Chrysostom’s Homily on the Word Koimeterion and on the Cross: A Translation and Commentary

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Rev. David M. Friel STL Doctoral Candidate, Liturgical Studies, School of Theology and Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America Washington, DC USA

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Chrysostom’s homily De coemeterio et de cruce (CPG 4337) was delivered during a full eucharistic synaxis on Good Friday in a cemetery outside the gates of late-fourth-century Antioch. It demonstrates both rhetorical and theological prowess. Chrysostom consoles his hearers by likening death to sleep and reflecting on the cemetery as a “sleeping place” (koimeterion). The text is notable for its theology of physical space, its conception of liturgical anamnesis, and its presentation of the Christus Victor atonement motif. The homily also highlights the liturgical role of the Holy Spirit, especially by alluding to the eucharistic epiclesis, and it chastises the congregation for their poor behavior during the communion rite. This article presents the homily’s full text in Greek with English translation, followed by a commentary that probes its major themes and liturgical aspects.

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