An adult convert, he became a deacon, then a priest, and finally the Bishop of Ravenna in 433. He fought paganism, enforced reforms, and built several churches in his see. He performed many corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and lovingly guided his flock.
As a preacher, he was recognized for his simple, plain, and humble oratorical style—delivering sermons that reached all who listened. His eloquence earned him the name “Chrysologus,” meaning “golden-worded” in Greek. Known as "The Doctor of Homilies," Peter was renowned for his short, but inspired speeches; he is said to have been afraid of boring his audience. In his homilies, Peter urged frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, saying, “the Body of the Lord should be the daily food of our souls.” 176 of his homilies have survived; it is the strength of these beautiful explanations of the Incarnation, the Creed, the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary and John the Baptist in the great plan of salvation that led to his being proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII.
St. Peter Chrysologus Quotes:
"He is The Bread sown in the Virgin, leavened in the Flesh, molded in His Passion, baked in the furnace of the Sepulchre, placed in the Churches, and set upon the Altars, which daily supplies Heavenly Food to the faithful."
"Today Christ works the first of his signs from heaven by turning water into wine. But water [mixed with wine] has still to be changed into the sacrament of his blood, so that Christ may offer spiritual drink from the chalice of his body, to fulfill the psalmist's prophecy: How excellent is my chalice, warming my spirit."
"Anyone who wishes to frolic with the devil cannot rejoice with Christ."
“Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself.”
"Mildness overcomes anger,
meekness extinguishes fury...
patience is the scourge of impatience,
gentle words vanquish quarrelsomeness,
and humility prostrates pride."
You made Peter Chrysologus an outstanding preacher of your incarnate Word. May the prayers of St. Peter help us to cherish the mystery of our salvation and make its meaning clear in our love for others. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.