Unlike the popular title Father of the Church, the title Doctor of the Church is an official honor that is bestowed by the Pope in recognition of the outstanding contribution a person has made to the understanding and development of Christian doctrine.
As of 2005, there are thirty-three Doctors of the Church who hail from all ages of the Churchs history. Of these, three are women (Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux) and twenty-four are quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (The eight who are not quoted are Saints Ephraem, Isidore, the Venerable Bede, Albert the Great, Anthony of Padua, Peter Canisius, Robert Bellarmine, and Lawrence of Brindisi).
posted on 03/11/2007 4:16:46 PM PDT
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Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same place, 389. He was son -- one of three children -- of Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus (329-374), in the south-west of Cappadocia, and of Nonna, a daughter of Christian
parents. The saint's father was originally a member of the heretical sect of the Hypsistarii
, or Hypsistiani, and was converted to Catholicity by the influence of his pious wife. His two sons, who seem to have been born between the dates of their father's priestly ordination and episcopal consecration, were sent to a famous school at Caesarea, capital of Cappadocia, and educated by Carterius, probably the same one who was afterwards tutor of St. John Chrysostom
. Here commenced the friendship between Basil and Gregory which intimately affected both their lives, as well as the development of the theology of their age. From Caesarea in Cappadocia Gregory proceeded to Caesarea in Palestine, where he studied rhetoric under Thespesius; and thence to Alexandria, of which Athanasius was then bishop, through at the time in exile. Setting out by sea from Alexandria to Athens, Gregory was all but lost in a great storm, and some of his biographers infer -- though the fact is not certain -- that when in danger of death he and his companions received the rite of baptism. He had certainly not been baptized in infancy, though dedicated to God
by his pious mother; but there is some authority for believing that he received the sacrament, not on his voyage to Athens, but on his return to Nazianzus some years later. At Athens Gregory and Basil, who had parted at Caesarea, met again, renewed their youthful friendship, and studied rhetoric together under the famous teachers Himerius and Proaeresius. Among their fellow students was Julian, afterwards known as the Apostate, whose real character Gregory asserts that he had even then discerned and thoroughly distrusted him. The saint's studies at Athens (which Basil left before his friend) extended over some ten years; and when he departed in 356 for his native province, visiting Constantinople on his way home, he was about thirty years of age. MORE
posted on 03/11/2007 4:37:24 PM PDT
("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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