Origen Rediscovered

L'Osservatore Romano Reports Unpublished Homilies Found

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ROME, JUNE 13, 2012 (Zenit.org).- An Italian philologist has found unpublished sermons of  Origen in the library of Monaco of Bavaria. The discovery was announced Tuesday by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

On April 5, Marina Molin Pradel, who was studying a Byzantine manuscript of the 11th century, the Monacense Greco 314, realized that some homilies on the Psalms contained in it were similar to those of Origen, who lived from 185 to 232.

Following further study of them she came to the conclusion that all the 29 homilies contained in the manuscript, to date unpublished, were of Origen.

In the first half of the 3rd century, Origen wrote on the Psalter and had an important impact on biblical exegesis.

The homilies do not bear the author’s name, perhaps because of the condemnation of errors by some of his followers at the Council of Constantinople in 553.

The discovery of these lost manuscripts is of great importance given that much of Origen’s writings, especially the exegetical ones, was lost following the condemnation in 553.

His writings on the interpretation of the Psalms, whether in homilies or in commentaries, with the exception of a few homilies translated into Latin, had been lost and in his time these texts had been considered as his greatest achievement. With the recovery of the manuscripts a part of that loss has been remedied.

Origen had an important influence on Christian literature in the ancient world, whether in doctrine or spirituality in general, both in the East and in the West.

In 2007, as part of a series of addresses on the Fathers of the Church, Benedict XVI spoke about Origen in two of his Wednesday audiences. Coincidentally the discovery of this manuscript of Origen happened precisely in the home region of the Pope.