A comprehensive primer on the early Church Fathers, their teachings and writings.

Saint Athanasius

The Church Fathers is a titled bestowed on men (and some women such as Egeria of Spain fl AD 448) in the ancient Church that are united by four trademarks: (1) a rigid orthodoxy in doctrine, (2) an exemplary holy life, (3) approval in the Church, and (4) antiquity. Today, some ecclesiastical writers are bestowed this title who have partially fulfilled these marks( e.g. Tertullian, Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea). These writers are included due to their invaluable service to the Church. The majority of the Church Fathers were bishops, a few held a lower clerical rank such as St. Jerome, and fewer yet, were laymen such as Clement of Alexandria and perhaps Tertullian of Carthage. In the Catholic Church the period of antiquity ends with St. John Damascene (d AD 749) in the East and with St. Gregory the Great(d AD 604) or St. Isidore of Seville (d AD 636) in the West, hence the patristic age spans 7 centuries.

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