The Church Fathers Who Made Me Catholic

After nearly 30 years of devout Protestantism, I began reading the Church Fathers for the first time in 2017. They were some of the earliest Christian leaders: popes, bishops, priests, theologians, apologists, etc. Some of them were even discipled by the Apostles themselves.

What I found blew me away: they were, in every way that mattered, Catholic. They taught Catholic doctrine, they engaged in Catholic practices, and they operated according to Catholic assumptions. Studying their writings eventually led to my decision to become Catholic.

The works listed below are some of the most important to my conversion. I will be including free resources for each of them that include the most important quotes from each work that struck me as the most Catholic (the documents with links). This list will continue to be updated. In the meantime, you can read many of the Church Fathers’ works for free at sites like New Advent and Early Christian Writings. (Updated October 3, 2018)

First Century

Clement of Rome (4th Pope)
Epistle to the Corinthians (c. 80 AD)

Didache (c. 50 AD)
Shepherd of Hermas


Second Century

Polycarp (disciple of John)
Epistle to the Philippians (c. 110-40 AD)

Mathetes
Epistle to Diognetus (c. 130 AD)

Justin Martyr
First Apology
Second Apology


Third Century

Cyprian of Carthage
On the Unity of the Church
On the Lapsed
On the Lord’s Prayer
On Works and Alms

Tertullian
The Prescription Against Heretics
On Repentance
The Apology


Fourth Century

Ambrose of Milan
On the Death of Satyrus
On the Mysteries
On Repentance
Concerning Virgins

Cyril of Alexandria
Letters

Cyril of Jerusalem
Catechetical Lectures

Jerome
Dialogue Against Vigilantius
Letters

Athanasius
On the Incarnation
Deposition of Arius
The Council of Nicaea
Illud Omnia
Encyclical Letter
Synodal Letter (Tomus ad Antiochenos)
Synodal Letter (ad Afros)
Letters

Eusebius of Caesarea
On the Spirit
Letters


Fifth Century

Augustine of Hippo
The City of God
The Confessions

The Enchiridion
The Christian Combat


Sixth Century

Ephraim of Syria
On the Nativity

Pope Gregory the Great
Epistles