Apostolic Fathers


Apostolic Fathers is a name given to a group of authors who came just after the Apostles, such as Clement of Rome. According to Origen and Eusebius, Clement was a disciple of St. Paul and was mentioned in the Epistle to the Philippians 4:3. Ireneaus noted that he was the third Bishop of Rome after St. Peter. He is commemorated in the Coptic Synaxarion on the 29th Hathor.

A part of his Epistle to the Church of Corinth survives in Coptic. Of the Epistle to the Virgins, the Greek origins are lost, but the complete text survived in Syriac. The Coptic version contains chapters 1 to 8 wherein the meaning of virginity and the difference between virginity and celibacy is explained.

Ignatius of Antioch is considered the second bishop of this city. During the reign of Trajan (98-117 a.d.), he was taken from Antioch to Rome in order to be thrown to the beasts in the arena. On his way to Rome, he wrote several letters begging the Christian congregations not to intervene with the emperor for his pardon. Part of the story of his martyrdom has survived in Coptic as well as some fragments of his letters.

Hermas lived in Rome in the beginning of the second century. He was the first to mention penance as a remedy for those lapsed in sins. In Coptic, we have parts of his book, the Shepherd. According to Eusebius, Polycarp was the Bishop of Smyrna. In his youth, he met St. John the Apostle who later ordained him bishop. He ended his life as a martyr. In Coptic, we have only a fragment of his letter to Smyrna.


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