Colossians 3.1-11; Psalm 144; Luke 6.20-26
The sobriquet by which this 4th Century Father of the Church (347-407) is remembered means ‘golden-mouthed’. For several years he lived a life of extreme asceticism as a hermit. Through this time he remained constantly standing, lived on an extremely restricted diet, and dedicated himself to memorising the whole of the Scriptures. These practices had profoundly adverse effects on his health, and he returned to Antioch where he was ordained Deacon in 381 and Priest in 386. There his insightful exposition of the Scriptures and his stern morality gained large crowds to listen to his preaching. In the Autumn of 397 he was appointed Archbishop of Constantinople. His uncompromising efforts to reform the lax morals of the clergy and the court won him few friends, and he was banished by the Emperor multiple times. His letters kept him in communication with the Church in Constantinople, though, and in a further effort to undermine his influence in 404 he was exiled to Armenia. Even from there he continued to be an influence and he was finally exiled to Pityus (in modern-day Georgia); he died on the road there, his final words ‘Glory to God for all things’.