Early Church Fathers Study Group

The Early Church Fathers Study Group is part of the St Paul's Adult Faith Formation program, and has been active since Spring 2014. We share a love of reading the original works of the Church Fathers, Saints, and Doctors who clarified the doctrine and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, thru to Vatican II. Our group exists to encourage the laity's grasp of the theological traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, and we help each other's understanding within our group discussions, where all are welcomed to participate.

Spring 2018 Schedule of Readings

The St Paul's Early Church Fathers Study Group will be convening for nine discussions of works by the Fathers of the 1st and 2nd Century Early Church: Pope St Clement of Rome, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Martyrdom of Polycarp of Smyrna, the Didache, Apology of Justin Martyr and Saint Iraneus' masterful demonstration from Scripture of the truth of the Apostolic teachings. We will simultaneously cover the history and traditions of the Early Church, from famed historian Henry Chadwick's short and readable paperback. All readings can be found in two paperbacks, at low cost. We invite all to join us, and only ask for a maximum of fifty pages of easy reading every two weeks, and welcome you to participate in, or simply attend, the Monday night 7:00 pm group discussions!

Monday, January 29
  • Chadwick, "From Jerusalem to Rome", pg 9-32.
  • Richardson, General Introduction, pg 13-30
Monday, February 12

  • Richardson, pgs 33-74,
  • Saint Pope Clement of Rome, "Epistle to the Ephesians", and an apostolic era “Didache”, pgs 161-183.
Monday, February 26
  • Chadwick, "Faith and Order", pgs 32-54.
  • Richardson, pgs 74-93, Saint Ignatius of Antioch's "Epistle to the Ephesians".
Monday, March 12
  • Richardson, pgs 94-116.
  • Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr, "Epistles to the Magnesians, Trallians, Romans; Philadelphians, Smyrneans"; "To Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrnea". Chadwick, "Expansion and Growth", pigs 54-74.

Monday, March 26
  • Richardson, pgs 121-137.
  • Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, "Letter to the Philippians". “The Martyrdom of Polycarp”, as told in the Letter from the Church of Smyrnea to the Church of Philomenium, pgs 141-158.
Monday, April 9

  • Chadwick, "Justin Martyr and Ireneaus", pgs 74-84.
  • Richardson, pgs 225-290, Justin Martyr, "First Apology".

Monday, April 23

  • Richardson, pgs 290-340, Athenagoras, "A Plea Regarding the Christians".

Monday, May 7
  • J. Armitage Robinson’s "Introduction".
  • Saint Irenaeus, "Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching", pg 69-100. Ed and transl by J. Armitage Robinson.
Monday, May 21

  • Saint Irenaeus, "Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching", pg 100-152. Ed and transl by J. Armitage Robinson.


1. Henry Chadwick, “The Early Church”, Penguin History of the Church, Vol 1, 1993.

2. Cyril Richardson, “Early Christian Fathers”,
Library of Christian Classics, 1995.

3. St Irenaeus, “Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching”, translated from the Armenian original by J. Armitage Robinson.