St. Thomas Aquinas


January 28 is the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church as well as one of the most influential European philosophers. Born around 1225 in Roccasecca, in the Italian county of Aquino, Thomas was sent to live and train among Benedectine monks at barely the age of 5; he remained at the Abbey of Monte Cassino until he was 13 years old, later moving to complete his education in Naples. It was there that, for the following 5 years, Thomas came across and studied the works of Aristotle, one of the main pivotal points in his philosophy and thought.

Aristotle, in fact, was mostly unknown among European thinkers of the time, his work having survived thanks only to Jewish and Arabic scholars. It was St. Thomas Aquinas himself to bring Aristotle's to the Catholic West, "merging" his teachings with the principles of Christianity, and Plato, who was already accepted by the doctrine of the Church. Aquinas thus strived to give faith to the reason, with faith being the only way to access the truths that reason alone can't reach.

Although initially frowned upon, Thomism was later adopted as the official doctrine of the Church.

"Thomas Aquinas", illumination from the manuscript "Summa theologiae", ms. 0499 (I), f. 001r, beginning of the 14th century, Bibliothèque municipale, Troyes.

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