Which Church Father
(N.B. – As this will be my last post – I think – for a while, I thought I’d leave you with one that will really give you a lot to sink your teeth into.)
The Church Fathers are those holy men who were the early theologians and writers of the first 500 years of Christianity who greatly influenced the Church. These men – though not all saints – do not include the Apostles or New Testament authors. The study of these men is called Patristics.
If you’d like to know which Church Father you’re most like, well, here’s a handy, dandy little quiz.
These articles are very good; but sometimes a little dense. For easier reading, there is a pretty good Wikipedia article that briefly discusses the Fathers of the Church. This article includes a helpful division of the Early Church Fathers into a few distinctive categories (all of these link to the Catholic Encyclopedia article):
- Apostolic Fathers – those who lived and wrote within the first two generations of the Apostles
- St. Clement of Rome – 4th Pope, his writing clearly show the authority of the Bishop of Rome over the Church at Corinth
- St. Ignatius of Antioch – a student of St. John the Evangelist; martyred in Rome
- St. Polycarp – a disciple of St. John the Evangelist; martyred by stabbing because burning at the stake wouldn’t work
- the writings in the Didache – one of the first “catechisms” of the Church; it was considered inspired scripture by some during the 2nd and early 3rd centuries
- The Greek Fathers – those who wrote in Greek and lived (roughly) in the Eastern Church
- St. Ireneaus of Lyon – bishop who wrote a great apologetic tract Against Heresies, disproving the “Gospel of Judas” as a fake more than 1,800 years ago
- St. Clement of Alexandria -founded a school at Alexandria; one of his pupils was Origen
- St. John Crysostom – John “Golden-Mouthed”, so-called for his great eloquence at giving sermons
- St. Athanasius of Alexandria – hammered the heresy of Arianism; mainly responsible for the great work at the First Council of Nicene
- Origen – author of more than 6,000 writings! There has been some controversy about Origenism, or the theological thought developed by his followers
- the Cappadocian Fathers – a 4th Century monastic family that included St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, their brother Peter, and friend St. Gregory Nazianzus
(St. Augustine in his Studio by Sandro Botticelli, the great Renaissance artist)
- The Latin Fathers – those who wrote in Latin and lived (roughly) in the Western (Latin Rite) Church
- St. Augustine of Hippo – Where do we start?! One of the most important figures in the history of the development of the Western Church; writer of Confessions and City of God.
- St. Ambrose – bishop of Milan; one of the four original Doctors of the Church
- St. Jerome – translated the Bible into the Latin vulgate from the original Greek and Hebrew
- St. Gregory the Great – Pope and Doctor of the Church
- St. Cyprian – unequivocal teaching about the regenerative power of baptism
- St. Justin Martyr – one of the earliers Christian apologists
- Tertullian – great early defender of the Faith; later he fell into the Montanist heresy
That’s just a short taste of the Fathers. If you want to actually read some of their work, New Advent has a collection of the “best of the best” of their writings. If you are at all interested to know whether or not Jesus Christ established a Church; and is that Church indeed the Catholic Church, then read the Church Fathers. Their writings are dripping with Catholic teachings. The men who lived Christianity just generations after Christ lived (some at the feet of the Apostles) held very “Catholic” positions.
Anyway, take the quiz to find out which Church Father you are. I’m Tertullian (but the orhodoxTertullian 🙂 ).
You possess many gifts, but patience isn’t one of them. You’re tough on yourself — and on others. You’re independent, too, and you don’t like to be told what to do. You wish the Church would be a little tighter in discipline. As for the s, you’ve pretty much written them off. Sometimes you think the Church would be a better place if you were in charge.