Writings of the Church Fathers
01 Aug 2017

The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

Introduction Commonly known as “The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus,” the authorship and origins of this early Christian writing remain debated. The name Mathetes (§11) is not really a name at all, but comes from the Greek term for disciple (μαθητής). Diognetus (§1), the letter’s recipient, appears to have been a fairly common name in the ancient Roman world, and the specific addressee of this letter is unknown. Some debate exists over the possibility of

03 Oct 2016

The Epistle of Barnabas, Part 1

Named for the companion of Paul (Acts 9:27, 11:19-30, 14), the Epistle of Barnabas is technically anonymous, and scholars continue to debate whether its author was the canonical Barnabas, another early Christian leader named Barnabas, or simply someone else. The possible dates of composition for this epistle range from the reign of Diocletian (r. 79-81 CE) to around the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 CE). Widely understood as orthodox in character, the Barnabas

Polycarp to the Philippians
14 Apr 2016

The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians

Saint Polycarp was born in the first century A.D. (c. 69) and grew in the Christian faith under the tutelage of Saint Bucolus, the Bishop of Smyrna, who ordained him to the priesthood. When Bucolois died, Polycarp succeeded him as Bishop of Smyrna. A contemporary of Saint Ignatius and Papias, Polycarp is was familiar and corresponded with both. Ignatius, in his last known letter before his martyrdom, wrote to Polycarp, exhorting Polycarp and the Smyrnaeans to fulfill their Christian duties, as clergy and laity. The witness of Polycarp’s disciple,

Ingatius, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans
25 Jun 2015

Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans

Martyred by the Roman Emperor Trajan between 107 and 117 AD, the letters of Ignatius of Antioch offers important insights into the character and quality of early Christianity. The second or third bishop of Antioch in Syria, Ignatius wrote seven letters to churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), including an Epistle to the Smyrneans. In this letter Ignatius underscored correct belief about Christ, repeating early creedal statements about the life of the Lord and