An Exhortation to Theodore after His Fall: Saint John Chrysostom
These two letters, which are the earliest of Saint John Chrysostom's extant works, are addressed to a friend who had been a member of the ascetic brotherhood that Saint John and his friend Basil formed, soon after they had abandoned secular life. Theodore, another member of the same brotherhood, withdrew from the ascetic life and relapsed for a season into worldly habits, being fascinated by the beauty of a young lady named Hermione, whom he was anxious to marry. His fall was regarded with much sorrow and dismay by his austere friends, for he had renounced his vows to the Lord. Prayers were continually offered and great efforts made for his restoration, amongst which must be reckoned the two letters which are here translated. They abound in passages of great beauty, especially upon the infinite love and forbearance of God, as encouraging to repentance and withholding from despair and recklessness into which Theodore seems to have been inclined to sink.
The written appeal of the great golden-mouthed preacher of repentance, combined with the efforts of his fellow monastics, was not in vain. Theodore once more renounced the world and his matrimonial intentions and renewing his vow to the Lord, retired into the hesychastic seclusion of their sacred monastic life in Christ.
Author: Saint John Chrysostom, SAGOM Press Publishers