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“John Chrysostom - Homilies on St Matthew - Homily VII ”

On Matthew chapter 2, About the visit of the magi, the star and Herod

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Click here to read at in the original Greek (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is by the Early Church Texts webmaster, the Revd Andrew Maguire. On the subscription version of the website there is the full Greek text of the homily and a full translation by Andrew Maguire alongside.

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Relevant books
available at Amazon

Many Chrysostom translations
and studies
with links to Amazon

See also below


J.N.D. Kelly

The Story of John Chrysostom


Hagit Amirav

Rhetoric and Tradition: John Chrysostom on Noah and the Flood (Traditio Exegetica Graeca, 12)


Chrysostomus Baur

John Chrysostom and His Time: Volume 1: Antioch


Chrysostomus Baur

John Chrysostom and His Time, Vol. 2: Constantinople


Duane A. Garrett

An Analysis of the Hermeneutics of John Chrysostom's Commentary on Isaiah 1-8 With an English Translation (Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity)


Blake Goodall

Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Letters of St.Paul to Titus and Philemon (University of California publications : Classical studies ; v. 20)


Peter Gorday

Principles of Patristic Exegesis: Romans 9-11 in Origen, John Chrysostom, and Augustine (Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity)


Aideen M. Hartney

John Chrysostom and the Transformation of the City


Robert Allen Krupp

Shepherding the Flock of God: The Pastoral Theology of John Chrysostom (American University Studies. Series VII. Theology and Religion)


Mel Lawrenz

The Christology of John Chrysostom


Blake Leyerle

Theatrical Shows and Ascetic Lives: John Chrysostom's Attack on Spiritual Marriage


Jaclyn LaRae Maxwell

Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity: John Chrysostom and his Congregation in Antioch


Margaret Mary Mitchell

Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation


Robert Louis Wilken

John Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the Late 4th Century



Gus George Christo

On Repentance and Almsgiving (The Fathers of the Church)


Thomas Aquinas Goggin

Commentary on Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist: Homilies 48-88 (The Fathers of the Church, 41)


Robert C. Hill

Eight Sermons on the Book of Genesis


David G. Hunter

A Comparison Between a King and a Monk/Against the Opponents of the Monastic Life (Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity, Vol 13)


M.C.W. Laistner

Christianity and pagan culture in the later Roman Empire: Together with an English translation of Johan Chrysostom's Address on vainglory and the right ... bring up their children (Cornell paperbacks)


Wendy Mayer

John Chrysostom (The Early Church Fathers)


Mayer and Bronwen

The Cult of the Saints (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press Popular Patristics)


Graham Neville

Six Books on the Priesthood (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press Popular Patristics Series)


? Catherine P. Roth

On Wealth and Poverty


? David Anderson

On Marriage and Family Life


Margaret A Schatkin

John Chrysostom as apologist: With special reference to De incomprehensibili, Quod nemo laeditur, Ad eos qui scandalizati sunt, and Adversus oppugnatores vitae monasticae (Analecta VlatadoÌ?n)


Sally Shore

On Virginity Against Remarriage (Studies in Women and Religion, V. 9)



Let us also then follow the magi. Let us separate ourselves from alien customs and put ourselves at a great distance from them so that we may see Christ. After all, if the magi had not been a long distance from their country they would not have seen him. Let us recoil from earthly practices. The magi, while they were in Persia, looked at the star. But when they were away from Persia they gazed on the sun of righteousness. Or rather, they would not even have seen the star if they had not eagerly risen and departed from there. So let us also arise, and even if all are troubled, let us go swiftly to the house of the child. Even if kings and peoples and tyrants cut off the way, let us not give up our longing for Christ. In this way we will drive away all the terrible things that beset us. The magi, if they had not gone to see the child, would not have escaped the danger from King Herod. Before they saw the child fears and dangers and troubles beset them on all sides. After they had paid homage there was calm and safety. It was no longer a star but an angel who awaited them, now that they had become priests through their act of homage - for they brought their gifts to him. You too then - forget about the Jewish people, the troubled city, the murderous tyrant, the empty fantasies of the world, and hurry to Bethlehem where you will find the house of spiritual bread. If you are a shepherd and go there you will see the child at the inn. If you are a king who does not go, none of your fine purple will help you at all. If you are one of the magi, this will not stand in your way, if only you come to honor and to worship - certainly not to harm - the Son of God; and do it with trembling and with joy. For it is possible for both of these to go together.

See that you are not like Herod through saying, ‘so that I may go and pay him homage’, while actually you wish to go and murder him. Those who share in the holy mysteries unworthily are like him. For it is said that such a person, ‘will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord’. [1 Cor 11:27] They have within themselves Mammon, the tyrant, more lawless even than Herod, who finds the kingdom of Christ grievous. He wants to have power and he sends people from his own household, ostensibly to worship, but in reality to murder in the act of worship. Let us be wary, then, lest we ever have the appearance of those who come in supplication and worship, while in reality we are behaving quite differently.

Let us cast everything from our hands when we come to pay homage. If we have gold let us lay it before him and not bury it. If those foreigners brought gold to honour him what kind of person will you be if you do not even give to a person who is in need? If they undertook such a long journey so that they could see the child at his birth, what excuse will you have if you are not prepared to go down one small lane to visit a person who is sick and in chains? We show mercy towards those who are hard pressed and in chains, and those who are our enemies: and yet you do not even show the same attitude towards your Lord who is so generous to you. The magi laid gold before him: you hardly bring bread. They saw the star and rejoiced. You are not moved when you see Christ himself a stranger and naked. Which of you who have received countless benefits have made such a great pilgrimage as those foreigners, rather those men who loved wisdom more than any philosopher?

Why do I speak of so great a journey? It is because many of our women are so delicate that they will not even walk further than one block to see Christ in his spiritual manger, unless they have some mules to take them. With other people who could easily walk here, there are those who, rather than attending worship, give priority to all their pressing worldly business and those who give priority to the theatre. The foreign magi, before they even saw Christ, completed such a great journey because of him. But you, even after you have seen him, do not follow eagerly in their footsteps, but run off to see an actor (I am again touching on the same themes that I have pursued recently). You see Christ lying in the manger, but turn your back on him so that you can see a woman on the stage. Do you not deserve to be struck by thunderbolts because of such behaviour?


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Homilies on Matthew
Sermons on St Matthew
Three Wise Men
John Chrysostom in Greek with English Translation
Migne Greek Text
Patrologiae Graecae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Graeca
Frederick Field Greek text of Matthew Homilies


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