John Crystotom, was a famous ascetic and preacher of the fourth/fifth century. This is the first comprehensive study of him in the English language in over a century. In the early chapters John Kelly highlights Chrystotom's youthful experiments with asceticism at Antioch in Syria, his six years as a monk and then a recluse in the nearby mountains. The central section of the book shows him as a fearlessly outspoken populist bishop of the capital. The final chapters reconstruct the plots that led to Chrystotom's downfall, the drama of his trial, and his exile and death.
"No other author has delved so deeply into the life and work of this complex, influential, and tragic figure of the fourth century and produced such a far-ranging but precise, solidly researched, and eminently readable account. . . . Chrysostom emerges as a sympathetic and tragic figure of great integrity, whose human failings contributed and perhaps led to his downfall. . . . Kelly has used a careful analysis of many of John's writings and sermons to present new insights and to confirm details of Chrysostom's life previously considered doubtful; his comments and summaries stimulate one to turn to the originals. Those who are interested in Chrysostom or in this historical period must read this book."-Catholic Historical Review "A rewarding . . . read as well as a rich mine of historical information. . . . The book] is peppered with new, revisionist insights about . . . Chrysostom's life."-Bryn Mawr Classical Review"A monumental achievement, which examines with fairness and thoroughness both the primary sources and continuing scholarship on John and his often-stormy episcopacy in Constantinople."-Christian Century