He set aside his classical education to pursue the life of a monk-hermit. He likens that period of his life: "For what purpose did Christ go up into the mountains?" Then he did ministry in Antioch for 12 years til he was kidnapped to the capital of the Empire, which began the most difficult years of his life.
Tho surrounded by people hungry for power, he refused to serve as a mere religious ornament of the court. Chrysostom proved to be uncompromising, if not stubborn and intolerant. He used his office to serve the needs of the whole city, the people. He fed the poor, built hospitals, cared for the widows, and reformed the clergy.
He became enormously popular with the people. He preached the Bible was intended for the common working people, not for the clergy and monks. He often preached about God's compassion. The church is where forgiveness is granted.