How John Chrysostom upset the rich

I’m reading Henry Chadwick’s history The Early Church and there are some absolute gems which I’ll post for your reflection, edification and application.

John Chrysostom (Golden Voice) was one of the greatest preachers of the early church and who under severe pressure was made Bishop of Constantinople (c 398AD). There he initiated a whole series of reforms raising the moral standard of the clergy and knocking on the head some of the more dubious accounting practices of the priests. But it wasn’t just the clergy who were on the receiving end of John’s passionate sermons. Here’s how Chadwick describes it:

“John was ascetic, aloof, energetic and outspoken to the point of indiscretion, especially when he became excited in the pulpit. None of these qualities made him easy to live with in a sophisticated and affluent city. The rich resented as a personal affront his socialist sermons explaining that private property existed only as a result of Adam’s fall, or pillorying those who cared nothing for the beggars at their door and wanted only to own ten fine houses with hundreds of servants and lavatories of gold. He offended the men by repeatedly proclaiming that a woman had as much right to demand fidelity of her husband as a man had of his wife. His unsparing sarcasms about feminine luxuries, delivered in the scathing tradition of Juvenal or Seneca, were not relished by ladies of high fashion.”

I need to spice up my sermons and condemn a few more things I think.

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