St John Chrysostom, the golden trumpet of Orthodoxy
(Commemorated January 27)
By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
The Church celebrates the memory of this saint on November 13th and January 30th, but on this day is celebrated the translation of his honoured relics from the Armenian village of Comana, where he died in exile in 407, to Constantinople where earlier, as Patriarch, he had governed the Church. Thirty years after his death, Patriarch Proclus made a speech in memory of his spiritual father and mentor, and by this speech so roused the love of the people and the Emperor, Theodosius the Younger, towards the great saint that they all wanted the relics of Chrysostom to be translated to Constan-tinople. It is related that the coffin containing the relics could not be shifted from its place until the Emperor wrote a letter to Chrysos-tom, begging his forgiveness (for Theodosius’s mother, Eudoxia, was guilty of having persecuted the saint) and appealing to him to return to Constantinople, his former residence. When this repen-tant letter was placed on the coffin, the latter became light in weight. Before the translation, many of the sick, on touching the coffin, were healed. When the relics arrived at the capital, the Emperor again begged forgiveness over them in his mother’s name, as though it were she herself speaking: `While I lived in this tem-poral life, I acted in malice towards thee; but now that thou livest in eternal life, be thou of help to my soul. My glory passes and there is nought to help me; help me, Father, in thy glory; help me before I come to be condemned before the judgement of Christ.’ When the saint was carried into the Church of the Holy Apostles and placed on the patriarchal throne, the assembled throng heard these words from his mouth: `Peace be with you all!’ The translation of the relics of St John Chrysostom was carried out in the year 438.
* From “The Prologue from Ochrid”, by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic – Lazarica Press – Birmingham 1985
But, on the other hand, see what happened to Saint John after his demise. Reward. Just reward, such as only God can give. The Arab bishop, Adeltios, who had received the exiled Chrysostom into his house in Cucusus, prayed to God, after the saint’s death, to reveal where his soul was. The response came while he was at prayer. It was almost as if he were outside himself and a young man bathed in light was taking him to heaven. One by one he showed him the hierarchs, shepherds and teachers of the Church, naming them one by one- but John was not among them. Later God’s angel took Adeltios to the way out of Paradise and the latter returned to his normal state. When the angel asked him why he was sad, Adeltios replied that he was distressed not to have seen his beloved teacher. The angel explained: “No person still robed in the flesh may see him, because he is at the throne of God with the Cherubim and Seraphim”.
Saint Nikolaï Velimirović, The Ochrid Prologue, November 11
His final words were “Glory be to God for all things!”
“For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force…it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have autority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.”
“Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God’s mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.”
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon has enlightened the universe.
It has shown to the world the riches of riches poverty;
it has revealed to us the heights of humility.
Teaching us by your words, O Father John Chrysostom,
intercede before the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls!