The Translation of the Relics of Saint John Chrysostom

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The memory of this illuminary of the Church is celebrated on November 13 and January 30 but, on this date, the Church celebrates the translation of his honorable relics from the Armenian village of Comana, where he died in exile, to Constantinople, where earlier he had governed the Church. Thirty years after his death, Patriarch Proculus delivered a homily in memory of his spiritual father and teacher. He so enflamed the love of the people and Emperor Theodosius the Younger toward this great saint that all of them desired that Chrysostom’s relics be translated to Constantinople. It was said that the sarcophagus, containing the relics of St. John Chrysostom, did not allow itself to be moved from its resting place until the emperor wrote a letter to Chrysostom begging him for forgiveness (for Theodosius’ mother, Eudoxia, was the culprit responsible for the banishment of this saint) and appealing to him to come to Constantinople, his former residence. When this letter of repentance was placed on the sarcophagus, its weight became extremely light. At the time of the translation of his relics, many who were ill and who touched the sarcophagus were healed. When the relics arrived in the capital, then the emperor in the name of his mother as though she herself was speaking over the relics, again, prayed to the saint for forgiveness. “While I lived in this transient life, I did you malice and, now, when you live the immortal life, be beneficial to my soul. My glory passed away and it helped nothing. Help me, father; in your glory, help me before I am condemned at the Judgment of Christ!” When the saint was brought into the Church of the Twelve Apostles and placed on the patriarchal throne, the masses of people heard the words from St. Chrysostom’s mouth saying: “Peace be to you all.” The translation of the relics of St. John Chrysostom was accomplished in the year 438 A.D.

 

Feast Day: January 27

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

Saint Proclus’ Eulogy for Saint John Chrysostom

 

“Only if another John [the Beloved] were to appear could John fittingly be praised! When the faithful recall his labors, struggles, and discourses, their thirst is slaked, as though by a mighty river overflowing its banks. From John shine rays of God’s grace in which one man clearly discerns the sun of the Godhead, another beholds the cleansing of Orthodoxy from heresy, another perceives the deceptiveness of idolatry, another distinguishes truth from error, another is confirmed in faith and virtue, and another observes gleaming heavenly crowns. Oh, hierarch whose memory is like a fragrant breeze! Oh, namesake of grace, whose deeds were truly divine! Oh, golden mouth declaring the word of God! Oh, tongue which spoke of mysteries loftier than the heavens! Oh, teacher proclaiming the gospel more loudly than thunder! Verily like unto John the Forerunner, the preacher of repentance, was this John. One was a herald, the other a trumpet. One was unshakeable, the other invincible. One was a virgin, the other a champion of purity. One baptized in the wilderness, the other lowered his nets in cities. One denounced adultery, the other reproved the avaricious. One was cast into prison, the other was exiled. One was beheaded, the other desired beheading for the truth. Many were John Chrysostom’s struggles on earth, many are his crowns in heaven. He now cries out with the Apostle Paul, ‘I am a sweet savour of Christ, having cleansed the whole world of the stench of error. In Ephesus I expunged the delusion of Midas, in Phrygia I rendered childless the mother of false gods, in Caesarea I did away with the houses of ill fame, in Syria I abolished the assemblies of the godless, and in Persia I sowed the seed of the word of God. Everywhere I have planted the Orthodox faith. By my teaching I have disseminated the knowledge of God throughout the earth; by my books I have spread the nets of salvation far and wide. With John the Theologian I theologized concerning the Word of the Father; with Peter I laid the foundation of an Orthodox confession; with the fishermen I cast the net of piety into the world.’ O John, your life was truly sorrowful, but your death is precious, your sepulcher glorious, and your reward great!”

 

The precious Skull of Saint John Chrysostom, treasured by the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos

The precious Skull of Saint John Chrysostom, treasured by the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos

 

Excerpt from the “Anonymous Description of Constantinople”, before 1439 AD

“The Tomb of St. John Chrysostom, however, is at the high altar in the sanctuary of [Hagia Sophia], and is covered with a slab worked in gold and precious stones. [His body] was still whole, and reposes there as if [he were] alive. There is nothing dismal about his vestments or hair, but to this day [the body] exudes a strong sweet fragrance. A large concourse gathers on his festival, not only Christians, but Franks and Latins too, and much healing and forgiveness come.”

source