Early Church Fathers


This chart provides basic facts on the early church fathers, including the Apostolic Fathers, the Apologists, the Cappadocian Fathers, and other important early Greek and Latin fathers in Christianity. Click links in the chart for biographies and other information, and see the left column for print resources on the church fathers.

Name(s) Birth Death Roles Works Overview
St. Athanasius c. 296
Alexandria, Egypt
May 2/3, 373
Bishop of Alexandria On the Incarnation; Life of St. Anthony Opponent of Arianism, defender of Nicene Christology; supporter of monasticism.
St. Augustine of Hippo; Aurelius Augustine; "The Doctor of Grace" 354
Thagaste, N. Africa
Hippo, N. Africa
Bishop of Hippo, theologian City of God; Confessions; On Free Will; On the Trinity; Handbook on Faith, Hope and Love Developed orthodox doctrines of grace, original sin, soul, Trinity, the church.
Basil the Great c.330
c.379 Cappadocian father, monk, Bishop of Caesarea Philocalia; On the Holy Spirit; Against Eunomius Involved in Arian controversy.
St. Clement of Alexandria c. 150 c. 215 theologian; professor Exhortations; Teachings; Miscellanies Interpreted Christian teachings in the context of Greek philosophy.
St. Clement of Rome; Clement I; Pope St. Clement unknown c. 101 Bishop of Rome 1 Clement Considered fourth Pope by Catholics; might be mentioned in Php. 4:3. Probable author of 1 Clement, a letter once considered for the NT canon.
Gregory of Nazianzus 329/30
Nazianzus in Cappadocia
389/90 Cappadocian father, monk, preacher Five Theological Orations Studied at Athens. Influenced outcome of Council of Constantinople (381) by his eloquent preaching.
Gregory of Nyssa c. 330
c. 395
Cappadocian father, Bishop of Nyssa, monk, preacher, theologian Against Eunomius, Against Apollinarius, Catechetical Oration; On Virginity Brother of St. Basil. Influenced by Platonism.
Ignatius of Antioch unknown

c. 110
Rome, Italy

Bishop of Antioch seven letters Wrote letters on his way to be matryred; opposed Docetism.
Irenaeus of Lyons c. 140 c. 200
Bishop of Lyons Against Heresies Disciple of Polycarp. Developed idea of "recapitulation." Writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. Against Heresies is a detailed description and refutation of Gnosticism.
Jerome c. 342
scholar, theologian Vulgate; Against Jovinian; Against Vigilantius; Commentaries Translated Bible into Latin
Justin Martyr c. 100
Flavia Neapolis, Palestine [now Nabulus]
c. 165
Rome, Italy
(feast: June 1)
apologist, philosopher Apology; Dialogue with Trypho the Jew A convert from paganism and Greek philosopher, Justin represents the first positive encounter between Christianity and Greek philosophy.
Origen of Alexandria; Origenes Adamantius c. 185
c. 254
Caeserea or Tyre
apologist, theologian, teacher Against Celsus; Commentaries; Homilies Taught universalism and preexistence of souls. Views condemned by Council in 533.
Tertullian 160
220 theologian, apologist Against Praxeas; Apology; On the Soul Coined theological terms such as trinity, person, substance; argued that faith and reason do not mix. "Father of Latin Theology."
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