Lent of the year 387 was an anxious season for the Christians of Antioch.
They lived in one of the largest, wealthiest, and most magnificent cities in the Roman Empire, and their numbers had multiplied since Peter and Paul’s missionary work there. Their main church was one of the city’s most beautiful buildings.
Antioch’s archbishop made two fateful decisions. First, he raced to the capital to plead for mercy. Second, he left behind his assistant, John, with the charge of calming the terrified citizens.
Homilies from the Heart. Over the next few weeks, John gave a series of sermons that captured the public’s attention. He skillfully wove traditional Lenten themes of repentance and self-reflection together with exhortations to turn to God for spiritual and civic deliverance. But John was not just trying to raise morale; he used the crisis to raise people’s minds and hearts to God.
In these Homilies on the Statues, John…
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