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Bible Encyclopedias

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

Fathers of the Church

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The early teachers of Christianity and founders of the Christian Church, consisting of live Apostolic Fathers —Clement of Home, Barnabas, Hermes, Ignatius, and Polycarp, and of nine in addition called Primitive Fathers —Justin, Theophilus of Antioch, Irenæus, Clemens of Alexandria, Cyprian of Carthage, Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dionysius of Alexandria, and Tertullian. The distinctive title of Apostolic Fathers was bestowed upon the immediate friends and disciples of the Apostles, while the patristic period proper may be said to commence with the 2nd century, but no definite date can be assigned as marking its termination, some closing it with the deaths of Gregory the Great and John of Damascus, while Catholic writers bring it down as far as the Council of Trent; discarded among Protestants, the Fathers are regarded by Catholics as decisive in authority on points of faith, but only when they exhibit a unanimity of opinion.

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Bibliography Information
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'Fathers of the Church'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.

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