Fathers of the Church

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Fathers of the Church,

collective name for the Christian writers of early times whose work is considered generally orthodox. A convenient definition includes all such writers up to and including St. Gregory IGregory I, Saint
(Saint Gregory the Great), c.540–604, pope (590–604), a Roman; successor of Pelagius II. A Doctor of the Church, he was distinguished for his spiritual and temporal leadership. His feast is celebrated on Mar. 12.
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 (St. Gregory the Great) in the West and St. John of DamascusJohn of Damascus, Saint,
or Saint John Damascene
, c.675–c.749, Syrian theologian, Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church. He was brought up at the court of the caliph in Damascus, where his father was an official, and he was educated by a Sicilian monk.
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 in the East (see patristic literaturepatristic literature,
Christian writings of the first few centuries. They are chiefly in Greek and Latin; there is analogous writing in Syriac and in Armenian. The first period of patristic literature (1st–2d cent.) includes the works of St. Clement I, St.
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). There are several conventional groupings of the Fathers of the Church. One of these is the Apostolic Fathers, usually considered to include the authors of the Didache, of the Epistles of Clement, of the Epistles of Ignatius of Antioch, and of the Shepherd of Hermas. In an ancient category of honor eight Doctors of the Church are set apart; the Four Doctors of the Greek Church are St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Athanasius; the Four Doctors of the Latin Church are St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory the Great. Since the 16th cent., the title Doctor of the Church has also been given by the Roman Catholic Church to later doctrinal writers, including St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventura, St. Anselm, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Avila, and St. Catherine of Siena.

Fathers of the Church


the traditional designation of the most prominent leaders of the Christian church from the second through eighth centuries; they formulated its dogmas and its organization.

In Roman Catholicism the principal church fathers were Ambrose of Milan, Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory I the Great. In the Orthodox Church they were Athanasius of Alexandria, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom, and John Damascene. The church regards as fathers only those whom it has canonized as saints and whose teachings are acknowledged to be orthodox. Accordingly, such prominent early Christian thinkers as Origen and Tertullian are not included among the fathers of the church.

References in periodicals archive ?
In one chapter on the fourth century Ferguson lists the names of eighteen church fathers from Christian families who were baptized only as "responsible adults.
In fact, the church fathers emphasized that the ultimate purpose of the incarnation was the human response to it in the form of theosis.
Thus, by extricating the real Jerome from his fictional persona, the church father could be what he wrote (246).
Church fathers and writers of late antiquity show little or no ethnographic curiosity about holy place; instead, they focus on either the therapeutic value of holy places for salvation or their textual worth for instructing the pilgrim in the development of his or her faith.
Vessey seeks to demonstrate that Erasmus's Christian humanism was more Christian, and indebted more directly to his reading of the church fathers, in particular Jerome, than recent work by Lisa Jardine and Istvan Bejczy suggests.
Neither the Apostles nor the Church Fathers would likely recognize Santa Claus or know from figgie puddings.
The Vatican made no secret of how the Church fathers expected the faithful to vote.
The Syrophoenician woman, however, is not lauded by gospel authors, church fathers, or most contemporary theologians as a paradigmatic disciple.
In the graced moments of restored vision, we come to dwell, as the ancient Church Fathers and Spiritual Mothers were fond of saying, in the eighth day of creation.
Christians believe that he eventually received forgiveness as indicated by his elevation to sainthood and by his status as one of the most universally revered church fathers.
No-one has thought to go back to the Bible and to the Church Fathers - the earliest writers on ecclesiastical history - to ascertain the correct date.