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On Repentance and Almsgiving (The Fathers of the Church)

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St. John Chrysostom delivered nine homilies on repentance in Antioch of Syria sometime between 386 and 387. With conviction and certitude, he preached that repentance was a necessity for both the sinner and the righteous man. This volume presents Chrysostom’s homilies on repentance and includes a sermon on almsgiving that he preached in Antioch during the winter months in 387.

Chrysostom’s work reveals that repentance is an indestructible pillar of the All-Holy, Universal and Immutable Church of Christ. He believed that repentance is the liturgical tool that rejuvenates sinners and admits them into the life-giving Eucharist where they experience fully and dynamically the concrete presence of God.

The powers of repentance have rich biblical roots, and Chrysostom masterfully weaves his teaching with a plethora of Old and New Testament citings. From Scripture, the reader learns that repentance is never confined to the eucharistic context—it becomes a way of life for the believer. The daily applications of repentance, such as almsgiving, fasting, remorse over personal sins, humility, prayer, and attending Church, suggest that a person’s entire life has an ecclesial character. Chrysostom preached that the whole experience of a true life in Christ is repentance that culminates in metanoia—the total change and renewal from the heart and mind of sin to “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

In his introduction to the homilies, Fr. Gus Christo includes a succinct biography of Chrysostom within which he sets the homilies in their chronological context. He also provides an overview of repentance and discusses the ecclesiological nature of Chrysostom’s theology.

  • Presents nine homilies on repentance from John Chrysostom
  • Includes a sermon on almsgiving
  • Explores repentance as a pillar of the church

Top Highlights

“However, you have yet another road of repentance—again, one that is easily handled—through which you can be delivered from sin. Pray every minute of the day, and be neither fainthearted nor lazy in asking for God’s love toward mankind. When you stand fast, He21 will not turn away from you, but will forgive your sins and grant your requests. If you are heard praying, continue to give thanks in the prayer; if you are not heard, remain praying so that you may be heard.” (Page 37)

“Have you sinned? Enter into the Church and wipe away your sin. The number of times you fall down in the marketplace equals the number of times you rise up. Likewise, as many times as you sin, repent for your sin; do not become discouraged. And if you sin a second time, repent a second time. Do not be completely deprived of the hope for the proposed goods through indolence. And if you are in the depths of old age and you sin, enter into the Church and repent, because the Church is a hospital, not a court of justice. Here, the priests do not hold you responsible for your sins, but grant you forgiveness. Tell your sin solely to God—‘Against you only have I sinned, and done evil before you27—and your sin is forgiven.” (Page 39)

“Therefore, how did the publican answer? As he heard these things, he did not say, ‘Who are you to tell me such things? From what source did you learn of my life? You did not keep company with me. You did not live with me. We did not spend time together. Why are you so haughty? Who witnesses your beneficence? Why do you praise yourself? Why do you indulge yourself?’ The publican said nothing like this. However, bowing, he worshipped and said, ‘God have mercy upon me a sinner.’” (Page 25)

John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek surname chrysostomos, meaning “golden mouthed,” rendered in English as Chrysostom.


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    Digital list price: $19.99
    Save $4.00 (20%)