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Author Topic: Origen  (Read 2297 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 11, 2007, 08:10:41 AM »

I know Origen, or perhaps "Origenism", was anathematized by th Orthodox Church under Justinian in the late 6th century. Since this is obviously post Chalcedon, the Oriental Orthodox were already severed from the EO. How do the Oriental Orthodox regard Origen? Theologically it seems that the OO and EO agree on the errors of Origen's teaching (Trinitarian and pre-existence of souls) but I presume he was never anathematized by the OO. What little I know of Origen is that he seems to be a tragic individual; brilliant, saintly, and flawed. Minus the flaws, it would seem that a Sts. John Chrysostom or Maximos the confessor would be similar colleagues.
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2007, 10:05:26 AM »

Origen does not really have much of a role or influence in the activities of today's Church, apart from his being quoted every now and then insofar as he exemplifies Orthodox teaching and thought. Although he is not commemorated in the Coptic Synaxarium, he is nevertheless given various titles of respect (i.e. “Origen, the scholar”, or “the erudite Origen”) whenever his person is relevant to a Saint being commemorated (viz. St. Gregory the Wonder-Worker, and Sts. Barbara and Juliana). 

As far as the erroneous doctrines usually attributed to him are concerned, the Fathers of our Church have clearly opposed them whenever they have been an issue of concern. So for example, the great Doctor of our Church, St. Severus of Antioch, wrote a brilliant patristically and scripturally supported refutation of the doctrine of Apokatastasis in response to a circulating rumour that he held to such a belief. In the appendix of his work Quintessence of Religious Doctrines, Mor Dionysius Geervaghese Vattasseril, a Syrian Orthodox Church Father of the 20th century, provides a list of heretics and a summary of their teachings; although he does not mention Origen, he mentions a certain “Stephen, the Son of Sundayli”, whose heresy, according to Mor Dionysius, was the belief that, “there is no eternal punishment as there is an end to every punishment. Therefore, the sinners will not be punished forever. Similarly, mercy will be shown even to the devils. In the end, everything will return to God.” The translator of this work, Prof. Matthew Oruvattithara, inserts his own comments in the section of this translated work pertaining to the end times. He states that the doctrine of Apokatastasis is “a heresy…which stood as a bar to Origen being canonised by the Church.”
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 10:41:21 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2007, 03:15:11 PM »

If you would like to read more from a Coptic scholar's perspective, Fr. Tadros Malaty wrote pretty much a textbook about Origen with 21 chapters:

http://copticchurch.net/topics/patrology/schoolofalex2/index.html
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2007, 04:09:15 PM »

In the appendix of his work Quintessence of Religious Doctrines, Mor Dionysius Geervaghese Vattasseril, a Syrian Orthodox Church Father of the 20th century, provides a list of heretics and a summary of their teachings; although he does not mention Origen, he mentions a certain “Stephen, the Son of Sundayli”, whose heresy, according to Mor Dionysius, was the belief that, “there is no eternal punishment as there is an end to every punishment. Therefore, the sinners will not be punished forever. Similarly, mercy will be shown even to the devils. In the end, everything will return to God.”

After further research into the matter, it appears that Stephen bar Sundayli was a palestinian monk who was heavily influenced by the so-called "origenistic tendencies" that dominated that monastic centre. His views were strongly attacked by St. Philoxenus of Mabbugh in a letter addressed to certain priests in Edessa.
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2007, 08:06:58 AM »

If you would like to read more from a Coptic scholar's perspective, Fr. Tadros Malaty wrote pretty much a textbook about Origen with 21 chapters:

http://copticchurch.net/topics/patrology/schoolofalex2/index.html
Thank you for the link.
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2007, 05:40:22 AM »

Some further information I have discovered, which is of much value and import to the OO position on Origen and Origenism:

Sts. Shenoute the Archimandrite and Dioscoros I of Alexandria, were staunch opponents of Origenism in their day:

“At some time between 444 and 451 Cyril’s successor, Dioscorus, appealed to Shenoute to help him co-ordinate a purge of Origenism in the region of Panopolis (Shmin). He sent him a memorandum for three bishops of the Thebaid on the need to enquire into the presence of heresy in their dioceses, together with a covering letter telling him about the relapse into Origenism of the priest Helias. Shenoute was to have ythe memorandum, which called for the ‘books and numerous treatises of the pest named Origen and other heretics’ to be weeded out of the monasteries of the area, to be translated into Coptic. Dioscorus clearly had the greatest confidence in Shenoute, trusting that he would see the matter through with zeal—and keep the local bishops up to the mark.” [Norman Russell, ‘Bishops and Charismatics in Early Christian Egypt’, in Abba: The Tradition of Orthodoxy in the West, 109].

Upon Abba Dioscoros’ initiative, St. Shenoute then went on to compose his “Against the Origenists.” I have access, through my university, to digital copies of the manuscripts of this work, including Italian translations; time to find me an Italian friend (or wait till the end of the year to complete my Sahidic course).

It seems that St. Shenoute was opposed both to Origenism and the person of Origen, who he unequivocally deemed a “heretic” on a number of occasions.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2007, 05:41:51 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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