Introduction to Patrology
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Introduction to Patrology

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Introduction to Patrology

Introduction to Patrology

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  • In the Eastern Orthodox church around 749 A.D. – The death of St. John of Damascus. In the west with the the death of of St. Gregory the Great who died in 604 A.D. and St. Theodore of Seville who died in 636 A.D. <br />
  • In Patrology the term “Fathers” was not confined to bishops, priests and deacons, but included all those who supported us with orthodox Christian literature. This designated the apologists who defended the Christian faith in the early church even though they were not clergymen. It also designated the leaders of the monastic life who escaped from priesthood but they had many disciples who practiced evangelical asceticism. <br />
  • In Patrology the term “Fathers” was not confined to bishops, priests and deacons, but included all those who supported us with orthodox Christian literature. This designated the apologists who defended the Christian faith in the early church even though they were not clergymen. It also designated the leaders of the monastic life who escaped from priesthood but they had many disciples who practiced evangelical asceticism. <br />

Introduction to Patrology Introduction to Patrology Presentation Transcript

  • PatrologyPatrology Talk 1: Introduction to PatrologyTalk 1: Introduction to Patrology 1Cor 4:151Cor 4:15 “For although you have ten thousand“For although you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you have not many fathers.instructors in Christ, yet you have not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, through the Gospel, I haveFor in Christ Jesus, through the Gospel, I have begotten you.”begotten you.” Pre Servants Program 2009-2010Pre Servants Program 2009-2010 Ehab RoufailEhab Roufail
  • OutlineOutline • What is Patrology?What is Patrology? • Who is a Father of the Church?Who is a Father of the Church? • Why Study the Church Fathers?Why Study the Church Fathers? • How to read their Writings?How to read their Writings?
  • What is PatrologyWhat is Patrology The word “Patrology” is derived from the Latin word “Pater” which means “Father.” • We are used to calling authors of the Early Christian writingsWe are used to calling authors of the Early Christian writings the ‘Fathers of the Church’.the ‘Fathers of the Church’. 1Cor 4:151Cor 4:15 “For although you have ten thousand instructors in“For although you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you have not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus,Christ, yet you have not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, through the Gospel, I have begotten you.”through the Gospel, I have begotten you.” • When a man learns from the mouth of another, it is said that he is the son of the person who teaches him, and the latter is called his father. [St. Irenaeus – Adv. Haer. 4,41,2] • The speech is the son of the soul, therefore we call those who teach us our fathers. [St. Clement of Alexandria – Strom 1,1, 2- 2,1]
  • What is PatrologyWhat is Patrology • Patrology is the study or science of thePatrology is the study or science of the Church FathersChurch Fathers – 1) The life of the Fathers: In order to understand their writings and sayings, their lives and the environment in which they lived, must also be considered. – 2) Their acts: The writings, sermons, dialogues, letters, etc. of the Fathers are inseparable from their own lives. Patrology’s message is to be sure of the authenticity of these acts scientifically, publishing them and translating them in modern languages. – 3) More importantly is the discovery of the thoughts of the Fathers, their dogma, doctrines and concepts concerning God, man, church, salvation, worship, creation, the body, the heavenly life, etc. Patrology is the door through which we can enter into the church and attain her spirit, which affects our inner life, conduct and behavior. Through Patrology, the acts of the Fathers are transferred into living thoughts and concepts which are based on a sound foundation, without ignoring the world around us. [Fr. T.Malaty The Apostolic Fathers]
  • Who is a Father of the Church? - Necessary QualificationsWho is a Father of the Church? - Necessary Qualifications For us we only regard ‘Fathers of the Church’ as those who haveFor us we only regard ‘Fathers of the Church’ as those who have four necessary qualifications, these are:four necessary qualifications, these are: • Orthodoxy of DoctrineOrthodoxy of Doctrine – The correctness of their teachings– The correctness of their teachings around: Theology - the nature of Christ and The Holy Trinity,around: Theology - the nature of Christ and The Holy Trinity, the Church - its Sacraments and life, The Bible and faith.the Church - its Sacraments and life, The Bible and faith. • Holiness of lifeHoliness of life – “...but whosoever shall do and teach them– “...but whosoever shall do and teach them the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt 5:19b)(Matt 5:19b) • Church AcceptanceChurch Acceptance – The Church needs to acknowledge– The Church needs to acknowledge her sons for them to be considered teachers.her sons for them to be considered teachers. • AntiquityAntiquity – Closeness to the Lord and His Apostles. In the– Closeness to the Lord and His Apostles. In the Oriental Orthodox Churches this dates a little after the councilOriental Orthodox Churches this dates a little after the council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.
  • Who are the Church Fathers?Who are the Church Fathers? The Church Fathers in general are theThe Church Fathers in general are the Teachers of the faithTeachers of the faith among them being the members of the ecumenical councilsamong them being the members of the ecumenical councils which defined the doctrine of the church against heresies. Theywhich defined the doctrine of the church against heresies. They are:are: • TheThe Apostolic FathersApostolic Fathers – those who were in touch with the– those who were in touch with the apostles, such as St. Clement of Rome (disciple of St. Peter,apostles, such as St. Clement of Rome (disciple of St. Peter, St. Ignatius of Antioch (disciple of St. John), or St. Polycarp ofSt. Ignatius of Antioch (disciple of St. John), or St. Polycarp of Smyrna (disciple of St. John and other apostles)Smyrna (disciple of St. John and other apostles) • The ApologistsThe Apologists who defended Christianity against amongstwho defended Christianity against amongst others: the pagans, the educated classes, the Jews, the rulersothers: the pagans, the educated classes, the Jews, the rulers and authorities of their day. Among them are St. Justin Martyr,and authorities of their day. Among them are St. Justin Martyr, St. Athenagoras and St. Irenaeus.St. Athenagoras and St. Irenaeus.
  • Who are the Church Fathers?Who are the Church Fathers? • TheThe Ecumenical TeachersEcumenical Teachers – Like St. Athanasius the– Like St. Athanasius the Apostolic, St. Cyril the Great, St. Basil, St. Gregory theApostolic, St. Cyril the Great, St. Basil, St. Gregory the Theologian, in the east St. John of the Golden Mouth,Theologian, in the east St. John of the Golden Mouth, Keprianos, Ambrose, Jerome, and St. Augustine ofKeprianos, Ambrose, Jerome, and St. Augustine of Hippo in the West.Hippo in the West. • The ConfessorsThe Confessors – who taught, were persecuted for– who taught, were persecuted for their faith and persevered through it like St. Dioscorustheir faith and persevered through it like St. Dioscorus and St. Severus of Antioch.and St. Severus of Antioch. • TheThe early fathers of monasticismearly fathers of monasticism who lived thewho lived the purity of the faith and of its teachings in addition topurity of the faith and of its teachings in addition to monasticism like St. Anthony the great, St.monasticism like St. Anthony the great, St. Pachomious of the Kononia, St. Macarius the Great,Pachomious of the Kononia, St. Macarius the Great, St. Shenouda, St. Isidore Pelusiam.St. Shenouda, St. Isidore Pelusiam.
  • Why Study the Church Fathers?Why Study the Church Fathers?
  • How should we read their writingsHow should we read their writings 1. We must not rely on the writings of a single Father, because no one is capable of acknowledging the “truth” in its entirety. We only accept the opinion of a Father, if it is in harmony with the Bible and the church tradition. 2. We must not rely on one or more separate quotation from the acts of any Father, but rather study all his thoughts and understand the quotations within his whole work. We must also consider the circumstances and the church environment, at that time. We must not single out one or more quotations to form our own opinion. 3. We must study the meaning of the terms which a Father had used. Sometimes they had certain contemporary philosophical or popular concepts of the era. Some Fathers used the same pagan or heretic terms of that time, especially when they wrote to certain worldly groups. They wrote to them, using their (pagan) own terms, language and concepts. 4. It is very useful to study the meaning of some difficult terms by comparing them with the same terms used by their contemporary Fathers. [Fr. T.Malaty The Apostolic Fathers]
  • How should we read their writingsHow should we read their writings 1. We must not rely on the writings of a single Father, because no one is capable of acknowledging the “truth” in its entirety. We only accept the opinion of a Father, if it is in harmony with the Bible and the church tradition. 2. We must not rely on one or more separate quotation from the acts of any Father, but rather study all his thoughts and understand the quotations within his whole work. We must also consider the circumstances and the church environment, at that time. We must not single out one or more quotations to form our own opinion. 3. We must study the meaning of the terms which a Father had used. Sometimes they had certain contemporary philosophical or popular concepts of the era. Some Fathers used the same pagan or heretic terms of that time, especially when they wrote to certain worldly groups. They wrote to them, using their (pagan) own terms, language and concepts. 4. It is very useful to study the meaning of some difficult terms by comparing them with the same terms used by their contemporary Fathers. [Fr. T.Malaty The Apostolic Fathers]