Saturday, August 29, 2009

St. Justinian the Great Not an Aphthartodocetist

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Emperor Justinian became an Aphthartodocetist in his old age

Unfortunately, some sources repeat the myth that St. Justinian the Great (11/14) succumbed to the heresy of Aphthartodocetism.{1} Fr. Asterios Gerostergios destroys this accusation in Justinian the Great: The Emperor and Saint. Fr. Asterios argues in the following manner. If the saintly emperor really became a heretic, anti-Justinian Bishop Victor of Northern Africa would have mentioned it in his Chronicle. Pope St. Gregory I the Great of Rome (Doctor, 9/3) lauds St. Justinian of "pious memory" as a champion of orthodoxy,{2} and also praises the successor of Patriarch St. Eutychios of Constantinople (4/6), St. John III the Scholastic (8/28), for his right faith, whereas St. John would have been an Aphthartodocetist if St. Justinian had really issued such an edict. Notes & References
{1} See, e.g., Evans, J. A. S. "Justinian I, Byzantine Emperor." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 99. 15 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Fordham University Libraries. 23 Mar. 2009.
{2} See Epistle IV:4 to Queen Theodelinda of the Lombards [PL 77:671C], Epistle VII:34 to Patriarch St. Eulogios of Alexandria [PL 77:893B], Epistle IX:122 to King Recarred I (†601) of the Visigoths [PL 77:1056A], and Epistle XIV:13 to Queen Theodelinda of the Lombards [PL 77:1316A].

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bl. Theodoret Is A Church Father

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Theodoret of Cyrus is not a Church Father
In the eighth session of Chalcedon (the Fourth Ecumenical Council) on 10/26/451, the Holy Fathers, with papal approbation, declared the "very reverend bishop Theodoret" to be an "orthodox doctor" [Mansi VII:190CD] after the latter anathematized the heresiarchs Nestorios and Eutyches. Popes Vigilius, Pelagius I, Pelagius II, and the Doctor St. Gregory I the Great of Rome (9/3) all praised Bl. Theodoret, as did Patriarch Photius of Constantinople (2/6), who called him a "divine man" [Bibliotheca 204 in PG 102:676B]. Even though in 553 Constantinople II (the Fifth Ecumenical Council) anathematized Thedoret's confused writings [PG 76:392B-449C] against Patriarch St. Cyril I of Alexandria [Canon 13 in Mansi IX:386CD], it did not condemn the person of Theodoret, who shunned the Nestorian heresy and is and will always be, thanks to Chalcedon, a Father of the Church.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

God Is Love, So Love Him

Think about how much your relatives love you. Then ponder how much He loves you Who is love itself [Jn 4:16]. He loves you and me into being. He loves you and everyone else [Wis 11:25] so much that He took the form of a servant [Phil 2:6] and endured extreme humiliation and cold-blooded murder on the Cross so that you could share in the life of He Who is Life itself [Jn 14:6]. Therefore let us love God with our whole heart [Dt 6:5].

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Essence, Energy, and Uncreated and Created Grace

Defining the Terms
1. ES-1 (oὐσία in Byzantine sense): God as what He necessarily is irrespective of what He does ad extra, according to the definition of the erudite Dr. Mike Liccione. No creature can see ES-1 for the simple reason that we cannot know God except as He acts on us. This is the sense in which the Eastern Fathers like St. Gregory the Theologian (Doctor) [Oration 28:3] and St. Maximos the Confessor deny that the beatific vision is of the divine essence, for such vision would entail comprehension and our existence as a divine hypostasis, which blasphemous doctrines must be shunned.
2. ES-2 (essentia in Latin sense): God as what He eternally and unalterably is in se, given His creation and redemption of us, as explained by Dr. Mike Liccione. ES-2 becomes the form whereby our intellect understands once we get to Heaven, by the grace of God [St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica III-S, q. 92, art. 1, corp.].
3. Energy (ένέργεία = operatio): God as what He eternally does ad extra.
4. ADS (Absolute Divine Simplicity): God is pure act, so that in Him there is no composition between act and passive potency.
5. UG (Uncreated Grace): God Himself as He gives Himself to creatures: e.g., the Trinity indwelling in righteous persons. The uncreated God is the objective last end of men and angels [Summa Theologica I, q. 26, art. 3, ad 2].
6. CG (Created Grace): the created effects of God's communicating Himself, e.g., the beatific vision. The created beatific vision is the subjective last end of men and angels [Summa Theologica I, q. 26, art. 3, ad 2], because God is not divided into degrees of goodness, whereas the beatific vision differs [1 Cor 15:41] according to the degree of charity [Summa Theologica III-S, q. 93, art. 3, corp.].

Notional Essence-Energies Distinction in Latin Theology
7. Dr. Mike Liccione says the following: ES-2 is notionally distinct from the Energy that realizes ES-2 in a complete and unalterable manner. ES-2 and energy are not really distinct because given the eternal manner in which the Energy realizes ES-2, there is only a logical, not a real, possibility that the Energy would have realized ES-2 in a different way. Since the Energies are not the only logically possible manifestations of ES-2, ADS is compatible with the fact that God freely created.

Real Essence-Energies Distinction in Eastern Theology
8. On the other hand, ES-1 is clearly really distinct from the Energy. This, however, is no prejudice to ADS, because the distinction does not involve composition between act and potential; ES-1 is God as active ad intra irrespective of His ad extra activity, and Energy, God as He is active ad extra, is active but not acted upon, and does not change or begin to exist, since an essence cannot exist without a natural energy, and the essence of God is eternal [St. Gregory Palamas: Physical, Theological, Moral, and Practical Chapters 128 in PG 150:1212A]. ES-1 is God, ES-2 is God, and Energy is God.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Nestorian Writers

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Babai the Great
1. Catholicos Babai the Great of Assyria (551-628) denied that "the Word died" and "the Word died in the flesh." But the λόγος is the same προσώπω as the man Jesus Christ, Who died on the Cross. Babai denied that one of the hypostases of the Trinity suffered, but the υπόστασις of the λόγος, the Second προσώπω of the Trinity, is the υπόστασις of the man Jesus Christ, Who suffered for our sins and died on the Cross. Babai affirmed the contrary: that there are two hypostases (qnômê) in Christ.{1} This, however, is the same as affirming two subjects, i.e, two persons in Christ. Ordinarily we regard hypostasis as equivalent to person: a complete rational substance, subsisting per se, existing apart from others, as St. Thomas Aquinas the Theologian defines person [Summa Theologica III, q. 16, art. 12, ad 2].

{1} It would seem that qnômá corresponds to hypostasis (which has a connotation of self-existence), because the Assyrian Church of the East, which inherited the Christology of Nestorios who affirmed two hypostases (and expressly said two persons joined as one person) in Christ, affirms: (1) one parsôpâ (person), two kyânê (natures), and two qnômê in Christ; and (2) three qnômê and one kyâna (nature) in the Godhead.

2. Bishop Diodoros of Tarsus (d. 392) was a Nestorian before Nestorios, because he denied that the λόγος was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary{1} and said that the person of the Son of God assumed the person of the man the Son of David.{2} Thus Diodoros cleaved Christ into two persons.

{1} "The God-Logos was not born of Mary — of Mary was born only a man similar to us."
{2} "And the man who was born of Mary through grace became the Son. The Son, perfected before the ages, took in him who was descended from David, the Son of God, and the Son of David."

3. Patriarch Nestorios of Constantinople, who denied the Blessed Virgin the title of Θεοτόκος, maintained the impossible doctrine that Christ is two persons (the προσώπω of the λόγος and the προσώπω of the Man) joined (accidentally united) in one Person [Bazaar of Heraclides]. Nestorios impiously declared the man Jesus Christ to be "the animated purple of the King," not the King Himself. Because he sawed Christ in two, he denied that God the Word died: "if you read through the whole New Testament, you will not find that death is ascribed to God the Logos, but to Christ, the Lord or Son."Theodore
4. Bishop Theodore of Mopsuestia, a Nestorian before Nestorios as Patriarch St. Cyril I of Alexandria (1/28) observed [PG 77:340B], denied that Mary is Θεοτόκος and said that the person of the Word assumed and dwells "by good pleasure as in a son" in the person of the man Jesus [PG 66:976B]. Theodore thus taught the absurd doctrine that Christ is two persons accidentally joined as one person [PG 66:588,753,981B]. He denied the canonicity of Job, Canticle of Canticles, Esdras, the deuterocanonical books, all the Catholic Epistles except for 1 Peter and 1 John, and Revelation [PG 86:1365-1368]. Owing to the influence of Pelagians whom he sheltered, Theodore taught that, even though the fall of Adam resulted in death and concupiscence [PG 66:800], children are not born in an inherited state of sin. He said that only Psalms 2, 7, 14, and 110 contained direct Messianic prophecy, that the Godhead separated from Christ when He died "since Divinity could not experience death," and blasphemously stated that Christ struggled to overcome lust and did not have "perfect purity" and "unalterability in thoughts" until His death.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Monophysite Writers

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Dioscoros, Severos, and Timohy Ailouros were orthodox and unjustly condemned

1. This post is meant to dispel the myth that the Monophysite heresiarchs the Oriental Orthodox Churches venerates as its doctors were orthodox "Miaphysites" like various Wikipedia articles say.

2. The Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils condemned as a Monophysite Patriarch Dioscoros "the Great" of Alexandria (d. 9/17/454), who exonerated the unrepentant heretic Eutyches at the Robber Synod of Ephesus in 449 and rejected the Creed of Union signed by his predecessor St. Cyril I, and said that the blood of Christ is incorruptible κατά φύσίν (by nature, i.e., of its own nature),{1} but this plainly obliterates the διαίρεσις (distinction) between and leads to a κρασίς (mixing) of the divine nature and the human nature.
{1} Patriarch St. Nicephoros of Constantinople, Book of Selections Against Eusebius and Epiphanides 30:V in Jean-Baptiste-François Cardinal Pitra: Spicilegium Solesmense IV:380 (Paris, 1858).

Peter the Fuller
3. Patriarch Peter II the Fuller of Antioch, who accepted the Henotikon of Emperor Zeno, added ό σταυρωθεις δι' ήμας (Who was crucified for us) to the Trisagion, thereby making all three Persons of the Trinity suffer. He thus revived Patripassianism.

4. Patriarch Severos of Antioch, who accepted the Henotikon of Emperor Zeno and rejected the Creed of Union signed by Patriarch St. Cyril I of Alexandria--whom he pretended to follow in all matters Christological [PG 89:103D]--affirmed μία φύσις θεανδρική (one theandric nature) of Christ. This is impossible, because if Christ had a single συνθετος (compound) divine-human φύσις, He would not be consubstantial with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Who subsist only in the divine nature, nor would he be consubstantial with us, because we do not have a divine-human nature. Severos also affirmed μία θεανδρική ένέργεία, by which Christ acts in all things. Divine actions exercised in and through the human nature (raising the dead by a word and healing the sick by a touch) are formally theandric (divino-human). This is the theandric energy to which St. Dionysios the Areopagite refers [Letter 4 to Caius in PG 3:1072C]. Purely human actions exercised in response to the divine will (walking and eating) are materially theandric (humano-divine). But there are purely divine actions (creating souls and conserving the universe) that are not theandric, and so not all of the activities of Christ are theandric. The Sixth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople III), in Session 10 [Mansi xi:443BC], quoted the following absurd statement of Severos from his Epistle 2 to Count Oecumenis: "Yet one, i.e. Incarnate Word, wrought one and the other--neither was this from one nature, and that from another; nor can we justly affirm that because there are distinct things operated there are therefore two operating natures and forms."Timothy
5. Patriarch Timothy III αίλουρος (the Weasel) of Alexandria, who spurned the Creed of Union signed by Patriarch St. Cyril I of Alexandria [PG 86A:276B],{1} rejected even the formula εκ δύο φύσεων (from two natures) because "There is no nature which is not a hypostasis, nor hypostasis which is not a person," and said that therefore there were two natures neither "before" nor after the Incarnation. This leads to the impossible doctrine that Christ simultaneously immortal and mortal in the same nature (i.e., A and ~A at the same time in the same sense).

{1} "Cyril... having excellently articulated the wise proclamation of Orthodoxy, showed himself to be fickle and is to be censured for teaching contrary doctrine: after previously proposing that we should speak of μία φύσις Θeoυ Λόγου (one nature of God the Word), he destroyed the dogma that he had formulated and is caught professing two natures of Christ." Notice that Timothy omitted the crucial adjective "incarnate" from the Cyrillian formula.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One Incarnate Nature of God the Word

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1. God the Word subsists in two natures (divine and human) and the two natures do not become one nature, but a compound hypostasis resulted when "the one common nature viewed as a whole in the subsistence of the Word" became incarnate [An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 3:11 in PG 94:1025B], i.e., the divine nature of the Word united flesh to itself in Person [Summa Theologica III, q. 2, art. 1, ad 1].

Greek: μία φύσις Θeoυ Λόγου σεσαρκωμένη
2. St. Cyril the Great (June 27) used this formula in Epistle 44 to Priest Eulogios of Constantinople [PG 77:225B], Epistle 45 to Bishop Succensus [PG 77:233A], and Epistle 46 to Bishop Succensus [PG 77:240C]. The Doctor of the Incarnation unwittingly derived the formula from the works of the heresiarch Apollinaris of Laodicea (d. 392), but expounded it in an orthodox manner. The Apollinarists circulated fraudulent books [PG 86:1947-1976] under the names of Pope St. Felix I of Rome (5/30), Bishop St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neocaesarea (11/17), Pope St. Julius I of Rome [PL 8:930BC] (4/12), and the Doctor Patriarch St. Athanasios I the Great of Alexandria (5/2).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Person, Hypostasis, & Nature

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Person - Who is doing it?
A complete rational substance, subsisting per se, existing apart from others [Summa Theologica III, q. 16, art. 12, ad 2].
Greek: προσώπω
Latin: persona
Syriac: parsôpâ

broad sense (same as person): a complete rational substance, subsisting per se, existing apart from others.
strict sense: a complete substance, subsisting per se, existing apart from others. Not necessarily rational.
Greek: υπόστασις
Syriac: qnômê

Nature - What is it that is doing that thing?
"the essence of things which have in themselves as such a principle of activity" [Aristotle, Metaphysics 1015a, 13]. I.e., the essence considered as the principium quo of activity.
Greek: φύσις
Latin: natura
Syriac: kyâna

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Meaning of Filioque

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The Father and the Son are one principle (two supposita spirating but one form, God), taking principle indeterminately, in spirating the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit. The communication of consubstantial divinity from the Father to the Son and from the Father, through and with the Son, to the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Meaning of the Monarchy of the Father

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The person of the Father is the sole Godhead-source (πηγαία Θεότης) and cause (αἰτία), meaning that He alone does not derive His hypostatic existence from anyone else; He alone is ingenerate/unbegotten. The monarchy does not entail that the Father alone spirates the Holy Spirit, because the relation of active spiration is not relatively opposed to paternity or filiation; it is thus not a personal property of the Father, but common to the Father and the Son.
Greek: μοναρχία

The Holy Spirit's relationship of origin to the sole ἀρχὴ-ἄναρχος (principle without principle) of the Holy Trinity, the Father.
Greek: εκπόρευσις

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Is Heaven?

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Heaven is the everlasting [Ps 83:5; 124:1; Is 60:19; Mt 19:16; 25:46; Jn 17:3; Rom 6:23; Heb 9:15; Rev 3:12] abode in which those who died in a state of grace see [Ex 33:13; Ps 79:20; Jn 14:8,21; 1 Cor 13:12; 1 Jn 3:2] but do not comprehend the essence of God, i.e., they have perfect happiness [Mt 25:21; 2 Cor 12:4] and their every desire is fulfilled [Ps 102:5] because the essence of God is "the form whereby their intellect understands" [ST III-S, q. 92, art. 3, corp.].

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Is Hell?

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Hell (Gehenna) is the everlasting [Is 66:24; Mt 7:21; 25:41,46; 26:24; Mk 9:43,45,47; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 2 Thess 1:9; 2 Pt 2:21; Rev 14:11; 19:3; 20:9-10] place of punishment of damned men and demons by the pains of loss (of the beatific vision), material (corporeal) fire [Job 20:26; Is 26:11; Mt 3:12; 13:42,50; 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7; Rev 19:20] of the same species as our fire, brimstone [Ps 10:7; Is 30:33], storms of wind [Ps 10:7], snow waters [Job 24:19], the incorporeal worm of the remorse of conscience [Jud 16:21; Sir 7:19], incorporeal weeping [Lk 13:28], and material darkness [Job 18:5; Ps 28:7; Mt 22:13; 25:30; 2 Pt 2:17; Jude 13]. Hell is under the earth [Nu 16:31-33; Jon 2:3-4; Ps 54:16; Is 5:14; 14:9; Ek 26:20; Mt 12:40; Phil 2:10; Rev 5:3] and it will never run out of room [Prov 30:15-16]. The pains of Hell are essentially immutable and they differ in degree according to demerit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Timeline of the Deaths of the Twelve Apostles

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44 St. James the Greater beheaded with a sword in Jerusalem by Herod Agrippa I [Acts 12:1-2].
60 St. Matthew burned alive upside down without bodily harm in Ethiopia.
11/30/60 St. Andrew the First-Called (προτοκλήτος) bound and crucified on decussate cross in Patras by order of Roman Governor Aegeas.
62 St. James the Just, first Bishop of Jerusalem, thrown off the roof of the Temple, stoned, and beaten with clubs as he prayed for his attackers.
63 St. Matthias, the replacement [Acts 1:23-26] for the damned traitor Judas Iscariot [Ps 109:7; Jn 17:12; Acts 1:20], stoned and beheaded in Jerusalem with a halberd or ax.
64 St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles and first Bishop of Rome (Pope), crucified upside down in Rome.
65 St. Jude Thaddeus fatally beaten and then beheaded with a halberd in Suanir, Persia.
65 St. Simon the Zealot sawn in half in Suanir, Persia. He did not succeed St. James the Just as Bishop of Jerusalem, because he, unlike the St. Simeon (son of St. Clopas) who was the second bishop of Jerusalem (crucified 107), died before St. John the Apostle († 100).
68 St. Bartholomew (Nathaniel) crucified upside down, flayed alive, and beheaded in Albanopolis (Baku), Armenia by order of Astyages upon the conversion of his brother, King Polymius of Armenia.
72 St. Thomas pierced with five spears while in prayer on a hill in Mylapore, India.
81 St. Philip crucified upside down and stoned in Hieropolis under Emperor Domitian at the age of 87 [Golden Legend of Bl. Jacobus de Voragine].
9/26/100 St. John the Theologian voluntarily buried alive outside of Ephesus and his body disappears.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Christ Is A Divine Person, Not A Human Person

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1. True: (A) Being human (having human nature) entails being a person, i.e., all persons that are human beings must have a human nature. This is what Dr. Michael Liccione says.

Christ Is A Human Person → Nestorianism
2. Christ is not a human person, because if Christ as man is a person, then we have the Nestorian blasphemy of two persons: God the Word and the man Jesus of Nazareth [Summa Theologica III, q. 16, art. 12, corp.]. Instead we confess that Jesus of Nazareth is an uncreated divine person with a human nature, and so He is a human being. For the divine "person subsisting in His human nature is" eternal and "not caused by the principles of the human nature" [ad 1].

3. False: (B) Being human (having human nature) entails being a human person. Pace Daniel Photios Jones, Dr. Liccione does not affirm (B).

Ordo Theologiae
4. (B) is false because then positing two natures in Christ (Dyophysitism) would entail two persons in Christ (Nestorianism). The ordo theologiae of the Nestorians is two natures → two persons, while the ordo theologiae of the Monophysites is one person → one nature.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Leonine or Cyrillian Primacy at Chalcedon?

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Editor: In his winter 1964-1965 journal article, "St. Cyril's 'One Physis or Hypostasis of God the Logos Incarnate' and Chalcedon," the Eastern Orthodox Fr. John S. Romanides († 2001) wrongly infers Cyrillian primacy at the Council of Chalcedon, when the truth is Leonine primacy; i.e., Fr. John wrongly declared that the Tome of Leo was subordinate to the Cyrillian writings, i.e., was of lesser authority. The bishops intended to stress, against the Eutychians, that their acceptance of the Leonine definition did not put them at odds with the Christology of the most holy Cyril, and they would not have thought it possible that Leo could err in his ex cathedra definition and contradict the earlier ecumenically-approved writings (which derived their authority from the sanction of the Pope in the first place) of that soldier of Christ, St. Cyril the Great [Rivington 411]. The Council did not judge as a superior the two pillars of orthodoxy when it said that the two saints agree Christologically, just as I do not act superior to the great-martyrs Sts. James and Paul the Apostles when I truthfully proclaim that they agree soteriologically [411]. The Council did not, by mentioning the Roman and Alexandrian bulwarks together, put them on the same official level, just as no one puts St. Paul the Apostle and a Greek poet on the same level when he says that they are in accord [411]. Just because someone notices my agreement with my master St. Thomas Aquinas and says that we believe alike, that does not mean that he puts me on the same level as that great wonderworking doctor, for it is manifest that I am but a shadow while he is brilliant light invincibly defending, better than anyone else, the truths our Lord handed down through the Apostles. The bishops assumed from the outset the agreement between Leo and Cyril [414]. It was not that they could dissent from the Leonine definition and modify it, but that they wanted to see the agreement between the two illustrious Doctors and adhere to the definition with an enlightened faith, and not a blind faith [416].

Works Cited
Rivington, Rev. Luke, M.A. The Primitive Church and the See of Peter. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1894. 25 Mar. 2009 <>.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Origen Is Not A Church Father

Having previously pondered this question without reaching a definite conclusion, I now say that Origen is not a Church Father because in 553 the Fifth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople II) condemned not just his heterodox works, but his very person, in Canon 11 [Mansi ix:384AB]. Many Doctors of the Church praised Origen{1} and the produced several excellent works, but that alone does not justify calling him a Father of the Church. Origen fails the criteria of orthodox doctrine (he held many heretical opinions, which were anathematized in 15 canons of the papally-approved [PL 68:1046C; 70:1111CD] Local Council of Constantinople in 543 under Patriarch St. Mennas [8/25]),{2} so the Fifth Ecumenical Council, owing to the influence of the zealous Emperor St. Justinian I the Great (11/14), disapproved of him as a teacher of the Catholic faith, and the Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils reiterated that Origen was heterodox.{3}Notes & References
{1} In the East, Origen received the praise of Bishop St. Firmilian of Caesarea, Bishop St. Alexander the Martyr of Jerusalem, Bishop St. Anatolios the Confessor of Laodicea [PG 10:210C], Patriarch St. Dionysios I the Great of Alexandria [Bibliotheca 232 of Photius in PG 102:1105A], Bishop St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neocaesarea [PG 10:1049-1104], Priest St. Pamphilos the Martyr of Caesarea [PG 17:541-616], Patriarch St. Athanasios I the Great of Alexandria (Doctor) [PG 25B:465B; 26:649BC], Patriarch St. Gregory I the Theologian of Constantinople (Doctor), Bishop St. Basil the Great of Caesarea (Doctor), and Bishop St. Gregory of Nyssa [PG 46:905D]. The Latin admirers of Origen were St. Hippolytus the Martyr of Rome [PL 23:673A], Bishop St. Eusebius of Versailles, Bishop St. Hilary of Poitiers (Doctor), Bishop St. Ambrose of Milan (Doctor), and Bishop St. Victorinus the Martyr of Pettau.
{2} See the Greek of the 15 anathematisms in Mansi ix:396-400.
{3} In 681, the Sixth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople III) condemned Origen as heterodox in Session 18 [Mansi xi:631E], and in 787 the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicaea II) condemned Origen as heterodox in its Decree [Mansi xiii:377B].