As a church father (from Latin pater ecclesiae to ancient Greek πατὴρ ἐκκλησιαστικός Father ekklēsiastikós ) is a Christian author refers to the first eight centuries of the teaching and the standards of this vital Christianity has helped and so the honorary title of Doctor of the Church was excellent, and his life as a saintly applies .
To the subject
Generally, the epoch of the church fathers is delimited gradually. Formally, it comes into play where authors are no longer involved in the production of New Testament and early Christian writings, but have already begun to comment on these writings. The time of the church fathers ends in late antiquity - the church fathers themselves then become a literary source and theological authority.
The Orthodox Church counts all important Christian authors in their field, including those from more recent times up to the present day, among the Church Fathers, whereby no totality is required with regard to orthodoxy . Very few of the Church Fathers are recognized as being flawless in their traditional teachings. The authors of Orthodox Canon Law, to whom most of the classical Greek Fathers belong: Dionysius of Alexandria , Gregorius of Neocäsarea , Athanasius the Great , Basilius the Great , Gregory of Nyssa , Gregory of Nazianzen , Amphilochius, Timothy of Alexandria enjoy a special place , Theophilus of Alexandria, Cyril of Alexandria , Genadius of Constantinople, John IV (Patriarch) , Tarasius of Constantinople and Nicephorus the Confessor. Even John Chrysostom , the founder of the Chrysostomosliturgie is next to St. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen one of the Three Holy Hierarchs (also see below).
Protestant theology does not recognize a concept of the church father in the sense that the church fathers appear as authorities alongside the Bible. The church fathers are subsumed under the fathers and mothers in faith.
Catholic criteria for church fathers, church teachers and church writers
The Catholic Church judges a church father based on the following four criteria:
- antiquitas: until the 8th century, d. H. until the death of John of Damascus in 754 in the Orient and Isidore of Seville in 636 in the Occident . Sometimes Ildefons of Toledo (669) and Beda Venerabilis (735) are also referred to as fathers.
- orthodoxa doctrina: the Fathers are considered to be witnesses of the unity of faith and keepers of revelation, because they are cited as an authority of faith by a general council or in public documents addressed to the Church by popes or by some of the better-known Church Fathers, or in the first centuries read publicly in churches . This does not rule out the fact that there are inaccuracies in the expression or that they have not yet fully understood certain points of the faith theologically, but means that the Fathers did not write any heretical or schismatic works or works with serious deficiencies in content; d. H. not complete freedom from errors, but faithful teaching fellowship with the magisterium of the Catholic Church .
- sanctitas: canonized or regarded as holy in the sense of the early Christian veneration of saints
- ecclesiae declaratio: implicitly recognizable from church negotiations and manifestations
In the Occident, Ambrosius , Hieronymus , Augustine and Gregory the Great are called the great church fathers. In the Orient one means Athanasius , Basilius , Gregory of Nazianzen and John Chrysostom .
Doctors of the Church must always be respected and recognized dogmatists of theology. Your life data do not matter. The exact criteria for this group are:
- orthodoxa doctrina: see above
- eminens doctrina: significant doctrinal statements
- insignis vitae sanctitatis: a high degree of holiness
- expressa ecclesiae declaratio: explicitly canonized by the Catholic Church
- eminens eruditio: outstanding education
All the great church fathers are doctors of the church, including those of the Orient. With the addition of other deserving dogmatists, the group of church teachers has now been expanded to 36. They can certainly satisfy the quality of antiquitas , as Hilarius of Poitiers or Leo the Great show.
Church fathers in art
In Western art, two groups of four are represented in particular (see Doctors of the Church ):
- the Greek Fathers of the Church John Chrysostom , Basil of Caesarea , Gregory of Nazianzen and Athanasius of Alexandria
- the Latin church fathers Gregory the Great , Jerome as cardinal and the bishops Augustine of Hippo and Ambrose of Milan
A seldom depicted group of four who have a certain relationship with the Church Fathers are the " Four Wise Men ".
Well-known representations of the Latin church fathers in particular can be found on pulpits, such as the Gothic pulpit in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna ; On the pulpit there are representations of the four church fathers Augustine, Ambrosius, Gregory the Great and Jerome, which simultaneously symbolize the four temperaments and four ages.
Important church fathers
Church fathers of the 2nd century
- the Apostolic Fathers , approx. 80–150 AD
- the apologists
Church fathers of the 3rd century
- Origen (problematic)
- Tertullian (problematic)
- Clement of Alexandria
- Cyprian of Carthage
- Dionysius of Alexandria
- Hippolytus of Rome
- Minucius Felix
4th century church fathers
- Ambrose of Milan
- Arnobius the Elder
- Aphrahat the Wise
- Athanasius of Alexandria
- Augustine of Hippo
- Cyril of Jerusalem
- Basil of Caesarea
- Ephraem the Syrian
- Epiphanios of Salamis
- Eusebius of Caesarea
- Gregory of Nazianz
- Gregory of Nyssa
- Hilary of Poitiers
- Iulius Firmicus Maternus
- John Chrysostom
- Marius Victorinus
- Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius
- Nemesius of Emesa
- Zenon of Verona
Church fathers of the 5th century
- Benedict of Nursia
- Cyril of Alexandria
- Eznik from Kolb
- Leo the Great
- Martianus Capella
- Salvian of Marseilles
Church fathers of the 6th century
7th century church fathers
Church fathers of the 8th century
- Gregory Palamas (Orthodox Church only)
- Mark of Ephesus (Orthodox Church only)
- Photius (Orthodox Church only)
- Simeon the New Theologian
- Doctors of the Church , Apostolic Father , Patristic , Patrology
- Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium
- Berthold Altaner : Patrology: Life, Writings and Teaching of the Church Fathers. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau / Basel / Vienna 1980 (unaltered reprint 1993, ISBN 3-451-23273-1 ).
- Hubertus R. Drobner : Textbook of Patrology. 3rd supplementary edition. Peter Lang, Frankfurt a. a. 2011, ISBN 978-3-631-63080-8 .
- Michael Fiedrowicz : Handbook of Patristic. Source texts on the theology of the Church Fathers. Herder, Freiburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-31293-9 .
- Wassilios Klein (Ed.): Syrian Church Fathers (Kohlhammer-Urban Pocket Books; Vol. 587). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-17-014449-9 .
- Hartmut Leppin : The church fathers and their time (Becksche series; Bd. 2141). Beck, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-406-44741-4 .
- Hans Freiherr von Campenhausen : Greek church fathers (Kohlhammer-Urban pocket books; Vol. 14). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 8th edition 1993, ISBN 3-17-012887-6 .
- Hans Freiherr von Campenhausen: Latin church fathers (Kohlhammer-Urban pocket books; Bd. 50). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 7th edition 1995, ISBN 3-17-013504-X .
- Sources in German translation
- Patristique.org. Sources in French translation
- Sources in English translation
- Other sources (English)
- Lecture Is the paternal exegesis still relevant? by Joseph Schumacher (PDF; 55 KiB)
- Catechesis of Pope Benedict XVI. as part of the Wednesday audiences on the church fathers, starting with Clemens Romanus
- Otto Bitschnau: The life of God's saints . 2nd Edition. Benziger, Einsiedeln / New-York / Cincinnati / St. Louis 1883.