John Chrysostom and Aelia Eudoxia
John-Paul Laurens, c. 1880
Ouch! Such pronouncements from the pulpit just might have had something to do with his being deposed as Patriarch of Constantinople (on trumped up charges) and sent off into exile. It was in exile that he died in 407.
This Doctor of the Church's facility with fire and brimstone when speaking truth to power is certainly not my own personal style. And yet--as a preacher, in particular--Chrysostom reminds me of the urgent need to speak up. As St. John once said, "He who is not angry when he has cause to be, sins. Unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices; it fosters negligence and incites not only the wicked but also the good to do wrong."
I'm so glad to not have the concern (as some Protestant pastors do) that I am hired and fired by those who hear my sermons. But the challenge remains to "say the hard things" when necessary--to always speak the truth, and always speak it with love (Eph 4:15).
"Do not say: It is impossible for me to influence others. If you are a Christian, it is impossible for this not to happen."
--Saint John Chrysostom