Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 30 July – St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) “Golden Words”

Saint of the Day – 30 July – St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) “Golden Words” Father & Doctor of the Church – Bishop of Ravenna, Italy.

Today we celebrate the Memorial of Saint Peter Chrysologus, a fifth-century Italian bishop known for testifying courageously to Christ’s full humanity and divinity during a period of the heresy called “Monophysite”.

The saint’s title, Chrysologus, signifies “golden speech” in Greek.   Named as a Doctor of the Church in 1729, he is distinguished as the “Doctor of Homilies” for the concise but theologically rich reflections he delivered during his time as the Bishop of Ravenna.

His surviving works offer eloquent testimony to the Church’s traditional beliefs about Mary’s perpetual virginity, the penitential value of Lent, Christ’s Eucharistic presence, and the primacy of St Peter and his successors in the Church.header - st peter chyrsologus

Few details of St Peter Chrysologus’ biography are known.   He was born in the Italian town of Imola in either the late fourth or early fifth century, but sources differ as to whether this occurred around 380 or as late as 406.

Following his study of theology, Peter was ordained to the diaconate by Imola’s local bishop Cornelius, whom he greatly admired and regarded as his spiritual father. Cornelius not only ordained Peter but taught him the value of humility and self-denial.  The lessons of his mentor inspired Peter to live as a monk for many years, embracing a lifestyle of asceticism, simplicity and prayer.   His simple monastic life came to an end, however, after the death of Archbishop John of Ravenna in 430.   After John’s death, the clergy and people of Ravenna chose a successor and asked Cornelius, still the Bishop of Imola, to journey to Rome and obtain papal approval for the candidate.   Cornelius brought Peter, then still a deacon, along with him on the visit to Pope Sixtus III.

Tradition relates that the Pope had experienced a vision from God on the night before the meeting, commanding him to overrule Ravenna’s choice of a new archbishop.   The Pope declared that Peter, instead, was to be ordained as John’s successor.

In Ravenna, Peter was received warmly by the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III and his mother Galla Placidia.   She is said to have given him the title of “Chrysologus” because of his preaching skills.  Throughout the archdiocese, however, he encountered the surviving remnants of paganism along with various abuses and distortions of the Catholic faith.   Peter exercised zeal and pastoral care in curbing abuses and evangelising non-Christians during his leadership of the Church in Ravenna.my snip - st peter chrysologus

One of the major heresies of his age, Monophysitism, held that Christ did not possess a distinct human nature in union with His eternal divine nature.   Peter laboured to prevent the westward spread of this error, promoted from Constantinople by the monk Eutyches.

The Archbishop of Ravenna also made improvements to the city’s cathedral and built several new churches.   Near the end of his life he addressed a significant letter to Eutyches, stressing the Pope’s authority in the Monophysite controversy.

Having returned to Imola in anticipation of his death, St Peter Chrysologus died in 450, one year before the Church’s official condemnation of Monophysitism.   176 of his sermons have survived;  it is the strength of these beautiful explanations of the Incarnation, the Creed, the place of Mary and John the Baptist in the great plan of salvation, etc., that led to his being proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII.

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.

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