Church Fathers

FATHERS, THE. A term applied generally to all the ancient orthodox
Christian writers. St. Bernard, who flourished in the twelfth
century, is reputed to be the last of the Fathers. The Schoolmen
(which see) succeeded the Fathers. Those writers who knew the
Apostles personally are called Apostolical  Fathers; such were
Hermas, Barnabas, Clement of Rome, Ignatius and Polycarp. Other
Fathers of the early Church were Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of
Alexandria, and Tertullian. In the third century we have Origen and
Cyprian, and succeeding them Eusebius, Athanasius, Ambrose, Basil,
Jerome or Hieronymus, John Chrysostom, and Augustine.

The writings of the Fathers are most valuable to us as showing us what were the doctrines and ceremonies of the first Christians. The Tractarian movement was of great service in calling attention to the well-nigh forgotten mine of theological wealth stored up in these writers. Pusey has published a library of the works of the Fathers in English.