If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content
of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without a point. Sometimes the point stung the
high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.
lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to
episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court
protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept
His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed
their way into office were deposed. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth
with the poor. The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because
of Adam's fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital
fidelity just as much as their wives were. When it came to justice and charity, John acknowledged no
Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he
became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism and personal trouble. He was
accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines and fine foods. His faithfulness as spiritual
director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where
wealth and chastity were concerned. His actions taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor were
viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.
Two prominent personages who personally undertook to discredit John were Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel (see 1 Kings 9:1—21:23) and impious Herodias (see Mark 6:17-29) were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407.
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