Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Holy Relics of his Holy Predecessor St. John Chrysostom

St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople reposed in the Lord on 14 September 407 when being on his way to exile, in the city of Koukousos of Asia Minor. The "arachnid-like" body of the saint that had undergone a month-long journey did not endure the hardships. His final words were: "Glory be to God for all things". When, in the year 438 AD Emperor Theodosius tried to transfer his Holy Relics to Constantinople, the saint refused to move and remained immovable in a miraculous manner. Then the Emperor was forced to address to him the following letter of repentance:
"It was only because we thought that your body, Holy Father, is dead like the bodies of the others, and we just wanted to transfer it close to us. Therefore, did we rightfully fail. You, however, Holy Father, who has taught repentance for all, forgive us. Remit yourself to us as a present, like a father to his children who love him, and give us joy with your presence". It was only when this letter was placed upon the Holy Relics of the saint that his transfer to the Queen of all cities became possible. On the return of the relics to Constantinople on 27 January 438 Emperor Theodosius II, Patriarch Proclus and the entire population of the City welcomed them with the highest honour. The relics were taken from the harbour in a procession and placed in the "Synthronon", a throne within the Holy Altar of the Church of Saint Irene (which had always been the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarch). There the clergy and the people cried out: "Receive thy throne, Saint". Then the Relics were placed under the altar in the Church of the Holy Apostles, together with the Relics of St. Gregory.
The tradition of enthronement of St. John Chrysostom on the Patriarchal Throne, is upheld to this very day in the Phanar, on the feast day of the Saint (13 November) as well as on the feast day of the Translation of his Holy Relics (27 January). On these days the Ecumenical Patriarch does not ascend onto his Throne, but he officiates from the "Parathronion", the smaller throne next to the Patriarchal Throne, both during Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy. The sacred icon of St. John Chrysostom is placed on the Patriarchal Throne, and the Great Ecclesiarch places next to the icon the pastoral staff of the saint. The priests and the deacons who are going to participate in the celebration of both Great Vespers and the Divine Liturgy on those days do not receive the blessing from the Ecumenical Patriarch as they usually do, but from the sacred icon of the saint, who remains alive in the memory of the Church of Constantinople.
The Holy Relics of the saint remained in the Church of the Holy Apostles up until the first Capture and Sack of the City by the Crusaders in 1204. After the pillage that followed, the Holy Relics of both these two saints were taken first to Venice, and later on to Rome.
The Holy Relics of St. John Chrysostom in the beginning were placed in the Vestry of the old (medieval) Church of St. Peter. Later, on 1 May 1626 they were transferred to St. Peter and placed in a different chapel of the main church, the so-called Choir Chapel (dedicated to the Conception of the Virgin Mary).

The article stated by Ecumenical Patriarchate
Editor: υπο-διάκονος. Camill Tannous
 Orthodox Christianity for Theological Research and Patrimony of church