I've heard it claimed that St. Thomas Aquinas desired to obtain a manuscript of a biblical commentary (by St. John Chrysostom?) more than he desired to posses an entire kingdom. What is the source of this story?

1 Answer 1


William of Tocco, O.P., Life of St. Thomas Aquinas (1323): The First Biography of the Angelic Doctor ch. 42, p. 150, translation of Ystoria sancti Thome de Aquino pp. 176-7:

when they first saw the city of Paris on the horizon, his students said to him: “Master, see how lovely the city of Paris is! Wouldn't you like to be lord over this place?” (So they said, believing they would have some word of edification in response.) Thomas replied: “I would sooner have Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Marthew."122 As for this city, if it were indeed mine, the care of its governance would deprive me of the contemplation of the things of God and restrain me from every spiritual consolation.”

vidisset de propinquo duitatem Parisiensem, dixerunt ei studentes: «Magister, videte quam pulcra duitas est Parisius! Velletis esse dominus huius duitatis?», credentes ab eo aliquod uerbum edificationis audire. Qui respondit: «Libentius vellem habere Omelias Crisostomi super Euangelium beati Mathei. Civitas enim hec si esset mea, propter curam regiminis contemplationem mihi divinorum eriperet et consolationem animi impediret»

Brian Davies, O.P., The Thought of Thomas Aquinas (2015) p. 7:

According to one story he is said to have been asked if he would like to be lord of Paris. He is supposed to have replied that he would not know what to do with the city and that he would rather have the (presumably lost) homilies of St John Chrysostom (c.347–407) on the Gospel of St Matthew.29

29. Cf. Ferrua, Thomae Aquinatis …, 318.

G. K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas (1933) ch. 4:

As he entered Paris, they showed him from the hill that splendour of new spires beginning, and somebody said something like, “How grand it must be to own all this.” And Thomas Aquinas only muttered, “I would rather have that Chrysostom MS. I can’t get hold of.”

  • Perhaps you might know which of the homilies in the New Advent link you provide offer commentary on Galatians 1? No problem if you don't. I just figured I'd ask. I'm trying to locate some good Catholic exposition on Galatians 1:9 in particular. Thank you.
    – DDS
    Jun 8, 2023 at 21:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .