Who Are the 36 Doctors of the Church? (Part 2: The 8 Patristic Era Doctors)

by History of the Church, Saints

Recently, we brought you Part 1 of our series on the Doctors of the Church, having begun our list with the so-called Eight Ecumenical Doctors – from the West – St. Ambrose (340-397), St. Jerome (345-420), St. Augustine (354-430), and Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604), and – from the East – St. Athanasius (295-373), St. Basil the Great (330-379), St. Gregory Nazianzus (330-390), and St. John Chrysostom (345-407).

Today we present Part 2, The Eight Doctors from the Patristic Period, which lasted until roughly the middle of the 8th century.

9. St. Ephrem of Syria

St. Ephrem of Syria Patristic Doctor of the Church

Lived 306-373 in Syria.

A poet, hermit, Church Father, who spoke and wrote in the same language of our Lord Jesus Christ – Syriac Aramaic. Intensely devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. Champion against the heresy of Arianism.

Feast Day: June 9

10. St. Hilary

St. Hilary of Poitiers Patristic Doctors of the Church

Lived  ~ 310-368. Sometimes referred to as “Hammer of the Arians” and “The Athanasius of the West.”

Patron against snake bites.

Feast Day: January 13

11. St. Cyril of Jerusalem

St. Cyril of Jerusalem Patristic Doctor of the Church

Lived ~ 315-386 (Greek), succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem. Warrior against Arianism despite enduring great persecution, himself.

Feast Day: March 18.

12. St. Cyril of Alexandria

St. Cyril of Alexandria Patristic Doctor of the Church


Lived 376-444, named Patriarch of Alexandria in 421. Battled the heresy of Nestorianism which disputed the title Theotokos and the understanding of Mary as Mother of God. Clarified both the doctrine of the Incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity, and staved of infections of heresy in the East.

Feastday: June 27.

13. St. Leo the Great

Pope St. Leo the Great Patristic Doctor of the Church

Lived 390-461, and served as pope 440-461. Rebuffed Atilla the Hun’s attempted invasion at the gates of Rome. Formulated the doctrine of the Incarnation, first in a letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople and later – officially – at the Council of Chalcedon.

Feastday: November 10.

14. St. Peter Chrysologus

St. Peter Chrysologus Patristic Doctor of the Church

Lived ~ 380-450 in Italy, appointed bishop of Ravenna in 433. Earned the nickname “Chrysologus” ‘golden-worded’ thanks his reputation for highly eloquent sermons.

Feastday: July 30.

15. St. Isidore of Seville

St. Isidore of Seville Patristic Doctor of the Church

Lived 560-636 and is the last of the so-called Latin Fathers of the Church. Served as bishop of Seville for 37 years and helped convert the Visigoths. Known for his scholarly works, he introduced the works of Aristotle in Spain before the Philosopher’s works reached other parts of Europe.

Feastday: April 4.

16. St. John Damascene

St. John Damascene Patristic Doctor of the Church

Lived 676-749 (also known as St. John of Damascus). A renowned poet and late Eastern Father. Staunchly defended Christian art in an age of iconoclasm, earning him the title ‘the Doctor of Christian Art.’

Feastday: December 4.

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