I put you before all.

Today is the feast of St John Chrysostom († A.D. 407), so I delved a little bit into one of his homilies that was quoted in something else I was reading, and found this.


Διὸ ταῦτα ἀφεὶς, ἐπὶ τὴν τῆς σῆς ἀρετὴν ἦλθον ψυχῆς, ἣν παντὸς προτιμῶ χρυσίου. Συνετὴ γὰρ καὶ ἐλευθέρα κόρη νέα, καὶ εὐλαβείας ἐπιμελουμένη, πάσης τῆς οἰκουμένης ἐστὶν ἀνταξία. Διὰ δὴ ταῦτά σε καὶ ἠσπασάμην καὶ φιλῶ, καὶ τῆς ἐμαυτοῦ προτίθημι ψυχῆς. Οὐδὲν γὰρ ὁ παρὼν βίος ἐστὶ, καὶ εὔχομαι καὶ παρακαλῶ καὶ πάντα ποιῶ, ὥστε ἡμᾶς οὕτω καταξιωθῆναι τὸν παρόντα στῆσαι βίον, ὥστε δυνηθῆναι καὶ ἐκεῖ ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι αἰῶνι μετὰ πολλῆς τῆς ἀδείας ἀλλήλοις συνεῖναι. Ὁ μὲν γὰρ χρόνος οὗτος βραχὺς καὶ ἐπίκηρος· εἰ δὲ, καταξιωθείημεν εὐαρεστήσαντες τῷ Θεῷ οὕτω τὸν βίον μετελθεῖν τοῦτον, ἀεὶ καὶ μετὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ μετ’ ἀλλήλων ἐσόμεθα μετὰ πλείονος τῆς ἡδονῆς. Ἐγὼ πάντων τὴν σὴν ἀγάπην προτίθημι, καὶ οὐδὲν οὕτω μοι δύσκολον οὐδὲ ἐπαχθὲς, ὡς τό ποτε διενεχθῆναι πρὸς σέ.

Ioannes Chrysostomus, In Epistulam ad Ephesios Homiliae, 20.8


Wherefore…, I come to the virtue of your soul, which I prize beyond all gold. For you are a maiden intelligent and free and young, and thoughtfully careful, worth no less than all the world. Wherefore then do I embrace and love you, and put you before my own life [ψυχή/psyché, soul, life]. For The present life is nothing, and I pray and urge and do all I can that we so deem to hold the present life as to be able also in the world to come to be together with great security. For this time is short and perishible; but if we see fit to pass this life thus pleasing to God, we will be always with Christ and with each other more happy. I put your love before all, and nothing is so hard to me, nothing so hateful, as to be of a different mind from you.

John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Letter to the Ephesians, 20.8


Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being my gadfly.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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