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304 The Egyptian Contribution to Christianity
faces to the utmost the problems which thought aroused. The
conditions of the time and the exegetical method of allegory
which he inherited and used in all good faith, allowed him to
follow out to its full extent the system of religious philosophy
to which his bold mind carried him. without compromising his
fidelity to the new, yet ancient, religion of the Christian Church
in which he had been bred. Of Origen's whole-hearted allegiance
to the Christian faith there could be no doubt. Leonides, his
father, who had anxiously watched over his early education, fell
a victim to the persecution of Severus, A.D. 202. Origen him-
self, then a boy of 17, coveted the same fate and was with diffi-
culty restrained. At the early age of 18 he succeeded to the
headship of the Catechetical school left vacant by Clement's
forced departure, and from this post of influence he became
known to a wide circle as an outstanding champion of the
Christian faith. His lectures were attended and his advice was
sought by Christian heretics, such as the wealthy and influential
Ambrosius whom Origen brought over to the Church from
Gnosticism, and by non-Christians as well as by full members
of the Church. Unfortunately as time went on relations became
strained between Origen and Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria,
who had appointed him in the first place to the headship of the
school. Demetrius took umbrage at the conduct of Alexander,
Bishop of Jerusalem, and Theoctistus, Bishop of Caesarea, who,
when Origen had betaken himself to Palestine in consequence
of disturbances in Alexandria, invited him, albeit a layman, to
expound the Scriptures in the congregation. At a later date his
friends the Palestinian bishops ordained him to the Presbyter-
ate. This action made Origen's position in Alexandria un-
tenable and he transferred his residence from Alexandria to
Caesarea. Demetrius went so far as to secure the decision of a
synod of Egyptian bishops that Origen should no longer teach
in Alexandria. In the last ten or twelve years of his residence
in Alexandria Origen had become an influential and prolific