Mother of John Chrysostom circa. 347-407
Anthusa was an intelligent woman living
in the city of Antioch in the 4th Century A.D. She was a woman
of means, being married to Secundus, an illustrious officer in
the Imperial Army of Syria. The city of Antioch was the starting
point of the Apostle Paulís three missionary journeys and was
one of the four chief cities of the Roman Empire. Of its population
of about two hundred thousand, half were thought to have been
It was in this setting that Anthusa
bore a son who she named John. While John was an infant, Secundus
died, leaving her widowed when she was about twenty years old.
Although she had the means to give her son a good education, she
dreaded bringing him up amid the corruptions of Antioch and decided
to teach him at home for a time. But the burden of rearing him,
she later declared, was lightened for her by Godís support and
the joy of seeing in him the image of his father.
Anthusa decided not to marry again,
feeling that her child must come before her own happiness. She
devoted her life to her son, who showed high intelligence and
a love for beauty. It was her goal to nurture in him the highest
quality of Christian character. In his early years she taught
him to love the Bible and encouraged him to study and learn it.
She instilled in him an intimate knowledge of the Scriptures which
served to help him later in life.
Anthusa herself was a highly educated
woman and transmitted much of her classical knowledge to her son.
When the time was right, she sent him to the celebrated orator
Libanius to study further. As he grew into a man, she also encouraged
him to pursue a career as a preacher and expositor of the Bible,
inspiring him to study theology under the noted Diodore of Tarsus.
While John did study under great men of his time period, the spiritual
interpretations and the practical applications found in his great
homilies on Genesis, Matthew, John, Romans, Galatians, Corinthians,
Ephesians, Timothy, and Titus owe much to his motherís early teachings
John went on to become one of the great
Christian Leaders of his time, earning the name Chrysostom, meaning
ďGolden-MouthedĒ. Though he reveled in his classical education,
it was the things of the Spirit he learned at his motherís home
that he credited for giving him the foundation he needed to succeed
as a minister of the Gospel and becoming the man that he was.