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“Eusebius of Caesarea - On Origen - original Greek Text with English translation”

From Historia Ecclesiastica, 6. 2-3.

Eusebius gives information Origen's early years. You can read this text by following the link below.

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Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Greek (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the NPNF series.

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Relevant books
available at Amazon

Eusebius studies and translations
with links to Amazon

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TEXTS & TRANSLATIONS

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Chapter II. The Training of Origen from Childhood.
1. MANY things might be said in attempting to describe the life of the man while in school; but this subject alone would require a separate treatise. Nevertheless, for the present, abridging most things, we shall state a few facts concerning him as briefly as possible, gathering them from certain letters, and from the statement of persons still living who were acquainted with him. 2. What they report of Origen seems to me worthy of mention, even, so to speak, from his swathing-bands. It was the tenth year of the reign of Severus, while Lætus was governor of Alexandria and the rest of Egypt, and Demetrius had lately received the episcopate of the parishes there, as successor of Julian. 3. As the flame of persecution had been kindled greatly, and multitudes had gained the crown of martyrdom, such desire for martyrdom seized the soul of Origen, although yet a boy, that he went close to danger, springing forward and rushing to the conflict in his eagerness. 4. And truly the termination of his life had been very near had not the divine and heavenly Providence, for the benefit of many, prevented his desire through the agency of his mother. 5. For, at first, entreating him, she begged him to have compassion on her motherly feelings toward him; but finding, that when he had learned that his father had been seized and imprisoned, he was set the more resolutely, and completely carried away with his zeal for martyrdom, she hid all his clothing, and thus compelled him to remain at home. 6. But, as there was nothing else that he could do, and his zeal beyond his age would not suffer him to be quiet, he sent to his father an encouraging letter on martyrdom, in which he exhorted him, saying,“Take heed not to change your mind on our account.” This may be recorded as the first evidence of Origen’s youthful wisdom and of his genuine love for piety. 7. For even then he had stored up no small resources in the words of the faith, having been trained in the Divine Scriptures from childhood. And he had not studied them with indifference, for his father, besides giving him the usual liberal education, had made them a matter of no secondary importance. 8. First of all, before inducting him into the Greek sciences, he drilled him in sacred studies, requiring him to learn and recite every day. 9. Nor was this irksome to the boy, but he was eager and diligent in these studies. And he was not satisfied with learning what was simple and obvious in the sacred words, but sought for something more, and even at that age busied himself with deeper speculations. So that he puzzled his father with inquiries for the true meaning of the inspired Scriptures. 10. And his father rebuked him seemingly to his face, telling him not to search beyond his age, or further than the manifest meaning. But by himself he rejoiced greatly and thanked God, the author of all good, that he had deemed him worthy to be the father of such a child. 11. And they say that often, standing by the boy when asleep, he uncovered his breast as if the Divine Spirit were enshrined within it, and kissed it reverently; considering himself blessed in his goodly offspring. These and other things like them are related of Origen when a boy. 12. But when his father ended his life in martyrdom, he was left with his mother and six younger brothers when he was not quite seventeen years old. 13. And the property of his father being confiscated to the royal treasury, he and his family were in want of the necessaries of life. But he was deemed worthy of Divine care. And he found welcome and rest with a woman of great wealth, and distinguished in her manner of life and in other respects. She was treating with great honor a famous heretic then in Alexandria; who, however, was born in Antioch. He was with her as an adopted son, and she treated him with the greatest kindness. 14. But although Origen was under the necessity of associating with him, he nevertheless gave from this time on strong evidences of his orthodoxy in the faith. For when on account of the apparent skill in argument of Paul,—for this was the man’s name,—a great multitude came to him, not only of heretics but also of our people, Origen could never be induced to join with him in prayer; for he held, although a boy, the rule of the Church, and abominated, as he somewhere expresses it, heretical teachings. Having been instructed in the sciences of the Greeks by his father, he devoted him after his death more assiduously and exclusively to the study of literature, so that he obtained considerable preparation in philology and was able not long after the death of his father, by devoting himself to that subject, to earn a compensation amply sufficient for his needs at his age.


Chapter III. While still very Young, he taught diligently the Word of Christ.
1. BUT while he was lecturing in the school, as he tells us himself, and there was no one at Alexandria to give instruction in the faith, as all were driven away by the threat of persecution, some of the heathen came to him to hear the word of God. 2. The first of them, he says, was Plutarch, who after living well, was honored with divine martyrdom. The second was Heraclas, a brother of Plutarch; who after he too had given with him abundant evidence of a philosophic and ascetic life, was esteemed worthy to succeed Demetrius in the bishopric of Alexandria. 3. He was in his eighteenth year when he took charge of the catechetical school. He was prominent also at this time, during the persecution under Aquila, the governor of Alexandria, when his name became celebrated among the leaders in the faith, through the kindness and goodwill which he manifested toward all the holy martyrs, whether known to him or strangers. 4. For not only was he with them while in bonds, and until their final condemnation, but when the holy martyrs were led to death, he was very bold and went with them into danger. So that as he acted bravely, and with great boldness saluted the martyrs with a kiss, oftentimes the heathen multitude round about them became infuriated, and were on the point of rushing upon him. 5. But through the helping hand of God, he escaped absolutely and marvelously. And this same divine and heavenly power, again and again, it is impossible to say how often, on account of his great zeal and boldness for the words of Christ, guarded him when thus endangered. So great was the enmity of the unbelievers toward him, on account of the multitude that were instructed by him in the sacred faith, that they placed bands of soldiers around the house where he abode. 6. Thus day by day the persecution burned against him, so that the whole city could no longer contain him; but he removed from house to house and was driven in every direction because of the multitude who attended upon the divine instruction which he gave. For his life also exhibited right and admirable conduct according to the practice of genuine philosophy. 7. For they say that his manner of life was as his doctrine, and his doctrine as his life. Therefore, by the divine Power working with him he aroused a great many to his own zeal. 8. But when he saw yet more coming to him for instruction, and the catechetical school had been entrusted to him alone by Demetrius, who presided over the church, he considered the teaching of grammatical science inconsistent with training in divine subjects, and forthwith he gave up his grammatical school as unprofitable and a hindrance to sacred learning. 9. Then, with becoming consideration, that he might not need aid from others, he disposed of whatever valuable books of ancient literature he possessed, being satisfied with receiving from the purchaser four oboli a day. For many years he lived philosophically in this manner, putting away all the incentives of youthful desires. Through the entire day he endured no small amount of discipline; and for the greater part of the night he gave himself to the study of the Divine Scriptures. He restrained himself as much as possible by a most philosophic life; sometimes by the discipline of fasting, again by limited time for sleep. And in his zeal he never lay upon a bed, but upon the ground. 10. Most of all, he thought that the words of the Saviour in the Gospel should be observed, in which he exhorts not to have two coats nor to use shoes nor to occupy oneself with cares for the future. 11. With a zeal beyond his age he continued in cold and nakedness; and, going to the very extreme of poverty, he greatly astonished those about him. And indeed he grieved many of his friends who desired to share their possessions with him, on account of the wearisome toil which they saw him enduring in the teaching of divine things. 12. But he did not relax his perseverance. He is said to have walked for a number of years never wearing a shoe, and, for a great many years, to have abstained from the use of wine, and of all other things beyond his necessary food; so that he was in danger of breaking down and destroying his constitution. 13. By giving such evidences of a philosophic life to those who saw him, he aroused many of his pupils to similar zeal; so that prominent men even of the unbelieving heathen and men that followed learning and philosophy were led to his instruction. Some of them having received from him into the depth of their souls faith in the Divine Word, became prominent in the persecution then prevailing; and some of them were seized and suffered martyrdom.
 



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Eusebius of Caesarea
Historia Ecclesiastica
Church History
Ecclesiastical History
Origen
Ὠριγένης
Ωριγενης
Childhood
Youth
Early years
Original Greek text
Migne Greek Text
Patrologiae Graecae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Graeca

 

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