28 February 2020

Church Fathers

I love the Church Fathers -- and Mothers.  They are the pillars upon which the Church stands (notwithstanding of course, CHRIST who IS the Church and its head).  And their lives and writings are fascinating, inspiring, and motivating.  They were the great Instructors and Defenders of the Faith, and remain widely acknowledged in the Church today, both East and West.  They are the important writers of the New Testament era.

 So said St Gregory Nazianzen

So said St Gregory of Nyssa

There were basically four historical periods of the Early Church Fathers.

The Ante-Nicene Fathers (writing before the Edict of Milan and the First Ecumenical Council)

  1. The Apostolic Fathers (roughly 95 - 150 AD)
  2. The Apologists and Anti-heretical Writers (roughly 150 - 325 AD)
The Apostolic Fathers were thought to have contact with the Apostles.  The writers in this period provide a witness to the early Church.

The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 

  1. The Golden Age Patristic Writers (4th and 5th Centuries AD)
  2. The Later Fathers (6th through 8th Centuries AD)

These are the people who helped form the Church -- they defined dogmas, determined the Biblical canon, shaped the liturgy, formalized the Creed, and pointed out the implications of doctrine and dogma for our Christian life.  St John Chrysostom is the shaper of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.

One of the things I am hoping to do during Lent, and long after, is learn more about the Church Fathers and read as much as I can.  There is a treasure trove here, this I know.  There are wonderful videos available via various platforms like YouTube which provide great overviews of the Church Fathers, as well, both from a Catholic and an Orthodox point of view (which is very similar, in my humble opinion).  Patristic Nectar films is one example.

As I learn more about these wonderful people, I will share little snippets with you.  I suspect we can all read and watch to our hearts' content, but the real experience will be in the reading of the actual writings.

1 comment:

GretchenJoanna said...

I have loved that quote from St. Gregory about tears -- pray for us, St. Gregory, that our tears may be humble and fruitful!

A blessed Lent, Stacey!