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Prosper, who was trying to convert them to augustinianism, complains: "Obstinationem suam vetustate defendunt" (Ep. Ccxxv, 2 and they said that no ecclesiastical writer had ever before interpreted Romans quite. Augustine did which was probably true enough. The interest of this attitude lies in the fact that it was, if not new at least more definite than any earlier appeal to antiquity. Through most of the fourth century, the controversy with the Arians had turned upon Scripture, and appeals to past authority were few. But the appeal to the fathers was never the most imposing locus theologicus, for they could not easily be assembled so as to form an absolutely conclusive test. On the other hand up to the end of the fourth century, there were practically no infallible definitions available, except condemnations of heresies, chiefly by popes.

To these he adds Jerome (c. Xxxiv "Nor should you think jerome, because he was a priest, is to be despised and adds a eulogy. This is amusing, when we remember that Jerome in a fit of irritation, fifteen before, had written to augustine (Ep. Cxlii) "Do not excite against me the silly crowd of the ignorant, who venerate you as a bishop, and receive you with the honour due to a prelate when you declaim in the Church, whereas they think little of me, an old man, nearly decrepit. Augustine again cites Ambrose frequently, and Cyprian, gregory nazianzen, hilary, chrysostom; in ii, 37, he recapitulates the nine names (omitting councils and popes adding (iii, 32) Innocent and Jerome. A few years later the semipelagians of southern gaul, who were led. Hilary plan of Arles,. Vincent of Lérins, and. Cassian, refuse to accept. Augustine's severe view of predestination because "contrarium putant patrum opinioni et ecclesiastico sensui".

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Jerome is perhaps the first writer to try to establish his interpretation of a text by a string of exegetes (Ep. Paulinus, the deacon and biographer. Ambrose, in essay the libellus he presented against the pelagians to pope zosimus in 417,"s Cyprian, ambrose, gregory nazianzen, and the decrees of the late pope Innocent. Augustine"s Cyprian and Ambrose against the same heretics (C. Julian of Eclanum"d Chrysostom and Basil ;. Augustine replies to him in 421 (Contra julianum, i) with Irenaeus, cyprian, reticius, Olympius, hilary, ambrose, the decrees of African councils, and above all Popes Innocent and Zosimus. In a celebrated passage he argues that these western writers are more than sufficient, but as Julian had appealed to the east, to the east, he shall go, and the saint adds Gregory nazianzen, basil, synod of diospolis, Chrysostom.

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But through the abuse of granting abbeys in commendam to seculars, it has become a polite title for all secular clerics, even seminarists in Italy, and especially in France, whereas all religious who are pdf priests are addressed as "Father". We receive only, says. Basil, what we have been taught by the holy fathers; and he adds that in his Church of caesarea the faith of the holy fathers of Nicaea has long been implanted (Ep. Gregory nazianzen declares that he holds fast the teaching which he heard from the holy Oracles, and was taught by the holy fathers. These cappadocian saints seem to be the first to appeal to a real catena of Fathers. The appeal to one or two was already common enough; but not even the learned Eusebius had thought of a long string of authorities. Basil, for example (de spir. S., ii, 29 cites for the formula "with the holy Ghost " in the doxology, the example of Irenaeus, clement and dionysius of Alexandria, dionysius of Rome, eusebius of caesarea, origen, africanus, the preces lucerariae said at the lighting of lamps, athenagoras, gregory Thaumaturgus, firmilian. In the fifth century this method became a stereotyped custom.

It is now a form of address to all priests in Spain, in Ireland, and, of recent years, in England and the United States. Papas or Pappas, pope, was a term of respect for eminent bishops (e.g. In letters. Cyprian and. Augustine neither of these writers seems to use it in addressing other bishops, except when. Augustine writes to rome ). Eventually the term was reserved to the bishops of Rome and Alexandria; yet in the east today every priest is a "pope". The Aramaic abbe was used from early times for the superiors of religious houses.

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A fourth form of appeal was better founded and game of enduring value. Eventually it appeared that bishops as well as priests were fallible. In the second century the bishops were orthodox. In the third they advertisement were often found wanting. In the fourth they were the leaders of schisms, and heresies, in the meletian and Donatist troubles and in the long Arian struggle, in which few were found to stand firm against the insidious persecution of Constantius. It came to be seen that the true fathers of the Church are those catholic teachers who have persevered in her communion, and whose teaching has been recognized as orthodox.

So it came to pass that out of the four "Latin Doctors" one is not a bishop. Two other Fathers who were not bishops have been declared to be doctors of the Church, bede and John Damascene, while among the doctors outside the patristic period we find two more priests, the incomparable. Bernard and the greatest of all theologians,. Nay, few writers had such great authority in the Schools of the middle Ages as the layman boethius, many of whose definitions are still commonplaces of theology. Similarly (we may notice in passing) the name "Father which originally belonged to bishops, has been as it were delegated to priests, especially as ministers of the sacrament of Penance.

Half a century later. Irenæus supplements this method by an appeal to the tradition handed down in every Church by the succession of its bishops ( Against Heresies iii.1-3 and Tertullian clinches this argument by the observation that as all the Churches agree, their tradition is secure, for they. The appeal is thus to Churches and their bishops, none but bishops being the authoritative exponents of the doctrine of their Churches. As late as 341 the bishops of the dedication council at Antioch declared: "we are not followers of Arius ; for how could we, who are bishops, be disciples of a priest?" Yet slowly, as the appeals to the presbyters died out, there was arising. While, without the Church, gnostic schools were substituted for churches, within the Church, catholic schools were growing.


Philosophers like justin and most of the numerous second-century apologists were reasoning about religion, and the great catechetical school of Alexandria was gathering renown. Great bishops and saints like dionysius of Alexandria, gregory Thaumaturgus of Pontus, firmilian of Cappadocia, and Alexander of Jerusalem were proud to be disciples of the priest Origen. The bishop Cyprian called daily for the works of the priest Tertullian with the words "give me the master". The patriarch Athanasius refers for the ancient use of the word homoousios, not merely to the two dionysii, but to the priest Theognostus. Yet these priest-teachers are not yet called Fathers, and the greatest among them, tertullian, clement, Origen, hippolytus, novatian, lucian, happen to be tinged with heresy ; two became antipopes ; one is the father of Arianism ; another was condemned by a general council. In each case we might apply the words used. Hilary of Tertullian : "Sequenti errore detraxit scriptis probabilibus auctoritatem" (Comm. In Matt., v, 1, cited by vincent of Lérins,.4).

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Isidore of pdf seville (d. 636) and the venerable bede (d. 735) are to be classed among the fathers, but they may be said to have been born out of due time,. Theodore the Studite was in the east. The appeal to the fathers Thus the use of the term Fathers has been continuous, yet it could not at first he employed in precisely the modern sense of Fathers of the Church. In early days the expression referred to writers who were then quite recent. It is still applied to those writers who are to us the ancients, but no longer in the same way to writers who are now recent. Appeals to the fathers are a subdivision of appeals to tradition. In the first half of the second century begin the appeals to the sub-Apostolic age: Papias appeals to the presbyters, and through them to the Apostles.

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"The fathers" must undoubtedly include, in the west,. Gregory the Great (d. 604 and in the east,. It is frequently said that. 1153) was the last of the fathers, and Migne's "Patrologia latina" extends to Innocent thesis iii, halting only on the verge of the thirteenth century, while his "Patrologia graeca" goes as far as the council of Florence (1438-9). These limits are evidently too wide, it will be best to consider that the great merit. Bernard as a writer lies in his resemblance in style and matter to the greatest among the fathers, in spite of the difference of period.

applied to the holy bishops of a preceding age, whether of the last generation or further back, since they are the parents at whose knee the Church of today was taught her belief. It is also applicable in an eminent way to bishops sitting in council, "the fathers of Nicaea "the fathers of Trent ". Thus Fathers have learnt from Fathers, and in the last resort from the Apostles, who are sometimes called Fathers in this sense: "They are your Fathers says. Leo, of the Princes of the Apostles, speaking to the romans;. Hilary of Arles calls them sancti patres ; Clement of Alexandria says that his teachers, from Greece, ionia, coele-syria, egypt, the Orient, Assyria, palestine, respectively, had handed on to him the tradition of blessed teaching from Peter, and James, and John, and paul, receiving. It follows that, as our own Fathers are the predecessors who have taught us, so the fathers of the whole Church are especially the earlier teachers, who instructed her in the teaching of the Apostles, during her infancy and first growth. It is difficult to define the first age of the Church, or the age of the fathers. It is a common habit to stop the study of the early Church at the council of Chalcedon in 451.

Christ, yet not many fathers. Christ Jesus, by the gospel, i have begotten you. Wherefore i beseech you, be ye followers of me, as i also. Christ " ( 1 Corinthians 4:15, 16 essay ;. The first teachers of, christianity seem to be collectively spoken of as "the fathers" ( 2 Peter 3:4 ). Irenæus defines that a teacher is a father, and a disciple is a son (iv, 41,2 and so says. Clement of Alexandria stromata,.1.1 ). A bishop is emphatically a "father in, christ both because it was he, in early times, who baptized all his flock, and because he is the chief teacher of his church. But he is also regarded by the early fathers, such as Hegesippus, Irenaeus, and.

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Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the eu evernote market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism. Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the catholic Encyclopedia, church Fathers, summa, bible and more all for only.99. The word, father is used in the, new Testament to mean a teacher of spiritual things, by whose means the soul of man is born again into the likeness. Christ : "For if you have ten thousand instructors.


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