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Author Topic: The place of Origen in Oriental Orthodoxy  (Read 6284 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 10, 2006, 06:08:10 AM »

In Eastern Orthodoxy, Origen is held with low esteem, and is even condemned as a heretic. But even though he was incorrect in some of his ideas, he still was an important theologian for early Christianity. Does Oriental Orthodoxy hold him in higher esteem than the Eastern Orthodox, and, if so, how much authority is placed on him as a theologian?
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2006, 10:57:31 AM »

In Eastern Orthodoxy, Origen is held with low esteem, and is even condemned as a heretic. But even though he was incorrect in some of his ideas, he still was an important theologian for early Christianity. Does Oriental Orthodoxy hold him in higher esteem than the Eastern Orthodox, and, if so, how much authority is placed on him as a theologian?

He may have been condemned as a heretic, but the fact still remains that he is a Father amongst the Saints. I wouldn't say that we hold him in low esteem.
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2006, 11:21:22 AM »

Well it was a Coptic patriarch who was the first to excommunicate him...
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2006, 12:00:32 PM »

Well, he has not officially been condemned in the same manner he has by the EO's, and he continues to be quoted in Coptic works dealing with Patristics. The ArchDeacon at my Cathedral told me a story about how H.E. Metropolitan Bishoy requested from Fr. T. Malaty that he cease quoting Origen in his patristic works. Fr. T. Malaty bluntly refused.

This doesn't mean however that everything he taught sits well with the Church. Regarding his apokatastasis doctrine for example, although it is not officially condemned it is naturally repelled by the Conscience of the Church. The most explicit Oriental Orthodox response to the question of apokatastasis that I have seen, was written by St. Severus of Antioch. St. Severus utilised logic, the Scriptures, and the Fathers who preceded him, to establish the fact such a teaching is not compatible with Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2006, 12:09:20 PM »

St. Severus of Antioch on apokatastasis:

XCVIII. ---- OF MAR SEVERUS FROM THE 5th LETTER OF THE 4th BOOK OF THOSE AFTER EXILE, WHICH WAS ADDRESSED TO CAESARIA THE HYPATISSA.

But to the question which your excellency's magnificence has asked me by letter I return an easy answer, that for my part I have never accepted or expressed agreement with those who speak of an apokatastasis, and an end to the judgment involved in the torments that are threatened us in the future world, and the man who says that he has a letter of mine which proclaims this opinion manifestly lies. Therefore I praised your God-loving magnificence for asking for such a letter to be shown to you; a letter which the man who concocted it necessarily set himself falsely to show to be my composition. Those who hold such an opinion, wishing to accomplish their desires, as if forsooth on the basis of plausible suppositions, make use of arguments that are gratifying to the hearers, saying that it is unbecomingto or unworthy |371 of God, and far removed from his mercifulness, that the man who has sinned for 50 or 100 years in this world should endure torments for unending ages, forgetting this, that God's laws and those which, prevail among men think fit to requite sins according to the intention of the sinner, and one may hear even wise men outside saying of certain persons who have done foul deeds and acts that are not permitted, «This man deserves to die not once but many times»975. But, when a man hears as we do that God who became incarnate and was humanized without variation for our salvation, and who for this reason came down from heaven and conversed with us plainly threatens 976 fire that is not quenched and an undying worm 977, and 978 makes light of it, how does he not deserve, if it is possible to say so, to be condemned |372 twice over to 979 endless torment? If a man live 100 years or more in this present world and spend such a period in vanity, it is certain that this man, if he were allowed to live this same temporal life 980 without end 981, would not cease from his eternal 980 greed and wantonness 982. How therefore will this man in accordance with his disposition not justly 980 be tormented without end? Even the very men who introduce an apokatastasis 983 say of sinners that they will be tormented for many 984 and long periods so to speak 985, and then afterwards will be purified and admitted to clemency and attain to the promised blessedness. But they 986 forget that their human reasonings |373 themselves show God to be unrighteous in his judgments 987. If a man lives 988 in sin 50 or 80 years, but 989 endures torments many long generations, it is again apparent on their principle that this is not worthy of God's mercifulness 990, to extend the period of torment beyond the time of the life in sins, If God agreed with the reasonings of those who think thus 991, the man who sins for 50 years should endure torment for 50 years, and it 992 should not be thus long extended over many generations, as they say 993. For our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ also, in the holy words of his preaching, when |374 separating the righteous from the sinners, said, «These shall go to eternal torment, and the righteous to eternal life» 994, and with regard to both the classes 995, that of the former and that of the latter, he spoke in exactly the same fashion of an equality without distinction, applying the word ' eternal' to both without distinction.

Basil the great among teachers of the truth shows this clearly in the teaching composed by him in the form of question and answer addressed to the brethren of the convents; and it is the 219th question, which is expressed as follows:

«The brethren say 996. 

'If 997 one shall be beaten with many stripes and another with few, how |375 say some that there is no end to the sentence of those who are tormented?'

Basil 998 says.

Points which are matters of dispute and seen to be obscurely expressed m various places of the Holy Scriptures are elucidated by clear statements in other places. Since therefore our Lord says at one time, 'These shall go into eternal torment 999', and at another dismisses some to 'the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels', and at another mentions 'the gehenna of fire', uttering further the words,1000 'Where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched', and again said before through the prophet about certain |376 men, 1001 'Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched'; while these and similar expressions, are often 1002 used in the divine Scriptures, this also was brought about by the machination of the devil, in order that men, forgetting these and similar decrees of our Lord, might presume to sin without restraint, persuading themselves that there is an end to judgment. For, if it is possible for there to be 1003 an end to eternal judgment, there will assuredly also be an end to eternal life. But, if we do not consent to think this with regard to 1004 life, what plausibility is there in our assigning 1005 an end to eternal judgment? For the addition of the word 'eternal' is made equally in both cases. 'These shall go into eternal |377 judgment, and the righteous into eternal life'. These things therefore being thus admitted, we must know that the words 'He shall be beaten with many stripes' and 'shall be beaten with few' are not an end, but signify a difference of torment. For, if God is an upright judge, not only to the good but also to the evil 1006, and requites each according to his deeds, it is possible for one to be in the fire that is not quenched 1007, burning either less or more than the other, and another in the worm that dies not, both one that hurts little and one that hurts much 1008, each as he deserves, and another in gehenna that has a variety of torments, and another in outer darkness, and that there |378 is a place where a man is found amidst weeping only, and there is a place where he is amidst gnashing of teeth also from the severity of the pains 1009. But the outer darkness signifies that there is in truth an inner darkness also.1010 And the words used in the Proverbs 1011 'at the bottom of Sheol 1012' signify that there are persons in Sheol and not at the bottom of it, because their torment is smaller 1013. And this is depicted now also in bodily afflictions. For there is aman who is in a fever together with other pains, and another |379 who is in a fever only, and the latter is not like the former, and another has no fever, but is troubled by pain in some limb 1014, and one again either less or more than another. But this expression 'much' or 'little' is employed by our Lord in accordance with customary usage, as are also many other similar phrases. For we know that this form of speech is frequently adopted even with regard to those who are suffering from one disease 1015. For example, in the case of a man who has a fever only, or has pain in the eye only 1016 we 1017 say in astonishment ' How much he has suffered! ' or ' What anguish he has endured!' Accordingly the expression 'shall be beaten with many' |380 and 'with few', I say again, stands not in the extent of the time and the shortness1018, but in the difference of the torment» 1019. These things this great ruler and shepherd of rational souls Basil taught and stated with great completeness.1020 And Gregory, who became bishop of Nazianzus, himself in the homily of defence thinks that the future torment is endless, teaching thus: «But for us, the salvation of whose blessed and immortal soul is in danger, which will be undyingly tormented or glorified1021 by reason of wickedness or of virtue, how great do you think should the contest be1022?»1023 And John in the 66th homily1024 of the commentary on the Gospel of Matthew |381 states things consonant with these as follows: «For all these reasons accordingly let us first pay the taxes; for it is indeed very easy, and the reward is greater, and there is great abundance of profit, and worse is the torture if we do not understand, and a torture that has no end»4. And the same again in the 79th exposition when speaking of the Passion referred to the kingdom, and to the endless torment. And in the 82nd about the man who approaches the communion of the holy mysteries in a careless mood and without caution he gives teaching in the following words: «He who approaches after he has sinned is worse than a demoniac; for the: latter because they have a demon do not receive punishment, but the |382 former, because they approach unworthily, are delivered to undying torment 1025» 1026. And at the end of the commentary on the epistle to the Ephesians he 1027 expressed himself thus: «For a man to be burnt 1028 and not consumed, and to be perpetually gnawed by a 1029 worm is indestructible 1030 destruction, as happened to the blessed Job, who was in process of destruction and did not perish for a considerable time, but was constantly suffering and wasting away, while he scraped off putrid matter from his body 1031 for a long time. Something similar will happen to the soul at that time, when the 1032 worms surround and gnaw it, not for two years 1033 nor for ten nor for a hundred nor |383 for myriads 1034, but for years without end; for 'their worm', he says, 'shall not die'» 1035. The wise Cyril 1036 also in the 1st book of the commentary on the Gospel of John said: "We ought not to be ungrateful to God but on the contrary 1037 to thank him because by means of the Resurrection from the dead he has appointed for us torment that does not pass away 1038»1039.

Source: http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/severus_coll_3_letters.htm
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2006, 12:39:01 PM »

In Eastern Orthodoxy, Origen is held with low esteem, and is even condemned as a heretic. But even though he was incorrect in some of his ideas, he still was an important theologian for early Christianity. Does Oriental Orthodoxy hold him in higher esteem than the Eastern Orthodox, and, if so, how much authority is placed on him as a theologian?

Hmmm.... Altough he was condemned by a Synod (and wrongfully so, according to some), he is quoted by countless ancient and modern Fathers.  The statement that he is held "in low esteem" "in Eastern Orthodoxy" is completely incorrect.  He may be enigmatic in our eyes as a person, and some of his doctrines go too far to one extreme (although I've heard that there is a school of thought that he did so purposefully to refute particular heresies, and that he didn't espouse the beliefs to that same extreme), but the great majority of his works are not only correct but foundational for many theologians.
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2006, 12:45:41 PM »

Thanks for the reference to St. Severus' letter.

Origen is a genuis and a mastermind, but it does not excuse him from heresy should he have taught any. His apologetics in the Coptic Church rely basically on the denial that his writings in questions are not authentic, but they will not dispute the fact that the teachings themselves are heresies and have nothing to do with the Apostolic faith.

The strongest Coptic monastic tradition is that of Muharaq monastery, and they have a long standing stance against Origen since the time of the Great St. Theophilus who followed the tradition of St. Pachomios the father of the Kanonia in rejecting Origen as a whole. The most accomplished Coptic monk and saint , St. Shenoute, saw the the danger in the approach of Origen. Origen was a philosopher, not a man of faith or a man who values the Apostolic Tradition, which is the trademark of all heretics. He treated faith as an ideology and therefore strayed many times.

Origen might have wrote some brilliant books, but a heretic is condemned for his heresies regardless of his good ideas. His excommunication, when studied in the historic context that it took place in, condemn him even more. The Great Patriarch St. Demetrius, the Vinedresser, not only is a man of God but is the force behind Origen's rise to fame as he embraced him and gave him unprecedented power. It must have been a pretty rotten heresy that Origen taught that led Pope St. Demetrius to excommunicate his spiritual son.

Two of the following Patriarchs, Pope Dionysius and Pope Yaroklas, first to be called Pope, were disciples of Origen but found in his teachings enough heresies to upheld his excommunication. We cannot cite hatred as a reason for such actions as some stupid historian try to do. Pope like St. AThanasius and St. Cyril did not lack the power nor the authority to overturn any decision, and they had the primary sources of Origen's writings available, but found it enough to justify the excommunication.

[

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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2006, 04:24:41 PM »

Hmmm.... Altough he was condemned by a Synod (and wrongfully so, according to some), he is quoted by countless ancient and modern Fathers.  The statement that he is held "in low esteem" "in Eastern Orthodoxy" is completely incorrect. 
Quote
He was anathematized by the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, specifically in its eleventh Canon:
If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinarius Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their heretical books, and also all other heretics who have already been condemned and anathematized by the holy, catholic and apostolic church and by the four holy synods which have already been mentioned, and also all those who have thought or now think in the same way as the aforesaid heretics and who persist in their error even to death: let him be anathema.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Origen

Are you saying that an Eastern Orthodox Christian is not required to accept all the anathemas of an ecumenical council? That would be rather refreshing.
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2006, 04:53:31 PM »

Are you saying that an Eastern Orthodox Christian is not required to accept all the anathemas of an ecumenical council? That would be rather refreshing.

No. Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

What we're saying is that even though he was anathematized he is still a respected theologian and his ideas, even if not accepted in their entirety, are still influential in the Church.
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2006, 07:59:58 PM »

What we're saying is that even though he was anathematized he is still a respected theologian and his ideas, even if not accepted in their entirety, are still influential in the Church.

Why anathemize a man and then continue to use his theology? That's like saying "You can't be part of the Church, and we'll remember you as a heretic, but we're going to take your ideas anyway."
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2006, 08:15:05 PM »

Why anathemize a man and then continue to use his theology? That's like saying "You can't be part of the Church, and we'll remember you as a heretic, but we're going to take your ideas anyway."

If I wrote the "perfect" theory of relativity - no exceptions needed, 100% applicable to all situations, but then also said that the body contains two fluids - bile and blood - then the scientific community could ridicule me and expel me as a scientist for my biology, but still use my physics theories.

Same here.  Just because the synod condemned his "heretical" books doesn't mean you can't use his non-heretical books!
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2006, 08:40:49 PM »

Quote
Origen was a philosopher, not a man of faith or a man who values the Apostolic Tradition, which is the trademark of all heretics. He treated faith as an ideology and therefore strayed many times.

I read that Origen was a super ascetic and lived his whole adult life on bread and water and things like that. How could he not be a man of faith? I agree he is a heretic, but he was certainly not just sitting around philosophizing.
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2006, 10:07:25 PM »

Dear Stavro,

Of everything I have read regarding Origen's ex-communication, I can find nothing which indicates that he was ex-communicated for teaching vile heresies. In his The Story of the Copts (Vol. 1), Coptic historian Iris Habibi El-Masri states the following:

"About the year 228 A.D. Abba Demetrius, discerning how brilliant Origen had become, sent him on an evangelistic mission to Achaia, to teach and preach about the Living Word of God. When he terminated his mission and was returning home, he passed through Palestine; there Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem-one of his former fellowstudents, and Theostite, Bishop of Caesarea, detained him and ordained him bishop without asking permission of Abba Demetrius. This angered the Pope, and he convoked a council wherein, despite Origen's towering personality, he excommunicated him. He based this on two reasons: the first, he considered the ordination of any Egyptian priest the prerogative of the head of the Church of Egypt; and, in the second place, and more importantly, Origen had committed a sin against his own body, having made himself a eunuch, and thus had lost the right to priestly ordination, for only men without blemish could be ordained." (p. 41)

On p. 50, El-Masri goes on to explicate the fact that the two reasons given above were in fact those given by St. Demetrius himself.

Furthermore, contrary to what you have suggested, El-Masri argues that the two successors of Pope St. Demetrius pardoned Origen:

"The two immediate successors of Abba Demetrius to the Chair of St. Mark were Heraclas and Dionysius, both of whom had been students of the illustrious Origen. Each of them, in turn, pardoned him and sent to him a plea to come back to Alexandria and resume his work as Dean of the School." (p. 51)

I'm sure you're no stranger to El-Masri's works, so I'm curious as to your reasons for rejecting his scholarship on the matters in question.
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2006, 01:11:51 AM »

Same here.  Just because the synod condemned his "heretical" books doesn't mean you can't use his non-heretical books!

You may condemn certain books as heretical, and still continue to use the rest of his theology, but you cannot condemn the person and yet continue using his theology. That's like saying, "You're not invited to my birthday party, but I'll take your birthday gifts anyway." It's just plain rude and hypocritical. You either accept the theologian as authoritative, albeit erroneous in certain circumstances, or you do not use him at all.

I agree he is a heretic, but he was certainly not just sitting around philosophizing.

What, specifically, were his heresies?
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2006, 01:59:47 AM »

I believe a good example would be Tertullian. His works before his heretical change are still used but everything after are in contempt.

Question, Tertullian followed the Montanists. Is this true?

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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2006, 06:39:31 AM »

Origen might have wrote some brilliant books, but a heretic is condemned for his heresies regardless of his good ideas.

It seems rather disrespectful to condemn him and yet continue to utilize his works. Why not just condemn the certain errors of his belief system, rather than the man himself? Or if you condemn the man, why not discontinue using his work?
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2006, 12:15:46 PM »

Or if you condemn the man, why not discontinue using his work?
Because not all of his work is flawed while the man at the end of his life was espousing many heresies that must be condemned?
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2006, 08:10:23 PM »

Because not all of his work is flawed while the man at the end of his life was espousing many heresies that must be condemned?

Then condemn his certain heresies, but not the man himself.
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2006, 10:55:00 PM »

Quote
Why not just condemn the certain errors of his belief system, rather than the man himself? Or if you condemn the man, why not discontinue using his work?


The first part of your proposed treatment of theologians like Origen is sometimes used but rarely. I personally do not know why Gregory of Nyssa is not condemned for the same ideas that Origen proposed, having folowed Origen's duality scheme and took Origen's Universalism to another level. The idea itself in our Church is condemned, yet Gregory of Nyssa is held in high esteem. One possible explanation is that a heretic has to insist on his heresies after being called by a synod to defend his ideas, something Origen faced and failed to prove his Orthodoxy while Gregory of Nyssa was never questioned. A hierarch I asked about Gregory of Nyssa said that maybe he retracted or maybe his writings were tampered with although I personally think it is a weak statement.

As for the second part, the church has mixed approaches tailored for each congregation and maybe each individual through the Father of Confession. It is related more to the apporach to the faith and the level of knowledge and discernment believers have rather than just a clear cut position. For example, Theodore the Nestorian has a doctrine called the two-Age doctrine, which is a nice read for philosophy students but may raise questions about its compatibility with the Orthodox Faith. Depends on the scope of the research done ....
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« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2006, 12:51:12 AM »

Given that Augustine was erroneous in certain respects, why not condemn him also?
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« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2006, 01:31:26 AM »

Given that Augustine was erroneous in certain respects, why not condemn him also?
His ideas are just abused and misrepresented and not taken in context, and the ones that he erred about do not touch salvation. He was also brave enough to admit to errors, which is never an attribute of heretics puffed upith pride. He was not condemned by his contemporary saints and hierarchs who understood him in the context he wanted to be understood and we should take their judgement at the time because they lived it and best understood it. This is important to consider.

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« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2006, 01:34:49 AM »

Then again, I cannot stress enough, that if we are to condemn the person of Origen, we should discontinue using his work.
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« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2006, 04:25:00 AM »

One difference is that Gregory of Nyssa did not inspire groups of monks to beat each other (sometimes to death) for generations, over trivial points of belief. Justinian and the Church ecclesiastics (at the 5th Ecumenical) were not just trying to gang up on Origen, they were trying to resolve a matter that had caused turmoil in the empire for quite some time. Had large groups of people gone around torturing people in the name of Gregory of Nyssa, maybe he too would have been condemned. As it was, the Orthodox decided to "cover their father's nakedness" (as Photius put it) when it came to Gregory. Of course, the 5th is an EO council, but the origenist controversy was still an issue for all sides; it was not just "Hmm, do we like his teachings or not? Should we condemn him or not?" Things were much more complicated than that.
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« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2006, 04:41:19 AM »

If universal reconciliation was his error, then I don't believe that Origen should be considered a heretic. The doctrine itself should be allowed as theologoumena. If Origen was a heretic for this belief, then wouldn't Clement of Alexandria also be a heretic?
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« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2006, 06:17:57 AM »

If universal reconciliation was his error, then I don't believe that Origen should be considered a heretic. The doctrine itself should be allowed as theologoumena. If Origen was a heretic for this belief, then wouldn't Clement of Alexandria also be a heretic?

There was much more to Origenism than simple apokatastasis. He believed in the pre-existence of souls, for instance. This quote from St. Epiphanius might give you some idea of just how far from Orthodoxy Origen had strayed in his teachings.

Quote
For I see that all your indignation has been roused against me simply because I have told you that you ought not to eulogize one who is the spiritual father of Arius, and the root and parent of all heresies. And when I appealed to you not to go astray, and warned you of the consequences, you traversed my words, and reduced me to tears and sadness; and not me only, but many other Catholics who were present.

Can any one, moreover, brook Origen’s assertion that men’s souls were once angels in heaven, and that having sinned in the upper world, they have been cast down into this, and have been confined in bodies as in barrows or tombs, to pay the penalty for their former sins; and that the bodies of believers are not temples of Christ, but prisons of the condemned?

Again, he tampers with the true meaning of the narrative by a false use of allegory, multiplying words without limit; and undermines the faith of the simple by the most varied arguments.

Now he maintains that souls, in Greek the "cool things"... are so called because in coming down from the heavenly places to the lower world they have lost their former heat; and now, that our bodies are called by the Greeks chains... or else (on the analogy of our own Latin word) "things fallen," because our souls have fallen from heaven; and that the other word for body which the abundance of the Greek idiom supplies is by many taken to mean a funeral monument, because the soul is shut up within it in the same way as the corpses of the dead are shut up in tombs and barrows.

If this doctrine is true what becomes of our faith?

Where is the preaching of the resurrection?

Where is the teaching of the apostles, which lasts on to this day in the churches of Christ?

Where is the blessing to Adam, and to his seed, and to Noah and his sons? "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." According to Origen, these words must be a curse and not a blessing; for he turns angels into human souls, compelling them to leave the place of highest rank and to come down lower, as though God were unable through the action of His blessing to grant souls to the human race, had the angels not sinned, and as though for every birth on earth there must be a fall in heaven.

We are to give up, then, the teaching of the apostles and prophets, of the law, and of our Lord and Savior Himself, in spite of His language which is loud as thunder in the gospel.

Origen, on the other hand, commands and urges-not to say binds-his disciples not to pray to ascend into heaven, lest sinning once more worse than they had sinned on earth they should be hurled down into the world again. Such foolish and insane notions he generally confirms by distorting the sense of the Scriptures and making them mean what they do not mean at all. He quotes this passage from the Psalms: "Before you did humble me by reason of my wickedness, I went wrong;" and this, "Return unto your rest, O my soul;" this also, "Bring my soul out of prison;" and this, "I will make confession unto the Lord in the land of the living," although there can be no doubt that the meaning of the divine Scripture is different from the interpretation by which he unfairly wrests it to the support of his own heresy.

This way of acting is common to the Manichaens, the Gnostics, the Ebionites, the Marcionites, and the votaries of the other eighty heretics, all of whom draw their proofs from the pure well of the Scriptures, not, however, interpreting it in the sense in which it is written, but trying to make the simple language of the Church’s writers accord with their own wishes.

Taken from http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/patrology/schoolofalex2/chapter04.html which, as you can see, is a Coptic site.

James
 
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« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2006, 07:16:35 AM »

The pre-existence of souls is a bad doctrine, and should be condemned, but perhaps not the man himself. Would you want someone to condemn you, only to continue using the parts of your work that they find acceptable?
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« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2006, 09:03:49 AM »

If universal reconciliation was his error...
That was one of his errors.

Then you get to that whole self castration thing...

Yes, it can be correct to condemn someone's actions and statements while still acknowledging that they had previously done something praiseworthy.

By the way, I believe the Orthodox Church sees Origen as a historian that documented events in the early Church. Please correct me if you can cite information to the contrary on this.
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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2006, 09:05:35 AM »

Taken from http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/patrology/schoolofalex2/chapter04.html which, as you can see, is a Coptic site.
In response to my query above, please restrict citations to Eastern Orthodox sources. Thanks.
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« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2006, 09:11:45 AM »

Then you get to that whole self castration thing...

Jesus did say that some men have made themselves eunachs for the Kingdom of God.
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« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2006, 09:15:50 AM »

In response to my query above, please restrict citations to Eastern Orthodox sources. Thanks.

Sorry, this is the Oriental Orthodox forum.  Cool
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« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2006, 09:16:46 AM »

Jesus did say that some men have made themselves eunachs for the Kingdom of God.
Did He say that in anyway which suggested that He approved of this action? Again, please include citations.
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« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2006, 09:22:42 AM »

In response to my query above, please restrict citations to Eastern Orthodox sources. Thanks.

St. Epiphanius is a saint of ours. This is the Oriental Orthodox forum and Matthew started the thread to ask the place of Origenism in Oriental Orthodoxy. As such, I thought, particularly as I was relying on one of our saints (and I could equally have used St. Jerome) that it would be both better and more convincing to note that the quote was used on a Coptic site and link to it. Care to explain why on earth, that being said, I should restrict myself to EO sources when trying to answer the enquiry made by an OO as to Origen's place in the OO, not EO, church?

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To save any confusion, I'm Romanian Orthodox and not an OO of any type.
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« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2006, 09:50:28 AM »

Quote
Jesus did say that some men have made themselves eunachs for the Kingdom of God.

Yes, and the early Church almost unanimously condemned taking that in a woodenly literal way. Apparently, Jesus didn't think that you should cut Mr. Winky off (Matt. 19:12) any more than he wanted people to cut their own eyes out (Matt. 5:29) or cut their hand off (Matt. 5:30). I feel really bad for people who got that one wrong.
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« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2006, 10:11:01 AM »

Yes, and the early Church almost unanimously condemned taking that in a woodenly literal way.

Exactly. And if that were the case, why would Origen of all people take Christ's words in a woodenly literal way!!!? (I can't remember reading many who criticize Origen for his literalistic interpretation of Scripture!)

I think we have to put some of the accusations against Origen in their actual ecclesiastical context. First, this rumor about his castration comes many years after his death. Notably, Eusebius recounts the story of Origen's castration without giving any source (which is quite telling, since Eusebius always notes where he received a piece of information if he has a source). Of course, Eusebius is the first to say that Origen castrated himself because of Christ's words in the Scripture (but, as I've said, who ever said Origen was a literalist!?). Then, Eusebius says Origen did it is so that he could teach women without scandal. But elsewhere, Eusebius says Origen endeavored to keep his castration a secret -- which would completely negate this supposed reason, since no one would know about it and, therefore, rumor and scandal would continue.

St. Epiphanius of Salamis, on the other hand, doesn't mention the castration (quite notable, I think). Instead, he attributes Origen's amazing chastity to drugs and charms (he REALLY hated Origen). But how reliable is his account? Epiphanius was forced to admit at least twice that he wrote scathing condemnations of various theologies/churchmen without actually reading material from them because he often relied on rumor and hearsay.

In fact, Sozomen tells us that Epiphanius eventually admitted to the Origenist monks in Constantinople that he was not familiar with the works from their school and that he opposed their doctrines based on hearsay. That was about par for the course at the time. As Asteriktos mentioned, the furor around Origen was exacerbated because of disagreements between followers of Origen after his death and others who opposed those followers (for a variety of reasons).
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« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2006, 01:54:16 PM »

This is the Oriental Orthodox forum and Matthew started the thread to ask the place of Origenism in Oriental Orthodoxy.
My mistake, you are quite correct! I probably clicked on the topic from the Most Recent Posts list without noting the forum name.

Being that this is about how the Oriental Orthodox view Origen and not the Eastern Orthodox, I humbly withdraw from the discussion as it does not involved my Church.

Thanks for the correction!
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« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2006, 03:56:30 PM »

Yes, and the early Church almost unanimously condemned taking that in a woodenly literal way.

Origen's decision is rather strange, especially with the allegorical interpretations that he utilized for most of Scripture. Even still, self-castration wouldn't mike him a heretic, but just a silly, silly man. Other than universal reconciliation and pre-existence of souls, what were his heresies? What was the heresy in his Christology and understanding of the Trinity?
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« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2007, 01:22:07 PM »

Is it possible that Origen was condemned merely because his theological and philosophical insights were so much ahead of his time? That he described the Triune persons as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier does not prove that he taught a subordinationist understanding of the Godhead.

Peace.
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« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2007, 04:56:28 PM »

Quote
Is it possible that Origen was condemned merely because his theological and philosophical insights were so much ahead of his time?

Are you suggesting that later Christians accepted ideas like the pre-existence of souls, or that all people will become disembodied spirits and attain salvation?
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« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2007, 06:45:46 PM »

Are you suggesting that later Christians accepted ideas like the pre-existence of souls, or that all people will become disembodied spirits and attain salvation?

While not all of his doctrines may be shared by contemporary Christians, at least more today are willing to freely speculate as Origen did. From what I know of his Christology and concept of afterlife, Origen did have good insight to provide that was unfortunately misunderstood.
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