Lent Madness: John Chrysostom vs. Jerome

It’s the battle of the “J’s” (no offense to Julian, Justin Martyr, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, Joan of Arc et al). In recent action Theresa of Avila trounced Bartholomew by a whopping 82% to 17% and Joseph of Arimathea edged out Augustine of Hippo 52% to 47%.

Click here to see the full tournament bracket: Lent Madness 2010

John Chrysostom (347-407), Archbishop of Constantinople, was a gifted preacher and theologian who is firmly established as an important Early Church Father. “Chrysostom” isn’t a last name, rather it means “Golden Mouthed,” a title earned by John based on his homiletic excellence. He was ordained priest in 386 and quickly gained popularity as a preacher. His book of Homilies gives us a glimpse of his preaching style — his sermons tended to the practical, explaining the implications of Scripture on daily life.

Against his will, John was acclaimed Archbishop of Constantinople in 398. His ascetical practices and refusals to embrace the worldly privileges of his position made him popular with his people but angered many wealthy citizens as well as much of the clergy. At one point he was even exiled but this proved so unpopular with the people that he was quickly reinstated.

Today many know and love the familiar Prayer of St. John Chrysostom that includes the line “When two are three are gathered together in his [Jesus’] name you will be in the midst of us.”

A Collect for John Chrysostom: O God, you gave your servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching, and faithfulness in ministering your Word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jerome (347-420) was also an Early Church Father best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin. He was born in Stridon, in the Roman province of Dalmatia, before going to Rome to study rhetoric and philosophy. At first quite skeptical of Christianity, Jerome converted and was baptized in 366. He studied theology and eventually became drawn to a life of asceticism, spending some time in the Syrian desert.

When he returned to Antioch he was ordained priest in 378. He continued his studies and soon began writing in earnest — Christian apologetics against the heresies of the day, Scriptural commentaries, and translations. In 382 he was commissioned by Pope Damascus I to revise the old Latin versions of Scripture. His work resulted in what became known as the Vulgate (meaning “commonly used translation”).

A Collect for Jerome: O Lord, O God of truth, whose Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give you thanks for your servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we pray that your Holy Spirit will overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, will transform us according to your righteous will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


2 Comments on “Lent Madness: John Chrysostom vs. Jerome”

  1. Looks like I’m backing winners! How come this rarely happens IRL?

  2. Father Tim says:

    Meredith — are you making money off of this??


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