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None of the Fathers of the early church is better known or loved than St John Chrysostom, and none of his works is more popular than On the Priesthood. TREATISE ON THE PRIESTHOOD. St. John Chrysostom. BOOK I. CONTENTS. HOW BASIL EXCELLED ALL THE FRIENDS OF CHRYSOSTOM. Today, in honor of St. Chrysostom, I wish to consider six brief selections from his work titled, “On the Priesthood.” St. John Chrysostom.


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A priest must be in the world but not of the world. As fire tries metals, so the test of the clerical state tries of what temper are the souls of men.

His faults are not only laid bare, but rendered more dangerous and inveterate.

CHURCH FATHERS: On the Priesthood (John Chrysostom)

Two illustrations for how Chrysostom feels about being asked to be a priest: Most beautiful, virtuous woman in the whole world… transcends all other beauties… instead of being married to her love… is now wedded to a crippled, on the priesthood john chrysostom, abject, low born man… The same young man… without any war experience… rushed into the scene of a battle… and asked to lead the troops against the fiercest of enemies.

On this, he weeping yet more, rose up. How great a punishment then would one deserve if one requited on the priesthood john chrysostom in the contrary manner.

But if such a thing never entered my mind, and I declined the heavy burden with quite a different intention, why do they refuse to pardon me even if they do not consent to approvebut accuse me of having selfishly spared my own soul?

For so far from having insulted the men in question On the priesthood john chrysostom should say that I had even honored them by my refusal.

On the Priesthood

And do not be surprised at the paradoxical nature of my remark, for I shall supply a speedy solution of it. For had I accepted the office, I do not say all men, but those who take pleasure in speaking evil, might have suspected and said on the priesthood john chrysostom things concerning myself who had been elected and concerning them, the electors: Moreover, they would have said, "Christ called fishermen, tentmakers, and publicans to this dignity, whereas these men reject those who support themselves by daily labor: For why, pray, have they passed by men who have undergone innumerable toils in the service of the Church, and suddenly dragged into this dignity one who has never experienced any labors of this kind, but has spent all his youth in the on the priesthood john chrysostom study of secular learning.


For every pretext for maligning is now cut away from them, and they can neither accuse me of flattery, nor the others of receiving bribes, unless some choose to act like mere madmen. For how could one on the priesthood john chrysostom used flattery and expended money in order to obtain the dignity, have abandoned it to others when he might have obtained it?


For this would be just as if a man who had bestowed much labor upon the ground in order that the corn field might be laden with abundant produce, and the presses overflow with wine, after innumerable toils and great expenditure of money were to surrender the fruits to others just when on the priesthood john chrysostom was time to reap his corn and gather in his vintage.

Do you see that although what was said might be far from the truth, nevertheless those who wished to calumniate the electors would then have had a pretext for alleging that the choice was made without fair judgment and consideration. on the priesthood john chrysostom


But as it is I have prevented them from being open mouthed, or even uttering a single word on the subject. Such then and more would have been their remarks at the outset. But after undertaking the ministry I should not have been able day by day to defend myself against accusers, even if I had done everything faultlessly, on the priesthood john chrysostom say nothing of the many mistakes which I must have made owing to my youth and inexperience.

But now I have saved the electors from this kind of accusation also, whereas in the other case I should have involved them in innumerable reproaches. For what would not the world have said?

A Summary of On the Priesthood by St. John Chrysostom

As regards the insult to those who have done me honor, what I have already said might be sufficient to prove that in avoiding this office I had no desire to put them to shame; but I will now endeavor to make it evident, to the best of my ability, that I was not puffed up by arrogance of any kind.

For if the choice of a generalship or a kingdom had been submitted to me, and I had then formed this resolution, any one might naturally have suspected me of this fault, or rather I should have been found guilty by all men, not of arrogance, but of senseless folly. But when the priesthood is offered to me, which exceeds a kingdom as much as the spirit differs from the flesh, will any one dare to accuse me of disdain?

And is it not preposterous to charge with folly those who reject small things, but on the priesthood john chrysostom any do this in matters of preeminent importance, to exempt such persons from accusations of mental derangement, and yet subject them to the charge of pride?

It is just as if one were to accuse, not of pride, but of insanity, a man who looked with contempt on a herd of oxen and refused to be a herdsman, and yet were to say that a man who declined the empire of the world, and the command of all the on the priesthood john chrysostom of the earth, was not mad, but inflated with pride.

The Priesthood According to St. John Chrysostom — St. Andrew Greek orthodox Church

But this assuredly is not the case; and they who say such things do not injure me more than they injure themselves. For merely to imagine it possible for human nature to despise this dignity is an evidence against those who bring this charge of the on the priesthood john chrysostom which they have formed of the office.

For if they did not consider it to be an ordinary thing of no great account, such a suspicion as this would never have entered their heads. For why is it that no one has ever dared to entertain such a suspicion with reference to the dignity of the angels, and to say that arrogance is the reason why human nature would not aspire to the rank of the angelic nature?

It is because we imagine on the priesthood john chrysostom things concerning those powers, and this does not suffer us to believe that a man can conceive anything greater than that honor.