A gifted preacher said to have been afraid of boring his audience with his homilies


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St Peter Chrysologus

Celebrated on July 30th

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A bishop , his name means ‘Peter the golden-worded’. Born in around 380, he was Bishop of Ravenna from about 433 AD until his death in 450. Peter was born in Imola, where he was ordained a deacon by Cornelius, Bishop of Imola. Pope Sixtus III appointed him to the See of Ravenna in about the year 433. He was a counsellor of Pope Leo I.

Known as ‘The Doctor of Homilies’ - Peter was known for his short but inspired sermons. He is said to have been afraid of boring his audience. After hearing his first homily as bishop, Empress Galla Placidia is said to have given him the name ‘Chrysologus.’

Galla Placidia was to become the patroness of many of Peter’s projects. Peter spoke against the Arian and Monophysite teachings, condemning them as heresies, and explained topics such as the Apostles’ Creed, John the Baptist, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the mystery of the Incarnation, in simple and clear language. Peter advocated daily reception of Holy Communion. He urged his listeners to have confidence to the forgiveness offered through Christ.

In the eighth century Felix of Ravenna preserved 176 of his homilies.

A contemporary portrait of St Peter Chrysologus (pictured) is found in the mosaics of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Ravenna.

Pope Benedict XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1729.


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