Original homilies of Origen discovered in Germany

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The homilies in Psalms by Origen. Credit: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München

A researcher in Germany has made the important discovery of several homilies in Greek written by the early Church father Origen.

Twenty-nine homilies from the ancient Christian theologian, Origen of Alexandria, were discovered in early April at the Bavarian State Library by the scholar Marina Molin Pradel. However, they were only recently validated, according to a June 11 report in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Pradel said she recognized the documents while researching texts at the library and concluded that they were originals after further scrutiny.

Mike Aquilina, the best-selling author of “The Fathers of the Church,” told EWTN News on June 12 that the discovery means that these “are great times to be alive.”

He explained that Origen, who died around the year 254, was “one of the four or five most influential thinkers in the early Church, so this is a major discovery.”

Aquilina noted that unlike the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were “dribbled out over the course of decades,” Origen's texts are “already digitized and available online.”

Origen has even received praise from Pope Benedict XVI, who called him “one of the greatest writers in Church history” during a 2007 general audience.

Origen's writings, which range from “exegesis to dogma, to philosophy, to apologetics, asceticism and mysticism,” represent “a fundamental and overall vision of Christian life,” the Pope said.

Through his writings, the pontiff added, Origen “effectively came to promote the 'Christian reading' of the Old Testament, responding brilliantly to the challenge of heretics.”

Despite his great influence, few of his original Greek writings have been preserved.

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