Category: Church History (16 Posts)

Quadratus of Athens (died c. AD 129) was a disciple of the apostles, and one of the earliest Christian apologists. He assumed leadership of the church in Athens after the martyrdom of his predecessor, Publius, and is best known for presenting a rational defense of Christianity to the Roman Emperor Hadrian, for which he is […]

Papias of Hierapolis (c. AD 60-130) was the bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia (present day Turkey) during the early part of the second century. A disciple of the apostle John and a companion of Polycarp, Papias is recognized as one of the Apostolic Fathers, a group of early church leaders directly connected with the apostles. […]

Irenaeus was the bishop of Lugdunum (Lyons) and was one of the leading theologians of the 2nd century (AD 103-202). He was a student under Polycarp, who was a Christian bishop of Smyrna. Eventually, he moved to Rome and studied under Justin Martyr, who was an early Christian apologist. According to early church historian Eusebius, […]

Athenagoras was a noteworthy apologist from the Athenian Church who wrote in the late second century A.D. He is especially important to Christian theology because his works disclose a belief in two doctrines that have been questioned throughout the development of the  Christian Church. He details the belief in one God in three distinct persons—the […]

Ignatius of Antioch was one of the early church fathers. He grew up well educated in church doctrine because he was a disciple of the apostle John and Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna. Eventually, he became the second bishop of Antioch. In his role as bishop, he was a defender of orthodoxy, and he became […]

Polycarp (c. AD 69-155) was the bishop of Smyrna (present day Izmir, Turkey) during the early part of the second century. A disciple of the apostle John, Polycarp is recognized as one of the Apostolic Fathers, a group of early church leaders directly connected with the apostles, who played a prominent role in preserving the […]

The Bible contains many details of Paul’s life, both in the book of Acts and in his own letters, but only hints about his death are included. For that reason, we cannot be sure about the details, but putting biblical clues together with writings from the early church, it appears that he died a martyr’s […]

There is much controversy concerning whether Peter was the first pope. This question highlights how beliefs differ between the Roman Catholic Church and churches of the Reformation. Church bodies that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation, and after, deny the authority of the pope based on Scripture. So the answer based […]

Justin Martyr (c. AD 100-165) was an early Christian apologist, philosopher, and teacher. Born in Samaria and raised as a pagan, Justin was acquainted with both Jewish and Roman culture. Justin later moved to Ephesus, where he studied Stoic and Platonic philosophy. Justin was first introduced to Christianity when he encountered an old man who […]

Although the Bible does not tell us how the apostle Peter died, there is tradition that tells us that Peter likely died by crucifixion during the reign of Nero in about AD 64. When considering the martyrs, it is perhaps more edifying to know why they died rather than how. They died to follow their […]

This page contains a list of church fathers. For more information on a church father, click the link to go to a page with more details. Apostolic Church Fathers Clement of Rome (~ AD 96) Clement of Rome was bishop of the church in Rome. He is the author of the First Epistle of Clement, […]

The Shepherd of Hermas was written during the 2nd or 3rd century and contains teaching that is orthodox, not heretical. Some early church fathers—for example, Irenaeus—even considered the Shepherd of Hermas to be canonical. However, this book is not part of the biblical canon that we have today. Who Wrote the Shepherd of Hermas? We […]

The Second Epistle of Clement has Clement of Rome’s name attached to it, but there are significant doubts concerning whether this letter was actually written by Clement of Rome. No name is officially attached to what is referred to as the “Second Epistle of Clement.” Eusebius on 2 Clement Most significantly, Eusebius, a 4th century […]

The Bible does not tell us how the Apostle John died, so we simply cannot know for sure how he died. However, we do have some accounts from tradition that may help us figure out how he might have died. John Probably Died in Exile in Patmos Most likely, based upon the accounts of tradition, […]

Clement of Rome was an early church father who was bishop of the church in Rome. More specifically, he is considered an apostolic church father because of his connection to the apostles of the New Testament. Clement of Rome lived near the end of the apostolic era, at the end of the first century, and […]

There are three different categories of early church fathers: Apostolic Church Fathers Ante-Nicene Church Fathers Post-Nicene Church Fathers Apostolic Church Fathers Apostolic church fathers are the earliest church fathers. They were contemporaries of the apostles and were probably disciples of the apostles. Thus, they have a direct connection to the apostles from the New Testament. […]