On early church fathers of the first century

Dear sisters and brothers,

Through my researched/what I came across over some months, it is said that those first century Christian fathers like Ignatius, Polycarb or 1 Clement knew the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is likely that they knew some of the apostles( John 90s, Paul, Peter…) given the proximity of the years between them. Those early church fathers could have been an eye/ear witness of the apostles. But I can never find any solid evidence supporting that they were an eye/ear witness of the Gospel or the apostles through their personal writings. All we know about is through the sayings of tradition or from church father like Irenaeus.

My question is how authentic is the sayings of tradition or that of Irenaeus …?

(N. B. Just being curious)

Thank you.

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Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but this is an excerpt from Eusebius of Caesaria. It can be found in The Church History of Eusebius. In P. Schaff & H. Wace (Eds.), A. C. McGiffert (Trans.), Eusebius: Church History, Life of Constantine the Great, and Oration in Praise of Constantine (Vol. 1, pp. 238–239).

6 I remember the events of that time more clearly than those of recent years. For what boys learn, growing with their mind, becomes joined with it; so that I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and his goings out and his comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical appearance, and his discourses to the people, and the accounts which he gave of his intercourse with John and with the others who had seen the Lord. And as he remembered their words, and what he heard from them concerning the Lord, and concerning his miracles and his teaching, having received them from eyewitnesses of the ‘Word of life,’ Polycarp related all things in harmony with the Scriptures.
7 These things being told me by the mercy of God, I listened to them attentively, noting them down, not on paper, but in my heart. And continually, through God’s grace, I recall them faithfully. And I am able to bear witness before God that if that blessed and apostolic presbyter had heard any such thing, he would have cried out, and stopped his ears, and as was his custom, would have exclaimed, O good God, unto what times hast thou spared me that I should endure these things? And he would have fled from the place where, sitting or standing, he had heard such words.
8 And this can be shown plainly from the letters which he sent, either to the neighboring churches for their confirmation, or to some of the brethren, admonishing and exhorting them.” Thus far Irenæus.

Let me know if this helps as you ask a good question

Here is a link to an additional resource.

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