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Fourth Century Biographies of the Early Church Fathers

Fourth Century Early Church Fathers The Early Church Fathers, the very first Christians, that lived from A.D. 100 to A.D. 787.

St. Macarius of Egypt, (A.D. c.300 - 391)

Also known as Macarius the Elder and the Lamp of the Desert, he was an Egyptian Christian monk, hermit and priest. contemporary with
St. Athanasius, and the friend of the great St. Anthony, died at the advanced age of ninety, after passing sixty years in the desert.

Sts. Tarachus, Andronicus, and Probus, (A.D. c.304)

Martyrs of the Diocletian persecution around A.D. 304.

Pope St. Damasus I, (A.D. 304 - 384)

Roman; Pope and personal friend of St. Jerome; he succeeded Liberius in the chair of Rome; he defended with vigor the Catholic faith.

St. Vincent of Saragossa, (A.D. 305)

Also known as Vincent Martyr, deacon of Saragossa in the former Kingdom of Aragon, Spain, who was tortured and drowned in A.D. 305 under the Emperor Diocletian.

St. Peter of Alexandria, (unknown - A.D. 311)

Appointed bishop in 300, martyred in 311; he headed the catechetical school at Alexandria. Eusebius calls this great prelate the excellent doctor of the Christian religion, and the chief and divine ornament of bishops; and tells us that he was admirable both for his extraordinary virtue and for his skill in the sciences and profound knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.

Arnobius of Sicca, (unknown - A.D. c.320)

An Early Christian apologist, during the reign of Diocletian (A.D. 284-305), the master of Lactantius: he was a distinguished rhetorician who taught rhetoric at Sicca, in Numidia, at the end of the third or beginning of the fourth century. He has left us seven books against the Pagans.

Pope St. Julius I, (unknown - A.D. 352)

Roman; successor to Pope St. Mark and Pope from A.D. 337-352, chiefly known by the part he took in the Arian controversy.

St. James of Nisibis, (unknown - A.D. 361)

Bishop of Nisibis in Mesopotamia, was present at the council of Nicaea, and died about the year 361. We have his life by Theodoret of Cyrus. A. Antonelli published eighteen sermons by this saint at Rome in 1756.

St. Ephrem the Syrian (of Edessa) (A.D. 306 - 378)

Syrian; born in Nisebis, deacon, hymnist, poet. His works were even during his own lifetime almost all translated into Greek, and were, as St. Jerome informs us, held in such high estimation, as to be read in some churches after the Holy Scriptures. We have his life by
St. Gregory of Nyssa.

St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310 - 375)

Bishop of Barcelona, Jerome praises his eloquence, learning, chastity, and holiness of life. He is also remembered from a phrase from one of his letters: "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic.".

Timotheus of Alexandria ( AD. c.310 - c.395)

Flourished in 385, a disciple of St. Athanasius, whose see he obtained. He was present at the Council of Constantinople, held in 381.

Didymus the Blind (of Alexandria) (A.D. 313 - 398)

Alexandrian; though born blind, he amassed a vast knowledge of grammar, rhetoric, logic, music, arithmetic, and geometry, and a perfect familiarity with Holy Scripture. Of his numerous writings but few remain.

St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315 - 367)

French; husband, theologian, bishop of Poiters around A.D. 355, and Doctor of the Church. Referred to as the "Hammer of the Arians" and the "Athanasius of the West.". He was obviously a firm supporter of St. Athanasius.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315 - 386)

Palestinian; ordained by Maximus, he was made bishop of Jerusalem in A.D. 345; scholar and Doctor of the Church. None of his writings have been preserved to us, except eighteen catechetical instructions addressed to catechumens, and five mystagogic discourses addressed to neophytes.

St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318 - 389)

Cappadocian; archbishop, theologian, Doctor of the Church.

Ammianus Marcellinus, (A.D. c.325 - post 391)

A fourth-century Roman historian. He wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity, His work chronicled in Latin the history of Rome from A.D. 96 to 378, although only the sections covering the period: A.D. 353-378, are extant.

St. Basil the Great, (A.D. 328 - 379)

Cappadocian; bishop of Cæsarea in A.D. 369, theologian, monk. Studied in Palestine, Constantinople, and Athens. Many of the subsequent years of his life were spent in the deserts of Egypt and Libya. His character and works have gained for him the surname of "the great".

St. Victricius (A.D. c.330 - c.407)

French; bishop of Rouen (A.D. 393-407), missionary, and author, son of a Roman legionnaire, and was in the army himself. However, when he became a Christian, he refused to remain in the army.

St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332 - 403)

Palestinian; bishop, abbot, scholar.

Pope St. Siricius, (A.D. c.334 - 398)

An active Pope, involved in the administration of the Church and the handling of various factions and viewpoints within it; author of two decrees concerning clerical celibacy. The decree of A.D. 385 stated that priests should stop cohabiting with their wives.

St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394)

Bishop of Nyssa in A.D. 371, an erudite theologian who made significant contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene creed. Gregory's philosophical writings were influenced by Origen. He was the brother of the great St. Basil.

St. Amphilochius, (A.D. c.339 - c.403)

Bishop of Iconium, in the history of theology he occupies a place of prominence for his defence of the divinity of the Holy Spirit against the Macedonians.

St. Jerome, (A.D. 342 - 420)

Dalmatian; born in Strido; priest, hermit, abbot, biblical scholar, translator and Doctor of the Church. In an age distinguished by men of the greatest eloquence and learning, St. Jerome, especially in all matters connected with the Sacred Scriptures, was then preeminent, and has probably never since been equalled.

St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407)

Syrian; archbishop, Doctor of the Church. Born at Antioch in 344; he was ordained priest in A.D. 383, and raised to the see of Constantinople in the year A.D. 398. His eloquence gained him the title of Chrysostom, or the mouth of gold. His expositions of Scripture, especially the Epistles of St. Paul, are very valuable. This illustrious prelate died on his road to exile, in A.D. 407.

Prudentius, (Aurelius Prudentius) (A.D. 348 - c.413)

(Aurelius Prudentius Clemens) Roman Christian poet, born in the Roman province of Tarraconensis, now Northern Spain. He probably died in Spain, as well. The hymn Salvete, flores Martyrum, is by this writer.

St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340 - 396)

German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus.

Diodore of Tarsus (pre A.D. c.350 - c.390)

A Christian bishop, a monastic reformer, and a theologian.

St. Asterius Of Amasea, (A.D. c.350 - 400)

Born in Cappadocia, bishop of Amasea (A.D. 380-390), after having been a lawyer. Not to be confused with the Arian polemicist, Asterius the Sophist.

Pope St. Innocent I, (A.D. c.350 - 417)

Pope from (A.D. 401 to 417), he lost no opportunity in maintaining and extending the authority of the Roman See as the ultimate resort for the settlement of all disputes.

St. Theodore of Mopsuestia, (A.D. 350 - 428)

Bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia and Ecclesiastical writer. A friend of St. Pachomius.

St. Vigilius of Trent, (c.352 - 400)

Italian; he was raised to the see of Trent in 385 and is venerated as the patron saint and first bishop of Trent.

St. Paulinus of Nola, (A.D. 353 - 431)

Roman; convert and bishop Of Nola, Born at Bordeaux he was ordained priest in 393, and was appointed bishop of Nola in 409; may have been indirectly responsible for Augustine's Confessions. One who knew
St. Paulinus well says he was "meek as Moses, as priestly as Aaron, innocent as Samuel, tender as David, wise as Solomon, apostolic as Peter, loving as John, cautious as Thomas, brilliant as Stephen, fervent as Apollos."

St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354 - 428)

North African; born in Tagaste in A.D. 354, baptized in Milan in A.D. 387, ordained a priest in A.D. 391 and appointed bishop of Hippo in A.D. 395, Augustine is one of our greatest theologians. His numerous works display genius of the highest order, and have ever had great weight in the Christian churches. He is also a Doctor of the Church.

St. John Cassian, (A.D. c.360 - 433)

Ordained a deacon by St. John Chrysostom and a priest in Marseilles,
a Christian theologian celebrated in both the Western and Eastern Churches for his mystical writings. He is known both as one of the "Scythian monks" and as one of the "Desert Fathers". His opinions on grace being in opposition somewhat to those of St. Augustine and the Church, caused him to be opposed by St. Prosper.

Sulpicius Severus, (A.D. c.363 - c.425)

A Christian writer and native of Aquitania. He is known for his chronicle of sacred history, as well as his biography of Saint Martin of Tours.

Palladius, (A.D. 368 - c.431)

Born in Galatia and the friend of St. John Chrysostom, whose life he wrote early in the fifth century. A disciple of Evagrius of Pontus and an admirer of Origen, he became, when twenty years of age, a monk on the Mount of Olives under a certain priest, Innocent.

Tichonius Afer, (c. A.D. 370 - 390)

African; native, a Donatist of great learning, learned in theology, sufficiently instructed in history, not ignorant of secular knowledge. His best known work, the "Seven rules of interpretation" (for the Bible), is quoted and explained by St. Augustine who he appears to have had some influence on. He defended a milder form of Donatism than Parmenianus.

Victor of Antioch, (A.D. c.370 - c.406)

Priest of Antioch, flourished at the close of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century. Commented on Mark's Gospel.

Paulus Orosius (A.D. c.375 - c.418)

Spanish; a Christian historian, theologian, student and friend of Augustine of Hippo. He is best known for his "Seven Books of History Against the Pagans". His "History of the World" is valuable, and has been frequently translated.

Fastidius (A.D. c.376 - c.444)

A British bishop, who flourished around A.D. 430, about the same times as St. Cyril of Alexandria, author of De Viduitate Servanda.

St. Cyril of Alexandria, (A.D. 376 - 444)

Egyptian; bishop, theologian and Doctor of the Church. He succeeded Theophilus in the patriarchal see of Alexandria, in A.D. 412, and was the great champion of orthodoxy against Nestorius, against whom the general council of Ephesus was called, in A.D. 431 and in which St. Cyril presided.

St. Valerian (of Abbenza), (A.D. 377 - 445)

Bishop of Abbenza in North Africa. He was martyred in 457 when he refused to surrender the sacred vessels of his church to the Vandals led by Arian king Geiseric. Valerian was driven out of the city and left to die of exposure.

St Cassian of Autun, (unknown - A.D. c.350)

French; was a 4th century bishop of Autun. He may have been an Egyptian by birth. He traveled to Autun and was a follower of
Saint Reticius, bishop of Autun.

Socrates of Constantinople, (A.D. c.380 - c.440)

Also known as Socrates Scholasticus, not to be confused with the Greek philosopher Socrates, was a Greek Christian church historian, a contemporary of Sozomen and Theodoret, who used his work; he was born at Constantinople A.D. c.380: His Ecclesiastical History is, for the most part, a continuation of that by Eusebius. It begins with the year 306, and closes with the year 439.

St. Prosper of Aquitain, (A.D. c.390 - c.463)

A Christian writer and disciple of St. Augustine, as well as the friend and secretary of Pope Leo I. He was the first continuator of Jerome's Universal Chronicle. Prosper was a layman, but he threw himself with ardour into the religious controversies of his day, defending Augustine and propagating orthodoxy.

Pope St. Leo I, ( A.D. c.391 - 461)

Also known as Leo the Great, bishop of Rome (A.D. 440 to 461);
an Italian aristocrat, remembered theologically for issuing the
Tome of Leo, a document which was foundational to the debates
of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon.

Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus, (A.D. 393 - 458)

Greek; an influential author, theologian, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria (A.D. 423-457). He played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms. His friendship for Nestorius embroiled him, for a time, with his great contemporary, St. Cyril of Alexandria.

St. Phoebadius, (unknown - A.D. c.392)

Bishop of Agen, in Gaul, published a book against the Arians. He was a friend of St. Hilary of Poiters and a prominent figure at the Council of Rimini in 359.

St. Philastrius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. c.397)

Also known as Philaster or Filaster, Spanish; Bishop of Brescia, he was one of the bishops present at a synod held in Aquileia in A.D. 381.
St. Augustine met him at Milan about A.D. 383. He composed a catalogue of heresies (Diversarum Hereseon Liber) about A.D. 384.

St. Orsiesius of Tabenna, (unknown - A.D. 380)

Born in Egypt, he embraced the monastic or ascetic life, under
St. Pachomius, whom he succeeded in the year 349. He died in 380. His treatise on the monastic state is given by Galland.

St. Zeno of Verona, (unknown - A.D. c.383),

Italian; African by birth, on coming to Italy was appointed bishop of Verona, in the year 362. He died about the year 383. His works were collected after his death, at the beginning of the fifth, or at the close of the fourth century. The brothers Ballerini gave an excellent edition, in 1739, Veronae.

St. Optatus of Milevis, (unknown - A.D. 384)

Bishop of Milevis, Numidia, in Africa; from Augustine's writings we can assume Optatus was a convert; he is best known for his opposition to the heresy of Donatism.

Blessed Jerome Of Jerusalem, (flourished in A.D. 385)

A presbyter of Jerusalem.

St. Macarius of Alexandria, (unknown - A.D. 395)

Also known as Marcarius the Younger, an extreme ascetic and disciple of St. Anthony ; he died, at an extreme old age, in the year 395., numerous miracles were ascribed to him. He presided over five thousand Nitric monks.

Severus, Rhetor, (unknown - A.D. 398)

(Severus Sanctus Endelechius or Endelechus), Christian rhetorician and poet of the fourth century, and a friend of St. Paulinus of Nola.

St. Chromatius of Aquileia, (unknown - A.D. c.407)

Italian; bishop (and scholar) of Aquileia, in which see he succeeded Valerian in the year 387; he was the friend of St. Ambrose and of
St. Jerome.

St. Gaudentius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. 410)

Italian; became bishop around A.D. 387, theologian and author of many letters and sermons, held in high esteem by the people of Brescia.

Theophilus of Alexandria (unknown-A.D. 412)

Patriarch of Alexandria from A.D. 385 until his death in 412, regarded as a saint by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Gaius Marius Victorinus, (flourished in the mid - 4th century)

also known as Victorinus Afer, (A.D. 390), a writer, grammarian, rhetorician, Neoplatonic philosopher and brilliant professor whose conversion in A.D. 355 caused a sensation at Rome. Obscure but strikingly original in his writings, he was an effective critic of Arianism and sought to present orthodox Trinitarianism in uncompromisingly Neoplatonic terms. His speculations about the inner life of the triune Godhead were to be taken up by St. Augustine.

Blessed Eusebius of Alexandria, (unknown - end of the 4th century)

Called by Cyril of Alexandria to be his successor in the episcopate,
his homilies were renown in the Eastern Church in the sixth and seventh centuries.

Blessed Isaias, (unknown - end of the 4th century)


Julius Firmicus Maternus, (unknown - end of the 4th century)

Sicilian by birth and lawyer from upper nobility, he published a very learned treatise against paganism about the year A.D. 348.

SpacerTo the fifth century



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