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The man with the golden mouth

St John, named Chrysostom (golden-mouthed) on account of his elegance was born of good Christian parents, about the year 344, in the then great city of Antioch. He studied rhetoric under Libanius, a pagan, the most famous orator of the age. In 374, he began to lead the life of a hermit in the mountains near Antioch, but in 386 the poor state of his health forced him to return to the city, where he was ordained a priest.

In 398, he was made Archbishop of Constantinople (Byzantium / Istanbul) and became one of the greatest lights of the Church. However, he had enemies in high places and some were ecclesiastics, not the least being Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who repented of this before he died. His most powerful enemy, however, was the empress Eudoxia, who was offended by the apostolic freedom of his sermons and talks. Several accusations were brought against him in a pseudo-council, and he was sent into exile.

In the midst of his sufferings, like the apostle, St Paul, whom he greatly admired, he found great peace and happiness. He had the consolation of knowing that the Pope remained his friend, and did for him what lay in his power. His enemies were not satisfied with the sufferings he had already endured, and they banished him still further, to Pythius, at the very extremity of the Empire. He died on his way there on 14 September 407.

Fr Matthew

Georgies for the week

On Saturday 1 September just over 40 of us will set off on our September Pilgrimage. Like the last two years we are staying in Britain, this time visiting the North-East. What on earth are you going there for, you might be asking yourself. Lots of reasons.

For religion, the evangelization of England from the north started at Lindisfarne off the Northumberland coast, and those opening centuries were blessed with many great saints like Aidan and Cuthbert, Bede and Wilfrid. For sightseeing there is the beautiful coast, including Lindisfarne itself and highlights like Bamburgh. Durham and its cathedrals is one of the finest old cities of the UK, and Hadrian’s Wall snakes its way through the area. Then there is Newcastle itself where we will be staying, a lively and friendly city with its renovated Riverside, a bit like our Bay.

As always our week could be described as a Pilgrimage / Holiday, a time to relax and enter on the journey that not only will take us to these fascinating places and others. The real pilgrimage is an internal one, where we hand over the week to the Lord. He takes us, especially through our daily Mass in fine settings, on an inner pilgrimage, as he does on all such journeys. If we let Him!

Please remember the pilgrims in your prayers, as we will in ours. If you want any intentions to be remembered please put them in an envelope and let me have them before this Friday. Please note that because we are leaving at 8.30 to get to Newcastle, Mass that day will be at 7.30am.

Fr Matthew