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From Alexandria to Caesarea: Reassessing Origen’s Appointment to the Presbyterate

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The events surrounding Origen’s relocation are more complex than has been previously held. In the wake of the Severan Persecutions, as Demetrius attempted to reorganize the Alexandrian house-churches into a more centralized body, he naturally brought Origen’s school within this new model. This shift placed Origen more directly under the authority of the bishop, who monitored Origen’s activities. When Origen was asked to act as a representative of the Caesarean church in settling a dispute in Athens and subsequently was ordained presbyter, this raised the question of the limits of bishops’ powers: could they ordain candidates from outside their own churches? Though his theology may have been questioned, the synods following Origen’s ordination focused on issues surrounding the boundaries of ecclesiastical authority.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, Appalachian State University 1075 Anne Belk Hall, Boone, NC 28608, Email:


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