2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Origen (c 185-253 CE) was born in Alexandria to a Christian family. (His father, Leonidas, was martyred in 202 during the persecution of Septimius Severus). At 18, Origen became head of the catechetical school of Alexandria, because of his brilliance and because the school had fallen into disarray during the persecution. In 212, he journeyed to Rome where he met the theologian, Hippolytus. Later, he was preaching as a layman in Caesarea, Palestine, much to the dismay of Demetrius, bishop of Alexandria. Partly with the intent of dealing with Demetrius' objections, Origen was ordained to the priesthood in Caesarea sometime around 230. But this only infuriated Demetrius all the more, who argued that only one's own bishop could perform an ordination. Demetrius deposed and excommunicated Origen in 230 and 231. Origen then moved to Caesarea, where he opened a school patterned on the one at Alexandria. He suffered greatly during the persecution of Decius (249-251), and died in Tyre soon thereafter. A Platonist at heart, in spite of his claimed skepticism concerning philosophy, Origen is the first systematic theologian, the most important extant statement of this being his work, On First Principles.
Anthony F. Beavers
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