PATRISTICS/ Apostolic Fathers Collections
The Apostolic Fathers were a group of early Christian leaders believed to know the Apostles personally. The term also refers to the collection of Christian writings attributed to these men from the late first century C.E. and the first half of the second century A.D.
The authors are traditionally acknowledged as leaders in the early church whose writings were not included in the New Testament biblical canon. Evidence exists that some of these works were once bound as part of the New Testament scriptures in some churches. However, several of the works are actually anonymous, and their attributions have been challenged by recent scholarship.
The term "Apostolic Fathers," has been used since the seventeenth century to emphasize that these authors were thought of as being of the generation that had personal contact with the Apostles. Thus they provide a link between the Apostles who knew Jesus of Nazareth and the later generation of Christian apologists and defenders of orthodox authority known as the Church Fathers.
Study of the Apostolic Fathers has yielded important insights into the formation of the early Christian tradition, the emergence of the bishop's office, the development of a concept of Christian scriptures, and the emergence of "proto-orthodox" Christian theology.
The icon is of Saint Barnabas, the companion of the Apostle Paul, to whom one of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers is attributed.