DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH
The term “doctor” means teacher, instructor. From Old Testament times the term ‘teacher’ applied to people who studied and interpreted the law. Hebrews too called Jesus a teacher, even though His teachings differed profoundly from the interpretations of Jewish lawyers of the time, because He taught by the power of Holy and life-giving Spirit about salvation and kingdom of heaven, about love and other characteristics of the children of New Testament, heirs of grace and truth.
At the dawn of the Church from among the successors of apostles came forth pastors who taught how to distinguish the true faith from man-contrived judgments, the firstfruits of the new life of grace - from the strict traditions of the old law, Orthodox faith - from heretical fallacies. These truths, conveyed to us by holy doctors of faith, were approved by Church councils and adopted as important doctrinal principles. Church recognized these pillars of faith as teachers. Twelve of them are especially regarded, because their teachings are adopted by all Apostolic Churches. These are Sts. Hierotheos the Thesmothete, Dionysius, Sylvester of Rome, Athanasius of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ephrem the Syrian, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory the Theologian, Epiphanius of Salamis, John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria. Armenian Church established a special celebration in remembrance of these luminaries of faith.