St. Peter Chrysologus

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Peter Chrysologus (380-450) meaning “Peter the Golden-worded”, was Bishop of Ravenna from about 433 until his death.  He is known as the “Doctor of Homilies” for the concise but theologically rich reflections he delivered during his time as the Bishop of Ravenna.  He is revered as a saint by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729.  His surviving works attest to the Church’s traditional beliefs about Mary’s perpetual virginity, the penitential value of Lent, Christ’s Eucharistic presence, and the primacy of St. Peter and his successors.  The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (451) preserves the text of letter of Saint Peter Chrysologus in response to Eutyches, who had been condemned for the heresy of Monophysitism.  In it, Peter admonishes Eutyches to accept the ruling of the synod and to give obedience to the Bishop of Rome as the successor of Saint Peter.  In his extant homilies, Peter also condemned Arianism and Monophysitism as heresies and explained the Apostles’ Creed, the mystery of the Incarnation, and other topics in simple and clear language.  Peter died in 450.  A contemporary portrait of Saint Peter Chrysologus, found in the mosaics of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Ravenna, depicts him among the members of the eastern and western imperial family, showing his extraordinary influence.


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