Pamphilus of Cæsarea
Eusebius's life of Pamphilus is lost, but from his "Martyrs
of Palestine" we learn that Pamphilus belonged to a noble family of Beirut
(in Ph;nicia), where he received a good education, and that he quitted
his native land after selling all his property and giving the proceeds to the
poor. He attached himself to the "perfect men". From Photius (cod. 118), who
took his information from Pamphilus's "Apology for Origen", we learn that he
went to Alexandria where his teacher was Pierius, then the head of the famous
Catechetical School. He eventually settled in Cæsarea where he was ordained
priest, collected his famous library, and established a school for theological
study (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", VII, xxxii, 25).
He devoted himself chiefly
to producing accurate copies of the Holy Scriptures. Testimonies to his zeal
and care in this work are to be found in the colophons of Biblical MSS. (for
examples see EUSEBIUS
OF CÆSAREA). St. Jerome (De Vir. Ill.,
lxxv) says that Pamphilus "transcribed the greater part of the works of Origen
with his own hand", and that "these are still preserved in the library of Cæsarea." He
himself was a possessor of "twenty-five volumes of commentaries of Origen",
copied out by Pamphilus, which he looked upon as a most precious relic of
the martyr. Eusebius (Hist. eccl., VI, xxxii) speaks of the catalogue of the
library contained in his life of Pamphilus.
A passage from
the lost life, quoted by St. Jerome (Adv. Rufin., I, ix), describes how Pamphilus
supplied poor scholars
wtih the necessaries of life, and, not merely lent, but gave them copies of
the Scriptures, of which he kept a large supply. He likewise bestowed copies
on women devoted to study. The great treasure of the library at Cæsarea
was Origen's own copy of the Hexapla, probably the only complete copy ever
made. It was consulted by St. Jerome ("In Psalmos comm.", ed. Morin, pp. 5,
21; "In Epist. ad Tit."). The library was certainly in existence in the sixth
century, but probably did not long survive the capture of Cæsarea by the Saracens in
638 (Swete, "Introd. to O.T. in Greek", 74-5).
persecution began in 303. In 306 a young man named Apphianusa
disciple of Pamphilus "while no one was aware; he even concealed it from us
who were even in the same house" (Eusebius, "Martyrs of Palestine")interrupted
the governor in the act of offering sacrifice, and paid for his boldness with
a terrible martyrdom. His brother Ædesius, also a disciple of Pamphilus,
suffered martyrdom about the same time at Alexandria under similar circumstances
Pamphilus's turn came in November, 307. He was brought before the
governor and, on refusing to sacrifice, was cruelly tortured, and then relegated
to prison. In prison he continued copying and correcting MSS. (see EUSEBIUS
OF CÆSAREA). He also composed, in collaboration
with Eusebius, an "Apology for Origen" in five books (Eusebius afterwards added
a sixth). Pamphilus and other members of his household, men "in the full vigour
of mind and body", were without further torture sentenced to be beheaded in
Feb., 309. While sentence was being given a youth named Porphyrius"the
slave of Pamphilus", "the beloved disciple of Pamphilus", who "had been instructed
in literature and writing"demanded the bodies of the confessors for burial.
He was cruelly tortured and put to death, the news of his martyrdom being brought
to Pamphilus before his own execution.
Of the "Apology for Origen" only the first book is extant, and that in a Latin
version made by Rufinus. It begins with describing the extravagant bitterness
of the feeling against Origen. He was a man of deep humility, of great authority
in the Church of his day, and honoured with the priesthood. He was above all
things anxious to keep to the rule of faith that had come down from the Apostles.
The soundness of his doctrine concerning the Trinity and the Incarnation is
then vindicated by copious extracts from his writings. Then nine charges against
his teaching are confronted with passages from his works. St. Jerome stated
in his "De Viris illustribus" that there were two apologiesone by Pamphilus
and another by Eusebius. He discovered his mistake when Rufinus's translation
appeared in the height of the Origenistic controversy, and rushed to the conclusion
that Eusebius was the sole author. He charged Rufinus, among other things,
with palming off under the name of the martyr what was really the work of the
heterodox Eusebius, and with suppressing unorthodox passages. As to the first
accusation there is abundant evidence that the "Apology" was the joint work
of Pamphilus and Eusebius. Against the second may be set the negative testimony
of Photius who had read the original; "Photius, who was severe to excess towards
the slightest semblance of Arianism, remarked no such taint in the Apology
of Origen which he had read in Greek" (Ceillier).
The Canons of
the alleged Council of the Apostles at Antioch were ascribed by their compiler
century) to Pamphilus (Harnack, "Spread of Christianity", I, 86-101). The ascription
to Pamphilus, by Gemmadius, of a treatise "Contra mathematicos" was a blunder
due to a misunderstanding of Rufinus's preface to the "Apology". A Summary
of the Acts of the Apostles among the writings associated with Euthalius bears
in its inscription the name of Pamphilus (P. G., LXXXIX, 619 sqq.).
- BARDENHEWER, Gesch. der altkirch. Lit., II,
242 sqq.; HARNACK, Altchrist. Lit., 543 sqq.;
CEILLIER, Hist. des aut., III, 435 sqq.; TILLEMONT, Hist.
ecclés., V, 418 sqq.; ROUTH, Relig. sac., III,
258 sqq.; RUFINUS's Translation of the Apology for
Origen will be found in editions of the works of Origen.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI
Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York
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