When I hear Saint Peter Chrysologus’s nickname, “Golden-Worded”, my mind automatically transports me back to the 1995 James Bond film, GoldenEye, which starred Pierce Brosnan as the famous MI6 agent. The reason why this image comes to mind is because I think of Saint Peter as the preaching James Bond of his time.
Where James Bond is eloquent in his appearance and demeanor; Saint Peter Chrysologus is eloquent in his simple words that sounded like gold. Bond had a license to kill; Chrysologus had a license to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to save souls. Both men were fighters, but in different ways – Bond fought with his strength and his trusty Walther PPK while Saint Peter used in his wit and prose of gold to combat the heresies of the time and to win converts for Jesus Christ.
So as you read the about the life of the 1990’s version of James Bond, here is music to help set the theme.
Chrysologus…Saint Peter Chrysologus – was born in Imola, Italy in the year 406 A.D. His education consisted of the sacred sciences and was eventually ordained as a deacon by Cornelius, Bishop of Imola. He spoke very highly of the Bishop because of their close relationship. It was the Bishop who baptized him and assisted in his education.
In the year 433, Pope Sixtus III consecrated Saint Peter Archbishop of Ravenna. As Archbishop, he practiced a variety of spiritual and corporal works of mercy. He was a loving Shepherd that cared for his flock with passion and attentiveness. At the port of Ravenna, Saint Peter built a church and baptistery in honor of Saint Andrew the Apostle. He also rebuilt churches that had fallen into ruin.
As a good Bishop should teach, sanctify, and govern, Saint Peter routed out (very Bond-like) the last holdouts of paganism and other abuses that had formed within the faithful of his archdiocese with words of caution and firmness. He fought against one of the major heresies of the Early Church, Monophysitism. This heresy claimed that Christ only had one nature that was divine and his divine nature absorbed his human nature. Through letters, he engaged the heretical monk from Constantinople, Eutyches, who promoted this heresy.
He gained the confidence and regard of Emperor Valentinian III, who lived with his mother, Galla Placidia, in the city at that time. Pope Saint Sixtus III trusted him as well as his successor, Saint Leo the Great, another Doctor of the Church.
Saint Peter was an excellent preacher who believed that discourses should remain short because he was afraid that the hearers would become fatigued. Although his discourses are short, they are doctrinally sound. It has been said that Saint Peter would speak with such passion in his preaching that he would often become speechless from excitement.
We still have 176 of his sermons to this day. He taught with beauty and awe on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, teachings on the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, and Apostles Creed.
He died in Imola on December 2, A.D.450. In 1729, Pope Benedict XIII declared Saint Peter Chrysologus a Doctor of the Church. July 30 is the optional memorial for Saint Peter Chrysologus.
Throughout his magnificent life, even in the face of great trials and heresies, Saint Peter Chrysologus stood his ground…he was never shaken or stirred.
Saint Peter Chrysologus, pray for us