JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP AND TEACHER, died 407
Given the added name of Chrysostom, which means “golden-mouthed” in Greek, Saint John was a dominant force in the fourth-century Christian church. Born in Antioch around the year 347, John was instructed in the Christian faith by his pious mother, Anthusa. After serving in a number of Christian offices, including acolyte and lector, John was ordained a presbyter and given preaching responsibilities. His simple but direct messages found an audience well beyond his home town. In 398, John Chrysostom was made a Patriarch of Constantinople. His determination to reform the church, court, and city there brought him into conflict with established authorities. Eventually, he was exiled from his adopted city. Although removed from his parishes and people, he continued writing and preaching until the time of his death in 407. It is reported that his final words were: “Glory be to God for all things. Amen.”
HOLY CROSS DAY
Helena, mother of Constantine, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and found what may be the actual site of Jesus’ crucifixion. Her son built two churches there, and the dedication of one of them gave rise to this celebration of our Lord’s victory on the cross.
CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE, BISHOP AND MARTYR, died around 258
Cyprian (A.D. ca. 200 – 258), was acclaimed bishop of the North African city of Carthage around 248. During the persecution of the Roman Emperor Decius, Cyprian fled Carthage but returned two years later. He was then forced to deal with the problem of Christians who had lapsed from their faith under persecution and now wanted to return to the Church. It was decided that these lapsed Christians could be restored but that their restoration could take place only after a period of penance that demonstrated their faithfulness. During the persecution under Emperor Valerian, Cyprian at first went into hiding but later gave himself up to the authorities. He was beheaded for the faith in Carthage in the year 258.
HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, ABBESS, TEACHER AND NUN, died 1179
A mystic who was widely influential within the church, Hildegard advised and reproved kings and popes, wrote poems and hymns, and produced treatises in medicine, theology, and natural history. She was also a musician and artist.
DAG HAMMARSKJOLD, RENEWER OF SOCIETY, died 1961
Hammarskjold (1905 – 1961), son of Sweden and the Lutheran church, was the United Nations secretary-general who died in a plane crash on the way to negotiate a cease fire in Zambia. His diary, devoted to a study of his soul and his relationship to God, called Markings is a classic devotion to Christ.
NELSON WESLEY TROUT, BISHOP, died 1996
A native of Ohio, Trout served parishes in several parts of the United States before being elected bishop of the South Pacific District of the American Lutheran Church, the first African American Lutheran to serve in such a capacity.
MATTHEW, APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST
Matthew was a tax collector for the Roman Empire in Capernaum. He is called Levi in the accounts of his call to discipleship, although in the lists of the Twelve he is called Matthew. One of the Gospels is attributed to Matthew and he is usually represented in art as a winged man. According to tradition, he evangelized among the Hebrews and was martyred.
JONAH THE PROPHET
A singular prophet among the many in the Old Testament, Jonah the son of Amittai was born about an hour’s walk from the town of Nazareth. The focus of his prophetic ministry was the call to preach at Nineveh, the capital of pagan Assyria (Jonah 1:1). His reluctance to respond and God’s insistence that his call be heeded is the story of the book that bears Jonah’s name. Although the swallowing and disgorging of Jonah by the great fish is the most remembered detail of his life, it is addressed in only three verses of the book (1:17; 2:1, 10). Throughout the book, the important theme is how God deals compassionately with sinners. Jonah’s three-day sojourn in the belly of the fish is mentioned by Jesus as a sign of His own death, burial, and resurrection (Matthew 12:39 – 41).
SERGIUS OF RADONEZH, TEACHER AND MONK, died 1392
Sergius (1314 – 1392) established a monastery to the Holy Trinity that became the spiritual center of Christian Russia. He was known for his love of animals, detachment from worldly goods, and his missions for peace.
MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS
Angels, spiritual beings who do the will of the LORD, are mentioned throughout Scripture as watching over us (Matthew 18:10), praying for us (Zechariah 1:12 – 13), rejoicing over repentant sinners (Luke 15:10), and protecting us (Exodus 14:19 – 20, Isaiah 37:36 – 38). The Archangel Michael (Daniel 12:1, Jude 9, Revelation 12: – 12) is a warrior of Jesus Christ. The teaching on angels depicts a vast creation of which humanity is only a part.
JEROME, TEACHER AND TRANSLATOR, died 420
Jerome (342 – 420) translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, which was then the dominant language of the Roman Empire. This translation is known as the Vulgate. It was the standard Bible in the West for almost 1,500 years.