International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Jesus and the early Christians
St.John Chrysostom (c.347-407)

A millennium-old Byzantine mosaic of Saint John Chrysostom, Hagia Sophia

Chrysostom Saint John, ?345-407 A.D. Greek patriarch; archbishop of Constantinople (398-404). Feast day Sept.13 or Nov 13


The saints are exceedingly loving and gentle to mankind, and even to brute beasts ... Surely we ought to show them [animals] great kindness and gentleness for many reasons, but, above all, because they are of the same origin as ourselves. - Homilies (as quoted in The Extended Circle by Jon Wynne-Tyson)

- from the 1957 IVU Congress souvenir book

CHRYSOSTUM (347-407 A.D.) Archbishop of Constantinople; whose attacks on sin in high places made him enemies at court and among the wealthy classes. Scourging the customs of his time, he said : "No streams of blood are among them (the ascetics); no butchering and cutting up of flesh; no dainty cookery; no heaviness of head. Nor are there the horrible smells of flesh meats atmong them, or disagreeable fumes from the kitchen. No tumult and disturbance and wearisome clamours, but bread and water - the latter from a pure fountain, the former from honest labour. If at any time, however, they wish to feast more sumptuously, the sumptuousness consists in fruits, and their pleasure in these is greater than at royal tables. No master and servant are there. All are servants - all are free men...

"Neither am I leading you to the lofty peak of total renunciation of possessions ; but for the present I require you to cut off superfluities, and to desire a sufficiency alone. Now the boundary of sufficiency is the using those things which it is impossible to live without. No one debars you from these, nor forbids you your daily food. I say 'food,' not 'luxury,' 'raiment,' nor 'ornament.' Rather this frugality, to speak, correctly, is, in the best sense, luxury. For consider who should we say more truly feasted - he whose diet is herbs, and who is in sound health and suffered no uneasiness, or he who has the table of a Sybarite and is full of a thousand disorders. Clearly, the former. Therefore, let us seek nothing more than these, if we would at once live luxuriantly and healthfully."