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Doctor of the Church

From Academic Kids

In Roman Catholicism, a Doctor of the Church is a theologian from whose teachings the whole Christian church is held to have derived great advantage and to whom eminent learning and great sanctity have been attributed by a proclamation of the Pope or of an ecumenical council. This honor is given very rarely, only posthumously and only after canonization. No ecumenical council has yet exercised its prerogative of proclaiming a Doctor of the Church.

Originally, the list only included the Western theologians Ambrose, Augustine of Hippo, Jerome and Pope Gregory I, who were named in 1298. The Eastern Doctors, Athanasius, Basil, John Chrysostom, and Gregory of Nazianzus where named in 1568 along with Thomas Aquinas. The three most recent to be named are all women.

The Doctors' works vary greatly in subject and form. Some were promient writers of letters and short treatises (e.g., Gregory, Ambrose). Others wrote mystic theology (e.g., Catherine of Siena, John of the Cross). Many doctors wrote works defending the Church against heresy (e.g., Augustine, Bellarmine). Augustine also wrote the world's first autobiography (his 'Confessions'). Bede's 'Ecclesiastical History of the English People' provides the best information on England in the early middle ages. Systematic theologians include the Scholastic philosophers Anselm, Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. The writings of the early Doctors provide exellent insights into early Christianity.

The Catholic Church lists the following thirty-three Doctors of the Church; date of promotion to Doctor is listed, if available. The saints marked with an asterisk are venerated by Eastern Orthodoxy as well, but the Eastern Orthodox Church itself does not use the term Doctor of the Church.

* Also venerated by the Eastern Orthodox.

See also

Doctors of the Catholic Church (http://www.doctorsofthecatholicchurch.com/) Church Fatherscs:Učitel církve de:Kirchenlehrer eo:Doktoro de la Eklezio fr:Docteur de l'glise nl:Kerkleraar ja:教会博士 pt:Doutor da Igreja ru:Учители церкви

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