Church Fathers and Doctors of the church the same?


#1

Are the church fathers and the doctors of the church the same thing? Up to what year are they called “the church fathers?”


#2

No, they are not the same, although there is some overlap in the list.

The Fathers of the Church are so called because of their leadership in the early Church, especially in defending, expounding, and developing Catholic doctrines. For the first two centuries, most of these men were bishops, although in later years certain priests and deacons were also recognized as Fathers.

The list includes such notables as: Clement of Rome (d. A.D. 97), Ignatius (d. 110), Polycarp (d. 155), Justin Martyr (the Church’s first major lay apologist; d. 165), Irenaeus (d. 202), Cyprian (d. 258), Athanasius (d. 373), Basil (d. 379), Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386), Ambrose (d. 397), John Chrysostom (d. 407), Jerome (d. 420), Augustine (d. 430), Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444), Pope Leo the Great (d. 461), and Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604). (This is by no means a complete list.)

The Church demands four major characteristics to be exhibited in the life and works of an early Church leader if he is to be considered a Father of the Church. These are antiquity, meaning that he lived before the eighth century (the death of St. John Damascene [cir. A.D. 750] is generally regarded as the close of the age of the Fathers); doctrinal orthodoxy; personal sanctity; and approval by the Church.

The **Doctors of the Church **are great saints specifically known for their defense and explanation of the truths of the Catholic Faith. The title “Doctor of the Church” is an official one that is bestowed upon a saint whose writings are deemed to be of universal importance to the Church. The Pope must also declare the individual to be of “eminent learning” and “great sanctity.”

So, the main difference between the two is that the Church Fathers are seen as early testaments to the truths of the faith and are used as examples or proof of what the earliest members of the church (and thus, those closest to the Apostles) actually taught. Doctors of the Church are saints that the church has specifically chosen (and are not limited in time) because they teachings explain or clarify something in Catholic doctrine so well or in such a new way that it helps the understanding of our faith. New Doctors of the Church continue to be proclaimed as time goes on. In fact, Pope Benedict named two new ones, St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen, just two years ago in 2012

The Thirty-Five Doctors of the Church are:

St. Albertus Magnus (1200-80)
Added by Pope Pius XI in 1931

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Added by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1871

Saint Ambrose (340-97)
One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church

Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Added by Pope Clement XI in 1720

Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)
Added by Pope Pius XII in 1946

Saint Athanasius (297-373)
One of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church

Saint Basil the Great (329-379)
One of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church

The Venerable Bede (673-735)
Added by Pope Leo XIII in 1899

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Added by Pope Pius VIII in 1830

Saint Bonaventure (1217-74)
Added by Pope Sixtus V in 1588

Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-80)
Added by Pope Paul VI in 1970

Saint Cyril of Alexandria (376-444)
Added by Pope Leo XIII in 1883

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-87)
Added by Pope Leo XIII in 1883

Saint Ephrem the Syrian (306-73)
Added by Pope Benedict XV in 1920

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Added by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1877

Pope Saint Gregory the Great (540-604)
One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church

St. Gregory Nazianzen (330-90)
One of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church

Saint Hilary of Poitiers (315-68)
Added by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1851

Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Added by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012

Saint Isidore of Seville (560-636)
Added by Pope Innocent XIII in 1722

Saint Jerome (343-420)
One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church

St. John Chrysostom (347-407)
One of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church

St. John Damascene (675-749)
Added by Pope Leo XIII in 1883

Saint John of Avila (1500-69)
Added by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012

Saint John of the Cross (1542-91)
Added by Pope Pius XI in 1926

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619)
Added by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1959

Pope Saint Leo the Great (400-61)
Added by Pope Benedict XIV in 1754

St. Peter Canisius (1521-97)
Added by Pope Pius XI in 1925

St. Peter Chrysologus (400-50)
Added by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729

St. Peter Damian (1007-72)
Added by Pope Leo XII in 1828

St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621)
Added by Pope Pius XI in 1931

Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-82)
Added by Pope Paul VI in 1970

Saint Therese of Lisieux (1873-97)
Added by Pope John Paul II in 1997

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74)
Added by Pope Saint Pius V in 1568


#3

Also, to be a Doc/Ch, one must already be named a saint. Conversely, there have been Church Fathers who are not canonized.

The Church Father period is over. It ended around AD700.

ICXC NIKA.


#4

Actually some of the Church Fathers are Doctors, but not all Doctors are Church Fathers. Bede and St. John of Damascus are the last of the Fathers.


closed #5

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