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Chrysostom John - Murders a princess



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


John Chrysostom lived with extreme asceticism and became a hermit in about 375; he spent the next two years “continually standing, scarcely sleeping, and committing the Bible to memory”.  So sleep deprivation, extreme exhaustion and befuddling are in his list of practises.  He also used fasting – starvation.  The latter permanently damaged his health.

The following comes from a story told of him in Croatia in the 16th Century

A description of the experience

When  John Chrysostom was a hermit in the desert, he was approached by a royal princess in distress. The Saint, thinking she was a demon, at first refused to help her, but the princess convinced him that she was a Christian and would be devoured by wild beasts if she were not allowed to enter his cave. He therefore admitted her, carefully dividing the cave in two parts, one for each of them.

In spite of these precautions, the sin of fornication was committed [!!! my comment Shock horror], and in an attempt to hide it, the distraught saint took the princess and threw her over a precipice. He then went to Rome to beg absolution, which was refused. Realising the appalling nature of his crimes, Chrysostom made a vow that he would never rise from the ground until his sins were expiated, and for years he lived like a beast, crawling on all fours and feeding on wild grasses and roots. Subsequently the princess reappeared, alive, and suckling the saint's baby, who miraculously pronounced his sins forgiven”.

The source of the experience

Chrysostom, John

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