Today’s saint was known for his silver tongue — “golden words” actually, is what Chrysologus means.
So how did he get this moniker?
St. Peter was born in the town of Imola, near Bologna, Italy. We know little of his formative years but he was baptized, educated and ordained deacon by Cornelius, bishop of Imola, and was elevated to the Bishopric of Ravenna in 433. He must have made quite an impression to move up the clerical ladder that quickly in the church.
At that time Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire. Though Christianity had been recognized since 313 by the emperor Constantine, there still remained a great amount of paganism and pagan practices in Peter’s day. He made it his mission to root out these vestiges of the past. His piety and zeal won him universal admiration. He shared the confidence of Leo the Great and enjoyed the patronage of the Empress Galla Placidia.
Felix, bishop of Ravenna (707-17), wrote down a collection of 176 of Peter’s homilies. They explain biblical texts and are brief and concise. He explained the mystery of the Incarnation, the heresies of Arius and Eutyches, and the Apostles’ Creed, and he dedicated a series of homilies to the Blessed Virgin and St. John the Baptist.
Peter’s sermons and homilies do not contain great originality of thought. They are, however, full of moral applications, sound in doctrine and historically significant in that they reveal Christian life in fifth-century Ravenna.
Thirteen centuries after his death in Imola, where he had returned at some point, he was declared a doctor of the church by Pope Benedict XIII. A man who had earnestly sought to teach and motivate his own flock was recognized as a teacher of the universal cChurch.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini