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Church Father facts for kids

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St. Athanasius, depicted with a book, an iconographic symbol of the importance of his writings.

The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church are ancient and generally influential Christian theologians, some of whom were eminent teachers and great bishops. The term is used of writers or teachers of the Church not necessarily ordained.

Most Church Fathers are honored as saints in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East, Anglicanism and Lutheranism, as well as other churches and groups. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by 700 AD.

The Church Fathers, an 11th-century Kievan Rus' miniature from Svyatoslav's Miscellany

While western churches regard only early teachers of Christianity as Fathers, the Orthodox Church honors as "Fathers" many saints far beyond the early centuries of church history, even to the present day.

The study of the Church Fathers is known as "Patristics".

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