Saint John Chrysostom was born in Antioch, Syria around the middle of the fourth century. His father was an officer in the Roman army and his mother a woman of devout faith. At the age of twenty, he retired to the desert, outside the city of Antioch for prayer and fasting and eventually became a monk. After seven years in the desert, he was forced by failing health to return to Antioch in 381 A.D. and was ordained to the diaconate later that year. In 386 A.D., he was ordained to the priesthood and became what amounted to chancellor for the Archbishop of Antioch.
In 397 A.D., upon the death of Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople, Saint John was elected as his successor and installed as Patriarch of the capital city of the Empire in 398 A.D. Saint John was critical of many superfluous concerns of the Church of Constantinople and re-directed much of the wealth of the Church to assist the poor, establish monasteries, support hospitals and house the homeless. Through his preaching, Saint John won for himself the Empress Eudoxia as a violent enemy. She was disturbed by his public condemnations of her lavish living and had Saint John exiled in 403 A.D. The population of Constantinople, along with an earthquake, forced the Empress Eudoxia to reconsider the exile of the Patriarch and he returned to the city. For a period of four years, Saint John fluctuated between exile and his Patriarchal See at the instigation of the Empress Eudoxia and Emperor Arcadios. In 407 A.D., he died during a final exile at Comanos on September 14.
Saint John Chrysostom, meaning the “Golden-mouthed”, is remembered for his great homiletic eloquence and ranks as one of the greatest pastors of the Church. He is also commemorated on two other dates of our Byzantine Church calendar. On January 27th, the transfer of his holy remains from Comanos to Constantinople and on January 30th along with Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Theologian, the Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs. We celebrate his feast day on Nov. 13.