Birth: ~185 AD
Death: ~253 AD
Native Place: Alexandria
Place of Vision: Alexandria, Caesarea
Saint Origen of Alexandria (also known as Origenes Adamantius) was one of the greatest early Christian theologians. He was greatly influenced by his father Leonides who taught him literature and philosophy along with Christian doctrine. Since his childhood, Origen memorized scriptures daily and could recite them at will. When his father was arrested and executed for practicing Christianity, Origen took the responsibility of providing for his family. When he was eighteen years old, he was appointed as a catechist at the Catechetical School of Alexandria, where he adopted an ascetic lifestyle. He led a simple life, walked barefoot, and spent most of his time teaching, fasting, and praying.
Origen lived in an age when there was no doctrinal consensus existed among the various regional churches. He started writing Biblical commentaries and sermons to elucidate faith in Christianity. Origen’s ‘On the First Principles’ was the first-ever systematic exposition of Christian theology. He refuted the mythological speculations by certain sects of Christianity and presented a correct Christian system based on scriptures. He gave up his job as a catechist and traveled across the Mediterranean, Rome, and Arabia, teaching the people to systematically understand the scriptures. He often used to draw together disparate passages and make a profound theological point. However, Origen’s revelation of scriptural understanding put him in conflict with his contemporaries. They condemned his teachings and created hurdles for his ministry.
Hence, Origen moved to Caesarea, where he established centers for Christian education and trained young men in theology. He held public debates and convinced many to lead a theologically correct devotional life. However, under the rule of Emperor Decius, there was widespread persecution of Christians. Around 250 AD, Origen was captured and horrifically tortured to renounce his faith in Christ, to which he obstinately refused. After two years of cruel imprisonment, he left his badly bruised body to enter the heavenly abode.
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Thanks: Dr. Hepsibah Selvam