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Origen, one of the most distinguished of the Fathers of the early Church, was born, probably at Alexandria, about 182; and died at Caesarea not later than 251. His full name was apparently Origenes Adamantius; and he received from his father, Leonides, thorough instruction in the Bible and in elementary studies. But in 202 the outbreak of the persecution of Septimius Severus robbed Origen of his father, whom he sought to follow in martyrdom, being prevented only by a ruse of his mother. The death of Leonides left the family of nine impoverished, their property being confiscated. Origen, however, was taken under the protection of a woman of wealth and standing; but as her household already included a heretic named Paul, the strictly orthodox Origen seems to have remained with her but a short time. Since his father's teaching enabled him also to give elementary instruction, he revived, in 203, the catechetical school at, whose last teacher, Clement, was apparently driven out by the persecution. But the persecution still raged, and the young teacher unceasingly visited the prisoners, attended the courts, and comforted the condemned, himself preserved from harm as if by a miracle. His fame and the number of his pupils increased rapidly, so that Demetrius, bishop of Alexandria, made him restrict himself to instruction in Christian doctrine alone. Origen, to be entirely independent, sold his library for a sum which netted him a daily income of 4 obols (about twelve cents) on which he lived by exercising the utmost frugality. Teaching throughout the day, he devoted the greater part of the night to the study of the Bible and lived a life of rigid asceticism. This he carried to such an extent that, fearing that his position as a teacher of women as well as men might give ground for scandal to the heathen, he followed literally Matt. xix. 12, partly influenced, too, by his belief that the Christian must follow the words of his Master without reserve. Later in life, however, he saw reason to judge differently concerning his extreme act.

Letter to Africanus
On  The Gospel of John. Chapter 8
Origen. A Biography
On. John the Baptist and the Prophets of Israel

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