St Anthousa

(Commemorated on the 13th of November)

St Anthousa


On November 13, the Orthodox Church commemorates one of its most preeminent theologians and saints, John Chrysostom. There is no appropriate superlative to describe St John’s extraordinary contribution to the Christian faith. On that same day, we also commemorate St Anthousa, the mother of John Chrysostom.

St Anthousa was born in the city of Antioch in approximately 347 AD. She was an intelligent woman who married Secundus, an officer in the army. Together the couple bore a son, whom they named John. At the age of twenty, Anthousa became a widow and was left to raise her son by herself. Anthousa chose not to remarry, deciding that her duty to God and her child was of greater importance than pursuing a new marriage.

Anthousa raised John diligently, immersing him in the faith while also having him educated by the most accomplished professors of the age. Anthousa possessed a very real and intimate love for Christ which she shared with her son. The profound influence of her maternal guidance is highlighted by John who, at the age of eighteen, chose not to pursue worldly philosophy but rather to dedicate his life to struggling towards Christ. St Anthousa would repose in the Lord around the year 407 AD, having lived a life dedicated to serving God and raising her child in the faith.

While there are no extensive writings on her life, St Anthousa stands as an inspiration and example to all Christians. As a mother, St Anthousa did all that was within her power to ensure the best possible life for her son, a life that was rooted not in worldly comforts or pleasures but in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Perhaps the focus of November 13 primarily being on the feast day of St John Chrysostom is quaintly representative of St Anthousa’s constant willingness to put her son ahead of herself. However, her influence cannot be underestimated. St Anthousa is a shining example to all Christians, and not just mothers. Through her life she has provided us all with an example of love, sacrifice, and faith in the Kingdom to come.

Source: Lychnos October 2021 / November 2021