Saints of the Early Christian Church

Important Saints in the Early Period of Christian History

The following are some of the men and women who were canonized by the Christian church. In the early years, the process of canonization wasn't what it is today. Recent investigations by modern Christian churches have de-canonized some saints and some saints were saints only in the east or west.

01
of 12

St. Ambrose

St Ambrose on horseback blessing Arcumeggia, 1966, fresco by Aldo Carpi, Arcumeggia, Lombardy, Italy, 20th century
De Agostini / V. Giannella / Getty Images

Ambrose is the patron saint of learning, also referred to as St. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan. He opposed the Arian Heresy and was active in the court of Emperors Gratian and Theodosius. Ambrose used his personal fortune to ransom captives taken by the Goths.

02
of 12

St. Anthony

Saint Anthony of Padua
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St. Anthony, called the Father of Monasticism, was born about 251 A.D. in Egypt, and spent much of his adult life as a desert hermit (eremite).

03
of 12

St. Augustine

The Vision of Saint Augustine, c. 1520. Artist: Garofalo, Benvenuto Tisi da (1481-1559)
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Augustine was one of the eight great doctors of the Christian Church and possibly the most influential philosopher ever. He was born in North Africa at Tagaste in A.D. 354 and died in A.D. 430.

04
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St. Basil the Great

Fresco depiciting St Basil the Great and St Gregory, fathers of church, 10th-11th century, Eski Gumus Monastery (Gumusler), Cappadocia. Turkey.
DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI / Getty Images

Basil wrote, "Longer Rules" and "Shorter Rules" for monastic life. Basil sold his family's holdings to buy food for the poor. Basil became Bishop of Caesarea in 370, at a time when an Arian emperor was ruling.

05
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St. Gregory of Nazianzus

Saint Gregory Of Nazianzus
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Gregory of Nazianzus was a "golden-voiced" orator and one of the 8 great Doctors of the Church (Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus).

06
of 12

St. Helena

St. Helena discovering the True Cross of Jesus's crucifixion during a pilgrimage to the Roman province of Syria Palaestina in the 4th century. After a Greek MS of the 9th century in the National Library, Paris. Saint Helena or Saint Helen, c.?250 – c
Ken Welsh / Getty Images

Helena was the mother of Emperor Constantine, who, upon her conversion to Christianity, went to the Holy Land where she is credited by some with having discovered the True Cross.

07
of 12

St. Irenaeus

Saint Irenaeus Bishop
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Irenaeus was a second-century bishop in Gaul and Christian theologian whose importance lies in the area of helping establish the canonical New Testament and a picture of one of Christianity's offshoots, Gnosticism.

08
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St. Isidore of Seville

Saint Isidore
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Isidore is considered the last of the Latin Church Fathers. He helped to convert the Arian Visigoths to the orthodox Christianity. He was made archbishop in about 600.

09
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St. Jerome

Saint Jerome by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
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Jerome is known as the scholar who translated the Bible into the language the people could read, Latin. He is considered the most learned of the Latin Church Fathers, being fluent in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, with knowledge of Aramaic, Arabic, and Syriac.

10
of 12

St. John Chrysostom

Saint Chrysostom
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John Chrysostom was known for his eloquence; hence, his name Chrysostom (golden mouth). John was born at Antioch, the second city of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. John became a bishop in Constantinople, but his preaching against corruption led to his exile.

11
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St. Macrina

St. Macrina the Younger (c.330-380) was the sister of St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Basil the Great. From Caesarea in Cappadocia, Macrina was betrothed, but when her fiance died, she refused to marry anyone else and became a nun. She and another of her brothers turned the family estate into a convent and monastery.

12
of 12

St. Patrick

St. Patrick
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Patrick was born in the late fourth century (c. A.D. 390). Although the family lived in the village of Bannavem Taberniaei, in Roman Britain, Patrick would one day become the most successful Christian missionary in Ireland, its patron saint, and the subject of legends.