On the Death of St. John Chrysostom

Palladius of Galatia ca. 364-430

They approached Comana, but passed through the town as men cross a river by a bridge, and lodged outside the wall in the shrine of a martyr, five or six miles from the town. The name of the martyr of the place was Basiliscus, who was Bishop of Comana, martyred under Maximian at Nicomedia, at the same time as Lucianus, priest of the Church of Antioch in Bithynia. That night the martyr stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, brother; to-morrow we shall be together.” It is said that he had first called to the priest who shared his abode, “Get ready the place for our brother John; he is coming.” John took this as a sure warning, and next day begged them to stay where they were till eleven o’clock. They refused, and pushed on; but when they had covered about thirty furlongs, he had such a sharp attack of illness, that they had to return to the shrine from which they had started. On his arrival, he asked for white clothes —-clothes befitting his life—-and taking off those he was wearing, he put these on, deliberately changing everything down to his shoes. All but these he distributed among those present. Then he partook of the symbols of the Lord’s appointment, and offered his last prayer, in the presence of those who stood by, using his customary formula, “Glory to God for all things;” and signing himself at the last “Amen”, he raised his feet, which were so beautiful as they sped for the salvation of those who chose repentance, and the reproof of those who persistently cultivate the fields of sin. If reproof did not benefit the wicked, it was not from the carelessness of him who had spoken out so fearlessly, but from the recklessness of those who would not accept them.

Thus was he gathered to his fathers, shaking off  the dust from his feet, and passing over to Christ, as it is written, “Thou shalt come to thy grave, as ripe corn gathered in its season; but the souls of the transgressors shall die before their time.” Such a concourse of virgins and ascetics and men renowned for their devout lives came together from Syria, and Cilicia, and Pontus, and Armenia, that many supposed that they had been summoned by signal. The rites of internment and the funeral gathering  took place; and so his poor body, like a victorious athlete’s, was buried in the same shrine as Basiliscus. (The Dialogue of Palladius concerning the Life of St. John Chrysostom)

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