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.