Bishop John Chrysostom of Constantinople/Istanbul (AD 347-407)

Along with Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom is honored by the church today as one of the most prominent and influential early church fathers. He became known as “Golden Mouth“ because of his dynamic preaching and eloquent public speaking. John was born into a prominent family in Antioch (modern Antakya), around 347. He studied under the great teachers of his day, and his fellow students included Theodore of Mopsuestia. He was also an early student of the theological school of Antioch led by Diodorus of Tarsus.

Around 375, John became a monk and spent two years continually stand- ing, rarely sleeping, and memorizing the Bible. As a consequence of these practices, poor health forced him to return to Antioch. Meletius of Antioch ordained John a deacon in 381, the same year of the second Ecumenical Church Council, and he was ordained an elder by bishop Flavian of Antioch in 386.

John became Constantinople’s bishop and served for approximately six years, from 398 to 403. While serving as bishop, he was strongly opposed by bishop Theophilus of Alexandria and empress Aelia Eudoxia. Theophilus accused him of false teaching, and Aelia Eudoxia opposed John because of his denouncements of excessive luxury and his disapproval when a statue of Eudoxia was dedicated outside of the Church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia).

In 403, John was sent into exile. On his return trip to Constantinople, he died at Comana (modern Tokat), in Pontus, in 407. In 445, around 38 years after his death, John’s physical remains were brought back to Constantinople and put in the Church of Holy Apostles.