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Reading the Fathers is essential but can be very confusing. Some claim that reading the Bible is enough. Sola Scriptura is the creed of most Protestants, and yet, they read Luther and Calvin and a host of others. The problem with Sola Scriptura is in the interpretation of the scriptures. All of the heretics were very well versed in the scriptures and they used them very effectively to spread their heresies. The problem was that they misinterpreted the scriptures. The Fathers of the Church took on those heretics and fought them by showing the proper interpretation of the scriptures, and herein lies the importance of the writings of the Fathers. But as we said, reading the fathers can be confusing, since sometimes they contradict each others and sometimes they even contradict themselves. So, where do we go from here? The first thing is that we have to realize that the fathers are not infallible, and that some are more fallible than others. So, it is in the consensus of their views that we can find the truth. How do we know which Fathers are more to be trusted than the rest? In our own Coptic Orthodox Church, we can find this out from our Liturgical Tradition. In the Absolution said after the Prayer of Thanksgiving, the priest says:May Thy servants, ministers of this ..., be absolved from the mouth of the All-Holy Trinity)the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and from the mouth of the One, Only, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; and from the mouths of the twelve Apostles; and from the mouth of the Beholder of God, Saint Mark the Evangelist, the Apostle and martyr; the patriarch Saint Severus, our teacher Dioscorus, Saint Athanasius the Apostolic, Saint Peter the martyr among the priests and the high priest, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Cyril, Saint Basil, and Saint Gregory; and from the mouths of the three hundred and eighteen assembled at Nicea, the one hundred and fifty at Constantinople, and the two hundred at Ephesus The fathers from whose mouth we ask the absolution are those whom we should put in a place of pre-eminence among the rest. These are: 1. Saint Severus 2. Saint Dioscorus 3. Saint Athanasius the Apostolic 4. Saint Peter the martyr among the priests 5. Saint John Chrysostom 6. Saint Cyril the Pillar of the Faith 7. Saint Basil 8. Saint Gregory the Theologian 9. The Fathers of the three ecumenical councils acknowledged by our Church. This is what I call “The Safe Fathers List” The other fathers who are not on the “List” have to be measured by the writings of these pre-eminent Fathers. If there is a disagreement with these pre-eminent fathers, the writings of the latter should take precedence. There is also another measure by which we can evaluate the writings of any of the Fathers; the agreement between their writings and the Liturgy. And by the Liturgy I mean the Liturgy of the Baptism, that of matrimony in addition of course to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The purpose of this series is to present the most important of thewritings of those fathers, with a view of reading them critically; accepting those writings that are deemed orthodox as determined by the criteria we st above, and rejecting the others as either non orthodox or controversial.