Sainted John Chrysostom – a great ecumenical teacher and hierarch – died in the city of Comene in the year 407 on his way to a place of exile, having been condemned by the intrigues of the empress Eudoxia because of his daring denunciation of the vices ruling over Constantinople. The transfer of his venerable relics was made in the year 438: after 30 years following the death of the saint during the reign of Eudoxia’s son emperor Theodosius II (408-450).
Saint John Chrysostom had the warm love and deep respect of the people, and grief over his untimely death lived on in the hearts of Christians. Saint John’s student Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople (434-447), making Divine-services in the Church of Saint Sophia, preached a sermon which in glorifying Saint John he said: “O John! Thy life was filled with difficulties, but thy death was glorious, thy grave is blessed and reward abundant through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. O graced one, having conquered the bounds of time and place! Love hath conquered space, unforgetting memory hath annihilated the limits, and place doth not hinder the miracles of the saint.” Those who were present in church, deeply touched by the words of Saint Proclus, did not allow him even to finish his sermon. With one accord they began to entreat the Patriarch to intercede with the emperor, so that the relics of Saint John might be transferred to Constantinople.
The emperor, overwhelmed by Saint Proclus, gave his consent and made the order to transfer the relics of Saint John. But the people dispatched by him were by no means able to lift up the holy relics – not until that moment when the emperor realising his oversight that he had not sent the message to Saint John, humbly beseeching of him forgiveness for himself and for his mother Eudoxia.
The message was read at the grave of Saint John and after this they easily lifted up the relics, carried them onto a ship and arrived at Constantinople. The reliquary coffin with the relics was placed in the Church of the holy Martyr Irene. The Patriarch opened the coffin: the body of Saint John had remained without decay. The emperor, having approached the coffin with tears, asked forgiveness. All day and night people did not leave the coffin. In the morning the reliquary coffin with its relics was brought to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The people cried out: “Receive back thy throne, father!” Then Patriarch Proclus and the clergy standing at the relics saw Saint John open his mouth and pronounce: “Peace be to all.”
In the ninth century the feastday in honour of the transfer of the relics of Sainted John Chrysostom was written into church singing.