Monday, September 17, 2012

Chapter Seventeen of Naked Man With Naked Man

While it is certainly difficult – it is nevertheless not impossible to develop a history of divinely sanctioned intimacy in the Church. Origen's self-castration is perhaps the single most important piece of information which comes survives from the early period. It is often ignored or doubted by contemporary scholarship merely because it is an inconvenient truth. It is certainly unusual to develop a discussion about the private parts of a Church Father. As uncomfortable as the subject may be for modern scholarship, the facts are never denied even by Origen’s loyalest followers. They couldn’t get around the topic because their enemies wouldn’t let them off the hook.

Of course no one gives us a straight answer. The explanations that we get for Origen’s ‘daring deed’ are entirely superficial. Both Eusebius and Epiphanius attribute the strange act to his obsessive devotion to scripture - "[f]or he took the words, there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, in too literal and extreme a sense. And in order to fulfill the Saviour's word, and at the same time to take away from the unbelievers all opportunity for scandal, - for, although young, he met for the study of divine things with women as well as men, - he carried out in action the word of the Saviour." These words of Eusebius are not helpful in understanding Origen's self-castration. They only shine a light on the degree to which the topic dominated discussions about the Alexandrian Church Father in a later age.

The reality is that Origen partook in a practice which was commonplace in contemporary Alexandria. Christians had been destroying their privates for generations. The complete removal of the male sexual organs was deemed necessary for the early Christians to imitate the example of Jesus – a figure who for the gnostics was not a man but an angelic hermaphrodite. The Alexandrian mystery rite after all put forward the hope of being refashioned after the image of God. Ritual castration was the answer to the riddle originally set forth by Jesus – “When the two shall be one, and the outside as the inside, and the male with the female, neither male or female.” Most of us now don’t even know about the existence of this riddle because it was taken from our gospel narrative.

Where did this knowledge go? Perhaps it was preserved among bizarre sectarian associations like the Skoptsy of Imperial Russia. They were famous for being made up of castrated men and the masectomized women in accordance with their teachings against sexual lust. The Skoptsy were persecuted by the imperial government and later by the Soviet Union, but enjoyed substantial growth before fading into obscurity by the mid-twentieth century. Wikipedia notes that skoptsy is a plural of "skopets", an archaic word meaning "castrated one" in the Russian language. It is said they believed that after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had the halves of the forbidden fruit grafted onto their bodies forming testicles and breasts. Thus, the removal of these sexual organs restored the Skoptsy to the pristine state before the Original Sin.

The Skoptsy – like Origen - maintained that castrating themselves fulfilled Jesus’s counsel of perfection in Matthew 19:12 and 18:8-9. It is said that there were two kinds of castration: the "lesser" and "greater seal" (i.e. partial and complete castration). For men, "lesser" castration was the removal of the testicles only, while "greater" castration was the removal of the penis as well. Wikipedia notes that the men who did the "greater seal" used a cow-horn when urinating. The castrations were made with primitive tools such as a shaving knife without using any anesthetic.

This attempt to getting rid of the features which distinguished the sexes is already found in the early literature associated with the Marcionites. This castration interest then goes back to the earliest period of New Testament exegesis. It was only Antoninus Pius's ban on the practice after the Jewish War which drove the practice underground. Justin Martyr, writing from the middle of the second century tells the story of a young man in Alexandria petitioned the Roman prefect for permission to be castrated. As Craner notes in his study of the practice permission was denied, but Justin's apologetical use and evident approval of the effort itself are striking. “The youth intended,” notes Craner “to persuade non-Christians that sexual promiscuity was not a mysterion, or secret rite, among Christians, and he cites the incident to demonstrate that some Christians forgo marriage altogether and live completely in continence."

There were countless reports of eunuch monks in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries. Given the prevelance in early Alexandria it is hard to believe that Demetrius was surprised by Origen's self-castration. Indeed as we already noted there is a tradition which survives that suggests that he himself was also a eunuch. The idea that Demetrius suddenly pulled up Origen's tunic and was horrified by the realization that something was missing is a wholly modern contrivance. At best, it can be argued that the bishop was using the mutilation as the pretext for getting rid of his troublesome rival.

It should also be noted that some homosexual innuendo was also brought against Origen's person. This may explain the hesitation in Eusebius's voice when he emphasizes in the last passage that Origen studied "with women as well as men." Having a sex change was the same in antiquity as modern times – it is always associated with homosexuality. Epiphanius interestingly preserves an account of Origen almost being raped by a black man. The narrative segues into a discussion of how he actually performed the self-castration noting that it is said "that our Origen also thought of it as a way of dealing with his body. For some say that he severed a nerve so that he would not be disturbed by sexual pleasure or inflamed and aroused by carnal impulses. Others say no, but that he invented a drug to apply to his genitals and dry them up."

There are many people who have noted Origen’s interest in”secret circumcision” to “surpass the open circumcision of the Jews.” Indeed Origen uses a prominent Jewish writer of a previous age to justify the practice. As he notes “Philo, who enjoys a high reputation among intelligent people for many subjects discussed in his treatises on the Law of Moses, says in the book entitled On that the worse is accustomed to attack the better that ‘it is better to be made into a eunuch than to rage after sexual intercourse.’” There should be little doubt that the Alexandrian interest in castration goes back to the now famous passage cited from Secret Mark "and after six days Jesus told him what to do, and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body." Clement himself makes consistent reference to the importance of 'uprooting of the sinful part' of a man in order for him to attain perfection.

Whatever Clement and Origen’s relationship was it certainly was not sexual in nature. The academic world may have been scandalized by Morton Smith's casual remark about his discovery that - "freedom from the [Mosaic] law may have resulted in completion of the spiritual union by physical union. This certainly occurred in many forms of Gnostic Christianity; how early it began there is no telling.” Smith read this private instruction as evidence that Jesus offered his closest disciples a mystery rite which allowed the initiate to enter God’s heavenly kingdom and be freed from the Mosaic laws that apply in the lower world. This is what is meant by the phrase “for Jesus [gave] him the mystery [rite] of the kingdom of God.”

According to Smith, Jesus was a magician who offered hypnotically induced experiences of union with his spirit and ascension into the kingdom of God, culminating in freedom from the Law. Yet critics noted that "the odd thing about Morton Smith’s theses is that none of them have any worthwhile support in the fragment.” Smith seemed to acknowledge this common criticism, for he barely mentioned the secret gospel in his follow-up book, Jesus the Magician. Morton Smith can be argued to have lost interest in his discovery perhaps because he recognized it didn't support his interest in Christian magical practices.

Yet what of the idea that secret Mark promoted the physical and spiritual union with man to another? Smith never pursued this line of reasoning in any of his writings. He was certainly tired of the personal attacks directed against his person since the discovery. It is worth reminding ourselves that Hippolytus’s discussion about the longer version of the gospel of Mark speaks of union between males by means of philia. As we have already noted while commonly understood to mean ‘friendship’ the terminology can be connected with the idea of the concept of ‘physical union.’

As James Davidson the author of ‘the Greeks and Greek Love’ notes “philia is what the two slices of Aristophanes' couple have when they physically connect; Aphrodite "loves" (philei) her adulterous lover Ares, thus dishonoring her husband Hephaestus, and the courtesan Theodote describes the men we might think of as her clients as philoi – ‘friendlies.’” The point is that philia overlaps with many other words which describe love. It can take on shades of meaning relating to erotic love but is best identified as being love rooted in ‘intimacy.’

If Clement and Origen shared ‘philia’ it came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of a persecution against the Alexandrian Christians during the reign of the emperor Septimius Severus in 202 or 203 CE. It is said that Clement fled the city fearing his life, perhaps never to return. It is also often suggested, based on the testimony of a letter written around 211 CE and attributed to Alexander, then bishop of Cappadocia, later of Jerusalem, that Clement found a safe haven in Cappadocia.

We see Alexander writing to the church in Antioch making an apparent reference to Clement - "my honored brothers, I have sent this letter to you by Clement, the blessed presbyter, a man virtuous and approved, whom you yourselves also know and will recognize. Being here, in the providence and oversight of the Master, he has strengthened and built up the Church of the Lord." This letter tells us a lot more than merely connecting Clement to an extended stay in Cappadocia. Origen must have been Clement's student from the end of the reign of Commodus. Early in the reign of Demetrius in Alexandria Clement moves to Cappadocia before being dispatched in 211 CE by Alexander. Yet it is curious to see that Clement's host Alexander also was soon to be on the move.

According to the standard model of the lives of the Church Fathers, the translation of Alexander to Jerusalem must have taken place about 212 CE after an aged bishop Narcissus of Jerusalem requests him be his assistant. In due course Alexander would take over the bishopric and last there until the reign of Decius (250 CE). But the sudden movement of all parties at the beginning of the reign of Caracalla is interesting and deserves further attention.

As we head toward the year 215 CE Origen escapes from Alexandria to Palestine, and both Clement and Alexander head for Syria from Cappadocia. Indeed perhaps even more significant is the movement of another Cappadocia Church Father, Firmilian of Caesarea. He originally offers Origen a safe haven in Asia Minor before coming himself to see Origen in Caesarea Maritima. Theodore, who is only a little further away in the Pontic region, also ends up in the same place at the same time. This suggests at least that the movement of all these people from the region may well again have been coordinated.

Clement's role in Antioch is also interesting. Antioch becomes the end of the line for our information about the Church Father. Most scholars will argue that there is no solid evidence to explain to us where Clement went after his visit to Antioch. Some have said that Clement lived out his days in Jerusalem, yet there is no solid evidence for that. Moreover some have misinterpreted a statement at the end of this section of the Church History as proof that Clement died shortly thereafter. It would seem that we are lost in the fog as it were about information related to Clement and there is no way to get us home.

Yet this difficulty actually takes us back to a familiar theme in our study - the misuse and misinterpretation of history in Book Six of this chronicle. While it has to be acknowledged this reference to Clement being sent to Antioch is our last explicit reference to the Church Father there is an important statement that immediately follows which we will argue should be understand as the closing statement about Clement's travels. As it stands, it has been changed by Eusebius into a sudden and unexpected reference to Origen returning to Alexandria haphazardly inserted into a chapter that should be dealing with the life of Clement.

Immediately after citing the letter of Alexander to Origen, itself clearly from another period, making reference to Clement in the past tense, Eusebius barges into the narrative and says:

So much for these matters [emphasis mine]. But Adamantius, — for this also was a name of Origen — when Zephyrinus was bishop of Rome, visited Rome, desiring, as he himself somewhere says, to see the most ancient church of Rome. After a short stay there he returned to Alexandria. And he performed the duties of catechetical instruction there with great zeal; Demetrius, who was bishop there at that time, urging and even entreating him to work diligently for the benefit of the brethren.

The emphasized text is from Eusebius's hand. The first provides the transition from the Letter of Alexander, the second that what is being cited from the Roman episcopal list as a reference to the visit of a certain 'Adamantius' to Rome should properly be understood as pertaining to Origen.

Of course it is significant that the original reference still does not identify the proper name of the Alexandrian official. We have several references still in the early Roman tradition about such a visit. In the Liber Pontificalis the name of the individual is 'Theophilus of Alexandria.' The difficulty of the 'Adamantius' reference goes back to the heart of our discussion of the development of this chapter from earlier material in Eusebius's Chronicles. He obvious began with a reference to an anonymous figure and later decided to transform the reference into answer the charge that Origen was a heretic by making it appear that he reconciled with Demetrius.

Yet the fact that the original reference from the Roman episcopal list read 'Adamantius' is particularly significant here. It reminds us of the reference to Hippolytus going to the Empress Julia Mamaea that was erased and transformed into a visit by Origen. Then just as here Eusebius has been dealing with someone other than Origen. In this case the life of Clement of Alexandria was has continued since chapter 11. We are now reaching the end of the life of Clement. We have been told that he has been sent to Antioch with respect to a controversy that has something to do with the very topic brought up in the Letter to Theodore - a gospel written by Peter which is used by heretics in Syria.

Indeed there has to be a reason why Eusebius decides to insert a letter dealing with Antiochene affairs immediately following his reference to Clement being sent to Antioch. It cannot be overstated that in the middle of a continuous discussion about the life of Clement (6.11 - 15) he reads a letter from the bishop of Antioch "to a certain Domninus, who, in the time of persecution, fell away from faith in Christ to the Jewish will-worship and those addressed to Pontius and Caricus, ecclesiastical men, and other letters to different persons, and still another work composed by him on the so-called Gospel of Peter." We are told that the heresy that holds to this other gospel is called Marcian or Marcion as the material has often been mistranslated. In either case the trail goes back to some form of the name Marcus.

It is difficult to escape the sense that Clement was sent to Antioch to explain the gospel of Mark and its relation to a 'gospel of Peter.' A similar 'to Theodore' related theme - the creation of a 'spiritual' gospel after Mark's literal narrative for Peter - also continues in the two chapters which follow this Antiochene visit. Eusebius then not only makes reference to Clement visiting Antioch during the time of a controversy related to the existence of a heretical 'gospel of Peter' held by a community associated with Mark, but his references to Clement's writings also touch upon the same themes.

When we look at the sudden movement of individuals from a region of the world consistently identified as 'Marcionite' it begins to suggest that this may have been an important period of change in the history of the heretical tradition. The longer gospel of Mark has already been identified as their most important gospel. Clement has become the 'point man' on the controversy defending the text in front of Church officials and presumably also in private correspondences like that of to Theodore. Clement seems to have been very busy in the early third century explaining, or possibly obscuring, the original Alexandrian relationship between the two gospels of Mark.

So to answer our original question - where did Clement go from Antioch? - we find a suitably answer in Francis Hitchcock's work on Clement. He notes that "it is said that after finishing his work in Antioch, the catechist returned to his school, and died in his native city 222 AD. This is practically all that we know of the life of one who lived in the light of the Word of life, and laboured modestly and with great success for the Church of Christ." Hitchcock position is clearly based on the correct interpretation of the material in Church History Book Six Chapter 14, namely that Clement is in fact the 'Adamantius' of the Roman episcopal list rather than Origen.

It is difficult to believe that Origen would return to Alexandria after Demetrius spent so much effort trying to destroy his career. Indeed as we have already noted, there was a synod which condemned Origen as well as a letter from the Imperial senate. It is unthinkable that Origen would have set foot in the Imperial capitol at this time. Nevertheless it is equally myopic to think that Origen was the only individual who carried the name 'Adamantius.' Indeed it is the only place in Eusebius's History that the name is specifically described as belonging to Origen.

When the term is used by Theodore of Pontus it is clear that it refers to the one soul that is shared by two male initiates. It represents the impassable nature of Christ which connected Jesus to the disciple who was crucified in his place in Jerusalem:

[f]or example the salamander, the animal which can despise the flame, and adamant when it is struck by iron (not phantasmal and docetic, as we said) remain impassible. Absbestos, too, remains whole when it takes fire upon itself, suffering no harm from its association with fire.

Indeed a careful reading of this material reveals that it too is associated with yet another contemporary figure named Adamantius. For there is a famous anti-Marcionite dialogue associated with an individual of the same name which reuses Theodore's discussion with Theopompus word for word.

In these 'Dialogues' we find an anonymous figure called 'Adamantius' debating a follower of the heretic Bardesanes named Marinus over the exact same question in the correspondence between Theodore and Theopompus - the impassibility of God during the crucifixion. Marinus asks 'Adamantius' "when the man was suffering [on the cross] was the Word present at the same time or not?" 'Adamantius's response here is identical with Theodore's to Theopompus on the exact same question:

Permit me first to answer Marinus' question, then let him put forward his explanation. The Word of God was present with the man, but He suffered no injury, just as adamant remains sound when it is struck by iron, and on the contrary, causes injury to the very thing meant to injure it. Again, asbestos, when it is consigned to the fire, remains unbroken and unspoiled, without any damage. Nor is the fire, when cut by a sword, divided, for the dense flame runs back on itself and remains indivisible. If, then, material substances exert their strength against other substances and cannot be consumed, much more surely did the Word of God,  being of an impassible and unchangeable nature, remain impassible, and absorbed the sufferings (for the crucified man)

We see now that the Dialogue takes the material from the writings of Theodore of Pontus (= Gregory Thaumaturgus) and passes them off as being associated with a figure named 'Adamantius.' Yet these ideas could well have originated with Clement. The upshot of all of this of course is that Adamantius was not an exclusive name that Origen held on his own but rather something which was used to identify the substance of the soul shared by two yoked males in the Alexandrian tradition. Not only was Origen called 'Adamantius' but undoubtedly also Clement, his male partner. Theodore also must have been called 'Adamantius' and Athenodorus too. They all shared an 'adamantine' soul - the very essence of Jesus - which displayed in the conclusion of the secret gospel of Mark.

Indeed as we have already noted in a previous chapter the discussion in to Theopompus and now the Dialogues of Adamantius too seem to come right out of the pages of Irenaeus discussion of 'secret Mark.' Not only does Irenaeus identify the heretics who used this gospel to have held that "that Christ remained impassible, but that it was Jesus who suffered" on the cross but moreover like Theodore that this impassible Christ was "manifested as a transfigured man." "These men do," as Irenaeus goes on to note "understand that Christ was one and Jesus another; and they teach that there was not one Christ, but many. And if they speak of them as united, they do again separate them [emphasis mine]: for they show that one did indeed undergo sufferings, but that the other remained impassible."

The idea that Jesus and Christ could be understood to be at times joined and then separate perfectly describes the relationship between Clement and Origen. The longer gospel of Mark established the idea that spiritual transformations took place in the Church through the uniting of yoked pairs. It is not surprising then that Origen could not have been initiating Theodore and Athenodorus on his own. He was the ‘set up’ man for the final act of union; he was the teacher of elementary principles. It is now unclear whether Clement stood in attendance watching the final act of his ‘deacon’ uniting these two males together in divinely sanctioned philia.

The idea that Clement and Origen might also have been ritually yoked together raises some interesting questions regarding their reconstructed history travel schedule. Shortly after Origen leaves Alexandria in 215 CE Clement goes back, demonstrating quite that the pair effectively 'traded places' with one another in the center of the Christian world. Indeed if Hitchcock is right, and it was Clement rather than Origen who is the Adamantius of Church History Book Six Chapter 15, then it is also Clement who "divided the multitude and ... selected Heraclas, and made him his partner (koinwnos) in the work of instruction. He entrusted to him the elementary training of beginners, but reserved for himself the teaching of those who were farther advanced."

As we have already noted in the last chapter scholars have long struggled with the curious silence with exists with respect to Clement and Origen's relationship. We may now begin to suspect that Demetrius flew into such a fit of rage against the young teacher that even Clement kept his continuing relationship with Origen secret. He doesn't even name the author of the Peri Archon in his reference to the text in the Can the Rich Man be Saved. It would also seem that Heraclas became Clement's new 'partner' in Alexandria. This may have been done in part to prove to Demetrius that Clement had also cut Origen off. Nevertheless it has to be acknowledged that this act should not in itself be taken to mean that Clement and Origen were still not 'spiritually attached.' The bond is everywhere described as 'adamantine.' The language that Clement uses in the Letter to Theodore would certainly imply that the Church Father was capable of keeping his relationship with Origen hidden from the authorities.

It is interesting to take a second look at this term used to describe Clement's new relationship with Heraclas. The choice of koinwnos was certainly not accidental. It is used by Paul in the epistles as an equivalent to syzygos - "so if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me." (Phil 1.17). Here the 'partner' manifest the presence of the teacher or his 'other half.' It should be noted that this is precisely what Origen was doing with respect to Theodore - he was instructing him on Clement's behalf in the very manner that we see Clement directs his readership to learn more about the doctrines of the Church by reading Origen's Peri Archon.

Similarly God is described as the 'partner' of the gnostic at the end of Clement's Stromata and in terms which explicitly evoke the mystical adamantine imagery of the previous chapter. Clement tells us that the true gnostic "worships the Maker, and loves him, the partner (koinwnon) of life, pitying and praying for him on account of his ignorance" and who "makes the man lord and master of himself; so that the Gnostic is temperate and passionless, incapable of being dissolved by pleasures and pains, as they say adamant (adamantos) as by fire." The language here is so strikingly similar to what we saw in the writings of Theodore of Pontus that it once again suggests him borrowing it either directly or indirectly from Clement.

The underlying assumption here is that the yoking which occurs between man and man is a mirror of that which governs that of man and God. The friend helps make the other better, raising him to perfection - even working the very will of God. One of Clement's favorite sayings from the gospel - a saying which no longer appears in any of our copies of the text - is that of "see your brother, see your god." The point again is that the two yoked men are not only refashioned as brothers through the Alexandrian mystery rite but more importantly that they are to see God in the other. To the initiated outsiders of course they appear as one and the same soul inhabiting two different bodies.

To this end, when Clement returns home after visiting Rome he establishes Heraclas as his 'partner' on the catechetical chair of Alexandria. Clement however can be seen to have been working again in cooperation with Origen who originally established Heraclas in his 'elementary instruction." By the time Julius Africanus visits the city, Heraclas is a figure of great importance in the city. Nevertheless in the period leading up to his return to Alexandria, Clement can be seen as something of a Paul figure traveling and visiting various Christian centers. The minute Clement dies - presumably shortly after his return - we start to see Origen suddenly take a more pronounced leadership role in the network of churches founded by former students.

To this end, it is almost as if Clement and Origen were a bishop and deacon in exile. They were dislodged from their rooting in Alexandria owing to Demetrius's usurpation of the bishop’s chair. In the period where the Letters to Theodore were written, Clement is something of an occultated Father. One yardstick might be the fact that Theodore of Pontus did not have to go to Alexandria to be baptized. Origen may well have assumed the role of Father owing to the fact that Clement was already now dead. Indeed the one thing which is clear from the Panygeric is that Origen is already now the 'father' of Theodore and Athenodorus. Yet he also prepared Heraclas alongside a 'brother' named Plutarch, who becomes a great martyr in the Alexandrian Church.

We should notice the odd language in Eusebius's account where Plutarch is said to have been honored with divine martyrdom after 'right living' (biwnai kalws). Yet this isn't meant in some abstract sense. Eusebius is making reference to Plutarch dying as a witness to the faith. It is plainly evident also that Heraclas and Plutarch have been established in some mystical bond where originally Plutarch was the greater souled of the two. Eusebius says that Plutarch gave Heraclas "abundant evidence of a philosophic and ascetic life." This example moreover is said to have also established Heraclas as being "esteemed worthy to succeed Demetrius in the bishopric of Alexandria."

The words Eusebius uses to describe their relationship makes it seem as the perfection Plutarch received in martyrdom was passed to his brother - this because they were yoked by the same adamantine bond. The same ideas show up in the writings of another contemporary student of Origen in the period - Firmilian of Caesarea. While we don't know who Firmalian's 'partner' was (Gregory of Nyssa mistakenly identified him as Theodore of Pontus) we find a lengthy discussion of the mysticism involving pairs from his only surviving letter. In that text Firmilian praises the fact that "those that come together into this house (the Church) are united with gladness ... that among the saints there is great and desirous love for assembling together." This is clearly not a generic statement about members of the church coming together. Firmilian in no uncertain terms means paired male souls.

For as Firmilian explains in what immediately follows the correct path to salvation is found in men imitating the pairing of angels or he puts it:

unity and peace and concord afford the greatest pleasure not only to men who believe and know the truth, but also to heavenly angels themselves, to whom the divine word says it is a joy when one sinner repents and returns to the bond of unity. But assuredly this would not be said of the angels, who have their conversation in heaven, unless they themselves also were united to us, who rejoice at our unity ... For the grace of God is mighty to associate and join together in the bond of charity and unity even those things which seem to be divided by a considerable space of earth, according to the way in which of old also the divine power associated in the bond of unanimity Ezekiel and Daniel, though later in their age, and separated from them by a long space of time, to Job and Noah, who were among the first; so that although they were separated by long periods, yet by divine inspiration they felt the same truths. And this also we now observe in you, that you who are separated from us by the most extensive regions, approve yourselves to be, nevertheless, joined with us in mind and spirit. All which arises from the divine unity.

According to the neo-Alexandrian tradition all the divine prophetic voices were paired. They were yoked according to a divine mystery which came to fulfillment with the coming of Christ.

A very similar idea appears in the Clementine tradition where we are told that "God, teaching men with respect to the truth of existing things, being Himself one, has distinguished all principles into pairs and opposites." Yet with Firmilian we are clearly talking about male pairs being ritually united through the sharing of one divine soul. So we see in what immediately follows Firmilian makes clear that "even as the Lord who dwells in us is one and the same, He everywhere joins and couples His own people in the bond of unity, whence their sound has gone out into the whole earth, who are sent by the Lord swiftly running in the spirit of unity." This is the union of souls embodied by Clement and Origen or Theodore and Athenodorus. Firmilian's purpose however is also to warn against those who have not been properly fitted together according to the divine mysteries.

The example of Eusebius and the martyr Pamphilus help us intimate that this ritual uniting males in the neo-Alexandrian tradition continued into the fourth century. Pamphilius was of a rich and honorable family of Beirut who is said to have given all his property to the poor and attached himself to "perfect men." Pamphilius seems to have come into contact with Origenism through his teacher Pierius, the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria in the late third century who was called the 'little Origen' by his contemporaries owing to his devotion to his master. He was ordained as a priest in Alexandria before settling in Caesarea Maritima to become a priest.

According to Eusebius, he suffered martyrdom in the third year of the Diocletian persecution, after spending two years in prison. While he was in prison, Pamphilus and Eusebius worked together on five books in defense of Origen. There are many references to the intimacy that Eusebius shared with Pamphilus. He calls Pamphilus his "thrice longed for" (tripotheton) and 'much desired comrade' (= potheinotatos etairwn) . The terminology here is derived from the pagan understanding of 'eros potheinos' or much-longed love whose wings allow for the fulfillment of hope and desire.

It is interesting that Eusebius's name in most manuscripts is that of Eusebius Pamphili - "Eusebius of Pamphilus" which has been variously explained. As Caspar Gregory in his Canon and Text of the New Testament explains "Eusebius was closely united to him, and is called therefore the Eusebius of Pamphilus." This union seems to be reflected in what Socrates Scholasticus calls "their joint (koine) life of Origen, and admirable defense of him in answer to such as were prejudiced against him, prove that he was not the first who made this declaration, but that in doing so he was the mere expositor of the mystical tradition of the (Alexandrian) church."

Before we go any further let us stop for a moment and count the number of 'brothers' we have already discovered in the Alexandrian tradition. Clement and Origen, Theodore and Athenodorus, Heraclas and Plutarch, Eusebius and Pamphilius and now Pamphilius's teacher Pierius is also said to have a 'brother' Isidorus who dies a martyr. Is this all coincidence? Did all the third century Alexandrians join the Church with their whole family? Or are we witnessing something unnoticed about the mystery rite - namely that it was at its core an adoptive brother-making?

Here is what we know for certain. Just as Plutarch's brother Heraclas seems to be 'connected' to the 'noble life' of his brother, Pierius seems to have been cleansed of his sin of offering up idolatrous sacrifices by the martyrdom of his brother Isidorus. It would seem that the Alexandrian tradition took quite literally the bond that existed between conjoined pairs. It wasn't just that the good deeds of one were passed on to the other connected by the Holy Spirit, the death of one brother was understood to 'purify' or cleanse the sins of the other.

This understanding seems to be taken to the next level in the description of another set of brothers in the third century, Aedesius and Apphianus, who are said to be brothers "not only in God, but also in the flesh, being a son of the same earthly father." We may question whether the two brothers were actually physically related, yet the idea that their deaths occur in two separate cities "at about the same time" like Peter and Paul according to Eusebius suggest the material that survives has been reworked to advance the mystical principles of the tradition. Apphianus dies in Caesarea and Aedesius in Alexandria. Yet the heavy emphasis on Aedesius's philosophical background has led some to conclude that he is really Aedesius the Neoplatonist philosopher and mystic born of a noble Cappadocian family.

It is often very difficult to know what to believe with respect to the historicity of these early martyrdom traditions. The idea that both brothers 'at the same time' during the reign of the Emperor Maximinus Daia is almost as absurd as Photius's claim that Eusebius and Pamphilius were "imprisoned together." Nevertheless we come face to face time and again with the core of the early Christian experience. It all goes back to a very ancient mystical belief regarding the sympathy between twins. The Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp in the middle of the second century for instance defines Christian life in terms of two individuals "working together, with each other, fighting together, running together, suffering together, sleeping together, rising together as the managers, lieutenants and attendants of God." Clement of Alexandria similarly declares that each ought to share in suffering (sumpaschein) and bear one another’s burdens, for fear that anyone who thinks he is standing firmly should in fact fall."

We should emphasize over and over again that the later ideal of monks being sent into the desert to live a life without spiritual partner is a complete departure from the original understanding. Above all else, there is a spirit of togetherness which pervades every aspect of the early religion. We need to go back time and again to the mystical understanding of Empedocles with respect to love uniting souls that were divided from the beginning, of Plato with regards to the power of same sex attraction to establish perfection and Aristotle and his ideal of one soul inhabiting two bodies. These aren't just abstract principles for the contemplative life - they all principles which clearly influenced Mark's composition of his longer gospel.

It is impossible to deny that Clement was very much influenced by these ideas in his own writings. We read Clement's clearest statement of the very purpose of the Christian life defined in these very terms - "we suffer with Him, that we also may be glorified together as joint-heirs of Christ. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to the purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. And whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified." In a few sentences we have the entire Christian religion summed up for us. Yet we can even do one better. The entire font of heretical teaching that would shape the Byzantine culture for centuries to come can be coined in a single word – adelphopoiia, the ritual ‘making of brothers.’

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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