For the Church Fathers, friendship was at the heart of the Gospel. It was the way to salvation and the most effective means of evangelization. God had taken flesh in order to befriend mankind. Jesus had called his Apostles friends. The first Christians, in turn, spread salvation through friendships of their own. Evangelizing the world was done through one friend bringing another into the Church—where both could be friends with God.
Friendship and the Fathers brings together, for the first time, the Fathers’ doctrine and stories of friendship—mostly in their own words. You’ll meet many giants of the early Church, including
- Minucius Felix, and walk with him as he brings a pagan friend to faith.
- Basil and Gregory, best friends from school whose friendship was shattered and then restored.
- Ambrose, who encouraged his clergy to cultivate strong friendships.
- Augustine, whose grief for a lost friend led him to profound insights—and whose friendship with St. Jerome was fraught with emotional baggage.
- Rabanus Maurus, the great biblical commentator and writer of hymns, whose counsels on friendship have never before appeared in English.
Mike Aquilina is executive vice-president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and a contributing editor for Angelus News. He is author of more than fifty books, including The Fathers of the Church and Villains of the Early Church. He hosts the “Way of the Fathers” podcast for CatholicCulture.org and edits the Reclaiming Catholic History series for Ave Maria Press.
“By sharing the timeless writings of the early Church Fathers, revealing their wisdom as well as their foibles, Mike Aquilina unveils the importance of friendships for the Church today. A fun read.”
Roger Finke, Author of The Churching of America and Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies, Penn State University
“Friendship and the Fathers is not a romanticized account of friendship. Even the saints fought. And yet through it all, they bestow to us an icon of what friendship in Christ means. This work of friendship, as Aquilina argues, is integral to evangelization in our age.”
Tim O’Malley, Director of Online Education, McGrath Institute for Church Life, Notre Dame University
“The secret of the early Church’s phenomenal growth was friendship. Mike Aquilina, through the words and friendships of the Fathers, unfolds anew for us the elements of this lost art of loving.”
Patrick Fagan, Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Initiative, Catholic University of America
“Entertaining, insightful, and witty, this book promises to help start a new Christian revolution, a revolution of friendship, by immersing ourselves in the world of our earliest Christian brothers and sisters, so that we might be inspired to immerse ourselves in the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors today. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.”
Jeffrey Morrow, Professor of Theology, Seton Hall University
“A wonderful collection of the wisdom of the Fathers on friendship—judiciously chosen texts and helpful commentary. Mike Aquilina has shown us that the Fathers can be our friends because they can relate to us and lead us to friendship with God. This volume will both console and challenge.”
Stephen Hildebrand, Professor of Theology, Franciscan University