Pronouncing Chrysostom

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.

The Prayer of St Chrysostom from the 1662 Prayer Book here in the 1762 edition printed by John Baskerville at the Cambridge University press

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

Either is acceptable, and we have to say the second way is probably closer to the Greek form which Chrysostom himself would have known.

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
This entry was posted in Anglican, Anglo Catholic, St Chrysostoms Church, St Chrysostoms School, St John Chrysostom and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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