THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS
1. Clement of Rome (c.30-c.100). Lived in Rome, where he was Bishop, considered the fourth Pope by Romanism. He may be the Clement of Phil. 4:3. Wrote I Clement in Greek. Was martyred for the faith.
2. Ignatius (c.35-c.107). Lived in Antioch, Syria. Wrote seven epistles: To Ephesians, To Magnesians, To Romans, To Philadelphians, To Smyrnans, To Trallesians, and to Polycarp, in Greek. Famous for his eager willingness to accept martyrdom.
3. Cerinthus (c.40-c.100). One of the earliest Gnostic heretics (some say Simon Magus of Acts 8 was the first). He taught that the world was created by a lesser god (the ‘Demiurge’); Jesus was a mere man who was exalted by receiving ‘the Christ’ at his Baptism but lost it just before the Crucifixion. Some say that the Apostle John wrote his Gospel and/or epistles to counter Cerinthus.
4. Hermas (anywhere from c.60-c.175). Was a Christian slave who was freed, lived in Rome. Wrote The Shepherd,an allegory that some considered to be Scripture.
5. Papias (c.60-c.130). A Bishop and friend of Polycarp, lived in Hierapolis, Asia Minor, and possibly a friend of the Apostle John. Only fragments of his writings remain; his main work was An Exposition of the Oracles of Our Lord in Greek.
6. Polycarp (c.69-c.155). Bishop of Smyrna, knew the Apostle John, friend of Papias. Wrote an Epistle to Philippians in Greek. Opposed Gnosticism. His famous, humble martydom was written about in The Martyrdom of Polycarp by the Church of Smyrna.
7. Marcion (c.85-c.160). The most notorious of the Gnostics, he rejected all of the Bible except parts of Luke and Paul; said that the true God of the N.T. was not the false god of wrath of the O.T. Opposed by Irenaeus, Tertullian, others.
8. Justin Martyr (c.100-165). Lived in Israel, Ephesus and Rome. Was philosophy student before his conversion, wrote First and Second Apologies, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Against Heresies, others, to refute Gnosticism and others. Wrote in Greek, used Greek philosophical patterns, considered Plato and others to be pre-Christians. The first of the great apologists. Was martyred.
9. Tatian (c.100-c.160). Lived in Syria, Assyria, and Rome. Wrote Oratian Against the Greeks and compiled the first harmony of the Gospels. Though he was a student of Justin Martyr, he later became a Gnostic. Once studied philosophy.
10. Aristides (c.100-c.160). Lived in Athens. Another major early apologist, wrote The Apology in classic Greek style to defend the Christian doctrine of the true God against misconceptions of pagans and non-Christian Jews.
11. Athenagoras (c.120-c.180). Also lived in Athens. Like Aristides, wrote in classic Greek style in a semi-Platonist vein. Wrote The Apology and On the Resurrection of the Dead, one of earliest defenses of the resurrection.
12. Hegessipus (c.120-c.180). Lived in Syria, Greece and Rome. A converted Jew and early church historian, wrote against both Judaism and Gnosticism, wroteMemorials in Greek.
13. Montanus (c.120-c.180). Founder of Montanism, a semi-Pentecostal prophetic movement of the 2nd century. Claimed to be able to prophesy, encouraged asceticism. Was assisted by Prisca and Maximilla, later joined by Tertullian.
14. Irenaeus (c.130-c.200). Lived in Smyrna, Rome and Lyons, where he was Bishop. A pupil of Polycarp; a leading apologist against Gnosticism, Montanism and other heresies. Major writings: Against Heresies and Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, in Greek. Martyr.
15. Clement of Alexandria (c.150-215). Lived in Alexandria (Egypt), Antioch, and Jerusalem. Wrote Stromata, Exhortation to the Greeks and The Pedagogue in Greek. Combatted Gnosticism by positing a Greek semi-Platonic allegorical Christianity.
16. Tertullian (c.160-c.225). Lived in Carthage, North Africa. Was a lawyer who was converted in middle age. Wrote many short works on morals and church matters, but especially known for The Apology and other works against Gnosticism, Greek philosophy and other errors, usually in a vigorous, devastating style; mocked paganism as superstitious. Was the first major church writer in Latin, but has not been canonized by Romanism. Joined Montanism in his latter years.
17. Hippolytus (c.170-c.236). Lived in Rome, a pupil of Irenaeus. Wrote Refutation of All Heresies and many Bible commentaries. Probably martyred.
18. Sabellius (c.180-c.240). The main proponent of the heresy known as Sabellianism, or Modalism or Monarchianism. Rejected the Trinity, but not the deity of Christ. Said thatGod is only one Person who revealed Himself in 3 modes, never 2 or 3 at once but successively as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This heresy also is known as Patripassionism, i.e., the Father died on the Cross.
19. Origen (c.185-c.254). Lived in Alexandria and Caesarea. A major writer, died after prolonged torture, not recognized by Romanism. A pupil of Clement of Alexandria, and one of greatest scholars of early church (mainly because he was one of the few who knew Hebrew, though he wrote in Greek). Compiled theHexapla (a Bible with the Hebrew O.T. and 5 Greek translations of it), now lost. Wrote Contra Celsus, De Principiis, and many Bible commentaries. Like Clement, used extreme allegory in interpreting the Bible. Odd ascetic lifestyle, emasculated himself. Similar to Paul of Samosata, was weak on the deity of Christ. Taught universal salvation, even of Satan. Was opposed by Methodius and others.
20. Cyprian (c.200-258). Lived in Carthage, was a middle-age convert, trained in oratory and logic, became Bishop. Wrote Unity of the Church and De Lapsis. Stressed the church hierarchy and church discipline. Influenced by Tertullian.
21. Novatian (c.200-c.260). Lived in Rome. Wrote On the Trinity, one of the earliest defenses of Trinitarianism. Very strict in church discipline, his followers went even further and were excommunicated. Martyr.
22. Gregory Thaumaturgos (c.213-270). Lived in Palestine and Asia Minor. Convert and pupil of Origen, became Bishop. Wrote Declaration of the Faith, others. Many legends and rumors spread about the ‘Thaumaturgos’, or wonder-worker.
23. Mani (c.216-276). Or Manes or Manichaeus. Founder of Manichaenism, a semi-Gnostic combination of Christianity and Zoroastrianism with extreme asceticism. Lived in Persia. Opposed by Augustine, who had been a Manichaen for 9 years before his conversion.
24. Paul of Samosata (c.220-c.280). Bishop of Antioch, very wealthy. Taught a form of Dynamic Monarchianism: Christ was not fully divine, but was elevated by receiving the ‘Word’ spirit (one member of the true Trinity of Father, Wisdom and Word).
25. Victorinus (c.250-c.304). Bishop and martyr, lived in Pettau near Vienne. One of the earliest Bible commentators to write in Latin, only his commentary on Revelation has survived. Also one of the earliest, clearest Pre-Millenialists.
26. Lactantius (c.240-320). Lived in Italy and Gaul (France), tutor of the son of Constantine the Emperor. Very eloquent in sermon and writing. Wrote in Latin. WroteDivine Institutes, one of the earliest and fullest systematic theologies.
27. Alexander of Alexandria (c.260-328). Bishop of Alexandria, thus bishop of Athanasius and a leading anti-Arian at Council of Nicea. Wrote in Greek.
28. Arius (c.250-c,336). In North Africa. Opposed by Alexander, Athanasius, others, was condemned at Council of Nicea (325). Said that Christ was a created being who in turn created all else and was superior to everything but God; Christ was of ‘similar’ but not ‘same’ substance of God the Father.
29. Antony the Hermit (c.251-356). Egypt. A hermit and founder of monasteries, led many to become hermits of the desert. An anti-Arian associate of Athanasius at the Council of Nicea. Wrote a few letters in Greek. Eccentric lifestyle.
30. Eusebius (c.260-340). Bishop of Caesarea and greatest early church historian. His Ecclesiastical History and Chronicle are the main sources of early church history. Wrote in Greek, was personal advisor to Constantine. Was anti-Sabellian but weak on Christ’s full deity, thus a leading ‘moderate’ at Nicea. Also wrote Preparation for the Gospel and Demonstration of the Gospel, both apologies.
31. Hilary of Poitiers (c.315-367). A convert later in life, became Bishop. Wrote On the Trinity against Arianism; some Bible commentaries, etc, in Latin.
32. Athanasius (c.296-373). Lived in Alexandria, where he later became Bishop. One of the greatest theologians of the first 5 centuries. The strongest defender of Christ’s full deity at Council of Nicea, famous for his uncompromising stand. Main opponent of Arius. Influential also at Council of Alexandria. Was exiled and recalled 5 times. Laid the foundation for the Athanasian Creed. Wrote Oration Against the Arians, On the Incarnation of the Divine Word, Against the Arians, others, in Greek. Pro-monasticism friend of Antony, Pachomius, other hermits.
33. Ephraem Syrus (c.306-373). Lived in Syria, the most prolific Christian writer in Syriac; most of his writings are in poetic form. An early and careful Bible commentator on most of the Bible. Also wrote against Gnosticism.
34. Apollinarius (c.310-c.390). Rejected the true doctrine of the Trinity in On the Incarnation of the Word of God. Also wrote some commentaries. Said that Man has body, soul and spirit; that Jesus had a human soul but not a human spirit, but rather had the Divine Logos; thus, Jesus had full deity but not full humanity.
35. Epiphanius (c.315-403). Bishop of Salamis. Founded and organized many monasteries, was known for his strictness in life and theology. In Refutation of All the Heresies, he listed and refuted almost all heresies since the time of Christ.
36. Cyril of Jerusalem (c.315-386). Bishop. Wrote on the deity of Christ; a major proponent of ritual. Wrote Catechesis, others, in Greek.
37. Basil (c.329-379). Bishop of Cappodocia. Sometimes called Basil the Great; brother of Gregory of Nyssa. Known especially for his organizing and building many churches, missions and monasteries. Anti-Arian, as in On the Holy Spirit.
38. Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389). Bishop and Patriarch, lived in Cappodocia and Constantinople. Famous as a preacher. Wrote Five Theological Orations. Anti-Arian.
39. Gregory of Nyssa (c.330-c.395). Brother of Basil, lived in Cappodocia, Bishop. A leading anti-Arian at Council of Constantinople. Prolific writer: Catechetical Orations, Against Apollinarius, On the Deity of the Son and the Holy Ghost, etc. Somewhat allegorical, influenced by Origen, taught universal salvation.
40. Ambrose (c.339-397). Was baptized after being made Bishop of Milan, Italy. One of the most famous preachers of the early church; also one of the ‘Four Latin Doctors of the Church’. Wrote On Faith, On the Holy Ghost, On the Sacraments, On the Ministerial Office, etc. in Latin. Anti-Arian. Teacher of Augustine. Later writings claimed to have been written by him are now attributed to ‘Ambrosiaster.’
41. Jerome (c.342-420). In Rome, Antioch and Bethlehem. One of the great scholars, one of few who knew Hebrew, wrote in Latin; one of the ‘Four Latin Doctors of the Church.’ One of most prolific writers, wrote commentaries on most of Bible, translated the Latin Vulgate, rejected the Apocrypha. Fought Arius, Origen, etc.
42. John Chrysostom (c.347-407). Antioch and Constantinople. Most famous preacher in ancient church, ‘Golden-mouth’ was Bishop, wrote commentaries on much of the Bible in Greek (one of most prolific writers), plus liturgical writings.
43. Theodore of Mopsuestia (c.350-428). Bishop; friend of Chrysostom, teacher of Nestorius, semi-Pelagian, condemned by Second Council of Constantinople. Careful, non-allegorical commentator of much of the Bible, especially the minor prophets.
44. Gregory of Nazianus (329-389). Bishop and Patriarch. Lived in Constantinople and Cappodocia. Famous as a preacher. Wrote Five Theological Orations. Anti-Arian.
45. Augustine (354-430). North Africa, Bishop of Hippo. The greatest theologian of the ancient post-Biblical church, one of the ‘Four Latin Doctors of the Church.’ The most prolific writer of the ancient church, wrote in Latin. His Confessions is his most popular work, The City of God his definitive work; plus commentaries on Psalms, John, many others. Studied philosophy before conversion; 9 years in Manichaenism; studied under Ambrose. Wrote against Manichaenism, Pelagianism, Donatism. Stressed the utter depravity of Man due to Original Sin; stressed the sovereign grace of God and predestination, but also the sacraments. Also wrote Onthe Trinity, Enchiridion, Retractationes, many letters, sermons, etc.
46. Pelagius (c.354-c.418). England. Wrote many Bible commentaries. Said that Man does not inherit Adam’s sin or guilt, and has the free will to resist God’s grace and thus can make the first steps to salvation. Opposed by Augustine, Jerome, others.
47. John Cassian (c.360-435). Semi-Pelagian monk and founder of many monasteries. Wrote The Institutes and Conferences. Slightly modified Pelagius’s teachings.
48. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444). Patriarch of Alexandria, strong anti-Arian, but opposed Chrysostom and Theodore over several issues. Wrote many Bible commentaries.
49. Eutyches (c.378-454). Constantinople. Founded Eutychianism, a heresy that taught that before the Incarnation. Christ had 2 natures but after it only 1; thus, His human nature was not the same as ours. This is also called Monophysitism.
50. Nestorius (c.381-c.451). In Syria. Founded Nestorianism – Christ had 2 separate Persons, against orthodox teaching that Christ had I Person in 2 natures.
51. Socrates (c.380-450). Constantinople. His Church History is second only to that of Eusebius for valuable information on early church history. Wrote in Greek.
52. Theodoret (c.393-c.466). Antioch and Cyrrhus. Bishop. Friendly to Nestorius, weak on Christ’s deity. Wrote many Bible commentaries; his Church Historycontinued where Eusebius left off. Wrote a point-by-point apology against paganism.
53. Leo the Great (c.400-461). Rome. Consolidated much of the papal power under him. His Tome became the standard book on Christology. Also opposed Pelagianism.
54. Peter Chrysologus (c.400-450). Bishop of Ravenna, Italy. His name means “golden- word”, the Chrysostom of the West, a famous preacher. Many of his sermons remain.
55. Prosper of Aquitaine (c.390-c.463). France. Wrote in Latin. Augustine’s closest follower, expanded on the doctrines of grace and predestination in many works.
56. Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite (c.440-c.500). His name taken from Acts 17:34; his real identity is a mystery. He was the anonymous author of several mystical theological writings that combine Neo-Platonism and Christianity: The Celestial Hierarchy, The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, Mystical Theology, and The Divine Names.
57. Boethius (c.480-c.524). Rome and elsewhere. A statesman who was later executed for political reasons, Boethius wrote numerous philosophical writings which have caused many to doubt whether he even professed Christianity at all (e.g., On the Consolation of Philosophy); but also the Christian book On the Holy Trinity.
58. Gregory the Great (c.540-604). Also known as Gregory I, considered a Pope by Rome, he did much to strengthen the Papacy as the early church era was now entering the Dark Ages. The fourth of the ‘Four Latin Doctors of the Church.’ Greatly expanded the church hierarchy, especially in Rome. Wrote many works, such as Dialogues, Morals of the Book of Job, and Book of Pastoral Rules, plus many homilies and letters, in Latin.
59. Augustine of Canterbury (died 604 or 606). Missionary to England and first Archbishop of Canterbury (ecclesiastical head of the Church of England today). Sent by Gregory the Great, he converted King Ethelbert, who decreed Christianity the official religion of England.
60. Isidore (c.560-636). Archbishop of Seville. Helped found many schools and convents. His Etmologiae was one of the earliest encyclopedias, written in Latin.