Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church (Latin doctor, teacher, from Latin docere, to teach) is a title given by a variety of Christian churches to individuals whom they recognize as having been of particular importance, particularly regarding their contribution to theology or doctrine.
Roman Catholic Church 
In the Catholic Church, this title is given to a saint from whose writings the whole Church is held to have derived great advantage and to whom "eminent learning" and "great sanctity" have been attributed by a proclamation of a pope or of an ecumenical council. This honour is given rarely, and only after canonization. No ecumenical council has yet exercised the prerogative of proclaiming a Doctor of the Church.
Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome, and Pope Gregory I were the original Doctors of the Church and were named in 1298. They are known collectively as the Great Doctors of the Western Church. The four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Athanasius of Alexandria were recognized in 1568 by Pope St. Pius V.
The Doctors' works vary greatly in subject and form. Some, such as Pope Gregory I and Ambrose were prominent writers of letters and short treatises. Catherine of Siena and John of the Cross wrote mystical theology. Augustine and Bellarmine defended the Church against heresy (Bellarmine condemned Giordano Bruno to death). Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People provides the best information on England in the early Middle Ages. Systematic theologians include the Scholastic philosophers Anselm, Albertus Magnus, and Thomas Aquinas.
Until 1970, no woman had been named a doctor in the church, but since then four additions to the list have been women: Saints Teresa of Ávila (St. Teresa of Jesus) and Catherine of Siena by Pope Paul VI; Thérèse de Lisieux (St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face), "the Little Flower" by Pope John Paul II; and Hildegard of Bingen by Benedict XVI. Saints Teresa and Therese were both Discalced Carmelites, while St. Catherine was a lay Dominican.
Traditionally, in the Liturgy, the Office of Doctors was distinguished from that of Confessors by two changes: the Gospel reading Vos estis sal terrae ("You are the salt of the earth"), Matthew 5:13–19, and the eighth Respond at Matins, from Ecclesiasticus 15:5, In medio Ecclesiae aperuit os ejus, * Et implevit eum Deus spiritu sapientiae et intellectus. * Jucunditatem et exsultationem thesaurizavit super eum. ("In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth, * And God filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding. * He heaped upon him a treasure of joy and gladness.") The Nicene Creed was also recited at Mass, which is normally not said except on Sundays and the highest-ranking feast days. The 1962 revisions to the Missal dropped the Creed from feasts of Doctors.
As of 2012[update], the Catholic Church has named 35 Doctors of the Church. Of these, the 17 who died before the Great Schism of 1054 (marked * in the list below) are also venerated by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Among these 35 are 27 from the West and 8 from the East; 4 women; 18 bishops, 12 priests, 1 deacon, 3 nuns, 1 consecrated virgin; 26 from Europe, 3 from Africa, 6 from Asia. More Doctors (12) lived during the 4th century than any other; eminent Christian writers of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries are usually referred to as the Apostolic Fathers or Ante-Nicene Fathers, while the 9th, 10th and 20th centuries have so far produced no Doctors at all. The shortest period between death and nomination was that of Alphonsus Liguori, who died in 1787 and was named a Doctor of the Church in 1871 - a period of 84 years; the longest was that of Ephrem the Syrian, which took fifteen and a half centuries.
New Doctors 
On 20 August 2011, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would soon declare St. John of Ávila a Doctor of the Church. Although no official announcement was given, it was reported in December 2011 that Pope Benedict intended to declare Hildegard of Bingen as a Doctor of the Church despite her not yet having been officially canonised. The liturgical cult of St. Hildegard of Bingen was officially extended to the universal Church by Pope Benedict XVI on 10 May 2012, clearing the way for her to be named a Doctor of the Church. Pope Benedict formally declared SS John of Ávila and Hildegard of Bingen to be Doctors of the Church on 7 October 2012.
List of Doctors of the Catholic Church 
|St. Gregory the Great*||540 (ca.)||March 12, 604||1298||Italian||Pope|
|St. Ambrose*||340 (ca.)||April 4, 397||1298||Trier||Bishop of Milan|
|St. Augustine*||Doctor Gratiae
(Doctor of Grace)
|354||August 28, 430||1298||Algerian (Ethnic Berber)||Bishop of Hippo (now Annaba)|
|St. Jerome*||347 (ca.)||September 30, 420||1298||Dalmatian||Priest, monk|
|St. John Chrysostom*||347||407||1568||Syrian (Ethnic Greek)||Archbishop of Constantinople|
|St. Basil the Great*||330||January 1, 379||1568||Cappadocian (Ethnic Greek)||Bishop of Caesarea|
|St. Gregory Nazianzus*||329||January 25, 389||1568||Cappadocian (Ethnic Greek)||Archbishop of Constantinople|
|St. Athanasius*||298||May 2, 373||1568||Egyptian (Ethnic Greek)||Patriarch of Alexandria|
|St. Thomas Aquinas||Doctor Angelicus
|1225||March 7, 1274||1568||Italian||Priest, Theologian, O.P.|
|St. Bonaventure||Doctor Seraphicus
|1221||July 15, 1274||1588||Italian||Cardinal Bishop of Albano, Theologian, Minister General, O.F.M.|
|St. Anselm||Doctor Magnificus
|1033 or 1034||April 21, 1109||1720||Italian||Archbishop of Canterbury, O.S.B.|
|St. Isidore of Seville*||560||April 4, 636||1722||Spanish||Bishop of Seville|
|St. Peter Chrysologus*||406||450||1729||Italian||Bishop of Ravenna|
|St. Leo the Great*||400||November 10, 461||1754||Italian||Pope|
|St. Peter Damian||1007||February 21, 1072||1828||Italian||Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, monk, O.S.B.|
|St. Bernard of Clairvaux||Doctor Mellifluus
|1090||August 21, 1153||1830||French||Priest, O.Cist.|
|St. Hilary of Poitiers*||300||367||1851||French||Bishop of Poitiers|
|St. Alphonsus Liguori||Doctor Zelantissimus
(Doctor Most Zealous)
|1696||August 1, 1787||1871||Italian||Bishop of Sant'Agata de' Goti, C.Ss.R. (Founder)|
|St. Francis de Sales||Doctor Caritatis
(Doctor of Charity)
|1567||December 28, 1622||1877||French||Bishop of Geneva|
|St. Cyril of Alexandria*||Doctor Incarnationis
(Doctor of the Incarnation)
|376||July 27, 444||1883||Egyptian||Patriarch of Alexandria|
|St. Cyril of Jerusalem*||315||386||1883||Jerusalemite||Bishop of Jerusalem|
|St. John Damascene*||676||December 5, 749||1883||Syrian||Priest, monk|
|St. Bede the Venerable*||672||May 27, 735||1899||English||Priest, monk|
|St. Peter Canisius||1521||December 21, 1597||1925||Dutch||Priest, S.J.|
|St. John of the Cross||Doctor Mysticus
|1542||December 14, 1591||1926||Spanish||Priest, mystic, O.C.D. (Founder)|
|St. Robert Bellarmine||1542||September 17, 1621||1931||Italian||Archbishop of Capua, Theologian, S.J.|
|St. Albertus Magnus||Doctor Universalis
|1193||November 15, 1280||1931||German||Bishop of Regensburg, Theologian, O.P.|
|St. Anthony of Lisbon and Padua||Doctor Evangelicus
|1195||June 13, 1231||1946||Portuguese||Priest, O.F.M.|
|St. Lawrence of Brindisi||Doctor Apostolicus
|1559||July 22, 1619||1959||Italian||Priest, Diplomat, O.F.M. Cap.|
|St. Teresa of Ávila||1515||October 4, 1582||1970||Spanish||Mystic, O.C.D. (Founder)|
|St. Catherine of Siena||1347||April 29, 1380||1970||Italian||Mystic, O.P. (Consecrated virgin)|
|St. Thérèse of Lisieux||Doctrix Amoris
(Doctor of Love)
|1873||September 30, 1897||1997||French||O.C.D. (Nun)|
|St. John of Ávila||1500||May 10, 1569||2012||Spanish||Priest, Mystic|
|St. Hildegard of Bingen||1098||September 17, 1179||2012||German||Visionary, composer, O.S.B. (Abbess)|
Other recognised Doctors 
In addition, parts of the Roman Catholic Church have recognised other individuals with this title. In Spain, Fulgentius of Cartagena, Ildephonsus of Toledo and Leander of Seville have been recognized with this title. In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Spe Salvi, called Saint Maximus the Confessor 'the great Greek Doctor of the Church', though it is not yet clear as to whether this constitutes official recognition.
Though not named Doctors of the Church or even canonized, many of the more celebrated theologians of the Middle Ages were given an epithet which expressed the nature of their expertise. Among these are Bl. John Duns Scotus, Doctor subtilis (Subtle Doctor); Bl. Ramon Llull, Doctor illuminatus (Illuminated Doctor); Bl. John of Ruysbroeck, Doctor divinus ecstaticus (Ecstatic Doctor); Alexander of Hales, Doctor irrefragabilis (Unanswerable Doctor); Gregory of Rimini, Doctor authenticus (Authentic Doctor); John Gerson, Doctor christianissimus (Most Christian Doctor); Nicholas of Cusa, Doctor christianus (Christian Doctor); and the priest and professor Francisco Suárez, Doctor eximius (Exceptional Doctor).
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church recognises Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory, Augustine, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom, as well as Ephrem the Syrian, Isaac the Elder, Pope Leo I, John of Damascus, Cyril of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius of Salamis, and Gregory of Nyssa.
The Chaldean Catholic Church honours as doctor Polycarp, Eustathius of Antioch, Meletius, Alexander of Jerusalem, Athanasius, Basil, Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Fravitta of Constantinople, Ephrem the Syrian, Jacob of Nisibis, Jacob of Serugh, Isaac of Armenia, Isaac of Nineveh, and Maruthas.
Eastern Orthodox Church 
The Eastern Orthodox church honors many of the pre-schism saints as well, but the application of the term "Doctor of the Church" is, in effect, unnecessary within the overall praxis of Eastern Orthodox theology, thus omitting the need to look for lists of officially recognized "Doctors". The more usual term used is Father. An Eastern Orthodox understanding of such notables includes saints such as Photios I of Constantinople (see Photian schism), Gregory Palamas and Nicodemus the Hagiorite. One consistent use of the category is the trio of Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, recognized as universal teachers and known as the Three Holy Hierarchs, representing the Christianization of the Hellenic tradition and education. In addition, besides St John the Evangelist, two other saints bear the title 'Theologian': they are St. Gregory of Nazianzus and St. Symeon the New Theologian.
Armenian Church 
The Armenian Church recognizes as Doctors of the Church Hierotheus the Thesmothete, Dionysius the Areopagite, Pope Sylvester I, Athanasius of Alexandria, Cyril of Alexandria, Ephrem the Syrian, Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Epiphanius of Salamis, John Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem, and their own saints Mesrob, Eliseus the historiographer, Moses of Chorene, David the philosopher, Gregory of Narek, Nerses III the Builder, and Nerses of Lambron. (See also Vardapet)
Assyrian Church of the East 
The churches of the Anglican Communion tend not to use the term "Doctor of the Church" in their calendars of saints, preferring expressions such as "Teacher of the Faith". Those thus recognized include figures from before and after the Reformation, most of whom are also recognized as Doctors of the Church by Rome. Those designated Teachers of the Faith in the Church of England's calendar of saints are as follows:
- Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus
- Hilary of Poitiers
- Francis de Sales
- Thomas Aquinas
- Cyril of Jerusalem
- Frederick Denison Maurice
- William of Ockham
- Catherine of Siena
- Ephrem of Syria
- Sundar Singh of India
- Cyril of Alexandria
- Gregory of Nyssa and his sister Macrina
- Brooke Foss Westcott
- Jeremy Taylor
- Bernard of Clairvaux
- Augustine of Hippo
- Gregory the Great
- John Chrysostom
- Sergei of Radonezh
- Teresa of Ávila
- Richard Hooker
- William Temple
- Leo the Great
- John of Damascus
- John of the Cross
Since all of the above appear in the calendar at the level of Lesser Festival or Commemoration, their celebration is optional. Similarly, because "In the Calendar of the Saints, diocesan and other local provision may be made to supplement the national Calendar", those Doctors of the Church recognized by Rome may also be celebrated in the Church of England.
The Lutheran calendar of saints does not use the term "Doctor of the Church." The calendar of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod refers to Martin Luther by the title of "Doctor" in recognition of his academic degree, Doctor of Theology from the University of Wittenberg in 1512.
See also 
- "Pope to proclaim St John of Avila Doctor of the Universal Church". News.va. Holy See. 20 August 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "Pope to Canonize and Name Hildegard of Bingen as Doctor of the Church".
- "Benedict XVI officially declares Hildegard of Bingen a Saint"
- Common Worship (Main Volume), p. 530
- Holweck, F. G., A Biographical Dictionary of the Saint. St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co. 1924.
- Doctors of the Catholic Church
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Doctor of the Church
-  Doctors of the Church Produced by EWTN hosted by Fr. Charles Connor