All Christian Churches look to the Bible for nourishment, truth, and guidance. But who was it that helped us identify these particular writings as inspired Scriptures? Who provides us the interpretive rules so that we can understand these writings? And who gives us access to apostolic teaching that may not have been explicitly recorded in the Bible?
The answer to all these questions is the same — the Early Church Fathers. (click for an overview). This group of writers, who lived from the 2nd through the 8th centuries, are an extremely important resource for all Christians — Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox. Why? Because these “Fathers of the Church” lived in an age relatively close to the apostles, before disputes arose between Eastern and Western Christians, before the turmoil of the 16th century Reformation.
To read an overview explaining how various writers qualify for the title “Early Church Father” and the nature of the authority of such writers, click here.
For short readings by many of the most prominent Early Church Fathers, check out the Crossroads Initiative Library. We are posting NEW readings from the Fathers of the Church almost daily, so come back and visit often!! Many are brief, bite-sized excerpts that make a great suplement to your daily time of prayer and devotion (“the Fathers’ greatest hits!”).
To peruse some available early Church writings on line which we may not yet have on our site, visit the excellent resources at New Advent. or visit the EWTN Document Library and enter the name of the author and document you are looking for.
Many of the Early Church Fathers Fathers had such a great impact on the Catholic Tradition that they are known as special teachers or Doctors of the Church. To see a list of all 33 Doctors of the Church and read brief biographies, click here.
Now available: Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s TV series on the Early Church Fathers, which has been broadcast weekly on EWTN for the last 4 years!!
Many speak of the “Early Church Fathers.” But who precisely are these “Fathers of the Church” and why do they Matter? Here and in our overview article on the Early Church Fathers, we begin to provide some answers to these important questions.