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Saint Peter Chrysologus

Listen to the Lord's appeal:...Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds. -Saint Peter Chrysologus

Saint Peter Chrysologus (Ἅγιος Πέτρος ὁ Χρυσολόγος, Peter the Golden Worded) was Bishop of Ravenna and is a Doctor of the Church)

Saint Peter was born in the year 380 in a town by the name of Imola, a town in the North-Central part of Italy. The Bishop of the Diocese, Cornelius, not only baptized Saint Peter but also educated him as he grew and ordained him formally as a Deacon. Through the influence of Emperor Valentinian III, he soon was appointed Archdeacon, a post he would serve in until Pope Sixtus III appointed him as the Bishop of Ravenna in 443. This choice by Pope Sixtus III came about when he had a vision of Saint Peter the Apostle and Saint Apollonaris showing him that Peter Chrysologus should be the next Bishop. Pope Sixtus immediately recognized Saint Peter Chrysologus when a delegation arrived in Rome from Ravenna and so consecrated him as Bishop rather than the man the town of Ravenna had elected.

"He is The Bread sown in the virgin, leavened in the Flesh, molded in His Passion, baked in the furnace of the Sepulchre, placed in the Churches, and set upon the Altars, which daily supplies Heavenly Food to the faithful."

By the time of his consecration as Bishop, Saint Peter had already gathered a reputation as one who gave very simple and short but divinely inspired homilies. His first homily as bishop so moved the Roman Empress Galla Placidia that she gave him the surname Chrysologus, or golden-worded. His homilies condemned Arianism and Monophysitism as heresies and explained the Apostles' Creed, the Incarnation, Saint John the Baptist, the Blessed Virgin Mary and many other topics in clear and concise language for his listeners. Archbishop Felix of Ravenna in the 700s preserved a total of 176 of these homilies that survive to this day, many of them showing the details of Christian life during his time. Saint Peter advocated daily reception of the Eucharist and urged listeners to confide in the forgiveness offered only through Christ.

During a visit to his home town of Imola, Saint Peter died. The date of his death from the ninth century Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis is recorded as July 31st, 450 AD. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1729 with his feast day inserted for December 4th. It was moved during the 1969 revision to July 30th to bring it as close as possible to the date of his death.

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