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In addition to introductory articles for each era of fathers, the first volume of this series covers the apostolic fathers and early apologists, including: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, Barnabas, Hermas, Papias, the author of the Epistle to Diognetus, Justin Martyr, the Muratorian Fragment, Melito of Sardis, and Athenagoras.

Author Bios

Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 35 or 50-between 98 and 117) was among the Apostolic Fathers, the third Bishop of Antioch, and a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology. Important topics addressed in these letters include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops. Ignatius’ feast day is observed on 20 December in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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Polycarp of Smyrna

Polycarp of Smyrna (69 – 155) was a second century Christian bishop. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him. Polycarp is regarded as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches. It is recorded by Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth, and by Tertullian, that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle.

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Hermas (freedman)

Hermas was a well-to-do freedman who lived in Ancient Rome. He was a brother of Pius, Bishop of Rome about the middle of the 2nd century. He was an earnest simple-minded Christian, with little education or culture, but typical, no doubt, of many in the Church of his day. Some later writers confuse him with the Hermas mentioned in Romans xvi, 14.

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Papias of Hierapolis

Papias (writing in the first third of the 2nd century) was a bishop of the early Church, canonized as a saint. Eusebius of Caesarea calls him “Bishop of Hierapolis” which is 22 km from Laodicea and near Colossae, in the Lycus river valley in Phrygia, Asia Minor, not to be confused with the Hierapolis of Syria.

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Justin Martyr

Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin the Philosopher (103–165), was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies, a dialogue, and a few other fragments survive. He is considered a Saint by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

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