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reports and thoughts on legal issues, music, Orthodox Christianity and/or whatever else strikes my interest

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Fathers

This is a follow up to the last post. One of the positive aspects of Orthodox material on the internet is the wealth of the writings of the Fathers that can be found online. The "Fathers" in the Orthodox tradition are considered to be especially prominent exemplars, explainers, teachers and witnesses of the Orthodox faith. These were people who shone forth in their lives as living witnesses of the sacred doctrines and teachings of the Church. Often they appeared to the world as simple and uneducated. As Timothy Ware (now Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia) writes in his book The Orthodox Church:

"The Orthodox Church has never attempted to define exactly who the Fathers are, still less to classify them in order of importance."

The Fathers are also not only relegated to the distant past. Timothy Ware continues:

"In the eyes of Orthodoxy, the 'Age of the Fathers' did not come to and end...for many later writers are also 'Fathers'...Indeed, it is dangerous to look on 'the fathers' as a closed cycle of writings belonging wholly to the past, for might not our own age produce a new Basil or Athanasius? To say that there can be no more Fathers is to suggest that the Holy Spirit has deserted the Church."

The teaching of the Fathers is often presented in short segments or "sayings". While they may be brief the sayings contain volumes of wisdom.

It is important to have an understanding of how to read the writings of the Fathers. It is always important to bear this in mind while reading the Fathers.

There are a number of useful resources on the internet for collections of the sayings or writings of the Fathers:

Word from the Desert
Gleanings from the Holy Fathers
Lessons from the Fathers
The Early Church Fathers
The Writings of the Apostolic Fathers
The Ancient Fathers of the Desert


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