Chrysostom on the fewness of those who will be saved

An article at Virtueonline on a corrupt Episcopalian bishop included in the comments a quote ascribed to John Chrysostom, which is found in various forms around the web, but always without attribution. 

The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

The fullest form seems to be:

The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.

But did he say it?  There seems to be some knowledge of a context in web pages I have found; that Chrysostom was commenting on the fewness of those known as Christians who will be saved:

I hear Saint Chrysostom exclaiming with tears in his eyes, “I do not believe that many priests are saved; I believe the contrary, that the number of those who are damned is greater.” …

That is the reasoning of Saint Chrysostom. This Saint says that most Christians are walking on the road to hell throughout their life.

One day Saint John Chrysostom, preaching in the cathedral in Constantinople and considering these proportions, could not help but shudder in horror and ask, “Out of this great number of people, how many do you think will be saved?” And, not waiting for an answer, he added, “Among so many thousands of people, we would not find a hundred who are .

Of course in his day of nominal religion, such comments are undoubtedly correct.

But I cannot find the quote in his works.  Does anyone have a reference?


8 thoughts on “Chrysostom on the fewness of those who will be saved

  1. According to T.J. Buckton in Notes & Queries ser.1.V.117 (1852) p.92 it is
    “probably…at second or third hand, and with rhetorical embellishments…an
    expression of St. Chrysostom, in his third homily on the Acts of the
    Apostles:….’I know not if there be many in the priesthood who are
    saved, but I know that many more perish.’….”

    Stephem Goranson

  2. Interesting; when I looked via IE6 at work, I just got the link to download the book; but the above link in IE8 goes straight to the page and details.

    I will post again on this, with the text of the materials.

  3. Roger, were you ever able to find the source for the Chrysostom quote that “Among thousands of people there are not a hundred who will arrive at their salvation”? It’s beginning to sound apocryphal.

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