Church Fathers

Are you interested in learning more about the Fathers?

Below are some suggested sources to help you get started, along with a list of Church Fathers. 

You can also learn more by taking a course on the Fathers, which is offered regularly at Christendom College’s Graduate School of Theology at our Alexandria, VA, campus and online. Please call the office at 703-658-4304 for details.

Suggested Reading

  • Altaner, Berthold. Patrology. Translated by Hilda C. Graef. Freiburg, Herder & Herder, 1958. A great single-volume overview on the writings of the Fathers.
  • Aquilina, Mike. The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian TeachersHuntington, IN: OSV. A handy popular introduction which includes a selection of short primary source texts in English translation.
  • Benedict XVI, Pope. Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine. General Audiences 7 March 2007-27 February 2008. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2008.
  • Benedict XVI, Pope. Church Fathers and Teachers: From Saint Leo the Great to Peter Lombard. General Audiences 5 March 2008-25 June 2008, 11 February 2009-17 June 2009, 2 September 2009- 30 December 2009. San Francisco, Ignatius, 2010. These two books are the best succinct introduction to the Fathers. They are written from an informed scholarly perspective, but they make the individual authors come alive in a very readable way.
  • Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers. 3 vols. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970. This source is an English manual of brief excerpts from the Fathers arranged in historical sequence. It is a staple reference work useful for locating passages from the Fathers on particular points of doctrine.
  • Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines 5th ed. New York: Continuum, 1977. A seminal work on the development of Patristic thought. Clear, detailed and concise.
  • Quasten, Johannes. Patrology. 4 vols. Allen, TX: Christian Classics, 1995. This source remains the definitive reference work in English on the Fathers.

Some of the more famous Fathers of the Church listed by period

The faith spreads: The era of the Apostles (c. A.D. 50-150)

St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp of Smyrna

The faith is defended: From the 2nd c. to the legalization of Christianity (c. A.D. 150-313)

St. Justin Martyr, St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Hippolytus, Tertullian, Origen, St. Irenaeus, St. Cyprian

The faith is explained: From Nicaea to Chalcedon, the era of the great Ecumenical Councils (c. A.D. 314-451)

St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzen, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Aphraates the Sage, St. Ephrem the Syrian, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. John Chrysostom, St. Hilary, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, Pope St. Leo the Great, St. Vincent of Lerins, St. Peter Chrysologus

The faith is preserved: Transmission of the faith in the becoming of Europe (c. A.D. 451-750)

Pope St. Gregory the Great, St. Benedict of Norcia, St. Isidore, St. Bede, St. Columba, St. John Damascene, St. Maximus the Confessor

The Fathers of the Church

Bold indicates a ‘great’. Underlining indicates a doctor of the Church.

WESTERN FATHERS

Minucius Felix (2nd c.)
St. Irenaeus of Lyons (+ c. 202)
Tertullian (+ c. 222)
Pope St. Cornelius (P.M. 251-53)
Novatian (+ c. 257)
St. Cyprian of Carthage (+258)
Pope St. Dionysisus (P.M. 259-68)
Marius Victorinus (4th c.)
St. Optatus (4th c.)
St. Phoebadius of Agen (4th c.)
St. Pamphilus (+309)
Lactantius (+323)
Arnobius (+330)
Pope St. Damasus I (P.M. 366-84)
St. Hilary of Poitiers (+367)
St. Eusebius of Vercelli (+371)
Pope St. Siricius (P.M. 384-99)
St. Pacian (+390)
St. Gregory of Elvira (+ c. 392)
St. Ambrose of Milan (+397)
Salvian (5th c.)
Pope St. Innocent I (P.M. 401-17)
St. Chromatius of Aquileia (+ c. 406)
Rufinus of Aquileia (+410)
St. Jerome (+420)
Pope St. Celestine I (P.M. 422-32)
St Paulinus of Nola (+431)
St. Augustine of Hippo (+430)
St. John Cassian (+435)
Pope St. Leo the Great (P.M. 440-461)
St. Vincent of Lerins (+ c. 450)
St. Eucherius of Lyons (+ c. 450)
St. Peter Chrysologus (+450)
Marius Mercator (+451)
St. Maximus of Turin (+467)
St. Ennodius (+521)
St. Severinus Boethius (+550)
St. Fulgentius (d. 533)
St. Caesarius of Arles (+542)
St. Benedict of Nursia (+ c. 550)
Cassiodorus of Vivarium (+580)
Pope St. Gregory the Great (P.M. 590-604)
St. Columban (+615)
St. Isidore of Seville (+636)
St. Bede the Venerable (+735)

EASTERN FATHERS

Pope St. Clement I of Rome (P.M. 88-97)
Athenagoras (2nd c.)
Hermas (2nd c.) Tatian (2nd c.)
St. Theophilus of Antioch (2nd c.)
St. Ignatius of Antioch (+107) Papias (+ c. 130)
St. Polycarp (+ c. 155)
St. Justin Martyr (+165)
St. Melito of Sardis (+ c. 180)
St. Clement of Alexandria (+215)
St. Hippolytus (+236)
Origen (+254)
St. Dionysius the Great (+ c. 264)
St. Firmilian (+268)
St. Gregory of Pontus (+268)
St. Archelaus (+282)
Aphraates the Sage (4th c.)
St. Eustathius of Antioch (4th c.)
St. Methodius of Olympus (+ c. 311)
Eusebius of Caesarea (+ 340)
Pope St. Julius I (P.M. 337-52)
St. Caesarius of Nazianzus (+369)
St. Seraphion (+ c. 370)
St. Ephrem the Syrian (+373)
St. Athanasius (+373)
St. Basil the Great (+379)
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386)
St. Gregory of Nazianzus (+390)
St. Macarius (+ c. 390)
Diodore of Tarsus (+392)
St. Gregory of Nyssa (+395)
Didymus the Blind (+ c. 398)
Gennadius I of Constantinople (5th c.)
St. Epiphanius (+403)
St. John Chrysostom (+407)
Theodore of Mopsuestia (+428)
St Nilus the Elder (+ c. 430)
St. Cyril of Alexandria (+ 444)
St. Proclus (+446)
St. Isidore of Pelusium (+ c. 450)
Theodoret of Cyrus (+ c. 458)
St. Leontius of Byzantium (6th c.)
Pseudo-Dionysius (6th c.)
St. Romanus the Melodist (+560)
St. Sophorinius (+638)
St. John Climacus (+649)
St. Maximus the Confessor (+662)
St. Anastasius Sinaita (+700)
St. Germanus (+732)
St. Andrew of Crete (+740)
St. John Damascene (+749)

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