Doctor of the Church

Doctor of the Church (Latin doctor "teacher") is a title given by the Catholic Church to saints recognized as having made significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research, study, or writing.[1]

Some other churches have similar categories with various names.

Isidor von Sevilla.jpeg
St. Isidore of Seville, a 7th-century Doctor of the Church, depicted by Murillo (c. 1628) with a book, common iconographical attribute for a doctor.

Before the 16th century

In the Western church four outstanding "Fathers of the Church" attained this honour in the early Middle Ages: Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, and Saint Jerome. The "four Doctors" became a commonplace notion among Scholastics theologians, and a decree of Boniface VIII (1298) ordering their feasts to be kept as doubles throughout the Latin Church is contained in his sixth book of Decretals (cap. "Gloriosus", de relique. et vener. sanctorum, in Sexto, III, 22).[2]

In the Eastern Church three Doctors were pre-eminent: Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus. The feasts of these three saints were made obligatory throughout the Eastern Empire by Leo VI the Wise. A common feast was later instituted in their honour on 30 January, called "the feast of the three Hierarchs". In the Menaea for that day it is related that the three Doctors appeared in a dream to John Mauropous, Bishop of Euchaita, and commanded him to institute a festival in their honour, in order to put a stop to the rivalries of their votaries and panegyrists. This was under Alexius Comnenus (1081–1118; see "Acta SS.", 14 June, under St. Basil, c. xxxviii). But sermons for the feast are attributed in manuscripts to Cosmas Vestitor, who flourished in the tenth century. The three are as common in Eastern art as the four are in Western. Durandus (i, 3) remarks that Doctors should be represented with books in their hands. In the West analogy led to the veneration of four Eastern Doctors, Saint Athanasius being added to the three hierarchs.[2]

Catholic Church

Pier Francesco Sacchi - Dottori della Chiesa - ca. 1516
The Four Great Doctors of the Western Church were often depicted in art, here by Pier Francesco Sacchi, c. 1516. From the left: Saint Augustine, Pope Gregory I, Saint Jerome, and Saint Ambrose, with their attributes.

The details of the title, Doctor of the Church, vary from one autonomous ritual church to another.

Latin Church

In the Latin Church, the four Latin Doctors "had already long been recognized" in the liturgy when the four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Athanasius of Alexandria were recognized in 1568 by Pope St. Pius V.

To these names others have subsequently been added, originally with liturgical effects. The requisite conditions are enumerated as three: eminens doctrina, insignis vitae sanctitas, Ecclesiae declaratio (i.e. eminent learning, a high degree of sanctity, and proclamation by the Church). Benedict XIV explains the third as a declaration by the supreme pontiff or by a general council. But though general councils have acclaimed the writings of certain Doctors, no council has actually conferred the title of Doctor of the Church. The procedure involved extending to the universal Church the use of the Divine Office and Mass of the saint in which the title of doctor is applied to him. The decree is issued by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints and approved by the pope, after a careful examination, if necessary, of the saint's writings. It is not in any way an ex cathedra decision, nor does it even amount to a declaration that no error is to be found in the teaching of the Doctor. It is, indeed, well known that the very greatest of them are not wholly immune from error. No martyr is in the list, since formerly the Office and the Mass were for Confessors. Hence, as Benedict XIV points out, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, and Saint Cyprian of Carthage are not called Doctors of the Church. The Doctors' works vary greatly in subject and form. Some, such as Pope Gregory the Great and St Ambrose of Milan, were prominent writers of letters and short treatises. Saints Catherine of Siena and John of the Cross wrote mystical theology. Saints Augustine of Hippo and Bellarmine defended the Church against heresy. Bede wrote biblical commentaries and theological treatises. Systematic theologians include the Scholastic philosophers Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Saint Albert the Great, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Until 1970, no woman had been named a doctor in the church, but since then four additions to the list have been women: Saints Teresa of Ávila (St. Teresa of Jesus) and Catherine of Siena by Pope Paul VI; Thérèse de Lisieux[3] (St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face), "the Little Flower" by Pope John Paul II; and Hildegard of Bingen by Benedict XVI. Saints Teresa and Therese were both Discalced Carmelites, St. Catherine was a lay Dominican, and Hildegard was a Benedictine.

Traditionally, in the Liturgy, the Office of Doctors was distinguished from that of Confessors by two changes: the Gospel reading Vos estis sal terrae ("You are the salt of the earth"), Matthew 5:13–19, and the eighth Respond at Matins, from Ecclesiasticus 15:5, In medio Ecclesiae aperuit os ejus, * Et implevit eum Deus spiritu sapientiae et intellectus. * Jucunditatem et exsultationem thesaurizavit super eum. ("In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth, * And God filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding. * He heaped upon him a treasure of joy and gladness.") The Nicene Creed was also recited at Mass, which is normally not said except on Sundays and the highest-ranking feast days. The 1962 revisions to the Missal dropped the Creed from feasts of Doctors and abolished the title and the Common of Confessors, instituting a distinct Common of Doctors.

As of 2015, the Catholic Church has named 36 Doctors of the Church. Of these, the 17 who died before the Great Schism of 1054 are also held in high esteem by the Eastern Orthodox Church, although it does not use the formal title "Doctor of the Church" in the same way that Catholics do.

Among these 36 are 27 from the West and 9 from the East; 4 women; 18 bishops, 12 priests, 1 deacon, 3 nuns, 1 consecrated virgin; 26 from Europe, 3 from Africa, 7 from Asia. More Doctors (12) lived during the 4th century than any other; eminent Christian writers of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries are usually referred to as the Ante-Nicene Fathers, while the 9th, and 20th centuries have so far produced no Doctors at all. The shortest period between death and nomination was that of Alphonsus Liguori, who died in 1787 and was named a Doctor of the Church in 1871 – a period of 84 years; the longest was that of Ephrem the Syrian, which took fifteen and a half centuries.

On 20 August 2011, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would soon declare St. John of Ávila a Doctor of the Church.[4] Although no official announcement was given, it was reported in December 2011 that Pope Benedict intended to declare Hildegard of Bingen as a Doctor of the Church despite her not yet having been officially canonized.[5] St. Hildegard of Bingen was officially declared to be a Saint of the universal Church by Pope Benedict XVI on 10 May 2012, clearing the way for her to be named a Doctor of the Church.[6] Pope Benedict formally declared St. John of Ávila and Hildegard of Bingen to be Doctors of the Church on 7 October 2012.[7]

Pope Francis declared the 10th century Armenian monk Saint Gregory of Narek to be the 36th Doctor of the Church on 21 February 2015.[8] The decision was somewhat controversial. According to critics of Pope Francis' decision, Saint Gregory was monk of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which, like other Oriental Orthodox Churches, split off from the rest of Christendom over the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. Therefore, Saint Gregory is seen by some as a Monophysite who was in union with neither Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christians at the time of his death in 1003. The Oriental Orthodox churches, which the Armenian Church is an integral part of, are Miaphysites. Defenders of the decision, however, have cited historical evidence that Narek Monastery, where Saint Gregory lived and died, was a center of opposition to Monophysitism from inside the Armenian Church. It is also cited that Saint Gregory of Narek is listed in the Roman Martyrology with a feast day of February 27th and that members of the Armenian Catholic Church have always had a strong devotion to him and his writings.

In a departure from previous practice, neither Benedict XVI nor Francis ordered the Doctors of the Church they had created to be inscribed in the General Roman Calendar.

List of Doctors

(For earlier authorities on Christian doctrine, see Church Fathers and Ante-Nicene Fathers)

* indicates a saint who died before 1054, and is therefore also held in high esteem by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

No. Name Titles Born Died Promoted Activity
1. St. Gregory the Great* One of the four Great Latin Fathers 540 (ca.) 604 1298 Pope, O.S.B.
2. St. Ambrose* One of the four Great Latin Fathers 340 (ca.) 397 1298 Bishop of Milan
3. St. Augustine* One of the four Great Latin Fathers; Doctor gratiae
(Doctor of Grace)
354 430 1298 Bishop of Hippo (now Annaba)
4. St. Jerome* One of the four Great Latin Fathers 347 (ca.) 420 1298 Priest, monk
5. St. Thomas Aquinas Doctor angelicus
(Angelic Doctor);
Doctor communis
(Common Doctor)
1225 1274 1567 Priest, Theologian, O.P.
6. St. John Chrysostom* One of the four Great Greek Fathers 347 407 1568 Archbishop of Constantinople
7. St. Basil the Great* One of the four Great Greek Fathers 330 379 1568 Bishop of Caesarea
8. St. Gregory of Nazianzus* One of the four Great Greek Fathers 329 389 1568 Archbishop of Constantinople
9. St. Athanasius* One of the four Great Greek Fathers 298 373 1568 Archbishop of Alexandria
10. St. Bonaventure Doctor seraphicus
(Seraphic Doctor)
1221 1274 1588 Cardinal Bishop of Albano, Theologian, Minister General, O.F.M.
11. St. Anselm Doctor magnificus
(Magnificent Doctor);
Doctor Marianus
(Marian Doctor)
1033 or 1034 1109 1720 Archbishop of Canterbury, O.S.B.
12. St. Isidore of Seville* 560 636 1722 Archbishop of Seville
13. St. Peter Chrysologus* 406 450 1729 Bishop of Ravenna
14. St. Leo the Great* Doctor unitatis Ecclesiae
(Doctor of the Church's Unity)
400 461 1754 Pope
15. St. Peter Damian 1007 1072 1828 Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, monk, O.S.B.
16. St. Bernard of Clairvaux Doctor mellifluus
(Mellifluous Doctor)
1090 1153 1830 Priest, O.Cist.
17. St. Hilary of Poitiers* Doctor of the Divinity of Christ 300 367 1851 Bishop of Poitiers
18. St. Alphonsus Liguori Doctor zelantissimus
(Most Zealous Doctor)
1696 1787 1871 Bishop of Sant'Agata de' Goti, C.Ss.R. (Founder)
19. St. Francis de Sales Doctor caritatis
(Doctor of Charity)
1567 1622 1877 Bishop of Geneva, C.O.
20. St. Cyril of Alexandria* Doctor Incarnationis
(Doctor of the Incarnation)
376 444 1883 Archbishop of Alexandria
21. St. Cyril of Jerusalem* 315 386 1883 Archbishop of Jerusalem
22. St. John Damascene* 676 749 1890 Priest, monk
23. St. Bede the Venerable* Anglorum doctor
(Doctor of the English)[9]
672 735 1899 Priest, monk, O.S.B.
24. St. Ephrem*[10] 306 373 1920 Deacon
25. St. Peter Canisius 1521 1597 1925 Priest, S.J.
26. St. John of the Cross Doctor mysticus
(Mystical Doctor)
1542 1591 1926 Priest, mystic, O.C.D. (Reformer)
27. St. Robert Bellarmine 1542 1621 1931 Archbishop of Capua, Theologian, S.J.
28. St. Albertus Magnus[11] Doctor universalis
(Universal Doctor)
1193 1280 1931 Bishop of Regensburg, Theologian, O.P.
29. St. Anthony of Lisbon and Padua Doctor evangelicus
(Evangelical Doctor)
1195 1231 1946 Priest, O.F.M.
30. St. Lawrence of Brindisi Doctor apostolicus
(Apostolic Doctor)
1559 1619 1959 Priest, Diplomat, O.F.M. Cap.
31. St. Teresa of Ávila[12] Doctor orationis
(Doctor of Prayer)
1515 1582 1970 Mystic, O.C.D. (Reformer)
32. St. Catherine of Siena 1347 1380 1970 Mystic, O.P. (Third Order Dominican)
33. St. Thérèse of Lisieux 1873 1897 1997 O.C.D. (Nun)
34. St. John of Ávila 1500 1569 2012 Priest, Mystic
35. St. Hildegard of Bingen 1098 1179 2012 Visionary, theologian, composer, polymath, O.S.B. (Abbess)
36. St. Gregory of Narek[13] 951 1003 2015 Monk, poet, mystical philosopher, theologian

Other recognised Doctors

In addition, parts of the Catholic Church have recognised other individuals with this title. In Spain, Fulgentius of Cartagena, Ildephonsus of Toledo and Leander of Seville have been recognized with this title. In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Spe Salvi, called Saint Maximus the Confessor "the great Greek Doctor of the Church",[14] though the Congregation for the Causes of Saints considers this declaration an informal one.[15]

Scholastic epithets

Though not named Doctors of the Church or even canonized, many of the more celebrated doctors of theology and law of the Middle Ages were given an epithet which expressed the nature of their expertise. Among these are Bl. John Duns Scotus, Doctor subtilis (Subtle Doctor); Bl. Ramon Llull, Doctor illuminatus (Illuminated Doctor); Bl. John of Ruysbroeck, Doctor divinus ecstaticus (Ecstatic Doctor); Alexander of Hales, Doctor irrefragabilis (Unanswerable Doctor); Roger Bacon, "Doctor Mirabilis" (Wondrous Doctor); Gregory of Rimini, Doctor authenticus (Authentic Doctor); Jean Gerson, Doctor christianissimus (Most Christian Doctor); Nicholas of Cusa, Doctor christianus (Christian Doctor); and the priest and professor Francisco Suárez, Doctor eximius (Exceptional Doctor).

Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church recognises Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory, Augustine, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, as well as Ephrem the Syrian, Isaac the Elder, Pope Leo I, John of Damascus, Cyril of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius of Salamis and Gregory of Nyssa.

Chaldean Catholic Church

The Chaldean Catholic Church honours as doctor Polycarp, Eustathius of Antioch, Meletius, Alexander of Jerusalem, Athanasius, Basil, Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Fravitta of Constantinople, Ephrem the Syrian, Jacob of Nisibis, Jacob of Serugh, Isaac of Armenia, Isaac of Nineveh, and Maruthas.

Eastern Orthodox Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church honors many of the pre-schism saints as well, but the term "Doctor of the Church" is not applied in the same way. One consistent use of the category is the trio of Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, recognized as universal teachers and known as the Three Holy Hierarchs.[16] The Church also recognizes three saints with the title Theologos (Theologian): St. John the Evangelist, St. Gregory of Nazianzus and St. Symeon the New Theologian.[17]

Armenian Church

The Armenian Apostolic Church recognizes the Twelve Holy Teachers (Vardapets) of the Church: Hierotheus the Thesmothete, Dionysius the Areopagite, Pope Sylvester I, Athanasius of Alexandria, Cyril of Alexandria, Ephrem the Syrian, Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Epiphanius of Salamis, John Chrysostom, and Cyril of Jerusalem.[18] They also recognize their own saints Mesrob, Eliseus the historiographer, Moses of Chorene, David the philosopher, Gregory of Narek, Nerses III the Builder, and Nerses of Lambron.

Assyrian Church of the East

The Assyrian Church of the East recognizes Eliseus, Diodore of Tarsus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Nestorius as Doctors of the Church.

Anglicanism

The churches of the Anglican Communion tend not to use the term "Doctor of the Church" in their calendars of saints, preferring expressions such as Teacher of the Faith. Those thus recognized include figures from before and after the Reformation, most of whom are chosen among those already recognized as Doctors of the Church in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church. Those designated as Teachers of the Faith in the Church of England's calendar of saints are as follows:

Since all of the above appear in the calendar at the level of Lesser Festival or Commemoration, their celebration is optional. Similarly, because "In the Calendar of the Saints, diocesan and other local provision may be made to supplement the national Calendar",[19] those Doctors of the Church recognized by the Catholic Church may also be celebrated in the Church of England.

Lutheranism

The Lutheran calendar of saints does not use the term "Doctor of the Church." The calendar of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod refers to Martin Luther by the title of "Doctor" in recognition of his academic degree, Doctor of Theology from the University of Wittenberg in 1512.

See also

References

  1. ^ Rice, Fr. Larry (2015). "Doctors of the Church?" (PDF). usccb.org. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b Catholic Encyclopedia article, Doctor of the Church
  3. ^ "St. Therese, Doctor of the Universal Church – Saint Therese of Lisieux". thereseoflisieux.org.
  4. ^ "Pope to proclaim St John of Avila Doctor of the Universal Church". News.va. Holy See. 20 August 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Pope to Canonize and Name Hildegard of Bingen as Doctor of the Church". Archived from the original on 2012-01-07.
  6. ^ "ROME REPORTS TV News Agency". www.romereports.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-12.
  7. ^ "Pope : Two new Doctors of the Church". news.va.
  8. ^ "San Gregorio di Narek Dottore della Chiesa Universale, 23.02.2015" (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 23 February 2015.
  9. ^ William of Malmesbury, Gesta pontificum Anglorum 1.29 Hamilton, N.E.S.A. (1870). Willelmi Malmesbiriensis Monachi De Gestis Pontificum Anglorum libri quinque (in Latin). London: Longman. p. 44.
  10. ^ "Encyclical of Pope Benedict XV on St. Ephrem the Syrian". October 5, 1920. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  11. ^ "Albert the Great (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". March 20, 2006. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  12. ^ "Proclamation of Saint Teresa of Avila Doctor of the Church". September 27, 1970. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  13. ^ McCarthy, Emer. "Pope Francis declares Armenian saint Doctor of the Church". Vatican Radio. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  14. ^ Benedict XVI (2007). "Spe Salvi". The Holy See.
  15. ^ Prot. Num. VAR. 7479/14
  16. ^ "Feast of the Three Holy Fathers, Great Hierarchs and Ecumenical Teachers, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom". Greek Orthodox Archiocese of America. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  17. ^ Casiday, Augustine (2012). The Orthodox Christian world (PDF). New York: Routledge. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-203-11938-9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-09-24. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Saints and Feasts". Armenian Church Catholicosate of Cilicia Antelias – Lebanon. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  19. ^ Common Worship (Main Volume), p. 530
  • Holweck, F. G., A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints. St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1924.

External links

Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony of Padua (Portuguese: Santo António de Pádua), born Fernando Martins de Bulhões (15 August 1195 – 13 June 1231) - also known as Saint Anthony of Lisbon (Portuguese: Santo António de Lisboa) - was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born and raised by a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in Padua, Italy. Noted by his contemporaries for his powerful preaching, expert knowledge of scripture, and undying love and devotion to the poor and the sick, he was one of the most quickly canonized saints in church history. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 January 1946. He is also the patron saint of lost things.

Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist (Latin: Bernardus Claraevallensis; 1090 – 20 August 1153) was a French abbot and a major leader in the reform of Benedictine monasticism that caused the formation of the Cistercian order.

"...He was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val d'Absinthe, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) southeast of Bar-sur-Aube. According to tradition, Bernard founded the monastery on 25 June 1115, naming it Claire Vallée, which evolved into Clairvaux. There Bernard would preach an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary." In the year 1128, Bernard attended the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar, which soon became the ideal of Christian nobility.

On the death of Pope Honorius II on 13 February 1130, a schism broke out in the Church. King Louis VI of France convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes in 1130, and Bernard was chosen to judge between the rivals for pope. By the end of 1131, the kingdoms of France, England, Germany, Portugal, Castile, and Aragon supported Innocent; however, most of Italy, southern France, and Sicily, with the Latin patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem supported Anacletus. Bernard set out to convince these other regions to rally behind Innocent.

In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran. He subsequently denounced the teachings of Peter Abelard to the pope, who called a council at Sens in 1141 to settle the matter. Bernard soon saw one of his disciples elected Pope Eugene III. Having previously helped end the schism within the church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. In June 1145, Bernard traveled in southern France and his preaching there helped strengthen support against heresy. He preached at the Council of Vézelay (1146) to recruit for the Second Crusade.

After the Christian defeat at the Siege of Edessa, the pope commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the crusaders, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him. Bernard died at the age of 63, after 40 years as a monk. He was the first Cistercian placed on the calendar of saints, and was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. In 1830 Pope Pius VIII bestowed upon Bernard the title "Doctor of the Church".

Catherine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Siena (25 March 1347 – 29 April 1380), a laywoman associated with the Dominican Order, was a Scholastic philosopher, and theologian who had a great influence on the Catholic Church. Canonized in 1461, she is also a doctor of the Church.

Born in Siena, she grew up there and wanted very soon to devote herself to God, against the will of her parents. She joined the Sisters of the Penance of St. Dominic and made her vows. She made herself known very quickly by being marked by mystical phenomena such as stigmata and mystical marriage.She accompanied the chaplain of the Dominicans to the pope in Avignon, as ambassador of Florence, then at war against the pope. Her influence with Pope Gregory XI played a role in his decision to leave Avignon for Rome. She was then sent by him to negotiate peace with Florence. After Gregory XI's death and peace concluded, she returned to Siena. She dictated to secretaries her set of spiritual treatises The Dialogue of Divine Providence.

The Great Schism of the West led Catherine of Siena to go to Rome with the pope. She sent numerous letters to princes and cardinals to promote obedience to Pope Urban VI and defend what she calls the "vessel of the Church." She died on 29 April 1380, exhausted by her penances. Urban VI celebrated her funeral and burial in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.

The devotion around Catherine of Siena developed rapidly after her death. She was canonized in 1461, declared patron saint of Rome in 1866, and of Italy (together with Francis of Assisi) in 1939. First woman (along with Teresa of Ávila) to be declared a "doctor of the Church," on 4 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI, she was also proclaimed patron saint of Europe in 1999 by Pope John Paul II. She is the patron saint of journalists, media, and all communication professions, because of her epistolary work for the papacy.

Catherine of Siena is one of the outstanding figures of medieval Catholicism, by the strong influence she has had in the history of the papacy. She is behind the return of the Pope from Avignon to Rome, and then carried out many missions entrusted by the pope, something quite rare for a woman in the Middle Ages.

Her writings—and especially The Dialogue, her major work which includes a set of treatises she would have dictated during ecstasies—mark theological thought. She is one of the most influential writers in Catholicism, to the point that she is one of only four women to be declared a doctor of the Church. This recognition by the Church consecrates the importance of her writings.

Catholic Church in Italy

The Catholic Church in Italy is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in communion with the Pope in Rome, under the Conference of Italian Bishops. The pope serves also as Primate of Italy. In addition to Italy, two other sovereign nations are included in Italian-based dioceses: San Marino and the Vatican City. There are 225 dioceses in the Catholic Church in Italy, see further in this article and in the article List of Catholic dioceses in Italy.

The pope resides in the Vatican City, enclaved in Rome. Having been a major center for Christian pilgrimage since the Roman Empire, Rome is commonly regarded as the "home" of the Catholic Church, since it is where Saint Peter settled, ministered, served as bishop, and died. His relics are located in Rome along with Saint Paul's, among many other saints of Early Christianity.

Owing to the Italian Renaissance, church art in Italy is extraordinary, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Fra Carnevale, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sandro Botticelli, Tintoretto, Titian, Raphael, and Giotto, etc.

Italian church architecture is equally spectacular and historically important to Western culture, notably St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Cathedral of St. Mark's in Venice, and Brunelleschi's Florence Cathedral, which includes the "Gates of Paradise" doors at the Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Church Fathers

The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers. There is no definitive list. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by AD 700 (John of Damascus died in 749 AD, Byzantine Iconoclasm began in 726 AD).In the past, the Church Fathers were regarded as authoritative and more restrictive definitions were used which sought to limit the list to authors treated as such. However, the definition has widened as scholars of patristics, the study of the Church Fathers, have expanded their scope.

General Roman Calendar

For historical forms of the General Roman Calendar, see Tridentine Calendar, General Roman Calendar of 1954, General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII, General Roman Calendar of 1960, and General Roman Calendar of 1969.The General Roman Calendar is the liturgical calendar that indicates the dates of celebrations of saints and mysteries of the Lord (Jesus Christ) in the Roman Rite, wherever this liturgical rite is in use. These celebrations are a fixed annual date; or occur on a particular day of the week (examples are the Baptism of the Lord in January and the Feast of Christ the King in November); or relate to the date of Easter (examples are the celebrations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary). National and diocesan liturgical calendars, including that of the diocese of Rome itself as well as the calendars of religious institutes and even of continents, add other saints and mysteries or transfer the celebration of a particular saint or mystery from the date assigned in the General Calendar to another date.

These liturgical calendars also indicate the degree or rank of each celebration: Memorial (which can be merely optional), Feast, or Solemnity. Among other differences, the Gloria is said or sung at the Mass of a Feast but not at that of a Memorial, and the Creed is added on Solemnities.

The last general revision of the General Roman Calendar was in 1969 and was authorized by the motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis of Pope Paul VI. The motu proprio and the decree of promulgation were included in the book Calendarium Romanum, published in the same year by Libreria Editrice Vaticana. This contained also the official document Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, and the list of celebrations of the General Roman Calendar. Both these documents are also printed (in their present revised form) in the Roman Missal, after the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The 1969 book also provided a detailed unofficial commentary on that year's revision of the calendar.

The contents of the General Roman Calendar and the names in English of the celebrations included in it are here indicated in the official English version of the Roman Missal.

General Roman Calendar of 1954

This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as they were at the end of 1954. It is essentially the same calendar established by Pope Pius X (1903–1914) following his liturgical reforms, but it also incorporates changes that were made by Pope Pius XI (1922–1939), such as the institution of the Feast of Christ the King, and the changes made by Pope Pius XII (1939–1958) prior to 1955, chief among them the imposition of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary upon the universal Church (August 22, on the existing octave day of the Assumption) in 1944, the inscription of Pius X into the General Calendar (September 3) following his 1954 canonization, and the institution of the Feast of the Queenship of Mary (May 31) in October 1954.

The changes that the latter Pope made in 1955 are indicated in General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII. They included: a revision of the Church's traditional ranking of liturgical days; the institution of the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1 as a Double of the I Class, requiring the transfer of Ss. Philip and James to May 11; the suppression of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, which for just over a century had been celebrated on the second Wednesday after the Octave of Easter. A total of fifteen Octaves—all those except Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas—were also suppressed in the reform of 1955, as were most vigils (specifically, the vigils of all apostles save for that of Ss. Peter and Paul, and the vigils of the Immaculate Conception, Epiphany, and All Saints).

Five years later, Pope John XXIII made a further revision with the motu proprio Rubricarum instructum of July 23, 1960. This revision, the General Roman Calendar of 1960, was incorporated in the Roman Missal of 1962, which was issued as implementation of this motu proprio The 1960 calendar is thus the calendar approved by Pope Benedict XVI with his July 7, 2007 document Summorum Pontificum for use as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

The General Roman Calendar was again revised in 1969, in connection with the revision of the Roman Missal, and later. For its current state, see General Roman Calendar.

For most of the celebrations here listed, the Mass is found in the Roman Missal of the time in the section called the "Proper of the Saints", but for those occurring from 24 December to 13 January it is found in the "Proper of the Season", as these days do not move with respect to the seasons of the Church year. The Offices of these feasts are likewise arranged in the Breviary.

While the General Calendar of 1954 is generally not authorized for liturgical use by traditional groups in communion with the Holy See, some sedevacantists continue to use it, as their members consider it to be the last calendar untainted by the revisions that began in 1955. Indults have been granted, however, to certain communities in full communion with Rome, such as some apostolates of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

General Roman Calendar of 1960

This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as reformed on 23 July 1960 by Pope John XXIII's motu proprio Rubricarum instructum. This 1960 calendar was incorporated into the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, continued use of which Pope Benedict XVI authorized in his 7 July 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum as an "extraordinary form of the Roman Rite".

Rubricarum instructum replaced the former classifications of Doubles, Semidoubles, and Simples with I, II, and III class feasts and commemorations. It removed a few feasts, in particular duplications such as the Feast of the Cross (3 May and 14 September), the Chair of Peter (18 January and 22 February), Saint Peter (1 August and 29 June), Saint John the Evangelist (6 May and 27 December), Saint Michael (8 May and 29 September), and Saint Stephen (3 August and 26 December).

This calendar is distinct from the General Roman Calendar of 1954 in that it also incorporates the changes made by Pope Pius XII in 1955, which included the reduction of octaves to three only, those of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. See General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII.

Gregory of Narek

Grigor Narekatsi (Armenian: Գրիգոր Նարեկացի; anglicized: Gregory of Narek) (c. 950 – 1003/1011) was an Armenian mystical and lyrical poet, monk, and theologian. He is a saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Francis in 2015.

The son of a bishop, Narekatsi was educated by a relative based at the Narekavank, the monastery of Narek, on the southern shores of Lake Van (modern Turkey). He was based there almost all his life. He is best known for his Book of Lamentations, a major piece of mystical literature.

John Eudes

Saint John Eudes (French: Jean Eudes) (14 November 1601 – 19 August 1680) was a French Roman Catholic priest and the founder of both the Eudists and the Order of Our Lady of Charity. He was also a professed member from the Oratory of Jesus and was the author of the proper for the Mass and Divine Office of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin. Eudes was an ardent proponent of the Sacred Hearts and dedicated himself to its promotion and celebration; the Masses he compiled for both Sacred Hearts were later said for the first time both in his lifetime. He preached missions across France including Paris and Versailles while becoming known as a popular evangelist as well as a sought-out confessor and preacher. Father Eudes was also a prolific writer and wrote on the Sacred Hearts while also condemning the Jansenists in favour of full support for the pope.Eudes was canonized as a saint in mid-1925 and there is a current push to have him named as a Doctor of the Church.

John of Ávila

John of Ávila (Spanish: Juan de Ávila; 6 January 1499– 10 May 1569) was a Spanish priest, preacher, scholastic author, and religious mystic, who has been declared a saint and Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church. He is called the "Apostle of Andalusia", for his extensive ministry in that region.

Lawrence of Brindisi

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, O.F.M. Cap. (22 July 1559 – 22 July 1619), born Giulio Cesare Russo, was a Roman Catholic priest and a theologian as well as a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

He was beatified on 1 June 1783 and was canonized as a saint on 8 December 1881. He was named a Doctor of the Church in 1959.

Peter Chrysologus

Peter Chrysologus (Greek: Ἅγιος Πέτρος ὁ Χρυσολόγος, Petros Chrysologos meaning Peter the "golden-worded") (c. 380 – c. 450) was Bishop of Ravenna from about 433 until his death. He is known as the “Doctor of Homilies” for the concise but theologically rich reflections he delivered during his time as the Bishop of Ravenna.

He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church; he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729.

Pope Innocent XIII

Pope Innocent XIII (Latin: Innocentius XIII; 13 May 1655 – 7 March 1724), born as Michelangelo dei Conti, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 8 May 1721 to his death in 1724. He is the last pope to date to take the pontifical name of "Innocent" upon his election.

Pope Innocent XIII was reform-oriented, and he imposed new standards of frugality, abolishing excessive spending. He took steps to finally end the practice of nepotism by issuing a decree which forbade his successors from granting land, offices or income to any relatives - something opposed by many cardinals who hoped that they might become pope and benefit their families.

Shrine of St. Therese, Doctor of the Church

The Shrine of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus is a Roman Catholic church located in Pasay, Philippines, across the main entrance of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. Dedicated to Saint Thérèse de Lisieux, the church is classified as a diocesan shrine governed by the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines.

St. Athanasius Church (Bronx)

The Church of St. Athanasius is a Roman Catholic parish church under the authority of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located at Tiffany Street between Fox Street and Southern Boulevard, Longwood, Bronx, New York City. It is dedicated to Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, a Doctor of the Church.

Teresa of Ávila

Saint Teresa of Ávila, born Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus (28 March 1515 – 4 October 1582), was a Spanish noblewoman with Jewish roots who chose a monastic life in the Roman Catholic church. A Carmelite nun, prominent Spanish mystic, religious reformer, author, theologian of the contemplative life and mental prayer, she earned the rare distinction of being declared a Doctor of the Church over four centuries after her death. Active during the Counter-Reformation, she reformed the Carmelite Orders of both women and men. The movement she initiated was later joined by the younger Spanish Carmelite friar and mystic, Saint John of the Cross. It led eventually to the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites. A formal papal decree adopting the split was issued in 1580.Although Theresa, who had been a social celebrity in her home province, was dogged by early family losses and ill health. Yet in her mature years, she became the central figure of a movement of spiritual and monastic renewal borne out of an inner conviction and honed by ascetic practice. She was also at the centre of deep ecclesiastical controversy as she took on the pervasive laxity in her order against the background of the Protestant reformation sweeping over Europe and the Spanish Inquisition asserting church discipline in her home country. The consequences were to last well beyond her life.

Forty years after her death in 1622, Teresa was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. At the time she was considered a candidate for national patron saint of Spain, but lost out to St. James the Apostle. She has since become one of the patron saints of Spain.

Her written contributions, which include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus and her seminal work The Interior Castle, are today an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature. Together with The Way of Perfection, her works form part of the Literary canon of Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practice, and continue to attract interest from people both within and outside her church. However, not until September 27, 1970, did Pope Paul VI proclaim Teresa a Doctor of the Church in recognition of her centuries-long spiritual legacy to Catholicism.Other associations with Teresa beyond her writings continue to exert a wide influence. A Santero image of the Immaculate Conception of El Viejo said to have been sent by her with a brother emigrating to Peru, was canonically crowned by Pope John Paul II on December 28, 1989 at the Shrine of El Viejo in Nicaragua. Another Catholic tradition holds that Saint Teresa is personally associated with devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague, a statue she may have owned. Since her death, her reputation has grown, leading to multiple portrayals. She continues to be widely noted as inspiration to philosophers, theologians, historians, neurologists, fiction writers, artists as well as countless ordinary people interested in Christian spirituality and mysticism.

Speaking to pilgrims from Avila in October 1981, Pope John Paul II said: "It is necessary for the rich legacy left by Teresa of Jesus to be deeply reconsidered so that it can effect a renewal of the inner life of your nation and thereby influence the renewal of life in the entire church in all its aspects. The giant figure of the Great Teresa should act as a strong encouragement in that direction not only on a local or national scale but also on a universal scale".

The Glories of Mary

The Glories of Mary is a classic book in the field of Roman Catholic Mariology, written during the 18th century by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church.

Way of Perfection

The Way of Perfection (Spanish: Camino de Perfección) is a 1577 book and a method for making progress in the contemplative life written by St. Teresa of Ávila, the noted Discalced Carmelite nun for the members of the reformed monastery of the Order she had founded.

Teresa was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation in 16th-century Spain, and eventually was named a Doctor of the Church, while her work became a classic text in Christian spirituality and mysticism, especially in the realms of prayer in Christianity and Spanish Renaissance literature.

Teresa called this a "living book" and in it set out to teach her nuns how to progress through prayer and Christian meditation. She discusses the rationale for being a Carmelite, and the rest deals with the purpose of and approaches to spiritual life.

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