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Which Church Father Are You?

I’m sure you were wondering when we’d get around just such a self-help test. By now you’ve figured out the color of your parachute and the season of your wardrobe. It’s time to figure out your place in the early Church. For each question, choose ONE answer that best describes your position.

When you hear the co-worker in the next cubicle utter heresy, you instinctively…
a. take him aside and carefully demonstrate to him that the orthodox position is really the most reasonable.
b. hit him with a mallet and then question his masculinity.
c. guide him verse-by-verse through the Book of Exodus, observing often that the plot is clearly an allegory of your co-worker’s life.
d. suggest that the current troubles in the Holy Land are his fault.

You celebrate your birthday…
a. always on the date you were born.
b. always on the day you were born (e.g., Tuesday).
c. never, because birthdays (like many other things) make you irritable.
d. by debating a pagan.

Your preferred home is…
a. Athens.
b. Jerusalem.
c. a cave.
d. a symbol of heaven, whose historical and geographical position is of relatively little importance.

Your guilty pleasure:
a. Cicero.
b. self-mutilation.
c. wearing a pallium.
d. intractable liturgical conservatism.

You think marriage…
a. is useful for the propagation of future celibates.
b. is primarily an allegory.
c. should be forbidden to widows.
d. bore the brunt of the consequences of Adam’s Fall.

If you could change anything, it would be…
a. everything.
b. Change? What’s change?
c. the emperor’s mind.
d. Augustine, Ambrose, and Rufinus, for starters.
e. Alexandria and Caesarea

31 thoughts on “Which Church Father Are You?

  1. Now, that is scary. I came up as Origen. I don’t even like Platonism!


  2. […] Apr 3rd, 2007 by Ryan Martin Okay, I admit it, but I have an irrational love for these crazy surveys. This one I could not have scripted any better . . . […]

  3. Cool quiz. I came up St. Justin Martyr, so I’m feeling pretty good . . . .

  4. I got Origen, does that mean I will be condemned by the next council of Constantinople?

    By the way is Origen considered one of the Church Fathers? I know his writing were quite influential, but isn’t some of his later theology rather flaky?

  5. Origen – yet another reminder that salvation must be worked out with fear and trembling.

  6. Is Origen a Church Father? An excellent question, Jeff. And the answer isn’t settled. Some scholars say that Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius should be called “ecclesiastical writers” rather than Fathers. Tertullian veered off into Montanism. Origen veered off into several weird ideas. Eusebius was a bit too cozy with the Arians. In preparing the second edition of my book on the Fathers, I surveyed the old Catholic manuals. At least two of the standard textbooks, Cayré’s Manual of Patrology (1935) and Tixeront’s Handbook of Patrology (1920), grant all three men the title of “Father,” but by way of exception. Schmid’s Manual of Patrology (1911) denies them the title, as does Yves Congar’s The Meaning of Tradition. However, The Catechism of the Catholic Church cites Tertullian explicitly as a Father of the Church (n. 1446) and nine times invokes Origen as an authority. Cayré puts it well, I think: “the valuable services that these men have rendered to the Church explains these exceptions.”

  7. […] THE WAY OF THE FATHERS Website has a test you can take to determine which early Church Father you are most like.  Me?  I’m most like Origen, a brilliant thinker.  This was my first indication that something was wrong.  Origen was also a self-made eunuch (yikes!) who suffered hideous tortures at the hands of pagans (yikes!) and who was condemned as a heretic after his death.  Maybe I should go back to the site and take that test again. […]

  8. […] Mike “Fathers of the Church” Aquilina wants to know: Which church father are you? […]

  9. That was fun Mike. St. Justin Martyr, huh? Well, my father always joked that my mother was a bit of a martyr – maybe it runs in the family! Good stuff…

  10. um… I got Jerome. I love him.
    So I am satisfied with the result.

    – A patristic scholar in South Korea

  11. By the way Mike – you didn’t tell us which Church Father you are. Inquiring minds want to know and all…

  12. Ha! I was laughing so hard writing the thing, I never took it myself. Thanks for nudging me, Peter. I’m St. Justin Martyr, and happy for that.

    Junior promises tallies after Easter. If we find a majority of Tertullians out there, head for the hills!

  13. Is it cheating if you know what each answer will lead to?

    As for Origen, Tertullian, and Eusebius as Fathers I think the Church can be a little more sympathetic to them because of the work they did before they went wacky (at least for Origen and Tertullian anyways.) Eusebius, although he was an Arian (at least a very subtle one), merits it for his contribution to Church History (His theology was absolutely lousy!). I think that is what sets these three apart from someone like Arius or Nestorius. They all had their heresies, but not all contributed positively to the Church.

  14. […] Quiz: “Which Church Father Are You?” Filed under: Uncategorized — Will @ 1:04 am Mike Aquilina of the blog The Way of the Fathers has a quiz titled Which Church Father Are You? and it has some questions (and possible results) that make one ponder. My results? […]

  15. Well, let’s see:

    When I overhear someone uttering rank heresy, I cringe and then pray.

    I don’t celebrate my birthday – I celebrate my name day, and the anniversary of my ordination.

    My preferred home is Dublin, Ireland – where I live.

    Guilty pleasures? What’s that? I might be guilty, but a pleasure in itself, as C. S. Lewis pointed out, is not guilty of anything.

    I think marriage is essential if we are to have married priests.

    If I could change anything, I would restore the Emperor, and the Gallican Liturgy.

  16. Thanks for a great test! I’m Origen of course.

  17. Awesome quiz! I was thinking of making one of these myself and you beat me to it. Lots of Origens going around huh. I was St. Melito of Sardis.

  18. I come out as Origen. As a housecat, I think this fits. I do nothing in half measures, particularly when it comes to napping and tuna.

    Thanks for the fun game!

  19. That was great fun! I got Melito of Sardis!

    On Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius as Church Fathers, my intuition and opinion is “certainly not.” They’re valuable writers, but none are Saints, either. To me, a Church Father is both a valued ecclesiastical writer and Saint, and I think that’s the traditional and ancient reckoning of the term as well. Our prayers seek “the prayers of the holy Fathers,” and I’m sure that the above are not considered to be a part of that category, despite their occasional value. They are at times overrated, I would say. Tertullian and Origen were brilliant but erratic, the former sympathetic to Montanism, the latter sympathetic to peculiar hybrid Hellenic-Christian cosmologies. Eusebius was brilliant too, giving us some amazingly valuable works, but was for a time an Arian, and always an insufferable gasbag. If there were something to be said in ten words, he can be certain to say it in a hundred words in that ornate, flowery, digressive, annoying style of his. Still the Eccl. Hist. is brilliant, as is the Prep. Evang., treasure-troves of otherwise lost texts. Origen is popular in certain circles for supposedly being “mystical” — the catchall term these days for “intriguingly non-orthodox” or “non-establishment” or “against The Man” or whatever.

  20. Another Melito reporting in.

    As for the much-maligned Origen, I’d submit (according to the much-maligned Eusebius):

    (1) Origen suffered faithfully for the church.

    (2) He comforted the saints.

    (3) He set up schools and bible-studies during difficult times, to preserve the faith.

    (4) He had a mind & heart big enough for Early Christianity and Greek philosophy to meet and be transformed– the process of redeeming the Greek mind, and articulating the doctrinal Gospel. If it was a bit of a theological train-wreck, it had to be done– even if in later generations it meant that Origen (or perhaps the less-than-orthodox ‘Origenists’) could not be held up as a fully ‘Orthodox’ exemplar of the Nicaean faith.

    By that standard, many of the early Fathers were imperfect– because they were doing the spade-work for the foundations which others built upon. It’s partly a problem of the development and articulation of Christian theology; and partly problem of the odd bits and pieces floating around in his method.

    However, for The Alexandrian School, and even Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Origen was very much a Father.

    Sometimes I wonder if the evangelical ‘preach each word of Scripture in detail’ style of sermon doesn’t owe something to Origen’s method, even if the thought of allegory and philosophy raises some protestant hackles.

  21. And yet another St. Melito. I was barely aware of his existance. Guess I`d better get to reading! Thanks for a fun quiz.

  22. “You are St. Jerome! – You’re a passionate Christian, fiercely devoted to Jesus Christ and his Church. You are willing to labor long hours in the Lord’s vineyard, and you have little patience with those who are less willing or able to work as you do. Your passions often carry you into temptation zones of wrath, lust, and pride.”

    Finally. Only took me five tries!


  23. Kevin brings up many necessary cautions on Origen, but I think I come down on Binky’s side. Origen had his speculative flights, but he always urged his hearers to follow the Catholic Church and not Origen’s speculation. I think he was sincere when he said that, and he said it often. Also, his lifelong desire for martyrdom is well attested, and his heroic end brings tears to my eyes.

    It is a pity that Origen gets more attention these days than the more consistently orthodox Fathers (the many Gregorys, e.g., and Ambrose); but we shouldn’t hold that against him. It would be like blaming Perpetua because she’s a darling of some very strange radical feminists.

    All that said, my son and I howled with laughter at Kevin’s review of those borderland ancients.

  24. Which Father used a mallet and questioned men’s masculinity?

    I would love for him to give Joel Olsteen a visit.

  25. Well, Jerome certainly questioned Helvidius’s masculinity. That work (Against Helvidius) and a lot of his correspondence can be seen as a metaphorical mallet.

  26. […] Church Father are you? Jump to Comments So thanks to the Internet, I now know the color of my parachute and the season of my wardrobe(fall), not to mention what Star Wars character I am (Princess Leia — damn) and which superhero I most resemble (Spiderman — cool), and that my American accent is from the Inland North. I guess the only thing worthwhile left to figure out is my place in the early Church, thanks to The Way of the Fathers. My dear friend David will absolutely love this, and of course I’ll hear no end of things once he takes it. […]

  27. Whoa. That is amazingly accurate! St. Melito of Sardis. It all describes me. Boggle.

  28. I found out . . . by taking the “Which Church Father Are You?” quiz . . . that I’m an Origen!

    “You do nothing by half-measures. If you’re going to read the Bible, you want to read it in the original languages. If you’re going to teach, you’re going to reach as many souls as possible, through a proliferation of lectures and books. If you’re a guy and you’re going to fight for purity . . . well, you’d better hide the kitchen shears.”

    That’s what it says, anyway, and it must be true, since it explains so well why I turned up in the vicinity of Gandhi and the Dalai Lama when I took the (also eerily accurate) Political Compass quiz a while back. My wife is not at all pleased about this.

  29. Which Church Father Are You?…

    Fathers of the Church has a great quiz, “Which Church Father Are You?”…

  30. I came out as St. Justin Martyr… I guess it makes sense, only I am known to be a little more liturgically staunch than him. Bravo to the creator of this site!

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