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The Doctors of the Church

The Guides of the Faithful

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The Doctors of the Church are great saints known for their defense and explanation of the truths of the Catholic Faith. The original eight Doctors of the Church—four Western (Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Pope Saint Gregory the Great, and Saint Jerome) and four Eastern (Saint Athanasius, Saint Basil the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. John Chrysostom)—were named by acclamation, or common acknowledgment; the rest have been named by various popes, starting with the addition of St. Thomas Aquinas to the list by Pope Saint Pius V in 1568, when he promulgated the Tridentine Latin Mass.

In the 20th century, three female saints—Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Saint Therese of Lisieux—were added to the list. A fourth, Saint Hildegard of Bingen, was added by Pope Benedict XVI on October 7, 2012, when he also added Saint John of Avila to the list. Today, there are 35 officially recognized Doctors of the Church.

Click on the names with links for more in-depth information on those saints, and check back often to see which biographies have been added.

  • St. Albertus Magnus (1200-80)
    Added by Pope Pius XI in 1931

  • St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
    Added by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1871

  • Saint Ambrose (340-97)
    One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church

  • Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
    Added by Pope Clement XI in 1720

  • Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)
    Added by Pope Pius XII in 1946

  • Saint Athanasius (297-373)
    One of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church

  • Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
    One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church

  • Saint Basil the Great (329-379)
    One of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church

  • The Venerable Bede (673-735)
    Added by Pope Leo XIII in 1899

  • Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
    Added by Pope Pius VIII in 1830

  • Saint Bonaventure (1217-74)
    Added by Pope Sixtus V in 1588

  • Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-80)
    Added by Pope Paul VI in 1970

  • Saint Cyril of Alexandria (376-444)
    Added by Pope Leo XIII in 1883

  • Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-87)
    Added by Pope Leo XIII in 1883

  • Saint Ephrem the Syrian (306-73)
    Added by Pope Benedict XV in 1920

  • St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
    Added by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1877

  • Pope Saint Gregory the Great (540-604)
    One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church

  • St. Gregory Nazianzen (330-90)
    One of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church

  • Saint Hilary of Poitiers (315-68)
    Added by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1851

  • Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
    Added by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012

  • Saint Isidore of Seville (560-636)
    Added by Pope Innocent XIII in 1722

  • Saint Jerome (343-420)
    One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church

  • St. John Chrysostom (347-407)
    One of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church

  • St. John Damascene (675-749)
    Added by Pope Leo XIII in 1883

  • Saint John of Avila (1500-69)
    Added by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012

  • Saint John of the Cross (1542-91)
    Added by Pope Pius XI in 1926

  • Saint Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619)
    Added by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1959

  • Pope Saint Leo the Great (400-61)
    Added by Pope Benedict XIV in 1754

  • St. Peter Canisius (1521-97)
    Added by Pope Pius XI in 1925

  • St. Peter Chrysologus (400-50)
    Added by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729

  • St. Peter Damian (1007-72)
    Added by Pope Leo XII in 1828

  • St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621)
    Added by Pope Pius XI in 1931

  • Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-82)
    Added by Pope Paul VI in 1970

  • Saint Therese of Lisieux (1873-97)
    Added by Pope John Paul II in 1997

  • St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74)
    Added by Pope Saint Pius V in 1568

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