We all like to hear our names pronounced correctly, and we are pleased when an effort is made to get the pronunciation right.
So how do we pronounce our patron saint’s name?
Chrysostom is a special word, coming from the Greek ‘Chrysostomos’ Golden Mouth. It is a nickname of honour, given to John after his death and referring to his great eloquence. He was a great and tireless speaker.
But how is it pronounced? Well many attempts have been heard – some light hearted – St Chrysanthemums and St John the unpronounceable are two examples.
Some are pronunciations are simply mistaken. Extra consonants or even syllables are added, sometimes one suspects in a moment of panic by the speaker seeing the name. We’ve heard ‘Christostum,’ ‘Chryostum’ and many variants.
Of course those familiar with the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, or familiar with Early Church Doctrine will know the pronunciation. However, we have to say it isn’t actually that difficult if we pause for a moment and read it.
Two ways of pronouncing are found, and in fact there is a difference here between our church and our church school. At Church we generally say the traditional English way:
- KRI-sus-tum (with emphasis on the first syllable) Hear it here.
While at St Chrysostom’s School the alternative form (common in the US) is used
- kri-SOSS-tum (emphasis on the second syllable) Hear a Greek version here.
Either is acceptable, and we have to say the second way is probably closer to the Greek form which Chrysostom himself would have known.