Chrysostom on the Church

St. John Chrysostom ca. 349-407

Do not hold aloof from the Church; for nothing is stronger than the Church. The Church is your hope, your salvation, your refuge. It is higher than the heaven, it is wider than the earth. It never waxes old, but is always in full vigour. Wherefore as significant of its solidity and stability Holy Scripture calls it a mountain: or of its purity a virgin, or of its magnificence a queen; or of its relationship to God a daughter; and to express its productiveness it calls her barren who has borne seven: in fact it employs countless names to represent its nobleness. For as the master of the Church has many names: being called the Father, and the way, Jn. 14:6 and the life, Ibid and the light, and the arm, and the propitiation, 1 Jn. 2:2 and the foundation, 1 Cor. 3:11 and the door, Jn. 10:7 and the sinless one, and the treasure, and Lord, and God, and Son, and the only begotten, and the form of God, Phil. 2:6 and the image Col. 1:15 of God so is it with the Church itself: does one name suffice to present the whole truth? By no means. But for this reason there are countless names, that we may learn something concerning God, though it be but a small part. Even so the Church also is called by many names. She is called a virgin, albeit formerly she was an harlot: for this is the miracle wrought by the Bridegroom, that He took her who was an harlot and has made her a virgin. Oh! What a new and strange event! With us marriage destroys virginity, but with God marriage has restored it. With us she who is a virgin, when married, is a virgin no longer: with Christ she who is an harlot, when married, becomes a virgin. (Homily 2 on Eutropius, 6)