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Church History (Patristic Era, Ecumenical Councils, the Papacy, and Saints): Getting Started

The historical development of the Church...Within 400 years after Jesus' passion, Christianity developed from an illegal, persecuted, and underground religion into the sole, official, dominant faith of the Roman Empire.

This research guide...

The purpose of this research guide is to provide an introduction to the basic resources and sources for the study of the writings and teachings of the Fathers of the Church and the Patristic Age. As such, it lists the major introductions and handbooks to the patristic literature, the monumental sets containing the texts of the Fathers in the original language, the major series of translations of the Fathers into English, as well as other resources, dictionaries and tools that illuminate the writings, doctrinal teachings, theological disputes, heresies and controversies of the first eight centuries of the Christian church.

Good starting place

Early Christianity drew on a variety of sources - Jewish ideas, Greek philosophy, Greek and Latin vocabulary - in an attempt to explain complex theological formulations.

Current Information

Recent official church documents and news releases can frequently be found on the Vatican website or that of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  Other sites may contain documents or information about the Catholic Church, but attention must be paid to the source, currency, and accuracy.

Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation


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Lisa Burke

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Off Campus Access


Online databases and electronic journals subscribed to by the UST Libraries are licensed for use by the St. Thomas community ONLY.  Because of this restriction, we need to verify that anyone accessing these databases is a current member of the St. Thomas community.