In the last few weeks we have looked at the lives and teachings of the Church Fathers in the first four centuries. This week we are looking at the end of the patristic age and the list of doctors of the Church.
5th century councils
There were two ecumenical councils in the 5th century: the Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The two great figures during these two councils were St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Leo the Great.
St. Cyril taught the hypostatic union: divine and human natures are united in the person of Christ. He is called "the seal of the Fathers," as he brought the golden age of patristic literature to a glorious close in the Orient.
St. Leo the Great expressed the Incarnation in decisive terms: two perfect natures in a single person.
St. John Damascene (ca. 676-749) brought the patristic age to a close. In the third part of his principle work, The Source of Knowledge, John summarized the whole of Greek theology. It was the manual of dogmatic theology in the East, and when it was translated into Latin in the 12th century, it helped to transmit essentially the whole of the Greek Fathers to the West.
In the West there were holy men who helped to transmit patristic thought in the Middle Ages. St. Caesarius of Arles (ca. 470-543), a popular preacher, adapted the doctrine and sermons of St. Augustine to the ways of a still-pagan population. St. Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604) gathered together the whole heritage of Christian antiquity and laid the foundation of medieval Christendom.
St. Bernard (1090-1153) was well read in the writings of the Fathers, especially St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. He often took their thoughts from their writings and by a new turn made them his own. Though St. Bernard lived during the age of the scholastics, he treated theology after the manner of the ancient Fathers; hence he was called "The Last of the Fathers."
Doctors of the Church
According to the Modern Catholic Dictionary, "Doctor of the Church" is "a title given since the Middle Ages to certain saints whose writing or preaching is outstanding for guiding the faithful in all periods of the Church's history."
The Church recognized in the doctors the authorized interpreters of her doctrine.
Currently there are 33 doctors of the Church, many of whom are Fathers of the Church. St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome were recognized in the Latin Church as doctors by the 8th century, while the Greek Church recognized three great "ecumenical doctors": St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. John Chrysostom. In 1298 Pope Boniface VIII sanctioned the use of the title for the four Latin Fathers.
In 1568 the Dominican Pope St. Pius V accorded the title to the three "ecumenical doctors" of the Greek Church, to St. Athanasius, and to a Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas. In 1588 the Franciscan Sixtus V conferred the title on a Franciscan, St. Bonaventure.
In the 18th century St. Anselm, St. Isidore of Seville, St. Peter Chrysologus, and St. Leo the Great were named doctors of the Church.
In the 19th century St. Peter Damian, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Francis de Sales, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. John Damascene, and St. Bede the Venerable were declared doctors of the Church.
In the 20th century St. Ephrem, St. Peter Canisius, St. John of the Cross, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Albertus Magnus, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Lawrence of Brindisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Therese of Lisieux were named doctors of the Church.
"Those who are learned will be as radiant as the sky in all its beauty; those who instruct the people in goodness will shine like the stars for all eternity."
教父時代以聖若望.達瑪瑟（達甦) (ca. 676-749) 終結 。他箸名的「知識泉源」，綜合了整個東方教會的神學思想和教義。在十二世紀，他作品的拉丁譯文，把所有東方教會的精髓，流傳到西方教會。
聖凱撒利亞(ca. 470-543)是有名氣的講道員，在異教徒中，把聖奧斯定（思定）的主張和講道，發揮淋漓盡致。聖教宗大額我略（國瑞）一世(ca. 540-604)把教會歷來的傳統思想和理論彙集，成了中世紀基督宗教的基礎。聖伯爾納鐸（納德）(1090-1153)熟讀聖盎博羅削（安博)和聖奧斯定的箸作，轉化成自己的一套思想，雖處士林學派scholastics時期，但他效法先前教父研究神學的方式，所以被稱為「最後一位教父」。
Published at Pax Sinica column (October 4) of The B.C . Catholic newspaper