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Church Fathers

QUESTION: Who were some of the early church fathers?


Early church father: Clement of Rome - Clement of Rome was the bishop of the Christian church at Rome from A.D. 90 to 99. Paul mentions Clement in his epistle to the Philippians in Philippians 4:3, so we know that they knew one another. During his episcopate, Clement of Rome wrote a letter to the church of Corinth. One outstanding statement from that letter is the sentence, "Love is neither servile nor arrogant."

Clement of Rome was banished to the Crimea by the emperor Trajan. It is said that he preached there and converted many. Because of this, Trajan ordered that an anchor be fastened around his neck and he the thrown into the sea.

Early church father: Ignatius - Another one of the early church fathers was Ignatius. He was born approximately in the year A.D. 50. He as well as Polycarp were disciples of John the Beloved; the same John who leaned on the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper and the same John who was later exiled to the isle of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation.

Ignatius was subsequently appointed to be the bishop of the Christian church at Antioch. He wrote seven letters to the bishops of other churches exhorting them to remain faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ despite the cruel persecution that the church was suffering.

When Trajan became emperor in Rome in A.D. 98. he decreed that all in his empire must worship his pagan gods and offer sacrifices to them. Those who refused would be put to death. Ignatius was arrested for his outspoken beliefs defending the gospel. When he would not comply to Trajan's demands, he was dragged to Rome and thrown into a pit of lions as a public spectacle. The date of his death is approximately A.D. 107.

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