Saint John Chrysostom is venerated in the Orthodox Church as a ‘shining beacon’ whose words ‘illuminated the Universe’. He was named Chrysostom (or Gold-mouthed) in tribute to his eloquence. He is remembered as a beloved cleric, a generous philanthropist, a noted ascetic, and the teacher of the faithful who wrote multiple homilies on the Gospels, and discourses on matters of religious and public life.
In his homilies and discourses, he emphasized a straightforward and practical interpretation of biblical text over the more allegorical tradition of the time. This gave his speeches eminent moral and social sounding, and a focus on the proper moral choices of a Christian in his worldly life. He opposed the abuse by the rich of their wealth, and had a great following among the people, but also attracted considerable opposition from the higher ranking Byzantines and eventually had to suffer many years of persecution and death in exile.
He began his priestly service in Antioch, and in 397 he was called to become the bishop of Constantinople. He was unwilling to take the position because it entitled him to privileges that exceeded those of the highest officials of the state. After taking his post, he refused to benefit from them and insisted that the rest of the clergy do the same, which earned him much opposition. His criticism of the low morals among Constantinople’s wealthy irked the rich and powerful, including the emperor’s family, and resulted in his exile to the east of Byzantine. When he left, a thunderstorm fell on the city, and the frightened emperor asked him back. Yet, when the emperor’s wife erected a golden statue of herself and had a lavish ceremony to dedicate it, John Chrysostom criticized her immodesty in a sermon. He was exiled again to the border with Armenia, and then to a more remote place. He died on his way there. His last words were "Glory be to God for all things."
His relics were returned to Constantinople more than 30 years after his death. According to tradition, no one could lift his reliquary to carry it to a boat until the heirs to the emperor who exiled him prayed before his relics for the forgiveness of the sins of their parents. The Russian Orthodox Church commemorates this event on the feast day of the transfer of the relics of John Chrysostom on 9 February.
Saint Nicholas continues to teach us valuable lessons and has many more in store for the people today, and for generations to come. He lived a long time ago yet today he is still one of the most widely known and revered Christian Saints.
Saint Seraphim’s life was marked by various signs and wonders testifying to his election from very early in life. At the age of seven Prokhor Moshnin (the birth name of the saint) fell from a tall bell tower but God delivered him unharmed.
He is remembered for his great modesty and humility, and also for the grace and forgiveness with which he reacted to false accusations of having career ambitions.
We celebrate two Patron Saint days this month, the Holy Royal Martyrs on July 17 and the Convent’s Heavenly intercessor - Saint Elisabeth the New Martyr on July 18.
Saint Anthony the Great, the Father of all monks, is a revered and well-known saint among many Christians, including the Orthodox and Catholics. His extraordinary lifestyle and faith still inspire people even today to become monks.
Every soul is a mystery. Today we can only guess what really happened… According to the locals, the priest Simeon Kaminsky knew that he was going to be killed. But he preferred to stay and accepted martyrdom for his faith.
The Optina Monastery is a famous stauropegion of the Russian Orthodox Church, located in the Kaluga region. A stauropegion is a church or monastery exempt from the jurisdiction of the local bishop and directly subject to the highest authority…