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Letters to Saint Olympia

(Popular Patristics Series #56)

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Popular Patristics Series Volume 56

"You may hear my living voice through my letters" (Letter 8.11.b)

In these letters—available in English in their entirety for the first time—St John Chrysostom guides, comforts, and instructs his spiritual daughter, St Olympia. Written at the end of Chrysostom’s life, while he was in his final exile, we see in these pages the unshaken fait
Paperback, 172 pages
Published 2016 by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press
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Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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Just like in “On Repentance and Defeating Despair”, St John is so comforting in this set of letters. Not only so, but it is amazing to see how dedicated he is to helping St Olympia while he’s in exile and going through the worst time of his life.
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fascinating portrait of a great saint's struggle to console his spiritual daughter through physical ills, mental anguish, despair, and despondency. Chrysostom changes his tack over time, and following his attempts to adapt and respond to Olympia's cries is instructive. The ethical teaching is simple and remains consistent throughout. It's the shift in rhetoric that's worth noting and tracking. Almost like an ancient transcription of a therapy session. ...more
Elliot Lake
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this. This is going on a reread shelf.

Letter 7 and Letter 8 especially are superb. among the greatest pieces of text, I have ever read.

Although it is a little bit dense and confusing for somebody who is not well versed in the scriptures, If you have this, It all becomes very clear. Two especially interesting parts of the collection of letters (found in letter 8) are the brief commentary on the clothing of women and on virginity.

The powerful parallels are drawn between the biblical figur
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
In general I appreciate the writings of St. John Chrysostom. This collection of his letters from exile to his friend and disciple Olympia is to a large extent his letters of encouragement to her. She lost her friend when Chrysostom was sent into exile, and probably being in a circle of people in disfavor with the government and society, she suffered great depression, loss of face and even some threats. His letters admonish her to accept suffering as the normal way for God's people and to accept ...more
"Cyril' (David
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful translation by Dr. David Ford of St. Tikhon's Russian Orthodox Monastery.
The book contains 17 letters from St. John Chrysostom, written from exile to the Abbess St. Olympia who was suffering from despondency. Some of the letters have not been previously translated.

" is certainly not in the nature of things, but in the will of man that our happiness naturally resides." (pg 98 10:1C)
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An encouraging book of letters written at the beginning of the 5th century by St John Chrysostom in exile to a young lady in Constantinople, who was enduring many trials. His reputation as “the golden mouth” shines forth in these eloquent letters, encouraging her to persevere, while he himself was suffering also.
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John Chrysostom (c. 347–407, Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος), Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death in 407 (or, according to some sou ...more

Other books in the series

Popular Patristics Series (1 - 10 of 37 books)
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  • On the Holy Icons
  • On Marriage and Family Life
  • On Wealth and Poverty: St. John Chrysostom
  • Hymns on Paradise
  • On the Soul and the Resurrection
  • On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies
  • On the Divine Images
  • Letters from the Desert: A Selection of Questions and Responses
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