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“John Chrysostom - Homily on the Date of Christmas, sections 1 and 2

A homily for Christmas Day (in which Chrysostom argues that the date of Christ's birth was 25th December)

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Click here to read at in the original Greek (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is by the Revd Andrew Maguire (Early Church Texts Webmaster). This should be acknowledged if the translation is used or cited in any publication or any other website.

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Relevant books
available at Amazon

Many Chrysostom translations
and studies
with links to Amazon

See also below


J.N.D. Kelly

The Story of John Chrysostom


Hagit Amirav

Rhetoric and Tradition: John Chrysostom on Noah and the Flood (Traditio Exegetica Graeca, 12)


Chrysostomus Baur

John Chrysostom and His Time: Volume 1: Antioch


Chrysostomus Baur

John Chrysostom and His Time, Vol. 2: Constantinople


Duane A. Garrett

An Analysis of the Hermeneutics of John Chrysostom's Commentary on Isaiah 1-8 With an English Translation (Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity)


Blake Goodall

Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Letters of St.Paul to Titus and Philemon (University of California publications : Classical studies ; v. 20)


Peter Gorday

Principles of Patristic Exegesis: Romans 9-11 in Origen, John Chrysostom, and Augustine (Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity)


Aideen M. Hartney

John Chrysostom and the Transformation of the City


Robert Allen Krupp

Shepherding the Flock of God: The Pastoral Theology of John Chrysostom (American University Studies. Series VII. Theology and Religion)


Mel Lawrenz

The Christology of John Chrysostom


Blake Leyerle

Theatrical Shows and Ascetic Lives: John Chrysostom's Attack on Spiritual Marriage


Jaclyn LaRae Maxwell

Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity: John Chrysostom and his Congregation in Antioch


Margaret Mary Mitchell

Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation


Robert Louis Wilken

John Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the Late 4th Century



Gus George Christo

On Repentance and Almsgiving (The Fathers of the Church)


Thomas Aquinas Goggin

Commentary on Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist: Homilies 48-88 (The Fathers of the Church, 41)


Robert C. Hill

Eight Sermons on the Book of Genesis


David G. Hunter

A Comparison Between a King and a Monk/Against the Opponents of the Monastic Life (Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity, Vol 13)


M.C.W. Laistner

Christianity and pagan culture in the later Roman Empire: Together with an English translation of Johan Chrysostom's Address on vainglory and the right ... bring up their children (Cornell paperbacks)


Wendy Mayer

John Chrysostom (The Early Church Fathers)


Mayer and Bronwen

The Cult of the Saints (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press Popular Patristics)


Graham Neville

Six Books on the Priesthood (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press Popular Patristics Series)


? Catherine P. Roth

On Wealth and Poverty


? David Anderson

On Marriage and Family Life


Margaret A Schatkin

John Chrysostom as apologist: With special reference to De incomprehensibili, Quod nemo laeditur, Ad eos qui scandalizati sunt, and Adversus oppugnatores vitae monasticae (Analecta VlatadoÌ?n)


Sally Shore

On Virginity Against Remarriage (Studies in Women and Religion, V. 9)



On the birthday of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, the date of which was still uncertain at that time, but which, within a few years, was made plain by some who came from the West and shared it.

1. There is something which long ago patriarchs painfully longed for, prophets foretold and the righteous set their hearts on. Now it has come to pass and had its consummation today. God was seen on earth through flesh and dwelt among humankind. So then, beloved, let us rejoice with great gladness. For if John leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary visited Elizabeth, consider that we have actually seen our Saviour born today. So now we, much more, must leap, rejoice, and be full of wonder and astonishment at the grandeur of God’s plan which exceeds all thought. Think how great it would be to see the sun coming down from the heavens, running on the earth and sending out its beams on everybody from here. If the sight of such splendour would astound all who behold it, consider and contemplate now how great it is to see the sun of righteousness (Malachi 4: 2), sending out beams from our own flesh and illuminating our souls. Long ago I set my heart on seeing this day, and not just seeing it, but seeing it with such a great gathering of people. I continually prayed that our place of meeting would be filled just as we now see it filled. So this has come to pass and had its consummation. Although it is not yet the tenth year since this day became clear and familiar to us, through your zeal, it has now flourished as though it was given from the beginning many years ago. Because of this one would not be far wrong in saying that it is both new and old: new because it has only recently been made known to you, old and venerable because it has swiftly become similar in stature to days long recognised and it feels as though it is of similar age to them. It is as with carefully bred and cultivated plants (the ones that reach an impressive height almost as soon as they are placed in the earth, and are laden with fruit). This day was known from the beginning to those in the West: now it has been brought to us and before the passing of many years, has swiftly shot up, bearing such fruit as you now see – the precincts full and the church packed with the crowd who have gathered together. Expect a repayment worthy of such zeal from Christ who is born today in the flesh. He will reward you for this enthusiasm. Your heartfelt zeal for this day is a great sign of your love for the one who is born. If it is necessary for anything to be contributed by us, your fellow servants, then, as we are able, we will contribute it; or rather whatever words the grace of God gives me to build you up. What do you wish to hear today? You want, of course, to hear about this day. I well know that many are still debating with each other about it, some arguing against, some for. Everywhere there is a lot of conversation about this day, some saying accusingly that the day is a new innovation which has only recently been introduced, while others contend that it is ancient and venerable, that the prophets spoke in advance about his birth and that from the beginning it was plain and clear to those living from Thrace to Cadiz. So come then and let us begin to give an account of these things. At the moment a day which is debated among you enjoys significant goodwill. If it became more familiar to you it is obvious that it would enjoy even greater zeal. Clarity of teaching will consolidate its position among you.

I have three convincing arguments to share with you through which we will know for sure that this is the time at which our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Word, was born. Of the three the first is that the news about the feast was swiftly circulated everywhere; it increased in prominence and the feast flourished. Gamaliel said of the proclamation of the Gospel – if it is from men and women it will come to an end, but if it is from God you will not be able to bring it to an end lest you are found to be fighting against God. I would confidently say of this day that, since God the Word is of God, far from it coming to an end, it is increasing in prominence each year and becoming better and better known. Within a few years the preaching of the Gospel had taken hold of the entire world even though it was shared in each place by ordinary people of little education like tentmakers and fishermen. The modest circumstances of its servants did it no harm, but the power of the message won over everything, brought to nothing whatever got in the way and demonstrated a strength of its own.

2. On the subscription version of the website there is also a translation of section 2 in which Chrysostom states that details of the census mentioned in chapter 2 of Luke's gospel were stored publicly in Rome.  There is also a link (active in December 2015) to a complete English translation of this homily.


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Homiliy on the date of Christmas Day
Christmas Day Homily
25th December as date of Christmas
twenty-fifth December date of birth of Jesus Christ
Homilia In Diem Natalem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi
John Chrysostom in Greek with English Translation
Migne Greek Text
Patrologiae Graecae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Graeca


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