasti of the West without a colleague.[464]

No doubt some of the virtuous indignation of the Romans is to be
attributed to the jealousy which now ran high between East and
West, but we may also not fancifully discern genuine sparks of the
independent spirit of their forefathers. Amidst the general decadence
and degeneracy of the whole Empire, the West did not descend, could
not have descended, to such depths of servile adulation as did the
Byzantines on the occasion of the inauguration of Eutropius as Consul.
When, arrayed in an ample Roman robe, he assumed his seat in the
palace of the Cæsars, the doors were thrown open to an eager crowd of
flatterers. The senate, the generals, all the high functionaries of the
state, poured in to offer their homage to the great personage; emulated
each other in the honour of kissing his hand, and even his wrinkled
visage. They saluted him as the bulwark of the laws, and the parent of
the Emperor. Statues of bronze or marble were placed in various parts
of the city, representing him in the costume of warrior or judge, and
the inscriptions on their pedestals styled him third founder of the
city after Byzas and Constantine.

No wonder that Claudian declaimed with bitter sarcasm against “a
Byzantine nobility and Greek Quirites,” and even invokes Neptune by a
stroke of his trident to unseat and submerge the degenerate city which
had inflicted such a deep disgrace upon the Empire.[465]

And in truth a blow of no mean force, though directed not by the hand
of a mythic deity, but of a stout barbarian was about to descend on
the Eastern capital. The consequences of it were averted only by the
sacrifice of the new consul who had chiefly provoked it; upon him
it came with crushing effect: he fell never to rise again. In the
final scene of this curious drama the Archbishop plays a conspicuous
part, and therefore it must be unfolded from the beginning. But,
independently of this, it throws light upon the condition of the
Eastern Empire at that period.

Tribigild, a Gothic soldier of distinction, had been, according to
a usage now prevalent, promoted to the rank of Tribune, and placed
in command of a military colony of Gruthongi (a large branch of
the Ostrogoths), established in the region of Phrygia, near the
town of Nacolea. The recent elevation of Alaric to the rank of
Commander-in-chief of the Roman forces in the East had encouraged the
pretensions and raised the expectations of all barbarian commanders.
In the February or March next after the appointment of Eutropius to
the consulship, Tribigild appeared at court to solicit promotion for
himself and a higher rate of pay for his martial colonists, who, too
ignorant or too proud to maintain themselves by cultivating the soil,
were perishing of hunger in the midst of the most productive regions of
Asia Minor. His suit was one among many of similar applications at that
time constantly brought before the Court, and it was coldly dismissed
by the Emperor’s minister. Tribigild was not one to return home and
brood in sullen and ineffective silence over his repulse. Gaïnas, the
Gothic leader, to whom it will be remembered Stilicho had confided the
task of putting Rufinus to death, was still in Constantinople; and he
was a relation of Tribigild, who found in him a sympathiser to inflame
rather than soothe his sense of wrong. In this irritated frame of mind,
like a train of powder only needing the application of a match to
produce an explosion, he returned to Phrygia. According to Claudian,
that match was applied by his wife. He dramatically describes her
welcome of the returning husband: “She flies to meet him, embraces him
with her snow-white arms, and eagerly inquires what honours or rewards
he brings back from the generous prince.” When the chieftain relates
his ineffectual errand, and the cold disdain with which he had been
treated by Eutropius, the chieftainess tears her face with her nails,
and with bitter irony bids her husband sheathe his sword and attend to
his plough or his vine. She contrasts her own condition with the happy
wives and sisters of other warriors; they enjoyed rich spoils in the
shape of adornments or of beautiful Grecian handmaids. “Alaric, who
broke treaties, was rewarded for it, but those who observe them remain
poor. Alaric invaded and pillaged Epirus, and was made commander of the
forces; _you_ go humbly to solicit your due and are repulsed. Enrich
yourself with booty, and you will be a Roman citizen as soon as you
please.”[466] No doubt this scene, whether wholly imaginary or not,
faithfully represents the feelings which, since the fatal promotion of
Alaric, must have encouraged treasonable designs on the part of many
barbarian chiefs. At any rate, whether the resentment of Tribigild
was inflamed or not by the irony of his wife, he resolved to cast
off allegiance to the Empire. He mustered his forces, which gladly
abandoned their feeble attempts at husbandry to return to the more
congenial pursuit of war and plunder. The rich country of Phrygia was
rapidly overrun, and some of the fortified towns, owing partly to the
decay of their walls, were captured. All Asia Minor was convulsed with
apprehension, and appealed to Constantinople for protection.

Eutropius affected to treat the rebellion as a petty insurrection,
the suppression of which belonged rather to the judge armed with
instruments of torture than to a military force. He declined the
proffered assistance of Gaïnas, but secretly negotiated with Tribigild,
in the hope of subduing him by means of promotion or of a bribe in
money. The Goth, proud to have turned the tables upon the minister who
had recently treated him with scorn, steadfastly declined to accept
any satisfaction but one—the head of Eutropius himself. Thus war was
inevitable; but who was to conduct it? Eutropius dared not trust
Gaïnas to act against his own countryman and kinsman. He retained
him therefore at Constantinople in command of the city troops, and
committed the management of the legions to one of his favourites,
Leo, described by Claudian as a man “abounding in flesh, but scant
of brains;”[467] once a wool-carder, but, under the administration
of the eunuch, a military commander. His obesity made him an object
of derision to the army, and, joined to his natural incapacity and
ignorance, rendered him the most unfit man to conduct an expedition
against the subtle and active barbarian. Leo crossed the Bosporus with
a large, ill-disciplined army, whose approach was welcomed by the
devastated provinces, which vainly rejoiced at the prospect of speedy
deliverance from the ravager. The enemy, meanwhile, had retreated
southwards through Pisidia, and after a narrow escape from destruction
in the defiles of Mount Taurus, where the inhabitants made a fierce
stand, he emerged into Pamphylia, and awaited Leo in the vast plain
of the Eurymedon and Melas, which extends between the chain of Taurus
and the sea. The doughty commander of the imperial forces eagerly
pursued the Goths, and flattered himself, as the artful chieftain
pretended to retreat in alarm, that he had cooped him up by the sea.
In the confident anticipation of success, the discipline, such as it
was, of Leo’s camp became still more relaxed. Little or no watch was
kept; festivity, drunkenness, and disorder of all kinds prevailed;
while the general had allowed himself to be drawn into a fatal position
between a wary enemy in front and an impassable morass in his rear. In
the depth of a dark night, the Goth swooped down upon his prey: all
were asleep in the camp, the slumbers of many deepened by drunkenness.
Those who were not killed on the spot fled in wild confusion, but only
to flounder in the marsh, in the oozy bed of which large numbers were
absorbed. A few scattered remnants reached the Bosporus by devious
routes, to carry tidings of the disaster to Constantinople. Leo himself
had plunged on horseback into the morass; the animal soon sank under
the weight of his bulky rider, who, after vain struggles to extricate
himself, was finally sucked beneath the quag. To such a bathos have
the annals of Roman warfare descended! A Roman general suffocated in

The news of this disaster struck panic into the population and Court
of Constantinople. There was but one who rejoiced; for he saw himself
master of the situation. This was Gaïnas; he was the only man at hand
capable of confronting Tribigild, and he was despatched across the
Bosporus with his barbarian auxiliaries. But he did nothing to check
the enemy, who had resumed his career of pillage. He represented that
the forces opposed to him were insuperable, but expressed a firm
conviction that Tribigild would become as loyal a servant as himself on
one condition—the surrender of the minister Eutropius, the principal
author of all the evils of the State.[469]

Arcadius was placed in a state of cruel perplexity. We need not
suppose that he was attached to Eutropius, but his weak and indolent
nature shrank from the responsibility and labour to which, through
the industry of his ambitious minister, he had been a stranger. Now,
however, from all quarters the truth was forced upon him, that if he
would save his throne, he must part with his newly-made consul. Ugly
rumours were prevalent that Stilicho was meditating a march to the
East, and at the same time a new king, hostile to the Empire, had
ascended the throne in Persia.[470] But a nearer and more persuasive
enemy of Eutropius was at hand to give the finishing impulse to his
fall. The profound jealousy of his power entertained by Eudoxia has
been already intimated. Not only had the title of Augusta been withheld
from her through his influence, but he had even carried his arrogance
so far at this time as to declare that his hand, which had elevated
her, could also depose her from her present position altogether. The
proud Frankish blood of the Empress could ill brook such words from the
lips of an upstart menial, consul though he now was. With a passionate
gesture she dismissed him from her presence, hastened to her two young
children, Flaccilla and Pulcheria, and with them made her way into the
apartment of Arcadius. To his inquiries as to the purpose of her sudden
appearance she made at first no reply save by a flood of tears, in
which the children, from natural sympathy, joined; but presently, in
language broken by sobs, she related a tale of insults received at the
hands of Eutropius, and the crowning insult of the whole series. This
was the blow which was completely to fell the tottering minister. He
was summoned to the imperial presence, and having been informed that he
was deprived of his official dignity, and his property confiscated, he
was commanded instantly to quit the palace under pain of death.[471]

The poor wretch, who had mounted from the lowest dregs of society to
the grandest position a subject could occupy, was thus by a single blow
suddenly reduced to the position from which he had started; and even
worse, for death stared him in the face. The bows and smiles with which
courtiers had greeted him that morning, when he was still the royal
favourite, concealed, he well knew, a hatred and a scorn which were not
confined to them, but animated the whole population, and only needed
opportunity to declare themselves. That opportunity had come. He had
no friends; whither should he fly? There was but one place to which
he could in his extremity naturally turn—the sanctuary of the Church;
but here, by the cruel irony of his fate, a law emanating from himself
barred his entrance.

The right of asylum, which was once possessed by many of the Pagan
temples, passed over, by a natural transition, about the time of
Constantine, to Christian churches. However useful in ages of great
rudeness and ferocity this right may be, either to shelter the innocent
from lawless violence, or to give offenders protection from vindictive
rage till the time of equitable trial, it inevitably becomes, sooner
or later, an intolerable interference with the natural course of law
and justice. Tiberius had found it expedient to restrict or abolish
such rights attached to many of the Greek and Asiatic temples. Their
suppression was resisted partly from feelings of pride, partly of
mercenary interest, partly of respect for the sanctity of the places,
as in the case in our own country of the sanctuary of Westminster.[472]
In the reign of Theodosius I. a law was passed which excepted gross
criminals and public debtors, and another in the reign of Arcadius,
which excepted Jewish debtors who pretended to be Christians, from
the privileges of asylum;[473] but by a law of September, A.D. 397,
suggested by Eutropius, clergy and monks, in whose churches or convents
fugitives might shelter, were obliged to surrender them to the officers
of justice, though they might appeal to the Court in their favour.[474]
The special object of Eutropius had been to cut off all retreat from
the victims of his jealous ambition or avarice; and now he was one
of the first to want the protection which he had himself abolished.
But he knew, no one better, that the law had excited much resentment
and resistance on the part of the Church; and it might well be that
the Archbishop would gladly connive at the violation of the obnoxious
measure by the very person who had framed it. He resolved to make the
attempt. In the humblest guise of a suppliant, tears streaming down his
puckered cheeks, his scant grey hairs smeared with dust, he crept into
the cathedral, pushed aside the curtain which divided the chancel or
sanctuary from the nave, and, clinging closely to the holy table,[475]
awaited the approach of the Archbishop or any of the clergy.[476] The
enemy was on his track. As he lay quaking with terror, he could hear
on the other side of the thin partition the trampling of feet, mingled
with the clattering of arms and voices raised in threatening tones by
soldiers on the search. At this crisis he was found by the Archbishop,
in a state of pitiable and abject terror; his cheek blanched with a
death-like pallor, his teeth chattering, his whole frame quivering, as
with faltering lips he craved the asylum of the Church.[477]

He was not repulsed as the destroyer of that shelter which he now
sought. Chrysostom rejoiced in the opportunity afforded to the Church
of exhibiting at once her clemency and power, by taking a noble revenge
upon her former adversary. The clamour of the soldiers on the other
side of the veil increased. Chrysostom led the unhappy fugitive to the
sacristy; and having concealed him there, he confronted his pursuers,
asserted the inviolability of the Church’s sanctuary, and refused to
surrender the refugee. “None shall penetrate the sanctuary save over my
body; the Church is the Bride of Jesus Christ, who has intrusted her
honour to me, and I will never betray it.” The soldiers threatened to
lay violent hands on the Archbishop; but he freely presented himself to
them, and only desired to be conducted to the Emperor, that the whole
affair might be submitted to his judgment. He was accordingly placed
between two rows of spearmen, and marched like a prisoner from the
cathedral to the palace.[478]

The populace meanwhile had heard of the wonderful event of the day. The
news of the detested minister’s degradation had circulated through the
Hippodrome, where a grand performance had attracted large multitudes.
The spectators rose in a mass, uttered a shout of exultation, and
vociferously demanded the head of the culprit.[479]

Chrysostom meanwhile maintained before the Emperor his lofty tone
of authority in vindication of the Church’s right of asylum. Human
laws could not weigh in the balance against divine; the very man who
had assailed the Church’s divine right was now forced, in his day
of distress, to plead in favour of it. The Emperor was moved, as he
always was by any one who possessed some of that force of character
which he himself lacked. Some feelings of compassion also for his late
minister’s humiliation may have mingled themselves with superstitious
dread of incurring Divine wrath. He promised to respect the retreat of
Eutropius. But, on learning his decision, the troops which were in the
city became indignant and furious in their demands that the culprit
should be surrendered to justice. The Emperor made an address to them,
entreating them even with tears to remember that they had received
benefits as well as wrongs from the object of their present rage, and,
above all things, imploring them to respect the sanctity of the holy
table, to which the suppliant was clinging. By such words he restrained
them with difficulty from the commission of any immediate violence.[480]

The following day was Sunday; but the places of public amusement and
resort were deserted, and such a vast concourse of men and women
thronged the cathedral as was rarely seen except on Easter Day.[481]
All were in a flutter of expectation to hear what the “golden mouth”
would utter, the mouth of him who had dared, in defence of the Church’s
right, to defy the arm of the law, and to stem the tide of popular
feeling. But few perhaps were prepared to witness such a dramatic
scene as was actually presented, and which gave additional force and
effect to the words of the preacher. It was a common practice with
the Archbishop, on account partly of his diminutive stature and some
feebleness of voice, to preach from the “ambo,” or high reading-desk,
which stood a little westward of the chancel, and therefore brought him
into closer proximity with the people.[482] On the present occasion,
he had just taken his seat on the ambo, and a sea of upturned faces
was directed towards his thin pale countenance in expectation of the
stream of golden eloquence, when the curtain which separated the nave
from the chancel was partially drawn aside, and disclosed to the view
of the multitude the cowering form of the unhappy Eutropius, clinging
to one of the columns which supported the holy table. Many a time had
the Archbishop preached to light minds and unheeding ears on the vain
and fleeting character of worldly honour, prosperity, luxury, wealth;
now he would enforce attention, and drive his lesson home to the hearts
of a vast audience, by pointing to a visible example of fallen grandeur
in the poor unhappy creature who lay grovelling behind him. Presently
he burst forth: “‘ματαιότης ματαιοτήτων!—O vanity of vanities!’” words
how seasonable at all times, how pre-eminently seasonable now. “Where
now are the pomp and circumstance of yonder man’s consulship? where his
torch-light festivities? where the applause which once greeted him?
where his banquets and garlands? Where is the stir that once attended
his appearance in the streets, the flattering compliments addressed to
him in the amphitheatre? They are gone, they are all gone; one rude
blast has shattered all the leaves, and shows us the tree stripped
quite bare, and shaken to its very roots.”... “These things were but
as visions of the night, which fade at dawn; or vernal flowers, which
wither when the spring is past; as shadows which flitted away, as
bubbles which burst, as cobwebs which rent.”... “Therefore we chant
continuously this heavenly strain: ματαιότης ματαιοτήτων καὶ πάντα
ματαιότης. For these are words which should be inscribed on our walls
and on our garments, in the market-place, by the wayside, on our doors,
but above all should they be written in the conscience, and engraved
upon the mind of every one.” Then, turning towards the pitiable figure
by the holy table: “Did I not continually warn thee that wealth was a
runaway slave, a thankless servant? but thou wouldst not heed, thou
wouldst not be persuaded. Lo! now experience has proved to thee that it
is not only fugitive and thankless, but murderous also; for this it is
which has caused thee to tremble now with fear. Did not I declare, when
you rebuked me for telling you the truth, ‘I love thee better than thy
flatterers; I who reprove thee care for thee more than thy complaisant
friends?’ Did I not add that the wounds inflicted by a friend were to
be valued more than the kisses given by an enemy? If thou hadst endured
my wounds, the kisses of thy enemies would not have wrought thee this
destruction.”... “We act not like thy false friends, who have fled from
thee, and are procuring their own safety through thy distress; the
Church, which you treated as an enemy, has opened her bosom to receive
thee; the theatre, which you favoured, has betrayed thee, and whetted
the sword against thee.”[483] He thus depicted, he said, the abject
condition of the minister, not from any desire to insult the prostrate,
not to drown one who was tossed on the billows of misfortune; but to
warn those who were still sailing with a fair wind, lest they should
be hurried into the same abyss. Who had been more exalted than this
man? Had he not surpassed all in wealth? had he not climbed to the
very pinnacle of grandeur? yet now he had become more miserable than a
prisoner, more pitiable than a slave.... It was the glory of the Church
to have afforded shelter to an enemy; the suppliant was the ornament
of the altar. “What!” you say, “is this iniquitous, rapacious creature
an ornament to the altar?” Hush! the sinful woman was permitted to
touch the feet of Jesus Christ Himself, a permission which excites not
our reproach, but our admiration and praise.... The degradation of
Eutropius was a wholesome example both to the rich and poor. “Let some
rich man enter the church, and he will derive much advantage from what
he sees. The spectacle of one, lately at the pinnacle of power, now
crouching with fear like a hare or a frog, chained to yonder pillar not
by fetters, but by fright, will repress arrogance, and subdue pride,
and will teach him the truth of the Scripture precept: ‘All flesh is
grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.’ On the other
hand, let a poor man enter, and he will learn not to be discontented,
or to deplore his lot; but will be grateful to his poverty, which is to
him as a most secure asylum, a most tranquil haven, a most impenetrable
fortress.”[484] The Archbishop concluded by exhorting the people to
mercy and forgiveness, following the example of their Emperor. How else
could they with a clear conscience join in the Holy Mysteries about to
be celebrated, or join in the prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as
we forgive them that trespass against us?” He did not deny that the
offender had committed great crimes, but the present was a season not
for judgment but for mercy. If they would enjoy the favour of God,
who had declared, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice,” they would
intercede with the Emperor for the life of their enemy. So would they
obtain the mercy of God for themselves, and remission of their own
sins; so would they shed glory on their Church, and win the praise of
their humane sovereign, while their own clemency would be extolled to
the ends of the earth.”

The people probably thought that sufficient mercy had already been
exercised by respecting the asylum of the Church as against the law,
and no further effort, so far as is known, was made on behalf of the
fallen minister. He remained for several days more in the sanctuary,
and then secretly and suddenly quitted it. Whether he fled designedly,
mistrusting the security of his retreat, perhaps even, with the
suspiciousness natural to a deceitful person, mistrusting the fidelity
of his protectors, and hoping to make his escape from Constantinople
in disguise; or whether he surrendered himself on the condition that
exile should be substituted for capital punishment, cannot with perfect
certainty be determined. It is implied by one writer[485] that he was
seized and forcibly removed from the sanctuary. Chrysostom, on the
other hand, declares that he would never have been given up, had he
not abandoned the Church.[486] However and wherever he may have been
captured, some promise appears to have been made that his life at least
should be spared. He was put on board a vessel which conveyed him to
Cyprus, that island being designed, it was said, to be the place of
his banishment for the remainder of his life.[487] But his enemies had
determined that his life should be brief. A suit was instituted against
him at Constantinople on a variety of charges under the presidency of
Aurelian, Prætorian Prefect. Over and above all his other crimes, he
was found guilty of mingling with the ordinary costume of the consul
certain ornaments or badges which belonged exclusively to the Emperors,
and even of harnessing to his chariot animals of the imperial colour
and breed. These were found to be treasonable offences, on the strength
of which, in spite of some misgivings and hesitation on the part of
Arcadius, which were overruled by Eudoxia and Gaïnas, the miserable
culprit was recalled from Cyprus to Chalcedon, and there beheaded.
As he entered that city, he might have seen affixed to the walls the
imperial sentence, by the terms of which his property was declared
confiscated to the State, his acts as consul were cancelled, the
title of the year was changed, the world invited to rejoice at the
purification of the consulship, and to cease to groan over the sight of
the monstrosity which had disgraced and disfigured the divine honour
of that sacred office. Finally, it was commanded that all statues or
representations whatever of Eutropius in public places should be thrown
down and broken in pieces.[488]

Thus the earnest desire of Eudoxia was accomplished: she remained
mistress of the field, mistress, as she fondly hoped, of the Empire.
The government for the present passed from the hands of a eunuch and
slave into the hands of a woman. The possible rivals to her supremacy
were the Gothic commander Gaïnas and the Archbishop. In what manner
she was brought into hostile collision with these two very different
personages remains now to be related. The Goth was determined in the
ambitious pursuit of power, the Archbishop equally determined in the
conscientious discharge of duty. The collision of the ruling powers
with him was yet to come, but the contest with Gaïnas immediately
succeeded the fall of Eutropius.

The Empress procured the elevation of Aurelian, Prætorian Prefect,
to the consulship, and of her favourite (some said her criminal
lover[489]), Count John, to the office of Comptroller of the Royal
Treasury, or sacred largesses. The public affairs of the Empire were
discussed and settled in a sort of cabinet council by her and her
friends, of whom three wealthy but avaricious ladies, Castricia,
Eugraphia, and Marcia, were the most influential. The haughty and
manly spirit of the Gothic warrior naturally disdained to be directed
by a coterie of women. He united his army with that of Tribigild,
and the two forces assumed a menacing attitude in the vicinity of
Constantinople, on the Asiatic side of the Bosporus. Gaïnas opened
negotiations with the Emperor, refusing to communicate with any lesser
power, complained that his services had been inadequately requited, and
demanded, as a preliminary to any further correspondence, the surrender
of three principal favourites at Court—Aurelian the Consul, Saturninus
the husband of Castricia, and the Count John. The embarrassment of the
Court was extreme; but the three ministers, in a genuine spirit, to all
appearance, of Roman courage and self-sacrifice for the good of the
State, crossed the Bosporus, and sent word to the camp of Gaïnas that
they had come to surrender themselves into his hands. The chieftain
subjected them to a grim practical jest. He caused them to be loaded
with chains, and received them in his tent in the presence of an
executioner. After all manner of insults had been heaped upon them, the
executioner approached and swung his sword over them with a furious
countenance as if on the point of decapitating, but, checking the
impending blow, only made a slight scratch on their necks so as just
to draw blood. This savage farce having been performed, the three were
simply detained in the camp without suffering further violence.[490]

Chrysostom appears to have laboured diligently to mitigate the demands
of Gaïnas. His language, in a homily delivered just after the surrender
of the three captives, implies that some degree of success had attended
his efforts, but it manifests also a feeling of great depression,
caused by the unsettled, indeed anarchical, state of public affairs.

“After a long interval of silence, I return to you, my beloved
disciples—a silence occasioned, not by any indifference or indolence,
but by my absence spent in earnest endeavours to allay a tempest,
and to bring into a haven those who were beginning to drown.”... “For
this purpose I have withdrawn from you for a time, going backwards and
forwards” [across the Bosporus], “exhorting, beseeching, supplicating,
so as to avert the calamity which was impending over the higher
powers. But now that these dismal matters have been concluded I
return to you....” He had gone to rescue those who were falling and
tempest-tossed; he came back to confirm those who were still standing
and at rest, lest they should become victims of some calamity. “For
there is nothing secure, nothing stable in human affairs; they are
like a raging sea, every day producing strange and fearful shipwrecks.
The world is full of tumult and confusion; everywhere are cliffs and
precipices, rocks and reefs, fearfulness and trembling, peril and
suspicion. No one trusts any one; each man is afraid of his neighbour.
The time is at hand which the prophet depicted in those words: ‘Trust
not in a friend, put not confidence in a guide’ (Micah vii. 5); civil
strife prevails everywhere, not honest open warfare, but veiled under
ten thousand masks. Many are the fleeces beneath which are concealed
innumerable wolves; so that one might live more safely among enemies
than among those who appear to be friends.”[491]

It is possible that the intercessions of Chrysostom may have saved
the lives of the three captives, or averted any immediate assault of
the Gothic army; but Gaïnas was in a position to dictate any terms
he pleased, and his army was like a great swelling wave, threatening
at any moment to break in overwhelming force upon the capital. An
interview with the Emperor, protected from any insidious attack by the
solemn oath of each party, took place in the church of St. Euphemia,
situated on a lofty eminence above the city of Chalcedon. The Gothic
leader no longer pretended to disguise his ambitious designs. He
demanded to be made Consul and Commander-in-chief of the Imperial
army, cavalry and infantry, Roman as well as barbarian troops; in
short, he aspired to be in position the Stilicho of the East. The
Emperor yielded to these ignominious terms, which in effect placed his
capital at the mercy of a foreign invader. The troops were rapidly
transported from the Asiatic side of the Bosporus and occupied
Constantinople. They waited but the word of their commander to fly
upon the booty with which the wealthy and luxurious city teemed, and
which they beheld with hungry eyes; but for a time the signal was not

Gaïnas, either from sincere attachment to the Arian form of faith, or
possibly from ambition to display his power to his countrymen, who
were mainly of the Arian persuasion, demanded the abolition of that
law of Theodosius by which Arians were prohibited from public worship
inside the city walls. He represented that it was specially indecorous
for the Commander-in-chief of the Imperial forces to go outside the
city to pay his public devotions. Arcadius, intimidated, and as usual
on the point of yielding, referred the matter to the Archbishop.
Chrysostom earnestly and indignantly deprecated any concession; to
give up one of the Catholic churches to the Arians would be to cast
things holy to the dogs, and to reward the impious at the expense of
the reverent worshippers of Jesus Christ. He begged the Emperor to
allow the whole matter to be discussed between himself and Gaïnas
in the royal presence, when he trusted that, by the help of God, he
should succeed in silencing the Gothic heretic, and in repressing any
repetition of his profane demand.[493] Gaïnas was not averse from the
interview; he rather prided himself on his skill in theological debate,
and boasted of having vanquished the monk Nilus on the question of the
identity, or similarity, of substance in the first two Persons of
the Holy Trinity.[494] The Emperor was well satisfied to act the part
of a quiet, irresponsible auditor. Accordingly, on the following day,
Chrysostom appeared at the palace, accompanied by all those bishops who
were in Constantinople at the time. Gaïnas put forward his demand. The
Archbishop replied that it was impossible for a prince who laid claim
to piety to take any step adverse to the interests of the Catholic
faith. If Gaïnas wished to worship inside the walls, all the churches
in the city were open to him. When the Goth claimed a right to possess
one for his own sect, in consideration of his great services to the
State, Chrysostom repelled the demand with indignant scorn. “You have
already rewards far exceeding your deserts; you are Commander-in-chief
and Consul. Consider what once you were, and what now you are; consider
your former destitution and your present abundance. Look at the
magnificence of your consular robes, and remember the rags in which
you crossed the Danube. Speak not then of ingratitude on the part of
those who have laden you with honours. Remember the oaths by which you
swore fidelity to the great Theodosius and to his children.” He then
cited the prohibitory law issued by Theodosius in A.D. 381, called
upon the Emperor to enforce it, and on the Gothic commander to observe
it. The ecclesiastical historians concur in affirming that the Goth
was completely vanquished by the authoritative demeanour and eloquence
of the Archbishop, and for the time at least desisted from pressing
his demand; but it appears that Arcadius was obliged to satisfy his
rapacity by melting the plate of the Apostles’ Church.[495]

Possibly, indeed, extortion of money had been the object of Gaïnas
from the beginning in making his demand for an Arian church. The
plunder-loving spirit of his army was aroused, and the gold and
silver visible on the counters of money-changers, and in the shops
of wealthy jewellers, was a temptation constantly dangling before
their eyes, till a rumour of violent intentions, or perhaps common
prudence, caused the owners to remove these alluring treasures into
secret places of safety. If the enemy had entertained any design upon
the shops, it was transferred from them to the palace, upon which they
made a nocturnal assault. According to some accounts, it was repulsed
by the vigorous courage of the citizens, who fell with arms upon the
assailants; according to others, Gaïnas was scared in several attempts
by a vision of an angelic host planted in bright array around the walls
of the palace.[496] The materials for the history of these occurrences
are so meagre that it is impossible to ascertain details, but, from
whatever cause, Gaïnas resolved to escape from the city. Fearing that
if he attempted to quit it openly with his troops, he might be forcibly
stopped or impeded in his departure, he pretended to be under the
influence of a demon and that he desired to offer up prayers for relief
from his affliction at the martyry of St. John at Hebdomon, seven miles
outside Constantinople.

As he was going out, however, by one of the gates on this pretext,
the guards stationed at the gate perceived that his followers were
taking with them a quantity of arms which they endeavoured to conceal.
The guards refused to let them pass; a fray ensued in which the
guards were killed. The inhabitants were seized with mingled rage
and terror. Gaïnas was declared by royal decree a public enemy. He
himself was outside the walls, and the city gates were now all closed
to cut him off and such forces as were with him from those who were
left inside Constantinople. A large number of these assembled in
and around the church of the Goths. Here they were attacked by the
infuriated populace, which set fire to the building. The Goths perished
wholesale in the flames or by the sword. Gaïnas, with the remainder
of his followers, betook himself to a life of plunder in the Thracian
Chersonese. But he found the inhabitants generally prepared to offer
a stout resistance to his pillaging bands, which were soon reduced
to great straits for subsistence. Meanwhile, a countryman of his in
Constantinople was organising measures for his destruction. Fravitta
was one of those Goths who had become assimilated to the people among
whom they lived. He had married a Roman lady, and was eminent alike
for refinement of manners, for valour in arms, and for honest fidelity
to the government which he served.[497] He offered to lead out such
forces as could be placed at his disposal, pledged himself to clear
the Chersonese of the rebels, and drive them, if necessary, beyond the
Danube. The offer was accepted with joy, and Fravitta defeated the
enemy in several engagements. Gaïnas attempted to cross the Hellespont,
and throw his troops again into the fertile regions of Asia Minor;
but his flimsy fleet of hastily-constructed rafts, being attacked
by a well-managed body of galleys in the middle of the passage, was
dispersed or broken in pieces, and a large part of his army was
drowned. Gaïnas then determined, with the remnant of his followers, to
beat a hasty retreat in the direction of the Danube, where he hoped to
be joined by some of his own countrymen, and renew the offensive. The
accounts of his march are not quite harmonious, and somewhat obscure.
According to Zosimus,[498] he was hotly pursued by Fravitta from place
to place, across the range of Hæmus up to the shores of the Danube,
into the waters of which he plunged on horseback, and with a scanty
band of followers gained the opposite bank, intending thence to make
his way to the settlements of his forefathers on the banks of the
Pruth or Borysthenes. But his design was frustrated by an unexpected
enemy. The Huns occupied at that time the region immediately north of
the Danube, and their king, Uldes or Uldin, was disposed to enter into
friendly relations with the Roman Empire. He took up the pursuit which
Fravitta had abandoned at the river frontier, chased the unhappy Goth
like a wild beast from one hiding-place to another, till at last the
prey was caught and killed. His head was carried on the point of a
lance to Constantinople, as a visible pledge of the good-will of the
Hunnish chief. Sozomen and Socrates,[499] on the other hand, represent
him to have been overtaken, routed, and slain by Roman troops in

Theodoret has a vague story of his own, that when Gaïnas was ravaging
Thrace, neither warrior nor ambassador could be found courageous enough
to encounter him but Chrysostom, who, yielding to the public appeal,
set forth to intercede, and was most respectfully received by the
barbarian, who placed the right hand of the Archbishop on his own eyes,
and brought his children to his knees—it may be presumed, to receive
his blessing. Theodoret does not venture to affirm that the mission
availed to induce the Goth to lay down his arms, and the whole story
has an unreal and romantic character.[501]

Three aspirants to the absolute control of the Eastern Empire, widely
different in race, character, and original condition of life—Rufinus,
Eutropius, Gaïnas—had alike perished by a violent death. Fravitta was
made consul, but he was too loyal or too unambitious to go beyond the
line of his legitimate power. Eudoxia now stood without a rival in
the management of the Emperor and the kingdom. Her influence over her
husband was enhanced by the birth of a prince, who afterwards mounted
the throne as Theodosius II.; and thus the final obstacle was removed
to her being solemnly proclaimed Empress under the venerable title of



Up to this point the episcopal career of Chrysostom may be pronounced
eminently successful. He had distinguished himself not only as a
vigorous reformer of ecclesiastical discipline, an eloquent master of
pure Christian doctrine, and preacher of lofty Christian morality,
but he had done good service to the State; and even while he upheld
with inflexible firmness the full rights of the Church, he had not by
overbearing or haughty independence forfeited the goodwill, respect,
and admiration of the Emperor and Eudoxia. But now the horizon
gradually darkens. We have to begin unravelling a tangled skein of
troubles, to trace a series of subtle intrigues, against which the
single-minded honesty of Chrysostom was ill matched, ultimately
bringing about his degradation, exile, and death. We are fortunate
in possessing, to guide us among these complicated proceedings, the
narrative of one who was not only an eye-witness, but an actor in many
of the scenes which he relates.[502]

In the spring of the year A.D. 400, during the military usurpation of
Gaïnas, twenty-two prelates had assembled in Constantinople to confer
with the Archbishop on ecclesiastical business.[503] Palladius has
mentioned the names of a few, Theotimus from Scythia, Ammon an Egyptian
from Thrace, Arabianus from Galatia. One Sunday when the conclave was
sitting, Eusebius, bishop of Valentinopolis in Asia, apparently not
himself a member of the synod, entered the place of assembly, and
presented a document addressed to the Archbishop as President, which
contained seven grave charges against Antoninus, bishop of Ephesus: “He
had melted down some of the sacred vessels to make plate for his son;
he had transferred some of the marble at the entrance of the baptistry
to his own bath; he had placed some fallen columns which belonged to
the Church in his own dining-room; he had retained in his employment
a servant who had committed murder; he had taken possession of some
property in land which had been left to the Church by Basilina, the
mother of Julian; he had resumed intercourse with his wife, and had
children born to him, after his ordination; lastly, the worst offence
of all, he had instituted a regular system of selling bishoprics on a
scale proportioned to the revenue of the sees.” Chrysostom probably
perceived, or suspected from the eagerness of the accuser, that he
entertained some personal animosity towards the accused. He replied
with calmness and caution: “Brother Eusebius, since accusations made
under the influence of agitated feelings are often not easy to prove,
let me beseech you to withdraw the written accusation, while we
endeavour to correct the causes of your annoyance.” Eusebius waxed hot,
and repeated his tale of charges with much vehemence and acrimony of
tone. The hour of service was approaching; Chrysostom committed to
Paul, bishop of Heraclea, who appeared friendly to Antoninus, the task
of attempting to conciliate Eusebius, and passed with the remainder of
the prelates into the cathedral.

The opening salutation, “Peace be with you,” was pronounced by the
Archbishop as he took his seat in the centre of the other bishops,
ranged, according to custom, on either side of him round the wall
of the choir or tribune. The service was proceeding, when, to the
amazement alike of the clergy and the congregation, Eusebius abruptly
entered the choir, hurried up to the Archbishop, and again presented
the document of charges, adjuring him by the life of the Emperor and
other tremendous oaths to attend to its contents. From the agitation of
his manner, the people imagined that he must be a suppliant entreating
the Archbishop to intercede with the Emperor for his life. To avoid a
disturbance in the face of the congregation, Chrysostom received the
paper of charges, but when the lessons for the day had been read, and
the Liturgy of the Faithful (Missa Fidelium) was about to begin, he
desired Pansophius, bishop of Pissida, to “offer the gifts,” and, with
the rest of the prelates, quitted the church. His serenity of mind was
ruffled by the impetuous behaviour of Eusebius, and he dreaded the
possibility of infringing our Lord’s command to abstain from bringing
a gift to the altar when “thy brother hath aught against thee.” After
the conclusion of the service, he took his seat with the other bishops
in the baptistry, and summoned Eusebius into the presence of the
conclave. Once more the accuser was warned not to advance charges which
he might not be able to substantiate, and was reminded that when once
the indictment had been formally lodged, he could not, being a bishop,
retract the prosecution. Eusebius, however, intimated his willingness
to accept all the responsibility of persevering with the accusation.
The list of charges was then formally read. The bishops concurred in
pronouncing each of the alleged offences to be a gross violation of
ecclesiastical law, but recommended that Antoninus should be tried upon
the cardinal crime of simony, since this transcended, and in a manner
comprehended, all the rest. “Love of money was the root of all evil;”
and he who would basely sell for money the highest spiritual office,
would not scruple to dispose of sacred vessels, marbles, or land
belonging to the Church. The Archbishop then turned to the accused:
“What say you, brother Antoninus, to these things?” The Bishop of
Ephesus replied by a flat denial of the charges. A similar question
being addressed to some of the bishops there present, described
as purchasers of their sees, was answered by a similar denial. An
examination of such witnesses as could be procured lasted till two
o’clock in the day, when, owing to the lack of further evidence, the
proceedings were adjourned. Considering the gravity of the affair, and
the inconvenience of collecting the witnesses from Asia, the Archbishop
announced his intention of paying a visit to Asia Minor in person.
Antoninus, conscious of guilt, and aware of the rigorous scrutiny to
which his conduct would be subjected, was now thoroughly alarmed.
He made interest with a nobleman at court, whose estates he managed
(contrary to ecclesiastical law) in Asia, and besought him to prevent
the visit of the Archbishop, pledging himself to present the necessary
witnesses at Constantinople. The Archbishop, accordingly, found his
intended departure opposed by the Court. It was represented that the
absence of the chief pastor from the capital, undesirable at all
times, might be especially inconvenient at a crisis when tumults were
apprehended from the movements of Gaïnas; and it was unnecessary, as
the appearance of witnesses from Asia in due time was guaranteed.[504]
Any delay was an immediate relief to the accused; and there was a
further hope that, by bribery or intimidation, the ultimate production
of the witnesses might be prevented. But he was disappointed; for
though the Archbishop consented to defer his own visit to Asia, he
appointed, with the sanction of the synod, three delegates to proceed
thither immediately and institute an inquiry into the case of Antoninus.

The delegates were instructed to hold their court at Hypœpœ, a town
not far from Ephesus, in conjunction with the bishops of the province;
and the Archbishop and his synod further determined, that if either
the accuser or accused failed to appear there within two months, he
should be excommunicated. One of the delegates, Hesychius, bishop of
Parium on the Hellespont, was a friend of Antoninus, and withdrew from
the mission under the pretence of illness; the other two, Syncletius,
bishop of Trajanopolis in Thrace, and Palladius, bishop of Hellenopolis
in Bithynia, proceeded to Smyrna, announced their arrival to the
accuser and defendant by letter, and summoned them to appear at Hypœpœ
within the appointed time. The summons was obeyed, but the appearance
of the two was only for the purpose of playing off a farce before the
commissioners. Strange to relate, a reconciliation had taken place
between Antoninus and his apparently implacable accuser. Eusebius
had yielded to the temptation to commit the very crime which he had
so vehemently denounced. A bribe of money had quelled his righteous
indignation; plaintiff and defendant were now accomplices, whose one
interest was to conceal their joint iniquities. They professed great
willingness to produce their witnesses, but pleaded the difficulty
of collecting persons who lived in different and distant places, and
were engaged in various occupations. The commissioners requested the
accuser to name a period within which he could guarantee the appearance
of his witnesses. Eusebius required forty days. As this space of
time covered the hottest part of the summer, it was hoped that the
patience or health of the commissioners would be too much exhausted
at the expiration of it to prosecute the inquiry. Eusebius then
departed, ostensibly to search for witnesses; but, in fact, he quietly
sneaked away to Constantinople, and concealed himself in some obscure
corner in that great city. The forty days expired, and, Eusebius not
appearing, the two delegates wrote to the bishops of Asia, pronouncing
him excommunicated for contumacy. They lingered a whole month longer
in Asia, and then returned to Constantinople. Here they chanced to
light upon Eusebius, and upbraided him with his faithless conduct.
He affected to have been ill, and renewed his promises to produce
witnesses. During these prolonged delays Antoninus died; and Chrysostom
now received earnest solicitations from the clergy of Ephesus, and from
the neighbouring bishops, to apply a healing hand to the wounds and
diseases of the Asiatic Church. “We beseech your Dignity[505] to come
down and stamp a divine impress on the Church of Ephesus, which has
long been distressed, partly by the adherents of Arius, partly by those
who, in the midst of their avarice and arrogance, pretend to be on our
side; for very many are they who lie in wait like grievous wolves,
eager to seize the episcopal throne by money.”[506]

The death of Gaïnas in January, A.D. 401, set Chrysostom free to comply
with this earnest appeal to his authority and aid. It was the depth of
the winter season; his health was infirm and impaired by the strain
of the past year’s anxiety and toil; but the zeal of the Archbishop
disregarded these impediments. He embarked at Constantinople without
delay, leaving Severian, Bishop of Gabala, to act as deputy bishop in
his absence. Such a violent north wind sprang up soon after starting,
that the crew of the vessel, afraid of being driven on Proconnesus,
lay at anchor for two days under shelter of the promontory of Trito. On
the third day they took advantage of a southerly breeze to land near
Apamea in Bithynia, where Chrysostom was joined by three bishops, Paul
of Heraclea, Cyrinus of Chalcedon, and Palladius of Hellenopolis. With
these companions he proceeded by land to Ephesus. There he was received
with hearty welcome by the clergy and by seventy bishops.

The first business to which the Archbishop and this council of prelates
addressed themselves was the election of a new bishop to the see of
Ephesus. As usual there were many rival candidates, and factions
supporting each with equal vehemence. Chrysostom fell back on the
expedient of putting forward a candidate regarded with indifference
by all parties. The plan succeeded, and Heracleides was elected. He
was a deacon of three years’ standing, ordained by Chrysostom, and
in immediate attendance on him; a native of Cyprus, who had received
an ascetic training in the desert of Scetis, a man of ability and
learning. He comes before us again as a fellow-sufferer with the
Archbishop, to whom he had owed his elevation.

Not long after the arrival of Chrysostom, Eusebius, the original
persecutor of Antoninus and of the simoniacal bishops, appeared, and
requested to be re-admitted to communion with his brethren. The request
was not immediately granted; but it was determined to proceed with the
trial of the accused bishops, to prove whose guilt Eusebius affirmed
that he could produce abundant evidence. The witnesses were examined,
and the crime being considered fully proven in the case of six bishops,
the offenders were summoned into the presence of the council. At first
they stoutly denied their guilt, but finally gave way before the minute
and circumstantial depositions of lay, clerical, and even female
witnesses as to the place, time, and quality of the purchases which
they had transacted. They pleaded partly the prevalence of the custom
in excuse for their crime, and partly their anxiety to be exempted
from the burden of discharging curial duties; that is, from serving on
the common and municipal council of their city. Every estate-holder
to the amount of twenty-five acres of land was bound to serve in the
curia of his city. Many of the functions incident to that office, such
as the assessment and collection of imposts, were (especially under
an ill-administered despotism) invidious and onerous. Constantine had
exempted the clergy from curial office, and the consequence was that
many men got themselves ordained simply to evade the disagreeable duty;
and this becoming detrimental both to the Church and State, the law
of Constantine underwent modifications by his successors. The Church
passed canons forbidding those who were curiales to be ordained, the
effect of which was to diminish the number of wealthy men who entered
the ranks of the clergy.[507] The Asiatic bishops, therefore, if
curiales when ordained, had acted against the laws of the Church,
and could not legally have claimed exemption from curial duties on
the ground of their orders. They sued for mercy to the council; they
entreated that, if deprived of their sees, the money which they had
paid to obtain them might be returned. In many cases it had been
procured with much difficulty; some had even parted with the furniture
of their wives to raise the requisite amount. The Archbishop undertook
to intercede with the Emperor for their exemption from curial duty; the
ecclesiastical question he submitted to the council. The decision of
the prelates, under the influence of their president, was temperate and
wise. The six bishops were to be deprived of their sees, but allowed
to receive the Eucharist inside the altar rails with the clergy, and
the heirs of Antoninus were required to restore their purchase-money to
them. The deposed prelates were superseded by the appointment of six
men, unmarried, eminent for learning and purity of life.[508]

On his return through Bithynia the Archbishop was detained by a not
less difficult and delicate piece of business. Gerontius, Archbishop
of Nicomedia, the metropolitan of Bithynia, was a singular specimen of
an ecclesiastical adventurer. He had been a deacon at Milan, but was
expelled by Ambrose for misconduct. He made his way to Constantinople,
where, by general cleverness, and by some real or pretended skill in
medicine, he became a favourite with people of rank, and through the
interest of some influential friends obtained the See of Nicomedia.
He was consecrated by Helladius, bishop of Heraclea, for whose son
Gerontius had managed to procure a high appointment in the army. The
new bishop of Nicomedia gained the attachment of his people, again it
is said, through his skill in curing diseases of the body rather than
of the soul. Ambrose incessantly demanded of Nectarius, then Patriarch
of Constantinople, that he should be deposed; but Nectarius did not
venture to incur the displeasure of the Nicomedians. The bolder spirit
and more scrupulous conscience of Chrysostom did not hesitate to strike
the blow which his more worldly and courtly predecessor had shrunk
from striking. Gerontius was deposed, whether by the sole authority
of the Archbishop, or by the decree of a council acting under his
influence, is not stated. Pansophius, formerly tutor to the Empress,
a man of piety, wisdom, and gentleness, was promoted to the see. But
the Nicomedians bewailed the loss of their favourite; they went about
the streets in procession, singing litanies, as if in the time of some
great national calamity.[509]

Before quitting Asia, Chrysostom is also said to have taken active
measures for the suppression of the worship of Midas at Ephesus, and
of Cybele in Phrygia.[510] All these proceedings are worth recording,
not only as of some ecclesiastical interest in themselves, but also
because they were all remembered and turned against him by his enemies.
It has been much debated whether Chrysostom, by his acts in Asia,
overstrained his legal powers, or rather, whether he exceeded the
legal boundaries of his jurisdiction as Patriarch of Constantinople.
The fact seems to be that the importance of his see was in that
growing state which enabled the possessor of it, if a man of energy
and ability, to go great lengths without any exception being taken to
his authority, unless and until a hostile feeling was provoked against
him. By the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 381, the Patriarch of that
city was restricted in his jurisdiction to the diocese of Thrace.[511]
His authority over the dioceses of Asia Minor and Pontus was not
established till the Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451, when there was
a long discussion on the subject, and the papal legates especially
resisted any claim to such an extension; but it was affirmed that the
Patriarchs had _long enjoyed_ the privilege of ordaining metropolitans
to the provinces of those dioceses, and so it was finally conveyed to
them by that Council; and the additional right was granted them of
hearing appeals from these metropolitans.[512] Theodoret (c. 28) simply
observes that the jurisdiction of Chrysostom extended not only over the
six provinces of Thrace, but also over Asia and Pontus. The Council of
Constantinople gave the bishop of that see the first rank after the
Bishop of Rome, because Constantinople was “a new Rome.” The Council
of Chalcedon declared him for the same reason to be invested with
_equal_ privileges.

Chrysostom was welcomed, on his return to Constantinople, with hearty
demonstrations of joy. On the following day he was at his post in the
cathedral, and once more addressing his beloved flock. In somewhat
rapturous language he expresses his thankfulness at learning that their
fidelity to the Church, and their attachment to their spiritual father,
had not been impaired by his absence, which had lasted more than a
hundred days. They were disappointed that he had not returned in time
to celebrate Easter with them. But he consoles them by representing
that every participation of the Eucharist was a kind of Easter. “_As
often_ as ye eat this bread, ye do show forth the Lord’s death till He
come.” “They were not tied to time and place like the Jew. Wherever
and whenever the Christian celebrated that holy feast with joy and
love, there was the true Paschal Festival.”[513] They regretted also
that so many had been baptized by other hands than his. “What then?
that does not impair the gift of God; _I_ was not present when they
were baptized, but _Christ_ was present.” “In a document signed by the
Emperor, the only question of importance is the autograph; the quality
of the ink and paper matters not. Even so in baptism, the tongue and
the hand of the priest are but as the paper and pen: the hand which
writes is the Holy Spirit Himself.”[514]

The thankfulness and joy of Chrysostom at the affectionate reception
with which he was greeted by the people were probably felt and
expressed the more warmly, owing to some unpleasant accounts which
had been forwarded to him by his deacon Serapion, that Severian,
Bishop of Gabala, had been endeavouring to undermine his influence
in his absence. It will be remembered that to Severian Chrysostom
had intrusted his episcopal duties during his visitation journey in
Asia. The circumstance of a bishop of Syria residing for so long a
time in Constantinople is worth considering, and affords a curious
insight into the character of the times. Antiochus, Bishop of Ptolemais
in Phœnicia, had a reputation as a learned and eloquent man; he
paid a visit to Constantinople, and excited much admiration by his
discourses. Severian, hearing of his success, was animated by a spirit
of emulation, if not envy, which could not be satisfied till he had
exhibited his powers on the same theatre. He carefully composed a
large stock of sermons, and set out to try his fortune in the capital.
The unsuspicious and generous Archbishop received him cordially, and
frequently invited him to preach. Severian possessed some powers of
speaking, though he had a harsh provincial accent, and he exerted all
his eloquence in the church, and all his arts of flattery out of it,
to win the confidence and admiration, not only of the Archbishop,
but also of the chief personages at court, and even the Emperor and
Empress. It was with their full approval that he remained as deputy
of the Archbishop during his sojourn in Asia. But he found himself
narrowly and suspiciously watched by the Archdeacon Serapion, who
opposed some of his proceedings as arbitrary, and made no concealment
of his dislike. One day after the return of Chrysostom, Severian
passed through an apartment of the episcopal palace where Serapion was
sitting. Serapion rose not to make the customary salutation of respect.
Severian, irritated by his discourtesy, exclaimed in a loud voice:
“If Serapion dies a Christian, then Jesus Christ was not incarnate.”
The last clause only of the sentence was repeated by Serapion to
Chrysostom. It was corroborated by witnesses; the indignation of the
Archbishop was excited. Severian was peremptorily commanded to quit
the city. The Empress resented the expulsion of a favourite preacher,
and commanded the Archbishop to recall him. Chrysostom yielded so
far, but was inflexible in his refusal to admit the offender to
communion, till Eudoxia came in person to the Church of the Apostles,
placed her infant son Theodosius on his knees, and conjured him by
solemn oaths to listen to her request. The Archbishop then, but with
some reluctance, consented.[515] He was, however, thoroughly honest
in doing that to which he had once made up his mind. Fearing that his
congregation, in their zealous attachment to him, might disapprove of
the reconciliation, he delivered a short address on the subject. He was
their spiritual father, and he trusted therefore they would extend to
him the respect and obedience of affectionate and dutiful children. He
came to them with the most appropriate message that could be delivered
by the mouth of a bishop—a message of peace and love. There was also
a further duty incumbent on all—respectful submission to the civil
powers. If the apostle Paul said, “Be subject to principalities and
powers” (Tit. iii. 1), how especially was this precept incumbent on
the subjects of a religious sovereign who laboured for the good of
the Church? He besought them to receive Severian with a full heart
and with open arms. The request was received by the congregation with
expressions of approbation. He thanked them for their obedience, and
concluded with a prayer that God would grant a fixed and lasting peace
to His Church.

Severian addressed them the next day in a rhetorical and artificial
discourse on the beauty and blessings of peace—a subject painfully
incongruous with the subsequent conduct of the speaker; for this
misunderstanding with the Bishop of Gabala was the first muttering
of the storm which was soon to burst over the head of the doomed

The inevitable fate of one who attempts to reform a deeply corrupt
society, and a secularised clergy, on an ascetic model befell
Chrysostom. He lashed with almost equal severity the most unpardonable
crimes and the more venial foibles and follies of the age. His
denunciations of heartless rapacity, sensuality, luxury, addiction
to debasing and immoral amusements, might have been borne; but he
presumed—an intolerable offence!—to censure the fashionable ladies for
setting off their complexions with paint, and surmounting their heads
with piles of false hair. The clergy, too, might have tolerated his
condemnation of the grosser offences, such as simony or concubinage,
but they resented his restraint of their indulgence in the pleasures
of society, and of their propensity to frequent the entertainments
of the noble and wealthy. He was, as Palladius expresses it, “like a
lamp burning before sore eyes,” for what he bade others be, that he
was pre-eminently himself.[517] None could say that he was one man in
the pulpit and another out of it. To set an example to his worldly
clergy, and to avoid contamination, he gave up his episcopal income,
save what sufficed to supply his simple daily wants. He resolutely
abstained from mingling in general society, and ate his frugal meals
in the seclusion of his own apartment. Thus, with the exception of a
few deeply attached friends, who measured practical Christianity by the
same standard as himself, he became deeply unpopular among the upper
ranks of society. With the poor it was otherwise; they regarded him as
a kind of champion, because he denounced the oppressions and extortions
of the rich, and the tyranny of masters over slaves, and because he was
ever inculcating the duty of almsgiving. In the eyes of his friends he
was the saint, pure in life, severe in discipline, sublime in doctrine;
in the eyes of his enemies he was the sacerdotal tyrant, odious to the
clergy as an inexorable enforcer of a rule of life intolerably rigid,
odious to clergy and laity as an inhospitable, if not haughty recluse;
a vigilant and merciless censor who rode roughshod over established
customs. Individuals at last, among clergy and laity, who conceived
that they themselves, or at any rate the section of society to which
they belonged, were the butts at which more especially the Archbishop
aimed his shafts, began to discuss their grievances, till their
conferences gradually assumed the shape of positive organised hostility
against the disturber of their peace. But before entering on the
troublous history of his enemies’ machinations, it may be well to take
a glance at the most conspicuous of Chrysostom’s friends.

The list of those who are known to us by more than their mere names
is soon exhausted. Among the clergy may be reckoned Heracleides, made
Bishop of Ephesus in the place of Antoninus; Proclus, afterwards (in
A.D. 434) Patriarch of Constantinople, at present the receiver of those
who demanded audiences with the Patriarch; Cassianus, founder of the
Monastery of St. Victor at Marseilles, and his friend and companion
Germanus; Helladius, the priest of the palace, probably equivalent
to private chaplain; Serapion, the deacon[518] or archdeacon,[519]
afterwards made Bishop of Heraclea in Thrace, from which see he was
expelled in the persecution which befell Chrysostom’s followers. With
most of these men he maintained a constant and affectionate intercourse
or correspondence during his exile to the close of his life. With such
intimate companions and friends the austerity and reserve of manner
which he assumed towards those outside this circle vanished. All the
natural amiability and playful humour of his disposition shone out when
he was in their company; he called some of them by nicknames of his own
invention, especially those who practised such ascetic exercises as he
specially approved.[520]

Three ladies are distinguished as among his most faithful friends.
Salvina was the daughter of the African rebel Gildo, and had been
married by Theodosius to Nebridius, nephew of his Empress, in the
hope—a vain one as it proved—that this tie would attach Gildo to
the Empire. Her husband died young; she vowed perpetual widowhood,
and became the patroness and protectress at the court of Arcadius of
oriental churches and ecclesiastics.

Pentadia was wife of the consul Timasius; and when her husband was
banished by Eutropius to the Oasis of Egypt, she had been persecuted by
the merciless tyrant, and fled for refuge to the Church, where she was
protected in sanctuary by the Archbishop in spite of the opposition of
her persecutor.

But by far the most eminent of Chrysostom’s female friends was the
deaconess Olympias. She sprang from a noble but Pagan family. Her
grandfather, Ablavius, was a prætorian prefect, highly esteemed and
trusted by Constantine the Great, and her father, Seleucus, had
attained the rank of count. She was early left an orphan, endowed
with great personal beauty, and heiress to a vast fortune. Her uncle
and guardian, Procopius, was a man of probity and piety, a friend
and correspondent of Gregory Nazianzenus. Her instructress also,
Theodosia, sister of St. Amphilocius, was a woman of piety; one whom
Gregory recommended Olympias to imitate as a very model of excellence
in speech and conduct. Under this happy training, the girl grew up to
emulate and surpass her preceptress in goodness. Gregory delighted to
call her “his own Olympias,” and to be called “father” by her.[521]
There could be no difficulty in finding a suitor for a lady possessed
of every attraction. The anxiety of Procopius was to secure a worthy
one. Nebridius was selected; a young man, but high in official rank;
Count or Intendant of the Domain in A.D. 382, Prefect of Constantinople
in A.D. 386. They were wedded in A.D. 384. Many bishops assisted at
the ceremony, but Gregory was prevented from attending by the state
of his health. He wrote a letter to Procopius, saying that in spirit,
nevertheless, he would join their hands to one another and to God.
Part of the letter is written in a vein of sprightly humour. “It
would have been very unbecoming for a gouty old fellow like himself
to be seen hobbling about among the dancers and merry-makers at the
nuptials.”[522] He also addressed a poem to Olympias, in which he
gives her advice how she ought to conduct herself as a married woman.
She did not long need his counsel. Nebridius died about two years
after their marriage. Olympias regarded this early dissolution of the
marriage-bond as an intimation of the Divine will that she should
henceforth live free from the worldly entanglements and cares incident
to married life. The Emperor Theodosius desired to unite her to a
Spaniard named Elpidius, a kinsman of his own, but she steadfastly
refused. The Emperor acted in that despotic manner which occasionally
marred his usually generous character. He ordered the property of
Olympias to be confiscated till she should be thirty years of age; she
was even denied freedom of intercourse with her episcopal friends, and
of access to the Church. But she only thanked the Emperor for those
deprivations, which were intended to make her hanker after worldly
life. “You have exercised towards your humble handmaiden a virtue
becoming a monarch and suitable even to a bishop; you have directed
what was to me a heavy burden, and the distribution of it an anxiety,
to be kept in safe custody. You could not have conferred a greater
blessing upon me, unless you had ordered it to be bestowed upon the
churches and the poor.” The Emperor was softened; at any rate he
perceived the uselessness, if not the injustice, of his treatment. He
cancelled the order for the confiscation of her property, and left her
in the undisturbed enjoyment of single life and of her possessions.
Henceforward her time and wealth were devoted to the interests of the
Church. She was the friend, entertainer, adviser of many of the most
eminent ecclesiastics of the day; the liberal patroness of their works
in Greece, Asia, Syria, not only by donations of money but even of
landed property. We may not admire what was regarded in those days as
among the most admirable traits of saintliness, a total disregard to
personal neatness and cleanliness; but we can admire her frugal living,
and entire devotion of her time to ministering to the wants of the
sick, the needy, and the ignorant. Her too indiscriminate liberality
was restrained by Chrysostom, who represented to her that, as her
wealth was a trust committed to her by God, she ought to be prudent
in the distribution of it. This salutary advice procured for him the
ill-will of many avaricious bishops and clergy, who had profited, or
hoped to profit, by her wealth.[523] She, on her side, repaid the
Archbishop for his spiritual care by many little feminine attentions
to his bodily wants, especially by seeing that he was supplied with
wholesome food, and did not overstrain his feeble constitution by a too
rigid abstinence.[524]

The leaders of the faction hostile to Chrysostom among the clergy were
the two bishops already mentioned—Severian of Gabala and Antiochus
of Ptolemais. To these was added a third in the person of Acacius,
Bishop of Berœa. He had, in A.D. 401 or A.D. 402, paid a visit to
Constantinople, and, in a fit of rage at what he considered the mean
lodging and inhospitable entertainment of the Archbishop, had coarsely
exclaimed, in the hearing of some of the clergy, “I’ll season a dainty
dish for him.”[525] The ladies who acquired a melancholy pre-eminence
among the enemies of the Archbishop were the intimate friends of
the Empress, already mentioned—Marsa, widow of Promotus, the consul
whom Rufinus murdered; Castricia, wife of the consul Saturninus;
and Eugraphia, a wealthy widow,—all rich women “who used _for_
evil the wealth which their husbands had _through_ evil obtained.”
Proud, intriguing, licentious, they were all exasperated against the
Archbishop for the censure which he had unsparingly pronounced upon
their moral conduct, as well as their vain and extravagant display
in dress. The house of Eugraphia became the rendezvous of all clergy
and monks, as well as laity, who were disaffected to him. Among the
clergy was Atticus, who was obtruded on the see as Archbishop after the
banishment of Chrysostom. This worthy cabal collected, and disseminated
with praiseworthy industry, whatever tales could damage the character
and influence of the Archbishop. His real failings were exaggerated,
others were invented, and his language misrepresented. He was
irascible, inhospitable, uncourteous, parsimonious; he had unmercifully
assailed Eutropius with harsh language when he fled for refuge to
the Church; he had behaved disrespectfully to Gaïnas when he was
“magister militum;” but, worse than all, he had audaciously attacked
the Augusta herself, and had insulted her sacred majesty by indicating
her under the name of Jezebel. This is scarcely credible in itself,
and is distinctly contradicted by the most trustworthy authorities;
but it is stated that he had reproved the Empress for appropriating
with harshness, if not violence, a piece of land; and of course the
blows which he directed against inordinate luxury, unseemly parade
of dress and the like, fell heavily upon the most prominent leader
in these follies. She was probably mortified also to find that her
display of religious zeal, her pious attendance on the services of the
Church, her pilgrimages, her really liberal donations to good works,
did not protect her from censure in other things. Chrysostom was not
one of those who would connive at evil for the benefit, as some might
have represented it, of the Church. He would not sacrifice what he
believed to be the interests of morality, for the supposed advantage
either of himself or of the Church over which he ruled. Wrong was
wrong and must be rebuked, though the actor was the Empress herself,
though that Empress was inclined to be the benefactress and patroness
of the Church, and though she might become, as she _did_ become, his
implacable foe.

The clergy only needed an equally potent leader on their side, and
then the organisation of the hostile forces would be complete. Such
a chief was to be found in the Patriarch of Alexandria, Theophilus,
who had already displayed a malignant spirit at the ordination of
the Archbishop, though intimidated by Eutropius into submission. He
was only waiting his opportunity for revenge, which a concurrence of
circumstances now put into his hands.

After making the most of such charges as gossip, aided by malice, could
manufacture at Constantinople, the enemy employed one of the party, a
despicable Syrian monk named Isaac, to make a scrutinising inquiry at
Antioch into the previous life of Chrysostom. A youth passed in such a
licentious and voluptuous city could not fail, they thought, to betray
some stains if submitted to a rigorous inspection. But their malevolent
expectations were disappointed, for their miserable spy could bring
back nothing but unmixed praise of an immaculate youth and a pious

At this juncture the intriguers applied to Theophilus, and they could
not have secured a more willing and able director of their plans. The
character of this prelate, and his prominent position in the final
events of Chrysostom’s career, demand some notice. Of his family and
early life little is known. He had a sister who sympathised with
him in his ambitious schemes; and Cyril, who succeeded him in the
patriarchate, and too largely inherited his spirit, was his nephew.
He spent a portion of his younger manhood as a recluse in the Nitrian
desert, where he became familiar with the most eminent anchorites of
that period, Elurion, Ammon, Isidore, and Macarius. He was secretary to
Athanasius, and a presbyter of Alexandria under Peter, his successor;
and, on the death of Timothy in A.D. 385, who succeeded Peter, he
was elevated to the see. All historians concur in admitting that he
possessed great ability; that he was capable of conceiving great
projects, and executing them with courage and address. Jerome has
described him as deeply skilled in science, especially mathematics and
astrology, and highly praises his eloquence.[527] He had a passion
for building, and his episcopate was distinguished equally by the
destruction of Pagan temples and the erection of Christian churches.
The most splendid of these were the church of St. John the Baptist at
Alexandria, and another at Canopus. But to gratify this expensive taste
he was grasping of money, too often to the neglect of those indigent
people who were dependent on the alms of the Church. He combined his
efforts with Chrysostom’s, as has been already related, in healing
the schism of Antioch in A.D. 399, after which little is known of his
history, till he becomes Chrysostom’s implacable and too successful



In tracing to its starting-point the interference of Theophilus with
the affairs of Chrysostom, we have to unravel a curious and tangled
skein of controversy. The doctrines of Origen were as much an occasion
of strife a hundred and fifty years after his death, as he himself
had been during his life. With one hand holding on to the philosophy
of the past, and with the other firmly grasping the Christianity
of the present, he was persecuted by Pagans, yet never universally
accepted and cordially trusted by the Church.[529] So with his system
of doctrine; it became a sort of debatable ground for the possession
of which contending parties strove. The prize was worth the struggle;
for the genius of Origen could not be questioned, but the quantity
of his writings being enormous,[530] and the range of his doctrine
wide and many-sided, narrow-minded partisans, grasping only a part
of it, condemned or extolled him unfairly on a single issue. The
mystical element in his teaching was carried by some of his admirers
to extremes of fanciful, allegorical, interpretation of Scripture,
such as he himself would never have devised or approved. To others of
a more prosaic, material cast of thought this same mystical vein was
repugnant, and was denounced by them with characteristic coarseness.
Men of larger minds, who had patience to peruse his voluminous works,
and ability to criticise them, admired his genius, recognised his great
services to Christianity, heartily embraced much of his teaching,
questioned some portions, and rejected others. Such were Gregory
Nazianzenus, Basil, Chrysostom, and Jerome, who would never have been
so great as writers, or commentators, had they not been students of
Origen. As a general statement, it may be true to say that he was less
acceptable to the colder, more practical, more realistic mind of the
Western Church, than to the lively imagination and speculative spirit
of Oriental churchmen. The most controverted points, indeed, in his
system were of a kind with which the Western mind did not naturally
concern itself. The pre-existence of souls; their entrance into human
bodies after the fall as the punishment of sin; their emancipation from
the flesh in the resurrection; the ultimate salvation of all spirits,
including Satan himself,—these are questions singularly congenial to
Oriental, singularly alien from Western, thought. The Origenistic
controversy fell into abeyance before the engrossing interest and
importance of the Arian contest; but when that wave had spent itself,
it revived, and just at this period all the greatest names of the day
became engaged on one side or the other. As usual, the real questions
at issue were too often forgotten amidst the personal jealousies,
intrigues, angry recriminations to which the discussion of them gave

In spite of his doubtful orthodoxy, the Egyptian Church could not fail
to be proud of so distinguished a son as Origen, and Theophilus was at
first his earnest defender. Some of the more illiterate Egyptian monks
had recoiled from Origen’s highly spiritual conception of the Deity
into an opposite extreme. Interpreting literally those passages of
Scripture where God is spoken of as if possessing human emotions and
corporeal parts, they altogether humanised His nature; they conceived
of Him as a Being _not_ “without body, parts, or passions;” they
obtained, in consequence, the designation of “Anthropomorphites.”
Against this humanising, material conception Theophilus, in a paschal
letter, directed argument and proof.[531] It was received by many of
the monks with dismay, sorrow, and resistance. Serapion, one of the
most aged, burst into tears when informed that the mind of the Eastern
Church concurred, on the whole, with the doctrine of Theophilus, and
exclaimed, “My God is taken away, and I know not what to worship.”[532]

Rufinus, a monk of Aquileia, and for a time the ardent friend of
Jerome, was, during a visit to Egypt, initiated by Theophilus into the
doctrines of Origen, conceived a warm admiration for them, extolled
him as the light of the Gospel next to the Apostles, and imparted
some of his own enthusiasm to John, bishop of Jerusalem, whom he soon
afterwards visited. Jerome fully appreciated the merits of Origen,
though his larger mind and more extensive knowledge were not blind to
his defects.

Such were the amicable relations between the leading churchmen of the
East in A.D. 395, when a visitor from the West threw among them the
apple of discord. This was Aterbius, a pilgrim, who had a reputation
as a subtle theologian, and appears, immediately on his arrival in
Jerusalem, to have applied himself to the business of detecting heresy.
He entered into friendly intercourse for a short time with the bishop
and Rufinus, and then suddenly included Jerome with them both in a
public denunciation as Origenists, and declared the whole diocese
of Jerusalem to be infected with that heresy. Jerome immediately
and indignantly repudiated the charge; he declared that he was not
an Origenist, for that he merely read the works of Origen with
reservations, as he might those of a heretic.[533] Rufinus would not
condescend to make any defence, oral or written, but shut himself up
in his cloister in sullen silence till Aterbius had quitted Jerusalem,
fearing, so Jerome affirms, to condemn what he really approved, or
to incur the reproach of heresy by an open resistance.[534] John of
Jerusalem was equally indignant at the accusation, but displeased with
Jerome for publicly exculpating himself independently of his bishop.
In fact, the episcopal pride of the Bishop of Jerusalem was severely
wounded at this time, both by the pre-eminence of the metropolitan
see of Cæsarea,[535] and by the reputation of Jerome’s monastic
establishment at Bethlehem, which attracted visitors from all parts of

When the minds of all were thus ruffled, a second and far more
mischievous visitor arrived in the person of Epiphanius, the
octogenarian Bishop of Constantia, Metropolitan of Cyprus. He was
one of those men who, joining some erudition and a high reputation
for rigid orthodoxy to a narrow mind and impulsive temper, figure
prominently in theological warfare as the very personifications of
discord. Shocked at the intelligence of the heretical tendency in
Palestine, and vexed that it should have been detected by a stranger
rather than by himself, who was a native of Palestine, and the visitor
of a monastery between Jerusalem and Hebron, he lost not a moment in
setting out for the Holy City. He accepted the hospitality of the
Bishop John, and spent the evening in all amity with him, nor was the
obnoxious subject of dispute mentioned between them.[536]

A strange scene took place on the following day.

In the church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the presence of a large
congregation, Epiphanius fulminated a discourse against Origen, his
doctrines, and all who favoured them. Bishop John and his clergy
expressed their contempt by grimaces, sneers, and impatient scratchings
of their heads. At last an archdeacon stepped forward, and required
Epiphanius, in the name of the bishop, to desist from his discourse.
The assembly was dissolved, but met again in the afternoon, largely
augmented, in the church of the Holy Cross. This time Bishop John
discoursed, and denounced the Anthropomorphites, or Humanisers, under
which opprobrious name the partisans of Origen endeavoured to include
all their opponents. Pale and trembling, and in a voice quivering
with passion, the bishop directed his discourse, and turned his body,
towards Epiphanius, who sat motionless in his chair. The invective
being concluded, the aged Bishop of Constantia rose and pronounced
these words with solemn deliberation: “All that John, my brother in
the priesthood, my son in age, has just said against the heresy of
the Anthropomorphites I thoroughly approve; and as we both condemn
that absurd belief, it is only just that we should both denounce the
errors of Origen.”[537] A general laugh and acclamation on the part
of the assembly proclaimed their sense of this speech as a successful
hit. John made one more effort to right himself. He preached again in
the church of the Holy Cross, this time on the chief verities of the
faith, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the condition of
souls before and after this life. It was intended to be a grand and
convincing display of his orthodoxy, and at the moment Epiphanius
expressed even approbation. On subsequent reflection, however, the aged
critic thought he discovered that it teemed with error. He abruptly
quitted Jerusalem, repaired to Bethlehem, resisted the solicitation
of Jerome and his friends to be reconciled, and addressed a circular
letter to all the monasteries of Palestine, requiring them to break off
communion with the Bishop of Jerusalem.

Rufinus ranged himself immediately on the side of Bishop John; but
Jerome, though with somewhat balanced feelings, sided on the whole with
Epiphanius. Then the pent-up jealousy of John towards the monasteries
of Bethlehem burst forth; they were placed under interdict, and the
church of the Holy Manger closed against them. They were in despair
for want of a priest to celebrate the Eucharist; but Epiphanius
provided one through a forcible ordination. The young Paulinian had
always steadfastly declined holy orders, though considered eminently
qualified by his learning and virtue. He was now on a visit to the
monastery of Epiphanius, near Eleutheropolis. When Epiphanius was
celebrating the Eucharist, the young man was seized by the deacons,
dragged to the steps of the altar, and there made to kneel. Epiphanius
approached, cut off some of his hair, ordained him deacon, and
obliged him to assist in the celebration on the spot. At a fresh sign
from the bishop he was a second time seized, gagged to prevent his
adjuring the bishop in the name of Jesus Christ, and when he rose
from his knees he was declared to be a priest.[538] The joy which
filled the monasteries of Bethlehem was only to be equalled by the
indignation of their opponents at Jerusalem. John actually applied
(not without money, it is said) to Rufinus at Constantinople, then
Prætorian Prefect, and even procured a decree of banishment against
Jerome;[539] but, the murder of Rufinus taking place soon afterwards,
the governor of Cæsarea evaded the execution of the decree. Jerome
retaliated by one of those fierce, nervous philippics which exhibit
more command of language than of temper. The governor of Palestine made
a praiseworthy but ineffectual effort to bring about a reconciliation.
John had determined to invite an arbitrator, from whom he expected
a strong partiality for his own cause. He appealed to Theophilus,
from whom Rufinus, the monk, had derived his first acquaintance with
Origen. Jerome indignantly complained of this invocation of a foreign
jurisdiction. Was not Cæsarea the metropolitan see of Palestine? why
this contempt of ecclesiastical law?[540] Theophilus, however, had no
scruples in accepting the appeal. It was just one of those recognitions
of pre-eminence which the Patriarch of Alexandria, like the Bishops of
Rome, joyfully welcomed. The gratification of ambition was pleasantly
disguised from others, and perhaps from themselves, under the semblance
of peacemaking. Theophilus despatched Isidore as his legate to
Palestine. His arrival was preceded by two letters, one intended for
the Bishop of Jerusalem, the other for Vincentius, the presbyter and
friend of Jerome at Bethlehem.

Unfortunately the letter intended for the bishop was delivered to
Vincentius, and he and Jerome read with indignation assurances of
sympathy and friendship towards John, and expressions of contempt
for Jerome and his party, the language, in short, of an accomplice
rather than of an arbitrator. It set forth in flowery oriental terms
the confidence of the legate in the success of his mission; “as smoke
disperses in the air, as wax melts before the fire, so will these
enemies, who always resist the faith, and seek to disturb it now,
by means of simple ignorant men be dispersed on my arrival.”[541]
The legate took up his abode at Jerusalem, and spent his time in
familiar intercourse with the bishop and Rufinus. To Bethlehem he
paid occasional visits, where he conducted himself with dictatorial
haughtiness. Jerome and the monks plainly perceived that the so-called
arbitrator was committed to one side—which was not theirs.

But on a sudden, in A.D. 398, the Patriarch wheeled round; he
discovered that he had been in error. “The writings of Origen were
fraught with danger to the unlearned, however profitable to philosophic
minds.” Such was the reason alleged for this sudden revulsion of
opinion. The real reasons appear to have been of a less calm and
philosophic character. One of the most distinguished presbyters in
Alexandria at this time was Isidore, an octogenarian. His youth
had been spent in pious seclusion, among the monks of Scetis and
Nitria, and his piety had attracted the notice of Athanasius, whom he
accompanied to Rome in A.D. 341, and by whom he was afterwards ordained
priest. He became the Hospitaller of the Church in Alexandria, whose
duty it was to attend to the reception of Christian visitors. In spite
of great personal austerity, he was, as became his position, gentle
and amiable to all men, even Pagans, when brought into contact with
them. In A.D. 398, at the age of eighty, he had been employed to carry
to Rome the recognition by Theophilus of Flavian as bishop of Antioch;
and now, in the extremity of age, he was destined to become the first
victim of a persecution by Theophilus, which, beginning with him,
culminated in the deposition and exile of Chrysostom.[542]

An opulent widow committed to Isidore a large sum of money to be
expended on clothing for the poor of Alexandria, and adjured him by a
solemn oath to conceal the trust from Theophilus, lest the Patriarch’s
well-known cupidity should be tempted to appropriate the money to
aid his grand operations in building. The precaution, however, was
vain: nothing said or done in his diocese could escape the vigilance
of informers in the employ of Theophilus. Isidore was questioned
by the Patriarch concerning the charitable gift, and required to
place the money at his disposal; but the hospitaller refused, and
boldly maintained that it would be better bestowed on the bodies
of the sick and poor, which were the temples of God, than on the
erection of buildings. The Patriarch was astounded at the temerity
of his disobedience, but dissembled for the moment the depth of his
resentment. Two months later, in a convocation of the clergy, he
produced a paper containing the charge of a horrible and unmentionable
crime against Isidore, which the Patriarch said he had received
eighteen years ago, but had been unable to prove from the absence of
the principal witness. The whole charge turned out to be a baseless
fabrication; but Isidore was ejected from the priesthood by the
contrivance of Theophilus.[543]

The aged hospitaller fled to the peaceful retreat of his earlier
days, the desert of Nitria. The most distinguished of the monks in
this seclusion were four brothers—Ammon, Dioscorus, Eusebius, and
Euthymius—eminent alike for their piety and the height of their
stature, whence they were known by the name of the “tall brethren.”
They were venerated as the fathers of the Nitrian monks. Theophilus
had in former times professed the highest admiration and respect for
their virtues. He had made the eldest, Dioscorus, bishop of Hermopolis,
and had persuaded, if not compelled, Eusebius and Euthymius, much
against their will, to be presbyters in Alexandria.[544] Their simple
piety was so much shocked by the avarice and other failings of the
Patriarch, that they implored him to release them from clerical
duties and restore them to the freedom of the desert. When Theophilus
discovered their real reason for requesting this permission he was
furious, and tried to intimidate them into submission by fierce
menaces, but in vain. They withdrew, and for a time the Patriarch was
at a loss how to execute vengeance on men who had few possessions of
any kind to be deprived of. But now the opportunity arrived. Isidore,
the excommunicated hospitaller, had been sheltered in their friendly
retreat. Theophilus devised a malignant plan for disturbing their
peace. The “tall brethren” belonged to that more mystical order of
monks which embraced Origen’s doctrine of a purely spiritual Deity, and
were determined adversaries of the more sensuous and anthropomorphite
school. Theophilus now scrupled not to declare himself in favour of
the Anthropomorphites, whom he had formerly denounced. He encouraged
the more coarse and ignorant to make violent and tumultuous assaults
on the monastic retreat of Nitria, and, directed the bishops of the
neighbourhood to eject several of the most distinguished monks,
including Ammon. They repaired to Alexandria, sought an interview
with Theophilus, requested to hear the cause of their ejection, and
remonstrated on the treatment of Isidore. Theophilus burst into a
violent rage, changed colour at every moment, glared on them with
bloodshot eyes, dealt blows to Ammon on his face, and, while the blood
trickled down, shouted, “Heretic, anathematise Origen.” One of the
number was put in prison to intimidate the rest; but they all entered
it voluntarily together, and refused to come out unless their companion
also was released. This was at length permitted, but the design of
persecution was followed up. The Patriarch’s paschal letter of A.D. 401
is chiefly occupied with a condemnation of Origen and his disciples.
He confesses, indeed, that he had himself at one time been cast into
that fiery furnace of error, but, like the three children, he had come
out unscathed; “not even his hair or garments had been singed.” He
describes himself as having now returned from the land of captivity to
the true Jerusalem; Origen and his doctrines are condemned with much
heat; and a prominent place is assigned to him and all his disciples in
the infernal regions.[545]

But Theophilus was far from being contented to stop at this point. He
convoked a synod of neighbouring bishops. The monks were not informed
of it, nor invited to appear and make their defence. Three of the most
eminent were excommunicated as heretics and magicians. It was in vain
that the monks protested against the injustice of condemning Origen
or his readers on the strength of a few passages only, and those, as
they maintained, in many instances garbled or interpolated. A synodical
letter was published, addressed to the Catholic world, reprobating the
writings of Origen. It produced a profound sensation in Rome, where the
Pope Anastasius anathematised Origen.[546] But the humiliation of the
Nitrian brethren was not yet complete. Five most insignificant monks,
scarce worthy, according to Palladius, to discharge menial offices as
lay brethren, were ordained by Theophilus, one to a bishopric, one to
be priest, and the three others to be deacons. A small town was created
a see, there being none vacant to receive the new bishop. With these
tools the Patriarch could rapidly execute his designs. His creatures
prepared, under his direction, a list of complaints and charges against
the Nitrian monks, which they publicly presented to him in church.
Armed with this, he had an interview with the governor of Egypt, and
obtained from him an order for the forcible expulsion of insubordinate
monks from the settlement at Nitria. With a troop of soldiers and
a rabble of rascals, such as in all large towns are ready for the
perpetration of any mischief, whom he had previously primed with drink,
the Patriarch fell by night upon the monastic dwellings. Dioscorus was
the first victim of his rage. He was one of the “tall brethren,” who
had been compelled by Theophilus to become bishop of Hermopolis. He was
now dragged before the Patriarch by some rude Ethiopian slaves, and
told that he was deprived of his see. Diligent search was made for the
three other brethren, but they were undiscoverably hidden in a well.
The fury of the Patriarch expended itself principally upon inanimate
objects; the dwellings of the monks were pillaged and burned, together
with their valuable libraries, and, to the horror of the pious, even
some of the Eucharistic elements[547] were consumed in the general

The havoc being completed, Theophilus returned to Alexandria. The
terrified monks came out of their hiding-places, and, wrapping
themselves in their sheepskins, their only remaining property, set
out from their beloved solitudes to seek shelter and a new home
elsewhere. Three hundred, following the “tall brethren,” took their
journey towards Palestine; the rest dispersed in different directions.
Not more than eighty arrived with the four brethren at Jerusalem,
whence they shortly afterwards withdrew northwards to Scythopolis,
a place eminently adapted to their wants by its situation in a
well-watered valley rich in palm-trees, of which the leaves furnished
materials for mats, baskets, and the other articles usually wrought
by monkish labour.[548] But distance did not diminish the malice
of their persecutor. They were pursued by letters from Theophilus
addressed to all the bishops of Palestine, who were admonished
not to grant ecclesiastical communion or shelter to the heretical
fugitives. Jerome mentions two commissioners who scoured Palestine,
and left no hole or cave unexplored in the diligence of their search
for the offenders.[549] Thus hunted and harassed, the poor monks at
length resolved to embark for Constantinople, throw themselves on
the generosity of the Emperor and Archbishop, and submit their cause
to their decision. They reached the capital, fifty in number; their
foreign aspect, bare arms and knees, and primitive garb of white
sheepskins, excited much curiosity and interest among the people of
Constantinople. They repaired first of all to Chrysostom, in the hope
that his authority would be sufficient to procure them justice,
without an application to the civil powers. The Archbishop received
them with great kindness and respect, and shed tears of compassion when
he heard the tale of their sufferings and wanderings. But he acted with
caution; he consulted some Alexandrian clergy who were at this time
in Constantinople engaged in distributing presents to conciliate, or,
more properly speaking, to bribe, the favour of persons just appointed
to civil offices in Egypt. They admitted the virtues and hard usage
of the monks, but recommended him not to incur the displeasure of
Theophilus by admitting them to communion. The monks were lodged in the
precincts of the church of Anastasia; Olympias and other pious women
attended to their wants, which were to some extent supplied by the
produce of their own manual labour. They were admitted to prayer in the
church, but excluded from the Eucharist until the merits of their cause
should have been carefully sifted, and their excommunication revoked.
Chrysostom, unsuspicious of others, in his own innocence, was sanguine
of his power to obtain their restitution. He despatched a letter to
Theophilus, in which he besought him in courteous and friendly terms
to be reconciled with the fugitives, and thereby to confer a favour on
himself, his spiritual son and brother. But no notice was taken of the
request; and meanwhile the agents of Theophilus were busily employed at
Constantinople in disseminating injurious tales about the monks—they
were heretics, magicians, rebels.

Throughout the rest of Christendom Theophilus pursued a different
method. He toiled with diligence worthy of a better cause to obtain a
wide condemnation of Origen and his works. Could he once secure such
a general condemnation, and then prove Chrysostom and the monks to be
at variance with it, he would possess a powerful engine in working the
ruin of both. It is difficult to believe that even Theophilus would
have pursued the monks with such insatiable animosity had they not
fled to the patriarch of that see which was regarded with peculiar
jealousy by the bishops of Alexandria, and had not the present occupant
of that see been elected in preference to the candidate put forward by
himself. Thus he clutched at the opportunity of depressing his rival,
and punishing his victims, the monks, at the same time.

He found a faction hostile to the Archbishop already existing in
Constantinople, and quite ready to submit the management of their
interests to his skilful direction. The persecution of the monks was
quickly dropped. Their supposed offence was only the handle by which to
compass the destruction of a more formidable foe. Jerome contributed
powerful aid to the designs of Theophilus by favourable notices of
him in his letters, depreciating the conduct of the monks.[550] But
a more active auxiliary appeared in the Bishop of Constantia, whose
advanced age seems never to have diminished the alacrity with which he
entered the lists of controversy. Theophilus, in his Origenistic days,
had attacked Epiphanius with some vehemence as an anthropomorphite;
but he now wrote a letter to the bishop expressing regret for his
former language, and his increasing conviction of the mischievous
tendency of Origen’s doctrines.[551] He implored his holy brother
to convene a council of the bishops of Cyprus without delay, for
the purpose of condemning the heretic, and of drawing up letters,
announcing their decision, to be sent round to the principal sees,
especially Constantinople, where the heretical and contumacious monks
were harboured. Epiphanius flattered himself that he had converted the
Patriarch, and was delighted to receive such a powerful accession to
his side. The council was summoned, the condemnation carried, and the
letters despatched.[552] Theophilus himself, at the commencement of
A.D. 402, issued a paschal letter, which contained a subtle exposition
and refutation of the Origenistic errors. The letter was translated,
and highly commended, both for matter and expression, by Jerome.[553]

To Chrysostom himself Theophilus wrote a sharp complaint of his
protecting heretics, and violating the canon of Nice, which prohibited
any bishop from exercising jurisdiction in matters relating to another
see. The cause of the Nitrian monks, he asserted, could not be decided
legally anywhere but in a council of Egyptian bishops. It will be
borne in mind, however, that Chrysostom had carefully abstained from
pronouncing any decision, through a council or otherwise, on the affair
of the monks. They, indeed, became provoked with him that he did not
espouse their cause more heartily. The agents of Theophilus were busily
engaged in damaging their character; a little money easily persuaded
the sailors and others employed in the Alexandrian corn trade to point
at the monks in the streets as magicians and heretics. The monks
declared to Chrysostom their resolution to appeal to the civil powers
to obtain a formal prosecution of their accusers as base calumniators.
Chrysostom remonstrated, and declined, if that step were taken, to
mediate any more in their affair. Some of his enemies in Constantinople
did not fail to represent this as a cruel desertion of those whom he
had at first befriended.[554]

Thus hostile forces were on all sides closing round the Archbishop,
but he continued apparently unconscious of the snares which were being
woven for him. The Origenistic controversy, into the vortex of which
his enemies sought to drag him, possessed little interest for him. The
more mystical, abstract speculations of Origen’s theology were alien
from his practical sphere of work and practical habit of mind; and, in
common with the other chief representatives of the Antiochene school,
Diodorus and Theodore, he neither wholly embraced nor wholly rejected
his system of doctrine. At any rate, he paid no attention to the letter
from Cyprus, which requested him to join in the condemnation of Origen
and his writings. This was precisely what his enemies wanted.

The Nitrian monks, cast off by the Archbishop when they had announced
their intention of appealing to secular authority, drew up documents
filled with charges of the most flagrant crimes against their accusers
and against Theophilus. They demanded that their calumniators in
Constantinople should be immediately tried by the prefect, and that
Theophilus should be summoned to defend his conduct before a council
under the presidency of Chrysostom. One day, as the Empress was riding
in her litter to worship in the church of St. John the Baptist at
Hebdomon, she was accosted by some of those strange skin-clad beings
of whom, and of whose wanderings and wrongs, she had heard much. She
caused her litter to stop, bowed graciously to the monks, and implored
the favour of their prayers for the Empire, the Emperor, herself, and
her children. The monks presented their petition; Eudoxia courteously
accepted it, and promised them that the council which they desired
should be convened; that Theophilus should be summoned to attend it,
and that the accusers now in Constantinople should either substantiate
their charges, or suffer the penalties of calumnious defamation. This
inquiry was immediately instituted; the poor culprits confessed that
they had been paid agents of Theophilus, and that their accusations
had been dictated by him. They therefore entreated that their trial
might be deferred till his arrival. Meanwhile, however, they were put
in prison, where one of them died; and as the arrival of Theophilus
continued to be delayed, they were banished to Proconnesus for libel.
An officer was despatched to Alexandria to serve Theophilus with a
peremptory summons to appear at Constantinople, and empowered to
enforce his obedience, if he was reluctant.[555]

Thus the preparations for a judicial investigation of the affair of the
monks emanated not from Chrysostom, but from the throne, although he
was represented by his enemies as the originator, and by Jerome he is
styled a parricide for labouring to condemn Theophilus.[556] Chrysostom
seems, in fact, to have dismissed alike the business of the monks and
the theological question of Origenism from his mind. Intent on edifying
the Church, instead of agitating it by personal or polemical strife, he
quietly pursued his daily routine of duties as chief pastor, feeding
his flock with the wholesome food of the Word and of the bread of life.

Theophilus was unable to evade obedience to the summons which commanded
him to repair to Constantinople. His only hope now was to change
his position from that of the accused into that of the accuser. The
council which was called together for the purpose of investigating
his conduct should, by his contrivance, be transferred into a council
for arraigning Chrysostom of heresy and misdemeanour. The letters of
Epiphanius and Theophilus having failed to obtain from Chrysostom that
condemnation which they demanded of the writings of Origen, the Bishop
of Constantia, at the urgent request of Theophilus, set forth at the
beginning of A.D. 403 for Constantinople, bringing the decree of the
Council of Cyprus for the signature of the Archbishop. Theophilus
slowly proceeded overland from Egypt through Syria, Cilicia, and Asia
Minor, in order to bring up as many bishops as possible to the council,
who would be prepared to act under his direction. Epiphanius, having
landed, halted at the church of St. John, outside Constantinople, held
an assembly of clergy, and even, it is said, committed the irregularity
of ordaining a deacon.[557] Chrysostom, however, acted with all due
courtesy and discretion. He sent out a large body of clergy to welcome
the visitor by inviting and conducting him to the hospitable lodging
prepared for him in the archiepiscopal palace. Epiphanius, acting on
preconceived judgment of the two chief subjects in dispute, declined
the offer unless the Archbishop would consent to expel the monks, and
to sign the decree against Origen. Chrysostom justly replied that
he could not anticipate the decision of a council which was being
summoned for the very purpose of considering both these questions.
Epiphanius, therefore, found a lodging elsewhere, and diligently strove
to induce such bishops as he could collect to sign the decree.[558]
His reputation for learning, orthodoxy, and piety secured the consent
of many, but on the part of many more there was determined opposition.
Eminent among these was Theotimus, a Goth by birth, but educated in
Greece, who had been made Bishop of Tomis and Metropolitan of Scythia.
He was a man of genuine sanctity, ascetic habits, and courageous
spirit. Tomis was a great central market of Gothic and Hunnish tribes,
and the bishop used boldly to enter the motley concourse and try to win
converts. He would invite savage Huns to partake of some hospitable
entertainment in his house, and by gifts and little attentions, and
courteous treatment, he sought to soften their ferocity, and effect an
opening in their hearts for the reception of Christian teaching. He
came to be regarded by them with a kind of superstitious reverence,
and was commonly called by them “the god of the Christians.” Over his
half-episcopal, half-barbarian costume flowed the long hair which
betokened his Gothic origin. He lifted up his voice with boldness
to denounce the present ill-considered condemnation of the works of
Origen. It was unseemly and unjust, he maintained, to pass a coarse
and sweeping sentence on the entire works of one whose genius had been
acknowledged by the whole Church. He produced a volume of Origen, and
from it read some beautiful, powerful passages of irreproachable
orthodoxy. Then, turning to Epiphanius, he asked him how he could
attack a man to whom the Church owed a thousand similar, and even more
beautiful, passages. “How call him a son of Satan? Place what is good
in him on one side, and what is bad on the other, and then choose.”[559]

This courageous protest, however, did not divert Epiphanius and his
partisans from their course of action. In fact, they proceeded a step
further. It was arranged that when a large congregation was collected
in the Church of the Apostles, Epiphanius should enter and harangue
the assembly, denouncing both the writings of Origen and his admirers,
especially the “tall brethren,” and even Chrysostom himself as their
protector. Chrysostom, however, received intimation of their design,
and by his direction Serapion confronted Epiphanius at the entrance of
the church, and told him that “he had already violated ecclesiastical
law by ordaining a deacon in the diocese and church of another bishop,
but to minister and preach without permission was a still grosser
outrage; a popular tumult would probably ensue, and Epiphanius would
be held responsible for any violence which might be committed.”
Epiphanius, though not without angry remonstrances, desisted.[560]

Eudoxia seems to have placed special faith in the intercessions of
ecclesiastical visitors of distinction. As she had formerly asked
the prayers of the “tall brethren,” so now, the young prince her son
(afterwards Theodosius II.), being attacked by an alarming illness, she
implored the prayers of Epiphanius on his behalf. The bishop replied
that her child’s recovery depended on her repudiation of the heretical
refugees. The Empress, however, declared that she should prefer simply
to resign her son’s life to the will of God who gave it without
complying with the requisition of Epiphanius.[561]

It may be that these incidents were beginning to tell upon the
reason of the aged zealot, and open his eyes to the irregularity
of his proceedings; at any rate, shortly after this, he granted an
interview to Ammon and his brothers. The record of the conversation is
instructive. “Allow me to ask, holy father,” said Ammon, “whether you
have ever read any of our works or those of our disciples?” Epiphanius
was obliged to confess that he had not even seen them, and that he had
formed his judgment simply from general report. “How then,” replied
Ammon, “can you venture to condemn us when you have no proof of our
opinions? We have pursued a widely different course. We conversed with
your disciples, we read your works, among others one entitled the
‘Anchor of Faith;’ and when we met with persons who ridiculed your
opinions, and asserted that your writings were replete with heresy, we
have defended you as our father. Is it just, on such slender ground as
common report, to condemn those who have so zealously befriended you?”
These bold and pungent remarks are said to have wrought compunction in
the heart of the aged bishop. He began to perceive that he had been
made the agent of a plot, and he lost no time in extricating himself
from it by departing from Constantinople. His farewell words to some of
the bishops who accompanied him to the ship were: “I leave to you the
city, the palace, and this piece of acting.”[562]



Regardless of the forces which had been set in motion against him,
Chrysostom pursued his usual course of work without any variation. The
reins of discipline were held tightly as ever; the Word was preached,
in season and out of season, with unabated diligence; the people were
exhorted, admonished, rebuked with the same irrepressible earnestness.
His enemies took advantage of a sermon, specially directed against
the follies and vices of fashionable ladies, to represent it as an
attack upon the Empress herself.[563] Eudoxia, credulous and impulsive
by nature, and probably irritated because the Archbishop did not pay
her servile homage, complained to the Emperor of the insult which had
been cast upon her, and was induced by the hostile party to expect the
arrival of Theophilus as an opportunity for redressing her wrongs. That
prelate was now rapidly approaching, with a large number of bishops
collected from Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor. Twenty-eight, on whose
partisanship he could reckon, travelled by sea to Chalcedon. Many
bishops had become disaffected to Chrysostom in Asia Minor, owing to
the rigorous investigation recently made by him into the state of the
Church in that region, and they readily joined the camp of Theophilus.
Prominent among them was Gerontius of Nicomedia, whom, as will be
remembered, he had deposed. The whole force was at length (June 403)
assembled at Chalcedon, and a council of war was held, to determine
the plan of operations. None was more virulent in his denunciation of
Chrysostom, as tyrannical, proud, and heretical, than Cyrinus, bishop
of Chalcedon. He was an Egyptian by birth, and Theophilus reckoned on
him as a valuable ally, but was deprived of his services by a curious
incident. Maruthas, bishop of Mesopotamia, accidentally trod on the
foot of Cyrinus: a wound ensued, the wound gangrened, the foot had to
be amputated, but the mortification spread, and, after two years of
lingering pain, put an end to his life.[564]

Theophilus made his entrance into Constantinople about the middle of
June. He had been summoned as a defendant, but, according to his design
already indicated, he appeared surrounded by all the pomp and dignity
of a judge. None of the bishops, indeed, or clergy of Constantinople
came to greet him on landing, but the crews of the Alexandrian
corn-fleet gave him a hearty welcome, and he was accompanied by a large
retinue, not only of bishops and clergy, but of Alexandrian sailors,
laden with some of the costliest produce of Egypt and the East, a
very potent auxiliary in obtaining partisans. As on the arrival of
Epiphanius, so now, Chrysostom did not fail to offer the customary
hospitality due to a brother bishop; but Theophilus disdainfully
declined it, passed by the palace and the metropolitan church, which
episcopal visitors usually entered on their arrival, and proceeded to
the suburb of Pera, where a lodging had been prepared for him in a
house of the Emperor’s, called the Palace of Placidia.

During the three weeks that he resided here, he refused to hold any
communication with Chrysostom, or to enter his church; nor did he
vouchsafe any reply to the frequent entreaties of the Archbishop that
he would state his reasons for such conduct. His house became the
resort of all the disaffected clergy or affronted ladies and gentlemen
in the city, who were drawn thither, not only by a common hatred to
Chrysostom, but also by the handsome gifts, the elegant and dainty
repasts, and the winning flattery with which they were treated by
Theophilus.[565] These arts were the more necessary because Theophilus
had a double part to play: to arrest the course of the accusation
instituted against himself, as well as to organise a powerful cabal
against Chrysostom. In the former he was helped by the scruples or
peacefulness of Chrysostom himself. The Archbishop was directed by the
Court to repair to Pera, and preside over an inquiry into the crimes
of which Theophilus was accused. But he declined, on the plea that the
ecclesiastical affairs of one province could not, according to the
Canons of Nice, be judged in another; partly also, as he affirmed, out
of respect for his brother Patriarch. The truth probably was, that he
foresaw the vindictive and turbulent spirit of Theophilus would never
submit to the decisions of a council under the presidency of his rival
in that see of which Alexandria was especially jealous. Otherwise there
is no doubt that a General Council at Constantinople would have been
competent to judge the Patriarch of Alexandria; whereas a Provincial
Council in Egypt could not have judged him, he being supreme there by
virtue of his position as Patriarch.[566] Chrysostom himself also might
legally have been arraigned before a General Council; but, as will be
seen, the synod composed by Theophilus was far from being entitled to
that appellation.

The obstacle of his own trial being thus disposed of, it only remained
for Theophilus to prosecute his design against his rival with mingled
subtlety and boldness. The first step was to secure a sufficient number
of witnesses, and a list of accusations, which, being presented to the
Emperor, would furnish a plausible reason for summoning a council.
The next step would be to pack that council with bishops hostile to
Chrysostom. Two despicable deacons, who had been expelled from their
office by the Archbishop for homicide and adultery, were well content
to draw up a list of charges on a promise from Theophilus that they
should be restored to their former position. The accusations seem to
have been of a puerile character; and if the source of them was known,
it would seem inconceivable that the Court should have entertained
them, did we not remember that the influence of the Empress, as well
as of many of the most powerful courtiers, was now turned or rapidly
turning against the Archbishop, and that the bribes of Theophilus were
permeating the whole city.

The attachment of the people, however, to Chrysostom was known to be
so strong, that it was deemed prudent by the enemy to hold the synod
at a safe distance from the city. A suburb of Chalcedon, called “The
Oak,” where Rufinus, the late prefect, had built a palace, church, and
monastery, was selected as a convenient place for the assembly.[567]
The bishops, after all the exertions of Theophilus, did not amount to
more than thirty-six, of whom twenty-nine were Egyptians.[568] Among
the latter was Cyril, the successor of Theophilus. Chrysostom was
summoned to appear before the synod. The scene in the archiepiscopal
palace immediately preceding the summons has been described by
Palladius, with the vivid and minute exactness of an eye-witness.

“We were sitting, to the number of forty bishops, in the dining-hall
of the palace, marvelling at the audacity with which one, who had
been commanded to appear as a culprit at Constantinople, had arrived
with a train of bishops, had altered the sentiments of nobles and
magistrates, and perverted the majority even of the clergy. Whilst we
were wondering, John, inspired by the Spirit of God, addressed to us
all the following words: ‘Pray for me, my brethren, and, if ye love
Christ, let no one for my sake desert his see, for I am now ready to be
offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. Like him who spoke
these words, I perceive that I am about to relinquish life, for I know
the intrigues of Satan, that he will not endure any longer the burden
of my words which are delivered against him. May ye obtain mercy, and
in your prayers remember me.’ Seized with inexpressible sorrow, some of
us began to weep, and others to leave the assembly, after kissing, amid
tears and sobs, the sacred head and eyes, and eloquent mouth, of the
Archbishop. He, however, exhorted them to return, and, as they hovered
near, like bees humming round their hive, ‘Sit down, my brethren,’ he
said, ‘and do not weep, unnerving me by your tears, for to me to live
is Christ, to die is gain. Recall the words which I have so frequently
spoken to you. Present life is a journey; both its good and painful
things pass away. Present time is like a fair: we buy, we sell, and the
assembly is dissolved. Are we better than the Patriarchs, the Prophets,
the Apostles, that this life should remain to us for ever?’ Here one
of the company uttering a cry exclaimed: ‘Nay, but what we lament is
our own bereavement and the widowhood of the Church, the derangement
of sacred laws, the ambition of those who fear not the Lord, and
violently seize the highest positions; the destitution of the poor, and
the loss of sound teaching.’ But John replied, striking, as was his
custom when cogitating, the palm of his left hand with the forefinger
of his right: ‘Enough, my brother—no more; only, as I was saying, do
not abandon your churches, for neither did the office of teaching begin
with me, nor in me has it ended. Did not Moses die, and was not Joshua
found to succeed him? Did not Samuel die, but was not David anointed?
Jeremy departed this life, but Baruch was left; Elijah was taken up,
but Elisha prophesied in his place; Paul was beheaded, but did he not
leave Timothy, Titus, Apollos, and a host of others to work after him?’
To these words Eulysius, bishop of Apamea, in Bithynia, observed:
‘If we retain our sees, it will become necessary for us to hold
communion with the authors of your deposition, and to subscribe to your
condemnation.’[569] To which the holy John replied: ‘Communicate by all
means, so as to avoid rending the unity of the Church; but abstain from
subscribing, for I am not conscious of having done anything to deserve

At this point in the conference it was announced that certain
emissaries from the “Synod of the Oak” had arrived. Chrysostom gave
orders that they should be admitted, inquired, when they entered, to
what rank in the hierarchy they belonged, and, on being informed that
they were bishops, requested them to be seated, and to declare the
purpose of their coming. The two bishops, young men recently raised
to the episcopate in Libya, replied, “We are merely the bearers of a
document which we request that you will command to be read.” Chrysostom
gave the order, and a servant of Theophilus read the missive. “The holy
Synod assembled at the Oak to John” (thus did his enemies deprive him
of all his titles). “We have received a list containing an infinite
number of charges against you. Present yourself, therefore, before us,
bringing with you the priests Serapion and Tigrius, for their presence
is necessary.” The bishops who were with Chrysostom were very indignant
at the insolent tenor of the message. A reply to the following effect
was drawn up, addressed to Theophilus, and despatched by the hand of
three bishops and two priests: “Subvert not nor rend the Church for
which God became incarnate; but if, in contempt of the canons framed by
318 bishops at Nice, you choose to judge a cause beyond the boundaries
of your jurisdiction, cross the straits into our city, which is at
least strictly governed by law, and do not, after the example of Cain,
call Abel out into the open field. For we have charges of palpable
crimes against you, drawn up under more than sixty heads; our synod,
also, is more numerous than yours, and is assembled, by the grace of
God, after a peaceful manner, not for the disruption of the Church.
For you are but thirty-six in number, collected out of a single
province;[570] but we are forty, from several provinces, and seven are
metropolitans. It is only reasonable that the less should be judged,
according to the canons, by the greater.”

Chrysostom approved of this answer of the bishops, but sent a separate
letter on his own behalf: “Hitherto I am wholly ignorant whether any
one has anything to say against me; but if any one has assailed me, and
you wish me to appear before you, eject from your assembly my declared
enemies. I raise no question respecting the place where I ought to be
tried, although the most proper place is the city.” He proceeds to say
that he objected to his declared and implacable enemies, Theophilus,
Acacius, Severian, and Antiochus, being allowed to sit on the council
at all. “He could convict Theophilus of having said in Alexandria
and Lycia, ‘I am setting out for the capital to depose John;’ which,
indeed, is true, for, since he set foot in Constantinople, he has
refused to meet or communicate with me. What, then, will one do, after
the trial, who has acted as my enemy before it?” When these men should
have been eliminated from the synod, or legally constituted as his
accusers, he would appear before a council, even if composed of members
from all Christendom; but till this condition was complied with, he
would refuse to present himself though summoned ten thousand times

He demanded, in short, to be tried by an œcumenical synod, as the only
tribunal which could legally exact obedience from him. The Synod of the
Oak, composed as it was mainly of Egyptians and of declared enemies,
could not possibly pretend to that character. If the Imperial Court had
been upright and courageous, not susceptible of flattery and bribes,
not induced by personal animosity against the Archbishop to favour or
connive at the proceedings of his enemies, such a synod could not have
been held. That it was held, and succeeded in the purpose for which it
met, will ever be a stain upon the Church and the Empire of the East.

But although viciously constituted and, indeed, all the more on that
very account, the synod made much display of complying in formalities
with the established order of an ecclesiastical court of judicature.
The prosecution was to be carried on in the name of a plaintiff who was
to be present, and to submit his charge in writing. The defendant was
to be cited to appear and defend himself; and if he failed to appear
after three or four citations, he would be pronounced contumacious, and
as such be punishable by the synod with excommunication and deposition.
The further penalties of imprisonment, exile, or death could not be
inflicted by any but the secular power.

Theophilus was president of the synod, and the prosecution was
conducted in the name of John, Archdeacon of Constantinople, who
cherished malice against Chrysostom because he had once been suspended
by him for ill-treating a slave, though afterwards restored. The
charges were drawn up under twenty-nine heads. The evidence of most
worthless witnesses was accepted, or, more properly speaking, invited.
A strange medley of monstrous and incredible offences was included in
the list of charges prepared by the Archdeacon John—acts of personal
violence, as well as violations of ecclesiastical discipline. “He had
struck people on the face, had calumniated many of his clergy, had
called one Epiphanius fool and demoniac, had imprisoned others, had
accused his archdeacons of robbing his pallium for an unlawful purpose;
he had despotically and illegally deposed bishops in Asia, and had
ordained others without sufficient inquiry into their qualifications,
mental or moral; he had alienated the property and sold the ornaments
of the Church; he held private interviews with women, he dined on
Cyclopian fare, he ate a small cake after holy communion, he had
administered both sacraments, after he himself or the recipients had
eaten.”[572] The crowning charge was that of treasonable language
against the Empress—“he had called her Jezebel.” This was the trump
card of the cabal. If the Emperor’s Court could be persuaded to believe
him guilty on this point, exile at least, and probably death, would be
the inevitable consequence.

Such were the principal charges in the list presented by the Archdeacon
John. A second list, presented by Isaac the monk, accused him of
extending sympathy and hospitality to Origenists, of instigating the
people to sedition, of using unseemly expressions in his sermons, such
as “I exult, I am beside myself with joy,” or language which gave a
dangerous encouragement to sinners; for example, “as often as you sin
come to me and I will heal you.”

By artfully making slight alterations in expressions actually used,
and tearing them from their context, it was easy to represent them as
mischievous or blasphemous. It is not surprising then that Chrysostom
steadfastly refused to answer in person such a list of partly
monstrous, partly puerile, accusations before such a synod. He pursued
the only dignified course possible under the circumstances. When a
notary from the Emperor came to him with a rescript, and showed him
the petition inserted in it from the synod, that the Emperor would
compel the attendance of the Archbishop; and when, presently, a second
deputation from the synod, consisting of a renegade priest of his own
clergy, and Isaac the monk, brought a peremptory summons from the
synod, he inflexibly maintained the same attitude. “I will not attend
a synod which is composed of my enemies, and to which I am summoned by
my own clergy. I appeal to a lawfully constituted General Council.” The
citations were rapidly repeated three or four times, and always met
by the same response. The cabal expended their fury on the messengers
of the Archbishop; they beat one bishop, tore the clothes of another,
and placed on the neck of a third the chains which they had designed
for the person of Chrysostom himself, their intention having been to
put him secretly on board ship, and send him off to some remote part
of the Empire. Some of the clergy were so much intimidated by these
violent proceedings that they dared not return to Constantinople.
Demetrius, however, Bishop of Pessina, denounced the conduct of the
synod, quitted it, and returned to the Archbishop. After several more
ineffectual citations, the synod, at its twelfth session, declared
that it would proceed to judgment against Chrysostom as contumacious.
Either by a happy coincidence, or by the contrivance of Theophilus,
a message arrived from the Court on the same day, urging the bishops
to decide the cause as speedily as possible. With much alacrity the
request was obeyed. They drew up a despatch to the Emperor—a formal
statement: “Whereas John, being accused of crimes, has declined to
appear before us, and that in such cases ecclesiastical law pronounces
deposition, we have hereby deposed him; but as the indictment against
him contains charges of treason as well as ecclesiastical offences, we
leave these to be dealt with by you, since it belongs not to us to take
cognisance of them.” The synod waited for the Imperial ratification
of their verdict, and meanwhile issued a circular to the clergy of
Constantinople, informing them of the deposition of their spiritual

Having attained, as he believed, the object of his intrigue, Theophilus
went through the form of reconciliation with the “tall brethren” in
the presence of the synod. The facility with which they were restored
to favour on a simple request for pardon is in strange contrast to the
relentless animosity with which they had been hitherto pursued, and
indicates that their persecution had been maintained simply as the
means to securing a more important victim.

Both Dioscorus and Ammon had recently died, the latter predicting
with his dying lips that the Church was about to be distressed by a
furious persecution, and torn by a deplorable schism. He was buried
in that church of the Apostles, in the suburb of The Oak, where, nine
years before, he had baptized the founder, the Prefect Rufinus. The
monks of the foundation celebrated his obsequies with great pomp; and
Theophilus, his bitter persecutor, condescended to weep over his death,
and publicly declare that he had never known a monk of more exalted

The triumph of the synod seemed to be completed by the receipt of
an Imperial rescript, ratifying the sentence of deposition, and
announcing that the Archbishop would be banished. Many members of the
synod were probably disappointed at the mildness of the penalty; but
the people of Constantinople were enraged, and impeded the execution
of the sentence. It was evening when the impending degradation of
their Archbishop became known. During the whole of the night, crowds
of people watched outside the Archbishop’s palace and the cathedral
to guard against his forcible abduction. Early in the morning they
thronged the church, loudly protested against the injustice of the
sentence, and demanded with shouts the submission of his cause to
a General Council. For three days and nights the flock incessantly
guarded their beloved pastor. Under their protection he passed to
and from the palace and the church. On the second day he delivered a
discourse to them in the cathedral. The first portion of it is in all
respects worthy of Chrysostom; the conclusion, involved and rugged,
seems to have been added by another hand, and extracts will not be made
from it here.[575]

“Many are the billows, and terrible the storms, which threaten us;
but we fear not to be overwhelmed, for we stand upon the rock. Let
the sea rage, it cannot dissolve the rock; let the billows rise, they
cannot sink the vessel of Jesus Christ. Tell me, what is it we fear?
death?—‘To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ Or exile?—‘The
earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.’ Or confiscation of
goods?—‘We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can
carry nothing out.’”... “I fear not poverty, I desire not wealth; I
dread not death, I do not pray for life, save for the sake of your
advancement. I beseech you be of good courage; no man will be able to
separate us, for ‘that which God hath joined together no man can put
asunder.’ If man cannot dissolve marriage, how much less the Church of
God! Thou, oh my enemy! only renderest me more illustrious, and wastest
thine own strength, ‘for it is hard to kick against the pricks.’ Waves
do not break the rock, but are themselves dispersed into foam against
it. Nothing, oh man! is stronger than the Church, ... it is stronger
even than Heaven, ‘for Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words
shall not pass away.’ What words? ‘Thou art Peter, and on this rock I
will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against
it.’ If thou disbelievest the words, yet believe the facts. How many
tyrants have attempted to overcome the Church; how often have wild
beasts, and the sword, and the furnace, and the boiling caldron, been
employed against it, yet have they not prevailed. Where are those who
made war upon it? They have been silenced and consigned to oblivion.
Where is the Church? It shines above the brightness of the sun. Let
none of the things that have been done disturb you. Grant me one favour
only,—unwavering faith. Was not St. Peter on the point of sinking, not
because of the uncontrollable onset of the waves, but because of the
weakness of his faith? Did man’s votes bring me here, that man should
put me down? I say not this in a spirit of boastfulness—God forbid—but
in the desire to settle your agitated minds.”... “Let no one trouble
you; give heed to your prayers. This disturbance is the devil’s work,
that he might destroy your zeal in the sacred Litanies; but he does not
succeed. We find you even more earnest than before. To-morrow I shall
go out with you in the Litany, for where you are, there I am. Though
locally separated, we are in spirit united; we are one body, the body
is not separated from its head; even death cannot separate us.”... “For
your sakes I am ready to be slaughtered ten thousand times over, since
death is to me the warrant of immortality. These intrigues are to me
but the occasion of security. I say these things to listening ears;
so many days have you watched, and nothing has moved you from your
purpose. Neither length of time nor threats have enervated you; you
have done what I have always been desiring, despised the things of this
world, bidden farewell to earth, released yourselves from the fetters
of the body: this is my crown, my consolation, my anointing; this the
suggestion to me of immortality.”

Another discourse[576] contains much to the same effect, and a
declaration of his belief that the real cause of his deposition was his
sturdy opposition to the corrupt manners and morals of the age. “You
know,” he says, “why they are going to depose me—because I spread no
fine carpets, and wear no silken robes; because I have not pampered
their gluttony, or made presents in gold and silver.” He would comfort
and encourage himself with the prospect of being reckoned among those
who had suffered for righteousness’ sake. The cruel and capricious
woman, who one day called him “a thirteenth apostle,” and the next “a
Judas,” would receive a just retribution for her conduct.

The attachment of the people to the Archbishop, and their sense of
the injustice with which he was treated, were so strong that, with
his powers of swaying their feelings, he might easily have raised a
formidable sedition, and defied, for an indefinite time, the sentence
of the synod and the edict of the Emperor. But his sentiments were
too loyal, too Christian, too peaceful, for any such desperate and
violent measures. He might have continued to demand the reference of
his cause to a General Council; but, had this been granted, there was
the extreme probability that his enemies would refuse, and persuade
many more to refuse, a recognition of its decision. Then would follow
one of those melancholy schisms, of which the Church already knew too
well the misery. He determined to bow to the storm. On the third day
after his deposition by the council, and about noon, when the people
were not guarding the approaches to the church quite so vigilantly, he
passed out, unperceived, by one of the side entrances, and surrendered
himself to some of the Court officials, who conducted him at nightfall
to the harbour. In spite of the darkness, he was recognised by some of
the people, who followed him with loud cries of distress. He besought
them to abstain from the commission of violence, commended them to the
care of Jesus Christ, cited the example of Job blessing and thanking
God in the midst of trouble, and declared that he patiently waited for
the decision of an Œcumenical Council. The vessel in which he embarked
conveyed him the same night to Hieron,[577] on the Bithynian coast, at
the mouth of the Euxine. Perhaps owing to the dangerous proximity of
this place to Chalcedon, the headquarters of his enemies, he removed
(being apparently uncontrolled in his movements) to a country-house
belonging to a friend, near Prænetum, on the Astacene gulf opposite

When the departure of the Archbishop became generally known on the
succeeding day, the indignation of the people burst into a blaze. The
places of public resort were thronged with clamorous crowds denouncing
the synod and demanding a General Council. They flocked into the
churches to pour forth their lamentations, and to invoke the Divine
intervention on behalf of their injured Patriarch. A revulsion of
feeling in his favour took place among many of the clergy who had
hitherto been opposed to him. The arrival of Theophilus with a large
retinue was not calculated to allay the agitation. Force was employed
to dislodge the people from the churches; the struggle occasioned
bloodshed, and even some loss of life, chiefly among monks. The
worthless clergy who had been deposed by Chrysostom, some of them
for flagrant crimes, were restored by Theophilus. Severian of Gabala
mounted a pulpit in one of the churches, and extolled the act of
deposition. “Even were the Patriarch,” he said, “guiltless of other
offences, the penalty was due to his arrogance, for ‘God resisteth the
proud,’ even if He forgave other sins.” The people were furious at this
barefaced attempt to justify injustice. They thronged the approaches
to the Imperial palace itself, and with loud shouts demanded the
restoration of the Patriarch.[578]

A natural phenomenon, not rare in Constantinople, but regarded under
the circumstances as a Divine visitation, opportunely concurred with
this demand. The city, the palace, but more especially the bedchamber
of the Empress, were agitated by a severe shock of earthquake. The
friends of Chrysostom rejoiced at this manifestation of the wrath
of Heaven; his enemies were alarmed. The terrified Empress eagerly
promoted the demand of the people for the restoration of the exile.
Messengers were sent across the Bosporus to seek him, for the exact
place of his retreat appears to have been unknown. Briso, the Empress’s
chamberlain, a man of Christian piety and a personal friend of
Chrysostom, discovered him at Prænetum. He was the bearer of a humble,
we might say abject, letter of self-exculpation from the Empress. “Let
not your holiness (ἡ ἁγιωσύνη) imagine that I was cognisant of what
has been done. I am guiltless of thy blood. Wicked and corrupt men
have contrived this plot. I remember the baptism of my children by thy
hands. God whom I serve is witness of my tears.” She informs him how
she had fallen at the feet of the Emperor, and had represented to him
that there was no hope for the Empire except through the restoration
of the Archbishop.[579]

Chrysostom yielded to the solicitation so far as to embark and cross
the Bosporus, but he declined at first to advance nearer Constantinople
than the suburb of Mariamna, two leagues from the capital by sea. He
declared that he would not enter the city until he had been acquitted
by a General Council. But the impetuosity of the people would brook
no delay. Tidings of his approach had preceded him. The Bosporus was
studded with boats crowded with his friends, bearing torches and
chanting psalms of welcome. The halt at Mariamna was suspected to
be a contrivance of the enemy, who wished to deprive the Patriarch
of the honours awaiting him. Their denunciations of the Emperor and
Empress grew loud and menacing. An Imperial secretary arrived at
Mariamna, urging Chrysostom to enter the city without loss of time.
The Archbishop consented, and, attended by about thirty bishops,
amidst the acclamations of the populace, was conducted to the Church
of the Apostles. Again he remonstrated, and expressed scruples at
entering till the sentence of deposition should have been revoked by a
legitimate council. But the eagerness of the people was irrepressible.
He was borne into the church, and compelled to take his seat on the
episcopal throne and pronounce a benediction upon the assembly. When
he had complied with their request, they would not be satisfied till
he had addressed them in an extempore discourse. The address exists
only in a Latin translation. Its brevity, and the abrupt style of the
opening sentences, indicate the extemporaneous character of it.[580]

“What shall I say, or how shall I speak? ‘Blessed be God.’ So spoke
I when I departed, and I utter the same again: yea, even in my exile
I did not cease to say these words. Ye remember how I quoted Job,
and said, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.’ Such was the
pledge I left with you when I set forth; such is the thanksgiving I
repeat on my return. ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.’ Our
lot varies, but our manner of giving glory is one. I gave thanks when
I was expelled, I give thanks when I return. The conditions of summer
and winter are different, but the end is one—the prosperity of the
field. Blessed be God who permitted the storm, blessed be God who has
dispersed it and wrought a calm. These things I say, that I may prepare
you to bless God at all times. Have good things happened to you? Bless
God, and the good remains; have evil things occurred? bless God still,
and the evil is removed.”... “Behold what great results have been
wrought by the stratagems of my enemies. They have augmented your zeal,
inflamed your affectionate longing for me, and procured me lovers in
hundreds. Formerly I was beloved by my own people only; now even the
Jews pay me respect. My enemies hoped to sever me from my own friends;
and, instead, they have brought even aliens into our ranks.”... “To-day
the Circensian games take place, but no one is present there; all
have poured like a torrent into the church, and your voices are as
streams which flow to Heaven and declare your affection towards your
father.” He congratulates them on putting the enemy to flight. “Many
are the sheep, yet nowhere is the wolf seen; the devouring beasts
are overwhelmed, the wolves have fled. Who has pursued them? Not I
the shepherd, but ye the sheep. O noble flock! in the absence of the
shepherd ye have routed the wolves. O beauty and chastity of the
wife! how hast thou repulsed the adulterer, because thou lovedst thy
husband!”... “Where are our enemies? in ignominy;—where are we? in

On the following day the Archbishop delivered another address, pitched
in the same strain, but amplified and more ornate. It opens with a
singular comparison between the meditated seduction of Abraham’s
wife by Pharaoh, and the plot of Theophilus to corrupt the chastity
of the Church of Constantinople. The courage and faith of the flock
in resisting the wolf during the absence of their shepherd, their
enthusiastic welcome of his return, when the sea, as he expresses it,
became a city (alluding to the crowds who had gone out to meet him
on the Bosporus), and the market-place was converted into one vast
church—these are again the topics on which he dilates with thankful
joy. He applies to himself the verse: “They that sow in tears shall
reap in joy; he that now goeth on his way weeping, and beareth forth
good seed, shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring his sheaves
with him.” The Empress is extolled in language which to any but
oriental ears must sound painfully fulsome and adulatory. She had
sent a message to him on the previous evening, saying, “My prayer is
fulfilled, my object accomplished. I have obtained a crown better than
the diadem itself. I have received back the priest, I have restored the
head to the body, the pilot to the ship, the shepherd to the flock,
the husband to the home.” In return for this complimentary greeting
(complimentary, it must be confessed, to herself as much as to the
Archbishop) she is styled by him “most devout Queen, mother of the
churches, nurse of monks, protectress of saints, staff of the poor.”
The people were so much delighted with these laudations of the Empress,
that the address was constantly interrupted by their acclamations.[582]

When the object of the Synod at the Oak had eventually failed through
the recall of Chrysostom, many of the members lost no time in returning
to their several sees. Theophilus and a few of his most resolute
partisans appear to have lurked in the city, waiting a possible
opportunity for resuming their intrigues. This they attempted,
according to two historians,[583] by instigating accusations against
Heracleides, who had been consecrated Bishop of Ephesus by Chrysostom.
The friends of Heracleides and of the Archbishop protested against the
illegality of such proceedings in the absence of the defendant. The
question was taken up by the populace. Fierce and sanguinary frays
were fought in the streets between the citizens and the Alexandrian
followers of Theophilus. At length he and his followers consulted their
safety by a precipitate flight. This account is not incompatible with
the assertion of Chrysostom himself in his letter to Innocent, that
after his recall he incessantly demanded the convocation of a General
Council to absolve him from the verdict of the false synod, and to
reinstate him in possession of his see; that the Emperor consented, and
that, as soon as the imperial summonses were issued in all directions,
Theophilus, dreading the scrutiny of his conduct, embarked in the dead
of night, and sailed in haste for Alexandria.[584] The citation of the
council, and the hostility of the people, may well have concurred to
hasten his departure. The General Council seems never to have regularly
assembled. Theophilus was cited to attend it after he had returned to
Alexandria, but excused himself on the plea that the Alexandrians were
so deeply attached to him, he feared a sedition would take place if
he were again to absent himself. No less than sixty bishops, however,
who had congregated in Constantinople, though not apparently convened
in synodal form, solemnly declared their sense of the illegality
and injustice of the late proceedings at the Synod of the Oak, and
confirmed Chrysostom in the resumption of his see.


  A.D. 403, 404.

The storm had passed over for the moment, and the atmosphere seemed
serene: but in reality it was charged with all the old elements
of disturbance. The Archbishop owed his restoration to a mere
superstitious impulse on the part of the Empress, seconded by the
enthusiastic devotion of the common people to his person and his cause.
But as the revulsion of feeling which had led to his recall died away,
and he himself resumed with unabated zeal his former work of moral and
ecclesiastical reformation, the irritation and animosity of the more
corrupt portion of the clergy and laity revived. In two months after
his return an occasion arose which brought him into serious collision
with the Court. This was the signal for the reappearance of his
enemies; they flocked from far and near—Egypt, Syria, Asia, as well as
his own more immediate diocese—and swooped down upon their prey with
the avidity of vultures.

The pride and ambition of Eudoxia were not satisfied by the enjoyment
of a power really greater than her husband’s, and of respect outwardly
equal; she was determined to receive that half-idolatrous kind of
homage which custom, handed down from Pagan times, still paid to
the Emperor, but to him alone. The smaller forum of Constantinople
was a great square,[585] on one side of which stood the grand curia
or senate-house, which Constantine had enriched with the sumptuous
spoils of many Pagan temples, and especially with the statues of
the Muses brought from the grove of Helicon; opposite to it was the
entrance of St. Sophia, and the remaining sides of the forum were
bounded by handsome public and a few private buildings all faced with
colonnades. In the centre was a stone platform paved with various
marbles, from which speeches were delivered on great public occasions.
On this platform the Empress determined to gratify her vanity by the
erection of a lofty column of porphyry surmounted by a silvern image of
herself. This design was accomplished in September a.d. 403, and the
erection of the statue was celebrated by all the Pagan ceremonies and
festivities, including music and dancing, with which the adoration of
the Emperor’s image was usually attended. These rites had been retained
by the Christian Emperors because they were supposed to be useful in
maintaining a loyal spirit among the people, but the Pagan elements
were afterwards suppressed by Theodosius II.[586]

The position of Eudoxia’s column in front of the vestibule of St.
Sophia, and the disturbance caused to the sacred services within
by the noisy, tumultuous proceedings outside, were regarded by the
Patriarch as a disgrace to an Empress calling herself Christian, an
outrage and insult flung in the very face of the Church. He denounced
the heathenish ceremony with his usual vehemence before the people,
and complained of it to the prefect of the city. The prefect was a
Manichæan, and no friend to Chrysostom. Instead of endeavouring to
conciliate both parties, he reported to the Empress, probably with
some exaggeration, the condemnation pronounced by the Patriarch on
the indulgence of her pride. The resentment of Eudoxia was fierce.
She rallied the enemies of Chrysostom around her to devise means for
crushing the audacious prelate. Acacius, Severian, and others of the
old troop were soon upon the scene, and conferring with their old
confederates, the Marsas and Castriccias, the rich worldly dames, and
the dandy young clergy of Constantinople. There was no diminution
meanwhile in the tide of invective poured forth from the golden mouth,
and the pungency of his sarcasms did not lose force in the reports of
them which were carried to the royal ears.[587]

Once more the faction applied to the Patriarch of Alexandria,
inviting him to come and conduct their operations. But he was too
wary to involve himself personally in another campaign, to terminate
perhaps in a second ignominious flight. His influence, however, even
at a distance, was potent. The stratagem adopted this time was to
counterfeit that General Council which had been constantly demanded
by Chrysostom; packing it with hostile bishops who were ostensibly
convened to revise, but in reality to confirm, the decision issued
by the Synod of the Oak. Theophilus, then, having excused attendance
at Constantinople in person, sent three “pitiful bishops” (ἐλεείνους
ἐπισκόπους), creatures of his own on whom he could rely, to execute
his designs.[588] They were armed with the 12th Canon of the Council
of Antioch held in A.D. 341, which declared that any bishop who, after
deposition, appealed to the secular power for restoration, should,
for that very act, be regarded by the Church as permanently and
irrevocably deposed. The Council of Antioch had been swayed by Arian
influence, and this same canon had been aimed against Athanasius, who
had returned from exile to Alexandria under the Imperial sanction. It
had been repudiated by the Western bishops, and some of the Eastern,
at the Council of Sardica, and indeed by all who maintained communion
with Athanasius. Theophilus, however, proposed to base the present
proceedings against Chrysostom on this foundation; to turn, in fact,
against the greatest luminary of Constantinople the engine which had
been originally constructed against the greatest ornament of the
Alexandrian see. The instrument would work well if proper hands could
be procured to work it. Syria, Cappadocia, Pontus, Phrygia, were once
more ransacked to supply the council with disaffected prelates. To
the old names of Acacius of Berœa, Severian of Gabala, Antiochus and
Cyrinus, may be added, as leaders of the malignants, Leontius, bishop
of Ancyra in Galatia, Brison of Philippopolis in Thrace, Ammon of
Laodicea in Pisidia; among those honourably distinguished as friendly
to the Patriarch were Theodore of Tyana, Elpidius of Laodicea,
Tranquillus (see unknown), and Alexander of Basilinopolis in Bithynia.
Theodore, however, perceiving the malevolent intention with which the
council was convoked, quitted Constantinople soon after his arrival.

The council met about the close of the year A.D. 403. It was customary
for the Emperor to attend Divine service in state on Christmas Day, but
he was induced by the enemies of Chrysostom to refuse on this occasion,
alleging that it was impossible to be present where the Patriarch
officiated till he had been cleared of the serious charges brought
against him. It was proposed at first to affect to meet the demand of
Chrysostom for an equitable trial, and to hear all the charges which
had been preferred at the Synod of the Oak. But, the witnesses were so
backward to appear, and the attitude of the defendant betokened such
confidence in his cause, that it was deemed more prudent by his enemies
to stake the whole issue on the canon of the Council of Antioch. If
that was once admitted, there would be an end of the whole matter.
The Archbishop, having been deposed already once for all, was not
competent to appear and plead his cause before a council. Chrysostom
and his friends opposed the adoption of such a course with two powerful
arguments. They represented that the Council of Antioch had been
managed by an Arian bishop and influenced by an Arian emperor, and
the object of it had been to harass the great Athanasius. In the next
place, the Synod of the Oak had been illegally constituted; sixty-five
bishops had repudiated its decision; Chrysostom, therefore, was not
legally deposed, and the canon of Antioch was in consequence not
applicable to his case. This last objection was not permitted by his
enemies. Leontius boldly declared, what appears to have been a palpable
lie, that a larger number of bishops than sixty-five had voted against
Chrysostom in the Synod.[589]

Thus the question as to the validity of the Council of Antioch became
the knot of the whole affair. It was debated with such vehemence on
both sides, that at length the adversaries of the Patriarch proposed
that a deputation from the two contending parties should plead the
case before the Emperor, and submit the decision to him. It may be
presumed from their making the proposal that they felt secure of a
verdict favourable to their side, and, at the same time, by this step
a semblance of impartiality would be imparted to the proceedings. The
deputies met in the royal presence. When the heat which marked the
beginning of the discussion had cooled down a little, Elpidius of
Laodicea with much gentleness of manner made an astute proposal. He
was an old man, eminent for stainlessness of character, as well as for
learning in ecclesiastical lore. “Let us not,” he said, “weary the
clemency of your Majesty any longer; only let our brethren, Acacius
and Antiochus, subscribe a declaration that they are of the same faith
with those who promulgated these canons, which they maintain to be the
production of orthodox men, and the controversy will be at an end.” The
Emperor perceived the adroitness of the proposal, and observed with
a smile to Antiochus, that the plan struck him as the most expedient
which could be devised. Antiochus and his colleagues turned livid with
perplexity and rage, but, being fairly caught in the dilemma, were
forced to dissemble their feelings, and simulated a willing consent
to sign the proposed declaration. The promise was made, but never
executed. The deputies retired, and the adversaries of the Patriarch
laboured with redoubled energy to procure his final condemnation; but
we have no record of any formal session or formally declared sentence.
Chrysostom continued to preach and discharge his other functions with,
if possible, increased diligence, and still acted as president over the
floating synod of more than forty bishops who constantly adhered to
his cause. His enemies, on the other hand, acted as if the sentence of
condemnation had been passed, and continually requested the Emperor to
put it into execution.[590]

A.D. 404. As Easter approached, they became more importunate in
their demand. They dreaded the demonstrations which might be made
in favour of their victim by the large congregations which on Holy
Saturday and Easter Day were wont to assemble in the churches. They
succeeded in prevailing on the Emperor to prohibit the Patriarch, as
having been deposed and excommunicated by two councils, from entering
or officiating in the church at Easter-tide. Chrysostom had always
expressed an earnest desire to be tried before a lawful council, and
to abide by its decision. This request had been systematically evaded
even when ostensibly complied with. His whole soul rebelled with
honest indignation against these insidious and persistent attempts
to misrepresent his conduct, and he determined now to resist them by
taking his stand on the lofty ground of his Divine mission. “I received
this church from God my Saviour, and am charged with the care of the
salvation of this flock, nor am I at liberty to abandon it. Expel me by
force if you will, since the city belongs to you, that I may have your
authority as an excuse for deserting my post.”[591]

The Emperor, though with some shame, sent officials who removed the
Archbishop from the church to his palace, with a strict injunction that
he should not attempt to leave it. This was a cautious preliminary to
final expulsion, suggested by superstitious dread of any earthquake
or other manifestation of Divine displeasure. Should any such occur
again, the Archbishop could be released in a moment; if not, they might
proceed to further measures.

Easter Eve arrived, the greatest day in the year for the baptism of
converts. Three thousand were to be “initiated” this year. Chrysostom
was again commanded to abstain from entering the church, but answered
according to the tenor of his former reply, that he would not desist
from officiating unless compelled by actual force. The feeble Arcadius
was alarmed, and hesitated how to act. He scrupled to use force on so
sacred a day, and dreaded an insurrection of the populace. As usual,
he tried to shift responsibility from his own shoulders. He sent for
Acacius and Antiochus, and requested their advice in the present
emergency. They were too far committed now to draw back, and promptly
replied that they would take on their heads the deposition of the

One more effort was made to avert the impending calamity. The forty
bishops who maintained a close friendship with Chrysostom accosted the
Emperor and Empress as they were visiting, according to their custom
at this season, some of the martyr chapels outside the city. They
entreated their majesties with tears to spare the Church her chief
pastor, especially on account of the season, and for the sake of those
who were about to be baptized. But Arcadius and Eudoxia turned a deaf
ear to their piteous appeal. The bishops retired, grief-stricken, to
mourn over the wrongs of their Church and Patriarch; but not before
one of them, Paul, bishop of Crateia, had lifted up his voice in bold
and solemn warning:—“Take heed, Eudoxia; fear God; have pity on your
children. Do not outrage by bloodshed the sacred and solemn festival of
Jesus Christ.”[592]

The church of St. Sophia became the scene, on the night of that
Easter Eve, of shocking tumult. A vast congregation from the city and
surrounding towns, including many of the catechumens, was keeping vigil
to greet the dawn of the Resurrection morning. Suddenly a body of
soldiers burst in with noise and violence, and took possession of the
choir. The confusion may be imagined. Women and children fled shrieking
in wild disorder. Many of the female catechumens, only half-dressed, in
preparation for the reception of baptism, were hurriedly driven out of
the baptistry with the deaconesses who attended them. Some were even
wounded, and the sacred fonts stained with blood. Some of the soldiers,
unbaptized men, penetrated even to the chamber where the Eucharistic
elements were kept, and profaned them with their gaze and touch. The
clergy were forcibly ejected in their vestments, and several were
wounded. The pitiable spectacle of the mingled troop of men, women,
children, and clergy, violently chased along the streets by the brutal
soldiery, moved even Jews and Gentiles to compassion. The clergy,
however, rallied the scattered flock in the Baths of Constantine, the
largest public baths in the city. Here they proceeded with the Easter
services in due order; some reading the Scriptures, others baptizing.
The churches of Constantinople were deserted, which the adversary
wished to force the people to attend in the absence of the Archbishop,
in the hope that the Court might thus suppose him to be unpopular.

Such is the description of these violent scenes as drawn by the
pen of Chrysostom himself, in a letter[593] written soon after the
occurrences, and addressed to Innocent I., bishop of Rome, Venerius,
bishop of Milan, and Chromatius, bishop of Aquileia. “You may imagine
the rest,” he concludes; “great as these calamities are, there is no
prospect of their immediate termination; on the contrary, the evil
extends every day. The spirit of insubordination is rapidly spreading
from the capital to the provinces, from the head to the members. Clergy
rebel against their bishop, and one bishop assails another. People
are, or soon will be, split into factions. All places are racked by
the throes of coming trouble, and the confusion is universal. Having
been informed of all these things, then, my most reverend and prudent
lords, display, I pray you, the courage and zeal which becomes you
in restraining this lawlessness which has crept into the churches.
For if it were to become a prevailing and allowable custom, for any
at their pleasure to pass into foreign and distant dioceses, and to
expel whomsoever any one may choose, and act as they like on their own
private authority, be sure that all discipline will go to pieces, and
a kind of implacable warfare will pervade the world, all expelling
or being themselves expelled. Wherefore, to prevent the subjection
of the world to such confusion, I beseech you to enjoin that these
acts so illegally performed in my absence, when I had not declined
fair judgment, may be reckoned invalid, as indeed in the nature of
things they are, and that those who have been detected taking part
in these iniquitous proceedings may be subjected to the penalty of
ecclesiastical law; while we who have not been proved guilty may
continue to enjoy your correspondence and friendship as aforetime.” He
closes his letter by affirming that he was still prepared to prove his
innocence and the guilt of his accusers before a legally constituted

This letter is interesting not only in itself, but because it
illustrates remarkably the growing tendency of Christendom to appeal
to the arbitration of the Western Church, and especially of the Bishop
of Rome, in matters of ecclesiastical discipline. The law-making,
law-protecting spirit of the West is invoked to restrain the turbulence
and licentiousness of the East. The Patriarch of the Eastern Rome
appeals to the great bishops of the West, as the champions of an
ecclesiastical discipline which he confesses himself unable to enforce,
or to see any prospect of establishing. No jealousy is entertained
of the Patriarch of the old Rome by the Patriarch of the new. The
interference of Innocent is courted, a certain primacy is accorded
him, but at the same time he is not addressed as a supreme arbitrator;
assistance and sympathy are solicited from him as from an elder
brother, and two other prelates of Italy are joint recipients with him
of the appeal. The effect of this letter will shortly be related; for
the present, the course of events at Constantinople must be followed.

It did not suit the purpose of Acacius and his party to allow the
congregation which had been hunted out of St. Sophia to proceed with
their service in the baths unmolested. If the Emperor entered the
church in the morning and found it deserted, the vacancy on so great
a day would reveal too plainly the intense devotion of the people to
their bishop. The aim of the conspirators was to force the people
to attend the services, which were to be marked by the absence of
Chrysostom alone. They accordingly applied to Anthemius, Master of
the Offices, to disperse the congregation, if necessary by force.
Anthemius, however, was a moderate, prudent man, and kindly disposed
towards the Patriarch. He refused to interfere, pleading the advanced
hour of the night, the vastness of the assembly, and the risk of
serious tumult. He yielded, however, to their persevering and urgent
demands so far as to direct Lucius, a subordinate officer, commander
of a Thracian corps called the Scutarii, to present himself with his
troops at the entrance of the baths, and exhort the people to return
to the church, as the more proper place for conducting the services.
He was strictly charged to abstain from violence. He acted on his
instructions, and harangued the congregation, but without effect. The
chanting of the Psalms and the administration of baptism to crowds
of catechumens were proceeded with. Lucius returned and reported his
errand ineffectual. Acacius and his colleagues urged him with all their
eloquence, and with promises of rich reward, probably more effective
than their golden words, to make another effort, and to use force if
persuasion were not regarded. They gave him some ecclesiastics to
accompany him and, as it were, sanction their proceedings. Whether they
began by exhortation is not recorded; at any rate, if it was given,
no attention was paid to it, and it was quickly seconded by barbarian
violence. Lucius himself pushed his way to the place of baptism, and
laid about him with a truncheon upon candidates, deacons, and priests,
some of them aged men, and dispersed them in all directions. The
soldiers seized and plundered the women of their ornaments, the clergy
of their vestments, and the sacred vessels belonging to the Church;
they beat the fugitives and dragged them off to the prisons. The
natural solitude and silence of the streets, in the hour immediately
preceding dawn, were disturbed by the cries of the captives and the
shouts of their brutal captors.

In the morning the street walls were covered with proclamations,
menacing with severe punishment any who persisted in maintaining
intercourse with the Patriarch.[594]

The baths were effectually emptied of the congregation; but to fill
the churches could not so easily be accomplished; in fact, they
were entirely deserted. Large numbers of the dispersed congregation
who had escaped the hands of the soldiers fled outside the walls of
Constantinople, and, with indefatigable zeal, sought to complete the
celebration of the Paschal rites as best they could in the secure
recesses of woods or valleys. A large number assembled in a field
called Pempton, because five miles from the Forum of Constantine, an
open space surrounded by wood and intended to be used as a Hippodrome.
In the course of the day—Easter Day—the Emperor and his retinue
happened to ride, or perhaps were maliciously conducted, near the
spot. The eye of Arcadius was attracted by the sight of a large body
of people, many of them clothed in white, crowded together outside the
Hippodrome. Unhappily, the Emperor was attended by courtiers inimical
to the Archbishop. They replied to his inquiries respecting the nature
of the concourse, that it was a body of heretics who had met to worship
there in order to escape interference. Arcadius was weak enough to
allow, without further inquiry, a number of soldiers who formed part of
his escort to ride in upon the assembly and seize the most conspicuous
leaders. A number of priests were captured, and several rich and noble
ladies, whom the soldiers despoiled of their head-dresses and earrings
with great barbarity, in one instance even tearing away with the
appendage a portion of the ear itself.

One more attempt was made to assemble in a wooden hippodrome, built
by Constantine, called the Xulodrome; but once more they were driven
out, and hunted from place to place with relentless diligence. These
repeated assaults broke up the flock of Chrysostom; the prisons were
filled with the Johnites, as they were called after the name of their
bishop, and the churches were empty. The prison walls echoed to the
sound of the chants and hymns of the martyrs, but the churches to the
noise of scourge and fierce threats administered to those who ventured
to enter. This was done in the hope that they might be coerced by
torture to anathematise the Archbishop.[595]

He himself, however, meanwhile continued to reside two months in his
palace, though not without risk. Twice, as it was believed, attempts
were made to assassinate him, but frustrated. Suspicion fell first
on a man who affected demoniacal possession, and hovered much about
the precincts of the palace. A dagger was found upon his person; the
people seized him and dragged him before the prefect; but Chrysostom
procured his release through the intercession of some bishops, just as
he was about to be examined by torture. A second attempt was supposed
to be intended by a slave, who ran at full speed towards the entrance
of the palace, and plunged a dagger, in some instances with fatal
effect, into several passers-by who endeavoured to stop him. He was
at last surrounded and captured by the people, when he confessed that
he had been bribed by his master, a priest named Elpidius, to try and
assassinate the Archbishop. The fury of the people was appeased by the
imprisonment of the man; but they now resolved to take the protection
of their Archbishop into their own hands. They divided themselves into
companies, which kept watch by turns, night and day, over the episcopal
palace. The hostile party, dreading any further impediments to the
execution of their iniquitous sentence, now hurried matters to their
conclusion. Five days after Pentecost, four bishops—Acacius, Antiochus,
Severian, and Cyrinus—obtained an interview with the Emperor. They
represented that the city never would be tranquil till the removal
of the Archbishop had been effected, and that his remaining in the
palace after his condemnation was a gross violation of ecclesiastical
law. They avowed themselves willing to take the responsibility of his
deposition on their own heads, and besought the Emperor not to be more
lenient and concessive than were bishops and priests.[596]

June, A.D. 404. The long-hoped-for mandate was at length issued. It was
conveyed to the Archbishop by the notary Patricius, and informed him
that Acacius and three other bishops having charged themselves with
the responsibility of his deposition, he must commend himself to God,
and quit the church and the palace without delay. The martyr received
the cruel order with meek submission, and prepared to act upon it with
prompt obedience. He passed from his palace to his church, saying to
the bishops who accompanied him, “Come, let us pray and say farewell to
the Angel of the Church. At my own fate I can rejoice, I only grieve
for the sorrow of the people.” One of his friends, a nobleman, conveyed
a warning to him to avoid by a secret departure the risk of exciting
popular tumult. He informed him that Lucius was waiting with troops in
one of the public baths to compel his removal in the event of any delay
or resistance, and that the consequences of any attempt at a rescue by
the populace might be serious.

Chrysostom acted on his advice. He entered the choir with his friendly
bishops, bestowed on them a farewell kiss and farewell words; then
bidding them wait for him there while he went to repose, he entered the
baptistry, and sent for the deaconesses, Olympias, Pentadia, Procla,
and Salvina. “Come hither, my daughters,” he said, “and hearken to me:
my career, I perceive, is coming to an end; I have finished my course,
and perchance ye will see my face no more. Now I exhort you to this:
let not any of you break off her accustomed benevolence towards the
Church. If any man is appointed my successor without having canvassed
the office, and against his own will, but by the common consent of all,
submit to his authority as if he were Chrysostom himself; so may ye
obtain mercy. Remember me in your prayers.” The women threw themselves
at his feet dissolved in tears. The Archbishop made a sign to one of
the priests to remove the women, lest, as he said, their wailing should
attract the attention of the people outside. He directed that the mule
on which he was accustomed to ride should be saddled and taken to the
western gate of the cathedral; and while the people’s attention was
diverted by this feint, he passed out, unobserved, by a small door near
the east end, and surrendered himself to some soldiers who were at hand
to convey him to the port. So he departed from the church, the scene of
his indefatigable labours, whose walls were never again to resound to
his eloquence. He went out, and, in the emphatic words of the historian
to whose narrative we are indebted for the minute picture of these
occurrences, “the Angel of the Church went out with him.” Two bishops,
Cyriacus of Synnada in Phrygia, and Eulysius of Apamea in Bithynia,
accompanied him on board the vessel which conveyed him across the
straits to the Bithynian coast.[597]



The people, meanwhile, both within the church and outside, were not
long in discovering that the Archbishop had disappeared from the
building and its precincts. They became furiously agitated: some
rushed to the harbour, but too late to obstruct the embarkation. The
doors of the cathedral, which had been locked by some of the cabal,
who anticipated a rush of the people as soon as the departure of
Chrysostom should have been discovered, were fiercely battered by the
crowd on both sides. Jews and Pagans looked on, and jeered derisively
at the tumult. The horror of this scene of wild confusion was suddenly
increased by the apparition of fire bursting forth from the building.
How kindled, by accident or design, it is impossible to determine. Each
party fiercely charged the other with the guilt of the catastrophe, and
some attributed it to miraculous interference of heavenly powers. The
conflagration broke out in or near the throne of the Archbishop, which
it consumed, and then spread to the roof. In three hours the edifice,
whose erection and embellishment had been the work of many years, was
reduced to a heap of cinders. The only portion not destroyed was the
treasury which contained the sacred vessels of silver and gold, as if
expressly to confute one of the charges made against the Archbishop,
that he had sold all the most valuable ornaments belonging to the
church. Germanus and Cassian, the custodians of the treasury, when they
fled to Rome, carried with them a copy of the inventory of all these
articles, which, when they surrendered their office, had been handed
over to the prefect and some of the other chief functionaries of the

The conflagration, however, did not confine itself to the cathedral.
A violent north wind carried the flames across the Forum, and ignited
the great curia or senate-house; not, however, that side of it which
faced the cathedral, but the further side, which looked into the little
forum where the royal palace was situated. The whole senate-house was
destroyed. The statues of the Muses which Constantine had brought from
Helicon were consumed, and all the other principal adornments. The
images of Zeus and Athene alone were found intact, beneath a heap of
ruins and of masses of molten lead which had dropped upon them from the
burning roof.[598]

The real or affected suspicion that the Archbishop and his flock were
the incendiaries was quite a sufficient pretext for treating them
with rigour. He himself, with Cyriacus and Eulysius, was detained in
chains under a strict guard in Bithynia. These two companions were
taken from him and conveyed bound to Chalcedon, but after examination
were dismissed as innocent. But at Constantinople the persecution
was enforced with merciless severity under the auspices of Optatus,
a Pagan, now prefect in the place of Studius. All the followers of
the Archbishop, clerical and lay, high and low, were subjected, if
caught, to rigorous inquisition, and most of them to severe punishment.
Chrysostom wrote a letter from Bithynia to the Emperor, imploring
that he might at least be allowed to appear and defend himself and
his clergy from the atrocious charge of incendiarism, but the letter
received no attention; and as the poor exile continued his journey to
Nice, his sufferings were enhanced by pitiable intelligence of the
persecution inflicted on bishops, priests, and deacons who refused to
anathematise him or recognise the validity of his deposition. But the
spirit of the exile was not only brave to support his own troubles, but
could spare some of its energy to encourage those, who were suffering
in his cause, to patience, fortitude, resignation, and even joy.[599]

In times of religious persecution, the language of the New Testament,
about the blessedness of tribulation as a pledge of future happiness
and a means of preparation for it, comes home to men’s hearts with
a reality and force which seem to exceed our present application
of it to the troubles and sorrows of ordinary life. Those who were
firmly persuaded that their cause was the cause of truth and of
Jesus Christ read the words, “Blessed are ye when ye are persecuted
for righteousness’ sake,” or, “Happy are ye when men revile you and
persecute you,” as if spoken directly to themselves; and they really
did “rejoice in that day, and leap for joy.” Such are the texts which
Chrysostom cites for the consolation of his suffering friends. He
speaks of their exposure to intimidation by threats, imprisonment,
frequent appearance in judges’ courts, torture at the hands of the
executioner, shameless false evidence, coarse ribaldry, and scurrilous
jests; but “blessed were they, yea, thrice blessed, and more than that,
to endure imprisonment and chains, for not only was their fortitude the
subject of admiration everywhere, but their present sufferings were the
measure of their future happiness, and their names had been inscribed
in the Book of Life.”[600]

The destruction of the church and senate-house was the first pretext
for instituting persecution against the adherents of Chrysostom;
the second was, their refusal to recognise his successor. One week
after his deposition, Arsacius, brother of Nectarius the predecessor
of Chrysostom, was, apparently by the simple exercise of Imperial
authority, elevated to the see. He was eighty years old, and is
quaintly described by Palladius as “muter than a fish, and more
incapable than a frog.”[601] The probable aim of the Empress was
to secure a man whose servility might be depended on. His brother,
Nectarius, had once desired to make him Bishop of Tarsus; and, on his
declining to accept the promotion, had taunted him with ambitiously
reserving himself for the see of Constantinople; whereupon Arsacius had
taken an oath that he never would accept any bishopric. But ambition
and Imperial authority overcame his scruples. He is described by the
historians as a man of pious disposition and mild conduct; with one
exception: that he persecuted with relentless vigour the contumacious
adherents of his predecessor. By Chrysostom he is denounced as a wolf,
and in a figurative sense as an adulterer, on account of his usurpation
of the see during the lifetime of its legitimate occupant.[602]
Arsacius applied to the civil powers for assistance to compel the
Johnites to attend the churches where he and his clergy officiated. A
tribune was directed to attack a body of them who had assembled for
worship in some remote part of the city. The soldiers dispersed the
assembly, took several of the most eminent persons prisoners, and,
as usual, stripped the women of their golden girdles, jewels, and
earrings. The only consequence of this was, that the Johnites became
more attached to the cause and memory of their late Archbishop. Some of
them fled the city, and many more refrained as much as possible from
appearing in public places, such as the Forum and the baths. Meetings
of some kind for worship were not discontinued, or were soon resumed,
for we find Chrysostom, in one of his letters written during his
exile, reproving two priests, Theophilus and Salustius, for slackness
in attending such assemblies.[603] But worshippers ran great risks. The
prefect Optatus, who succeeded Studius, probably because the latter was
considered too lenient, appears to have entertained all the animosity
of a thorough Pagan against Christians, and to have rejoiced in the
present opportunity of inflicting sufferings upon them. He combined
the two charges of incendiarism and contumacy in his prosecution of
the Johnites, and endeavoured to extort confessions of guilt from his
victims with merciless barbarity.

A few instances are recorded, and they are quite enough to sicken us of
the tale of such horrors. Eutropius, a reader, was commanded to name
the persons who had set fire to the church. He refused. He was young
and delicate, and it was thought a confession might be wrung from him
under the agony of torture. He was lashed with a scourge, his cheeks
were scraped, and his sides lacerated with iron teeth, after which
lighted torches were applied to the wounded parts. No information could
be extorted from him: he was therefore conveyed to prison, and thrown
into a dungeon, where he expired. Some priests, adherents of Arsacius,
buried him by night, that his mangled body might not be seen by any
eyes but those of his enemies. Celestial music was said to have been
heard at the time of his interment.

Tigrius, the priest, whose presence with Serapion had been demanded at
the Synod of the Oak, was another victim. He was stripped, scourged
on his back, and then stretched on the rack till his bones were
dislocated. He survived the torture, and was banished to Mesopotamia.
Serapion himself, now bishop of Heraclea in Thrace, was seized, tried
on several calumnious charges, barbarously scourged, and sent into

Those ladies also who were most distinguished for their friendship with
the deposed Archbishop, and for the dedication of their time and money
to the Church, were marked objects of persecution. They were brought
before the prefect, and admonished by him to acknowledge Arsacius,
and so save themselves from future annoyance. A few from timidity
complied; but Olympias, who was subjected to a severer examination,
confronted it with a dauntless spirit. She was bluntly asked why she
had set fire to the “Great Church.” “My manner of life,” replied the
accused, “is a sufficient refutation of such a charge; a person who
has expended large sums of money to restore and embellish the churches
of God is not likely to burn and demolish them.” “I know your past
course of life well,” cried the prefect. “If you know aught against
it, then descend from your place there as judge, and come forward as
my accuser,” replied the undaunted Olympias. Perceiving that she was
not to be browbeaten, Optatus proposed the same course to her which had
been adopted by some other women as a means of exemption from further
persecution, namely, communion with Arsacius; but she scornfully
rejected the base compromise. “I have been publicly calumniated by a
charge which cannot be proven, and I will not accede to any terms till
I have been cleared from this accusation. Even if you resort to force,
I will not hold communion with those from whom I ought to secede, nor
do anything contrary to the principles of my holy religion.” She made
a request, which was granted, that she might be allowed a few days
to consult with lawyers on the proper means of legally refuting the
libellous accusation. The prefect, however (on what pretence is not
stated), sent for her again, and exacted a heavy fine, in the hope
that she would be induced to yield. The fine was paid without any
reluctance, but her refusal to acknowledge the usurper was inflexible;
and to avoid, if possible, further pressure and persecution, she
retired to Cyzicus, on the other side of the straits.[604]

The tidings of her fortitude and loyalty were conveyed to the exiled
Chrysostom, and so cheered his spirit in the midst of depression and
sickness that his sufferings seemed to him as nothing. “When many men
and women, old and young, highly reputed for their virtue, had turned
their backs on the enemy almost before the conflict had begun, she, on
the other hand, after many encounters, so far from being enervated, was
even invigorated; she spread forth the sails of patience, and floated
securely as on a calm sea; so far from being overwhelmed by the storm,
she was scarcely sprinkled by the spray. In the seclusion of her little
house she was able to inspire courage into the hearts of others, and
had been to them a haven of comfort and a tower of strength.”[605]

The deaconess Pentadia, widow of the consul Timasius, was another
victim. She led the life of a recluse, never going beyond the walls
of her house except to church. She was now dragged from her retreat
through the Forum to the prefect’s tribunal, and thence to prison,
charged with being an accomplice in the late fire. Several persons were
put to the torture before her eyes, in order to intimidate her into
a confession; but in vain. Her firm demeanour, courageous answers,
and powerful demonstrations of her innocence, confounded and silenced
her adversaries, and elicited the admiration of the public. Beyond
imprisonment, no indignities seem to have been inflicted on her; and
when desirous to quit the capital, she was persuaded by Chrysostom to
remain, who represented the great value of her presence and example
in animating others to undergo their present afflictions. She had
apparently intended to try and join him in his place of exile, when he
had been removed to Cucusus, on the confines of Lesser Armenia, for
he dwells on the great risk to her delicate health from a journey in
winter, and the danger of being plundered by the Isaurian robbers, who
were just then, he says, in a powerful condition. He, therefore, on
all grounds, begs her to remain where she is, but to relieve his mind
from anxiety about her affairs and health by constantly writing to

Meanwhile, the injured Church of Constantinople did not cease through
letters and emissaries to solicit the interference of the Western
Church. The first intimation of the calamities we have been describing
which reached the ears of Rome was through a messenger despatched
by Theophilus. The letter which he brought was inscribed “From Pope
Theophilus to Pope Innocent,” and stated in the barest manner, without
assigning his reasons or mentioning any assessors in his judgment,
that he had deposed Chrysostom, and that it behoved Innocent to break
off communion with him. The Pope was displeased by the cool and curt
character of the letter, and somewhat perplexed how to notice or reply
to so inexplicit a despatch. Eusebius, a deacon from Constantinople,
who was in Rome at the time on some ecclesiastical business, obtained
an interview with Innocent, and entreated him not to act till
information should be received from Constantinople, which, he added
(on what grounds does not appear), he had good reason to expect would
arrive in a short time. Three days afterwards four bishops did arrive,
bearing the letter from Chrysostom to Innocent which contained that
pathetic and perspicuous narrative of the recent occurrences, from
which extracts have been made in the preceding chapter. They brought
two other letters, one from the forty friendly bishops, another from
the clergy of Constantinople.

Innocent no longer hesitated to pronounce an opinion. His letter
to Theophilus is brief, decisive, almost peremptory in tone. “The
See of Rome,” he said, “would maintain communion with Alexandria
and Constantinople to avoid rending the unity of the Church; but
he annulled (ἀθέτησας) the deposition of John apparently made by
Theophilus. It was impossible to recognise the validity of a sentence
pronounced by such an irregular synod as that lately convened at
Chalcedon. If Theophilus had confidence in the justice of that
sentence, he must appear in person to prove it before a General Council
called together and regulated according to the Canons of Nice.” A few
days after the despatch of this letter, Peter, an Alexandrian priest,
arrived with a deacon from Constantinople, bearing another letter
from Theophilus, and certain minutes, so called, of the acts of the
Synod of the Oak. Innocent, having perused the minutes, was indignant
at the mingled monstrosity and levity of the charges brought against
Chrysostom, and at the condemnation having been pronounced in the
absence of the defendant. He ordered special prayers and fasts to be
observed by the Church for the restoration of concord, and addressed to
Theophilus a sharp letter of reproof.[607]

It is not easy to make out precisely how many communications passed
each way between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople, or the exact
date of each; but several letters are distinctly mentioned. Theotecnus,
a priest from Constantinople, brought a letter from twenty-five of the
forty bishops who had constantly adhered to Chrysostom, in which they
described the expulsion of the Patriarch and the conflagration of the
church. Innocent replied by a letter of condolence, and exhortation
to bear their trial with Christian fortitude and patience, for at
present he confessed, with deep regret, that he saw small prospect
of rendering much effectual aid, “owing to the opposition of certain
persons powerful for evil,” alluding probably to the jealousies between
the Courts of the two brothers, Honorius and Arcadius. The cabal
also sent a letter to Innocent, containing their version of the late
transactions. Their emissary was Paternus, who called himself a priest
of Constantinople; “an ugly little fellow,” says Palladius, “and very
unintelligible.” The letter was written in the names of Arsacius,
Paulus, Antiochus, Cyrinus, Severian, and some others; and, among
other opprobrious charges, distinctly accused Chrysostom of setting
fire to the church. Innocent treated the letter with much disdain, and
would not condescend to answer it. Some days afterwards, Cyriacus,
bishop of Synnada, arrived in Rome as a fugitive, in consequence of an
Imperial edict, which directed the deposition of any bishop who refused
to communicate with Arsacius and Theophilus, and the confiscation of
his property, if he had any. After Cyriacus arrived Eulysius, bishop
of Apamea in Bithynia, bringing a letter from fifteen of the forty
friendly bishops, which described all the past and present distress
of the Church caused by Chrysostom’s enemies, and in all respects
confirmed the oral account of Cyriacus. In the course of another month,
Palladius, bishop of Hellenopolis, fled to Rome from the intolerable
harshness of magisterial decrees, which now subjected to confiscation
the house of any one who should be found to have harboured bishop,
priest, or even layman, who communicated with Chrysostom. From a
letter of Chrysostom[608] it appears that Palladius and many others
lived for some time in concealment at Constantinople, in the hope of
escaping persecution. They were courteously lodged in Rome by one
Pinianus and his wife, by Juliana, Proba, and other Roman ladies, whom
Chrysostom warmly thanks for their kindness in letters written by
him from Cucusus.[609] Germanus the priest, and Cassian the deacon,
custodians of the Church treasury at Constantinople, also came to
Rome, bringing a letter from the whole body of the clergy who adhered
to Chrysostom, describing the violent deposition and expulsion of the
Archbishop, and the tyranny of their adversaries under which they were
now suffering.[610]

The reply of Innocent to this letter from the clergy of Constantinople
is dignified as well as sympathetic. He exhorts, as usual, to patience,
and to the derivation of comfort from the remembrance of the sufferings
of all God’s saints in past times. But he deeply deplores their wrongs,
and again expresses his reprobation in the strongest terms of the
illegality of the late proceedings. “The canon which prohibited the
ordination of a successor during the lifetime of the reigning bishop
had been grossly violated. The Canons of Antioch, on which the synod
had relied, were invalid, having been composed by heretics, and they
had been rejected by the Council of Sardica. The Canons of Nice alone
were entitled to the obedience of the Church; but adversaries and
heretics were always attempting to subvert them.”... “What steps, then,
should be taken in the existing crisis? Plainly a General Council must
be convoked: that was the only means of appeasing the fury of the
tempest. He was watching an opportunity to accomplish this: meanwhile,
they must wait in patience, and trust the goodness of God for the
restoration of tranquillity and good order.”

To Chrysostom Innocent wrote, as friend to friend, as a bishop to a
brother bishop, a letter of Christian consolation and encouragement,
not entering into the legal questions of the case, and not pledging
himself to decisive action of any kind. It was not necessary to remind
one, who was himself the teacher and pastor of a great people, that God
often tried the best of men, and put their patience to the severest
tests, and that they are firmly supported under the greatest calamities
by the approving voice of conscience.... A good man may be severely
tried, but cannot be overcome, since he is preserved and guarded by
the truth of Holy Scripture. Holy Scripture supplied abundant examples
of suffering saints who did not receive their crowns until they had
undergone the heaviest trials with patience. “Take courage, then,
honoured brother, from the testimony of conscience. When you have been
purified by affliction, you will enter into the haven of peace in the
presence of Christ our Lord.”[611]

Innocent, however, not only wrote commonplace letters of condolence,
but exerted himself to obtain the council which he had recommended
to the Church of Constantinople as the only means of redressing her
wrongs. He wrote a letter to Honorius, then at Ravenna, representing
the lamentable condition of the Church of Constantinople, which
elicited from the Emperor an order for the convention of an Italian
synod. This synod, after a due consideration of all the circumstances,
was to submit its decision and suggestions to himself. The result of
the deliberations of the Italian bishops, swayed no doubt by Innocent,
was to request the Emperor to write to his brother Arcadius, urging
the convocation of a General Council to be held in Thessalonica, which
would be a convenient meeting-point for the prelates of East and West.
Honorius complied, and the letter was despatched under the care of a
deputation from the Italian Church, consisting of five bishops, two
priests, and a deacon. The Emperor calls it the third letter[612] which
he had written relative to the affairs of Constantinople. He professes
great solicitude for the peace of the Church, “on which,” he observes,
“the peace of our Empire depends;” and with a view to this object,
he urges the convocation of a council at Thessalonica, and specially
entreats that the attendance of Theophilus, who was, he is informed,
author of all these disturbances, should be insisted upon. He commends
the deputation to the honourable care of Arcadius; and that he may know
the sentiments of the Italian Church on the present state of affairs,
he sends him two letters as samples of many, one from the Bishop of
Rome, the other from the Bishop of Aquileia.

The only bishop on the deputation whose see is mentioned was Æmilius,
bishop of Beneventum. The Oriental refugees, Cyriacus, Demetrius,
Palladius, and Eulysius, accompanied the Italians. They were the
bearers not only of letters from Honorius, Innocent, and the bishops
Chromatius of Aquileia and Venerius of Milan, but also of a memorial
from the Italian synod, which recommended that Chrysostom should be
reinstated in his see before he was required to take his trial before
a council. He would then, it was observed, have no reasonable excuse
for declining to attend it. The deputation was absent four months. On
their return the members had a pitiful tale to tell of failure in their
errand, and of personal suffering from maltreatment. They touched at
Athens on their voyage out, whence they had intended to proceed to
Thessalonica, and lay the letters first of all before Anysius, bishop
of that place; but at Athens they were arrested by a military officer,
who placed them on board two vessels under charge of a centurion, to
be conveyed to Constantinople. A furious southerly gale sprang up
soon after their departure, and, after a voyage of some danger, they
arrived, late on the third day, at the suburb of Constantinople called
Victor. But, instead of being allowed to proceed to the city, they were
shut up in a fortress named Athyra, on the coast—the Romans in a single
chamber, the Orientals in separate apartments. No servant even was
permitted to attend them. They were commanded to deliver up the letters
which they had brought, but refused, as being ambassadors, to surrender
them to any but to the Emperor himself. Secretaries and messengers were
sent in succession, but the ambassadors steadfastly adhered to their
refusal. The letters were at length wrested from their possession by
sheer violence: one bishop’s thumb was broken in the struggle. On the
following day a large bribe was offered them if they would recognise
Atticus (the aged Arsacius was now dead) as Patriarch, and say no more
about the trial of Chrysostom. This base proposal was firmly resisted;
and, seeing the utter hopelessness of their mission, they requested
to be released as soon as possible, and suffered to return to their
dioceses in safety. The Italians saw no more of their companions from
the East. They themselves were thrust into a miserable vessel, with
twenty soldiers of various grades, and conveyed to Lampsacus, on the
Asiatic coast, where they embarked in another vessel, and, after a
tedious voyage of twenty days, arrived at Hydruntum, in Calabria.[613]

Neither the Papacy nor the Empire of the West was sufficiently
powerful at this time to insist further upon justice being done to the
Patriarch, in the face of the determined animosity of the ruling powers
at Constantinople; but the friends of the martyr deemed that they
read unequivocal signs of the Divine displeasure in the misfortunes
which befell some of Chrysostom’s greatest personal enemies. Thrace
and Illyria were ravaged by an incursion of Huns, and the Isaurians,
a predatory barbarian race, which inhabited the fastnesses of Mount
Taurus, committed fearful havoc in Syria and Asia Minor. Cyrinus,
bishop of Chalcedon, one of the four who had taken on them the
responsibility of Chrysostom’s condemnation, died in great agony
from the wound in his foot, originally caused when his foot had been
trodden upon by Bishop Maruthas, more than a year ago, just before the
Synod of the Oak. At the end of September, Constantinople was visited
by a destructive fall of hailstones of extraordinary size; and on
October 6, A.D. 404, died the Empress Eudoxia. Nilus, one of the most
eminent anchorites of the day, once prefect of Constantinople, who
had abandoned wealth, family, and position for the solitudes of Mount
Sinai, addressed two letters of reproof and warning to Arcadius on the
iniquitous banishment of Chrysostom and inhuman persecution of his
followers. “How can you expect to see Constantinople delivered from
visitations of earthquake and fire from Heaven, after the enormities
which have there been perpetrated; after crime has been established
there by the authority of laws; after the thrice-blessed John, the
pillar of the Church, the lamp of truth, the trumpet of Jesus Christ,
has been driven from the city? How can I grant my prayers (Arcadius had
apparently begged the intercession of the saint to remove the national
troubles) to a city stricken by the wrath of God, whose thunder is
every moment ready to fall upon her?”[614]

But human and divine warnings were alike wasted; the enemies of the
Patriarch had complete sway over the Court, and suffered it not
to swerve from the path of persecution. The Western bishops and
presbyters, after the disastrous termination of their embassy to
Constantinople, returned home, without honour indeed, but unmolested.
Their Eastern colleagues did not escape so easily. They were conveyed
to places of exile in the most distant and opposite quarters of the
Empire. Cyriacus was confined in a Persian fortress beyond Emessa;
Eulysius in Arabia; Palladius on the confines of Ethiopia; Demetrius
was to have been confined in one of the Egyptian oases, but died
of the harsh treatment to which he was subjected on the journey.
The exiles suffered such brutal insults and indignities from the
soldiers who conducted them to these places, that the desire of life
was extinguished. The little money which they had collected for the
expenses of their journey was taken from them by their guards, who
divided it among themselves. They were forced to perform in one day
the distance of two days’ journey. They were not permitted to enter
any churches on their route, but forced into Jewish or Samaritan
synagogues, and lodged at night in low inns, where their ears were
shocked by the filthy conversation of abandoned characters of both
sexes. Yet even some of these degraded people were won to a more
respectful behaviour, if not actually converted, by the Christian
exhortations and instruction of the captives. The “Word of God was not
bound.” Some of the bishops friendly to Theophilus bribed the soldiers
to hurry the exiles out of their dioceses as quickly as possible.
Distinguished among these malignants were the bishops of Tarsus,
Antioch, Ancyra, and of Cæsarea in Palestine. Most of the bishops of
Cappadocia, on the other hand, especially Theodorus of Tyana, and
Bosporius of Colonia, accorded them a compassionate and courteous

Arsacius died in November A.D. 404. Out of many ambitious candidates
for the vacant throne, Atticus, a presbyter, who had taken an active
part in the persecution of Chrysostom, a native of Sebaste in Armenia,
was appointed. He was a man of moderate abilities and generally mild
disposition, but relentless in his determination to crush out the
party of the exiled Patriarch. By his influence an Imperial rescript
was obtained, which decreed that “any bishop who did not communicate
with Theophilus, Porphyry of Antioch, and Atticus, should be ejected
from the Church, and his property confiscated.” The wealthy, for the
most part, bowed to the storm; the poor sought peace of body and of
conscience in flight either to Rome or monasteries. This rescript,
aimed at the bishops, was followed up by another directed against the
laity. Any layman who refused to recognise the above-mentioned prelates
was, if a civilian, to be deprived of any office which he might hold;
if a soldier, of his military girdle; if an artisan, to be heavily
fined or banished. Bishops and presbyters were dispersed as fugitives
into all parts of the Empire. Some sought retirement in some secluded
little country property of their own, and obtained a precarious
livelihood by manual labour, farming, or fishing.[616]

But, in spite of all the various means of coercion at Constantinople,
in spite of trials, torture, imprisonment, banishment, the bulk
of the people could not be brought to attend the ministration of
Atticus and his clergy. Their churches were comparatively empty,
while the persecuted adherents of the exile persistently held their
services in some sequestered valley, or on some lonely hillside. In
fact, persecution, as has always been the case, only intensified the
attachment of many to the person and the cause which it was intended
to crush, and so far defeated its own object. Chrysostom himself
observes,[617] that many of those who had enjoyed a high reputation
for piety were the first to fall away when brought to the test of
persecution; whereas others, who had formerly been abandoned to
frivolity and vice, now renounced the theatre and circus, hastened
into the desert to attend the assembly of the Catholics at worship,
and displayed the greatest fortitude before the judge when brought to
trial, in the face of torture, and with the prospect of imprisonment or

The party now in power could not convert the hearts of clergy or people
to their side, but they could, and did, change the outward aspect of
the Church. The men of probity and piety with whom Chrysostom had
replaced the six simoniacal bishops deposed in Asia were expelled,
and the delinquents restored. The Church in that region was reduced
to a disgraceful state. Ordinations were conducted, not amidst prayer
and fasting, but feasting, drunkenness, and gross bribery. The see of
Heracleides, the good bishop of Ephesus, appointed by Chrysostom, was
occupied by a eunuch, a monster of iniquity. The people in disgust
deserted the churches.

The death of Flavian, bishop of Antioch, nearly coincided with the
banishment of Chrysostom. The people of Antioch were much attached to a
priest named Constantius, a man described by Palladius as a faithful
and incorruptible servant of the Church from his earliest youth, first
as a messenger who carried ecclesiastical despatches, then as reader,
deacon, priest. He had won the love and admiration of the people by his
gentle, amiable disposition, his intelligence, strict integrity, and
exemplary piety. There was a general desire to make him bishop, but
an ambitious priest named Porphyry frustrated the design. By bribery,
and calumnious stories conveyed to the Court at Constantinople, he
procured an Imperial rescript condemning Constantius to be banished
to one of the oases as a disturber of the people. With the assistance
of his friends Constantius escaped to Cyprus. Porphyry meanwhile
imprisoned several of the clergy of Antioch, and seized the opportunity
of the Olympian festival (when most of the inhabitants had poured out
to the celebrated suburb of Daphne) to enter the church with a few
bishops and clergy; and then, with doors fast closed, he was hurriedly
ordained, so hurriedly that some portions of the service were omitted.
Acacius, Severian, and Antiochus, who had officiated, immediately fled.
The people were enraged when they discovered the trick, surrounded
Porphyry’s house, and threatened to burn it to the ground. He applied
for protection to the prefect, who lent him a body of troops, with
which he forcibly took possession of the church. He contrived to get
an unscrupulous and cruel man sent from Constantinople to be captain
of the city guards, terror of whom drove the people to attend the
churches, though they did so with disgust, and earnestly prayed for
retribution from Heaven on the authors of this wickedness.[618]

Innocent remained inflexibly attached to the cause of Chrysostom. The
Church of Rome and the Italian bishops broke off all communion with
Theophilus and Atticus, and ceased not to demand the convocation of a
General Council, as the only tribunal by which the Patriarch could be
lawfully acquitted or condemned.[619] But the Court of Ravenna was
not in a position to support these demands by intimidation or actual
force. All the skill of Stilicho and all the resources at his command
were barely sufficient to repel the persevering efforts of Alaric and
Rhadagaisus to take the great prize which they so eagerly coveted, the
capital of the Roman Empire. The inevitable fall of Rome was averted
only for a little while.

Thus the spirit of lawlessness and selfishness took advantage of the
impotence of the secular power both in Rome and Constantinople to work
its will upon the Church. It dealt a blow to Christian morality and
ecclesiastical discipline from which the Church at Constantinople never
recovered, and which caused a throb of pain from one end of Christendom
to the other; for, in spite of all differences and divisions,
Christendom was one then, so that, if one member suffered, all the
members suffered with it; and what was done and said, and thought and
felt, in the Church of Alexandria, or Antioch, or Constantinople, was
not unknown or unregarded by the Churches of Rome or Milan, and through
them made its impress on the Churches even of Gaul and Spain.


  FRIENDS. A.D. 404.

It now only remains to follow the illustrious exile along his painful
journey to its melancholy or, if we regard him as the Christian martyr,
its glorious termination.

He was removed, as has been already seen, from Constantinople on
June 20, and conveyed, in the course of a few days, to Nicæa. Here
he remained till July 4, and several of his letters to Olympias were
written from this place. The soft yet fresh sea air revived his health,
which had suffered from the feverish and harassing scenes that he had
gone through at Constantinople, and from the journey begun in the very
middle of the summer heat. Nothing could exceed the kindness of the
soldiers under whose custody he travelled, who discharged towards him
all the duties of servants as well as of guards.[620] His ultimate
destination was not known for some time by himself or his friends.
Common report sent him to Scythia,[621] but the intention of his
enemies appears to have changed from time to time. Sebaste in Armenia
had been first proposed, but finally Cucusus, a village in the Tauric
range on the edge of Cilicia and the Lesser Armenia, was fixed upon. It
was a remote and desolate spot, subject to frequent attacks from the
marauding Isaurians; and at first Chrysostom earnestly entreated his
friends in Constantinople to try and procure a more agreeable place
of exile, a favour frequently granted to criminals. Olympias, Bishop
Cyriacus, Briso the chamberlain, and a lady named Theodora, repeatedly
interceded on his behalf; but their efforts were ineffectual.[622] The
Empress herself, it would appear, selected Cucusus, and was inexorable
in her decision.[623]

From beginning to end of his exile Chrysostom’s mind was occupied with
organising such work as yet remained possible to him. It has been seen
with what zeal he had planted a missionary settlement in Phœnicia. This
project continued to the close of his life to be an object of his most
solicitous interest. On July 3, the eve of his departure from Nicæa, he
addressed a letter to a priest named Constantius,[624] apparently the
superintendent of the missionary work in Phœnicia and the surrounding
countries. He implores him to prosecute his labours for the extirpation
of Paganism with zeal undiminished, and undismayed by the present
afflicted state of the bishop and the see, to whom the mission owed
its origin. “The pilot and the physician, far from relaxing their
efforts when the ship and the patient are in peril, redouble their
efforts to save them.” He begs Constantius to inform him year by year
how many temples are destroyed, how many churches built, how many good
Christians immigrate into Phœnicia. He had himself persuaded a recluse,
whom he found at Nicæa, to go and place himself under the direction of
Constantius in the missionary work. He had, he says, happily concluded,
just about the time of his deposition, arrangements for the suppression
of Marcionism, which was very prevalent at Salamis, in Cyprus. He
begs Constantius to write to his friend Bishop Cyriacus, if still in
Constantinople, and request him to carry these plans into effect.
Finally, he implores the prayers of Constantius and all faithful
people for the cessation of the present calamities of the Church,
especially of the intolerable evils which had befallen it in Asia;
alluding no doubt to the restoration of the simoniacal bishops.

On July 4 or 5 the exile started from Nicæa on his toilsome and
perilous journey in the midsummer heat, across the scorching plains
of Galatia and Cappadocia. He describes himself[625] as an object of
great compassion to travellers whom he met coming from Armenia and the
East, who stopped to weep and wail over his distress. His route lay
in a diagonal line across the centre of Asia Minor, ascending first
of all near the stream of the river Sangarius, which in its upper
course winds through vast plains of black bituminous soil, scantily
cultivated, but supplying pasture to great herds of cattle. Chrysostom
had always been an ascetic liver, but he had not a robust frame, and
he had been accustomed to wholesome food and the frequent use of the
bath. Continuous travelling by night as well as day, the scorching
sun, hot dust, hard bread, brackish water, and deprivation of the
bath, threw him into a fever; but either from fear of the Isaurians,
or of Leontius, bishop of Ancyra, in Galatia, one of his most virulent
enemies, the journey was pursued without intermission till he arrived,
more dead than alive, at Cæsarea, in Cappadocia.

He has left us a detailed account of the perils which befell him here,
and a melancholy picture indeed it is of the ferocity and cunning of
which bishops and monks were capable under the influence of fanatical
partisanship.[626] Having escaped, he says, from the Galatian
(probably meaning Leontius), he was met, as he approached Cæsarea,
by several persons, who informed him that Pharetrius the bishop was
eagerly expecting him, and preparing to welcome him with affectionate
hospitality. He confesses that he himself mistrusted these specious
offers, but he kept his suspicions to himself. On his arrival at
Cæsarea, in a state of extreme exhaustion, Pharetrius did not appear,
but he was enthusiastically received by the people as well as some
monks and nuns. The extreme kindness and skill of physicians (one of
whom declared his intention of accompanying him to the end of his
journey), wholesome food, and the use of the bath, so much renovated
his strength and diminished his fever, that he became anxious in a day
or two to resume his journey. But just at this juncture the city was
thrown into consternation by tidings that a large body of Isaurians
was ravaging the neighbourhood, and had already burned a town with
much slaughter. All the available troops in Cæsarea were marched out,
and the whole male population, including old men, turned out to man
the walls. During this time of suspense, the house in which Chrysostom
lodged was besieged by a large body of monks, who with furious cries
and gestures demanded his surrender. The prætorians who guarded him
were terrified by the fierce behaviour of these fanatics, and declared
that they would rather face the Isaurians than fall into the hands of
these “wild beasts.” The governor of the city succeeded in protecting
the person of Chrysostom, but not in quelling the fury of the monks,
who renewed their assault still more hotly on the following day. The
Bishop Pharetrius was very generally suspected to be the instigator
of these attacks, and an appeal was made to him to interpose his
authority, that the Archbishop might at least enjoy a few days’
repose, which the state of his health greatly needed. But the envy of
Pharetrius was embittered by the popularity of Chrysostom, and the
great kindness and compassion which his hardships had elicited from
clergy and people. He refused to interfere; but Chrysostom’s friends
took advantage of a brief lull in the hostile visits of the monks to
convey him in a litter outside the town, amidst the lamentations of the
attendant people, and imprecations on the author of the malevolent
assaults. When he was once outside the town several of the clergy
joined him, and besought him not to think of trusting himself to
Pharetrius; it would be worse, they declared, than falling into the
hands of the Isaurians: “only escape from our hands, and wherever you
fall you will fall safely.”

At this crisis a lady named Seleucia, the wife of Rufinus, a man of
rank and a friend of Chrysostom, entreated him to accept a lodging
at her country house, about five miles out of the city. He accepted
the offer; but, unknown to him, Pharetrius, whose rage was inflamed
by the rescue of his prey, visited the house, and threatened to take
vengeance on the mistress if her guest was not surrendered. This demand
was refused, and the lady gave orders to her steward, in the event of
any attack by monks, to collect all the labourers on the estate and
repel the assault by force. But her courage at last gave way under the
pressure of incessant menaces from Pharetrius, and it was resolved to
remove the Archbishop, not less for his own safety than for that of
the person whose roof had afforded him shelter. In the dead of night,
when Chrysostom was sleeping, unconscious of impending danger, he was
roused by a companion, the priest Evethius, who told him that he must
instantly prepare for flight. It was midnight, and the sky murky and
moonless; but they dared not light torches for fear of attracting the
observation of their enemies. The road was rugged and rocky; the mule
which carried the Archbishop’s litter fell, and he was thrown out.
Evethius took him by the hand and led, or rather dragged, him along.
In such a pitiable plight, faint with fatigue and fever-stricken,
did the bishop of the second see in Christendom stumble and totter
in the darkness along the Cappadocian mountain path. “Were not these
calamities,” he writes to Olympias, “sufficient to blot out many sins,
and suggest to me a hope of future glory?”

Of the remainder of his journey to Cucusus we possess no detailed
narrative. He only speaks in general terms of his sufferings for thirty
days from fever, aggravated by the want of a bath, and by deficient
accommodation of every kind in a journey made along a rough road,
through a desolate mountainous country, liable to an attack at any
moment from Isaurian bandits.[627] Desolate though the region was,
however, he speaks of monks and nuns occasionally meeting him in large
numbers, and loudly bewailing his calamities, exclaiming that it “had
been better the sun should have hidden his rays, than that the mouth of
Chrysostom should have been closed.”[628] About seventy days[629] after
his departure from Constantinople, that is, about the end of August
or beginning of September, Cucusus was reached. After the fatigues
and dangers of his journey, it was a haven of rest to the exhausted
exile, though he describes it as in itself the most desolate place
in the world; a mere village high up in the eastern range of Taurus,
on the confines of Lesser Armenia, Cilicia, and Cappadocia.[630] But
it was protected from the Isaurians by a strong garrison, and it
contained many warm-hearted friends of the Archbishop, who emulated
one another in showing him attention. Several had sent invitations to
him, before he left Cæsarea, to accept a lodging at their houses, but
more especially one whom he calls “my Lord Diodorus,” who had known him
in Constantinople. This generous personage not only placed his whole
house at the disposal of Chrysostom, betaking himself to a country
villa to make room for his guest, but furnished it with every possible
defence against the cold of the approaching winter, in that altitude
very severe. The Bishop of Cucusus not only received him with great
civility, but was even desirous that his own throne should be occupied
by the illustrious exile, that his flock might profit by the eloquence
of the greatest teacher and preacher of the day; but Chrysostom thought
it prudent to decline the honour.[631]

Many of his friends in Constantinople and other places, who owned
property near Cucusus, directed their stewards to provide in
various ways for the comfort of the exile, and some of his friends
actually came to share his fortunes in person. The aged deaconess,
Sabiniana, arrived from Constantinople with the fixed determination
of accompanying him to his final place of exile, whatever that might
be. Constantius, the presbyter of Antioch, whom the people had wished
to make bishop, also took up his abode at Cucusus, as well to escape
from the persecution of Porphyry as from his zealous attachment to
Chrysostom.[632] Thus the natural disadvantages of the place, the want
of good physicians and of a plentiful market, the severity of the
heat in summer and cold in winter, were largely compensated by the
enjoyment of freedom, rest, and the kind attention of friends. He warns
his supporters in Constantinople, who were endeavouring to procure a
change of destination for him, to be careful that he was not removed
to a place worse than Cucusus, where he possessed all substantial
necessaries and comforts of life. If, however, they thought there was a
chance of obtaining Cyzicus or Nicomedia, they were not to desist from
their efforts; but he was convinced that another long and fatiguing
journey to a spot as remote and desolate as Cucusus would kill him.[633]

The leisure of the exile was profitably employed in writing letters
to every variety of friends—men of rank, ladies, deaconesses in
Constantinople, bishops, clergy, missionary monks, and his kind
acquaintances in Cæsarea, especially the physician Hymnetius, who had
attended him there with affectionate care. As might be expected,
none of his letters describe his condition so minutely or pour forth
so unrestrainedly his fears and hopes, his causes of distress or
joy, as those written to Olympias. The style in which she is usually
addressed is at once respectful, affectionate, and paternal: “To my
lady, the most reverend and religious deaconess Olympias, Bishop John
sends you greeting in the Lord.” They are seventeen in number, written
at different stages of his exile; nor is it possible to determine
precisely the date of each. The first three seem to have been written
from Cucusus, and are mainly devoted to the aim of consoling her under
the present calamities of the Church; to dissipating, as he expresses
it, that cloud of sorrow which surrounded her.[634] “Come now, let me
soften the wound of your sadness, and disperse the sad cogitations
which compose this gloomy cloud of care. What is it which upsets your
mind, and occasions your grief and despondency? Is it the fierce and
lowering storm which has overtaken the Churches and enveloped all
with the darkness of a moonless night, which is growing to a head
every day, and has already wrought many lamentable shipwrecks? All
this I know; it shall not be gainsaid: and, if you like, I can form
an image of the things now being done so as to represent the tragedy
more distinctly to thee. We behold a sea heaved up from its lowest
depths, some sailors floating dead, others struggling in the waves, the
planks of the vessel breaking up, the masts sprung, the canvas torn,
the oars dashed out of the sailors’ hands, the pilots, seated on the
deck, clasping their knees with their hands, and crying aloud at the
hopelessness of their situation; neither sky nor sea clearly visible,
but all one impenetrable gloom, and monsters of the deep attacking the
shipwrecked crew on every side. But why attempt further to describe
the indescribable? Yet, when I see all this, I do not despair, when I
consider who is the Disposer of this whole universe—One who masters
the storm, not by the contrivance of art, but can calm it by His nod
alone. He does not always destroy what is terrible in its beginning,
but waits till it has come to its consummation; and then, when most
men are in despair, He works marvels and does things beyond all
expectation, displaying a power which belongs to Him alone. Wherefore,
faint not, for there is only one thing, Olympias, which is really
terrible, there is only one real trial—and that is sin. All things
else, whether they be insidious assaults of foes, or hatred, or
calumny, or abuse, or confiscation of goods, or exile, or the sharpened
sword, and war raging throughout the world, are but as a tale; they
endure but for a season, they are perishable, and have their sphere
in a mortal body, and do no injury to the vigilant soul.”... “Why,
then, do you fear temporal things, which flow away like the stream of
a river?”... “Let none of these things which happen vex you; cease to
entreat the help of this person or that, but continually beseech Jesus
Christ, whom you serve, merely to bow the head, and all these troubles
will be dissolved; if not in an instant of time, that is because He
is waiting till wickedness has grown to a height, and then he will
suddenly change the storm into a calm....”

He enters into an eloquent review of the sufferings and persecution to
which our blessed Lord was subjected from His birth to His death, in
order to prove that apparent failure is a fallacious test of the truth
and real value of man’s character and work.

“Why are you troubled because one man has been expelled and another
introduced into his place? Christ was crucified, and the life of
Barabbas, the robber, was asked. How many must have been shocked and
repelled by this ignominious termination to a life of miracles! But
in every stage of His life there was much to surprise and offend and
try the faith. His birth was the cause of death to many innocent
children in Bethlehem; poverty, danger, exile, marked His infancy. He
was misunderstood and suspected throughout His ministry. ‘Thou art a
Samaritan, and hast a devil;’ ‘He deceiveth the people;’ ‘He casteth
out devils through the chief of the devils;’ ‘He was a gluttonous man
and winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.’ His discernment of
purity and goodness was questioned, because He permitted the sinful
woman to approach Him; ‘neither did His brethren believe on Him.’ You
speak of many having been frightened out of the straight path by the
present calamities. How many of Christ’s disciples stumbled at the
time of His crucifixion! One betrayed Him, another denied Him, the
others fled, and He was led to trial bound and alone. How many, think
you, were offended when they beheld Him, who a little while ago was
raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, expelling devils, multiplying
loaves, now bound, forlorn, surrounded by coarse soldiers, followed by
a crowd of tumultuous priests? How many when He was being scourged,
and they saw Him torn by the lash, and standing with bleeding body
before the governor’s tribunal? How many, again, when He was mocked,
now with a crown of thorns, now with a purple robe, now with a reed in
His hand? How many when He was smitten on the cheek, and they cried,
‘Prophesy, who is he that smote Thee?’ and dragged Him hither and
thither, consuming a whole day in jesting and revilement in the midst
of the throng of Jewish spectators? How many when He was led to the
cross with the marks of the scourge upon His back? How many when the
soldiers divided His raiment among themselves? How many when fastened
to the cross and crucified?” And, after our Lord’s Ascension, what had
been the lot of the early Church? Calamity, persecution, discomfiture,
weakness, the offence of many and the defection of many. Yet the truth
of Jesus Christ’s Gospel had not been obscured; it had shone more and
more brightly: God had wrought out the triumph of His Church.

The above is a much-condensed rendering of passages which can hardly
be too much admired for the spirit as well as style in which they are
written. The union of a Christian philosophy and a Christian faith,
a philosophy which traces a principle in God’s modes of operation,
and a faith which contentedly accepts whatever happens, in the firm
belief that, be it pleasant or painful, it is part of some purpose of
God; a philosophy which traces in every suffering of Christ’s servants
for the cause of truth a reflection of the Master’s sufferings, and a
faith which enables the sufferer not only to be cheerful himself, but
to cheer others, form, indeed, a noble object of contemplation. In a
letter written to Olympias, just after his hardships and perils at
Cæsarea, he begs her to rejoice, as he declares he can himself rejoice,
in suffering as a pledge of future glory. He never had desisted, and
never would desist, from declaring that the only real calamity to a
man’s self was sin; all other evils were as dust and smoke. Spoliation
of goods was freedom; banishment was but a change of abode; death was
but the discharge of nature’s debt, which all must eventually pay. So
much has been at all times, and is still, uttered by Christian writers
and preachers about patience and joy in affliction, that we may be
disposed to pass over language of this kind sometimes as a hackneyed
commonplace; but it must be remembered that, in Chrysostom’s case, the
speaker was an actual sufferer. His words were not the sentimental
utterances of a rhetorical preacher addressing an admiring audience,
but convictions deliberately expressed by a persecuted sufferer, who
was really living by the principles which he was accustomed to preach.

The rapturous and lavish praise which in some of his letters he bestows
upon the virtues of Olympias would by a lady of piety in modern
times be distrusted as flattery, and distasteful as a dangerous
encouragement to self-righteousness and conceit; but the language of
ornate compliment, which would be offensive to Western taste, seems
natural to Orientals: and it may therefore be supposed that its effect
in elating the mind of the recipient is faint in proportion. Chrysostom
begins his second letter by recommending Olympias to divert her mind
from those calamities and sins, for which she was no way responsible,
by directing it to the final judgment. The awe with which she must
contemplate that scene, in which she, together with all others, is
individually concerned and interested, will expel the useless grief
which mourns over iniquity wrought by others. But he breaks off
suddenly from such a line of argument, as inapplicable to the case
of so angelic a being as Olympias. “To me, indeed, and those who,
like me, have been plunged beneath a sea of sins, such discourse is
necessary, for it excites and alarms; but you, who abound in goodness,
and who have already touched the very vault of Heaven, cannot even be
pricked by such language; wherefore, in addressing you, I will chant
another strain and strike another string.” He does indeed; he invites
her to count over her own perfections, and to dwell with complacent
satisfaction on the heavenly rewards which are surely in store for
her.... “It would fill a volume to relate the history of her patience,
tried in such a variety of ways from her youth. She had laid such
vigorous siege to her body, though naturally delicate and nurtured
in the lap of luxury, that it might truly be called dead; and these
austerities had raised for her such a swarm of maladies as defied
the skill of physicians, and involved her in continual suffering. To
speak, indeed, of patience and self-control, in reference to her fasts
and vigils, would be inaccurate, because those expressions implied a
conquest over oppugnant passions. But she had no desires to conquer:
they were not merely subdued but extinguished. It was as easy and
natural to her to fast as it was to others to eat, as natural to her
to pass the night in vigil as to others to sleep.” With an admiring
comment on her squalid and neglected attire he closes this singular
enumeration of her perfections, lest, as he expresses it, he should
lose himself in an illimitable sea if he attempted to wade further; his
object being, not to make an exhaustive catalogue of her virtues, but
only such as might be sufficient to lift her out of her present state
of depression.

It is worth making such extracts as these, because they enable us to
see how widely remote Chrysostom was from the mind and taste of our own
times in some points, although in others he seems so nearly congenial.
There is another vein of thought in this letter which is still more
alien. “If,” he says, “in addition to the rewards of her chastity,
her fasts, her vigils, her prayers, her boundless hospitality, she
wishes to enjoy the sight of her adversaries, those iniquitous and
blood-stained men undergoing punishment for their crimes, that pleasure
also shall be hers. Lazarus saw Dives tormented in flames. This you
will experience. For if he, who neglected but one man, suffered such
punishment, if it was expedient for the man who should offend one
little one to be hanged or cast into the sea, what penalty will be
exacted of men who have offended so large a part of the world, upset so
many churches, and surpassed the ferocity of barbarians and robbers?
You will see them fast bound, tormented in flames, gnashing their
teeth, overwhelmed with useless sorrow and vain remorse; and they, in
their turn, will behold you wearing a crown in the blessed mansions,
exulting with angels, reigning with Christ; and they will cry aloud
and groan, repenting of the contumely which they fastened upon thee,
supplicating, but in vain, thy pity and compassion.”[635]

To our ears of course such language is extraordinarily shocking; but it
is valuable as a warning, in estimating the character of Chrysostom,
not to judge him or any individual by words or deeds, which are not
so much the offspring of the man as of the age and circumstances in
which he lived. Chrysostom had exercised as well as taught meekness,
forbearance, and charity towards all men, enemies as well as friends;
but he lived when the minds of Christians had for generations been
inured to scenes of persecution, and to such a rigorous system and
barbarous execution of criminal law as are hardly conceivable by us.
Fierce opposition of party against party, violence and bloodshed put
down, if at all, by the stern hand of force, hardened public feeling,
and the individual, however amiable and gentle by nature, inevitably
becomes infected by the prevailing mode of thought; he must look
at things and judge of things more or less from the same point of
view as the generality of men amongst whom he lives. What would seem
revoltingly cruel to a humane man now, appeared to a man who lived some
hundreds of years ago, though perhaps equally humane by nature, and in
private life amiable, a merely natural and just retribution.

The letters of Chrysostom to those bishops[636] who remained loyal to
his cause are full of asseverations that his affection for them cannot
be diminished by separation or distance. He exhorts them to continue
their labours with unabated zeal, and carefully to abstain from all
communion with the adverse party. Small though their numbers were,
yet their fortitude under persecution would so much encourage others
that their conduct might be the salvation of the Church. Several of
his letters to laymen in Constantinople are models of wise Christian
counsel. He is never less than the pastor, while he is always the
friend. He writes to one Gemellus,[637] on his promotion to some high
magisterial office, that, “while others congratulated him merely on his
new honours, _he_ would rather dwell with thankfulness on the abundant
opportunities Gemellus would now possess of exercising wisdom and
gentleness on a large scale. He doubted not Gemellus would prove to
those who were attached to the vain glories of this earth, that the
true dignity of the magistrate consisted not in the robe or the girdle
of office, or in the voice of the herald, but in reforming what was
evil, and repairing what was falling to pieces, in punishing injustice,
and preventing the right from being oppressed by might. He knew the
boldness of Gemellus, his freedom of speech, his magnanimity, his
contempt for the things of this world, his mildness, his benevolence;
and he was persuaded that he would be as a haven to the shipwrecked, as
a staff to the fallen, a tower of defence to those who were oppressed
by tyranny.” Gemellus appears to have been on the point of receiving
baptism, and perhaps on that account to have been exposed to a rather
trying degree of persecution. Chrysostom begs him not to delay baptism
in the hope of receiving it from his hands, because the grace of the
sacrament would be equally effectual by whatever hands administered,
and his own joy would be none the less.[638]

So again, in his letter to Anthemius, who had recently been made
prefect and consul:—“Nothing has been really added to you; it is not
the prefect or the consul whom I love, but my most dear and gentle Lord
Anthemius, full of philosophy and understanding. I do not felicitate
thee because thou hast climbed to this throne, but because thou hast
gained a grander sphere wherein to exercise thy benevolence and

He was less distant from Antioch than Constantinople, and was cheered
by visits from not a few of his old friends in his native city, and
maintained a correspondence by letter with many more; but intercourse
of either kind was much impeded by the dangers and difficulties of the
roads, and at times by the severity of the climate.[640] The illegal
seizure of the see of Antioch by Porphyry, and the harsh treatment to
which the orthodox were subjected under his administration, caused them
to turn to Chrysostom, not only with sympathy as a fellow-sufferer, but
also for guidance, comfort, and some kind of episcopal superintendence.
Their presents to him were so numerous that he felt compelled
sometimes to decline them, or to request permission that they might be
transferred to the aid of the missionary work in Phœnicia.[641]

Much of his thought and correspondence was concerned in providing for
the welfare of the Church in Persia, Phœnicia, and among the Goths.
In his fourteenth letter to Olympias he begs her to use her best
endeavours to detach Maruthas, bishop of Martyropolis in Persia, from
the influence of the hostile party; “to lift him out of the slough”
is his expression, for he greatly needed his assistance on account of
affairs in Persia; and he was very anxious to know what Maruthas had
accomplished there, and whether he had received two letters recently
sent by himself. From this it would seem as if Maruthas, who had been
present at the Synod of the Oak (when he caused the fatal injury
to the foot of Cyrinus), had returned to Persia and again visited
Constantinople, and that Chrysostom had hopes of working in connexion
with him for the good of the Church in Persia.[642] In the same epistle
he expresses his sorrow at having heard, through some Gothic monks
with whom Serapion had sought shelter, that the Gothic bishop Unilas,
whom he had recently consecrated, was dead, after a short but active
career, and that the Gothic king had written to request that a new
bishop should be sent out. Chrysostom was fearful lest Atticus and
his party should appoint one; and he urges that everything should be
done to delay the appointment if possible till winter came, when the
season would prevent any one being sent till the following spring.
Meanwhile, Moduarius, the deacon who had brought the letter from the
Gothic prince, was to repair secretly and quietly to Cucusus, and there
confer with Chrysostom on this important matter, to avert if possible
the appointment of an improper person to so difficult a charge.

But of course the exile’s interest was pre-eminently centred on that
city of which he could not but consider himself still the chief pastor,
although deprived of his external authority over it. Banishment,
imprisonment, and intimidation had thinned the ranks of the orthodox;
and among the remaining pastors there were some whose neglect of duty,
the result of indolence or faint-heartedness, called forth severe
rebukes from their former chief. “He had heard with concern, and
was vexed that the information had not come direct from the clergy
themselves, that a priest, Salustius, had preached only five times
between the end of June and October, and that he and Theophilus,
another priest, rarely attended Divine service at all.”[643] To
Theophilus he writes a letter of mingled sorrow and reproof, expressing
a hope that the report may be incorrect, and begging him to refute it,
or to amend his conduct. He reminds him of the dreadful punishment
which was inflicted on the servant who buried the talent which he ought
to have used, and of the fearful responsibility of neglecting that most
beautiful flock, which, by the grace of God, was being strengthened in
goodness, though now agitated by so terrible a tempest.[644] Several of
his clergy and friends are upbraided with more or less of affectionate
expostulation for slackness in writing to him; others are praised
for their unshakable fortitude, patience, and zeal under affliction.
He had learned with much concern from Domitianus, to whom the care
of the widows and virgins of the Church was confided, that they were
reduced to extreme indigence, and he entreats his friend Valentinus
to sustain his well-known character for benevolence by relieving their

Peanius, a man of rank and position in Constantinople, is thanked and
praised for the unremitting zeal, yet tempered with moderation, with
which he had resisted the usurping party, had stood inflexible in
loyalty when others had fled, and had exerted himself for the welfare
of the Church, not only in Constantinople, but also in Phœnicia,
Palestine, and Cilicia. Chrysostom observes in the same letter that the
members of the Church in those regions had, with very few exceptions,
refused to recognise Arsacius.[646]

Those clergy and other persons who had been imprisoned on the charge
of incendiarism were released in the beginning of September;[647] and
Chrysostom, having heard of their liberation, was eagerly expecting a
visit from them when he wrote (about the end of October probably) to
Elpidius, bishop of Laodicea,[648] in Syria, a prelate venerable in
years and eminent in piety, who had as a priest accompanied Meletius
to the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381, and was his counterpart
in the moderation and gentleness of his disposition. Chrysostom wrote
to thank him for his zeal in endeavouring to retain the bishops,
not only in his own region, but in all parts of the world, in loyal
fidelity to the exiled Patriarch. Elpidius proved the sincerity of his
own attachment to his friend by suffering deposition from his see, and
imprisonment for three years in his own house. Alexander, the successor
of the usurper Porphyry in the see of Antioch, restored Elpidius to his
see about A.D. 414—a recognition of his merits which received the high
approbation of Pope Innocent.[649]

Thus by letters did the exile maintain his influence over all varieties
of people in distant and opposite quarters of the Empire. Exhortation
and reproof, consolation and encouragement, or the mere expression of
affectionate goodwill, are the main chords struck, as circumstances
require. But there is one tone which pervades all alike—the unshakable
Christian faith of the writer. His deep belief that all suffering was
sent for a remedial chastening purpose, and that, if resignedly borne,
it enhanced the glory of the reward reserved for those who should
suffer for righteousness’ sake; that sin is the only real evil, that
expatriation and persecution, and even death, since they touch only the
external and temporal, are to be regarded as mere shadows, cobwebs, and
dreams; that distance and material obstacles cannot impede the wings of
affection and prayer, and that the cause of right and truth, although
long depressed, will eventually triumph—these are convictions firmly
rooted, which he never tires of repeating, and on the strength of which
he lived cheerful and contented.

The wide range of his influence, and the nobility of his Christian
resignation and fortitude, maintained during his exile, have elicited
the admiration of a historian not lavish of his compliments to
Christian saints. “Every tongue,” says Gibbon, “repeated the praises of
his genius and virtue; and the respectful attention of the Christian
world was fixed on a desert spot among the mountains of Taurus.”[650]



Thus the autumn of A.D. 404 wore away. The time of the exile was
occupied, not unpleasantly, by sending and receiving letters, and his
spirits were cheered by occasional visits from friends. The destitute
in the neighbourhood of Cucusus were relieved by his alms; the mourners
comforted by his affectionate sympathy; some persons taken captive by
the Isaurians obtained a release through his intercession or ransom.
But the winter, always severe in that elevated region, set in this year
with unusual rigour: all communication with the outer world was cut off
by the impassable condition of the roads, and the cold told cruelly on
the delicate constitution of the poor exile. In a letter to Olympias,
written just on the return of spring A.D. 405, he draws a pitiable
picture of his winter sufferings. For days together he lay in bed; but,
in spite of being wrapped under a very pile of blankets, with a fire
constantly burning in his room, he could not keep out the cold. He
suffered from constant sleeplessness, headache, sickness and aversion
from all food; but, with the return of milder weather in spring, “he
was brought up again from the gates of death;” and he compares the
softness of the climate at that season to the amenity of the air of
Antioch. His spirits also were raised by the arrival of messengers from
Constantinople, bringing letters from Olympias and other friends.[651]

But the blessings of restoration to health and warm weather were
counterbalanced by the misery of constant disturbance from the Isaurian
bandits, who commenced their marauding campaigns as soon as the
break-up of winter made the country practicable for their operations.
They swarmed over the whole neighbourhood, and the roads which had been
impassable from snow were now impassable from robbers, who mingled much
merciless bloodshed with their plunder. When the full blaze also of
summer heat came, Chrysostom found it almost as injurious to his health
as the excessive cold; but he kept up his correspondence with his
friends with unabated assiduity.[652]

The mission in Phœnicia occupied a great deal of his attention
during this year. He had written, as already related, from Nice to
Constantius, the superintendent of the mission, exhorting him not to
allow the work to flag, owing to his own deposition and banishment,
but rather to carry it on with additional energy. The efforts of the
missionaries had begun to provoke a rather fierce opposition on the
part of the Pagans, and attempts were made to deprive them of the bare
necessaries of life. But Chrysostom’s confidence and zeal never failed
for a moment. The missionaries were to keep him informed of their
wants, for, through the liberality of his friends, he could supply
them with all that they required. He was ably seconded by Nicolaus,
a priest, who, though living at a distance, supplied the mission not
only with money but with men. Gerontius, a presbyter whom Chrysostom
had persuaded to abandon a solitary ascetic way of life for missionary
work, was anxious to visit Cucusus on his way to Phœnicia; but
Chrysostom begs him not to delay, as the work was urgent and winter was
approaching. He represents the greater advantages of the active life
Gerontius was now embracing. There would be nothing to prevent him
observing his fasts, vigils, and other ascetic practices, as before,
for the good of his own soul, and at the same time, by his missionary
labours, he would reap the reward of those who save the souls of

The Pagan resistance assumed more alarming proportions as time went
on. A letter written to the missionaries seems to imply, by its tone
of mingled warning and exhortation, that their courage was beginning
to fail. Chrysostom had recourse to his favourite comparisons of the
pilot and the physician, who exert twofold energy as the violence of
the storm and the disease increase. Rufinus, a presbyter, seems to
have been sent into Phœnicia as a kind of special agent to restore
peace, and is stimulated to his work by an animated letter. “I hear
that the rage of the Greeks in Phœnicia has burst forth again, that
several monks have been wounded, and some even killed. Wherefore I
urge you the more earnestly to set out upon your journey with great
speed, and take up your position.”... “If you saw a house in a blaze
you would not retreat, but advance upon it as quickly as possible, so
as to anticipate the flames. When all is tranquillity it is within the
compass of almost any one to make converts, but when Satan is raging
and the devils are in arms, then, to make a gallant stand and rescue
those who are falling into the hands of the enemy, is the work of a
noble, vigilant spirit, a work which befits an alert and lofty mind
like yours, an apostolic achievement worthy of crowns innumerable and
rewards which defy description.” He entreats Rufinus to write to him
from every halting-place on his journey, and to keep him constantly
informed of all which might take place after his arrival. He would
send, if necessary, ten thousand times to Constantinople, in order to
provide Rufinus with all things necessary to facilitate his journey
and procure his ultimate success. The letter closes with a passage
which remarkably illustrates the importance attached to reliques.
“With regard to the reliques of the holy martyrs, feel no anxiety,
for I immediately despatched the most religious presbyter, my Lord
Terentius, to my Lord Oneius, the most religious Bishop of Arabissus,
who possesses many reliques indisputably genuine, which in a few days
we will forward to you into Phœnicia.”... “Use diligence to get the
churches which are yet unroofed completed before the winter.”[654]

There is no further record of the future progress or ultimate issue of
this mission, in which the heart of the exile was so deeply wrapped up.
Theodoret (v. 29) merely says that through the energy of Chrysostom
the extirpation of idolatry in Phœnicia, and the destruction of
Pagan temples, were successfully carried on. But there are instances
of the existence of Paganism mentioned in the middle of the fifth
century;[655] and it is only too certain that, under the feeble and
degenerate successors of Chrysostom, the work would not receive any
powerful impulse. Partly from the absence of a great central organising
force like the Papacy, partly from the irregular and unpractical
temperament of the Eastern nature, missionary enterprises have not
proceeded in great number from the Eastern Church. The preaching of
Ulphilas to the Goths, the missions organised by Chrysostom among the
Goths and in Phœnicia, and the missionary labours of the Nestorians in
Asia, are but the rare exceptions which prove the rule.

The misery and desolation caused in the neighbourhood of Cucusus by
the Isaurians seem to have culminated in the winter of A.D. 405-406
and the ensuing spring. The inhabitants of the villages fled from
their homes at the approach of these formidable robbers, and sought a
precarious refuge in woods and caves. Many perished from cold in these
wild retreats, and many more at the hands of the ruffian robbers, who
showed no mercy even to the aged, the women and children. Chrysostom
himself was, like others, frequently moving from place to place, now
in this village, now in that, sometimes in the woods or secluded
places. The only spot in which the poor harassed people seem to have
found tolerable security was in the strong fortress of Arabissus, a
neighbouring town. Yet even here they ran considerable risks. A body of
300 Isaurians attacked and very nearly captured it in the middle of the
night; and the discomfort was extreme at all times, for the castle was
crowded like a prison; the difficulty of obtaining food was often very
great, and the difficulty of corresponding with friends still greater.
Privation, anxiety, and frequent hurried movements in cold weather
brought severe illness on Chrysostom again. Physicians attended him
with great kindness, but the impossibility of procuring comforts and
wholesome food rendered their services almost nugatory. His greatest
grief, however, seems to have been the difficulty of maintaining
regular correspondence with friends. The bearer of a letter from
Olympias actually fell into the hands of the robbers, but was released;
in consequence of which Chrysostom entreats her not to send any more
special messengers, but only to avail herself of such persons as were
obliged by business to pass through his place of exile. He would not
add to his present sufferings the distress of knowing that any life had
been lost on his account.[656]

To the year A.D. 406 belong those letters of affectionate gratitude,
written to the bishops of the West, for their zeal in supporting his
cause, especially those who had undertaken a long and perilous voyage
to Constantinople to intercede in his behalf. These letters were sent
by the hands of Evethius, the presbyter, who had for some time been his
companion in exile. One letter may be quoted as an example: “I had
already been amazed at your zeal, on behalf of the reformation of the
Church, displayed for a long time; but most of all am I now astonished
at your great earnestness, in having undertaken so long a journey by
sea, full of labour and toil, on behalf of the interests of the Church.
I have longed continually to write to you, and offer you the salutation
due to your piety; but since that is not possible, living as I now am
in a region almost inaccessible, I take advantage of a most honourable
and reverend presbyter to send you greeting, and to beseech you to
persevere to the end in harmony with such a noble beginning. For ye
know how great will be the reward of your patience, how vast the return
from a benevolent God to those who labour for the common peace, and
undergo so great a conflict.”[657]

To Chromatius, bishop of Aquileia, he writes thus: “The loud-voiced
trumpet of your warm and genuine affection has sounded forth even as
far as to me, a clear and far-reaching blast indeed, extending to the
very extremities of the world. Distant as we are, we know, not less
than those present with thee, thy exceeding and burning love; wherefore
we long extremely to enjoy a meeting with thee face to face. But, since
the wilderness in which we are imprisoned precludes this, we fulfil
our desire, as well as we can, by writing to you through our most
honourable and reverend presbyter, expressing our great gratitude for
the zeal which you have for so long a time displayed in our behalf;
and we beg you, when he returns, or by the hands of chance messengers
who may visit this desolate spot, to send tidings of your health, for
you know how much pleasure it will afford us to hear frequently of the
welfare of those who are so warmly disposed towards us.”[658]

The letter written by Chrysostom in A.D. 406 to Innocent is full of
grateful acknowledgments for all the efforts which he had made, and
was still making, on his behalf. “Though separated by so vast a length
of journey, yet are we near your Holiness, beholding with the eye of
the soul your courage, your genuine, inflexible firmness, and we derive
constant and abiding consolation from you. For the higher the waves
are lifted up, the more numerous the rocks and reefs, the more does
your untiring vigilance increase.... This is now the third year of my
exile, spent in the midst of famine, pestilence, continual sieges, an
indescribable wilderness, and the pillage of the Isaurians. In the
midst of these distresses and dangers, your constant and firm affection
is no ordinary solace to me.”[659]

There is a letter also addressed to Aurelius,[660] bishop of Carthage,
thanking him for bold and persevering intercession in his behalf.
The Church of Africa appears to have adhered to what was at first
the resolution of the Roman Church, to maintain communion with
both Chrysostom and Theophilus. St. Augustine has bestowed a high
eulogium on Chrysostom,[661] and an African council, in A.D. 407,
passed a resolution to address a letter to Innocent, praying that
the intercourse between the Churches of Rome and Alexandria might be

The health of the exile appears to have suffered less than usual, in
the winter of A.D. 406-7, from the effects of the cold. By carefully
remaining in the house, and for the most part in bed, wrapped up in
blankets in an apartment where a fire was kept constantly burning, and
by use of a medicine sent him by a lady, his attacks of headache and
of sickness were averted or alleviated. He had become inured to the
want of exercise, the deprivation of the bath, and the smokiness of
the room; and even the natives were astonished at the firmness with
which so feeble and “spidery” (ἀραχνώδης) a frame endured the severity
of the climate. He began to feel a persuasion that God would not have
preserved him so miraculously through such various perils, if it were
not His purpose to restore him to his former position, that he might
accomplish some work for the Church.[662]

But the chief work which he was destined to accomplish was to exhibit
to the close of his life, now rapidly approaching, a noble spectacle
of Christian fortitude and patience, of one continuing to the last to
hope in God, to put his trust in God, and still to give Him thanks.
The malicious envy of his enemies was augmented by the admiration and
affection which pursued their victim from all parts of Christendom,
and the correspondence which was maintained with him even in the
mountain fortress which they had selected for his prison. The only
remedy was to remove him yet further, to a more remote and still more
inaccessible region. They worked upon the Emperor and the Court, whose
jealousy had been already excited by the interference of the West;
and, in the middle of June, A.D. 407, an order was obtained by them
for the removal of the exile to Pityus, on the eastern coast of the
Euxine, near the very frontier of the Empire, in the most desolate
country, inhabited by savage, barbarous people. The two prætorian
soldiers charged with conveying him thither were instructed to push on
the journey with the most inexorable haste, and encouraged to hope for
promotion should their prisoner die on the road. One of the two had
some sparks of humanity, and furtively showed some little kindness to
the sufferer; but the other followed out the cruel directions given him
with merciless fidelity. Chrysostom had, some time ago, expressed his
conviction that he could not survive the fatigue of another long and
laborious journey, yet for three months his fragile frame endured the
strain till he reached Comana in Pontus. A former bishop of that place,
Basiliscus, had suffered martyrdom in the persecution of Maximinus,
together with Lucian of Antioch. Chrysostom was lodged in the precincts
of the church erected in honour of Basiliscus, above five miles outside
the town. Here, so runs the story, the martyred bishop appeared to
him in the night, stood beside him, and said, “Be of good cheer, for
by to-morrow we shall be together.” A similar vision was vouchsafed
to one of the presbyters of the church. He was bidden “to prepare a
place for our brother John.” In the morning, Chrysostom entreated his
guards to allow him to stay where he was till eleven o’clock; but they
were inflexible, and the weary march was resumed. When, however, they
had proceeded about thirty stadia, he became so ill that they were
compelled to return to the martyry. Here he asked for white garments,
and having been clothed in them, he distributed his own raiment among
the clergy who were present. The Eucharist was administered to him, he
spoke a few farewell words to the ecclesiastics who stood around him,
and with the words “Glory be to God for all things, Amen,” on his lips,
the weary exile breathed his last.

  “Rest comes at length; though life be long and dreary,
    The day must dawn, and darksome night be past;
  All journeys end in welcomes to the weary,
    And heaven, the heart’s true home, will come at last.”

The promise of Basiliscus was literally fulfilled—he was buried in the
same grave with the martyr, in the presence of a large concourse of
monks and nuns.[663]

The enemies of Chrysostom thus succeeded in wreaking their vengeance
to the full upon the person of their victim—“Non missura cutem, nisi
plena cruoris hirudo;” but they were powerless to obliterate his
memory. A sense of the cruelty and injustice with which he had been
treated grew throughout Christendom, and he was more honoured and
admired after his death than he had been during his life. His followers
in Constantinople, under the appellation of Johnites, persisted in
refusing to hold any communion with Atticus; and in the course of
ten years, Atticus himself was constrained, by the solicitations of
the Court and people, by the example of other prelates, especially
Alexander of Antioch, and by a natural desire to maintain communion
with the Western Church, to admit the name of Chrysostom into the
diptychs of the Church of Constantinople. Cyril, the nephew and
successor of Theophilus, who inherited in too many points his uncle’s
spirit as well as his see, yielded a more tardy and reluctant consent
to the recognition of his uncle’s foe.[664]

But a still higher honour was yet to be paid to his memory by the
Church from which he had been so violently expelled. In A.D. 434,
Proclus, formerly a disciple of Chrysostom, was elevated to the see of
Constantinople. He conceived that the only effectual means of doing
justice to the injured saint, and reconciling the Johnites to the
Church, would be to transport his remains to the city. The consent
of the Emperor Theodosius II. was obtained. On January 27,[665] A.D.
438, the reliques of the banished Archbishop were brought to the
shores of the Bosporus. As once before in his lifetime, to greet him
on his return from exile, so now, and in still greater numbers, the
people, bearing torches, crowded the waters of the strait with their
boats to welcome the return of all which remained of their beloved and
much-wronged spiritual father. The young Emperor, stooping down, laid
his face on the reliquary, and implored forgiveness of the injuries
which his parents had inflicted on the saint whose ashes it contained.
That reliquary was then deposited near the altar of the Church of the
Apostles.[666] It is the sad story, so often repeated in history, of
goodness and greatness, unrecognised, slighted, injured, cut short in
a career of usefulness by one generation, abundantly, but too late,
acknowledged in the next; when posterity, paying to the memory and the
tomb the honours which should have been bestowed on the living man, can
only utter the remorseful prayer—

  “His saltem accumulem donis, et fungar inani



The main characteristics of Chrysostom as a theologian and interpreter
of Scripture, as well as a pastor and preacher, have, it is hoped, been
already indicated in the course of the preceding narrative; but it may
be desirable to supplement, by a fuller and more methodical survey,
notices which were necessarily sometimes brief and incidental in the
biographical chapters.[667]

Some evidence, therefore, of his theological teaching and method of
interpretation will first of all be collected from his writings,
and arranged under different heads. Two difficulties in the way of
executing this task faithfully should be borne in mind: first, the
voluminous bulk of Chrysostom’s works (as Suidas observed, that it
belonged to God rather than man to know them all), which renders a
successful search for the selection of what are really the most
telling passages in illustration of each point far from easy;
secondly, that Chrysostom, being a preacher rather than a writer, was
of course liable to slip into inexact or exaggerated language, under
the influence of excitement, or a desire to make an impression on the
feelings of his hearers. An attentive perusal, however, of his writings
leads the reader to the conclusion that he was very seldom carried
away by the impulse of the moment into merely vague or rhetorical
expressions, and that he was especially preserved from this failing by
his habit of combining the expository with the practical and hortatory
line of preaching. His discourses are careful commentaries as well as
practical addresses. Week after week it was his custom to go through
some book of Holy Scripture, verse by verse, clause by clause, almost
word by word; endeavouring with all diligence and patience to ascertain
the exact meaning of the passage before him, to place it clearly before
his audience, and to base his practical exhortation upon it.

The remark has been so often repeated, as to have become almost a
truism, that the theology of the East is distinguished from the
theology of the West by its more speculative, metaphysical character.
It deals more especially with the most profound and abstract
mysteries—the being and nature of the Godhead, of angels, of the whole
spiritual realm. It might, therefore, occasion some surprise to find
the homilies of Chrysostom marked by such an eminently practical tone.
But the apparent contradiction is easily explained. It is precisely
because Greek philosophy and theology were chiefly concerned with the
most abstract questions, that the Greek preacher, speaking on matters
not abstract, but practical, relating to moral conduct, is especially
free in his language from philosophical or technical terms. On the
other hand, in the Western Church exactly the reverse occurs. The
best intellectual powers of the Roman having been mainly exercised on
jurisprudence, the mind of Roman theologians naturally turned most
powerfully towards practical questions which had most affinity to that
science with which they were chiefly conversant—such as the relation
of man to God, the nature of sin, the means of discharging the debt
owed by man, the problem of the free-will of man, and providence of
God. Western theology is coloured by the language of Roman law, as
Eastern theology is coloured by the language of Greek philosophy.
“Merit,” “satisfaction,” “decrees,” “forensic justification,” “imputed
righteousness,” are terms which do not occur in the writings of the
Greek theologian, because they are the expressions of ideas in which
he felt no interest. They are the offspring of the Roman mind, in
which legal ideas were dominant. Hence the Western theologian is most
technical and scientific in the region of practical questions; the
Greek, on the other hand, is more entirely free from the influence of
philosophy in that region than in any other.

In accordance with this distinction, we find that Chrysostom, in
treating of those practical questions with which, as a preacher and
pastor, he was mainly concerned—the nature and the work of Jesus
Christ, providence, grace, the nature of man, sin, faith, repentance,
good works, and the like—casts his thoughts into the most free,
natural, untechnical, and therefore forcible language possible.

To consider first of all his exposition of man’s nature. The majority
of the Oriental fathers made a triple division, into body, soul, and
spirit—the soul (ψυχή) being equivalent to the animal life, the spirit
(πνεῦμα or ψυχὴ λογική) to the reason. Chrysostom makes a twofold
division only, into body and soul, and reserves the word “spirit” to
designate the Holy Spirit.[668] Man, when first created, came like
a pure golden statue fresh out of the artist’s hands, destined, if
he had not fallen, to enjoy a yet higher and nobler dignity than he
then possessed.[669] His being made “in the image of God” Chrysostom
interprets to signify that dominance over the lower animals which God
Himself exercises over the whole creation, and the peculiar superiority
of man’s nature to theirs consists in his reasoning power, as well as
in his endowment with the gift of immortality.[670] Man fell through
his own weakness and indolent negligence (ῥᾳθυμία), and then became
deprived of that immortality and divine wisdom with which he had been
previously gifted; but his nature was not essentially _changed_, it
was only weakened.[671] Evil is not an integral part of man; it is not
an inherent substantial force (δύναμις ἐνυπόστατος):[672] it is the
moral purpose (προαίρεσις) which is perverted when men sin. If evil was
a part of our nature, it would be no more reprehensible than natural
appetites and affections. If man’s will was not unfettered, there would
be no merit in goodness and no blame in evil. There is no constraint
either to holiness or to sin; neither does God compel to the one, nor
do the fleshly appetites compel to the other.[673] The body was not,
as the Manichæans erroneously maintained, the seat of sin; it was the
creation of God equally with the soul; the whole burden, therefore, of
responsibility in sin must be thrown on the “moral purpose.” Here was
the root of all evil; the conception of necessity and immutability is
bound up with the idea of nature. We do not try to alter that which is
by nature (φύσει): sin therefore is not by nature, because by means of
education, laws, and punishments we do seek to alter that.[674] Sin
is through the moral purpose which is susceptible of change, and till
the moral purpose has come into activity sin cannot properly be said
to exist: infants, therefore, and very young children, are free from
sin.[675] Our first parents fell through moral negligence (ῥᾳθυμία);
and this is the principal cause of sin now. They marked out a path
which has been trodden ever since; they yielded to appetite, and the
force of the will has been weakened thereby in all their posterity, who
have become subject to the punishment of death; so that though sin is
not a part of man’s nature, yet his nature is readily inclined to evil
(ὀξυῤῥεπὴς πρὸς κακίαν): but this tendency will be controlled by the
moral purpose if that is in a healthy condition.[676]

Chrysostom would thus readily allow the expressions “hereditary
tendency to sin,” “hereditary liability to the punishment of death,”
but he shrinks from the expression “hereditary sin.” His anxiety to
insist on the complete freedom of the human will was very natural
in the earnest Christian preacher of holiness, who lived in an age
when men were frequently encountered who, in the midst of wickedness,
complained that they were abandoned to the dominion of devils or to the
irresistible course of fate. They transferred all guilt from themselves
to the powers of evil, all responsibility to the Creator Himself,
who had withdrawn from them, as they maintained, the protection of
His good providence. To counteract the disastrous effects of such
philosophy, which surrendered the will to the current of the passions,
like an unballasted ship cast adrift before the storm, it was indeed
necessary to maintain very resolutely and boldly the essential freedom
of the will, to insist on man’s moral responsibility, and the duty
of vigilant, strenuous exertion. Chrysostom frequently exposes the
absurdity as well as the moral evil of a doctrine of necessity. If
human actions are necessary and preordained results of circumstances,
then teaching and government become mere pieces of acting, destitute
of any practical influence; they are also unjust, since you have no
right to punish a person who has acted under compulsion. Such a theory
ought, also, logically to paralyse human industry. If a plentiful
harvest is predetermined by the decrees of fate, you may spare yourself
the trouble of ploughing, sowing, and other laborious operations; or,
if Clotho has turned her distaff in the other direction, all your
exertions will fail to produce an abundant crop. Such a doctrine is
repugnant to our natural sense, and contradicts our own consciousness
and inward experience. We feel that we are free, and all human action
proceeds on the principle of supposing man to be free. We teach and we
punish. The plea of necessity would be rejected in a court of law as
an impudent and futile excuse for crime. Such a theory is utterly at
variance also with God’s mode of addressing man, which always implies
freedom of volition; as, for instance, “If _ye will_ hearken unto me,
ye shall eat the fat of the land; but if _ye will not_ hearken, the
sword shall devour you.”[677]

Profoundly convinced, therefore, of a universal tendency to sin
on the one hand, but of an essential freedom of the will on the
other, Chrysostom sounds alternately the note of warning and of
encouragement—warning against that weakness, indolence, languor of
the moral purpose which occasions a fall; encouragement to the full
use of those powers with which all men are gifted, and to avoid that
despondency which will prevent a man from rising again when he has
fallen. St. Paul repented, and, not despairing, became equal to angels;
Judas repenting, but despairing, was hurried into self-inflicted death.
Despair was the devil’s most powerful instrument for working the
destruction of man.[678] Chrysostom therefore earnestly combated any
view of Christian life which daunted and discouraged man’s efforts, by
winding them too high, or placing before them an unattainable standard.
Men sometimes said we cannot be like St. Peter and St. Paul, because
we are not gifted with their miraculous power. But, he replies, you
may emulate their Christian graces: these are within the reach of all,
and these are, by our Lord’s own declaration, the most important. “_By
this_ shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one
to another;” the moral works of the Apostles, works of love, mercy, and
faith, were far more instrumental in the conversion of the world than
their merely miraculous powers.[679]

Urgently, however, as Chrysostom, in his desire to stimulate exertion
and strengthen the moral life, insists on the absolute freedom of
the will, he maintains no less clearly the insufficiency of man’s
nature to accomplish good without the Divine assistance. No one has
described in more forcible language the powerful hold of sin upon human
nature. Sin is like a terrible pit, containing fierce monsters, and
full of darkness.[680] It is more terrible than a demon,[681] it is a
great demon;[682] it is like fire; when once it has got a hold on the
thoughts of the heart, if it is not quenched it spreads further and
further, and becomes increasingly difficult to subdue;[683] it is a
heavy burden, more oppressive than lead.[684] Christ saw us lying cast
away upon the ground, perishing under the tyranny of sin, and He took
compassion on us.[685] In the infant weakness and liability to sin are
inherent, though not sin itself. The moral nature of the infant is like
a plant, which will grow healthily by a process of natural development,
unless exposed to injurious influences; but it requires the protection
of grace, “therefore we baptize infants to impart holiness and
goodness, as well as to establish a relationship with God.” This
passage is quoted by St. Augustine in his earnest vindication of
Chrysostom from Pelagianism.[686] But the passages on which Augustine
mainly depends to prove Chrysostom’s adherence to the tenet of original
sin are in his exposition of Romans v. 12-14:—“Death reigned from Adam
to Moses. How reigned? In likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is
a figure of One to come. How a figure? Because, as he became a cause
of death to those who were born from him, although they had not eaten
of the tree, even so Christ has become to His posterity the procurer
of righteousness, though they have not done righteousness, which He
has bestowed upon us all through His cross.” Augustine quotes also his
observation on Christ’s tears over the grave of Lazarus:—“He wept to
think that men, who were capable of immortality, had been made mortal
by the devil;” and his remarks on Genesis i. 28, about the subjection
of the lower animals to man: “that man’s present dread of wild beasts
was entirely owing to the Fall, and had not existed previous to that:
it was inherited by all Adam’s posterity, because they inherited his
degradation through the Fall.” All these passages, however, do not
amount to more than the doctrine of a universally inherited tendency
to sin, and therefore liability to its punishment, death. In his
interpretation of the passage, “the free gift is of many offences unto
justification,” this last word is plainly taken by him in the sense of
making man righteous, not accounting him as such.[687]

His conception of the relation between the will and power of God on
the one hand, and man’s freedom on the other, appears to be this:—All
men, without exception, are through Christ called to salvation;
predestination means no more than God’s original design, conceived
prior to the Fall, of bringing all men to salvation. So, after the
Fall, His redemptive plan or purpose embraces all men; but, on the
other hand, it constrains no one. According to His absolute will all
men are to be saved; but the accomplishment of His purpose is limited
by the freedom of choice which He has Himself bestowed on man, whereby
man may either accept the proffered favour and be eternally blessed, or
reject it and be eternally condemned. God’s election of those who are
called is not compulsory, but persuasive;[688] hence, many of those who
have been called perish through their rejection of grace: they, and not
God, are the authors of their own condemnation. God knows beforehand
what each man will be, good or bad; but He does not constrain him to be
one or the other.[689] The illustration of the potter in Romans ix. 20
must not be pressed too closely; St. Paul’s object simply is to enforce
the duty of unconditional obedience. A vessel of wrath is one who
obdurately resists God’s grace; he was never _intended_ by God to be a
vessel of wrath. “The vessels of mercy are said to have been prepared
afore by God unto glory,” but the vessels of wrath to be fitted (not by
God—He is not mentioned—but by sin) unto destruction.[690] So again,
he acutely observes that, in the account of the final judgment (St.
Matt. xxv.), the destiny of the _good_ only is referred to God. “Come,
ye blessed _of my Father_, inherit the kingdom prepared _for you_;”
but, “Depart, ye cursed” (not “of my Father”), “into everlasting fire,
prepared” (not for you, but) “for the devil and his angels.”

On St. John vi. 44, he remarks, it is perfectly true that only they
who are drawn and taught by the Father can come to Christ; but away
with the paltry pretence that those who are not thus drawn and taught
are emancipated from blame; for this very thing, the being led and
instructed, depends on their own moral choice. Two factors, therefore,
Divine grace which presents, and human will which appropriates, are
co-efficients in the work of man’s salvation; God’s love and man’s
faith must work hand in hand. God provides opportunities, encourages
by promises, arouses by calls; and the moment these are responded to,
the moment man begins to will and to do what is right, he is abundantly
assisted by grace. But Chrysostom recognises nothing approaching
the doctrine of final perseverance. St. Paul might have relapsed,
Judas might have been saved (De Laud. Ap. Pauli, Hom. ii. 4). In his
commentary on Phil. ii. 12-13, “It is God which worketh in us both to
will and to do of his good pleasure,” the spontaneity of man’s will
is carefully maintained. It may be said, if God works the will in us,
why does the apostle exhort us to work? for if God wrought the wish,
it is vain to speak of obedience; the whole work is God’s from the
beginning. No! Chrysostom says, what St. Paul means is, that if your
will works, God will augment your will, and quicken it into activity
and zeal. Hast thou given alms? you are the more prompted to give;
hast thou abstained from giving? negligence will increase upon you.
The histories of Abraham, Job, Elijah, St. Paul, and other saints,
are frequently cited to prove his central principle, that God in the
moral and spiritual sense helps those only who help themselves. “When
He, who knows the secrets of our hearts, sees us eagerly prepare for
the contest of virtue, He instantly supplies us with His assistance,
lightening our labours, and strengthening the weakness of our nature.
In the Olympian contests the trainer stands by as a spectator merely,
awaiting the issue, and unable to contribute anything to the efforts of
the contender; whereas our Master accompanies us, extends His hand to
us, all but subdues our antagonist, arranges everything to enable us to
prevail, that He may place the amaranthine wreath upon our brows.”[691]
God does not anticipate (φθάνει) man’s own volitions (βουλήσεις),
but when these are once bent in the right direction, God’s grace
powerfully promotes them; and without this divine co-operation holiness
is unattainable.[692] But as, according to Chrysostom’s conceptions,
the first movement towards good moral practice comes from the man
himself, he often speaks of a man’s salvation depending on his own
moral choice. He is not, therefore, in harmony with the mind of our
Church as expressed in the Article, that “we have no power to do
good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God
_preventing_ us, that we may have a good will;” but his language
thoroughly concurs with the subsequent clause, “and working with us
when we have that good will.” In the technical language of theology, he
recognises assisting, but not prevenient, grace.

It has been well remarked by Mr. Alexander Knox (“Remains,” vol. iii.
79), that “the advocates for efficient grace have been too generally
antiperfectionists, and the perfectionists, on the other hand, too
little aware that we are not sufficient so much as to think anything
as of ourselves, but that it is God which worketh in us both to will
and to do of His good pleasure.” The perfect conception of the true
Christian standard of character could only be found, he thought, in a
union of the systems of St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine. It must not
be imagined, however, that Chrysostom regarded Divine grace as merely
accessory or subsidiary to man’s own will and purpose. He fails not to
represent it as indispensable to every human soul, however powerfully
inclined of itself to good. The human will, weakened and depraved by
evil, is not for a moment to rank as co-ordinate in its action with
the work of the Holy Spirit: the real efficient force in the work of
sanctification is the Holy Spirit. The beginnings, indeed (ἀρχαί), are
our own, and we must contribute what we can, small and cheap though it
be, because, unless we do our part, we shall not obtain the Divine
assistance; but though the initiatory step is ours, the accomplishment
of the work is altogether God’s, and, since the major part is His, we
commonly say that the whole is His.[693]

He invariably speaks of the Old Dispensation as a period when Divine
grace was given in less measure than under the Gospel, because then sin
had not been blotted out, nor death vanquished. The achievements of
holy men like Abraham and Job in this period were therefore deserving
of peculiar praise, and their faults, on the other hand, were entitled
to more indulgent judgment, because they laboured under disadvantages.
When the Lamb which taketh away the sins of the world had been slain,
and the reconciliation between man and God had been effected, then
spiritual gifts of a higher order were imparted as a sign and a pledge
that the old hostility had ceased.[694]

Turning now to theology, strictly so called, to the being and nature
of the Godhead, we find comparatively little said by Chrysostom,
except incidentally, on a subject more congenial to the theologian
and student than to the earnest, practical preacher. In opposition to
the rationalistic doctrine of the Arians, who affected to comprehend
the Divine Nature, he strenuously maintained, as we have seen,[695]
its inscrutability, and denounced any curious investigation of it as
at once foolish and profane. God has condescended to appear to us in
a form which is intelligible, and it is presumption to attempt to
penetrate beyond the limits which He has placed to a knowledge of
Himself. Chrysostom takes the dogma of the one substance (ὁμοουσία),
established at Nice, as the basis of his position against the Arians,
and seeks to prove it, not by speculative argument, after the manner of
the Alexandrian school, but by reference to Holy Scripture. He uses the
word “substance” (οὐσία) to designate the essential nature and “person”
(ὑπόστασις), the personality of the Godhead, and points out that words
which relate to the οὐσία, as Lord and God, are applied to all the
Persons; whereas the other terms—Father, Son, Holy Spirit—indicating
distinction of personality, are each applied to one Person only in the
Godhead. Yet the Persons are not related to the substance as parts
to the whole: God the Son is to God the Father as a beam of the sun,
inseparable from Him, identical with Him in substance, yet retaining
His own personality.[696] He is equally careful to guard the divinity
of Christ against the rationalising school of Paul of Samosata, and the
distinctness of His personality as against the Sabellians. St. Paul,
he observes, does not dwell too much upon the abasement of Christ,
lest Paul of Samosata should take advantage; neither does he dwell
exclusively upon the exaltation, lest Sabellius should spring upon

The equal divinity and distinct personality of the Holy Ghost are no
less clearly and forcibly demonstrated by a collection and comparison
of passages. St. Paul, for instance, in 1 Cor. xii. 6, speaks of God as
“working all in all;” in verse 11 of the same chapter, he uses the same
language of the Holy Spirit. Into any metaphysical, abstract discussion
of the nature of the Godhead Chrysostom does not enter. He simply
endeavours to guard the faith of the Church by a careful exposition of
Holy Scripture, on which that faith was based, and by an exposure of
the one-sided, or perverted, interpretations on which the current forms
of heresy depended.

The union of the two natures in the person of our blessed Lord was, as
is well known, a subject of constant speculation and of prolific error
in the first five centuries. Here, again, the good sense of Chrysostom,
united to his careful study of Holy Scripture, enabled him to hold
the balance between two divergent methods—one which attended too
exclusively to the humanitarian point of view, the other which brought
out the divinity, but at the expense of the manhood. He earnestly
maintains the veritable assumption of humanity by the Word. Our nature
could not have been elevated to the divine if the Saviour had not
_really_ partaken of it; neither could He have brought help to our race
if He had appeared in the unveiled glory of His Godhead, for sun and
moon, earth and sea, and even man himself, would have perished at the
brightness of His presence. Therefore He veiled his Godhead in flesh,
and came not as the Lord in outward semblance, but in lowliness and
abasement.[698] And this very condescension enhanced His dignity and
extended His dominion: before the Incarnation He was adored by angels
only, but afterwards by the whole race of redeemed man.[699] He assumed
our nature, even in its liability to death, but not as contaminated
by sin.[700] There were in Him three elements—body and soul making up
the human nature, and the Logos or Word making up the divine. These
two natures were _united_ but not _fused_. “We, indeed, are body and
soul, but He is God and soul and body; remaining what He was, He took
that which He was not, and having become flesh, He remained God, being
the Word. The one He became He assumed; the other He was. Let us not
then confound, neither let us divide; one God, one Christ the Son of
God; and when I say one, I speak of union, not fusion” (ἕνωσιν λέγω
οὐ σύγχυσιν).[701] Jesus Christ was subject to death, susceptible of
pain and all those emotions and sensations which belong to the human
body, otherwise His would not have been a real body, but the weakness
pertaining to human nature was entirely overruled by the constant
operation of the Logos. If He is said to have been lowered or exalted,
this was only as man, since the Godhead was incapable of either, being
absolutely perfect. When the Holy Ghost is said to have descended
upon Him at His baptism, this must be considered to refer to His human
nature only; the manhood, not the Godhead, is anointed. Or when we read
that He walked not in Judæa, because the Jews sought to kill Him, and
then, just afterwards, that He passed through the midst of His enemies
unscathed, we have a direct manifestation, in close correspondence, of
the Godhead and the manhood.[702]

In speaking of the redemptive work of our blessed Lord, Chrysostom’s
language is too rapturously eloquent to be very precise. There are
in him several traces of the idea which began with Irenæus, and was
developed by Origen, that the devil through the Fall acquired an actual
right over man, and that a kind of pious fraud was practised upon him
to deprive him of this right through the Incarnation and death of
Jesus. By the noiseless, unostentatious manner in which our Saviour
assumed humanity, veiling His Godhead under it, He, as it were, stole
unawares upon the devil, who was not fully conscious of the majesty
and might of his adversary. The devil assaulted Christ as if Christ
had been merely man, and he was disappointed in his expectation. He
was vanquished by his own weapons, his tyranny was destroyed by means
of those very things which were his strength; the curse of sin and of
death were his most trusted pieces: Christ submitted Himself to be
bruised by them, and yet crushed them by His submission.[703]

On the other hand, we find also in Chrysostom the customary conception
of a debt discharged, a ransom paid, a sacrifice offered once for all.
“Adam sinned and died; Christ sinned not and yet died. Wherefore? that
he who sinned and died might be able, through Him who died but sinned
not, to throw off the grasp of death. This is what takes place also in
money transactions. Often some one who is a debtor, not being able to
pay, is detained in bonds; another, who owes nothing but is able to lay
down the sum, pays it and releases the responsible person. Thus has it
been in the case of man. Man was the debtor, was detained by the devil,
and could not pay; Christ owed nothing, nor was He holden by the devil,
but He was able to pay the debt. He came and He paid down death on
behalf of him who was detained in bondage.[704]

From this point of view the person to whom the debt is due and is
discharged is the devil; from another, the satisfaction is regarded
as due to God, owing to the violation of man’s obedience, and is paid
to Him through the sacrifice of a sinless life. “It was right that
all men should fulfil the righteousness of God; but, since no one did
this, Christ came and completely fulfilled it.”[705] He was Himself
both the sacrificer and the victim; the cross being the altar. He
suffered outside the city that the prophecy, “He was numbered with the
transgressors,” might be fulfilled, and also that the _universality_ of
the sacrifice might be proclaimed.[706] Chrysostom is not careful to
distinguish between the alienation of man from God, and of God from man
through the Fall. He represents the hostility as in some sort existing
on both sides. Christ did the work of a mediator by interposing Himself
between the two parties, and reconciling each to the other. The
references to such a fundamental verity are of course numerous, often
full of beauty of expression and tenderness of feeling, and glowing
earnestness. What he specially delights to dwell upon, as might be
expected from his warm, affectionate disposition, is the exceeding
love of Christ to man, and the hearty return which gratitude for such
a benefit ought to draw forth from us. Like St. Paul, he often will
break forth, in the midst of some argument or practical address, into a
burst of rapturous and adoring praise. “What reward shall I give unto
the Lord for all the benefits which He hath done unto me? Who shall
express the noble acts of the Lord, or show forth all His praise? He
abased Himself that He might exalt thee; He died to make thee immortal;
He became a curse that thou mightest obtain a blessing.... When the
world lay in darkness, the light of the Cross was held up like a torch
shining in a dark place, and the light at the top of it was the Sun of
Righteousness Himself.”[707]

Chrysostom’s doctrine of justification is naturally coloured by his
ethics. Maintaining, as he did, that the corruption of man’s nature
consisted in a weakness of the moral purpose, a crooked tendency
of the will, rather than in any inherent indelible stain in that
nature itself, his exhortations are directed rather to inculcate
energetic action, a gradual process of improvement of the will with
the Divine help, than that entire dependence through faith on the
mercy of God which springs out of a deep conviction of the sinner’s
own insufficiency. The logical tendency of the Augustinian view of the
intense and radical depravity of man’s nature is to induce a total
repudiation of the efficacy of personal effort, a total disavowal
of all personal merit. Hence justification comes to be regarded as
purely an act of acquittal on God’s part, a boon which the despairing
sinner by an act of faith thankfully accepts. Such is not the position
of Chrysostom, or of those who, like the Cambridge Divines of the
seventeenth century, have trodden in his footsteps. With him the
condition of a pardoned sinner consists rather in that renovation of
the spiritual and moral life which is the result of long and laborious
effort, aided of course by Divine grace, a succession of moral acts
eventually producing “a new creature.” Faith is not so much regarded
merely as the instrument or hand held out, by which God’s gift is
appropriated, as the first in a row of good works, a fruitful source of
all good action. “Abraham,” he says, “believed God, and it was counted
to him for righteousness. Why? To prove that belief itself, in the
first instance, and obedience to the call of God, come from our own
good judgment (εὐγνωμοσύνη); but as soon as the foundation of faith is
laid, we require the alliance of the Holy Spirit, that it may remain
constantly unshakable and inflexible.”[708] “Faith is the mother of all
good, the sure staff of man’s tottering footsteps, the anchor of his
tempest-tossed soul, without which he would be like a ship cast adrift
on the sea to the mercy of winds and waves.”[709] “It is more stable
and secure than reason, for it carries its own proof with it; the
conclusions of reason may be diverted by counter-arguments, but faith
stands above argument, and is not distracted by it.”[710]

He does not, indeed, shrink from a bold declaration of the value of
good works, but he is far from teaching men to depend on them as
efficient causes of salvation. They are to be stored up as a kind of
viaticum for our journey to the other world. “As those who are in a
foreign country, when they wish to return to their own land, take
pains, a long time beforehand, to collect means sufficient for their
journey, so surely ought we, who are but strangers and settlers on this
earth, to lay up a store of provisions through spiritual virtue, that
when our Master shall command our return into our native country, we
may be prepared and may carry part of our store with us, having sent
the other in advance.”[711] On the other hand, he constantly insists
that it is the favour and mercy of God alone which, in the end, bestows
salvation on us. Faith and good works are necessary conditions, but not
efficient causes of salvation. God has graciously willed that they who
have faith and good works shall be saved: let no man therefore boast.
We could not do good works without God’s assisting grace, nor could
they in the end and at the best save us if it were not His merciful
and gracious will.[712] Therefore, let no one pride himself on his
good works; above all things, let him cultivate a spirit of humility
and modesty: St. Paul, after all his labours, confessed that he was
not meet to be called an apostle, but was what he was by the grace of
God.[713] “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” “Tell me
not I have sinned much, and how can I be saved? _Thou_ art not able,
but thy Master is able so to blot out thy sins that no trace even of
them shall remain. In the natural body, indeed, though the wound may
be healed, yet the scar remains; but God does not suffer the scar
even to remain, but, together with release from punishment, grants
righteousness also, and makes the sinner to be equal to him who has
not sinned. He makes the sin neither to be nor to have been.... Sin is
drowned in the ocean of God’s mercy, just as a spark is extinguished in
a flood of water.”[714]

It was, no doubt, the trustful dependence of Chrysostom on Divine
grace, coupled with his firm conviction of the free capacity of man to
turn to what is good, which enabled him to pitch all his exhortations
to Christian holiness in such a singularly cheerful, hopeful tone.
To his sanguine temperament it seemed as if man’s natural capacities
for good, aided by grace obtained through prayer, could accomplish
anything. “The effect of prayer on the heart is like that of the rising
sun upon the natural world; as the wild beasts come forth by night to
prowl and prey, but the sun ariseth, and they get them away together
and lay them down in their dens, so, when the soul is illuminated by
prayer, the irrational and brutal passions are put to flight, anger is
calmed, lust is extinguished, envy is expelled; prayer is the treasure
of the poor, the security of the rich; the poorest of all men is
rich if he can pray, and the rich man who cannot pray is miserably
poor. Ahab without prayer was impotent amidst his splendour; Elijah
with prayer was mighty in his coarse garment of sheepskin.”[715] “It
is impossible, impossible that a man who calls constantly on God with
proper zeal should ever sin; his spirit is proof against temptation so
long as the effect of his praying lasts, and when it begins to fail,
then he must pray again. And this may be done anywhere, in the market
or in the shop, since prayer demands the outstretched soul rather than
the extended hands.”[716] Long prayers were to be avoided; they gave
great opportunities to Satan to distract the attention, which could not
easily bear a lengthened strain. Prayers should be frequent and short;
thus we should best comply with the direction of St. Paul to pray
without ceasing.[717]

It remains to collect some notices of Chrysostom’s teaching with
reference to the two Sacraments.

The number of those who, as Christian children of decidedly Christian
parents, were baptized in infancy appears to have been small at this
period, compared with those who, like Chrysostom himself, joined the
ranks of the Church at a later epoch of life. There were many whose
parents, or who themselves, hovered not so much between Christianity
and any definite form of paganism, as between Christianity and
worldliness. The sermons addressed by Chrysostom and his contemporaries
to catechumens, and the frequent allusions to them, the minute
directions respecting their instruction, their division into classes,
the custom of calling the first part of the service to which they were
admitted the Missa Catechumenorum, prove that numerous they must have
been. I have failed to find any passages in which Chrysostom urgently
inculcates infant baptism, and, considering his views respecting
original sin, this is not surprising; but he earnestly denounces a
custom of deferring baptism, prevalent among those who were already
believers, or professing to be such. Often it was delayed till men
believed themselves to be at the point of death—a practice which he
especially deprecates, because at such a time “the recipient was
often in a restless, suffering state of mind and body, most unfit to
receive that holy sacrament; the entrance of the priest was regarded
by the sorrowful attendants as a certain evidence of the approaching
end; and when the sick man could not recognise those who were present,
or hear a voice, or answer in those words by which he was to enter
into a blessed covenant with our Lord, but lay like a log or a stone,
what possible advantage could there be in the reception of the
sacrament?”[718] Again, it was often delayed till a man conceived that
he had received a distinct call and intimation that it was the will
of God. This Chrysostom regarded as being too often a mere cloak for
moral indolence, a reluctance of men to bind themselves under the high
responsibilities of the Christian vocation.[719]

He certainly considered baptism as being not merely a solemn initiation
into the Christian covenant, and instrument of remission of sin, but
also of moral renovation. This, however, is represented as a blessing
naturally derivable from the entrance into the new and holy federal
relation with God. In his comment on the passage, “and such were some
of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he observes that such words
signify that they were not only purified from past uncleanness, but had
become holy and righteous. “For such is the benevolence of the Divine
gift; if an imperial letter consisting of a few lines discharges men
from liability to punishment for any number of offences, and advances
others to great honour, much more will the Holy Spirit of God, which
can do all things, release us from all wickedness, bestow on us
abundant righteousness, and fill us with much confidence.” The nature
of the baptized was, therefore, like a vessel which had not only been
cleansed from past defilements, but recast in the furnace so as to
come out in a new shape.[720] He is far, however, from regarding such
a change as final. The virtue of baptism is effectual at the time, but
the grace then given is as a trust to be carefully guarded; a talent to
be traded with, a seed of righteousness to be diligently cultivated,
the dawning of a light to shine more and more unto the perfect day. As
Christ becomes at that time the clothing, the food, the habitation of
the Christian, the recipient of these favours has to take care that he
does not wrong this intimate relationship. Therefore he is ordered to
say at baptism, “I renounce thee, Satan;” that is the declaration of a
covenant with his Master. A firm determination to abandon past sin and
eradicate evil habits—in a word, repentance—should take place previous
to baptism. “Just as the painter freely alters the lineaments of his
picture, when it is sketched in outline, by rubbing out or putting
in, but when once he has added the colour, he is no longer at liberty
to make alterations; in like manner erase evil habits before baptism,
before the true colouring of the Holy Spirit has been thrown over the
soul: take care when this has been received, and the royal image shines
forth clearly, that you do not blot it out any more, and inflict wounds
and scars on the beauty given thee by God.”[721]

In another place he contrasts the baptism of the Jews, of John the
Baptist, and of Jesus Christ. “The first was only a cleansing of the
body from ceremonial defilements, the second was a means of enforcing
an exhortation to repentance, the third was accompanied by remission
of sins: it releases and purges the soul from sin, and gives a supply
of the Holy Spirit.”[722] “When the merciful God saw the extremity of
our weakness, and the incurable nature of our sickness, requiring a
great work of healing, He conferred upon us that renovation which comes
through the laver of regeneration, in order that, being divested of the
old man, that is, of evil works, and having put on the new, we might go
forward in the path of virtue.”[723]

In considering those passages which relate to the Holy Eucharist, it
must be carefully borne in mind that Chrysostom lived in an age when
that Sacrament had not become a battle-field of controversy. He was
under no constraint in his language, because he did not feel that every
word he used was liable to be criticised, or misunderstood, or torn
to pieces in the strife of contending parties. He enjoyed because he
disputed not. Filled with thankfulness and joy to overflowing for the
unspeakable benefits derived from that Sacrament, he is not cautious
or scrupulously precise in his expressions, but gives the freest rein
to the enthusiasm of his feelings; his object being not to support
any rigidly defined theory or system, but to infuse a certain spirit,
to encourage a proper moral tone and temper in reference to the whole

Three ideas, however, are apparent as dominant in his mind—a sacrifice,
a presence of Christ, a reception of Christ. In several of the
passages about to be presented, all the three points will appear in
similar and simultaneous force. In one homily,[724] where he severely
censures the too prevalent custom of attending the Eucharist on
great festivals only, and then behaving in a disorderly manner, the
worshippers hustling and trampling on one another in their tumultuous
haste to approach the holy table, and then hurrying out of church
immediately after the reception, without waiting for the conclusion of
the service—“What,” he exclaims, “O man, art thou doing? When Christ
is present, and the angels are standing by, and the awe-inspiring
table is spread before thee, dost thou withdraw?... If you are invited
to a feast and are filled before the other guests, you do not dare to
withdraw while the rest of your friends are still reclining at the
table; and here, when the mysteries of Christ are being celebrated, and
the holy feast is still going on, dost thou retreat in the middle?”
Again: “Since, then, we are about to see this evening, as a lamb slain
and sacrificed, Him who was crucified, let us approach, I pray you,
with trembling awe. The angels, who surpass our nature, stood beside
His empty tomb with great reverence; and shall we, who are about to
stand beside, not an empty sepulchre, but the very table which bears
the Lamb, shall we approach with noise and confusion?”[725] Again: “It
is now time to draw near the awe-inspiring table.... Christ is present,
and He who arranged that first table, even He arranges this present
one. For it is not man who makes the things which are set before us
become the body and blood of Christ, but it is Christ Himself, who
was crucified for us. The priest stands fulfilling his part (σχῆμα)
by uttering the appointed words, but the power and the grace are of
God. ‘This is my body,’ He says. This expression changes the character
(μεταῤῥυθμίζει) of the elements, and as that sentence, ‘increase
and multiply,’ once spoken, extends through all time, enabling the
procreative power of our nature, even so that expression, ‘this is my
body,’ once uttered, does at every table in the churches from that time
to the present day, and even till Christ’s coming, make the sacrifice
perfect.”[726] Speaking of the sacrifice of Isaac, he observes that it
was perfect so far as Abraham was concerned, because his _intention_
did not fail, though the knife was not actually drawn across his son’s
throat; “for a sacrifice is possible even without blood—the initiated
(_i.e._ the baptized) know what I mean: on this account, also, that
sacrifice was made without blood, since it was destined to be a figure
of this sacrifice of ours.”[727]

Perhaps the most significant passage with reference to the sacrificial
idea is one where, after contrasting the many and ineffective
sacrifices of the Jews with the one perfect, efficacious sacrifice of
Christ, he proceeds: “What then? do we not offer every day? We do offer
certainly, but making a memorial of His death; and this memorial is
one, not many. How one, not many? Because the sacrifice was offered
once for all, as that great sacrifice was in the Holy of Holies. This
is a figure of that great sacrifice as that was of this; for we do not
offer one victim to-day and another to-morrow, but always the same:
wherefore the sacrifice is one. Well, on this ground, because He is
offered in many places, are there many Christs? Nay, by no means, but
one Christ everywhere, complete both in this world and in the other;
one body. As then, though offered in many places, He is but one body,
so is there but one sacrifice. Our High Priest is He who offers the
sacrifice which cleanses us. We offer that now which was offered then;
which is indeed inconsumable. This takes place now for a memorial
of what took place then: ‘Do this,’ said He, ‘for my memorial.’ We
do not then offer a different sacrifice as the high priest formerly
did, but always the same; _or, rather, we celebrate a memorial of a

There are other passages in which the idea, no less prominently set
forth, is that of a holy feast. Elijah bequeathed his mantle and a
double portion of his spirit to Elisha, “but the Son of God, when He
ascended, left us His own flesh.... He who did not decline to shed
His blood for all, and imparts to us again His flesh and blood, what
will He refuse to do for our salvation?”[729] Again: “Consider, O man,
what kind of sacrifice thou art about to touch, what kind of table to
approach; reflect that thou who art but dust and ashes receivest the
body and blood of Christ.”[730] The sedulous care with which he urges
the duty of moral cleansing before venturing to approach the holy table
proceeds chiefly from regarding it as a holy feast. “How shall we
behold the sacred passover? How shall we receive the sacred feast? How
partake of the adorable mysteries with that tongue whereby we trampled
on the Law of God and defiled our soul? for if one would not touch a
royal robe with defiled hands, how shall we receive the Lord’s body
with an unclean tongue?”[731]

These passages, which are but a few specimens extracted from a large
number on the same subject, are yet sufficient to show how easy it
would be for the partisans of contending schools to press the language
of Chrysostom into support of their own system. The truth is, that
in the case of this, as of other subjects, we find in Chrysostom and
his contemporaries the raw material, which has been wrought out by
the toil and strife of later times into definite sharply chiselled
dogmas. Nothing, therefore, can really be more unfair than to regard,
as a direct friend or opponent, one who lived and wrote long before
controversy had arisen on the subjects of which he treated. He might
innocently employ expressions which we should deem it incautious to
use, because we know the interpretation of which they are susceptible,
or because we see in them incipient symptoms of an idea which in
process of time grew into a mischievous error. It is instructive also
to notice how harmless doctrines which afterwards became mischievous
were when they were not pushed to an extremity, not made integral
parts of a system of belief. It does not occur to us, for instance,
for a moment to suppose that such invocation of saints as was
manifestly approved by Chrysostom was the least detrimental to that
free intercourse which ought to exist between the soul of man and God
Himself. As Dr. Pusey has observed: “Through volumes of St. Augustine
and St. Chrysostom there is no mention of any reliance except on
Christ alone.”[732] There is not the least approach to that system of
stepping-stones or halting-places between God and man, which the Roman
Church established by means of confession, saint-worship, and, above
all, Mariolatry.

There is no trace in Chrysostom of priestly confession as an ordinance
of the Church. When he speaks of the misery which ensues on the
commission of sin, he urges the sinner to relieve his conscience by a
free confession with repentance and tears. “And why are you ashamed to
do so?” he proceeds, “for to whom do you confess? Is it to a man or
a fellow-servant who might reproach or expose you? Nay, it is to the
Lord, tender and merciful: it is to the physician that you show your
wound.”[733] Again, in speaking of prayer, he contrasts the freedom of
access to God with the difficulties and impediments which encounter the
delivery of a petition to some great man. “This last could be reached
only through porters, flatterers, parasites; whereas God is invoked
without the intervention of any one, without money, without expense of
any kind.”[734] This reads like a prophetical sarcasm on a Church which
ultimately made a traffic of dispensing what cannot really be dispensed
by man, because it is the free gift of God.

Nor is there any symptom in Chrysostom of a tendency to the theory of
Purgatory. The condition of man after death is always represented by
him as final and irrevocable. His tone, when exhorting to repentance,
is always in harmony with the following passage: “For the day will come
when the theatre of this world will be dissolved, and then it is not
possible to contend any longer: this is the season of repentance, that
of judgment; this of contest, that of crowning; this of labour, that of

But of all medieval additions to the purer faith of primitive times,
Mariolatry has grown to the most extraordinary dimensions.[736] Of any
tendency to this error there is in Chrysostom a remarkable absence.
In fact, his notices of the Blessed Virgin, not very frequent, are
on the whole, we might almost say, unnecessarily disparaging. In his
commentary on the Marriage Feast at Cana, he suggests that the Virgin,
in mentioning the failure of wine to our Lord, may have been anxious
to draw out His miraculous powers, partly to place the guests under
an obligation to Him, partly to enhance her own dignity through the
display of her Son’s divine powers. He considers that the appeal sprang
from the same feeling which prompted His brethren to say, “Show Thyself
to the world;” and he proceeds to observe that our Lord, while never
failing to manifest dutiful reverence and affectionate care towards His
mother, has taught us, by His conduct and language to her, that the
tie of mere earthly kindred entitled her not to higher privileges, and
placed her in no more intimate spiritual relationship with Himself than
any one might through love and obedience enjoy. “Who is my mother, and
who are my brethren? and looking round about on His disciples, He said,
Behold my mother and my brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of my
Father, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” “Heavens!”
Chrysostom exclaims, “what honour! what reward! to what a pinnacle does
He exalt those who follow Him! How many women have blessed the Holy
Virgin and her womb, and have longed to be such mothers! What then
prevents it? Behold, he opens a broad way for us: not women only, but
men also are permitted to be placed in the same rank.” “The demand
to see Him was made by His mother in an ambitious spirit: she wished
to show to the people how much authority she possessed over Him; at
any rate, the request was unreasonable and unseasonable. If she and
His brethren desired to speak with Him on matters of doctrine, they
might have done so in the presence of the others; but if on private
matters, it was an ill-timed interruption to His discourse on weightier
subjects.”[737] Again: “When a woman in the company cried out, ‘Blessed
is the womb that bare Thee!’ He instantly corrected her: ‘Yea, _rather_
blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.’” It is
possible that the general sentiment of the age may have regarded the
Virgin with more veneration, but Chrysostom could not have ventured
to use such language had the cultus been in any but its very earliest
stage, if then. She is called holy by him; she intercedes[738] for Eve,
who is a type of herself, but of worship paid to her there is not the
slightest evidence.[739]

It is almost superfluous to observe that Chrysostom knew and
acknowledged nothing of papal supremacy, in the sense which those
words conveyed to the minds of later generations. In common with
the rest of Christendom, he paid great deference and respect to the
metropolitan at Rome, and he was quite free from those feelings of
jealousy which were entertained by the patriarchs of Constantinople,
as time went on, owing to the increasing pretensions and exactions of
the Roman See. If he respects Innocent, as occupying the chair of St.
Peter, he equally respects Flavian, bishop of Antioch (who was not in
communion with Rome), for the same reason; he calls him “our common
father and teacher, who has inherited St. Peter’s virtue and his
chair.” The letter written to Innocent during exile was addressed also
to the Bishops of Milan and Aquileia. In his commentary on Galatians
ii. he proves the equality of St. Paul with St. Peter. No doubt he
assigns an eminent rank to St. Peter, speaking of him as “leader of the
band” (κορυφαῖος) of apostles, and as intrusted with the “presidency”
(προστασίαν) of the brethren: but these words do not imply absolute
authority, and the same appellations are applied to St. Paul also.

Scattered up and down the discourses of Chrysostom there are abundant
references to the liturgical forms, and manner of using them, which
were in vogue in his time. If we had no other authority, we could learn
from him alone that the service consisted of two parts—the first,
called Missa Catechumenorum, because the catechumens were permitted
to be present at it, which included an opening salutation of “Peace
be with you,” with the response, “And with thy spirit;” psalms sung
antiphonally; appointed lessons according to the season or the day (as
Genesis was read during Lent, the Acts of the Apostles in Pentecost,
that is, during the fifty days between Easter and Whitsun Day); the
sermon, frequently in Chrysostom’s case on the lesson for the day,
the preacher usually sitting, and the people standing; then prayers,
announced by the deacon, for the catechumens, the “possessed,” and the
penitents; the benediction by the bishop, and dismissal by the deacon,
who bade them “depart in peace.” The second part of the service then
began, called Missa Fidelium, because the baptized only were permitted
to be present. Chrysostom strongly denounces an increasing tendency
on the part of many to remain during this second and more sacred
portion without participating. He plainly declares that all those
who were baptized should communicate, and tells them, if they were
not worthy to receive the Eucharist, neither could they be worthy to
join in the prayers which preceded the reception, and therefore they
ought to quit the church, with the catechumens and penitents, when
the deacon commanded all unbaptized, ungodly, and unbelieving persons
to depart.[740] The usual order of the Missa Fidelium was “the silent
prayer” (εὐχὴ διὰ σιωπῆς), on part of the priest and people (which the
latter too often abused, Chrysostom feared, to imprecate vengeance on
their enemies[741]); then a prayer somewhat equivalent to our bidding
prayer in form, and to our prayer for the Church Militant in substance,
the deacon bidding or proclaiming the forms, and the people responding;
then a prayer of invocation made by the bishop, which was also called
“collecta,” because in it the prayers of the people were considered
to be gathered or summed up; the oblations of the people presented
by the deacons; the kiss of peace, the reading of the diptychs, the
ablution of the priest’s hands, the bringing of the elements to the
bishop at the altar, while the priests stood on each side, and deacons
held large fans to drive away the flies; a secret prayer offered by the
bishop; the benediction, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” etc.,
to which the people responded “And with thy spirit;” followed by “Lift
up your hearts”—“We lift them up unto the Lord;” “Let us give thanks
to our Lord God”—“It is meet and right so to do;” a long thanksgiving,
terminating with the Ter Sanctus, in which the people joined; the
consecration prayer, including the words of our Lord at the time of
institution, and an invocation of the Holy Spirit to make the elements
become the body and blood of Christ; a prayer for all members of the
Church, living and dead; the doxology, the Creed; a prayer of the
bishop for sanctification; the words pronounced by him, “Holy things
for holy people” (τὰ ἅγια τοῖς ἁγίοις); the reception by the clergy and
laity in both kinds, taking the elements into their hands; concluding
prayers, and dismissal by the deacon proclaiming, “Go in peace.”
Nearly all of the forms indicated in this sketch are more or less
clearly referred to or quoted in Chrysostom’s works, and from these,
with the aid of other contemporary writers and documents, we might
construct a liturgy which would more nearly resemble that actually used
by him than the liturgy called by his name resembles it.[742] For in
this, as in the so-called liturgy of Basil, it is impossible now to
determine how much was actually composed by the Father who gave his
name to it. It cannot be proved that Chrysostom actually corrected or
improved at all the liturgy which he found in use at Constantinople.
It may only have come to be called after him as being the greatest
luminary who ever occupied the see. The statement, however, made
in a tract ascribed to Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople in the
fifth century, is not in itself improbable, that Chrysostom found the
existing liturgy so long that many of the congregation, being men of
business, and pressed for time, left before the service was concluded,
or came in after it had begun, and therefore he abridged and otherwise
altered it. In any case, many alterations were made by different
churches and bishops in the course of time, as in other liturgies, so
also in those which bear the name of Basil and Chrysostom; and hence,
as Montfaucon, Savile, Cave, and others have remarked, you cannot find
any two copies which are exactly alike.

A critical estimate of Chrysostom’s value as a commentator hardly
falls within the scope of an essay on his life, but a few general
observations on this head may not be deemed out of place here. The
same fact was the cause in him of much excellence and some defect
in this department. He was a preacher whose primary object was to
convert souls. This earnest, practical aim, of which he never lost
sight, helped to protect him from lapsing into idle, fanciful, mystical
interpretations of Scripture; but, on the other hand, it hindered
his entering so fully into all the historical, grammatical, or even
doctrinal questions which might be raised about a passage as he would
have done had he been exclusively a commentator. His dominant aim
being to affect the heart and the moral practice of his hearers, he
is content when he has elicited from the passage all that will be
most useful for that purpose, and the continuity of the commentary is
frequently marred by sudden digressions. His ignorance of Hebrew was of
course fatal to his being an accurate interpreter of the Old Testament,
since he was entirely dependent on the Septuagint translation. And
even in Greek, though few would deny him the merit of fine scholarship
on the whole, though his command of the language as an orator is
masterly, his style luminous, his diction copious and rich without
being offensively ornate or redundant, yet his hold upon the language
for critical purposes is neither that of a man who spoke it when it was
in its purest stage, nor that of a scholar who, living in a later age
and speaking a different tongue, has made a careful, laborious study of
it as a dead language.

But two invaluable qualifications for an interpreter Chrysostom did
possess—a thorough love for the Sacred Book, and a thorough familiarity
with every part of it. There is no topic on which he dwells more
frequently and earnestly than on the duty of every Christian man and
woman to study the Bible; and what he bade others do, that he did
pre-eminently himself. He rebukes the silly vanity of rich people who
prided themselves on possessing finely written and handsomely bound
copies of the Bible, but who knew little about the contents. Study of
the Bible was more necessary for the layman than the monk, because he
was exposed to more constant and formidable temptations. The Christian
without a knowledge of his Bible was like a workman without his tools.
Like the tree planted by the water-side, the soul of the diligent
reader would be continually nourished and refreshed. There were no
difficulties which would not yield to a patient study of it. Neither
earthly grandeur, nor friends, nor indeed any human thing, could afford
in suffering such comfort as the reading of Holy Scripture, for this
was the companionship of God.[743]

The honest, straightforward common sense which marks his practical
exhortations was a useful quality to him also as an interpreter. One
of his principles is, that sound doctrine could not be extracted
from Holy Scripture but by a careful comparison of many passages not
isolated from their context.[744] Allegorical interpretations were by
no means to be rejected, but to be used with caution; men too often
made the mistake of dictating what Scripture should mean instead of
submitting to be taught by it: they _introduced_ a meaning instead of
_eliciting_ it.[745] Thus, though he often accepts popular types—as
Boaz and Ruth are figures of Christ and His bride the Church; and
Noah, Joseph, Joshua, are all in different ways representative of our
Lord; though sometimes particular expressions in Messianic prophecies
are forced, for instance, in Isaiah’s description of Immanuel, the
“butter and honey” there spoken of he supposes to be intended to
indicate the reality of our Lord’s humanity[746]—yet his customary aim
is to discover the literal sense and direct historical bearing of the
passage. At the same time he fully recognises a general foreshadowing
of Jesus Christ, and the complete fulfilment in Him ultimately of
prophecies which immediately refer to persons and events nearly, if
not quite, contemporaneous with the utterance. He fails not also to
point out the moral aspect of prophecy as a system of teaching rather
than prediction, as preparatory to the advent of Jesus Christ in the
flesh, not only by informing men’s minds, but disciplining their hearts
to receive Him.[747] Hence the holy men who lived, under the Old
Dispensation, in faith on God’s promises, knew Christ as it were by
anticipation, and were to be reckoned as members of the one body.[748]

He had a clear conception of the essential coherence between the Old
and New Testament. He observes that the very words “old” and “new”
are relative terms: _new_ implies an antecedent _old_, preparatory
to it. The condition of the recipients, the circumstances and age in
which they lived, being different, necessitated a difference in the
treatment. A physician treated the same patient at different times by
directly contrary methods; sometimes administering sweet, sometimes
bitter medicines, sometimes using the lancet, sometimes cautery, but
always with the same ultimate end in view—the health of his patient. So
the Old and New Testaments were different, but not, as the Manichæans
maintained, antagonistic. The commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,”
attacked the fruit and consequence of vice; the precept, “Whosoever is
angry with his brother without a cause,” etc., struck at the root. This
was an illustration in a small instance of the general truth that the
New Dispensation was only a completion and expansion of the Old. Those,
therefore, who rejected the Old Testament dishonoured the New, which
was based upon it, and presupposes it.[749]

He is equally rational in his manner of accounting for the variations
in the Gospel narratives. That they differ in details, but agree in
essential matters, he regards as a powerful evidence of veracity. Exact
and verbal coincidence in every particular would have excited in the
minds of opponents a suspicion of concerted agreement.[750] Authors
might write variously without being at variance; if there had been
ten thousand evangelists, yet the Gospel itself would have been but
one.[751] Each evangelist tells substantially the same tale, but varied
according to the readers for whom he wrote, and the special object
which he had in view. So St. Matthew wrote in Hebrew for the Jews,
St. Mark for the disciples in Egypt, St. John to set forth the divine
aspect of our Lord’s life. Thus we have variety in unity, and unity in

In his commentaries on the Epistles he is careful to consider each
as a connected whole; and, in order to impress this on his hearers,
he frequently recapitulates at the beginning of a homily all the
steps by which the part under consideration has been reached. In his
introductions to each letter he generally makes useful observations
on the author, the time, place, and style of composition, the readers
for whom it was intended, the general character and arrangement of
its contents. He regarded the Bible as in such a sense written under
the inspiration of God, that no passage, no word even, was to be
despised;[753] that men wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit,
but not to the total deprivation of their own human understanding and
personal character. The prophet was not like the seer who spoke under
constraint, not knowing what he said; he retained his own faculties and
style; only all his powers were quickened, energised by the Spirit to
the utterance of words which unassisted he could not have uttered.[754]

Chrysostom’s influence as a preacher was not aided by any external
advantages of person. Like so many men who have possessed great powers
of command over the minds of others—like St. Paul, Athanasius, John
Wesley—he was little of stature; his frame was attenuated by the
austerities of his youth and his habitually ascetic mode of life;
his cheeks were pale and hollow; his eyes deeply set, but bright
and piercing; his broad and lofty forehead was furrowed by wrinkles;
his head was bald. He frequently delivered his discourses sitting in
the ambo, or high reading-desk, just inside the nave, in order to
be near his hearers and well raised above them. But these physical
disadvantages were more than compensated by other more important
qualities. A power of exposition which unfolded in lucid order, passage
by passage, the meaning of the book in hand; a rapid transition from
clear exposition, or keen logical argument, to fervid exhortation,
or pathetic appeal, or indignant denunciation; the versatile ease
with which he could lay hold of any little incident of the moment,
such as the lighting of the lamps in the church, and use it to
illustrate his discourse; the mixture of plain common-sense, simple
boldness, and tender affection, with which he would strike home to the
hearts and consciences of his hearers—all these are not only general
characteristics of the man, but are usually to be found manifested
more or less in the compass of each discourse. It is this rare union
of powers which constitutes his superiority to almost all the other
Christian preachers with whom he might be, or has been, compared.
Savonarola had all, and more than all, his fire and vehemence, but
untempered by his sober, calm good sense, and wanting his rational
method of interpretation. Chrysostom was eager and impetuous at times
in speech as well as in action, but never fanatical. Jeremy Taylor
combines, like Chrysostom, real earnestness of purpose with rhetorical
forms of expression and florid imagery; but, on the whole, his style
is far more artificial, and is overlaid with a multifarious learning
from which Chrysostom’s was entirely free. Wesley is almost his match
in simple, straightforward, practical exhortation, but does not rise
into flights of eloquence like his. The great French preachers, again,
resemble him in his more ornate and declamatory vein, but they lack
that simpler common-sense style of address which equally distinguished
him. Whether the sobriquet of Chrysostomos, “the golden mouth,” was
given to him in his lifetime is extremely doubtful; at any rate, it
seems not to have been commonly used till afterwards. John is the only
name by which he is mentioned in the writings of historians who were
most nearly contemporaneous, but the other was a well-known appellation
before the end of the fifth century.[755]

The preservation of Chrysostom’s discourses we owe mainly to the
custom, prevalent in the Eastern Church at that time, of having the
sermons of famous preachers taken down by shorthand writers as they
were spoken; but some of them Chrysostom published himself.[756]
To what extent they may have been written before preaching it is
impossible to say. The expository parts were evidently the result of
previous study and preparation; the actual diction of the practical
portions he may have left to the suggestion of the moment, though the
main subjects of his address had been always decided upon beforehand.
Extempore remarks were frequently called forth by the behaviour of the
congregation, or some passing incident. The discourse delivered after
his return from exile we also know to have been purely impromptu; and
Suidas observes that he “had a tongue which exceeded the cataracts of
the Nile in fluency, so that he delivered many of his panegyrics on
the martyrs extempore without the least hesitation.”[757] His hearers
were sometimes rapt in such profound attention that pickpockets took
advantage of it:[758] sometimes they were melted to tears, or beat
their breasts and faces, and uttered groans and cries to Heaven for
mercy; at other times they clapped their hands or shouted—marks of
approbation frequently paid at that time to eloquent preachers, but
always sternly reproved by Chrysostom.

Although his style is generally exuberantly rich, yet it is seldom
offensively redundant, for every word is usually telling; and at times
he is epigrammatically terse. A few instances will suffice:—“The fire
of sin is large, but it is quenched by a few tears;” “Pain was given
on account of sin, yet through pain sin is dissolved;” “Riches are
called possessions (κτήματα) that we may possess them, not be possessed
by them;” “You are master of much wealth, do not be a slave to that
whereof God has made you master;” “Scripture relates the sins of
saints, that we may fear; the conversion of sinners, that we may hope.”
He refers to a visitation of Antioch by an earthquake, as God “shaking
the city, but establishing your minds; making the city crumble, but
consolidating your judgment.”

His familiarity with classical Greek authors is apparent sometimes
in direct references. He speaks of “the smoothness of Isocrates, the
weight of Demosthenes, the dignity of Thucydides, the sublimity of
Plato.”[759] He quotes the beginning of the “Apology,” to show that
if Socrates did not put a high value on mere fine talking, how much
less should the Christian.[760] He illustrates the readiness of men
to supply the wants of the monk by a passage from Plato, where Crito
says that his money, and that of Cebes and many others, is at the
disposal of Socrates; and, go where he will, he may rely on finding
friends.[761] Sometimes we detect a thought derived, it may have been
unconsciously, from classical sources. When he compares the crowd of
the congregation before him to the sea, and the play upon the surface
of that sea of heads to the effect of a strong west wind stirring and
bending the ears of corn,[762] it is impossible not to think that the
idea was suggested by the well-known simile in Homer (Il. ii. 147).
Again, when, in speaking of David’s sin, he compares the body to a
chariot and the soul to the charioteer, and says that, when the soul
is intoxicated by passion, the chariot is dragged along at random, it
can hardly be fanciful to see a reflection of Plato’s celebrated image
of the charioteer and horses in the “Phædrus.”[763]

But whatever admiration Chrysostom may have retained of those authors
whom he had studied in his youth, it was confined to their language,
for with their ideas and modes of thought he had, so far as we can
judge, abandoned all sympathy. Nor was this unnatural. Christianity
existed in such close contact with Pagan corruption, and it had
suffered so much from Pagan persecution, that the revulsion of earnest
Christians from all things Pagan was total and indiscriminating.
“The old order changeth, yielding place to new;” and the new, having
fought a hard struggle with the old, is for a long time incapable
of recognising merit in anything belonging to it. There are several
allusions in Chrysostom to the “Republic” of Plato, but they are always
depreciative. He fastens on a few points, such as the regulations
about marriage and female work, and condemns it on these as absurd
and childish, quite failing to consider the idea in its grandeur as a
whole.[764] Yet it is instructive to notice that he never hesitates
to assign to Plato the first place among the heathen philosophers,
dignifying him with the title of Coryphæus.[765] He often compares
the failure of Plato’s teaching to regenerate men in every rank with
the successful labours of St. Paul and the other apostles; but while
he rejoices that the writings and doctrine of the philosopher were
eclipsed by the tentmaker and fisherman, and well-nigh forgotten, he
evidently regarded it as the most signal triumph which Christianity had

Unquestionable as the intellectual genius of Chrysostom was, yet it
is rather in the purity of his moral character, his single-minded
boldness of purpose, and the glowing piety which burns through all
his writings, that we find the secret of his influence. If it was
rather the mission of Augustine to mould the minds of men so as to
take a firm grasp of certain great doctrines, it was the mission of
Chrysostom to inflame the whole heart with a fervent love of God.
Rightly has he been called the great teacher of consummate holiness,
as Augustine was the great teacher of efficient grace;[767] rightly
has it been remarked that, like Fénélon, he is to be ranked among
those who may be termed disciples of St. John, men who seem to have
been pious without intermission from their childhood upwards, and of
whose piety the leading characteristics are ease, cheerfulness, and
elevation; while Augustine belongs to the disciples of St. Paul, those
who have been converted from error to truth, or from sin to holiness,
and whose characteristics are gravity, earnestness, depth.[768] If
Augustine has done more valuable service in building up the Church at
large, Chrysostom is the more loveable to the individual, and speaks
out of a heart overflowing with love to God and man, unconstrained by
the fetters of a severe and rigid system. Yet it is precisely on this
account that he has not been so generally appreciated as he deserves.
His tone is too catholic for the Romanist, or for the sectarian
partisan of any denomination. “It would be easy to produce abundant
instances of his oratorical abilities; I wish it were in my power to
record as many of his evangelical excellencies.” Such is the verdict
of a narrow-minded historian,[769] and the comparative estimation in
which he held St. Augustine and St. Chrysostom may be inferred from the
number of pages in his History given to each: St. Augustine is favoured
with 187, Chrysostom with 20. But he whose judgment is not cramped by
the shackles of some harsh and stiff theory of Gospel truth will surely
allow that Chrysostom not only preached the Gospel but lived it. To the
last moment of his life he exhibited that calm, cheerful faith, that
patient resignation under affliction, and untiring perseverance for
the good of others, which are pre-eminently the marks of a Christian
saint. The cause for which he fought and died in a corrupt age was the
cause of Christian holiness; and, therefore, by the great medieval
poet of Christendom he is rightly placed in Paradise between two men
who, widely different indeed in character and circumstances from him
and from one another, yet resembled him in this, that they freely and
courageously spoke of God’s “testimonies even before kings, and were
not ashamed”—Nathan the Seer, and Anselm the Primate of all England:—

  “Natan profeta, e’l metropolitano
    Crisostomo, ed Anselmo....”[770]


[_Vide ante_, p. 415 note.]

ON THE LETTER TO CÆSARIUS (CHRYS. OP. vol. iii. p. 755).

The history of this letter, and the controversy connected with it, are
curious and interesting. Peter Martyr transcribed a Latin translation
of it, which he found in a manuscript at Florence, carried it with him
to England, and deposited it in the library of Archbishop Cranmer.
After Cranmer’s death, and the dispersion of his library, the letter
disappeared. Peter Martyr had not stated the source from which he
had derived it, and, therefore, when the assailants of the doctrine
of Transubstantiation wished to make use of it, their opponents
always maintained that it did not exist. In 1680, however, Emericus
Bigotius discovered a copy in the library of St. Mark’s Convent, at
Florence, probably the same which Peter Martyr, himself a Florentine,
had transcribed. Emericus appended it to his edition of Palladius’s
“Life of Chrysostom,” and in his preface endeavoured to vindicate its
authenticity; but the Doctors of the Sorbonne suppressed the letter,
and such portions of the preface as related to it. Emericus, however,
had retained in his own possession some of the entire copies after
they were printed, before they came into the licenser’s hands. The
translation was published by Stephanus Le Moyne in 1685, by Jacob
Basnage in 1687, and in 1689 by Harduin, a Jesuit, who strenuously
maintained the Roman Catholic interpretation of the passage on the
Eucharist. Montfaucon adopted Harduin’s version of it, annexing a few
fragments in the Greek, picked out of Anastasius and John Damascene.

John Damascene, Anastasius, and Nicephorus refer to the letter as
authentic, nor does Harduin venture to dispute it; but there are
several points of evidence which seem to mark it as belonging to a
later age than that of Chrysostom. It is not quoted before Leontius, in
the latter part of the sixth century, although it might usefully have
been employed against the Eutychians. There are expressions in it which
were not in common use till after Cyril of Alexandria had employed
them against Nestorius. The language generally is that of one who had
lived in the midst of the Nestorian and Eutychian controversies, and
the style of the Greek fragments, as well as the tone of the Latin
translation, are extremely unlike Chrysostom’s manner: the sentences
are abrupt and rugged, and a kind of scholastic, dogmatic tone pervades
the whole composition. The general scope of the letter is clear: it is
to maintain the doctrine of the two natures under one person in Jesus
Christ, against the heresy of the Apollinarians; or, if we accept the
theory of Montfaucon, the intention of the author, living in the time
of the Eutychian heresy, was to strike a blow at that by forging a
letter supposed to be addressed by Chrysostom to a friend, warning
him against Apollinarian errors, which had much in common with the
Eutychian. The passage in which the writer illustrates his position by
a reference to the Holy Eucharist has been construed by Roman Catholics
and Protestants in a sense agreeable to their own views on the subject.
The writer has been labouring to prove that there were two distinct
natures in the one person of God the Son Incarnate, and he proceeds as
follows:—“Just as the bread before consecration is called bread, but
when the Divine grace sanctifies it through the agency of the priest it
is liberated from the appellation of bread, and is regarded as worthy
of the appellation of the Lord’s body, although the nature of bread
remains in it, and we speak not of two bodies, but one body of the Son;
so here, the Divine nature being seated in the human body, the two
together make up but one Son, one Person.”


[1] In the case of Savonarola such a want has now been fairly well
supplied by Villari and other writers. For a good portrait of Erasmus,
see “Erasmus, his Life and Character,” by Robert Blackley Drummond,
B.A. 2 vols., 1873.

[2] “That godly clerk and great preacher” is the description of him in
the English Homilies, Hom. i.

[3] “Remains,” vol. iii. Letters to Dr. Woodward and Mrs. Hannah More.

[4] Wall, on _Infant Baptism_, endeavours to prove that she was a
Pagan, in order to account for the delay in Chrysostom’s baptism, but
his reasons are far from convincing.

[5] De Sacerdot. lib. i. c. 5.

[6] Julian: Misopogon, p. 363.

[7] Epist. 1057.

[8] Epist. ad viduam jun., vol. i.

[9] Ibid. p. 601.

[10] Adv. Oppug. Vit. Monast. lib. iii. c. 11.

[11] Liban. de fortuna sua, pp. 13-137.

[12] See concluding Chapter.

[13] See concluding Chapter.

[14] Quoted by Isidore of Pelusium, lib. ii. ep. 42.

[15] Sozomen, viii. c. 2.

[16] Isidore Pel., lib. ii. ep. 42; De Sacerdot. i. c. 4.

[17] Gibbon, iii. 52, note; Milman’s edition.

[18] Gibbon, iii. 53; for an account of the character of lawyers at
this period see Amm. Marcellinus, lxxx. c. 4.

[19] As Socrates, book vi. chap. 3, has done.

[20] De Sacerdot. lib. i. c. 1.

[21] De Sacerdot. c. iii.

[22] See references in Bingham, vol. iii. b. xi. Wall, vol. ii.

[23] Basil: Exhort. ad Baptismum; Greg. Nazianz. Orat. 40 de Bapt.;
Nyssen, de Bapt.; Chrysost. in Acta Apost. vol. ix. hom. i. _in fine_,
and in Illumin. Catechesis, vol. ii. p. 223.

[24] Philostorgius, ii. 7; Socrates, i. 23; Theod. i. 21.

[25] Socr. i. 24; Theod. i. 22.

[26] Athanas. Hist. Arian. 20, 21; Theod. ii. 9, 10.

[27] Socr. ii. 26; he had been deposed from the rank of presbyter
because he was a eunuch, in accordance with the provision of the
Council of Nice, c. i. Labbe, i. p. 28.

[28] Sozom. iii. 20; Theod. ii. 24.

[29] Sozom. iv. 12-16; Theod. ii. 26. In consequence of an earthquake
at Nice, it was removed to Seleucia in Isauria.

[30] Rufin. i. 21; Socr. ii. 36, 37; Sozom. iv. 19; Jerome c. Lucif.
18, 19.

[31] Socr. ii. 42, 43.

[32] Sozom. iv. 28.

[33] Theod. ii. 31; Sozom. iv. 28.

[34] Socr. ii. 45.

[35] The Arian Bishop George having been murdered by the Pagan
population, Socr. iii. 5.

[36] Rufin. i. 27; Socr. iii. 6; Sozom. v. 12.

[37] Chrysost. Hom. in Matt. 85, vol. vii. p. 762.

[38] Chrysost. Hom. in Melet.

[39] Tillemont, viii. 374.

[40] Greg. Nazian., Orat. de Bapt. 40; Chrysost. Ep. 132, ad Gemellum.

[41] Tertullian is the first who mentions it; de Prescript. c. 41.

[42] Just. Nov. cxxiii. c. 13.

[43] Quoted in Bingham, vol. i. p. 378.

[44] Conc. Carth. iv. c. 8; Labbe, vol. ii.

[45] _Vide_ quotations in Suicer, Thesaur. _sub verbo_ φιλοσοφία.

[46] De Sacerdot. i. c. 4.

[47] Ibid. c. 3.

[48] Ibid. c. 5.

[49] For the oppressive manner in which taxes were collected see
Gibbon, iii. 78 _et seq._, Milman’s edit.

[50] De Sacerdot. i. c. 6.

[51] Ibid. vi. c. 12.

[52] Socr. vi. c. 3.

[53] Ibid. vi. 3.

[54] In Facund. Hermiana, Pro Def. trium capit., lib. iv. c. 2, in
Gall. and bibl. patr. xi. p. 706.

[55] Chrysost. Hom. in Diodor., vol. iii. p. 761.

[56] Socr. vi. 3.

[57] Niceph. σειρά, vol. i. pp. 524 and 436.

[58] Ibid. vol. i. p. 80.

[59] Leont. Byzant. contra Nestor., et Eutych. lib. iii., in Basnage,
Thesaur. monum. i. 592.

[60] C. 2-5.

[61] I. c. 8, 9.

[62] C. 9.

[63] C. 10.

[64] Theod. i. c. 11, _in initio_.

[65] C. 11.

[66] C. 13.

[67] C. 14.

[68] C. 17.

[69] C. 16 and 19.

[70] C. 19.

[71] C. 3.

[72] C. 5.

[73] Tillemont maintains that the Theodore to whom the first letter is
addressed must have been a different person from the fellow-student of
Chrysostom and eventual Bishop of Mopsuestia, but he stands alone in
this opinion, and his reasons for it seem inadequate.—Till. xi. note
vi. p. 550.

[74] Possid. Vit. August. c. iv.

[75] Sulp. Sever. Vit. St. Martin. lib. i. p. 224. The affectation of
reluctance to be consecrated became a fashion in the Coptic Church.
The patriarch-designate of Alexandria is at this day brought to Cairo,
loaded with chains, as if to prevent his escape.—Stanley, Eastern
Church, lect. vii. p. 226.

[76] C. 5. This word may refer to the bishops or the people. Ambrose
calls the people his “parentes,” because they had elected him
bishop.—Comment. in Luc. l. viii. c. 17.

[77] μειράκια; _vide_ note at end of Chapter.

[78] I. c. 5.

[79] C. 7.

[80] C. 6.

[81] C. 8.

[82] C. 9.

[83] The words _priest_ and _bishop_ are employed, in the following
translations and paraphrases, to correspond with ἱερεὺς and ἐπίσκοπος,
which are used in the original without much apparent distinction.
Chrysostom is speaking of the _priesthood generally_, and it is not
easy to say which Order he has in his mind at any given moment.

[84] II. c. 2.

[85] III. c. 1, 2, 5.

[86] III. c. 4.

[87] III. 5.

[88] III. 9, 10.

[89] Lamprid. Vita Alex. Sev. c. 45. Paris edit.

[90] Cyprian, Epis. 52.

[91] Ammian. Marcell. lib. xxvii. c. 3. Socrat. lib. iv. c. 29. See a
multitude of evidence carefully collected on this subject in Bingham,
vol. i. b. iv. ch. 2.

[92] III. 15.

[93] Comp. in Act. Apost. Hom. iii. 5. “Men now aim at a bishopric like
any secular office. To win glory and honour among men we peril our
salvation.... Consuls and prefects do not enjoy such honour as he who
presides over the Church. Go to court, or to the houses of lords and
ladies, and whom do you find foremost there? no one is put before the

[94] III. c. 14.

[95] III. 16.

[96] III. 17.

[97] IV. c. 3-5 and c. 9.

[98] V. c. 1-4.

[99] V. c. 5.

[100] V. c. 6, 7.

[101] V. c. 8.

[102] VI. c. 1.

[103] VI. c. 4.

[104] VI. c. 6-8.

[105] VI. c. 12.

[106] VI. c. 13.

[107] Which is the date assigned by Socrates, vi. 3.

[108] As stated by Palladius, at least in the Latin translation by
Ambrose Camaldulensis.

[109] Zosimus, lib. iv. 13-15. Ammian. Marcell. xxix. c. i.

[110] In Act. Apost. Hom. 38, _in fine_.

[111] Cyril. Catech. x. n. 19. Athanas. Synopsis.

[112] Euseb. lib. vi. c. 11. Clemens Alex., Hom., Quis Dives salvetur?

[113] Vide Epiphan. 69. Hæres. n. i., whence it appears that Laura, or
Labra, was the name of an ecclesiastical district in Alexandria.

[114] Theod. Lector. II. l. c. col. 102-104.

[115] Jerome, Ep. 77, 5; Ambrose, de Virgin. i. 10, 11.

[116] Baron. 398, 49-52; Giesel. I. 251.

[117] Sozom. iii. 14; Sulp. Severus.

[118] At Stridon, on the frontiers of Pannonia and Dalmatia.

[119] Sozom. iii. 14. Palladius, Hist. Lausiaca, 38.

[120] In Matt. Hom. 8, p. 87.

[121] The custom of one monk reading the Scriptures aloud during
dinner was first adopted, according to Cassian, in the Cappadocian
monasteries.—Cass. lib. iv. c. 17; Sozom. iii. 14; Jerome’s translation
of the rule.

[122] But sometimes later.

[123] Hom. in Matt. 55, vol. vii. p. 545.

[124] Sozom. iii. 14, 15; Cassian., de Cœnob. Instit. iv. x. 22.

[125] Cod. Theod. ix. 40. 16.

[126] _Vide_ Müller de Antiq. Antioch. c. 3.

[127] Chrysost. in Matt. Hom. 69, vol. vii. p. 652.

[128] In Matt. Hom. 68, c. 3. When they received the Eucharist, which
they did twice a week, on Sundays and Saturdays, they threw off their
coats of skin, and loosened their girdles.—Sozom. iii. 14.

[129] In Matt. Hom. 68, c. 3; 69, c. 3; in 1 Tim. Hom. 14, c. 4, 5.

[130] In Matt. Hom. 72, vol. vii. p. 671.

[131] In 1 Tim. Hom. 14, c. 5.

[132] In Joh. Hom. 44, c. 1.

[133] De Compunct. i. c. 6.

[134] De Compunct. i. c. 1.

[135] C. 2.

[136] C. 3.

[137] C. 4, 5.

[138] C. 7.

[139] C. 8.

[140] C. 9.

[141] De Compunct. ii. 1-3.

[142] C. 5.

[143] ἔχθρα ἀκήρυκτος, lib. i. c. 5.

[144] Lib. i. c. 4.

[145] The word in the decree is “militare,” but this term appears to be
applied to civil duties as well as military. _Vide_ Suicer, _sub v._
στρατεύειν. The Egyptian monks, however, do seem to have been specially
forced into the army. De Broglie, v. 303; Gibbon, iv.; Milman, History
of Christianity, iii. 47.

[146] Adv. Oppug. Vitæ Mon., lib. i. c. 1-3.

[147] C. 4.

[148] C. 5-7.

[149] C. 8.

[150] Lib. ii. c. 1, 2.

[151] C. 2-5.

[152] C. 6-10.

[153] Lib. iii. c. 6.

[154] Compare similar remarks by Thucydides, book iii., in his account
of the Corcyræan sedition, on the misapplication of names to vices.

[155] Lib. iii. c. 6, 7.

[156] C. 8, 9.

[157] Lib. iii. c. 14, 15.

[158] C. 18, 19.

[159] Pallad. Dial. c. v.

[160] Ad Stag. a Dæm. vex., vol. i. lib. i. c. 1.

[161] Ibid. lib. ii. c. 1.

[162] Ad Stag., vol. i. lib. ii. c. 1.

[163] Ibid. c. 5-9.

[164] See _ante_, Chapter II.

[165] See preface to his Orat. xliii.

[166] The bishops of Egypt and the West generally adhered to Paulinus,
Sozom. vii. 11, till by the united efforts of Chrysostom and Theophilus
the universal acknowledgment of Flavian was obtained in A.D. 398.

[167] So Jerome, Ep. xxvii.

[168] Conc. Nic., can. 18. (Hefele, p. 426.)

[169] Tertull. de Bapt. cxvii. Jerome Dial. contr. Lucif.

[170] Chrysost. Hom. ii. in 2 Cor.

[171] Constit. Apost. lib. viii. c. 10.

[172] Constit. Apost. lib. ii. c. 57. Chrysost. Hom. xxiv. in Act.

[173] Constit. Apost. lib. ii. c. 31, 32. Cyprian, Ep. xlix.

[174] Conc. Nic., can. 18. (Hefele, p. 426.)

[175] Jerome, Epist. lxxxv. ad Evang.

[176] Chrysost. vol. ii. p. 591.

[177] Ibid. vol. vii. p. 762.

[178] Ibid. p. 629.

[179] Euseb. Vita Const. iii. 50. Chrysost. vol. iii. p. 160 and vol.
xi. p. 78. _Vide_ also Müller de Antiq. Antioch., p. 103.

[180] This description of Antioch is mainly collected from Müller’s
admirable and exhaustive work on the Antiquities of Antioch, or from
the authorities referred to therein.

[181] See Socrates vi. 1, and Montfaucon’s preface to “De Sacerdotio.”

[182] Ad vid. jun. c. 5.

[183] C. 4.

[184] Ad vid. jun., c. 3.

[185] C. 4. Executed in 371 in the reign of Valentinian, Valens, and
Gratian; Ammian. Marcell. xxix. 1, who calls him a Gaul, not, as
Chrysostom, a Sicilian.

[186] Constans by Magnentius.

[187] Constantine the younger.

[188] Jovian.

[189] Gallus Cæsar by Constantius. The two who died natural deaths were
Constantine the Great and his son Constantius.

[190] The widow of Jovian, whose son Varronian was deprived of an eye.
See Gibbon, vol. iv. p. 222.

[191] Doubtful; possibly first wife of Valentinian I., divorced from
him and sent into exile.

[192] Constantia, wife of Gratian.

[193] Flacilla, wife of Theodosius. Compare this mournful list of
tragic deaths of sovereigns with the splendid passage in Shakespeare’s
Richard II.:—

“For Heaven’s sake let’s sit upon the ground, And tell sad stories of
the death of kings,” etc.

[194] De Virginitate, c. 15.

[195] C. 14-22.

[196] De Virginitate, c. 57.

[197] τὴν μάλιστα πάντων ἀγαπωμένην, c. 52.

[198] De Virginitate, c. 52.

[199] C. 62, 63.

[200] C. 66, 67.

[201] De Virginitate, c. 83.

[202] Gibbon, iv. p. 111.

[203] Strabo, p. 750.

[204] As Verus, Pescennius Niger, Macrinus, and Severus
Alexander.—Herodian, ii. 7, 8, v. 2, vi. 7.

[205] De S. Babyla, c. 14-16.

[206] Hom. in Matt. vol. vii. p. 762.

[207] To the establishment of parochial divisions with separate pastors
in Alexandria we have the direct testimony of Epiphanius, Hæres. 69;
Arian. c. 1. In Rome, however, and Constantinople, though the churches
were numerous, the clergy seem to have been more or less connected with
the mother Church.—_Vide_ Bingham, chap. viii. 5, book ix.

[208] μειρακίσκος εὐτελὴς καὶ ἀπεῤῥιμμένος—applied by rather a strong
rhetorical licence to a man forty years old.

[209] μηδέπω πρότερον. This seems to prove that he had not preached
during his diaconate.

[210] Ecclus. xv. 9.

[211] Hom. xi. in Act. Apost. _in fine_.

[212] Vol. ii. p. 515.

[213] C. 3.

[214] See the Monitum to these Homilies, vol. i. p. 699.

[215] See Newman’s Arians, chap. i. sect. i.

[216] Arius, in a letter to Eusebius, addresses him as συλλουκιανιστά,
“fellow Lucianist,” Theod. i. 5.

[217] I. c. 6, 7.

[218] C. 3.

[219] I. c. 4.

[220] II. c. 3, 4.

[221] II. c. 4, 5; III. 3, 4, 5, 6.

[222] IV. 4.

[223] V. 2, 3.

[224] VII. c. 3, 4.

[225] VII. c. 6, 7.

[226] III. c. 6.

[227] III. c. 6, _in fine_.

[228] IV. _in fine_.

[229] The colours represented the seasons, and according as one or
other was victorious a plentiful harvest or prosperous navigation was

[230] Contra Anom. vii. c. i.

[231] De Laz. vii. c. 1.

[232] De Anna, iv. 1.

[233] De Laz. vii. c. 1.

[234] It is a treatise, because too long for a homily, though mutilated
of its proper conclusion. It must belong to the first two years of his
priesthood, because it promises a more ample discussion of several
points, which promise we find redeemed in the homilies against the
Jews, and these homilies, again, can be proved, by internal evidence,
to have been delivered not later than A.D. 387. See Montfaucon’s
Monitum, vol. i. pp. 811 and 839.

[235] C. 1.

[236] See a singular parallel to this thought in the Emperor Napoleon
I.’s remarks on Christianity: “Table Talk and Opinions of Napoleon I.”

[237] C. 9.

[238] C. 9.

[239] C. 12.

[240] C. 13.

[241] C. 2.

[242] C. 2-5.

[243] C. 6.

[244] C. 7.

[245] C. 3.

[246] See Perowne, vol. i. _in loco_; Ps. lxxii. 6; and Delitzsch in
Isa. lx. 17.

[247] Milman’s History of the Jews, vol. ii. book xix.

[248] Basnage’s Hist. des Juifs, vi. 41. Newman’s Arians, ch. i. sect.

[249] V. _in fine_; robbers may possibly be used in a figurative sense.

[250] I. c. 7. They seem early to have claimed medical skill. When
Simon Ben Jochai went to Rome as ambassador, in the reign of Antoninus
Pius, to obtain the abrogation of persecuting edicts, he won the favour
of the Emperor by curing his sick daughter—Milman, ii. 443.

[251] II. 3; vii. _in initio_; i. c. 3, 4.

[252] I. c. 6.

[253] i. c. 7. So the idle youth of Rome turned for amusement into the
Synagogue. Horace, Sat. ix. 69.

[254] ἐπιγινώσκετε ἀλλήλους. i. 4. This admonition “Discern one
another” was uttered just at the close of the Missa Catechumenorum,
when all but the baptized had to depart.

[255] Newman’s Arians, ch. i. p. 16. Hefele, pp. 305, 306.

[256] In Jud. iii. c. 6, iv. c. 4.

[257] According to Theod. iii. 20, the Jews had ceased to offer
sacrifices by the reign of Julian, and when he inquired the reason,
said, because it was unlawful except on the site of the Temple; and
this was one chief reason why Julian commanded the Temple to be

[258] In Jud. v. c. 1.

[259] Ibid. c. 4-7.

[260] He punished the captives by cutting off their ears. It is
singular that there is no record of this rebellion in history.

[261] For a full relation of this singular event, see Milman’s Jews,
book xx.

[262] Hom. viii. 4, and _in fine_.

[263] Hom. de Anathemate, delivered soon after the discourses against
the Anomœans. See Monitum, vol. i. 944.

[264] The former chiefly in the Hom. de Philog. vol. i. 752; the latter
in the Hom. in Nat. Diem Christi, vol. ii. p. 552.

[265] De Beato Philog. vol. i. p. 753.

[266] In Nat. Christi, vol. ii. p. 560.

[267] De Bapt. Christi, c. 4.

[268] In Kalend. c. 2.

[269] In Ephes. Hom. vi. c. 4.

[270] Perhaps that convulsive twitching which we call “quick blood.”

[271] In Ephes. Hom. xii. c. 3. In Hom. viii. and xii. on 1 Cor. he
rebukes the heathenish ceremonies performed at the birth of a child.
One was, to give it that name which was attached to the candle that
burned longest out of a row of candles.

[272] He was executed at Carthage in A.D. 376.

[273] See Gibbon, c. xxvi. xxvii.

[274] Cod. Theod. xvi. 1, 2.

[275] Sozom. vii. c. 12; Gibbon, c. xxvii.; De Broglie, “L’Église et
l’Empire,” vi. p. 93.

[276] Cod. Theod. xvi. v. 7, lib. 1, 2.

[277] Cod. Theod. xvi. v. 10, lib. 7, 9. Sozomen informs us (vii. 22)
that Eugenius, the usurper, after the death of Valentinian II., was
persuaded by divinations to take up arms.

[278] Sozomen, vii. 15. Theod. v. 21.

[279] The most distinguished scholar, and orator, and one of the most
upright statesmen of his time—quæstor, prætor, and proconsul of Africa.

[280] Fragments of his speeches preserved in Mai’s collection, vol. i.

[281] Ambrose, Op. vol. ii. Ep. 18.

[282] Libanius: Pro templis non exscind. The oration was certainly not
spoken before the Emperor, and probably not even sent to him.

[283] Cod. Theod. xii. 104-115.

[284] Theodor. v. 19. A funeral oration on her and the infant was
pronounced by Gregory Nyssen, Op. vol. iii. pp. 515, 527, 533.

[285] Libanius, Or. 12, pp. 391-395.

[286] Probably the prætorium built in the reign of Constantine for
the Count of the East, who from that time resided in Antioch; _vide_
Müller, Antiq. Antioch., ii. 16.

[287] Liban. Or. 12, p. 395, and 21, p. 527. Theod. vii. 20. Sozom.
vii. 23. Zos. iv. 41.

[288] Chrys. Hom. de Stat. iii. 1; xxi. 1. Zosimus (iv. 41) sends
Libanius also to Constantinople, but this is a palpable error. There is
no trace of his having gone, either in his own Orations or in any other

[289] Socrat. vi. 5. The most common practice was for the preacher to
sit, the people to stand.

[290] Hom. ii. 2.

[291] iii. 6.

[292] iii. 1, 2.

[293] ii. 5.

[294] iii. 3.

[295] iii. 4, 5.

[296] xvi. 6.

[297] iii. 7.

[298] xiv. 1.

[299] v. 7.

[300] xx. 9. A passage in another homily on this subject is curious,
as proving that just the same jugglers’ feats were performed in
Antioch in the fourth century as at the fairs and races of the present
day:—“Persons pretended it was next to impossible to conquer an
inveterate habit: this was a paltry excuse, perseverance could conquer
any difficulty. To unlearn a habit of swearing could not be more
impossible than to acquire the art of throwing up swords, and catching
them by the handle, or balancing a pole on the forehead with two boys
at the top of it, or dancing on a tightrope.”—Hom. in Dom. Serv.

[301] iv. 1.

[302] iv. 2.

[303] v. 3. τὸ σῶμα τῇ ψυχῇ περίκειται καθάπερ ἱμάτιον. Comp.
Shakespeare: “When we have shuffled off this mortal coil.”

[304] v. 3.

[305] ix. 3, 4.

[306] x. 2, 4.

[307] xiii. 2.

[308] xii. 2.

[309] x. 3.

[310] xii. 2-4; xiii. 3. Comp. Aristotle’s distinction between
natural and conventional law or justice, Eth. v. 7.1: φυσικόν and
νομικόν δίκαιον. Compare also his description of προαίρεσις as the
ἀρχὴ κινήσεως in b. iii., and of φρόνησις (nearly = Butler’s
“Conscience”) in b. vi.

[311] Comp. again what Aristotle says of the necessity of _training_ to
improve the _natural_ gifts, b. x. 9, and of the formation of _habits_
by repeated _acts_. Comp. Chrys. Hom. xiii. 3, with Arist. Eth. ii. 4,

[312] xiii. 4.

[313] xvi. 1.

[314] Liban. Or. 21, in Helleb. and 20, 517.

[315] Theodor. v. 20.

[316] xvii. 1, 2.

[317] Liban. Orat. 20. De Broglie, vi. 150, 151. Chrys. Hom. xvii. 2.

[318] xvii. 2. The colonnades, especially of the great street which ran
through the city from east to west; the περιπάτους or promenades were
lined by colonnades with seats.—_Vide_ Müller, Antiq. Ant. ii. 12.

[319] xvii. 2.

[320] xx. 5, and xviii. _in fine_.

[321] Liban. Or. 21, p. 536.

[322] xxi. 1.

[323] It was the custom to signalise the great festivals by acts of
mercy. “The oil of mercy glistens on the Festivals of the Church,” says
Ambrose, Serm. 14, on Ps. cxviii. 7. Leo the Great also, Serm. 39,
alludes to the custom. But, to prevent any abuse of the practice, it
was enacted by Theodosius in A.D. 384-385, that it should apply only
to those accused of petty offences: the grosser crimes of robbery,
adultery, magic, murder, sacrilege, were to be excepted from claims to
this indulgence.

[324] xxi. 1-4.

[325] xxi. 4.

[326] Hom. i. de Anna, vol. iv. c. 1, where he recapitulates the
arguments which he had used in the Homilies on the Statues.

[327] Hom. de Anna, i. 1.

[328] Called κυριακὴ τῆς ἐπισωζομένης, this last word being the name
of Ascension Day among the Cappadocians, possibly because Christ’s
work on earth for man’s redemption was completed by his return into
heaven. (_Vide_ Leo Allatius, quoted in Suicer, Thesaur., _sub verbo_
“Episozomene,” and Bingham, Antiq. b. xx. sect. 5.)

[329] Hom. de Stat. xix. 1, vol. ii.

[330] Euseb. de Vita Constant. lib. iv.

[331] Chrys. Hom. xl. in Juvent.

[332] Hom. de Cæmet. et Cruce, vol. ii. c. i. in Ascens. Christi, vol.
ii., and de Sanct. Martyr. vol. ii. p. 705. The Sunday corresponding to
the present Trinity Sunday was kept as a kind of All Saints’ Day. See
Bingham, b. xx. c. 7, sect. 14.

[333] Aug. Hom. xxvi. Gelas. Decret. in Grabe, vol. i. The word
“legend” is perhaps derived from these Acts of the Saints, which were
to be read—“legenda.”

[334] Adv. Judæos viii. c. 7.

[335] Hom. in Juvent. et Maxim. vol. ii. p. 576.

[336] De Bern. et Prosd. vol. ii. p. 640.

[337] See the letter in Euseb. lib. iv. c. 15.

[338] Aug. de Vera Relig. c. 55.

[339] Aug. contra Faustum, lib. xx. c. 21.

[340] De Droside, vol. ii. p. 685.

[341] Flavian caused the remains of some much-revered saints who were
buried beneath the pavement of the church to be taken up, and placed
in another separate grave, because the people were distressed that the
reliques of such venerated personages should repose in the same vaults
with the remains of less saintly, if not heretical, characters.—Hom. in

[342] De S. Babyla, c. 12. De Stat. i. 2, and viii. 2. Quod Christus
sit Deus, c. 7. De Stat. v. 1.

[343] In S. Ignat. Mart. c. 4.

[344] In Juvent. et Maxim. c. 1.

[345] Hom. in Martyres, vol. ii. p. 663.

[346] In Sanct. Jul. vol. ii. p. 673.

[347] Aug. cont. Faustum, lib. xx. c. 21.

[348] Aug. Confess. lib. vi. 2. Epist. 64, ad Aurel. Conc. Carth. iii.
c. 30.

[349] Basil. Regul. Major., quæst. 40.

[350] See Dr. Hessey’s Bampton Lectures, “on Sunday.”

[351] Whether it was a regular custom for the rustic population to
visit Antioch on this day, or whether it was the first great influx for
trade and legal business after the recent suspension of all business,
does not appear.

[352] Ambr. Ep. xx.

[353] Ambr. Ep. xx. p. 854.

[354] Sozomen, vii. 13. Ruf. ii. 16.

[355] Ambr. Ep. xxi. Sermo contra Aux. p. 868.

[356] Ignatius is said to have first introduced antiphonal singing at
Antioch, Flavian and Diodorus to have established it there; Socr. v. 8;
Theod. ii. 19. Basil refers to it as a common practice, but Ambrose is
generally allowed to have introduced it to the Western Church, and on
this occasion. _Vide_ Suicer.

[357] Aug. Conf. ix. 7, and preceding books.

[358] Ambr. Ep. xxi.

[359] Ambr. Ep. xxii. Aug. Conf. ix. 7.

[360] Ambr. Ep. xl. and xli.

[361] Cod. Theod. iv. v. 4, lib. 2. De Broglie, vi. 257.

[362] Sozom. vii. 25. Theod. v. 17. Ambr. Ep. li. De Broglie, vi. 302,

[363] Theod. v. 18. De Broglie, vi. 302 _et seq._

[364] Sozom. vii. 15. Socr. v. 15. Ambr. Ep. lvi. Theod. v. 23.

[365] Ambr. de ob. Val.

[366] Theod. v. 24. Socr. v. 25. Sozom. vii. 24. De Broglie, vi. 8.

[367] Ambr. Ep. lxi. lxii.

[368] Socr. v. 26. Sozom. vii. 29. Ambrosii Vita a Paul. scripta, de
obit. Theod.

[369] Of course I do not forget that the idea and name of Roman Emperor
and Roman Empire lived on for centuries more, but the elevation of
Charles the Great was a revolt against the old order of things. He can
hardly be regarded as a successor of Theodosius so truly as Theodosius
was a successor of Augustus.

[370] Claud. de Bello Gild. 293.

[371] Claud. in Ruf. i. v. 137.

[372] Philostorg. xi. 3. For much assistance in his notices of
Rufinus and Eutropius, the writer must pay his acknowledgments to the
admirable work by Amédée Thierry: “Les trois ministres des fils de
Théodose”—Rufin, Eutrope, Stilicon.

[373] Gibbon, iii. 67. Zosim. iv. 51.

[374] Claud. in Ruf. i. v. 220.

[375] See references in Thierry, p. 19.

[376] De Laud. Stil. ii. v. 379.

[377] “Noster Scipiades Stilicho.” De Consulat. Stilic. præf. v. 21.

[378] Claud. de Nupt. Honor. et Mariæ.

[379] Zosim. v. 3.

[380] Symmach. Ep. iv. 15 and 16.

[381] Possibly alluded to by Chrysostom in Hom. iv. de Penitentia,
c. 2, where he mentions “incursions of enemies” among other recent
calamities. These homilies were probably delivered in A.D. 395.

[382] Thierry, pp. 35-78. Claud. in Ruf. lib. ii.

[383] In Eutrop. i. v. 104, 105.

[384] “Contemptu jam liber erat.”—Claud. in Eutrop. i. v. 132.

[385] Claud. in Eutrop. i. v. 148, 149.

[386] Sozom. vii. 22.

[387] Philostorg. xi. 5.

[388] Claud. in Eutrop. i. 427, etc.; ii. 97, etc.

[389] Thierry, pp. 97-126. Zosim. v. 5. Claud. in Eutrop. ii.

[390] Zosim. v. 8, 9, 12.

[391] Sozom. viii. 7.

[392] Claud. in Eutrop. i. 235, etc.

[393] Synes. de Regno, p. 16.

[394] Claud. in Eutrop. ii. 95. Thierry, p. 162, etc.

[395] Socr. vi. 2.

[396] See Chrysostom’s own remarks in De Sacerdotio, lib. iii., cited
above in Ch. iv., and in Act. Apost. Hom. iii. 5.

[397] Epist. xxi. ad Valerium.

[398] Socrat. vi. 2. Sozom. viii. 2.

[399] Lib. iii. c. 15, 17.

[400] Pallad. Dial. c. 5.

[401] Socr. vi. 2. Sozom. viii. 2. Pallad. Dial.

[402] Socr. vi. 2. Sozom. viii. 2.

[403] Pallad. Dial. c. 5.

[404] Sozom. viii. 2. Pallad. Dial. 5.

[405] Socr. vi. 2.

[406] Bingham, b. ii. c. 11, sec. 8.

[407] The title Patriarch is occasionally used in the following pages,
although it does not appear to have been a formally recognised title
till fifty years later. Socrates (A.D. 440 about) uses it (_vide_
c. 8), but the first occurrence of it in any public document is in
the acts of the Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451, where it is applied
especially to Leo i. of Rome.—Can. 28. Labbé, vol. iv.

[408] Hom. xi. in Anom. vol. i. p. 795.

[409] De Sacerd. lib. vi. c. 6-8, quoted above, p. 53.

[410] Soc. vi. 3. Sozom. viii. 9.

[411] Pallad. Dial. c. v. p. 20.

[412] Lib. xxvii. c. 3.

[413] Epist. ii. ad Nepotianum.

[414] Pallad. Dial. c. v. and xii.

[415] See Hefele, p. 131, and on the date of this synod.

[416] Stanley, Eastern Church, lecture v. Socr. i. 11. Sozom. i.
23. The truth of the story has been disputed, but apparently on
insufficient grounds. _Vide_ Hefele, p. 436.

[417] Can. 3. Hefele, p. 379.

[418] Jerome, Ep. xxii. ad Eustoch. Epiphan. Hær. 63.

[419] See references in Bingham, b. vi. c. ii. 13.

[420] Contra eos, etc., vol. i. p. 495.

[421] Ibid. c. 3, 4.

[422] Ibid. c. 7.

[423] Contra eos, etc., c. 9.

[424] Ibid. c. 10.

[425] Ibid. c. 10.

[426] Socr. vi. 4.

[427] Vol. xii. p. 468.

[428] Vol. xii. p. 485.

[429] Contra Lud. et Theat. vol. vi. p. 269, _in fine_.

[430] Ibid. c. 1.

[431] Contra Lud. et Theat. c. 2.

[432] From this and what follows it would appear that communicants went
within the rails to receive, and close to the altar. This was the most
primitive custom. Sometimes the recipients stood; _vide_ passages cited
in Bingham, b. viii. ch. 6, sec. 7.

[433] Vol. xii. Hom. ix.

[434] In Coloss. Hom. vii., vol. xi. p. 350.

[435] Hom. xviii. in Genes., vol. iv. p. 150.

[436] The use of silk seems from its first introduction into the
Empire to have been regarded as the _ne plus ultra_ of luxury. It
was condemned by Pliny, vi. 20, xi. 21. Elagabalus was the first
_man_ as well as the first Emperor who ventured to wear a material
hitherto confined to female dress. See Gibbon, vol. vii. c. 40, and his
interesting account of the introduction of silk-worms from China to
Constantinople by some Persian monks in the reign of Justinian.

[437] In Matt. Hom. xlix., vol. vii. p. 501

[438] In Psalm. xlviii., vol. v. p. 514.

[439] Hom. i. de Lazaro, c. 8.

[440] In Gen. Hom. xli., p. 382.

[441] In Joan. Hom. lxii., p. 340, and Hom. lxix., p. 380.

[442] In Act. Apost. p. 147 _et seq._

[443] Hom. xx. in Act. Apost. p. 162. This set of fifty-five Homilies
on the Acts of the Apostles, of which much use is made in this chapter,
was delivered in A.D. 400, between Easter and Whitsuntide, in which
interval it was customary to read through the Acts in the Lessons for
the day: _vide_ Bingham, vol. iv. These homilies are among the least
polished of Chrysostom’s productions. Erasmus, who translated them into
Latin, was thoroughly disappointed and out of humour with them, and
even doubts their authenticity. In a letter to Tonstal, Bp. of Durham,
he declares that he could have written better matter himself even when
“ebrius ac stertens.” But most persons familiar with Chrysostom’s
productions will agree with Montfaucon and Savile that these homilies
could have flowed only from that golden vein, though the ore is not
so much refined as usual, and that some passages are in his very best
style. None of his homilies, except those on the Statues and St.
Matthew, contain more curious revelations of the manners and customs of
the age.

[444] In Act. Apost. pp. 74 and 98.

[445] In Act. Apost. p. 256.

[446] See Villari’s Life of Savonarola, b. i. c. 3.

[447] In Act. Apost. p. 191.

[448] Hom. in Inscrip. Altaris, i. _in initio_.

[449] In Act. Apost. pp. 189, 190.

[450] Vol. xii. Hom. vi. adv. Cath. pp. 143 and 491.

[451] Vol. xii. Hom. i., “Quod frequenter,” etc. Socrates, vi. 22. If
we may estimate the man from the account by Socrates, his admirer, who
relates a number of his so-called witticisms, the book is no great loss.

[452] Greg. de Vita sua, pp. 585-1097. Orat. xxii., xxvii., xxxii.

[453] _Vide_ Gibbon, v. p. 30.

[454] Socrates, vi. 8. _Vide_ Dean Stanley, Eastern Church, pp. 131,
132, for specimens of these Thalia; _e.g._ one commences, “Where are
those who say that the Three are but one power?”

[455] Sozom. viii. 3. Socrat. v. 15.

[456] Epist. xiv. vol. iii.

[457] Vol. xii. Hom. viii.

[458] Theod. v. 30.

[459] Epist. xiv. and ccvii.

[460] Theod. v. 29. Tillemont, xi. p. 155.

[461] Marc. Diac. ap. Baron, an. 401, 49.

[462] Vol. xii. 471. The titles “mother of churches,” “nurse of monks,”
“staff of the poor,” etc., were not bestowed till after his return
from his first exile, vol. iii. p. 446. M. Thierry has erroneously
introduced them into this earlier stage of his life.

[463] Claud. in Eutrop. lib. i. The pathetic appeal is by Claudian
put into the mouth of an allegorical impersonation of the city.
Claudian was the intimate friend and companion of Stilicho, and may not
improbably have assisted at this audience. He is a valuable guide to
the history of this period, and especially as an indicator of public
opinion on the great events of his day.

[464] Gibbon, vol. v. p. 361. Claudian, De Consul. Mall. Theod.

[465] In Eutrop. ii. 39, 136.

[466] Claud. in Eutrop. ii. 187 _et seq._

[467] In Eutrop. ii. 377.

[468] The above account is taken from Zosimus, lib. v.; Claudian in
Eutrop. ii. Thierry, “Trois Ministres; Eutrope.”

[469] Zosim. v. 17.

[470] Claud. in Eutr. ii. 474 and 534, etc.

[471] Philostorg. xi. 6. Zosim. v. 18.

[472] Stanley, (Appendix,) “Memorials of Westminster.”

[473] Cod. Theod. lib. ix. tit. 45.

[474] Ibid.

[475] The altar was sometimes called ἄσυλος τράπεζα (Synesius, Ep.

[476] Claud. Prolog. in Eutrop. ii. 25. Chrysost. in Eutrop., c. 3.
vol. iii.

[477] Chrysost. in Eutrop. c. 2.

[478] De Capto Eutrop. vol. iii.

[479] In Eutrop. i.

[480] De Capto Eutrop. c. 4.

[481] In Eutrop. c. 3.

[482] Socrat. vi. 5.

[483] In Eutrop. c. 1.

[484] In Eutrop. c. 2-4.

[485] Zosimus, v. 18, ἐξαρπάσαντες.

[486] De Capto Eutrop. c. 1.

[487] Zosim. v. 18.

[488] Zosim. v. 18. Cod. Theod. ix. 40, 17. Philostorg. xi. 6.

[489] Zosim. v. 18.

[490] Zosim. v. 18. Socrat. vi. 6. Sozom. viii. 4.

[491] Hom. cum Saturn. et Aurel. vol. iii.

[492] Socr. vi. 6. Sozom. viii. 4. Theod. v. 31.

[493] Sozom. viii. 4. Theod. v. 32.

[494] Nili Mon. Epist. i. 70, 79, 114, 116, 205, 206, 286.

[495] Sozom. viii. 4. Socr. vi. 6. Theod. v. 32.

[496] Sozom. viii. 4. Socr. vi. 6. Zosim. v. 19.

[497] Eunap. Sard. Fragm. 60. Sozom. viii. 4.

[498] _Vide_ c. 21.

[499] Sozom. viii. 4. Socr. vi. 6.

[500] The Alexandrian Chronicle is precise in fixing Dec. 23, A.D. 400,
as the date of his defeat on the Hellespont, and Jan. 3, A.D. 401,
as the day on which his head was brought into Constantinople. This
certainly leaves a very insufficient interval for the events recorded
in Zosimus.

[501] _Vide_ c. 33.

[502] Palladius, author of the Dialogue prefixed to Migne’s edition
of Chrysostom’s works. On the debated question whether this Palladius
was the same Bishop of Hellenopolis who wrote the Lausiaca, _vide_
Tillemont, xi. “Vie de Pallade.”

[503] There was in fact what might be called a floating synod of this
kind always in existence in Constantinople; the Patriarch being _ex
officio_ President.—Tillemont, xv. 703, 704.

[504] We are in the summer of A.D. 400, and the capture and death of
Gaïnas occurred in Jan. A.D. 401.

[505] σοῦ τὴν τιμιότητα; sometimes we have ὁσιότητα, “your Holiness.”

[506] Pallad. Dial. c. 14 and 15.

[507] See, on this whole subject, Bingham, viii. 13. 6; and Robertson,
i. pp. 187 and 318, and the authorities there cited.

[508] Pallad. Dial. c. 14, 15. Sozomen (viii. 6) says that Chrysostom
deposed thirteen bishops of Asia, Lycia, and Phrygia. This is possible,
as the synod may have inquired into other simoniacal cases beyond the
original six.

[509] Sozom. viii. 6.

[510] Tillemont, xi. p. 170.

[511] Labbé, ii. p. 947. It must always be borne in mind that Diocese
was the name of the largest _civil_ division of the Roman Empire. Each
diocese contained several provinces, _e.g._ Thrace, six; Asia, ten;
Pontus, eleven. The whole Empire was divided into thirteen dioceses,
and about one hundred and twenty provinces. The Ecclesiastical
divisions followed more or less the plan of the civil. An archbishop
was bishop of the metropolis of a Province, a Patriarch of one or more

[512] Can. xxviii.; and Can. ix. Chalced. in Labbé, iv. pp. 769 and 798.

[513] Comp. Keble, Christian Year, for Easter Day:—

“Sundays by thee more glorious break, An Easter Day in every week.”

[514] Vol. iii. p. 421.

[515] Socrat. vi. 11. Sozom. viii. 10.

[516] Vol. iii. p. 424 _et seq._

[517] Pallad. Dial. c. 18, pp. 62 and 67.

[518] Socrat. vi. 4.

[519] Sozom. viii. c. 9.

[520] Pallad. Dial. c. 19.

[521] Greg. Naz. Epp. lvii. lviii.

[522] Greg. Naz. Ep. lvii.

[523] Theophilus is said to have fallen down before her and kissed
her knees, an obeisance prompted by avaricious hopes on his part, and
repelled by genuine humility on hers.

[524] Pallad. Dial. c. 16, 17. Sozom. viii. 9.

[525] Pallad. Dial. c. 6. Tillemont xiv. p. 219 _seq._: ἐγὼ αὐτῷ ἀρτύω

[526] Pallad. Dial. c. 5, 6, 18, 19.

[527] Jerome in Ruf. lib. ii. c. 5. Ep. xxxi. p. 203.

[528] Tillemont, xi.: Vie de Theophile.

[529] Euseb. Hist. vi. 3, 19.

[530] Jerome declared that Origen had composed more books than most men
would find time to copy.—Epist. xxix.

[531] The Paschal Letter was a circular addressed to clergy and monks
throughout the diocese soon after the Epiphany; the primary object
was to announce the date of the first day of Lent and of Easter Day,
whence the name; but other matters were, as in the present instance,
frequently introduced. See Tillemont, xi. 462.

[532] Socrat. vi. 7. Sozom. viii. 11, 12.

[533] Jerome in Ruf. iii.; and Ep. lxi.

[534] In Ruf. iii. 33.

[535] The contest for precedence was eventually decided in favour of
Jerusalem. The see was made a Patriarchate in the reign of Theodosius
II., and its jurisdiction fixed to the three Palestines by the Council
of Chalcedon, A.D. 451.

[536] Jerome, Ep. xxxviii.

[537] Jerome, Ep. xxxviii.

[538] Jerome, Ep. cx.

[539] Ibid. Ep. xxxviii. and xxxix.

[540] Jerome, Ep. xxxviii.

[541] Ibid.

[542] Pallad. Lausiaca, p. 901. Tillemont, vol. xi.

[543] Pallad. Dial. c. 6. Other causes of the enmity of Theophilus
are mentioned by Socrates, vi. 9, and Sozomen, viii. 12, but not
incompatible with the account of Palladius.

[544] Socrat. vi. 7.

[545] Pasch. Epist. of Theoph. quoted in Tillemont, xi. p. 470. Pallad.
Dial. 6. Sozom. viii. 12.

[546] Sulpic. Sever. lib. i. c. 3.

[547] Pallad. Dial. c. 7.

[548] Sozom. viii. 13.

[549] Jer. Ep. lxx.

[550] Jer. Ep. lxxviii. in Ruf. Epp. lxvii. lxxiii.

[551] Socrat. vi. 9. Sozom. viii. 14.

[552] Socrat. (vi. c. 13) says that the writings only of Origen, not
the man himself, were condemned.

[553] Ep. lxxviii.

[554] Pallad. Dial. c. 8.

[555] Sozom. viii. 13. Pallad. Dial. c. 8.

[556] Ep. xvi.

[557] Socrat. vi. c. 12.

[558] Socrat. vi 12. Sozom. viii. 14.

[559] Sozom. viii. 14 and 26.

[560] Socrat. vi. 14.

[561] Sozom. viii. 14.

[562] Sozom. c. 15.

[563] Socrat. vi. 15. Sozom. viii. 15.

[564] Socrat. vi. 15. Sozom. viii. 16.

[565] Pallad. Dial. c. 2 (Epist. of Chrys. to Innocent), and c. 8.

[566] See Tillemont, vol. xi. ch. 71.

[567] _Vide_ ante, Ch. XIII.

[568] So Palladius, c. 8, on the whole the most trustworthy authority.
Photius, Biblioth. (c. 59), says there were forty-five.

[569] The language is not very clear in this passage, but such is, I
conceive, the drift of it.—c. 8.

[570] This must have been a slight exaggeration, but the members do
seem to have been mainly Egyptian.

[571] Pallad. Dial. c. 8.

[572] Phot. c. 59. Chrys. Ep. 125 ad Cyr., where he indignantly repels
the charge:—“had he done so, might his name be blotted out from the
roll of bishops;” but at the same time he deprecates the treatment of
such an offence (had it been committed) with extreme severity: for had
not our Lord Himself instituted that holy feast, and had not St. Paul
baptized without previously fasting? Chrysostom shrinks in horror from
the supposition of such a gross violation of ecclesiastical rule as
the act in his case would have been, but refuses to place it on the
same footing with the commission of a flagrant moral crime, or direct
disobedience to any command of Christ. There are, however, some doubts
whether this letter is genuine. See _infra_, p. 317, and note.

[573] Pallad. Dial. 8. Socr. vi. 15. Soz. viii. 17.

[574] Tillemont, vol. xi.

[575] It contains the celebrated passage: “Herodias again dances and
demands the head of John;” which recurs as the exordium of another and
spurious homily (vol. viii. p. 485), and also an indignant repudiation
of the offence of administering baptism after eating.—vol. iii. 427.
Socrates, vi. 16. Sozom. viii. 17, 18.

[576] The authenticity of which has been questioned. The style is
perhaps not quite worthy of Chrysostom; but in one of his sermons after
his return from exile he apparently alludes to some quotations from Job
made in this discourse.

[577] More strictly speaking, “the Hieron,” “the sacred spot” where
the Argonauts were supposed to have offered sacrifice to Zeus on their
return from Colchis.

[578] Sozom. viii. 18, 19. Socrat. vi. 16, 17. Zosim. v. 23.

[579] Theod. v. 34. Chrys. vol. iii. p. 446.

[580] Socr. vi. 16. Soz. viii. 18. Chrys. Ep. ad Innoc. in Dial. Pall.
p. 10.

[581] It appears from subsequent events that Theophilus had not yet
actually quitted Constantinople, but he and his partisans had retired
for the time discomfited from the field of active opposition; and
this would justify the language of Chrysostom, who is speaking under

[582] Sermones 1 and 2, post red. ab exsil. vol. iii.

[583] Socrat. vi. 17. Sozom. viii. 19.

[584] Ep. ad Innoc. in Pallad. Dial. p. 10.

[585] As distinguished from the Forum of Constantine, which was
elliptical in shape.

[586] Cod. Theod. vi. 102.

[587] The celebrated exordium of a homily supposed to be directed
against Eudoxia—“Again Herodias rages, again she demands the head of
John”—if actually spoken with reference to John the Baptist, may easily
have been represented by the malevolent as aimed at the Empress. But
the whole homily has been pronounced spurious by Savile and Montfaucon,
and on perusal of it their verdict seems reasonable. The discourse
is the production of a thorough misogynist, describing with much
coarseness and acrimony the misery and trouble caused by the wickedness
of women. Most will agree with Savile, that it is “scarcely worth
reading, and quite unworthy emendation.”—Vol. viii. p. 485.

[588] Pallad. Dial. c. 9.

[589] Sozom. viii. 20. Socrat. vi. 18. Pallad. Dial. c. 9.

[590] Pallad. Dial. c. 9.

[591] Pallad. Dial. c. 9.

[592] Pallad. Dial. c. 9. Chrysostom (Ep. ad Innoc. vol. iii.) speaks
of more than forty friendly bishops.

[593] Vol. iii. p. 533.

[594] Pallad. Dial. c. 9.

[595] Pallad. Dial. c. 9. Sozom. viii. 21.

[596] Pallad. Dial. 10. Sozom. viii. 21, 22. Socrat. vi. 18.

[597] Pallad. Dial. c. 10.

[598] Pallad. Dial. c. 10. Zosim. v. 24. Sozom. viii. 2.

[599] Pallad. Dial. c. 11.

[600] Ep. ad Episcop. vol. iii. pp. 541 and 673.

[601] C. 11.

[602] Epist. cxxv.

[603] Epist. ccxii.

[604] Sozom. viii. 24. Pallad. Dial. c. 20.

[605] Epist. ad Olymp. vi.

[606] Epp. xciv. and civ.

[607] Pallad. Dial. cc. 1, 2, 3.

[608] Ep. cxiii.

[609] Epp. clxviii. clxix. _et aliæ_.

[610] Pallad. Dial. c. 3.

[611] Sozom. viii. 26.

[612] One previous letter we possess in Chrys. vol. iii. p. 539, in
which he expresses his horror at the late outrages in the Church of St.
Sophia, and at the gross violation of justice and law in the recent
so-called trial of Chrysostom.

[613] Pallad. Dial. c. 4.

[614] Nilus, 2 Epp. cclxv. and cclxxix. Sozom. viii. 25.

[615] Pallad. Dial. 20.

[616] Sozom. viii. 27. Pallad. Dial. 20.

[617] Ep. ad eos qui scandalizati sunt, c. 19.

[618] Pallad. Dial. cc. 15 and 16.

[619] Theod. v. 34.

[620] Epp. x. xi.

[621] Ep. xiii.

[622] Epp. cxx. cxxi.

[623] Ep. cxxv. _in fine_.

[624] Ep. ccxxi.

[625] Ep. viii.

[626] Ep. xiv.

[627] Epp. xiii. lxxxiv.

[628] Ep. cxxv.

[629] Ep. ccxxxiv.

[630] Epp. ccxxxiv. ccxxxvi. It is not mentioned in Pliny or Ptolemy,
but appears in the Itinerary of Antonine as Cocusus (pp. 10, 13).
It stood at the confluence of several roads, but apparently not
high-roads, one of which connected Antioch with Asia Minor.

[631] Ep. cxxv. _in fine_.

[632] Ep. xiii.

[633] Epp. xiii. xiv. ccxxxiv.

[634] Vol. iii. p. 549 _et seq._

[635] Ep. ii. c. 10.

[636] _e.g._ Epp. lxxxviii. lxxxix. _et aliæ_.

[637] Ep. cxxiv.

[638] Ep. cxxxii.

[639] Ep. cxlvii.

[640] Epp. cxxx. ccxxii.

[641] Epp. l. li. lxi. _et aliæ_.

[642] There seems no doubt that Maruthas was an able and active
missionary bishop. Socrates (vii. 8) tells strange stories of his
skill in exposing some tricks of the magi, by which they attempted to
prejudice the Persian king Isdigerdes against Christianity.

[643] Ep. ccx.

[644] Ep. ccxii.

[645] Ep. ccxvii.

[646] Ep. cciv.

[647] As appears from an edict dated August 29, addressed to Studius,
Prefect of Constantinople.—Cod. Theod. vol. ii. p. 16.

[648] Ep. cxiv.

[649] Tillemont, xi. 274.

[650] Vol. v. ch. xxxii.

[651] Ep. vi.

[652] Epp. cxl. cxlvi.

[653] Epp. liii. liv.

[654] Epp. cxxiii. cxxvi.

[655] Photius, p. 1048.

[656] Epp. lxi. lxix. cxxvii. cxxxi.

[657] Ep. clvii.

[658] Ep. clv.

[659] Vol. iii. p. 535.

[660] Ep. cxlix.

[661] Aug. cont. Jul. p. 370.

[662] Ep. v.

[663] Pallad. Dial. pp. 38, 39, who says that they came out of Syria,
Cilicia, and Armenia: but how could this be if it took three months to
convey Chrysostom from Cucusus to Comana?

[664] Tillemont, xi. 349.

[665] This is his day in the Calendar of the Eastern and Western Church.

[666] The Roman martyrology states that the remains of the saint were
afterwards translated to St. Peter’s, Rome, but the statement is not
supported by any trustworthy historical evidence.—Tillemont, xi. 352.

[667] I must acknowledge my obligations in the composition of
this chapter to the very useful and instructive work of Dr. Th.
Foerster, Berlin, entitled “Chrysostomus in seinem Verhältniss zur
Antiochenischen Schule.”—Gotha, 1869.

[668] In Rom. Hom. xiii. 2. 1 Cor. Hom. xiii. 3. In Phil. vii. 5.

[669] Hom. de Stat. xi. 2.

[670] In Genes. Hom. xxi. 2.

[671] Ibid. xvi. and xvii.

[672] In Rom. Hom. xii. 6.

[673] In Genes. Hom. xx. 3. In 1 Cor. Hom. ii. 2. In Matt. Hom. lix. 1,

[674] Comp. Jeremy Taylor, “On Original Sin,” ch. vi.: “A man is not
naturally sinful as he is naturally heavy, or upright, naturally apt
to weep and laugh; for these he is always and unavoidably.” Comp. also
Aristot. Eth. ii. c. 1.

[675] In Matt. Hom. xxviii. 3, and lviii. 3.

[676] In Heb. Hom. xii. 2 and 3.

[677] De Fato, Hom. iii.-vi. Comp. Jer. Taylor, Unum Necessar. ch. 6.
sec. 5.

[678] De Pœnit. Hom. i. 2; et ad Theod. lapsum.

[679] In Inscrip. Act. ii. 6.

[680] In Psalm. cxlii. 5.

[681] In Act. Hom. xli. 4.

[682] In Matt. xxxii.

[683] De Sanct. Babyla, vol. ii.

[684] In Johan. vol. viii. p. 482.

[685] In Hebr. Hom. v. i.

[686] Contra Julianum, bk. i. ed. Bened. p. 630; but I have failed to
find the passage in Chrysostom’s works.

[687] In Rom. Hom. x. 2.

[688] προτρεπτικὴ οὐ βιαστική in Johan. Hom. xlvii. 4; _et_ in Matt. H.
lxxx. 3.

[689] In 1 Cor. Hom. vii. 2. In Ephes. Hom. i. 2. In 1 Cor. Hom. ii. 2.

[690] In Rom. Hom. xvi. cc. 8, 9.

[691] In Genes. Hom. xlii. c. 1.

[692] In Johan. Hom. xviii. 3.

[693] In Heb. Hom. xii. c. 3.

[694] De Mac. i. 3.

[695] Ch. VIII.

[696] In Johan. Hom. iii. 2.

[697] In Heb. Hom. ii. c. 2.

[698] In Psal. li. Expos.

[699] In Heb. Hom. iv. 2, 3.

[700] In Rom. Hom. xiii. 5.

[701] In Phil. Hom. vii. c. 3.

[702] In Heb. Hom. iii., Hom. iv. c. iii. In Philog. Beat. In Johan.
Hom. xlviii. c. i.

[703] In Matt. Hom. iii.; Expos. in Ps. li.; in 1 Cor. Hom. xxiv. 4.

[704] De Resur. J. Chr. c. 3.

[705] De Bapt. Christi, c. 3.

[706] De Cœmet. et Cruce, i.

[707] De Cœmet. et Cruce, 3. See also in Ephes. Hom. xx.; and esp. In
Ascens. J. Chr. c. 2.

[708] De Verb. Apost. vol. iii. p. 276.

[709] In Johan. Hom. xxxiii. c. 1.

[710] In Rom. Hom. viii. c. 5.

[711] In Gen. Hom. v. c. 1.

[712] In Ephes. Hom. iv. c. 2.

[713] In Gen. Hom. xxxi. 2.

[714] De Pœnit. Hom. viii. 2.

[715] Cont. Anom. vii. 7.

[716] De Anna, iv. 5.

[717] Ibid. ii. 2.

[718] Ad illum. Catech. i. c. 3.

[719] De Mut. Nom. iv. _in fine_.

[720] Ad ilium. Catech. i. 3.

[721] Ibid. ii. 3.

[722] De Bapt. Chr. c. 3.

[723] In Gen. Hom. xl. c. 4.

[724] De Bapt. J. Chr. c. 7.

[725] De Cœmet. et Cruce, _in fine_, vol. ii.

[726] De Prod. Jud. vol. ii. Hom. i. c. 6.

[727] In Eustath. Ant. vol. ii. p. 601.

[728] In Ep. ad. Hebr. Hom. xvii. c. 3.

[729] Hom. ii. De Stat. c. 9.

[730] De Nat. Christi, c. 7.

[731] De Stat. xi. c. 5. The authenticity of the letter to Cæsarius is
so doubtful that I have not ventured to introduce here the celebrated
passage which it contains on this subject. It will be found in the
Appendix, where the curious history of this letter is related.

[732] Eirenikon, part i. p. 112.

[733] De Laz. Hom. iv. 4.

[734] De Pœnit. Hom. iv. 4.

[735] De Pœnit. Hom. ix.

[736] See Dr. Pusey’s history of the cultus and its mischievous
effects, in Parts i. and ii. of the “Eirenikon.”

[737] In Johan. Hom. xxi. 2; and in Matt. Hom. xliv. 1.

[738] De Mundi Creat. vi. 10.

[739] _Vide_ Dr. Pusey, Eiren. i. p. 113: “We could preach whole
volumes of the sermons of St. Augustine or St. Chrysostom to our
people, to their edification and without offence: were a Roman Catholic
preacher to confine himself to their preaching, he would (as it has
been said among themselves) be regarded as ‘indevout towards Mary.’”

[740] In Ephes. Hom. iii. _in fine_.

[741] Vol. iii. p. 362.

[742] I have not thought it expedient to crowd the margin with
references to Chrysostom’s works for every one of the liturgical forms
above mentioned. They may nearly all be consulted in Bingham, book xv.,
who has collected them with great care. The fullest passages occur
in vol. ii. p. 345; iii. p. 104; x. pp. 200 and 527; xi. p. 323. The
so-called prayer of St. Chrysostom in our Prayer-Book is found in the
Liturgies of St. Basil and St. Chrysostom, but cannot certainly be
traced to either of those fathers. It was inserted at the end of the
Litany in 1544, and of the Daily Service in 1661.

[743] Vol. ii. pp. 17, 92, 522, _et passim_.

[744] Vol vi. 157.

[745] In Isai. v. 3, and vi.

[746] Ibid. vii. 6.

[747] In Is. vii. c. i.

[748] In Ephes. Hom. x. 1.

[749] De Verb. Apost. vol. iii. p. 282.

[750] In Matt. Hom. i. 2.

[751] In Galat. i. 6.

[752] In Matt. i. _et_ in Johan. i.

[753] In Rom. Hom. xxxi. 1.

[754] In Psalm xliv.; in 1 Cor. Hom. xxix. 1.

[755] _Vide_ Tillemont, xi. p. 37.

[756] Socrat. vi. 4.

[757] Suidas; _vide_ verb. Johannes.

[758] Cont. Anom. Hom. iv.

[759] De Sacerdot. iv. 6.

[760] Adv. Oppugn. Vit. Mon. iii. 2.

[761] Adv. Oppugn. Vit. Mon. ii. 4.

[762] De Pœnit. vi. 1.

[763] De Pœnit. ii. 1.

[764] In Johan. Hom. ii. 2, and vol. vii. 30.

[765] Vol. xi. p. 694.

[766] Vol. ix. p. 407. Comp. Jerome: “Quotusquisque nunc Aristotelem
legit? quanti Platonis vel libros novere, vel nomen? Vix in angulis
otiosi eos senes recolunt; rusticanos vero et piscatores nostros totus
orbis loquitur, universus mundus sonat.”—In Galat. iii.

[767] Alex. Knox, “Remains,” vol. iii. pp. 75-77.

[768] Jebb, “Pastoral Discourses,” ii.

[769] Milner, Hist. ii. p. 302.

[770] Dante, Parad. xii. 136.


  Ablavius, the prefect, grandfather of Olympias, 280.

  Acacius, bishop of Berœa, carries a petition to Rome, 237;
    a leader of the faction hostile to Chrysostom, 282;
    plots against Chrysostom after his recall, 329;
    undertakes the responsibility, with Antiochus, of the archbishop’s
      deposition, 332, 339;
    bribes Lucius to disperse the people at the Baths, 336;
    assists in ordaining Porphyry, 358.

  Acacius of Cæsarea preaches at Antioch, 19.

  Æmilius, a champion of Roman freedom, 242.

  Æmilius, bishop of Beneventum, one of the Italian deputation, 353.

  Aëtius, an extreme Arian, 109.

  Africa, Church of, maintains communion with Theophilus and Chrysostom,

  African Council, resolution of, wishing for intercourse between Rome
    and Alexandria, 385.

  Alaric, a royal Visigoth, 187;
    descends into Thrace and ravages the country round Constantinople,
    mock interview with Rufinus, 207;
    overruns Greece, 207;
    spreads devastation over Peloponnesus, 210;
    made commander-in-chief of the forces of the East, 210;
    efforts to gain Rome, 359.

  Alexander, governor at Antioch, 11.

  Alexander of Basilinopolis, a friend of Chrysostom, 329.

  Alexander Severus, Emperor, 46.

  Alexander succeeds Porphyry in the see of Antioch, 377;
    pays honour to Chrysostom, 388.

  Alexandria, vices of the Christian population of, 11;
    tumults at, 30;
    products of monks shipped to, 64;
    religious riots at, 65;
    parochial divisions, 103 _note_;
    sedition at, 151;
    order restored by Cynegius, 151;
    its mixed population, 195;
    flight of Theophilus to, 325.

  Alexandrian school, allegorical interpretations of, 28.

  Almsgiving, Chrysostom on the duty of, 228.

  Amantius, chamberlain of Eudoxia, 241.

  Ambrose, archbishop of Milan, 41 _note_;
    a layman when consecrated, 56;
    converts multitudes of women to celibacy, 61;
    sides with Theodosius, 142;
    reply to the appeal of Symmachus, 145, 146;
    prohibits feasts in the churches, 182;
    his character, 187;
    before the royal council, 187;
    refuses to surrender the Portian Basilica, 187;
    will not recognise the edict, 188;
    served with an order of banishment, but refuses to depart, 189;
    declines the proposal of arbitration, and remains master of the
      field, 190;
    his triumph, 190;
    mission to Maximus, 190;
    letter to Theodosius on his commanding the bishop of Callinicum
      to restore the Jewish synagogue, 192;
    sermon at Milan on the same subject, 192, 193;
    the Emperor succumbs, 193;
    mission to obtain clemency for the Thessalonians, 195;
    withdraws from Milan into the country, 196;
    exhorts the Emperor to deep repentance, 196;
    refuses Theodosius admittance to the cathedral, 196;
    repulses Rufinus the minister, 197;
    prescribes penance to the Emperor, 197;
    testimony of Theodosius to his nobility of character, 198;
    strife with Flavian, 199;
    receives the Emperor after his defeat of Arbogastes, 201;
    administers the Eucharist to Theodosius, 201;
    urges Nectarius to depose Gerontius, 273.

  Ammianus Marcellinus on the luxury of bishops of great cities, 217.

  Ammon, bishop of Laodicea, 266;
    a leader of Chrysostom’s enemies, 329.

  Ammonius, a Nitrian monk, baptizes Rufinus, 204;
    one of the “tall brethren,” 294;
    struck by Theophilus, 295;
    interview with Epiphanius, 305;
    his death, 316;
    prediction of persecution to the Church, 316;
    buried at “the Oak,” where he had baptized the minister Rufinus, 316;
    Theophilus weeps over his death and eulogises him, 316.

  Anastasius, Pope, anathematises Origen, 296.

  Anathematising denounced by Chrysostom, 133.

  Anchorites, the, 60.

  Ancyra in Phrygia, the summer retreat of Arcadius, 209;
    spectacle of the Emperor’s departure to, 211.

  Anomœan doctrine, 110, 111;
    Chrysostom’s homilies against, 115-117.

  Anthemius, master of the offices, appealed to, to disperse
      the congregation at the Baths, 336;
    refuses to interfere, but directs Lucius to exhort the people
      to return to the churches, 336;
    Chrysostom’s letter to, on his being made prefect and consul, 374.

  Anthropomorphites, or Humanisers, 288;
    denounced by John, bishop of Jerusalem, 290;
    Theophilus declares himself in their favour, 295.

  Anthusa, mother of Chrysostom, 9;
    a widow at twenty, 10;
    great love for her son, 10;
    abstains from marrying again, 11;
    appeals to Chrysostom not to enter into retirement, 25-27.

  Antioch, the birthplace of Chrysostom, 9;
    vices of its Christian inhabitants, 11;
    Chrysostom resident at, 57;
    persecutions at, 57, 58;
    St. Jerome at Church of, 61;
    monasteries near, 62, 63;
    monks in the mountainous heights near, 66;
    population of, 89;
    description of, 90, 91;
    “the great church” at, 91;
    character of the inhabitants, 92;
    bishop’s relations to the city, 103;
    Chrysostom appointed preacher at, 104;
    resides here ten years, 107;
    the cradle of Arianism, 109;
    passion of the people for chariot-races, 118;
    influence of the Jews, 126, 127;
    character of its population, 137;
    its paganism, 137;
    sedition at, 150;
    proclamation of edict levying the tribute, 151;
    sedition at, 150-153;
    dejection of the people, 153;
    arrival of the commissioners from the Emperor, 165;
    the city degraded, 165;
    Chrysostom remonstrates against the prevalent discontent, 168, 169;
    the city is pardoned, 170;
    joy of the people, 170;
    excitable feelings of the populace, 215;
    Chrysostom’s forcible removal from the city, 215.

  Antioch, Church of, vicissitudes in the, 17-22;
    the see in the hands of the Arians for some time, 17;
    its Arian bishops, 17-20;
    split into three parties, 20;
    its three rival bishops, Paulinus, Meletius, and Euzoius, 20;
    a fourth added by the Apollinarians, 20;
    the people favour Meletius, 21;
    the schism finally healed by Chrysostom, 21;
    its three sections of Meletians, Eustathians, and Arians, 133.

  Antioch, Council of (A.D. 341), Twelfth Canon of the, 328;
    swayed by Arian influence, 329;
    its object the harassment of Athanasius, 330;
    Chrysostom’s enemies stake their whole issue on its Twelfth Canon,
    question as to its validity, 330;
    its Canons pronounced by Innocent invalid, 351.

  Antiochus, bishop of Ptolemais, discourses at Constantinople, 276;
    a leader of the faction hostile to Chrysostom, 282;
    plots against the archbishop after his recall, 329;
    rage at the proposal of Elpidius, 331;
    undertakes the responsibility, with Acacius, of Chrysostom’s
      deposition, 332, 339;
    urges the Emperor to remove him from the city, 339;
    assists in ordaining Porphyry, 358.

  Antiochus Epiphanes, 91.

  Antiochus the Great, 126.

  Antiphonal singing, 189 _note_.

  Antoninus, bishop of Ephesus, grave charges against, 266;
    flatly denies the charges, 268;
    is alarmed when the archbishop proposes to visit Asia Minor, 268;
    his interest at court produces opposition to Chrysostom’s
      departure, 268;
    is reconciled to his accuser, 269;
    the farce of the inquiry, 269;
    his death, 270.

  Antonius, a reader, made bishop, 56.

  Antony, the Anchorite, 60;
    wholesome saying of, 64.

  Apollo, oracle of, at Daphne, 100.

  Apostolical constitutions, 56.

  Applause of the congregation, 118;
    sternly repressed, 164.

  Arabianus, bishop, at the assembly at Constantinople, 266.

  Arabissus, a fortified town near Cucusus, 383;
    attacked and nearly captured by Isaurians, 383.

  Arbogastes, Valentinian’s general of the forces, 199;
    his ambition and treachery, 200;
    repulses the first attack of Theodosius, 200;
    is overthrown, his army routed, and himself slain, 201;
    his children pardoned and baptized, 201.

  Arcadius, son of Theodosius, 150;
    Rufinus appointed his guardian, 203;
    does not oppose the ambition of Rufinus, 204;
    Eutropius gains complete mastery of his feeble mind after the death
      of Rufinus, 209;
    neglect of his empire, 210;
    becomes a mere puppet, 211;
    his palaces and pageants, 211;
    dismisses Eutropius, 248;
    promises Chrysostom to respect his minister’s retreat in the church,
    entreats the troops to refrain from violence towards Eutropius, 251;
    misgivings as to beheading his late minister, 255;
    yields to the demands of Gaïnas, 259;
    ratifies the deposition of Chrysostom by the “Synod of the Oak,” 316;
    refuses to attend church on Christmas Day until the archbishop has
      cleared himself, 329;
    the patriarch’s case pleaded before him, 330, 331;
    orders Chrysostom to be removed from the church to his palace, 332;
    his alarm, 332;
    sends for Acacius and Antiochus, 332;
    turns a deaf ear to the entreaty of the forty bishops, 333;
    permits a concourse of Christians at Pempton to be dispersed, 337.

  Archelaus invited Socrates to court, 76.

  Arian controversy, the, 17-22.

  Arianism, at Antioch, 109, 110;
    Chrysostom’s homilies against, 110-117.

  Arians, the, 50;
    their danger to Christianity, 109;
    forbidden by Theodosius to hold assemblies, 142;
    stronghold of, at Constantinople, in the time of Gregory of Nazianzus,
    molest the peace in Chrysostom’s time, 236.

  Aristides, resistance of, to ambition, 95.

  Arius, probably instructed by Lucian, 109;
    his Thalia, 236.

  Arsacius elevated to the see of Constantinople, 344;
    his character, 344;
    persecution of the Johnites, 344;
    his death, 371.

  Ascension Day, Sunday before, 177 _note_.

  Ascetic life, commencement of, 24;
    relapse from, 31, 32.

  Asceticism considered the highest form of life, 82.

  Ascetics, youthful association of, 27;
    primitive, 59;
    called by Eusebius “earnest persons,” and by Clemens Alexandrinus
      “more elect than the elect,” 60.

  Asia, Church of, disgraceful state of the, 373.

  Asia Minor, Chrysostom desires to visit, 268;
    three delegates appointed to visit, 269;
    the Church of, needs a healing hand, 270;
    Chrysostom visits, 271;
    Theophilus travels through, seeking for disaffected bishops, 306.

  Asterius, count of the East, assists in removing Chrysostom from
    Antioch, 215.

  Aterbius, a pilgrim, applies himself to the detection of heresy at
      Jerusalem, 288;
    denounces John the bishop, Jerome, and Rufinus as Origenists, 289.

  Athanasius, archbishop of Alexandria, obscurity of the early years of,
    return to Alexandria from exile, 20;
    consecrated at an early age, 56;
    accompanied to Rome by monks, 61;
    the Twelfth Canon of the Council of Antioch aimed against, 329.

  Atticus, a presbyter, an opponent of Chrysostom, elected to the see of
      Constantinople during the archbishop’s banishment, 283, 356;
    obtains imperial rescripts against the clergy and laymen, 356;
    the Johnites refuse to hold communion with him, 388;
    admits the name of Chrysostom into the diptychs of the Church at
      Constantinople, 388.

  Augustine, St., 40;
    permits sitting during the reading of the Acts of the Saints, 178;
    on the honour due to saints and martyrs, 180;
    prohibits feasts in the churches, 182;
    traits of earlier life and baptism, 189;
    on the discharge of episcopal duties, 212;
    eulogium on Chrysostom, 385;
    comparison with Chrysostom, 430.

  Aurelian, prætorian prefect, presides over the suit instituted against
      Eutropius, 255;
    the Empress procures his elevation to the consulship, 256;
    his surrender demanded by Gaïnas, 257;
    insulted by Gaïnas, and afterwards delivered up, 257.

  Aurelius, bishop of Carthage, 182;
    receives a letter from Chrysostom, 385.

  Auxentius, the Arian bishop, 190.

  Avarice, denunciations of, 223, 224.

  Babylas, the martyr, Chrysostom’s book on, 92;
    his remains taken to the grove of Daphne, 101;
    removed hence by Julian, but afterwards brought back, 102.

  Basil, bishop of Raphanea, 14;
    his friendship with Chrysostom, 14;
    his line of life the “true philosophy,” _i.e._ monasticism, 15;
    project for a life of seclusion, 27;
    reluctance to be made a bishop, 40-42;
    remonstrates with Chrysostom, 42;
    parting from Chrysostom on his appointment to a bishopric, 54.

  Basil, bishop of Seleucia, 14.

  Basil (the Great), bishop of Cæsarea, 14;
    contends against the misconceptions of baptism, 16;
    sides with Theodosius, 142;
    reprobates trading near the “martyries,” 182;
    qualified admiration of Origen’s teachings, 287.

  Basiliscus, bishop of Comana, suffered martyrdom, 386;
    story of his appearing to Chrysostom, 387.

  Baths of Constantine, interrupted services carried on at, 334;
    people refuse to leave, 336;
    scenes of violence at, 336.

  Bautho, father of Eudoxia, 205.

  Benedict, St., 60;
    establishment of his monastery, 144.

  Benedictines of Camaldoli, 62.

  Bequests made by codicils renounced by Theodosius, 193.

  Bethlehem, Jerome’s monastic establishment at, 289.

  Bishops, mode of electing, 40, 46, 47;
    violence at elections of, 47, 48;
    age at which eligible for, 56, 57;
    laymen consecrated, 56;
    their high social position, 212;
    canvassing and bribery at their elections, 213;
    luxurious style of living, 217.

  Bithynia, Chrysostom conveyed to, 340.

  Bosporus, the, Chrysostom crosses, to intercede with Gaïnas, 257;
    a messenger sent across to seek for Chrysostom, 321;
    studded with boats on the patriarch’s return, 322;
    “the sea became a city,” 324;
    its waters crowded to welcome the reliques of Chrysostom, 388.

  Botheric, governor of Thessalonica, imprisons a favourite charioteer,
    refuses to release him, 195;
    is mortally wounded, 195.

  Briso, Eudoxia’s chamberlain, wounded in a street fray, 236;
    the bearer to Chrysostom of a letter from the Empress, 321;
    intercedes for Chrysostom, 361.

  Brison, bishop of Philippopolis, a leader of Chrysostom’s enemies, 329.

  British Isles, 112;
    reached by Christianity, 123;
    evangelised, 238.

  Cæsarea, pre-eminence of the see of, over that of Jerusalem, 292;
    Chrysostom arrives at, on his exile, 362;
    violent scenes at, 363.

  Cæsarius, Chrysostom’s letter to, 433, 434.

  Cæsarius, commissioner to Antioch, 165;
    goes to the Emperor to intercede for the people, 166;
    his arrival at Constantinople, 170;
    his errand anticipated, 171.

  Cæsarius of Arles made reader at the age of seven, 23.

  Caligula, destruction of Antioch in the reign of, 90.

  Callinicum, 191;
    its people destroy a Jewish synagogue, 191;
    the bishop commanded to restore the building, 192;
    Ambrose objects to this, and Theodosius gives way, 192, 193.

  Camillus, a champion of Roman freedom, 242.

  Capua, council of Western bishops at, 199.

  Carterius superintends the studies of youthful ascetics, 27.

  Carthage, Fourth Council of, 23.

  Cassianus, John, founder of a monastery at Marseilles, 61;
    his rules of the cloister, 61;
    remains a friend of Chrysostom, 279;
    custodian of the church treasury at Constantinople, 342;
    flies to Rome, 350.

  Castricia, 257;
    an enemy of Chrysostom, 282, 328.

  Catechumens, period of probation for, 15.

  Celibacy of the clergy, Chrysostom on, 95, 96;
    canons of the Council of Nice upon, 219;
    “the ancient tradition of the Church” concerning, 219.

  Chalcedon, Council of (A.D. 451), 14;
    the title of “Patriarch” first appears in its Acts, 216 _note_;
    extends the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, 274;
    grants him equal privileges with the Patriarch of Rome, 275;
    decides on the precedence of the see of Jerusalem over that of
      Cæsarea, 289 _note_.

  Chalcedon, “The Oak” a suburb of, where the synod hostile to
      Chrysostom was held, 204;
    a church, monastery, and palace built here by Rufinus, 309.

  Character, Eastern and Western, compared, 173.

  Chariot-races censured, 119, 224-226.

  Christian morals, Chrysostom on the state of, 70.

  Christian responsibilities, 231.

  Christian wife, portrait of a, 229.

  Christianity, recognised position of, 10;
    partially paganised, 11;
    “the philosophy” of, 15, 24;
    imperilled by corruption of morals and faith, 107;
    its progress, 123;
    recognition by the empire, 126;
    its humanising influence in a heartless age, 174.

  Christmas, observance of, 134, 136.

  Christmas Day, the Emperors attend divine service in state on, 329.

  Christ’s equality with the Father, 113-116;
    zealous defence of His pure divinity, 181, 182.

  Chromatius, bishop of Aquileia, sends a letter by the Italian
      deputation, 368;
    Chrysostom’s letters to, 334, 335, 384.

  Chrysostom, St. John: Probable date of his birth, 9.
    His birthplace Antioch in Syria, 9.
    His parents, 9.
    Father’s death, 10.
    Early training, 12.
    Destined for the legal profession, 12.
    Attendance at the lectures of Libanius, 12.
    Nascent powers of eloquence, 13.
    Appellation of Chrysostomos, or the “Golden Mouth,” 13, 427.
    Libanius praises his speech in honour of the Emperors, 13.
    Commences practice as a lawyer, 13.
    Disgust with a secular life, 14.
    Study of Holy Scripture, 14.
    Early friendship with Basil, bishop of Raphanea, 14.
    Forms acquaintance with Meletius, bishop of Antioch, 15.
    Delay in his baptism, 15;
      alleged cause for the delay, 21, 22.
    Baptized by Meletius, 22.
    Becomes for a time an enthusiastic ascetic, 22.
    His intense piety and love to God, 22.
    Ordained reader by Meletius, 23.
    Project for retiring into seclusion, 25.
    Frustrated by his mother’s entreaties, 25-27.
    Letters of exhortation to Theodore, 32-39.
    Reluctance to be consecrated a bishop, 40, 41.
    His “pious fraud,” 42.
    Dissension with Basil, 42, 43.
    Books on the priesthood, 40-55.
    Reasons for declining a bishopric, 53.
    Narrow escape from persecution, 58.
    Retirement into a monastery, 58.
    Exults at the growth of monasticism in Egypt, 62.
    Description of the daily life of the monks, 66, 67.
    Admiration for monastic communities, 67.
    Treatises composed during monastic life, 69.
    Epistle to Demetrius, 70, 71.
    Epistle to Stelechius, 71, 72.
    Treatise addressed “to the assailants of monastic life,” 73-80.
    Becomes an ardent ascetic, 82.
    Enters a cave near Antioch, 82.
    Breakdown of health, and abandonment of monastic life, 82.
    Returns to his home at Antioch, 82.
    Epistle to Stagirius, 82-85.
    Ordained a deacon by Meletius, 86.
    Congenial duties of the diaconate, 89.
    Treatise “On Virginity,” 92.
    Letter to a young widow, 92-95.
    Views on marriage and celibacy, 95-100.
    Treatise, “De S. Babyla contra Julianum et Gentiles,” 100-102.
    Ordained to the priesthood by Flavian, 103.

  Chrysostom, St. John, as preacher at Antioch: Inaugural discourse
      at Antioch, 104-106.
    Preaches at Antioch for ten years, 107.
    Sermon on bishop Meletius, 108.
    Homilies against Arians, 109-115.
    Profound acquaintance with Scripture, 116.
    All argument based upon Scripture, 117.
    Rebukes his hearers for their neglect of the celebration of the
        Eucharist, 117;
      for applauding his words, 118;
      and for their love of the circus, 118-120.
    Homilies against Pagans, 121-124.
    Occasional defects of interpretation of the Scriptures, 125.
    Homilies against Jews and Judaising Christians, 126-133.
    Homily against anathematising, 133.
    Sermon on Christmas Day, 134, 135.
    Indignation at riotous festivity, 136.
    Homily on New Year’s Day, 136, 137, 151.
    Rebukes gross and senseless superstitions, 137.
    Agrees with the Emperor Theodosius, 142.
    Immense efforts after the tumult at Antioch, 154.
    Encourages the people to hope for clemency, 154.

  Chrysostom, St. John, as preacher at Antioch: Homilies on the statues,
    Exhortations to repentance, 156;
      on this world’s wealth, 156, 157;
      on the method of keeping Lent, 157, 158;
      on fasting, 159;
      against rash oaths, 159;
      on death, 161;
      on the signs of a Creator, 162, 163.
    Similes from Nature, 163.
    Ethical doctrine, 163.
    Praise of the hermits for their courage, 166, 167.
    Expostulates with the people on their discontent, 169.
    Thanksgiving for the pardon of Antioch, 170.
    Describes the interview between Flavian and the Emperor, 171-174.
    His illness, 177, 184.
    Homilies on festivals of saints and martyrs, 177-183.
    Belief in the intercessory power of saints, 179.
    Exhorts the people to imitate the lives of the martyrs, 180.
    Homily on the Sunday before Ascension Day, 184.
    Praise of the peasant clergy, 184.
    Elected to the see of Constantinople, 214.
    Force and fraud employed to remove him from Antioch, 215.

  Chrysostom, St. John, as archbishop of Constantinople: Arrival at
      Constantinople, 215.
    His consecration as archbishop, 216.
    The “sermo enthronisticus,” 216.
    Too much the saint of the cloister for his new position, 217.
    His unpopular reforms, 218.
    Denounces “spiritual sisters,” and implores the clergy to liberate
      themselves from these disgraceful connections, 219-221.
    Exacts rigorous discipline from the clergy, 222.
    Conducts, with the Empress, a torch-light procession on the removal
      of some martyrs’ reliques, 222, 223.
    Eulogium on the Empress, 223.
    Denunciations of avarice, 224.
    Censures the people for their attachment to chariot-races, 224, 225.
    Denounces fashionable follies, 226-228.
    Portrays the character of a Christian wife, 229.
    Represents to property holders their duties, 230.
    Dilates on Christian responsibilities, 231.
    Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 231 _note_.
    Indignation at the practice of oath-taking, 231, 232.
    Censures addiction to the pleasures of the table, 232.
    Character of his flock, 233, 234.
    Combats the errors of the Novatians and Arians, 235, 236.
    Labours to heal the schism at Antioch, 237.
    Missionary efforts in Scythia, Syria, and Palestine, 237.
    Assigns a church at Constantinople for the Scythians (or Goths), 238.
    Endeavours to extirpate paganism, 238, 239.
    Affords protection to Eutropius, 250.
    Maintains, when taken before the Emperor, the Church’s right of
      asylum, 251.
    Sermon on the degradation of Eutropius, 252-254.
    Intercedes with Gaïnas, 257.
    Homily after returning from his intercession, 257, 258.
    Contest with Gaïnas, who desired the law prohibiting Arian worship
      within the city to be abolished, 280.
    Proposes to visit Asia Minor to investigate the charges against
      Antoninus, 268.
    His visit opposed by the court, 268.
    Appoints delegates to proceed to Asia, 269.
    Solicited by the clergy of Ephesus to come to them, 270.
    Proceeds to Ephesus, and is welcomed by the clergy and seventy
      bishops, 271.
    Proposes Heracleides as bishop of Ephesus, who is elected, 271.
    Holds a synod at Ephesus, and deprives six simoniacal bishops of
      their sees, 272.
    Returning through Bithynia, he deposes Gerontius, 273.
    Extent of his jurisdiction as Patriarch of Constantinople, 274.
    Received with demonstrations of joy on his return, 275.
    Dismisses Severian from the city, but recalls him by command of the
      Empress, 276, 277.
    Denounces crimes and follies, and becomes unpopular, 278.
    His friends, 279, 280.
    Leaders of the hostile faction, 282.
    Qualified admiration of Origen’s teaching, 287.
    Reception of the Nitrian monks, 298.
    Letter to Theophilus, beseeching him to be reconciled with the
      fugitives, 298.
    Refuses to join in the condemnation of Origen and his writings, 301.
    The plots of his enemies, 302.
    Farewell to Epiphanius, 319.
    Irritates the Empress by a sermon against the follies of fashionable
      ladies, 306.
    Theophilus refuses his hospitality, and declines all communication,
      307, 308.
    Directed by the court to preside at the inquiry at Pera into the
      conduct of Theophilus, 308.
    Declines to judge him out of his province, 308.
    Scene at the palace with his bishops, 310, 311.
    Summoned to appear before the “Synod of the Oak,” 311.
    Indignation of his bishops, and their reply to Theophilus, 312.
    Letter refusing to attend the synod until his declared enemies are
      ejected, 312, 313.
    Charges laid against him by archdeacon John and Isaac the monk, 313,
    Steadfastly refuses to attend the synod, and appeals to a general
      council, 315.
    Deposed by the synod, 316.
    Deposition ratified by the Emperor, and sentenced to banishment, 317.
    Sermon before departing, 317, 319.
    Bows to the storm, and surrenders himself, 320.
    Embarks, and is conveyed to Hieron, 320.
    Removes to Prænetum, opposite Nicomedia, 320.
    Receives an abject letter from the Empress, entreating him to return,
    Crosses the Bosporus, and refuses at first to enter Constantinople
      until acquitted by a general council, 322.
    Urged to enter the city, and consents, 322.
    Halts before the Church of the Apostles, but is borne in by the
      people, 322.
    Compelled to sit on the throne, and pronounce a benediction, 322.
    An extempore address, 322, 323.
    Sermon after recall, in which he extols the Empress, 324.
    Denounces the ceremony at the erection of the image of Eudoxia, 327.
    Incurs the resentment of the Empress, 328.
    Further plots of his enemies, 328.
    Continues to discharge his duties, 331.
    Will not cease to officiate unless compelled by force, 332.
    Removed from the church to his palace, 332.
    Letter to Innocent I. on the disturbances at Constantinople, 334, 335.
    His flock, after many trials, broken up, 338.
    Attempts made to assassinate him, 338.
    Receives the mandate of deposition, 339.
    Farewell to his bishops and deaconesses, 339.
    Departure from the Church—“the Angel of the Church went out with
      him,” 340.

  Chrysostom, St. John, in exile: Conveyed to the Bithynian coasts, 340.
    Suspected of incendiarism, and loaded with chains, 342.
    Implores the Emperor to be allowed to defend himself and clergy
      against the atrocious charges, 342, 343.
    Journeys to Nice, 343.
    Encourages his suffering friends, 343.
    Cheered by the fortitude and loyalty of Olympias, 346, 347.
    Persuades Pentadia to remain at Constantinople, to support the
      afflicted, 347.
    Letter to Constantius, missionary priest, 361.
    Travels from Nice to Cæsarea, where fanatical monks besiege the
      house in which he is lodged, 362, 363.
    Falls ill with fever, 362.
    Is removed from Cæsarea to the house of Seleucia, who is menaced by
      Pharetrius, 364.
    Taken thence, and totters in darkness along the Cappadocian
      mountains, 364.
    Monks and nuns meet him on the road, and bewail his calamities, 365.
    Cucusus, the place of his exile, is reached, 365.
    Received with much consideration and kindness, 366.
    Letters to Olympias from Cucusus, 367, 372.
    Letters to friendly bishops and laymen, to Gemellus, and to
      Anthemius, 373, 374.
    Receives old friends from Antioch, who come to him for guidance, 374.
    Letters to clergy and others, 376.
    Influence over the empire in his exile, 377, 378.
    Sufferings from the winter cold, 379.
    Interest in the mission in Phœnicia, 380.
    Letters to Gerontius and Rufinus the Presbyter, 380-382.
    Privation, anxiety, and rapid removals, bring on illness, 383.
    Letters to the Italian bishops, to Chromatius, to Innocent, and to
      Aurelius, 383-385.
    Suffers less, and thinks God will restore him to his position in the
      Church, 385, 386.
    His enemies get him removed to Pityus, in a desolate country, 386.
    Arrives at Comana, in Pontus, 386.
    Story of the vision of the martyred Basiliscus, 387.
    Wishes to remain at the church, but is hurried on by his guards, 387.
    Is taken ill, and brought back to the martyry, where he dies after
      partaking of the Eucharist, 387.
    Honoured after his death, 388.
    His reliques brought to Constantinople, and deposited in the Church
      of the Apostles, 388, 389.

  Chrysostom, St. John, theological teaching of: Survey of his
      theological teaching, 390.
    Practical character of his works, 391.
    His natural and forcible language, 391.
    On the nature of man, 392, 393.
    Sin and necessity, 393, 394.
    Free-will and grace, 394-396.
    God’s will and man’s freedom, 397, 398.
    Co-operation of God’s will with man’s, 398.
    Divine grace, 399, 400.
    Nature of the Godhead, 401, 402.
    Manhood and Godhead in Christ, 402-404.
    The Redemption, 404-406.
    Justification, 406, 407.
    Faith and good works, 407, 408.
    The efficacy of prayer, 408, 409.
    Baptism, 409-412.
    The Holy Eucharist, 412-415.
    No trace of confession, purgatory, or Mariolatry, 416-418.
    No acknowledgment of papal supremacy, 418, 419.
    Liturgical forms, 419-421.
    Character as a commentator, 421-424.
    The New Testament a completion of the Old, 424.
    Variations in the Gospel narratives, 424, 425.
    Inspiration of the Bible, 425.
    Characteristics as a preacher, 425, 426.
    Personal appearance, 425, 426.
    Preservation of his discourses, 427.
    Style of language, 428.
    Allusions to Greek classical authors, 428, 429.
    Depreciation of Pagan modes and ideas, 429.
    Compared with St. Augustine, 430.
    His fight in the cause of Christian holiness, 431.

  Church, the, Chrysostom does not rely on the tradition of, 117;
    its power and progress, 123, 124;
    claims pre-eminence over civil law, 192;
    tradition with regard to clerical celibacy, 219;
    custom concerning the preaching of strangers, 226;
    its stability, 318;
    its degradation, 359.

  Claudian, his verses on Stilicho, 205, 208;
    his appeal against the consulship of Eutropius, 242;
    companion of Stilicho, 242 _note_;
    sarcasm aimed at the adulation of the Byzantines, 243;
    dramatic account of Tribigild’s meeting with his wife, 244, 245;
    his description of Leo, 246.

  Claudius, Antioch shattered in the reign of, 90.

  Clemens Alexandrinus terms ascetics “more elect than the elect,” 60.

  Clergy, the, treatment of, by Constantine and Theodosius, 147;
    Jerome on their worldly hospitality, 217;
    exempted from curial office by Constantine, 272;
    those who were curiales forbidden to be ordained, 272.

  Cœnobia, the, founded by Pachomius, 60.

  Comana, in Pontus, Chrysostom arrives at, 386;
    dies at the martyry outside the town, 387.

  Commodus, the Olympic games instituted in the time of, 92, 101.

  Communicants received within the rails and close to the altar, 225
    and _note_.

  Congregation rebuked by Chrysostom, 117;
    its applause of Chrysostom’s words, 118;
    customary to stand while the preacher sat, 154 _note_.

  Conscience, the law of, 163.

  Constantia, sister of the Emperor, 17.

  Constantine favours the Arians, 17;
    deposes the Catholic bishops, 17;
    commences building “the great church” of Antioch, 91;
    statutes concerning the Jews, 126;
    exemptions of the clergy, 147;
    his forgiveness of an injury, 171, 172;
    right of asylum transferred in his time from Pagan temples to
      Christian churches, 249;
    exempted the clergy from curial office, 272.

  Constantinople, vices of the Christian population of, 11;
    Arian synod at, 18;
    tumults at, 30;
    St. Jerome at church of, 61;
    religious riots at, 65, 66;
    division into districts, 103;
    passion of the people for chariot-races, 118;
    edict of Theodosius, 142;
    surrounding country ravaged by Alaric, 207;
    competition for its see, 213;
    Chrysostom appointed archbishop, 214;
    mixture of population, 223;
    its forms of error, 234, 235;
    stronghold of Arianism in the time of Gregory of Nazianzus, 235;
    occupied by Gaïnas and the Goths, 259;
    circular to its clergy announcing Chrysostom’s deposition, 316;
    the people, enraged at the sentence, guard him against abduction, 317;
    the populace demand the restoration of the patriarch, 321;
    visited by an earthquake, 321;
    sanguinary frays in the streets, 325;
    flight of Theophilus from, 325;
    shocking tumult at St. Sophia on Easter Eve, 333;
    its churches deserted during Chrysostom’s absence, 334;
    the interrupted services continued at the Baths, 334;
    fresh scenes of violence, 336-338;
    fury of the people on discovering the removal of Chrysostom, 341;
    the cathedral-church and senate-house burnt down, 341, 342;
    visited by destructive hailstorms, 354;
    coercion ineffectual in bringing the people to submit to Atticus
      and his clergy, 357.

  Constantinople, Council of (A.D. 381), 14;
    presided over by Meletius, 21, 86;
    project for a general council after, 142;
    restricts the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Constantinople, 274;
    gave him first rank after the bishop of Rome, 274.

  Constantius, a missionary in Phœnicia, receives a letter from
    Chrysostom, 361.

  Constantius, a priest, described by Palladius, 357, 358;
    the people of Antioch desire to make him their bishop, 358;
    Porphyry procures his banishment, 358;
    escapes to Cyprus, 358;
    follows Chrysostom into exile, 366.

  Constantius, Emperor, 17;
    deposes Stephen, bishop of Antioch, 17;
    summons a general council, 18;
    orders the creed of Rimini to be signed, 18;
    visits Antioch, 19;
    finishes “the great church” at Antioch, 91;
    statutes concerning the Jews, 126.

  Cornelius, bishop of Rome, 47.

  Crates resists ambition, 95.

  Creator, signs of a, in the universe, 161, 162.

  Crito, 76.

  Cross, honour paid to the, 123.

  Cucusus, a village in the Tauric range, subject to attacks from
      Isaurians, 360;
    selected by Eudoxia as the place of Chrysostom’s exile, 361;
    arrival of the archbishop at, 365;
    ravaged by the Isaurians, 382.

  Cynegius, prefect of the East, 143;
    enforces the law against informers, 151;
    quells the sedition at Alexandria, 151.

  Cyprian on a legitimate ordination, 47;
    consecrated bishop when a layman, 56.

  Cyprus, Council of, decree of the, 299.

  Cyriacus, bishop of Synnada, accompanies Chrysostom on board the
      vessel, 340;
    detained in chains at Bithynia, 342;
    taken to Chalcedon, 342;
    dismissed, 342;
    a fugitive to Rome, 350;
    accompanies the Italian deputation, 353;
    confined in a Persian fortress, 355;
    intercedes for Chrysostom, 361.

  Cyril, successor of Theophilus, reluctant to recognise Chrysostom, 388.

  Cyrinus, bishop of Chalcedon, joins Chrysostom at Bithynia, 271;
    denounces the archbishop, 307;
    plots against him after his recall, 329;
    urges the Emperor to remove Chrysostom from Constantinople, 338, 339;
    his death, 307, 354.

  Damasus contests the see of Rome, 47.

  Damophilus exiled by Theodosius, 142.

  Dante, the position assigned in Paradise to Chrysostom by, 431.

  Daphne, grove of, 92;
    description of, 101;
    destruction of its temple, 102.

  Deacons, called “Levites of the Christian Church,” 87;
    duties of, 88;
    their peculiar office in the early Church, 88, 89.

  Death, Chrysostom on, 93, 161.

  Decious, persecution of, 60.

  Demetrius, bishop of Pessina, Chrysostom’s epistle to, 69-71;
    denounces the “Synod of the Oak,” and returns to Chrysostom, 315;
    accompanies the Italian deputation, 353;
    dies of harsh treatment when being conveyed to one of the Egyptian
      oases, 355.

  “De Sacerdotio,” Chrysostom’s, 40-46.

  Diocese, meaning of, 274 _note_.

  Diodorus, influence of, upon Chrysostom and Theodore, 27;
    founder of a method of Biblical interpretation, 28;
    made bishop of Tarsus by Meletius, 28;
    attacked by Julian, 28;
    commentary on the Old and New Testaments, 28, 29;
    his theology, 29-31;
    its rationalistic tendency, 30;
    writings condemned by the Fifth Œcumenical Council, 31;
    rational system of conducting monasteries, 66.

  Diogenes, 95.

  Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, 76.

  Dioscorus, a Nitrian monk, one of the “tall brethren,” 294;
    made bishop of Hermopolis by Theophilus, 294;
    a victim of the rage of Theophilus, 296;
    his death, 316.

  Dispensations, teaching of the Old and New, 99.

  Divination, arts of, 143.

  Domitianus, widows and virgins in the care of, 376.

  Domninus blinded to the preparations of Maximus, 191.

  Doxology, Arian form of the, 18.

  Easter Day, vast crowds attend the church on, 234, 331.

  Easter Eve, a great day for the baptism of converts, 332;
    the vigil on, interrupted at St. Sophia, 333.

  Easter kept according to Jewish calculation, 130;
    this practice condemned by the Council of Nice, 130;
    and denounced by Chrysostom, 130.

  Eastern Church, the, acknowledges Meletius as bishop of Antioch, 20;
    the parent of asceticism, 59;
    the festival of Christmas in, 134;
    favourable to clerical celibacy, 218;
    finds the teaching of Origen congenial, 287;
    the “Synod of the Oak” a stain upon, 313;
    appeals to the Western Church, 335, 348;
    not famed for missionary enterprise, 382;
    desire to maintain communion with the West, 388.

  Education in monasteries, Chrysostom urges the advantage of, 81.

  Elpidius, a priest, bribes a slave to assassinate Chrysostom, 338.

  Elpidius, bishop of Laodicea, friendly to Chrysostom, 329;
    his adroit proposal, 331;
    deposed and imprisoned for his attachment to Chrysostom, 377;
    the archbishop writes thanking him for his zeal, 377;
    restored to his see by Alexander, bishop of Antioch, 377.

  Elvira, synod of, enjoins celibacy of the clergy, 218.

  Emperors, fate of, 94;
    half idolatrous homage paid to, 326, 327;
    custom of attending church in state on Christmas Day, 329.

  Epaminondas not allured by ambition, 95.

  Ephesus, Chrysostom arrives at, 271;
    election of a bishop to the see of, 271;
    synod at, 271, 272;
    worship of Midas suppressed at, 274;
    its see occupied by a monster of iniquity, 357.

  Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia and Cyprus, 289;
    visits Jerusalem, and accepts the hospitality of Bishop John, 289;
    preaches against the doctrines of Origen, 290;
    leaves Jerusalem, and breaks off communion with its bishop, 290, 291;
    forcibly ordains Paulinian deacon and priest, 291;
    receives an apologetic letter from Theophilus, 299;
    goes to Constantinople, irregularly ordains a deacon, and refuses
      the hospitality of Chrysostom, 302, 303;
    his attempt to enter the church and denounce the writings of Origen
      prevented by Serapion, 304;
    his prayers implored by the Empress on her son’s behalf, 304;
    interview with Ammon and his brethren, 305;
    his compunction and departure from Constantinople, 305.

  Essenes, the, 59.

  Eucharist, congregation neglect the celebration of the, 117;
    Chrysostom censures irreverent conduct at, 135;
    character of some of its partakers, 233.

  Eucharistic elements burned at the pillage of the Nitrian monks, 297;
    profaned by soldiers at St. Sophia, 333.

  Eudoxia, 189;
    weds Arcadius, 206;
    baptized and educated in the Christian faith, 206;
    Chrysostom’s eulogium of, at the removal of the remains of some
      martyrs, 222, 223;
    aims at the fall of Eutropius, and makes an ally of Chrysostom,
    contributes to the support of the churches and the relief of the
      poor, 241;
    profound jealousy of the power of Eutropius, 248;
    relates the minister’s insults to her to Arcadius, 248;
    remains mistress of the field after the death of Eutropius, 256;
    stands unrivalled in the management of the empire, 263, 264;
    gives birth to a male heir to the throne, 264;
    proclaimed Empress under the title of Augusta, 264;
    commands Chrysostom to recall Severian and admit him to communion,
      276, 277;
    becomes the enemy of Chrysostom, 283, 284;
    accosted by the Nitrian monks, and promises that the council they
      desire shall be convened, 301;
    implores the prayers of the monks, 301;
    asks the prayers of Epiphanius on her son’s behalf, 304;
    terrified by an earthquake, 321;
    sends a humble letter to Chrysostom, entreating him to return, 321;
    her image placed in front of the cathedral, 327;
    ceremony at its erection denounced by Chrysostom, 327;
    her fierce resentment, 328;
    will not listen to the entreaty of the forty bishops, 333;
    receives a solemn warning from Paul, bishop of Crateia, 333;
    her death, 354.

  Eudoxius, bishop of Germanicia, seizes the see of Antioch, 18;
    made archbishop of Constantinople, 18.

  Eugenius’s children pardoned and baptized, 201.

  Eugraphia, 256;
    an enemy of Chrysostom, 283;
    her house the rendezvous of the disaffected, 283.

  Eulysius, bishop of Apamea, accompanies Chrysostom on board the vessel,
    detained in chains at Bithynia, 342;
    taken to Chalcedon, 342;
    dismissed, 342;
    a fugitive to Rome, 350;
    accompanies the Italian deputation, 353;
    imprisoned in Arabia, 355.

  Eunomians forbidden by Theodosius to hold meetings, 142.

  Eunomius, an extreme Arian, 109;
    founder of the Eunomian or Anomœan sect, 109.

  Euphronius, Arian bishop of Antioch, 17.

  Eusebius, a deacon, seeks an interview with Innocent I., 348.

  Eusebius, a Nitrian monk, one of the “tall brethren,” 294;
    made presbyter by Theophilus, 294.

  Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, instructed by Lucian, 109.

  Eusebius, bishop of Valentinopolis, presents grave charges against
      Antoninus, 266;
    commits the crime he has denounced, and is reconciled to Antoninus,
    postpones the production of witnesses, 269;
    departs for Constantinople, and affects illness, 270;
    is excommunicated, 270;
    requests to be readmitted to communion with his brethren, 271.

  Eusebius, bishop of Vercelli, goes to Antioch to heal the division, 20.

  Eusebius, of Cæsarea, calls ascetics “earnest persons,” 60;
    use of the word “martyry,” 178.

  Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, deposed by Constantine, 17.

  Euthymius, a Nitrian monk, one of the “tall brethren,” 294.

  Eutropius, a reader and Johnite, tortured to the death, 345.

  Eutropius, the chamberlain, 187;
    frustrates Rufinus’s scheme for marrying his daughter to Arcadius,
    strange career and rise, 208;
    became the adviser of Arcadius, and virtually his master, 209;
    tyrannous conduct, 209, 210;
    abolishes the right of asylum in the Church, 210;
    probably suggested Chrysostom’s election, 214;
    scheme for removing Chrysostom from Antioch, 215;
    threatens Theophilus for refusing to assist at Chrysostom’s
      ordination, 215;
    does not find Chrysostom a complaisant servant, 240;
    induces the Emperor to make him consul, 241;
    adulation of the Byzantines at his inauguration, 243;
    indignation in the West, 243;
    treats the rebellion of Tribigild as a petty insurrection, and
      offers him a bribe, 245;
    appoints Leo a commander of the legions, 246;
    his arrogance towards the Empress Eudoxia, 248;
    degraded by the Emperor, 248;
    seeks asylum in the Church, 250;
    protected by Chrysostom, 250;
    the populace demand his death, 251;
    his degradation made the subject of a sermon by Chrysostom, 252-254;
    secretly quits the sanctuary, 255;
    banished to Cyprus, 255;
    accused of treason, recalled from Cyprus to Chalcedon, and there
      beheaded, 256.

  Euzoius, an associate of Arius, made bishop of Antioch, 19.

  Evagrius, 28;
    recognised by Ambrose as bishop of Antioch, 199;
    sudden death, 199.

  Evethius, a priest, companion of Chrysostom in his exile, 364;
    takes letters to the Italian bishops from Chrysostom, 383.

  Fashionable follies censured, 227-229.

  Fasting, Chrysostom on, 157-159.

  Flaccilla, daughter of Eudoxia, 248.

  Flacilla, the Empress, 148;
    her humility and gratitude, 148;
    influence upon Theodosius, 148;
    her death, 148.

  Flavian, bishop of Antioch, 59;
    elected by the Meletians, 87;
    accused of perjury, 87;
    ordains Chrysostom to the priesthood, 103;
    Chrysostom’s encomium on, 105, 106;
    besought by the people of Antioch to intercede for them after their
      rioting, 153;
    undertakes the mission of mercy, 153;
    Chrysostom is hopeful of his mission, 155;
    arrives at Constantinople, and obtains pardon for Antioch, 170;
    returns to Antioch in time for the Easter celebration, 170;
    reception by the people, 170;
    interview with the Emperor, 171-174;
    removes the remains of some saints, 181 _note_;
    rivalry with Evagrius produces strife with Ambrose, 199;
    his death, 357.

  Fravitta, a loyal Goth, defeats Gaïnas in several engagements, 262;
    pursuit of the enemy, 262;
    made consul, 263.

  Gaïnas returns with Stilicho’s troops, 207, 208;
    is commanded to compass the death of Rufinus, 208;
    sympathises with his relative Tribigild, 244;
    is retained at Constantinople in command of the city troops, 246;
    despatched, after Leo’s defeat, to confront Tribigild, 247;
    believes the surrender of Eutropius would cause Tribigild to become
      loyal, 247;
    disdains to be directed by the Empress and her lady advisers, and
      joins his forces with those of Tribigild, 256, 257;
    menaces Constantinople, 257;
    opens negotiations with the Emperor, and demands the surrender of
      three court favourites, 257;
    subjects them to insults and a grim practical jest, 257;
    interview with the Emperor, 258;
    demands to be made consul and commander-in-chief, to which the
      Emperor yields, 259;
    demands the abolition of the law forbidding Arian worship, 259;
    is opposed in this by Chrysostom, who debates the question with
      him, 259, 260;
    his rapacity, 260;
    flight from the city, 272;
    declared by royal decree a public enemy, 261;
    takes to a life of plunder, 262;
    defeated in several engagements by Fravitta, and a large portion
      of his army afterwards drowned in crossing the Hellespont, 262;
    retreat towards the Danube, 262;
    final defeat and death, 263.

  Gallus Cæsar endeavours to reform the licentiousness of Daphne, 101.

  Gaudentius, Count, appointed to suppress paganism, 143.

  Gelasius, Pope, forbade reading the Acts of the Saints, 178.

  Gemellus, Chrysostom’s letter to, 373.

  General Council, Chrysostom is willing to be judged by, 315;
    demanded by the people of Constantinople, 317, 320;
    summonses issued, 325;
    counterfeited, and packed with bishops hostile to Chrysostom, 328;
    desired by Innocent, 352;
    suggested by Honorius to be held at Thessalonica, 352.

  George of Laodicea discourses at Antioch, 19.

  Germanus, a priest, friend of Chrysostom, 279;
    custodian of the church treasury at Constantinople, 342;
    goes to Rome, 350.

  Gerontius, archbishop of Nicomedia, 273;
    skill in curing diseases, 273;
    deposed by Chrysostom, 273;
    accompanies Theophilus to Constantinople to oppose Chrysostom, 307.

  Gerontius, a presbyter, anxious to visit Cucusus, 380;
    persuaded by Chrysostom to go direct to Phœnicia, 380.

  Gervasius, the martyr, discovery of the remains of, 190.

  Gibbon, his character as an historian, 140;
    his admiration of Chrysostom in exile, 378.

  Gluttony censured by Chrysostom, 232.

  God, nature of: Chrysostom on the, 110-112.

  Godhead, Three Persons of the: Chrysostom on the, 110-112.

  Goths, the, 93;
    menace the Danubian frontier, 150;
    hear the Bible read in their own tongue at Constantinople, 238;
    revolt under Tribigild, 244;
    defeat the army of Leo, 247;
    occupy Constantinople, 259;
    numbers perish after the flight of Gaïnas, 262.

  Gratian, the Emperor of the West, 140;
    his flight and assassination, 141;
    succeeded by his brother Valentinian, 141.

  Grecian legend, 100.

  Greek theology, 391, 392.

  Gregories, the two, 16, 142.

  Gregory of Nazianzus, 86;
    made archbishop by Theodosius, 142;
    elected to the see of Constantinople when it was
      a stronghold of Arianism, 235;
    subdued the Arian opposition, 236;
    letter on the marriage of Olympias, 280;
    sends a poem to Olympias on her duties, 281;
    qualified admiration of Origen’s teachings, 287.

  Gregory of Nyssa, funeral oration of, on Meletius, 21;
    preaches the sermon at the baptism of Rufinus, 204.

  Hadrian, 126.

  Heaven and hell, Chrysostom on, 34-36.

  Helladius, bishop of Heraclea, consecrates Gerontius, 273;
    a friend of Chrysostom, 279.

  Hellebicus, commissioner to Antioch, 165;
    remains at Antioch to keep order, 167;
    receives the rescript of pardon for the city, 170;
    received everywhere with ovation, 170.

  Heracleides, a deacon, elected to the see of Ephesus, 271;
    friend of Chrysostom, 279;
    accusations made against him by Theophilus and his partisans, 325;
    his friends and Chrysostom protest against the illegality of such
      proceedings, 325.

  Heretics, edict of Theodosius against, 142.

  Hermione, Theodore wishes to marry, 31;
    Chrysostom’s reference to, 36, 38;
    abandoned by Theodore, 39.

  Hermits, intercession of, for the people of Antioch, 166;
    Chrysostom’s joy at their courage, 166, 167;
    their letter to Theodosius, 167.

  Hesychius, bishop of Parium, withdraws from his appointment as delegate
    to Asia, 269.

  Hieron, Chrysostom is conveyed to, 320 and _note_.

  Hilarius introduces Pachomian monasticism into Syria, 60, 61.

  Hilary of Arles charged with ordaining bishops without the people’s
    consent, 47.

  Hippodrome, the, 118-120.

  Holy Saturday, vast crowds assemble in the churches on, 331.

  Holy Scripture, Chrysostom’s intimate acquaintance with, 85, 116, 117;
    Arians do not deny its authority, 117;
    disputes as to its interpretation, 117;
    Chrysostom’s occasional defects of interpretation, 125.

  Honorius accompanies his father Theodosius to Rome, 193;
    is sent for to Milan by his father, 201;
    Stilicho appointed his guardian, 202;
    receives a deputation of Romans on the consulship of Eutropius, 242;
    gives a favourable reply, and nominates Mallius Theodorus consul,
    convenes an Italian synod to consider the state of the Church at
      Constantinople, 352;
    suggests to his brother Arcadius a general council to be held at
      Thessalonica, 352.

  Hymn of Pachomian monks, 63.

  Ignatius, effect of the death of, in confirming souls, 181.

  Illyria ravaged by Huns, 354.

  Illyrian provinces occupied by Alaric, 207.

  Infant baptism the ordinary practice of the early Church, 15;
    popular reasons for delaying, 15, 16;
    the two Gregories, the great Basil, and Chrysostom contend against
      its misconceptions, 16.

  Innocent I., bishop of Rome, appealed to by Chrysostom, 334, 335;
    is advised by Theophilus to cease communion with Chrysostom, 348;
    four bishops bring him Chrysostom’s letter, 348;
    decisive letter to Theophilus, 348;
    receives another letter from him, on the minutes of the “Synod of
      the Oak,” 349;
    sends a second letter of reproof to Theophilus, 349;
    orders prayers and fasts for the restoration of concord, 349;
    letter of condolence to the clergy of Constantinople, 349;
    treats the letter of the cabal with disdain, 350;
    reply to the letter brought by Germanus, 350, 351;
    writes to Chrysostom a letter of encouragement and consolation,
      351, 352;
    intercedes with Honorius for the Church of Constantinople, 352;
    remains attached to Chrysostom’s cause, 358;
    approves of the restoration of Elpidius to his see, 377;
    letter from Chrysostom in exile, 384, 385.

  Isaac, a Syrian monk, sent to Antioch to inquire into Chrysostom’s
      early life, 284;
    brings a list of charges against the archbishop at the “Synod of
      the Oak,” 314;
    comes to the archbishop with a peremptory message, 315.

  Isaurians ravage Syria and Asia Minor, 354;
    Cucusus, the destination of Chrysostom, subject to attacks from,
      360, 361;
    ravage the neighbourhood of Cæsarea, 363;
    molest the roads round Cucusus, 380;
    cause extreme misery to the inhabitants of Cucusus and the
      neighbourhood, 382, 383.

  Isidore, abbot of Pelusium, on the discharge of episcopal duties, 212.

  Isidore, presbyter of Alexandria, a candidate for the see of
      Constantinople, 213;
    the depositary of an awkward secret of Theophilus’s, 213;
    carries a petition to Rome, 237;
    despatched to Palestine, 292;
    some account of his life, 293;
    accepts a charitable trust, 293;
    refuses to surrender the money to Theophilus, who charges him with
      a horrible crime, 294;
    is expelled from the priesthood, and flies to the desert of Nitria,

  Italian deputation to Arcadius, 352;
    maltreated, 353;
    failure of its mission, 354;
    returns home, 354.

  Italian synod convened by Honorius, 352;
    result of its deliberations, 352;
    memorialise Arcadius on the restoration of Chrysostom, 353.

  Jealousy of wives and husbands, 97.
    Jeremy Taylor quoted, 393 _note_;
    as a preacher, 426.

  Jerome quoted, 18;
    promotes the advance of monasticism, 61;
    sides with Theodosius, 142;
    three years’ residence at Rome, 194;
    admonition on the worldly hospitality of the clergy, 218;
    description of Theophilus of Alexandria, 285;
    opinion of Origen’s merits, 288;
    repudiates Aterbius’s charge of being an Origenist, 289;
    sides with Epiphanius, 291;
    strife with John of Jerusalem, 291, 292;
    commendation of Theophilus’s letter on Origenistic errors, 300;
    styles Chrysostom a parricide, 302.

  Jerusalem the only lawful place for Jewish sacrifices, 130, 131;
    see of, 289;
    made a patriarchate, its precedence over Cæsarea, 289 _note_.

  Jews, Chrysostom’s opposition to, 50;
    danger to Christianity, 107;
    Chrysostom’s method of argument against, 121, 124, 125;
    homilies against, 126-128;
    their character and influence at Antioch, 126, 127;
    statutes concerning, 126;
    ranged on the Arian side in dissensions, 127;
    scenes at their festivals, 127, 128;
    increasing influence in Antioch, 128, 129;
    Chrysostom’s vehemence against, 129-131;
    their sacrifices, 130, 131;
    the four Captivities foretold, 131;
    revolts under Hadrian and Constantine, 131;
    jeer at the tumult at Constantinople, 340.

  John, archdeacon of Constantinople, cherishes malice against
      Chrysostom, 313;
    brings a list of charges against him at the “Synod of the Oak,” 314.

  John, bishop of Jerusalem, an admirer of Origen, 288;
    indignation at the accusation of Aterbius, 289;
    his pride wounded, 289;
    preaches against the Anthropomorphites, and on the Christian
      verities, 290;
    places the monasteries of Bethlehem under an interdict, 291;
    strife with Jerome, 291, 292.

  John, Count, appointed Comptroller of the Royal Treasury, 256;
    his surrender demanded by Gaïnas, 257;
    insulted by Gaïnas, and afterwards delivered up, 257.

  John, hermit of the Thebaid, consulted by Theodosius, 200.

  Johnites, followers of Chrysostom, prisons filled with, 338;
    persecuted by Arsacius and Optatus, 344, 345.

  Jovinus, Count, commissioned to suppress paganism, 143.

  Judaising Christians, 128-130.

  Julian, Emperor: his efforts to resuscitate paganism, 11;
    friend of Libanius, 12;
    recalls all the exiled prelates, 20;
    his death, 94;
    consulted the oracle of Apollo at Daphne, 102;
    attempt to rebuild the Temple frustrated, 131;
    beheaded two soldiers for being Christians, 179.

  Jupiter, destruction of the temple of, at Apamea, 143.

  Justina, the queen-mother, 187;
    her flight to Thessalonica, 191.

  Justinian, 47.

  Keble, Rev. John, quoted, 275 _note_.

  Laodicea made the capital of Syria, 165.

  “Laura,” a, or street, 60.

  Law, the profession of, the avenue to distinction, 13.

  Lent, how to keep, 157-159.

  Leo appointed to the command of the troops sent against Tribigild,
    crosses the Bosporus and pursues the enemy to Pamphylia, 246;
    want of discipline in his army, 246;
    his camp attacked by night, the troops fleeing in disorder, 247;
    is drowned in mud, 247.

  Leontius, the eunuch, Arian bishop of Antioch, 17;
    tries to conciliate the Catholics, 17;
    instructed by Lucian, 109.

  Leontius, bishop of Ancyra, a leader of Chrysostom’s enemies, 329;
    utters a palpable lie, 330;
    Chrysostom escapes him when journeying into exile, 362.

  “Let us pray,” in our Liturgy, 88.

  Letters to Olympius, remarks on the, 370, 371.

  Libanius the sophist, 12;
    an eloquent defender of paganism, 12;
    his lectures attended by Chrysostom, 12;
    an opponent of Christianity on principle, 73;
    elegy over the shrine of Apollo, 102;
    apology for paganism, 145;
    attachment to antiquity, 145;
    invective against the monks, 146;
    regrets the destruction of the Pagan temples, 147;
    before the commissioners at Antioch, 165;
    orations in honour of Theodosius and the commissioners, 166.

  “Love-feast,” 182.

  Lucian, bishop of Antioch, held doctrines afterwards called Arian, 109;
    presbyter of Antioch, 109;
    teacher of Eusebius, Leontius, and probably Arius, 109;
    suffered martyrdom, 387.

  Lucifer of Cagliari at Antioch, 21;
    consecrates Paulinus bishop, and increases the confusion, 20, 86,

  Lucius directed by Anthemius to implore the people to return to the
      churches, 336;
    harangues the congregation, but with no effect, 336;
    is bribed by Acacius, and commits scenes of violence at the Baths,
    waiting with troops to compel Chrysostom’s departure, if need be,

  Macedonians forbidden by Theodosius to hold assemblies, 142.

  Macedonius, archbishop of Constantinople, deposed, 18.

  Macedonius the hermit, 166;
    his appeal for the people of Antioch, 166.

  Magical arts, decree of Valens against the practisers of, 57, 58.

  Mallius Theodorus nominated consul by Honorius, 243.

  Manes, error of, 113.

  Manichæans, the, 50;
    celibacy of, 95;
    their danger to Christianity, 107;
    forbidden to hold assemblies, 142.

  Marcellina, the example of, converted many women to celibacy, 61.

  Marcellus, bishop, killed, 143.

  Marcia, 256;
    an enemy of Chrysostom, 282, 328.

  Marcion, error of, 113.

  Marcionites, 95;
    their danger to Christianity, 107.

  Mariamna, Chrysostom arrives at, 322.

  Marriage, Chrysostom on, 95;
    how arranged, 96, 97;
    its trials and troubles, 97-100.

  Martin, St., bishop of Tours, 40;
    founder of religious houses, 61;
    followed to his grave by two thousand brethren, 61.

  Martyries, 177, 178;
    trading near, 182, 183;
    visited by Arcadius and Eudoxia at Easter-tide, 333.

  Martyrs, appeal for assistance to, 132;
    churches built to commemorate their death, 177;
    their numerous festivals, 178;
    Chrysostom’s homilies on, 177-183;
    St. Augustine on the honour to be paid to them, 180;
    increasing veneration to them in the Church, 181;
    discovery of skeletons, and cures effected, 181;
    procession conducted by Chrysostom and the Empress, on the removal
      of some reliques, 222, 223.

  Maruthas, bishop of Martyropolis, in Persia, an active missionary,
    375 and _note_.

  Maruthas, bishop of Mesopotamia, accidentally causes the death of
    Cyrinus, 307.

  Maximian, persecution of, 56.

  Maximin, persecution of, 60.

  Maximus, bishop of Seleucia, adopts a secluded life, 27.

  Maximus the usurper’s progress arrested by Theodosius, 141;
    his disloyalty, 190;
    passage of the Alps, 191;
    defeated by Theodosius, 191;
    beheaded, 191.

  Meletius, bishop of Antioch, 15;
    translated from Sebaste in Armenia to Antioch, 18;
    preaches by command of Constantius on the text, “The Lord possessed
      me,” 19;
    dissents from the Arians, and is banished to Melitene, 19;
    recalled by Julian, 20;
    banished again in A.D. 367, and afterwards by the Emperor Valens,
      21, 40;
    returns after the death of Valens (A.D. 378), 21;
    presided over the Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381), 21;
    died during its session, 21;
    his funeral oration, 21;
    one of his last acts, 86;
    Chrysostom’s encomium, 108;
    invocation to, 108.

  Milan, astonishment of the people of, at Theodosius’s act of treachery,
    195, 196.

  Milman, Dean, quoted, 127.

  Moduarius, a deacon, a messenger to Chrysostom in exile, 376.

  Monasteries of Bethlehem placed under an interdict by John of
    Jerusalem, 291.

  Monasteries, tranquillity of, 80;
    education at, 80.

  Monasticism, 53;
    rise of, 59;
    rule of Pachomius, 60;
    introduced into Syria by Hilarion, 60;
    promoted in the West by St. Jerome, 61;
    Eastern and Western, 64-66;
    St. Chrysostom’s admiration for, 67;
    contemplative form of, 67, 68;
    enemies of, 73;
    its necessity, 74, 75;
    called “the true philosophy,” 75.

  Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, 189.

  Monk, calm life of the, 53;
    powerful influence of the, 77.

  Monks, custom of reading aloud during dinner, 63 _note_;
    interfere in political contests, 65;
    Eastern and Western monks, 65;
    daily life, 66, 67;
    reception of the Eucharist, 66 _note_;
    persecution of, by Valens, 72, 73;
    exempt from love, avarice, etc., 76;
    fanatical fury, 143;
    Libanius’s invective against, 146.

  Monks of Nitria, 294;
    the “tall brethren,” persecuted by Theophilus, 295-297;
    they fly to Palestine, and find a new home at Scythopolis, 297;
    the malice of their persecutor follows them here, 297;
    they embark for Constantinople, and reach that city fifty in number,
    they appeal to Chrysostom, who receives them with kindness, but acts
      cautiously, 297, 298;
    resolve to appeal to the civil powers, 300;
    draw up documents of charges against Theophilus and their accusers,
    accost the Empress, who promises the council they desire shall be
      called, 301;
    interview with Epiphanius, 304;
    Theophilus reconciled with “the tall brethren,” 316.

  Monks, Pachomian, number of, 62;
    period of probation, 62;
    dress and habits, 63;
    division into classes, 64.

  Nebridius, prefect of Constantinople, husband of Olympias, 280;
    his death two years after marriage, 281.

  Nebridius, husband of Salvina, 279.

  Nectarius, bishop of Constantinople, 47;
    his subservience to the Emperor, 198;
    his death, 212;
    had desired to make Arsacius bishop of Tarsus, 344.

  Neocæsarea, Council of (about A.D. 320), 56.

  Nestorius consecrated a bishop when a layman, 56.

  New Year’s Day a riotous festival, 136.

  Nice, Council of (A.D. 325), 17, 56;
    the custom of keeping Easter according to Jewish calculation
      condemned, 130;
    proposal of clerical celibacy defeated by Paphnutius, 219;
    prohibition as to unmarried clergy living with women other than
      mother, sister, or aunt, 219;
    canons of, on ecclesiastical affairs being judged in their own
      province, 308, 312, 351.

  Nicolaus, a priest, supplies money and men to the Phœnician mission,

  Nilus, an anchorite, addresses letters of warning to Arcadius, 354.

  Novatians, pretension of the, to purity of doctrine and life, 235;
    refuse readmission of penitents, 235;
    incur Chrysostom’s indignation, 235.

  Oaths, the taking of, excites Chrysostom’s indignation, 231, 232.

  Œcumenical Council, the Fifth (A.D. 553), 31.

  Olympias, the deaconess, friend of Chrysostom, 280;
    early life, 280;
    married to Nebridius, 280;
    death of her husband, 281;
    devotes herself to the interests of the Church, 281;
    attends to the wants of the Nitrian monks, 298;
    Chrysostom’s farewell to, 339, 340;
    accused of incendiarism, 346;
    conduct before Optatus, 346;
    refuses communion with Arsacius, 346;
    is fined, and retires to Cyzicus, 346;
    intercedes for Chrysostom, 361;
    the archbishop’s letters to her from Cucusus, 367-373.

  Olympic games instituted by Commodus at Antioch, 92, 101.

  Optatus, a Pagan, succeeds Studius as prefect at Constantinople, 342;
    persecutes Chrysostom’s followers, 342, 345;
    fines Olympias, 346.

  Origen, allegorical interpretations of, 28;
    his voluminous writings, and the controversy upon his teachings,
    the Egyptian Church proud of him, 287.

  Orontes, the, 17, 28, 58, 90, 91, 100, 101.

  Ostrogoths, a colony of, established in Phrygia and Lydia, 140.

  Pachomius, the Benedict of the East, 60;
    his practice of asceticism, 62;
    his rule acknowledged by three thousand monks during his lifetime,
      and fifty thousand after his death, 62.

  Pagan temples, edict for the destruction of, 238.

  Paganism, Chrysostom’s method of argument and homily against, 121-124;
    Theodosius’s laws against, 142, 143;
    its hold upon the people, 144;
    its apologists, 144, 145;
    prevalent in Phœnicia, 238;
    not extirpated in the fifth century, 382.

  Pagans, conversion of, 175, 176.

  Palladius, bishop of Hellenopolis, visits the Egyptian monasteries, 64;
    his narrative of events, 265 and _note_;
    a delegate on the affair of Antoninus, 269;
    joins Chrysostom at Bithynia, 271;
    on Chrysostom’s consistency, 278;
    account of Chrysostom and his bishops before being summoned to “the
      Synod of the Oak,” 309-311;
    description of Arsacius, 344;
    a fugitive to Rome, 350;
    accompanies the Italian deputation, 353;
    imprisoned near Ethiopia, 355;
    description of Constantius the priest, 357, 358.

  Pamphylia, Tribigild awaits Leo at, 246.

  Pansophius, bishop of Pissida, desired to “offer the gifts,” 267.

  Pansophius elected to the see of Nicomedia, 273.

  Paphnutius, an Egyptian monk, defeats the proposal of clerical
    celibacy at the Council of Nice, 219.

  Parents, worldliness of, reproved by Chrysostom, 78, 79.

  Paschal letter, the, 288 _note_.

  Paternus, an emissary from the cabal to Innocent, 349.

  Patriarch, the title, 216 and _note_.

  Patricius, the notary, conveys to Chrysostom the mandate of his
    deposition, 339.

  Paul, bishop of Crateia, solemnly warns Eudoxia, 333.

  Paul, bishop of Heraclea, deputed to conciliate Eusebius, 267;
    joins Chrysostom at Bithynia, 271.

  Paul, bishop of Tibur, interrupted while consecrating Ursicinus, 47.

  Paul of Samosata deposed from the see of Antioch, 109;
    his Sabellian doctrines, 109;
    originally a sophist, and unfitted to build up a system, 109.

  Paul the Anchorite retires to the Egyptian Thebaid during the
    persecution of Decius, 60.

  Paulinian forcibly ordained deacon and priest by Epiphanius, 291.

  Paulinus consecrated bishop by Lucifer of Cagliari, 20;
    recognised by Ambrose as bishop of Antioch, 199.

  Peanius praised for his loyal zeal, 377.

  Peasant clergy, Chrysostom’s praise of, 184, 185;
    simplicity of their wives, 185.

  Pempton, congregation at, dispersed, 337.

  Pentadia, wife of Timasius, friend of Chrysostom, 280;
    the archbishop’s farewell to, 339;
    imprisoned, and charged with incendiarism, 347;
    protests her innocence and silences her enemies, 347;
    is persuaded by Chrysostom to remain at Constantinople, 347.

  Persecution intensifies attachment to the Church, 357.

  Peter, a priest, the bearer of a letter from Theophilus to Innocent,

  Pharetrius, bishop of Cæsarea, does not greet Chrysostom on his
      journey, 362, 363;
    his envy of the exile, 363;
    menaces Seleucia, at whose house Chrysostom is lodged, 364.

  Philippopolis, Arian Council of, 17.

  “Philosophers” of Antioch, cowardice of, 167;
    peasant clergy more than a match for, 184.

  Phœnicia, mission in, 380-382;
    Pagan resistance to the mission, 381.

  Phrygia overrun by Tribigild, 245.

  Pityus, on the Euxine, Chrysostom to be removed to, 386.

  Placidia, sister of Honorius, 201.

  Plato, dialogues of, 55;
    compared with Dionysius the Tyrant, 76;
    Chrysostom on the teaching of, 428, 429.

  Polycarp, bishop, removal of his remains, 179.

  Porphyry, a priest, procures the banishment of Constantius, 358;
    imprisons some of the clergy of Antioch, 358;
    enters the church, and with closed doors is hurriedly ordained
      bishop of Antioch by Acacius, Severian, and Antiochus, 358;
    is threatened by the populace, and protected by troops, 358.

  Porphyry, bishop of Gaza, urges the destruction of Pagan temples, 238.

  Preaching, Chrysostom’s remarks on, 51, 52.

  Priesthood, the, Chrysostom’s books on, 40-55;
    probable date of writing, 55;
    age at which eligible for, 55, 56.

  Priestly office, dignity, difficulty, and danger of, 43-45;
    qualifications for, 50.

  Priscillianists, the, ruthlessly persecuted, by Maximus, 190.

  Prisoners, custom of releasing, 172 and _note_.

  Procla, Chrysostom’s farewell to, 339.

  Proclus, friend of Chrysostom, 279;
    elevated to the see of Constantinople, 388;
    gains the consent of the Emperor to transport Chrysostom’s remains
      to the city, 388.

  Procopius, uncle and guardian of Olympias, 280.

  Promotus assassinated by order of Rufinus, 205.

  Property holders, duties of, 230.

  Protasius, discovery of the reliques of, 190.

  Ptolemy Philadelphus deposits the Septuagint in the temple of Serapis,

  Pulcheria, daughter of Eudoxia, 248.

  Pusey, Dr., quoted, 417, 418.

  Ravenna, Honorius at, 352;
    court of, not powerful enough to enforce the convocation of a
      general council, 359.

  Reader in the Church, office of, 23;
    ceremony of ordination to, 23.

  Reliques, importance attached to, 382.

  Remigius of Rheims made bishop at the age of twenty-two, 56.

  Repentance, Chrysostom on, 34.

  Rhadagaisus covets Rome, 359.

  Right of asylum in the Church abolished by Eutropius, 210;
    transferred from Pagan temples, 249;
    sought by Eutropius, 250;
    maintained by Chrysostom, 251.

  Rimini, the creed of, 18, 188.

  Roman Catholic countries, abuse of saints’ days in, 183.

  Rome, bishop of, growing tendency of Christendom to appeal to, 335;
    no jealousy entertained by Chrysostom of him, 335.

  Rome, contest for the see of, 47;
    persecutions at, 58;
    St. Jerome at, 61;
    division into districts, 103;
    love of the people for chariot-races, 118;
    triumphal entry of Theodosius, 193;
    its mixed population, 195;
    deputation of the inhabitants to Stilicho and Honorius against the
      consulship of Eutropius, 242;
    arrival of fugitives from Constantinople, 350;
    efforts of Alaric to conquer, 359.

  Rufinus, a presbyter, sent to Phœnicia to restore peace, 381;
    Chrysostom’s letter to, 381, 382.

  Rufinus, minister of Theodosius, 187;
    his view of the sedition at Thessalonica, 195;
    endeavours to console Theodosius, 197;
    seeks an interview with Ambrose, but is repulsed, 197;
    appointed guardian to Arcadius, and regent of the East, 203;
    some account of his life, 203;
    his “accursed thirst” for gain, and his extortions, 204;
    display of piety, 204;
    builds a monastery and church at “the Oak,” and is baptized therein,
    surrounds himself with a powerful party, 204;
    jealousy of Stilicho, 205;
    scheme to marry his daughter to Arcadius frustrated, 205;
    villanous plot of overrunning the country with Huns, Goths, etc.,
      206, 207;
    his death just when he had attained the height of his ambition, 208.

  Rufinus, monk of Aquileia, a warm admirer of Origen, 288;
    is accused of being an Origenist by Aterbius, and refuses to defend
      himself, 288;
    sides with Bishop John of Jerusalem, 291.

  Sabellians, the, 50;
    their danger to Christianity, 107.

  Sabiniana, the deaconess, follows Chrysostom into exile, 366.

  Saints’ days, abuse of, 182, 183.

  Saints, the Old Testament, 84, 99;
    growth of devotion to, 108;
    appeal for assistance to, 132;
    their festivals grow numerous, 178;
    special days of commemoration, 178;
    character of the festivals, 178;
    their Acts or Passions, 178 and _note_;
    Chrysostom’s belief in their intercessory power, 178;
    feeling in the Church in regard to their invocation, 179;
    popular faith in the miraculous power of their remains, 180, 181;
    pilgrimages to their tombs, 181;
    relics removed by Flavian, 181 _note_.

  Salustius, a priest, rebuked by Chrysostom, 345, 376.

  Salvina, daughter of Gildo, friend of Chrysostom, 279;
    the archbishop’s farewell to, 339.

  Saracens, the nomadic, 61.

  Sardica, Council of (A.D. 342), 17;
    (A.D. 343, 344), 56;
    repudiates the Twelfth Canon of the Council of Antioch, 329, 351.

  Saturninus, husband of Castricia: his surrender demanded by Gaïnas,
    insulted by Gaïnas, and afterwards delivered up, 257.

  Savile, Sir Henry: his edition of Chrysostom’s works, 9.

  Savonarola, 3;
    character of the people preached to by, 233;
    compared with Chrysostom, 426.

  Schism of Antioch, 20, 21.

  Secundus, father of Chrysostom, 9;
    his death, 10.

  Seleucia lodges Chrysostom at her house, 364;
    is threatened by Pharetrius, 364.

  Seleucus, Count, father of Olympias, 280.

  Septuagint, the, 128.

  Serapion, archdeacon, encourages Chrysostom in his severity towards
      the clergy, 222;
    his dislike of and discourtesy to Severian, 276;
    remains Chrysostom’s friend, 279;
    exclamation on the teaching of Theophilus, 288;
    summoned before the “Synod of the Oak,” 311;
    now bishop of Heraclea, scourged and exiled, 345;
    seeks shelter with Gothic monks, 375.

  Serapis, the temple of, Septuagint deposited at, 128;
    silver image of, at Alexandria, destroyed, 144.

  Serena, wife of Stilicho, 201.

  Severian, bishop of Gabala, deputed to act for Chrysostom during his
      absence, 270;
    endeavours to undermine the archbishop’s influence, 275;
    his efforts to win admiration, 276;
    irritation with Serapion’s discourtesy, 276;
    expelled from Constantinople by Chrysostom, but recalled by command
      of Eudoxia, 276, 277;
    becomes a leader of the faction hostile to Chrysostom, 282;
    extols the deposition of the patriarch, 321;
    again plotting against him after his recall, 329;
    urges the Emperor to remove Chrysostom from the city, 338, 339;
    assists in secretly ordaining Porphyry, 358.

  Severus, Emperor Alexander: his admiration of the mode of electing
    bishops, 46.

  Shakespeare quoted, 95 _note_, 161 _note_.

  Sicinnius, the Novatian bishop, writes against Chrysostom, 235;
    admired by Socrates, 235 _note_.

  Silk, the use of, 227 and _note_.

  Simeon Stylites on his pillar, 61;
    a caricature of the anchorite, 65.

  Siricius, Pope, decree of, on celibacy of the clergy, 218.

  Socrates, 76;
    invited by Archelaus to court, 76;
    resists the allurements of ambition, 95.

  Socrates, historian, terms dedicatory churches “martyries,” 178;
    says the treatises of Chrysostom on “spiritual sisters” were
      composed during his diaconate, 220;
    account of the pursuit of Gaïnas, 263;
    stories of Maruthas, 375 _note_.

  Sozomen on the dress of Pachomian monks, 63;
    on their industries, 64;
    his account of the pursuit of Gaïnas, 263.

  Spiritual agency, 82-84.

  “Spiritual sisters” of priests, 219.

  Stagirius, excessive austerities of, 82;
    their effect, 83;
    consoled by Chrysostom, 84.

  Stanley, Dean, quoted, 40.

  Stelechius, Chrysostom’s book addressed to, 69, 71.

  Stephen, bishop of Antioch, president of the Arian Council of
      Philippopolis, 17;
    deposed by the Emperor Constantius, 17.

  Stilicho, 187;
    Theodosius commends to him Honorius and the West, 202;
    likened by Claudian to Scipio, 205;
    Honorius betrothed to his daughter, 205;
    advances against Alaric, but is prevented from attacking him by a
      message from Constantinople, 207;
    sends back his troops under Gaïnas, 207, 208;
    again hastens to attack Alaric, but hears that he is
      commander-in-chief of the forces of the East, 210;
    receives a deputation of Romans on the consulship of Eutropius, 242;
    rumours of his march to the East, 247;
    efforts to restrain Alaric and Rhadagaisus, 359.

  Strabo’s description of Daphne, 101.

  Superstitions, description of, 137;
    rebuked by Chrysostom, 137, 138.

  Swearing, admonition against, 159, 160.

  Symmachus, his apology for paganism, 145;
    eloquent appeal for the retention of the statue of Victory, 145;
    his character, 145 _note_;
    Ambrose’s reply to his appeal, 145, 146;
    obtains a professorial chair for St. Augustine, 189;
    cordially received by Theodosius, 194.

  Syncletius, bishop of Trajanopolis, a delegate on the affair of
    Antoninus, 269.

  “Synod of the Oak,” 309;
    Chrysostom summoned to the, 309;
    not an Œcumenical Council, 313;
    its display of formalities, 313;
    the archbishop refuses to attend, and is deposed, 315, 316;
    its sentence ratified by the Emperor, 316, 317;
    its proceedings declared illegal, 325.

  Syria: Antioch degraded, and Laodicea made its capital, 165;
    Theophilus travels through, bringing disaffected bishops to
      Constantinople, 306;
    overrun by Isaurians, 354.

  Syrus, an old ascetic, 82.

  “Tall brethren” persecuted by Theophilus, 294, 295;
    their dwellings pillaged, 295;
    fly to Palestine, 297;
    thence to Constantinople, 297;
    Theophilus is reconciled to them, 316.

  Temple, the only lawful place to offer sacrifices, 131 _note_;
    Julian commands its restoration, 131 _note_;
    failure to rebuild, 131.

  Tertullian, saying of, 177.

  Thalia, the, of Arius, 236.

  Thebaid, the Egyptian, 60;
    Pachomius, a native of the, 62.

  Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia, 9;
    joins an ascetic brotherhood, 27;
    returns to a worldly life, 31, 32;
    letters of lamentation from Chrysostom, 32-39;
    returns again to the brotherhood, 39;
    made bishop of Mopsuestia (A.D. 394), 39;
    his character, 39.

  Theodore of Tyana, friendly to Chrysostom, 329;
    quits Constantinople on seeing the unfair construction of the
      council, 329.

  Theodoret’s story of the meeting of Gaïnas and Chrysostom, 263;
    on the jurisdiction of Chrysostom, 274;
    on idolatry in Phœnicia, 382.

  Theodoras executed, 57, 94.

  Theodosia, sister of Amphilocius, and instructress of Olympias, 280.

  Theodosius I., on amicable terms with Libanius, 12;
    his defeats of the Goths, 93;
    deservedly called “The Great,” 139;
    his services against Scots and Saxons, Moors and Goths, 139;
    disgraced, and retires to Spain, 139;
    recalled, and made Emperor, 140;
    his character, 140;
    military achievements, 140, 141;
    a Christian, 141;
    efforts to establish a uniform type of religion, 141;
    his baptism, 141;
    solemn declaration of faith, 141;
    makes Gregory of Nazianzus bishop, 142;
    project for a general council, 142;
    edict against heretics, 142;
    forbids the practice of divination, 143;
    laws against Pagans, 142, 143;
    his impartiality, 147, 148;
    his wife Flacilla, 148;
    choleric temper, 148;
    pardons Antioch after the tumult, 170;
    interview with Flavian, 171-174;
    victory over Maximus, 191;
    generosity to his enemies, 191;
    commands the bishop of Callinicum to rebuild the Jewish synagogue,
    remonstrance of Ambrose, 191, 192;
    the order annulled, 193;
    triumphal entry into Rome, 193;
    two popular enactments, 193, 194;
    abstains from interfering in religious debates, 194;
    resentment at the sedition of Thessalonica, 195;
    barbarous act of ferocity, 195;
    confronted by Ambrose, and refused admittance to the cathedral, 196;
    exhorted to deep repentance, 197;
    his penance, 197, 198;
    forbidden to sit with the clergy during the celebration, 198;
    collects a huge force, and solicits the favour of heaven, 200;
    arrives near the scene of his former victory, 200;
    assaults Arbogastes, but is repulsed, 200;
    his vision, 200;
    rallies his army, and completely defeats the enemy, 201;
    received at Milan with transports of joy, 201;
    free pardon granted to the Milanese who had revolted, 201;
    his health gives way, 201;
    receives the Eucharist at the hands of Ambrose, 201;
    beseeches the Western bishops to acknowledge Flavian, 201;
    implores the Pagan Roman senators to become Christians, 201, 202;
    last appearances in public, 202;
    his death, 202;
    his law on the right of asylum, 249;
    conduct towards Olympias, 281.

  Theodosius II., attacked by an alarming illness, 304;
    suppresses the Pagan homage paid to Emperors, 327;
    consents to Chrysostom’s reliques being brought to Constantinople,
    implores forgiveness for his parents’ wrongs to the saint, 388.

  Theodosius the elder, 139;
    executed at Carthage, 139 _note_;
    his statue destroyed by the mob at Antioch, 152.

  Theophilus, a priest, rebuked by Chrysostom, 345, 376.

  Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, appointed arbitrator between
      Flavian and Evagrius, 199;
    pushes the claims of Isidore for the see of Constantinople, 213;
    refuses to take part in Chrysostom’s ordination until threatened by
      Eutropius, 215;
    his opposition is silenced, and he assists in the consecration,
      215, 216;
    joins Chrysostom in urging the recognition of Flavian, 237;
    behaviour to Olympias, 282 _note_;
    becomes the chief of Chrysostom’s foes, 285;
    his character, 284, 285;
    earnest defender of the teaching of Origen, 287;
    made arbitrator between Jerome and John of Jerusalem, 292;
    his letter intended for John is delivered to Vinctius, 292;
    changes sides, 292, 293;
    brings a horrible charge against Isidore, who is ejected from the
      ministry, 294;
    persecutes the “tall brethren,” 294-297;
    his malice follows the Nitrian monks to Palestine, 297;
    schemes for the overthrow of Chrysostom, 298, 299;
    apologetic letter to Epiphanius, 299;
    writes a sharp complaint to Chrysostom, 300;
    summoned to Constantinople to defend his conduct towards the Nitrian
      monks, 301;
    arrival at the city with twenty-eight bishops, 306;
    declines the hospitality of Chrysostom, 307;
    resides at Pera, in a house of the Emperor’s, 307;
    refuses all communication with the archbishop, 308;
    his house the resort of the disaffected, 308;
    bribes to the city, 308;
    draws up a list of accusations against Chrysostom, 309;
    holds a synod at “the Oak,” and summons the archbishop to appear,
    after his object is attained, is reconciled to the “tall brethren,”
    arrives at Constantinople with a large retinue, and restores the
      worthless clergy, 320, 321;
    remains in the city after the recall of Chrysostom, 324, 325;
    his flight when summonses were issued for a general council, 325;
    excuses himself from attending the council, 325;
    invited by Chrysostom’s enemies again to visit Constantinople, 328;
    declines, and sends three “pitiful bishops,” 328;
    his letter to Pope Innocent received with displeasure, 348;
    reproved by Innocent, 348, 349.

  Theotecnus brings to Innocent a letter from twenty-five bishops, 349.

  Theotimus, a Goth, bishop of Tomis, at Constantinople, 266;
    a determined opponent of Epiphanius, 303;
    called by the Huns “the god of the Christians,” 303;
    denounces the unseemly condemnation of the works of Origen, 303.

  Therapeutæ, the, 59.

  Therasius: Chrysostom addresses a letter to the widow of, 93.

  Thermopylæ, pass of, violated by Alaric, 210.

  Thessalonica, sedition at, 195;
    its Christian population, 195;
    failure of the mission of Ambrose to obtain clemency, 195;
    barbarous massacre of 7000 inhabitants, 195.

  Thrace, Flacilla dies at, 148;
    overrun by Alaric, 207;
    ravaged by Gaïnas, 263;
    ravaged by Huns, 354.

  Tiberias, Patriarch of, 126.

  Tiberius restricted the right of asylum, 249.

  Tigrius summoned before the “Synod of the Oak,” 311;
    scourged, and put on the rack, 345;
    survives, and is banished to Mesopotamia, 345.

  Tillemont’s opinion of Theodore, 39 _note_;
    floating synod at Constantinople, 266 _note_.

  Tomis, a market of Goths and Huns, 303.

  Tradition, Chrysostom’s arguments not based on, 117.

  Trajan, Antioch nearly destroyed in the reign of, 90.

  Tranquillus, a friend of Chrysostom, 329.

  Tribigild, the Ostrogoth, solicits promotion for himself and more pay
      for his soldiers, 244;
    his suit coldly dismissed by the Emperor’s minister, 244;
    returns home, and resolves to cast off allegiance to the empire, 245;
    overruns Phrygia, and captures some fortified towns, 245;
    refuses to treat with Eutropius, 246;
    his army retreats to Pamphylia, where he awaits Leo, 246;
    swoops down upon his prey at night, scattering Leo’s army, 247;
    his forces joined with those of Gaïnas, 257.

  Trinity Sunday, 178 _note_.

  Uldes, or Uldin, pursues Gaïnas and kills him, 263.

  Ulphilas, preaching of, to the Goths, 382.

  Unilas, a Gothic bishop, appointed by Chrysostom, 237;
    dies after a short but active career, 375.

  Ursicinus, consecration of, by Paul, bishop of Tibur, violently
    stopped by Damasus, 47.

  Valens, the Emperor, on amicable terms with Libanius, 12;
    favoured the Arians, 21;
    expelled bishop Meletius, 40;
    his decree against the practisers of magic, 57;
    persecution of the monks, 72-75;
    destruction by the Goths, 92, 94;
    forbids the sacrifice of animals, 143.

  Valentinian, his decree against magicians, 57;
    his fate, 94;
    territory secured to him by Theodosius, 141;
    forbids the sacrifice of animals, 143.

  Valentinian II., 187;
    flight to Thessalonica, 191;
    accompanies Theodosius to Rome, 193;
    in possession of his dominions, 199;
    treachery of his general of the forces, Arbogastes, 200;
    found strangled, 200.

  Valentinians, a church of, set fire to by fanatics, 191.

  Valentinus, error of, 113.

  Valentinus, entreated to benevolence by Chrysostom, 377.

  Venerius, bishop of Milan, Chrysostom’s letter to, 334, 335;
    sends a letter by the Italian deputation, 353.

  Vincentius, presbyter and friend of Jerome, 292.

  Victor Uticensis, 23.

  Victory, news of, proclaimed gratuitously by Theodosius, 194.

  Visigoths, a colony of, established in Thrace, 140.

  Wealth, Chrysostom on, 156, 157.

  Wesley, John, at Oxford, 27;
    as a preacher, 425.

  Western Church, the, acknowledges Paulinus as bishop of Antioch, 20;
    favourable to clerical celibacy, 218;
    does not fully accept Origen’s teachings, 287;
    appealed to by the Eastern Church, 335;
    not able to insist on justice to Chrysostom, 349;
    breaks off communion with Theophilus and Atticus, 358;
    demands the convocation of a general council, 358.

  Western theology, 391, 392.

  Westminster, sanctuary of, 249.

  Women, influence of, on early Christianity, 10, 11;
    they baffle Julian and Governor Alexander at Antioch, 11;
    Libanius’s letter on, 11;
    interference in the election of bishops, 48;
    multitudes take vows of celibacy, 61;
    degraded position in the East, 96.

  Zosimus, 153 _note_;
    account of the pursuit of Gaïnas, 262, 263.

Edinburgh University Press:


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