(St John Chrysostom’s commentaries on man-woman relations,  marriage and conjugal abuse)

5.  An overview of Chrysostom's teachings on marriage

To understand Chrysostom’s positions on man-woman relations it is important to start with his commentaries on the fashioning of Adam and Eve and their disobedience that led to their expulsion from heaven. Examining his commentaries on Genesis, makes evident that Chrysostom exerted important energy to establish that the woman was made of “like fashion” and “like honour” to the man.[1] He echoed emphatically the Orthodox understanding that man and woman had been originally one. In his commentaries on the Ephesians he reiterated this[2] and mentioned how content Adam was when he realised that he had a partner similar in all ways to him, exclaiming upon beholding her: “This now is bone of my bones” and “flesh of my flesh!”[3] Chrysostom, in fact, believed that the woman’s fashioning from man was God’s Providence to ensure that under no circumstances would man look down on woman as alien to him.[4]

Expressing the Orthodox understanding, Chrysostom explained that prior to their disobedience Adam and Eve had existed in a relationship of comradeship and mutual help without any sexual attraction that required physical union between the two. As he spoke in his Homily on Virginity, while they were still in heaven the two had been uncorrupted like children, had direct contact with the Creator and were fully satisfied with their life in the Garden.[5] It was their disobedience that resulted in the corruption of their minds, which fundamentally altered also the nature of their relationship. It was at that time that the woman lost her equal authority in the Creation, initially granted to her by God in being fashioned alike to Adam. Chrysostom explained that due to her weak judgement which contributed to their disobedience she was thenceforth consigned to be dependent on her husband.[6] However he clarified that this was not meant as punishment, but as an act of Providence by a merciful God who knew that the fall from heaven would put the woman in much terror and risk. He explained:

And notice God’s benevolence here. Fοr lest when she heard the word, “He shall rule over you,” she might imagine them to mean a burdensome tyranny, God puts the words of caring first. He did this by saying, “You will depend on your husband,” that is to say, “He is your refuge, your haven, and your security: he shall be these things to you. Amid all life’s daily terrors, I give you the right to turn to him, to take refuge in him.” And not only to her [He allowed these], but also he joined the two with physical needs just as in an unbroken bond, arraying the chain with desire. You see how sin introduced woman’s subjection, but God, so ingenious and wise, used the result of sin for our benefit? [7]

To ensure that the woman’s loss of authority did not expose her to more terror and vulnerability which the expulsion from Paradise was expected to bring, the Provident God instilled in the fallen pair natural desire for each other. In this new dynamic, the husband was made the wife’s head so as to act as her refuge, while her ‘natural’ (post-fall) inclination toward him and his ‘natural’ (post-fall) desire for her were instilled by the caring God to increase the likelihood that their bond would be one of love and trust and would not turn into a bond of intimidation. This was apprehended to happen in view of humanity’s susceptibility to sinfulness in the post-fall condition and Satan’s perennial efforts to interfere with humanity’s salvation.

It needs to be underscored here that while the subordination of Eve was traced back to the original disobedience, for which she had the largest share, this was never meant to inculpate her alone. In fact, Chrysostom appeared to hold Adam equally responsible, as evident in places where he observed that had it not been for Adam’s disobedience, there would have been no necessity to preserve mankind in the first place.[8] At other times he referred generically to the disobedience of the “first human.”[9] His approach reflects rather faithfully the Orthodox phronema within which more emphasis has been traditionally placed on rectifying the consequences of the fall rather than on attributing blame.

Within Orthodox tradition, following the fall, salvation could be achieved either by living a virginal, ascetic life or by marrying. Both these pathways have been considered honourable and have been protected by the Orthodox Church vehemently against multiple historical heresies. However, there were reasons for which Chrysostom held that the ascetic life was higher and nobler than the married life. This followed from his understanding that the physical attraction and carnal union of man and woman had resulted from the disobedience of the first couple[10]  and had become necessary only because of humanity’s ‘infirmity.’[11] On the contrary, virginity had existed before the fall, and also in the angels.[12] Therefore, according to him one would aspire to live in virginity if one wanted to be as close as possible to the heavenly state.

In Chrysostom’s commentaries virginal life was also perceived to be freer from worldly worries, which married life could not possibly avoid. In the recluse life, one would strive for the salvation of one’s soul and could devote oneself entirely to spiritual work, but in the married life, a man and woman would have to concern themselves with worldly necessities and would need to worry about the material wellbeing and spiritual progression of both themselves and other family members. Moreover, for a marriage to be in God the married would need to act as if they were not married at all, which echoed St Paul’s commandment to the Corinthians: “Let those who have wives live as though they have none.”[13] Thus, asked Chrysostom: “What occasion to take up such a load, when even after taking it you must use it as having it not?” [14]

He proceeded to explain that marriage should be understood as a mystery that was intended to assist men and women to overcome sin and to achieve holiness. Marriage, as a monogamous bond, could safeguard against fornication and prostitution, temptations that the Orthodox Church has acknowledged to have a stronghold on all fallen humanity and to impede the process to a union with God and salvation. Chrysostom explained that this aim of marriage was not always articulated as such, but originally more emphasis had been placed on procreation.[15] After the fall, there was a necessity for humanity to secure the reproduction of their species and fulfil the divine plan for salvation. However, the more fundamental objective of the marriage bond that God had apprehended was to alleviate humanity’s harmful desires that served as obstacles to overcoming sin in the fallen state. [16] Chrysostom enforced this point by referring to the example of Abraham and Sara who had lived most of their married life childless. He observed that Abraham’s marriage to Sara had not secured him the child he had earnestly hoped for.[17] This underscored his understanding that it was not by means of marriage and carnal union that people multiplied, but by God’s commandment “Be fertile and multiply.” In other words, Chrysostom observed that had God’s aim been procreation alone, He would have not needed to provide the mystery of marriage. Subsequently, marriage must have been intended for a more profound purpose, which was, at its most basic articulation, to avoid and to overcome sin, such as intemperance, wanton and other states of unchastity. 

Chrysostom spoke about the union of man and woman in the context of the Orthodox marriage as a mystery and explained that it was “a bond” that had been “ordained by God.” [18] The fact that man was asked to leave his father and mother, who bore him and raised him in order to attach himself to a stranger evidenced to him the depth of the mystery of marriage.[19] The carnal union of the spouses was understood to constitute part of the mystery, which he described as follows:

They come to become one body. Here is again the mystery of love. If the two do not become one, they cannot have many offspring, as long as each remains one. But when they come in union, then they can procreate. What do we learn from this? That the strength of the bond has much power. The genius of God divided the one into two from the beginning of the creation, and wanting to show that after this division each remains one, he did not let each be adequate for procreation. Because they do not yet make one, but each half of one, and it is obvious that each alone does not procreate, exactly as before.[20]

Just as Adam and Eve had been initially one, the husband and wife become one in one flesh in their marriage. According to Chrysostom, after the union wife and husband are not two people, but one person as the first-fashioned human.[21] He furthermore added: “That is why “helper” He also calls the woman, to show that they are one.”[22]

In the previous comment, it is important not to take his reference to procreation to mean that the Orthodox marriage was conditioned on childbirth. Chrysostom’s point that both woman and man were essential for child-bearing was only meant to illustrate the power of the bond at its most visible manifestation. The intensity of the bond was furthermore illustrated with his discussion of romantic love:

When blessed David was mourning for Jonathan, who was of one soul with him, what comparison did he use to describe the loftiness of their love: “Your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” The power of this love (the love between man and woman) is truly stronger than any passion; other desires may be strong, but this alone never fades. This (romantic) love is deeply planted within the inmost being. Unnoticed by us, it attracts the bodies of men and women to each other, because in the beginning woman came forth from man, and from man and woman other men and women proceed.[23]

Chrysostom explained that the force of the love between man and woman was exemplified in the fact that Adam was given to unite with Eve, who herself was his flesh.[24] This original closeness was evoked to justify the strength of the heterosexual love, which attracted unrelated men and women to each other. Any disruption of this physical union or the dedicated love of the spouses was expected to spoil the bond of marriage itself. This was especially pronounced when Chrysostom compared the repercussions of being married to a non-believer and someone committing adultery. While being married to an “idolatress” did not spoil the marital bond because the believing spouse sanctified the unbeliever, adultery could destroy the adulterous spouse’s marriage rights.[25] Chrysosostom’s comment was not made for purposes of condemning those who succumbed to these practices, since within the faith deep remorse can transcend any sin and wrongdoing, but rather to emphasise again that the power of the conjugal relationship lies in the exclusivity of the marriage bond.

Chrysostom was adamant that the union of the spouses had to be experienced in the faith. As he said, “[t]his then is marriage when it takes place according to Christ, spiritual marriage, and spiritual birth, not of blood, nor of travail, nor of the will of the flesh.”[26] Experiencing marriage as a spiritual relationship would require approaching marriage as a Sacrament that aims toward salvation and living with one’s spouse according to one’s duty to God to achieve that. In his commentaries, Chrysostom discussed the conjugal duties in detail, echoing Paul’s command: “Women submit to your own husbands, as if to the Lord, for the man is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the Church, and He is Himself the Saviour of the Body.”[27] Regarding this verse, Chrysostom explained that the wife was asked to show to her husband the type of sacred fear and reverence that the Church is expected to show to Christ who is Her Head. By the Orthodox phronema, this fear has been intimately tied to love and should be differentiated from more profane forms of fear motivated by threats or profane agony because of one’s sins.[28] As St Nektarios of Pentapolis has explained, “This fear
¾as a feeling¾relates to love, and it generates piety inside the soul, so that she does not reach the point of being despised by the man through the outspokenness of love.”[29]

A further way to evidence this is by looking closely at how the duty of the husband in marriage was described, which Chrysostom appeared to consider even more difficult than women’s duty to honour their husbands:

But now listen to what else he requires from you; he has not finished with his example. “Husbands, he says, “love your wives, as Christ loved the Church.” You have seen the amount of obedience necessary; now hear about the amount of love necessary. Do you want your wife to be obedient to you, as the Church is to Christ? Then be responsible for the same providential care of her, as Christ is for the Church. And even if it becomes necessary for you to give your life for her, yes, and even to endure and undergo suffering of any kind, do not refuse. Even though you undergo all this, you will never have done anything equal to what Christ has done. [30]

This was again pronounced in Chrysostom’s discussion of male headship in commenting on Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. The homilist referred there also to the analogy between the relationship of man and woman and that of Christ and the Church.[31] He explained that Jesus Christ willingly gave His life for the Church, even though She rejected him, acted foolishly and was mired in darkness. Therefore, a husband who, contrary to Christ, chooses a wife of his preference should be willing to do at least as much.[32]  He reiterated:

And even if it shall be needful for you to give your life for her, even if you have to be cut into pieces ten thousand times, even if you have to endure and undergo any suffering whatever, do not avoid it. And having undergone all this, you will have never done anything close to what Christ did. [33]

In other words, the headship conferred to the husband in marriage cannot be fulfilled unless it is based on the husband’s loving and benign (gentle and kind) behaviour with his wife. However, this begs the question: What incentive does the husband have to behave in such a manner and not to abuse the authority bestowed on him, an inclination that would have most likely existed in the male-dominated society Chrysostom addressed? In response to what could have been such a concern, Chrysostom reminded his audiences that the husband represented the head and the wife the body of their common soma [34] and emphatically warned his audiences that “if the head scorns the body, it will perish with it.”[35] Therefore, he advised: “[L]et the husband offer his love as counterbalance to her obedience.”[36]

However, despite asking husbands to be their wives’ refuge and spiritual mentors, Chrysostom understood the conjugal relationship to be grounded in a fundamental ‘equality of honour’[37] that made the wife’s dignity equally important to the husband’s. This was highlighted in his commentary on Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians.[38] Chrysostom affirmed that as the wife is master and servant to her husband, the husband is servant and master to his wife. By this he aimed to denote a condition of simultaneous powerlessness and powerfulness so that no party would see itself as controlling the other, but as complementary to and dependent on each other. This should not be considered mere semantics. The kind of servitude a man is expected to enter upon marrying was emphasised in the words that St Paul spoke to his disciples to dissuade them from marrying, which Chrysostom commented on:

He [Paul] desires by these very words to lead them [away] from it [marriage]. For when you hear that you will not be your own master after marriage but be subject to the will of your wife, you will quickly aspire not to pass under the yoke at all, since once you have entered into this state, you must be a slave henceforth, so long as it pleases your wife. [39]

Thus, despite the proclaimed difference in authority between husband and wife, the husband remains the servant of his wife in all matters. Husband and wife are equally responsible for preserving the honour of the marriage and the dignity of their partner. Similarly, wife and husband are equally reprehensible for committing adultery, which can irrevocably impair the strength of the marriage bond.[40]

It should be underlined that despite the husband and wife being described as the head and body respectively of their common soma in marriage, Chrysostom did not say anywhere that gender roles were stipulated by divine plan. Although women are called to entrust the judgement of their husbands and to honour them as spiritual leaders, a gender-segregated lifestyle has not been imposed doctrinally in this tradition. If Chrysostom associated wives with household responsibility on various occasions, it is understood that he did so in part because he was addressing a society that was segregated in that way.

In his commentaries, Chrysostom did not evade referring also to the sexual relations of the married couple. Echoing the Orthodox tradition, Chrysostom explained that in the physical union of marriage the man and woman become one in one flesh. He described that in this union the seed of the man is received by the woman and is lovingly nourished to produce a child.[41] The child then becomes the bridge between the parents and the three are one in one flesh. Here again Chrysostom drew a parallel between the physical union of the parents and the union of the believers in the Body of Christ by partaking in Communion.[42] It should be added that such depictions were not meant to suggest that Chrysostom confined sexual intercourse to child bearing, but rather to evidence that the child was the seed of the loving bond between the spouses realised in the sexual union.

Chrysostom was realistic and unashamed to declare the facts of life openly. He in fact blamed his audiences for bashing away from a discussion of sex in Church since the marriage bed, as he explained, was honourable and undefiled. It is not sex in marriage that is dishonourable, he said, but the minds and actions of men who use the union for licentious purposes. Thus he was not against spousal love-making, but he taught that the physical union needed to be done with modesty and with recognition that marriage represented a vehicle to a spiritual aim, and was not itself a telos. To meet its Christian ends, marriage needed to be experienced as a spiritual union between wife and husband with Christ as their Head.

Within the Orthodox Church, the spousal bed is honourable and it serves the purpose of strengthening the spouses against the temptation of adultery and other unchastity. For this reason, Chrysostom advised against spouses withholding from each other for a long time without mutual agreement.
[43] He explained that spouses should abstain from each other only if both agreed to dedicate more fully to prayer or fasting (which ideally should take place even when spouses do not abstain from sexual activity). He insisted, however that they should do so in mutual consent, otherwise one of the two may be tempted toward adultery and other sins, which would undermine the very purpose of marriage in cultivating holiness and spiritual growth for both.

While marriage was envisioned as a union between lovers aiming to mutual theosis, Chrysostom
¾as the pragmatist he was¾understood that in reality the relationship was not always peaceful or partners’ behaviours always altruistic. In his commentaries on Virginity, he acknowledged that marriage required much compromise and tolerance.[44] On one occasion he asked his audiences rhetorically: “What if the husband is lenient, but the wife is malicious, libelous, chattering, sumptuous…? What if, contrary to her who is comely and quiet, he is impudent, arrogant, and irascible, of a materialistic disposition and one to rule by force (greatly “puffed up” because of money and of oppressiveness)?”[45] His response reiterated St Paul’s teaching that each spouse should try to endure their partner’s flaws and to entreat and counsel them so as to help them to change pernicious behaviours and to edify them spiritually. Ηe added that one is freed of this duty only at the death of their partner.

However, it is important to underscore that while Chrysostom considered patience in marriage and endurance of a difficult spouse to be an Orthodox trait (for both genders), he did not advise it indiscriminately.[46] In parallel, the condemnation of all conjugal abusiveness as un-Orthodox practice ran through his work and referred to both genders. This became evident, for example, when he warned wives against insulting or criticising their husbands because of poverty,[47] or when he instructed that husbands not be tempted to earn their wife’s obedience “by fear and menaces, but with love and good temper.”[48] This was emphasised below:

But nor should the husband who hears these, because he has authority, to resort to insulting and hurting, but to encourage her to the good, to advise and counsel her, and because she is less perfect than he to try to convince her with thoughts, never [should he] raise hands [on her]. All these should be far from a free soul; [he should use] neither hubris, neither insults, neither shame, neither ridicule, but because she is more frivolous [he should] direct her. [49]

Chrysostom cautioned men not to abuse their spiritual authority because a man free from worldly shackles who lives in faith should have nothing to do with abusiveness. He should be meek and patient and should always respond to his wife with careful words that aim to improve her understanding through constructive counsel. Chrysostom, in fact, seemed to encourage husbands to think of their wives as weaker vessels who required more consideration and thoughtfulness. One may argue that he believed this, but it should also be entertained that he employed this also as a rhetorical device to leverage the male listeners’ pre-existing sense of superiority for the sake of promoting women’s wellbeing.

Chrysostom evidenced his genuine protectiveness toward women when he instructed husbands to be patient, kind and non-judgemental with their wives, even if the latter provoked them and were worthy of criticism.[50] He commented:

For, one may be able to tie down a servant through fear, but I daresay, not even him; for he, leaping out (of his fetters) will swiftly run away. As for her that shares his life, the mother of his children, the source of his every joy, she should not be “tied down” with fear and threats, but rather with love and cheerful disposition. For what kind of conjugal union can there be when the woman is afraid of the man? What kind of pleasure can that man enjoy, when living with the woman as if she were a slave, and not as a free individual? And even if you do suffer something for her sake, do not reprehend her, for neither did Christ do this.[51]

His emphatic differentiation between the fear that one coerces in a servant and the fear that one should inspire in a free-willed wife leaves no doubt that Chrysostom spoke of fear as reverence and respect that was inspired in the woman by the wise words, consideration and kind demeanour of the husband toward her. He drew again from the parallel between the relationship of husband and wife and that of Christ and His Church advising men against blaming their wives and urging them to suffer for their wives’ sake to imitate Christ in His approach. This was emphasised in the subsequent comment about using abuse: “Because she is your own body; because if you do this, you disgrace yourself in dishonouring your own body.”[52] And according to Chrysostom, “no man ever hated his own flesh.”[53]

Chrysostom told husbands not only that they had to treat their wives with kindness regardless of how intolerable they could be at times, but that this was their duty to God: “Love her therefore not for her sake so much as for Christ’s sake.”[54] Similarly, a wife was asked to respect and to honour her husband even if he did not love her as he ought to due to sacred fear for God. [55] Chrysostom explained that this was fitting because it could be that each spouse might display defects or disappoint the other at some point in their marriage and therefore should focus on fulfilling their duty to God without judging the other.

That Chrysostom did not consider forbearance binding was also evidenced in the fact that he was willing to allow physical separation when spouses could not co-exist. He explained:

Now what is that which to the married the Lord commanded? That the wife depart not from her husband; but if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled unto her husband. Here, seeing that both on the score of continence and other pretexts, and because of meanness of the spirit separations took place: it were better, he says, that such things should not be at all; but if they take place, let the wife remain with her husband, if not to cohabit with him, yet so as not to introduce any other to be her husband. [56]

Chrysostom was clearly concerned not to encourage divorce, the violation of God’s divine bond that brought the two-haves into one. Nonetheless, he allowed that in cases where conjugal co-existence resulted in constant enmity, spouses could live separately. Ideally, they should not remarry so as to allow room for future reconciliation.[57] It is important to caution again that Chrysostom offered his counsel through the Orthodox phronema that he embodied and not to establish universal rulings.

[1] “πόσης εὐφροσύνης αὐτοῦ ἡ ψυχὴ ἐνεπίμπλατο κοινωνὸν θεωρῶν τὴν γυναῖκα, καὶ ὁμότροπον καὶ ὁμόδοξον αὐτὴν καθεστῶσαν;” In Genesim (sermo 3).
[2] “ὥσπερ καὶ ἡ Εὔα σὰρξ ἀπὸ τῆς σαρκὸς τοῦ Ἀδάµ.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20.
[3] “ Ἄκουε· Τοῦτο νῦν ὀστοῦν ἐκ τῶν ὀστῶν μου, φησὶ, καὶ σὰρξ ἐκ τῆς σαρκός μου”. In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20.
[4] His emphasis on both the flesh (‘σαρκὸς’) and the bones (‘ὀστῶν’) betrayed his intention not to leave any doubt that woman was made in every way similar to man.
[5] “Πλασθεὶς δὲ ἐκεῖνος ἔμεινεν ἐν παραδείσῳ καὶ γάμου λόγος οὐδεὶς ἦν. Ἐδέησεν αὐτῷ γενέσθαι καὶ βοηθόν, καὶ ἐγένετο, καὶ οὐδὲ οὕτως ὁ γάμος ἀναγκαῖος εἶναι ἐδόκει. Ἀλλ' οὐδὲ ἐφαίνετό που, ἀλλ' ἔμενον ἐκεῖνοι τούτου χωρὶς καθάπερ ἐν οὐρανῷ τῷ παραδείσῳ διαιτώμενοι καὶ ἐντρυφῶντες τῇ πρὸς Θεὸν ὁμιλίᾳ. Μίξεως δὲ ἐπιθυμία καὶ σύλληψις καὶ ὠδῖνες καὶ τόκοι καὶ πᾶν εἶδος φθορᾶς ἐξώριστο τῆς ἐκείνων ψυχῆς.” In De virginitate, Paragraph 14. Translation in Miller, Women, 109.
[6] “Ἐποίησά σε, φησὶν, ὁμότιμον· οὐκ ἐχρήσω καλῶς τῇ ἀρχῇ· μετάβηθι πρὸς τὴν ὑποταγήν. Οὐκ ἤνεγκας τὴν ἐλευθερίαν, κατάδεξαι τὴν δουλείαν. Οὐκ οἶδας ἄρχειν, καὶ δι' αὐτῆς τῶν πραγμάτων ἔδειξας τῆς πείρας· γενοῦ τῶν ἀρχομένων, καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα ἐπίγνωθι κύριον. Πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα σου ἡ ἀποστροφή σου, καὶ αὐτός σου κυριεύσει.” In Genesim Sermones, Homily 4. Translation in Miller, Women, 30.
[7]Καὶ ὅρα Θεοῦ ἐνταῦθα φιλανθρωπίαν. Ἵνα γὰρ μὴ ἀκούσασα τὸ, Αὐτός σου κυριεύσει, φορτικὴν εἶναι νομίσῃ τὴν δεσποτείαν, πρότερον τὸ τῆς κηδεμονίας ἔθηκεν ὄνομα εἰπὼν, Πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα σου ἀποστροφή σου, τουτέστιν, καταφυγή σου καὶ λιμὴν καὶ ἀσφάλεια ἐκεῖνος ἔσται σοι· ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἐπιοῦσι δεινοῖς πρὸς ἐκεῖνον ἀποστρέφεσθαι καὶ καταφεύγειν σοι δίδωμι. Οὐ ταύτῃ δὲ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ φυσικαῖς αὐτοὺς συνέδησεν ἀνάγκαις καθάπερ ἄῤῥηκτόν τινα δεσμὸν, τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἐπιθυμίας περιβαλὼν αὐτοῖς ἅλυσιν. Εἶδες πῶς εἰσήγαγε μὲν τὴν ὑποταγὴν ἁμαρτία, δὲ εὐμήχανος καὶ σοφὸς Θεὸς καὶ τούτοις πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον ἡμῖν ἀπεχρήσατο;” In Genesim Sermones, Homily 4. Original translation in Miller, Women, 30 with underlined alterations.
[8] “Ὥσπερ οὖν τότε ἀπὸ νεκρῶν σωμάτων τοσαύταις μυριάσι δέδωκεν ὑπόθεσιν καὶ ῥίζαν Θεός, οὕτω καὶ παρὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν εἰ τοῖς προστάγμασιν αὐτοῦ πεισθέντες οἱ περὶ τὸν Ἀδὰμ τῆς ἡδονῆς ἐκράτησαν τοῦ ξύλου, οὐκ ἂν ἠπόρησεν ὁδοῦ δι' ἧς τὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γένος αὐξήσει.” De Virginitate, Paragraph 15.  Translation in Miller, Women, 110.
[9] For instance, in Genesim (sermo 3) where he mentions the first human “τὸν πρῶτον ἄνθρωπον” who failing to keep the fast, lost Paradise.  While the etymology of the word ‘ἄνθρωπος’ (‘human’ in Greek) has been disputed, it is often associated with ‘ἄνδρ-ωπος’ which refers roughly to ‘one who had the look of a man (ἀνήρ).’ Chrysostom seemed to use ‘human’ and ‘man’ distinctively so it is unlikely that he referred here only to Adam. Even so, this would only strengthen the argument that he did not speak of the disobedience exclusively as being Eve’s responsibility.
[10]Ἀπὸ τῆς παρακοῆς, ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρᾶς, ἀπὸ τοῦ θανάτου. Ὅπου γὰρ θάνατος, ἐκεῖ γάμος·” De Virginitate, Paragraph 14. Translation in Miller, Women, 109.
[11] Original being “ἀσθένειαν.”  
[12]Ἀλλ' οὐχ παρθενία ταύτην ἔχει τὴν ἀκολουθίαν ἀλλ' ἀεὶ χρήσιμον, ἀεὶ καλὸν καὶ μακάριον καὶ πρὸ τοῦ θανάτου καὶ μετὰ τὸν θάνατον καὶ πρὸ τοῦ γάμου καὶ μετὰ τὸν γάμον,” De Virginitate, Paragraph 14.
[13] 1 Corinthians 7:29 (ESV).
[14] “τί χρὴ λαβεῖν τοσοῦτον ὄγκον, ὅταν καὶ μετὰ τὸ λαβεῖν οὕτω δέοι χρῆσθαι, ὡς μὴ ἔχοντα;”In Epistulam i ad Corinthios, Homily 19. Original translation from Schaff, NPNF1-12, 194.
[15]Ὅτι πάλαι μὲν τῷ γάμῳ δύο προφάσεις, νῦν δὲ μία. Ἐδόθη μὲν οὖν καὶ παιδοποιΐας ἕνεκεν γάμος· πολλῷ δὲ πλέον ὑπὲρ τοῦ σβέσαι τὴν τῆς φύσεως πύρωσιν. Καὶ μάρτυς Παῦλος λέγων· «∆ιὰ δὲ τὰς πορνείας ἕκαστος τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα ἐχέτω», οὐ διὰ τὰς παιδοποιΐας. Καὶ πάλιν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ συνέρχεσθαι κελεύει οὐχ ἵνα πατέρες γένωνται παίδων πολλῶν, ἀλλὰ τί; «Ἵνα μὴ πειράζῃ ὑμᾶς σατανᾶς», φησί. Καὶ προελθὼν δὲ οὐκ εἶπεν· εἰ δὲ ἐπιθυμοῦσι παίδων, ἀλλὰ τί; «Εἰ δὲ μὴ ἐγκρατεύονται, γαμησάτωσανΠαρὰ μὲν γὰρ τὴν ἀρχήν, ὅπερ ἔφην, δύο ταύτας εἶχε τὰς ὑποθέσεις· ὕστερον δὲ πληρωθείσης καὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ τῆς θαλάττης καὶ τῆς οἰκουμένης πάσης μία λείπεται πρόφασις αὐτοῦ μόνη, τῆς ἀκολασίας καὶ τῆς ἀσελγείας ἀναίρεσις.” De Virginitate, Paragraph 19. Translation in Miller, Women, 113.
[16] Predicting that he could be blamed for denigrating the laws of Moses, Chrysostom reassuredly explained:  Κακίζω μὲν οὐδαμῶς· Θεὸς γὰρ αὐτὰ συνεχώρησε καὶ γέγονεν ἐν καιρῷ χρήσιμα. Μικρὰ δὲ αὐτὰ εἶναί φημι, καὶ παίδων κατορθώματα μᾶλλον ἀνδρῶν. Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἡμᾶς τελείους Χριστὸς δημιουργῆσαι βουλόμενος ἐκεῖνα μὲν ἀποθέσθαι ἐκέλευσεν, ὥσπερ ἱμάτια παιδικὰ καὶ οὐ δυνάμενα περιβάλλειν τὸν ἄνδρα τὸν τέλειον οὐδὲ τὸ μέτρον κοσμῆσαι τῆς ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὰ δὲ ἐκείνων εὐπρεπέστερα καὶ τελειότερα περιθέσθαι ἐκέλευσεν, οὐκ ἀντινομοθετῶν ἑαυτῷ ἀλλὰ καὶ σφόδρα ἀκολουθῶν.” De Virginitate, Paragraph 16. Translation in Miller, Women, 110-111.
[17] “Καὶ νῦν δὲ οὐχ ἡ τοῦ γάμου δύναμις τὸ γένος συγκροτεῖ τὸ ἡμέτερον ἀλλ' ὁ τοῦ κυρίου λόγος ὁ παρὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν εἰπών· «Αὐξάνεσθαι καὶ πληθύνεσθαι καὶ πληρώσατε τὴν γῆν.” Τί γάρ, εἰπέ μοι, τὸν Ἀβραὰμ εἰς παιδοποιΐαν τὸ πρᾶγμα ὤνησεν; Οὐκ ἐπὶ τοσούτοις αὐτῷ χρησάμενος ἔτεσι ταύτην ὕστερον ἀφῆκε τὴν φωνήν· ‘∆έσποτα, τί μοι δώσεις; Ἐγὼ δὲ ἀπολύομαι ἄτεκνος;’”De Virginitate, Paragraph 15. Translation in Miller, Women, 110.
[18]δεσµὸς ὡρισµένος παρὰ Θεοῦ.”  In Epistulam ad Colossenses, Homily 12.
[19]“Ὄντως γὰρ, ὄντως μυστήριόν ἐστι, καὶ μέγα μυστήριον, ὅτι τὸν φύντα, τὸν γεννησάμενον, τὸν ἀναθρεψάμενον, τὴν ὠδινήσασαν, τὴν ταλαιπωρηθεῖσαν ἀφεὶς, τοὺς τὰ τοσαῦτα εὐεργετήσαντας, τοὺς ἐν συνηθείᾳ γενομένους, τῇ μηδὲ ὀφθείσῃ, μηδὲ κοινόν τι ἐχούσῃ πρὸς αὐτὸν προσκολλᾶται, καὶ πάντων αὐτὴν προτιμᾷ. Μυστήριον ὄντως ἐστί. Καὶ οἱ γονεῖς τούτων γινομένων οὐκ ἄχθονται, ἀλλὰ μὴ γινομένων μᾶλλον· καὶ χρημάτων ἀναλισκομένων καὶ δαπάνης γινομένης, ἥδονται.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20.
[20]“Ἔρχονται ἓν σῶμα γενησόμενοι. Ἰδοὺ πάλιν ἀγάπης μυστήριον.  Ἂν οἱ δύο µὴ γένωνται ἓν, οὐκ ἐργάζονται πολλοὺς, ἕως ἂν δύο µένωσιν· ὅταν δὲ εἰς ἑνότητα ἔλθωσι, τότε ἐργάζονται. Τί µανθάνοµεν ἀπὸ τούτου; Ὅτι πολλὴ τῆς ἑνώσεως ἡ ἰσχύς. Τὸ εὐµήχανον τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν ἕνα εἰς δύο διεῖλε παρὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν, καὶ θέλων δεῖξαι ὅτι µετὰ τὸ διαιρεθῆναι καὶ εἷς µένει, οὐκ ἀφῆκεν ἕνα ἀρκεῖν πρὸς τὴν γέννησιν. Οὐ γάρ ἐστιν εἷς [ὁ] οὐδέπω, ἀλλ' ἥµισυ τοῦ ἑνός· καὶ δῆλον, ὅτι οὐ παιδοποιεῖ, καθάπερ καὶ πρότερον.” In Epistulam ad Colossenses, Homily 12. Translation with reference to the modern Greek in Παιδαγωγική, p. 22
[21]Γυνὴ γὰρ καὶ ἀνὴρ οὐκ εἰσὶν ἄνθρωποι δύο, ἀλλ' ἄνθρωπος εἷς.” In Epistulam ad Colossenses, Homily 12.
[22] “∆ιὰ τοῦτο καὶ βοηθὸν καλεῖ, ἵνα δείξῃ ὅτι ἕν εἰσι.” In Epistulam ad Colossenses, Homily 12.
[23] “∆ιὰ τοῦτο καί τις τὴν ὑπερβάλλουσαν ἀγάπην δηλῶν µακάριος ἀνὴρ, καί τινα τῶν αὐτῷ φίλων καὶ ὁµοψύχων πενθῶν, οὐ πατέρα εἶπεν, οὐ µητέρα, οὐ τέκνον, οὐκ ἀδελφὸν, οὐ φίλον, ἀλλὰ τί; Ἔπεσεν ἐπ' ἐµὲ ἡ ἀγάπησίς σου, φησὶν, ὡς ἀγάπησις τῶν γυναικῶν. Ὄντως γὰρ, ὄντως πάσης τυραννίδος αὕτη ἡ ἀγάπη τυραννικωτέρα. Αἱ μὲν γὰρ ἄλλαι, σφοδραί· αὕτη δὲ ἡ ἐπιθυμία ἔχει καὶ τὸ σφοδρὸν, καὶ τὸ ἀμάραντον. Ἔνεστι γάρ τις ἔρως ἐμφωλεύων τῇ φύσει, καὶ λανθάνων ἡμᾶς συμπλέκει ταῦτα τὰ σώματα. ∆ιὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς ἡ γυνὴ, καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς καὶ γυναικὸς ἀνὴρ καὶ γυνή. In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation in Roth and Anderson, St. John Chrysostom, 43-44 with underlined alterations.
[24] “Ὁρᾷς σύνδεσμον καὶ συμπλοκὴν, καὶ πῶς οὐκ ἀφῆκεν ἑτέραν ἐπεισελθεῖν οὐσίαν ἔξωθεν; Καὶ ὅρα πόσα ᾠκονόμησε. Τὴν ἀδελφὴν ἠνέσχετο γαμῆσαι αὐτὸν τὴν αὑτοῦ, μᾶλλον δὲ οὐ τὴν ἀδελφὴν, ἀλλὰ τὴν θυγατέρα, μᾶλλον δὲ οὐ τὴν θυγατέρα, ἀλλά τι πλέον θυγατρὸς, τὴν σάρκα τὴν αὑτοῦ. Τὸ δὲ ὅλον ἐποίησεν ἄνωθεν, ὥσπερ ἐπὶ τῶν λίθων, εἰς ἓν αὐτοὺς συνάγων.” Translation in Roth and Anderson, St. John Chrysostom, 43-44.
[25] “Πῶς γὰρ ἡ τὸν ἔμπροσθεν ἀτιμάσασα χρόνον, καὶ γενομένη ἑτέρου, καὶ τοῦ γάμου τὰ δίκαια ἀφανίσασα, ἀνακαλέσασθαι δυνήσεται τὸν ἠδικημένον, πρὸς τούτοις καὶ τὸν μένοντα ὡς ξένον; Πάλιν ἐκεῖ μὲν μετὰ τὴν πορνείαν ὁ ἀνὴρ οὐκ ἔστιν ἀνήρ· ἐνταῦθα δὲ, κἂν εἰδωλολάτρις ἡ γυνὴ, τοῦ ἀνδρὸς τὸ δίκαιον οὐκ ἀπόλλυται.” In Epistulam i ad Corinthios, Homily 19. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-12, 189.
[26] “Ἄρα γάμος ἐστὶν οὗτος γινόμενος κατὰ Χριστὸν, γάμος πνευματικὸς καὶ γέννησις πνευματικὴ, οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων, οὐκ ἐξ ὠδίνων.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-13, 274.
[27] “Αἱ γυναῖκες, τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν ὑποτάσσεσθε, ὡς τῷ Κυρίῳ, ὅτι ὁ ἀνήρ ἐστι κεφαλὴ τῆς γυναικὸς, ὡς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς κεφαλὴ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, καὶ αὐτός ἐστι σωτὴρ τοῦ σώµατος.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20.
[28] “‘And the wife see that she reverence her husband- Ἡ δέ γυνή ἵνα φοβῆται τόν ἄνδρα’: A theological commentary on Ephesians 5:33 by Saint Nektarios, Metropolitan of Pentapolis, 1902,” republished and translated in English by OODE, June 22, 2011,
[29] “‘And the wife see that she reverence her husband…” OODE, June 22, 2011.
[30] “Ἀλλ' ἄκουσον, ἃ καὶ παρὰ σοῦ ἀπαιτεῖ· πάλιν γὰρ τῷ αὐτῷ κέχρηται ὑποδείγματι· Οἱ ἄνδρες, ἀγαπᾶτε, φησὶ, τὰς γυναῖκας ἑαυτῶν, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησε τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν. Εἶδες μέτρον ὑπακοῆς; Ἄκουσον καὶ μέτρον ἀγάπης. Βούλει σοι τὴν γυναῖκα ὑπακούειν, ὡς τῷ Χριστῷ τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν; Προνόει καὶ αὐτὸς αὐτῆς, ὡς ὁ Χριστὸς τῆς Ἐκκλησίας· κἂν τὴν ψυχὴν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς δοῦναι δεῖ, κἂν κατακοπῆναι μυριάκις, κἂν ὁτιοῦν ὑπομεῖναι καὶ παθεῖν, μὴ παραιτήσῃ· κἂν ταῦτα πάθῃς, οὐδὲν οὐδέπω πεποίηκας, οἷον ὁ Χριστός.” In Epistulam ad Corinthios, Homily 18. Translation in Roth and Anderson, St. John Chrysostom, 46.
[31] “Ὑποθώμεθα οὖν τὸν μὲν ἄνδρα ἐν τάξει κεῖσθαι κεφαλῆς, τὴν δὲ γυναῖκα ἐν τάξει σώματος. Εἶτα καὶ ἀπὸ λογισμῶν δεικνὺς, Ὅτι ὁ ἀνὴρ κεφαλή ἐστι τῆς γυναικὸς, φησὶ, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, καὶ αὐτός ἐστι σωτὴρ τοῦ σώματος. Ἀλλ' ὡς ἡ Ἐκκλησία ὑποτάσσεται τῷ Χριστῷ, οὕτω καὶ αἱ γυναῖκες τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν ἐν παντί. Εἶτα, Ὁ ἀνήρ ἐστιν, εἰπὼν, κεφαλὴ τῆς γυναικὸς, ὡς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, καὶ αὐτός ἐστι σωτὴρ, ἐπάγει, τοῦ σώματος· καὶ γὰρ ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος σωτηρία ἐστίν.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation in Roth and Anderson, St. John Chrysostom, 45.


[32] “Τί δὲ λέγω; καὶ μωρὰ ἦν, καὶ βλάσφημος· ἀλλ' ὅμως τοσούτων ὄντων, ὡς ὑπὲρ ὡραίας, ὡς ὑπὲρ ἀγαπωμένης, ὡς ὑπὲρ θαυμαστῆς, οὕτως ἑαυτὸν ἐξέδωκεν ὑπὲρ τῆς ἀμόρφου. Καὶ τοῦτο θαυμάζων ὁ Παῦλος ἔλεγε· Μόλις γὰρ ὑπὲρ δικαίου τις ἀποθανεῖται· καὶ πάλιν, Εἰ ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ἡμῶν ὄντων ὁ Χριστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀπέθανε. Καὶ τοιαύτην λαβὼν, καλλωπίζει αὐτὴν καὶ λούει, καὶ οὐδὲ τοῦτο παραιτεῖται.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation in Scaff, NPNF1-13, 270.


[33] “Kἂν τὴν ψυχὴν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς δοῦναι δεῖ, κἂν κατακοπῆναι μυριάκις, κἂν ὁτιοῦν ὑπομεῖναι καὶ παθεῖν, μὴ παραιτήσῃ· κἂν ταῦτα πάθῃς, οὐδὲν οὐδέπω πεποίηκας, οἷον ὁ Χριστός,” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-13, 269.


[34]σώμα”; translates in English as “body.”


[35] “κἂν καταφρονῇ τοῦ σώματος ἡ κεφαλὴ, καὶ αὐτὴ προσαπολεῖται·” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20.


[36] “ἀλλ' ἀντίῤῥοπον τῆς ὑπακοῆς εἰσαγέτω τὴν ἀγάπην.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20.


[37] Original being ‘ἰσοτιµία’ which is begotten by the words ‘ἶσος’ and ‘τιμή,’ the first meaning ‘equal’ and the second translating as ‘value’ or ‘honour.’


[38] In Epistulam ad Corinthios, Homily 18.


[39] “αὐτοῖς τοῖς περὶ τοῦ γάμου λόγοις ἐξαγαγεῖν αὐτοὺς τοῦ γάμου βουλόμενος. Ὁ γὰρ ἀκούσας ὅτι μετὰ τὸν γάμον οὐκ ἔσται κύριος ἑαυτοῦ ἀλλ' ἐν τῇ τῆς γυναικὸς κείσεται γνώμῃ ταχέως ἀπαλλαγῆναι σπουδάσει τῆς πικροτάτης δουλείας, μᾶλλον δὲ μηδὲ τὴν ἀρχὴν τὸν ζυγὸν ὑπελθεῖν, ἐπειδὴ εἰσελθόντα ἅπαξ δουλεύειν ἀνάγκη λοιπὸν ἕως ἂν τῇ γυναικὶ τοῦτο δοκῇ.” De Virginitate, Homily 18. Translation in Miller, Women, 114.


[40] Roth and Anderson, St. John Chrysostom, 86.


[41] “Πῶς δὲ καὶ γίνονται εἰς σάρκα µίαν; Καθάπερ χρυσοῦ τὸ καθαρώτατον ἂν ἀφέλῃς καὶ ἑτέρῳ ἀναµίξῃς χρυσῷ, οὕτω δὴ καὶ ἐνταῦθα, τὸ πιότατον τῆς ἡδονῆς χωνευούσης ἡ γυνὴ δεχοµένη τρέφει καὶ θάλπει, καὶ τὰ παρ' ἑαυτῆς συνεισενεγκαµένη ἄνδρα ἀποδίδωσι. Καὶ γέφυρά τίς ἐστι τὸ παιδίον. Ὥστε οἱ τρεῖς σὰρξ γίνονται µία, τοῦ παιδὸς ἑκατέρωθεν ἑκατέρους συνάπτοντος.” In Epistulam ad Colossenses, Homily 12. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-13, 569.

[42] “…καὶ λοιπὸν ἡ σὰρξ ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ἡ μήτηρ καὶ ὁ παῖς ἐστιν ἐκ τῆς ἑκατέρου συνουσίας συγκραθεῖσα· καὶ γὰρ μιγέντων τῶν σπερμάτων, τίκτεται ὁ παῖς· ὥστε τοὺς τρεῖς εἶναι μίαν σάρκα. Οὕτως οὖν ἡμεῖς πρὸς τὸν Χριστὸν γινόμεθα μία σὰρξ διὰ μετουσίας· καὶ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἡμεῖς, ἢ τὸ παιδίον. Τί δή ποτε; Ὅτι ἐξ ἀρχῆς οὕτω γέγονε.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-13, 272.

[43] “Μὴ ἀποστερεῖτε ἀλλήλους, εἰ µή τι ἂν ἐκ συµφώνου. Τί δὴ τοῦτό ἐστι; Μὴ ἐγκρατευέσθω, φησὶν, ἡ γυνὴ, τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἄκοντος, µήτε ὁ ἀνὴρ, τῆς γυναικὸς µὴ βουλοµένης. Τί δήποτε; Ὅτι µεγάλα ἐκ τῆς ἐγκρατείας ταύτης τίκτεται κακά· καὶ γὰρ καὶ µοιχεῖαι καὶ πορνεῖαι καὶ οἰκιῶν ἀνατροπαὶ πολλάκις ἐντεῦθεν ἐγένοντο. Εἰ γὰρ ἔχοντες τὰς ἑαυτῶν γυναῖκας, πορνεύουσι, πολλῷ µᾶλλον, ἂν αὐτοὺς τῆς παραµυθίας ταύτης ἀποστερήσῃς. Καὶ καλῶς εἶπε, Μὴ ἀποστερεῖτε, ἀποστέρησιν ἐνταῦθα καὶ ὀφειλὴν ἀνωτέρω εἰπὼν, ἵνα δείξῃ τῆς δεσποτείας τὴν ἐπίτασιν. Τὸ γὰρ ἄκοντος θατέρου ἐγκρατεύεσθαι θάτερον, ἀποστερεῖν ἐστι·  τὸ δὲ ἑκόντος, οὐκέτι. Οὐδὲ γὰρ, εἰ πείσας µε λάβοις τι τῶν ἐµῶν, ἀποστερεῖσθαί φηµι. Ὁ γὰρ ἄκοντος καὶ βιαζοµένου λαβὼν, ἀποστερεῖ· ὅπερ ποιοῦσι πολλαὶ γυναῖκες, µείζονα τῆς δικαιοσύνης ἁµαρτίαν ἐργαζόµεναι, καὶ τῆς ἀσελγείας τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ὑπεύθυνοι γινόµεναι ταύτῃ, καὶ διασπῶσαι πάντα. ∆εῖ δὲ πάντων προτιµᾷν τὴν ὁµόνοιαν, ἐπειδὴ καὶ πάντων τοῦτο κυριώτερον, καὶ εἰ βούλει, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν πραγµάτων αὐτὸ ἐξετάσωµεν. Ἔστω γὰρ γυνὴ καὶ ἀνὴρ, καὶ ἐγκρατευέσθω ἡ γυνὴ µὴ βουλοµένου τοῦ ἀνδρός·  τί οὖν, ἂν ἐκεῖνος ἐντεῦθεν πορνεύῃ, ἢ µὴ πορνεύῃ µὲν, ἀλγῇ δὲ καὶ θορυβῆται καὶ πυρῶται καὶ µάχηται, καὶ µυρία τῇ γυναικὶ πράγµατα παρέχῃ; τί τὸ κέρδος τῆς νηστείας καὶ τῆς ἐγκρατείας, ἀγάπης διεῤῥηγµένης; Οὐδέν. Πόσας γὰρ ἔνθεν λοιδορίας, πόσα πράγµατα, πόσον ἀνάγκη γίνεσθαι πόλεµον.” In Epistulam ad Corinthios, Homily 19. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-12, 186-187.

[44]Ὅτι πολλὴ τοῦ γάμου δουλεία καὶ ἀπαραίτητος. Τί οὖν ἐὰν μὲν ἀνὴρ ἐπιεικὴς , δὲ γυνὴ μοχθηρά, λοίδορος, λάλος, πολυτελής, τὸ κοινὸν τοῦτο πασῶν αὐτῶν νόσημα, ἑτέρων πλειόνων γέμουσα κακῶν, πῶς οἴσει τὴν καθημερινὴν ταύτην ἀηδίαν ἐκεῖνος δείλαιος, τὸν τῦφον. τὴν ἀναισχυντίαν; Τί δαί, ἂν τοὐναντίον αὐτὴ μὲν κοσμία καὶ ἥσυχος, ἐκεῖνος δὲ θρασύς, ὑπεροπτικός, ὀργίλος, πολὺν μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν χρημάτων, πολὺν δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς δυναστείας ὄγκον περιβεβλημένος, καὶ τὴν ἐλευθέραν ὡς δούλην ἔχει καὶ τῶν θεραπαινίδων μηδὲν ἄμεινον πρὸς αὐτὴν διάκειται, πῶς οἴσει τὴν τοσαύτην ἀνάγκην καὶ βίαν; Τί δαί, ἂν συνεχῶς αὐτὴν ἀποστρέφηται καὶ διὰ παντὸς μένῃ τοῦτο ποιῶν; Καρτέρει, φησίν, πᾶσαν ταύτην τὴν δουλείαν· ὅταν γὰρ ἀποθάνῃ, τότε ἐλευθέρα ἔσῃ μόνον, ζῶντος δὲ δυοῖν θάτερον ἀνάγκη, παιδαγωγεῖν αὐτὸν μετὰ πολλῆς τῆς σπουδῆς καὶ βελτίω ποιεῖν , εἰ τοῦτο ἀδύνατον, φέρειν γενναίως τὸν ἀκήρυκτον πόλεμον καὶ τὴν ἄσπονδον μάχην.” De Virginitate, Paragraph 40.

[45]Τί οὖν ἐὰν μὲν ἀνὴρ ἐπιεικὴς , δὲ γυνὴ μοχθηρά, λοίδορος, λάλος, πολυτελής; Τί δαί, ἂν τοὐναντίον αὐτὴ μὲν κοσμία καὶ ἥσυχος, ἐκεῖνος δὲ θρασύς, ὑπεροπτικός, ὀργίλος, πολὺν μὲν ἀπὸ τῶν χρημάτων, πολὺν δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς δυναστείας ὄγκον περιβεβλημένος…” De Virginitate, Paragraph 40.


[46] It needs to be underscored again that the Orthodox tradition treats the works of the Church Fathers as suggestive on matters that are not clearly doctrinal or theological. Thus, Orthodoxy cannot take a single stance about how a spouse should react to a harmful partner. This relates to the concepts of oikonomia and diakrisis mentioned earlier. 


[47]“Μὴ λεγέτω ταῦτα γυνὴ, καὶ τὰ τούτοις ὅμοια· σῶμα γάρ ἐστιν, οὐχ ἵνα διατάττῃ τῇ κεφαλῇ, ἀλλ' ἵνα πείθηται καὶ ὑπακούῃ. Πῶς οὖν οἴσει, φησὶ, τὴν πενίαν; πόθεν εὑρήσει παραμυθίαν; Ἐκλεγέσθω παρ' ἑαυτῇ τὰς πενεστέρας, ἀναλογιζέσθω πόσαι πάλιν εὐγενεῖς καὶ ἐξ εὐγενῶν κόραι οὐ μόνον ἐξ ἀνδρῶν οὐδὲν προσέλαβον, ἀλλὰ καὶ προσέδωκαν, καὶ τὰ αὐτῶν ἅπαντα ἀνάλωσαν· ἐννοείτω τοὺς ἐκ τοιούτων πλούτων κινδύνους, καὶ τὸν ἀπράγμονα ἀσπάσεται βίον. Καὶ ὅλως εἰ φιλοστόργως πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα διακέοιτο, οὐδὲν τοιοῦτον ἐρεῖ, ἀλλ' αἱρήσεται πλησίον αὐτῆς ἔχειν αὐτὸν μηδὲν πορίζοντα, ἢ μυρία τάλαντα χρυσοῦ μετὰ μερίμνης καὶ φροντίδος τῆς ἐκ τῶν ἀποδημιῶν ταῖς γυναιξὶν ἐγγινομένης ἀεί.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-13, 278-279.


[48] “οὐ φόβῳ καὶ ἀπειλαῖς δεῖ καταδεσμεῖν, ἀλλ' ἀγάπῃ καὶ διαθέσει.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Transaltion in Schaff, NPNF1-13, 270.


[49] “Ἀλλὰ μηδὲ ὁ ἀνὴρ ταῦτα ἀκούων ὡς ἀρχὴν ἔχων, ἐπὶ ὕβρεις τρεπέσθω καὶ πληγὰς, ἀλλὰ παραινείτω, νουθετείτω, ὡς ἀτελεστέραν λογισμοῖς ἀναπειθέτω, χεῖρας μηδέποτε ἐντεινέτω· πόῤῥω ἐλευθέρας ψυχῆς ταῦτα· ἀλλὰ μηδὲ ὕβρεις, μηδὲ ὀνείδη, μηδὲ λοιδορίας· ἀλλ' ὡς ἀνοητότερον διακειμένην ῥυθμιζέτω.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20.


[50] “κἂν ὑπερορῶσαν, κἂν θρυπτομένην, καταφρονοῦσαν ἴδης, δυνήσῃ αὐτὴν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας ἀγαγεῖν τοὺς σοὺς τῇ πολλῇ περὶ αὐτὴν προνοίᾳ, τῇ ἀγάπῃ, τῇ φιλίᾳ.” Translation in Roth and Anderson, St. John Chrysostom, 47-48.


[51] “Οἰκέτην μὲν γὰρ φόβῳ τις ἂν καταδῆσαι δυνήσεται, μᾶλλον δὲ οὐδὲ ἐκεῖνον· ταχέως γὰρ ἀποπηδήσας οἰχήσεται· τὴν δὲ τοῦ βίου κοινωνὸν, τὴν παίδων μητέρα, τὴν πάσης εὐφροσύνης ὑπόθεσιν, οὐ φόβῳ καὶ ἀπειλαῖς δεῖ καταδεσμεῖν, ἀλλ' ἀγάπῃ καὶ διαθέσει. Ποία γὰρ συζυγία, ὅταν γυνὴ τὸν ἄνδρα τρέμῃ; ποίας δὲ αὐτὸς ἀνὴρ ἀπολαύσεται ἡδονῆς, ὡς δούλῃ συνοικῶν τῇ γυναικὶ, καὶ οὐχ ὡς ἐλευθέρᾳ; Κἂν πάθῃς τι ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς, μὴ ὀνειδίσῃς· οὐδὲ γὰρ Χριστὸς τοῦτο ἐποίησε.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20.


[52]“Ἀλλ' ὅταν ἀκούῃς φόβον, ἐλευθέρᾳ προσήκοντα φόβον ἀπαίτει, μὴ καθὼς παρὰ δούλης· σῶμα γάρ ἐστι σόν· ἂν γὰρ τοῦτο ποιήσῃς, σαυτὸν καθυβρίζεις, τὸ σῶμα ἀτιμάζων τὸ σόν.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation from Schaff, NPNF1-13, 275.


[53] “Οὐδεὶς γάρ ποτε τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα ἐμίσησεν.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20.


[54] “Μὴ δι' ἐκείνην τοίνυν τοσοῦτον, ὅσον διὰ τὸν Χριστὸν αὐτὴν ἀγαπᾷν.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-13, 277.


[55] “Τί οὖν, ἂν μὴ φοβῆται, φησὶν, ἡ γυνή; Σὺ ἀγάπα, τὸ σαυτοῦ πλήρου. Καὶ γὰρ ἂν τὰ παρὰ τῶν ἄλλων μὴ ἕπηται, τὰ παρ' ἡμῶν ἕπεσθαι δεῖ. Οἷόν τι λέγω· Ὑποτασσόμενοι, φησὶν, ἀλλήλοις ἐν φόβῳ Χριστοῦ. Τί οὖν, ἂν ὁ ἕτερος μὴ ὑποτάσσηται; Σὺ πείθου τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ. Οὕτω δὴ καὶ ἐνταῦθα· ἡ γοῦν γυνὴ κἂν μὴ ἀγαπᾶται, ὅμως φοβείσθω, ἵνα μηδὲν ᾖ παρ' αὐτῇ γεγονός· ὅ τε ἀνὴρ, ἂν μὴ φοβῆται ἡ γυνὴ, ὅμως ἀγαπάτω, ἵνα μηδὲν αὐτὸς ὑστερῇ· ἕκαστος γὰρ τὸ ἴδιον ἀπέλαβεν.” In Epistulam ad Ephesios, Homily 20. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-13, 274.


[56] “Τί οὖν ἐστιν, ὃ τοῖς γεγαμηκόσι παρήγγειλεν ὁ Κύριος, Γυναῖκα ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς μὴ χωρισθῆναι; ἐὰν δὲ καὶ χωρισθῇ, μενέτω ἄγαμος, ἢ τῷ ἀνδρὶ καταλλαγήτω· καὶ ἄνδρα γυναῖκα μὴ ἀφιέναι; Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ καὶ δι' ἐγκράτειαν καὶ δι' ἄλλας προφάσεις καὶ μικροψυχίας γίνεσθαι διαιρέσεις συνέβαινε, βέλτιον μὲν μηδὲ γενέσθαι τὴν ἀρχὴν, φησίν· εἰ δὲ ἄρα καὶ γένοιτο, μενέτω ἡ γυνὴ μετὰ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς, εἰ καὶ μὴ τῇ μίξει, ἀλλὰ τῷ μηδένα ἕτερον παρεισαγαγεῖν ἄνδρα.” In Epistulam i ad Corinthios, Homily 19. Translation in Schaff, NPNF1-12, 188.


[57] It is understood here that reconciliation is desirable insofar as the spouses change their behaviours to imitate that of Christ and His Church. Reconciliation not only evades the sinful act of divorcing but, when it is achieved in an Orthodox phronema, it can result in heightened humility (in view of one recognising one’s own shortfalls) and subsequently more kindness and understanding between the spouses, fostering a spiritually stronger restored relationship.




Chapter 4 Back to Index Chapter 6