GOOD LUTHERAN Gaithersburg, Maryland

The of the Early Christian Church Unit Two – The Early “Who Were They?” “Why Do We Remember Them?”

The Fathers The 3nd. of Three Sessions in Unit Two The 7th Sunday of - The Sunday after the Ascension – 14, 2020 (Originally Scheduled / Prepared for the 4th Sunday of , 2020)

I. Now Just Where Were We? It has been a long since we were considering the Church Fathers in Unit 2. This is a “pick up session,” now that we have completed the 14 other sessions of this series on The History of the Early Christian Church. Some may remember that we were giving our attention to the early Church Fathers when the interruption of the Covid19 virus descended upon us, and we found ourselves under stay at home policies. Thanks to our ’s leadership ond our well equipped communications equipment and the skill of Pilip Muschke, we were able to be “on line` almost St. - Translator of Latin instanetly. We missed only one session between our live class 4- and our first on line class. Today, we pick up the session we missed. We had covered two sessions of the three session Unit 2. The first of these sessions was on The . These were those who had either known our Lord or known those who did. Among those would have been the former disciples of or the early first generation apostles. These were the primary sources to whom the ministry of our Lord was “handed off.” was among them. He considered himself as an apostle, one who had seen the Lord1 But, more about them in the following review. At this point, the Church was just one generation from extinction! The second group of the Early Church Fathers was those known as The Greek Church Fathers. They resided in the Eastern side of the . The in this region was Greek, not Latin as it was in the West. They wrote, spoke and read Greek. We have covered the Apostolic Fathers, and the Greek Fathers in earlier sessions.

1. I Corinthians 15:8-9. – “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of .“ Saint Paul has listed the appearances of Jesus as they were reported to him, and this was his conclusion. He considered himself an apostle, one to whom the Risen Lord had appeared.

The Latin Fathers – Rev. 6 PDF Page 1 II. The Early Church Fathers These leaders and their were very important, we might say “critical” for the growth of the scattered communities of early Christian believers. We used three adjectives to define the times: Difficult, Challenging, and Dangerous. Each of these applied through the early centuries in varying circumstances from (and especially ) to persecution, to the division of the Roman Empire, and through the doctrinal issues of seven Ecumenical Councils As noted in the previos section, we have defined these “Fathers” into three groups. A brief review of the first two groups lead us into the discussion of the last of the three, the Latin Fathers. • The Apostolic Fathers are the earliest of the theologians and leaders, other than,of course, the Blessed Apostle Paul and the . These Apostolic Fathers lived in the 1st and early 2nd centuries, and were known to some of the disciples of our Lord or were acquainted with those who had known them. Some might have heard our Lord speak, and most surely knew one or more of the disciples This was the time of “handing off” to a new generation the of our Lord and His teachings. Some of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers seem to have been as highly regarded as the writings that eventually became a part of our . When thinking of the Apostolic Fathers, one thinks of names such as Ignatius of , Clement of , and of .2 Then, too, we would not wish to forget and Papas of !! • The Greek Fathers had our attention during our session on 8 .. Just their explains some of the issues that arose for the early . Even before Constantine I had signed the of in 311 CE and the Edict of in 313 CE, making a legal in the empire,3 the Roman Empire had been divided into an Eastern and a Western governmental region. It was done by Diocletian in 285 CE. The size of the empire was a difficult governing issue. Christians did not cause it, but they were affected by it, and among themselves represented for a while two differing cultures. While Saint Paul, and Peter too, worked in the area of and the fringe of Asia, early Christian Polycarp of Smyrna work was done in other parts of Asia too. The Ancient Church of the reports on a somewhat “western surge” of the missionary work. But, some of the oldest Christian churches today are showing up in , and the plains. In our day, Christians of these churches have suffered terribly from ISIS, the Taliban, and overall civil unrest! The West was a “Latin” culture and the East was largely “Greek and Syriac.” Traditions, , and were frequently in tension, and as we study the Seven Ecumenical Councils, we shall see these tensions on those agendas. The Greek Fathers were such leaders and as Justin

2. Apostolic Fathers – In , the term does not appear in studies of Church history until 1672 CE. It was then that scholars became interested in the writings of this earliest generation of theologians and leaders in the Church, those who were most likely to have been disciples of the Apostles. In fact, we know that some were!

3. And ending forever the more than two centuries of the on again off again brutal persecution of Christians.

The Latin Fathers – Rev. 6 PDF Page 2 , of , Clement of , Origin , , and . (This is about half of those usually included among the Greek Fathers. • The Churches of the East and of the West also celebrate The Four Great Fathers. Curiously, none of those so named are the same for both churches. It is useful to list then another time. The Western Church The Eastern Church . - 340-397 CE Basil of 329-379 CE Jerome - 347-420 CE Athanasius of Alexandria 296-373 CE Augustine of 354-430 Gregory of Naziananzus 329-389 CE Gregory 540-604 CE John Chrysostom 347-407 CE

III. The Latin Fathers It sounds too simple: “Latin Fathers” are those who wrote in Latin.4 It identifies their culture and their audience. They lived in and wrote to the . Think Rome! The ancient historical forms of Christianity today are generally represented in the Roman Church (Latin) and in the Eastern and its many variations.(Greek) Many of the churches of Eastern Orthodox tradition are national churches. They are considered “Autocephalous.” or independent national churches (such as the .) Many of these may be familiar to us, at least by name. Now, back to the Latin Fathers. Each deserves far more than the brief paragraphs that follow.

– (155 - 221 CE) One of the most prolific writers of Christian apologies and other theological works, and a solid defender of the of the . He comes to us at the middle of the 2nd Century. Born in , he was the son of a Roman centurion. He denounces what he believed to be Christian , and considered Christianity the “true religion.” In so doing he relegated the classic of the Roman Empire to be mere superstitions. He is sometimes called “Father of the Latin Church.” However, in later life, he became a believer in , a rigorous begun by a Christian named Montanus, who taught a reliance upon the spontaneity of the Holy , and practices of rigorous religions disciplines. It was declared a by the early Church.5

OF CARTHAGE (200-258 CE) A convert to Christianity after his excellent classical (pagan) . After his conversion, he ultimately became of Carthage. He was deeply concerned about the unity of Christians and and was an early supporter of the authority of the Roman See, perhaps built upon the stature of St. Peter as the first Bishop of Rome.

4. The Latin Fathers – That is to say, they wrote in Latin, as opposed to Greek, and Syriac. A few Church Fathers wrote in Syriac. Their works were widely translated into Latin and Greek.

5. Montanism – Today it might be compared to the Pentecostal and legalistic movements in some church traditions.

The Latin Fathers – Rev. 6 PDF Page 3 • HILARY OF POITERS (300-368 CE) Hilary’s name from comes a Latin root, meaning “happy or cheerful.” He is considered a and has sometimes been called the “Hammer of the Arians,” or the “Athanasius of the West.” He was the Bishop of Poitiers, a town in France that became a Christian center during his bishopric. His service follows the time of the Nicene which had, among other things, declared the teachings of to be heretical. As Baptistere - St. Jean Poitiers, France the first bishop of Poitiers, he was a strong Oldest Christian Church in France supporter of the Nicene understanding of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

• AMBROSE OF MILAN (340-397 CE) So much can be and should be said about this of Milan. He staunchly opposed , as did Hilary. He was a theologian, writer, and is traditionally credited with the introduction of Ambrosian , a practice of antiphonal singing. He translated several of the Eastern Church (Greek) into Latin for use in the Western church. Tradition says he composed the “” hymn while presiding over the of Augustine, upon whom he is said to have had significant influence. to his as Archbishop in 374 CE, he had served as the of Liguria and Emilia. He is one of the Four Great Fathers in the Western Church

(305-384 CE) Recognized as a Saint, he was a strong leader for the Church. He was consecrated as the Bishop of Rome in 366 CE and served in that office until his death. During his bishopric he called and presided over the in 382 CE which determined the of the , including both the Old and New Testaments, He spoke out against Apollinarianism6 and Macedonianism,7 as well as Arianism. He commissioned Saint Jerome to translate the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. During his early years he had been a contemporary of Constantine I, the Emperor who signed the ,8 an edict he was forced to because of , the Emperor of the Eastern Empire, who remained in favor of Rome’s pagan traditions. Pope Damasus I sent legates to the First Council of Constantinople in 381 CE.

6. Apollinarianism - Apolinais taught the Jesus had a real human body but a divine mind and not a human . The Council of Constantinople of 381 CE declared the teaching heretical. It died shortly thereafter.

7. Macedonianism - Denied the divine nature or personality to the . It was taught by Macedonius, a former bishop of Constantinople. It was declared a heresy and the bishop was deposed.

8. Edict of Milan - This Edict, signed in 312 CE, followed the , signed by both Constantine I and Licinius in 311 CE. The Edict of Toleration ended persecution of Christians and others. The Edict of Milan granted freedom to all Christians in all parts of the Roman Empire.

The Latin Fathers – Rev. 6 PDF Page 4 • SAINT JEROME OF STRIDONIUM (347-420) - Saint Jerome’s is a long and interesting story, but he is best known as the translator of the and the New Testament canonical from Greek into Latin, a task that was taken from the commission of Pope Damasus I. He began in 382 and finished in 405 CE. Saint Jerome was thought to be facile in Greek, and less so in Hebrew. However, before this task was undertaken, while in Antioch, he had met a Jew who had converted to Christianity. He mastered Hebrew with the aid of this new friend. Jerome also had at hand a copy of the , a 2nd century of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek by a “committee of seventy.” However, it had not been accepted as of Saint Jerome accurate by the rabbinical teachers. “It was too ‘Hellenistic’ in its translation,” they said. So correcting the Septuagint and moving to a fully new of the Hebrew scriptures into Latin, and moving the mostly Greek New Testament books into Latin, Jerome developed what is yet an authoritative text in the Church. It is called the Latin Vulgate. A side note: Tradition says that Jerome did his work in a studio of a warren of caves adjacent to the in .

• SAINT AUGUSTINE (354-430 CE) A bishop and a, Doctor of the Western Church, he is considered one of the most influential in the development of . He was always a serious student, widely in the Greek and Western worlds. But he was not always a “holy” man, as he will recount later in his writings. His mother was a Christian, and she pleaded unceasingly for his conversion. But, he took a concubine and became a Manichean.9 Augustine claimed later that it was the singing of Christians that brought him to conversion. (However, placing more emphasis upon the message than the music, he would later comment that if he remembered the tune but could not remember the message, it might be better had he not ever heard the tune.) Once converted, he was a lion for the Church. He served as the Bishop of the Hippo region of North . Saint Jerome said of Augustine that “he established anew the ancient .” Augustine’s conversion ro Christianity came in August 386 CE at the age of 31, reading among other things, :13-14: “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on Jesus , and make no provisions for the flesh to fulfill the thereof.” Saint Ambrose baptized Augustine and his son in Milan at the Easter on 24-25, 388 CE. A year later, Augustine completed his first theological work, just before the death of his mother, Monica. She lived to see his baptism! His major works include “On Christian Doctrine“, “The of God”,10 and “The .”11 All three of these works are read avidly yet today. Augustine

9. Manicheanism – a 3rd to 4th century heresy founded by Manes that was a synthesis of Zoroastrian dualism between light and darkness folklore and Buddist and superficial elements of Christianity.

10. – Written to comfort Christians at the time of the violent fall of the city of Rome.

11. The Confessions - Saint Augustine’s spiritual .

The Latin Fathers – Rev. 6 PDF Page 5 worked tirelessly. In 391 CE he was ordained in and he became a famous , leaving more than 350 preserved ! In 395 CE he became Bishop of Hippo and shortly after, Bishop. About 1100 years later, a young former student would become an Augustinian . His name was . He would consider Saint Augustine the most important of all of the Church Fathers.

• POPE GREGORY THE GREAT (540-604 CE) Looking at the dates we see that Gregory was born about 130 years after the violent sack of the city of Rome in 410 CE. by the . While the (East Rome) thrived in Constantinople, it was not so in Rome. He was the son of a Roman senator and he was himself a of Rome at the age of 30. Later, he tried monastic life, but returned to public life. Once he became a bishop, his public experience appears to have served him well as an administrator, He served as pope Gregory the Great from 590 to 604 CE, and his accomplishments are many, from challenging the theological views of Eutychius of Constantinople before Emperor Tiberias II to regaining papal suthority in and France. He sent to England. He accomplished the realignment of barbarian alliances to Rome from their Arian Christian beliefs. He saw Franks, Lombards, and Visigoths join Rome in their faith.. Yet, he may be best remembered for his role as “the Father of Christian .” It is said that he worked to codify the ancient Christian , with their roots in worship, into 8 musical “tomes,” by which non-metrical liturgical texts and Scripture can be sung. It is called “.” Medieval Gregorian

• ISIDORE OF (560-636 CE) Isidore, Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades is called by some church historians “the last scholar of the ancient world.” He was involved in converting the Arian Visigoths to Catholicism. It is claimed that all the historical writings of the (Spain and ) come from his . Perhaps so! Being almost a contemporary with Pope Gregory, he too was involved in improving the alignment of the post Roman Empire in . He played a key role in the Councils of Toledo and Seville. It is thought by modern historians that these councils were a significant influence toward representative .

IV. The Syriac Fathers There are but four that should be held up in this survey. But, that be another day. For the record now, they are:: (270-345 CE) (306-373 CE) of Antioch (451-452 CE) No, this is not a typo! It is the best we have. (7th Century) We know little about the Church in the Middle East. We are hearing of the of these

The Latin Fathers – Rev. 6 PDF Page 6 ancient Christians in the midst of conservative religious terror. Many Christians are dying, and many ancient churches destroyed. These will be voices from their past.

A Closing from Saint Augustine Late have I loved Thee, O Lord; and behold, Thou wast within and I without, and there I sought Thee. Thou wast with me when I was not with Thee. Thou didst call, and cry, and burst my deafness. Thou didst gleam, and glow, and dispel my blindness. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy . For Thyself Thou hast made us, And restless our hearts until in Thee they find their ease. Late have I loved Thee, Thou ever old and ever new.[84]

History of the Early Christian Church

Unit One – The First Century of Christian History Feb. 2 Session One – The First Hundred Years – The Apostolic Age Feb. 9 Session Two – The Formation of the Four Feb. 16 Session Three – The Impact of Saint Paul Feb. 23 Session Four -- The of Saint Paul

Unit Two – The Early Church Fathers –Who Were They? Why Do We Remember Them? March 1 Session Five – The Apostolic Fathers March 8 Session Six – The Greek Fathers March 15 (First Sunday of On-Line Church at Shepherd - No class) Beginning of “On Line Classes” for the duration March 22 Session Seven-- The Latin Fathers

Unit Three – The Seven Ecumenical Councils (S25 C E to 787 CE) March 29 Session Eight– First Council of - 325 CE April 5 Session Nine – First Council of Constantinople - 381 CE April 12 Easter Sunday Class Does Not Meet April 19 Session Ten – - 431 CE April 26 Session Eleven - Council of Caledon – 451 CE May 3 Session Twelve – Second Council of Constantinople – 553 CE May 10 Session Thirteen Third Council of Constantinople - 680 - 681 CE May 24 Session Fourteen – – 787 CE

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