SAINT PETER CHRYSOLOGUS (406-c.450), bishop and Doctor of the Church
Patron saint of those suffering from fever
Today, the universal Church honors Saint Peter Chrysologus, a man who was known for his eloquent sermons, earning for himself the nickname “Chrysologus”, meaning “he of the golden words”.
His biography, first written by Agnellus (Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiæ Ravennatis) in the 9th century, gives us scant information about his life. Peter was born in Imola, Italy in the year 406. He was baptized, educated, and ordained a deacon by Cornelius, Bishop of Imola, and was elevated to the episcopacy as bishop for Ravenna, Italy in 433.
Peter’s piety and zeal won for him universal admiration, and his oratory abilities earned for him additional renown. The collection of his homilies, numbering more than 176, which have survived more that 1½ millennia, are, in a great measure, explanatory of Biblical texts and are brief and concise.
Peter explains beautifully the mystery of the Incarnation and the Apostles’ Creed, a theological refutation of the heresies of Arius and Eutyches [pronounced “yew TY kees”], and he dedicated a series of homilies to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist.
Speaking of Christ in one of his sermons, he wrote, “He is the Bread sown in the Virgin, leavened in the Flesh, molded in His Passion, baked in the furnace of the sepulchre, placed in the churches, and set upon the altars, which daily supplies Heavenly Food to the faithful.”
Peter’s heart, as a consecrated servant of God, went out to all of his members and to those who he addressed through his homilies. With words of enlightenment, he once wrote, “The devil does not wish to possess a man, but to destroy him. Why? Because he does not wish, he does not dare, he does not allow the man to arrive at the Heaven from which the devil fell. Jealousy, envy, pride and anger, to name only a few capital sins, rage in Lucifer, the prince of devils.”
Again, from another homily, he wrote, “There are three things, my brethren, which cause faith to stand firm, devotion to remain constant and virtue to endure. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains and mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting are one. They give life to each other.”
Some time before his death, Peter returned to Imola, his birthplace, where he died about the year 450 and was buried in the Church of St. Cassian. In 1729, Pope Benedict XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church.
We commemorate his feastday on July 30.
(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org, doctorsofthecatholicchurch.com and newadvent.org)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Peter Chrysologus)
“Father, You made Peter Chrysologus an outstanding preacher of Your Incarnate Word. May the prayers of Saint Peter help us to cherish the mystery of our salvation and make its meaning clear in our love for others.
“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”