Our Teachers

“Of special importance withinTradition is the witness of the Fathers, or Teachers (Maronite liturgy uses these terms interchangeable), in the early Church. These are believers who possessed the gift of being able to explain the Faith on which they reflected. Their writings have been of enormous importance for understanding the development of the teachings of the Catholic Faith as well as the interpretation of Scripture according to their respective Traditions within the general Tradition of the church. Because the writings of men were considered authoritative in this area, they are often known as the “Fathers” of the Church.
Of particular importance are those Teachers who lived during the time of the Apostles and were taught by them. They are known as the ‘Aspostolic’ Fathers. Some of these include: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Papias, et al. The value of their writings lies in the fact that they are so close to the time of the Apostles.
In addition to these, there were other Teachers who followed the Apostolic Fathers and continued to reflect on the mysteries of the Faith and to develop its theological understandings. These so-called ‘Sub-apostolic’ Fathers wrote in different regions of a Christianity now expanded beyond its Eastern Mediterranean origins. Included here are such people as the Syriac Teachers, which include Ephrem, Aphrahat, James of Sarug, and a host of Greek and Latin writers.
The whole Church has always valued the writings of the Church Fathers, and they remain essential to the knowledge of the development of the Church’s biblical/theological Tradition. We do well to be familiar with their writings, drinking deeply from their teachings.”
Icon of Saint Ephrem the Syrian
(Used with permission from page 124 of the book, “Captivated By Your Teachings”, by Father Anthony J. Salim, 2002.”