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E02661: John Chrysostom delivers a homily In the Emperor's Presence, on the second day of a festival for relics of unnamed martyrs brought to Constantinople in c. 400; the ceremony is attended by the emperor and his guards. Written in Greek at Constantinople.

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posted on 2017-04-04, 00:00 authored by Bryan
John Chrysostom, Homily Given in the Emperor's Presence (CPG 4441.02; BHG 1191q)

Τοῦ αὐτοῦ. Τῇ ἐπιούσῃ ἡμέρᾳ, παραγενομένου τοῦ βασιλέως ἐν τῷ μαρτυρίῳ τοῦ ἀποστόλου καὶ μάρτυρος Θωμᾶ τοῦ διακειμένου ἐν τῇ Δρυπίᾳ, καὶ ἀναχωρήσαντος πρὸ τῆς διαλέξεως, ἐλέχθη ἡ ὁμιλία μετὰ τὴν ἀναχώρησιν τὴν ἐκείνου πρὸς τὸ πλῆθος.

αʹ. Εὐλογητὸς ὁ Θεὸς, ἡλίκαι τῶν μαρτύρων αἱ δυνάμεις· χθὲς ἡμῖν τὴν πόλιν ὁλόκληρον μετὰ τῆς βασιλίδος, σήμερον τὸν βασιλέα μετὰ τοῦ στρατοπέδου ἐνταῦθα εἵλκυσαν μετὰ πολλῆς τῆς εὐλαβείας, οὐ δεσμὰ περιθέντες, ἀλλὰ τῆς ἀγάπης τὴν ἅλυσιν, ἅλυσιν μηδέποτε διακοπτομένην. Τὸ γὰρ δὴ θαυμαστὸν τοῦτό ἐστιν, οὐχ ὅτι παραγέγονε βασιλεὺς, ἀλλ’ ὅτι μετὰ πολλῆς προθυμίας, οὐκ ἀνάγκῃ, ἀλλὰ γνώμῃ, οὐ χάριν διδοὺς, ἀλλὰ χάριν λαμβάνων· καὶ ὁ πάντας εὐεργετῶν τοὺς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην, ἦλθεν εὐεργεσίας ἀπολαύσων παρὰ τῶν ἁγίων τούτων, καὶ τὰ μέγιστα καρπωσόμενος ἀγαθά. Διά τοι τοῦτο καὶ αὐτὸς τὸ διάδημα, καὶ οἱ δορυφόροι πάντες, οἱ μὲν τὰς ἀσπίδας, οἱ δὲ τὰ δόρατα ἀποθέμενοι, καὶ τὴν φαντασίαν ἐκείνην ἀφέντες, μετὰ κατεσταλμένης παρεγένοντο διανοίας ἅπαντες, ὡς ἀπὸ γῆς εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εἰσιόντες, ἔνθα ἀξιώματα καὶ περιφάνεια καὶ πᾶσα αὕτη ἡ σκηνὴ τῶν ἀξιωμάτων ἐκποδὼν, βίου δὲ ἐπίδειξις διαλάμπει μόνον καὶ ἀρετῆς καρποί. Εἰ δὲ ἐνταῦθα τοσαύτη τῶν μαρτύρων ἡ δύναμις, ἐννόησον ἐν οὐρανοῖς ἡλίκη (……)

‘By the same author. On the next day, after the emperor had visited the shrine of the apostle and martyr Thomas, which is in Drypia, and had departed before the sermon. This homily was given after his departure, before the congregation.

1. Blessed be God – how great are the powers of the martyrs! Yesterday they drew here to us the whole city with the empress and today, with great devotion, the emperor with his army. They did not surround them with bonds, but with the chain of love, a chain which is never broken. And the amazing thing is indeed precisely this, namely not that the emperor came to visit, but that he did so with great eagerness, not by necessity, but by his will, not doing someone a favour, but receiving a favour. Even the man who grants benefactions to every person in the world came to enjoy benefactions from these saints and to reap the greatest goods. For this reason, then, he put down his crown, and so did all his guards – some their spears, others their shields – and, putting aside all that fancy, all of them came with a humbled mind, as if entering from earth into heaven, where offices and fame and all this parade of dignities is left outside, and the only thing shining about us is the display of our ways and the fruit of our virtue. And if the power of the martyrs is so great down here, consider how great it is in heaven (……)’’

Text: Migne 1862, 473-478.
Translation: Efthymios Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060 Anaunian Martyrs (Sisinnius, Martyrius, Alexander), ob. c. 397 : S00605

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Chrysostom

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family Soldiers


John of Antioch, bishop of Constantinople, who came to be known as Chrysostom (the Golden Mouth), was born in 344/354 in Antioch on the Orontes where he studied under Libanius. He joined the Nicene Christian community of Antioch, led by bishop Meletios of Antioch, and was ordained priest by Meletios’ successor, Flavianos in 386. Acquiring a great reputation as a preacher, John was appointed as bishop of Constantinople in 397. Clashing with the bishop of Alexandria Theophilos and the empress Eudoxia in 403/404, Chrysostom was deposed and banished to Cucusus in Cappadocia and died in Comana of Pontus in 407. This sermon is preserved in two manuscripts:


On the context of this homily, see E02660.


Text: Migne, J.-P., Patrologiae Cursus Completus: Series Graeca 63 (Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1862), 473-478. Further reading: Downey, G., Ancient Antioch (Princeton, 1961). Drobner, H.R., The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 327-337. Kelly, J.N.D., Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom. Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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