The Philocalia of Origen (Classic Reprint), The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford Early Christian Studies), Origen: An Exhortation to Martyrdom, Prayer, and Selected Works, Evagrius Ponticus: The Praktikos. Chapters on Prayer (Cistercian Studies), Origen of Alexandria and St. Maximus the Confessor, Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? With a Short Discourse on Hell,
"I have ventured to say this out of my fatherly love for you. ... May you too be a partaker and ever increase the participation, there you may say not only, 'We have become partakers of Christ' (Heb 3:14), but also, 'We have become partakers of God'." Origen to his former pupil, Gregory Thaumaturgus, The Philokalia.
Salvation by Sanctification
We are all called by grace to divinization, Christ's divine union or theosis as Origen taught in the mystery of abiding in the vine, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 Salvation by knowledge of The Heavenly Father (John 17:3), in pursuit of Kenotic self denial, into partaking of his nature, is the backbone of Alexandrine theological stems from its sound biblical roots of Church orthodoxy.
"But, the good God has given them a share in His own Image, that is, in our Lord Jesus Christ, and has made even themselves after the same Image and Likeness, in order that through this gift of Godlikeness in themselves they may be able to perceive the Absolute Image, that is the Word Himself, and through Him to apprehend the Father; which knowledge of their Maker is for men the only really happy and blessed life." Athanasius, De Incarnatione Verbi Dei
Origen Teaching on Theosis
Origen conceived salvation as a dynamic process of 'transformation into the image of God,' which eventually takes the believer into a gradual participation in God's own nature, given his human free will is in tact, amidst this transformation which necessitates God's grace, wherein human thought and will cooperate with the Spirit of God to partake of His nature.
Jesus has repeatedly called himself the Bridegroom, and the Church his bride, bringing up the love imagery in the Song of Songs to his audience The image of theosis carried within it a message of a graceful meta-morphousis by Christ's unfailing and transforming love for us. Theosis is nothing that comes to us by right or by nature, we firmly believe with Origen that our union with Christ is the fruit of the joyous and life-giving grace of His divine love.
A Life of Prayer:
"Let us, therefore, not think that it is words we are taught to say in appointed seasons of prayer. On the contrary, if we understand our former consideration of prayer without ceasing, let our whole life be a life of unceasing prayer." Origen
"On prayer," is one of Origen's most spiritual, written probably in his mature manhood years. It is divided into two parts: prayer, its necessity and efficacy, with a commentary on the Lord's Prayer. Origen begins his treatise On Prayer, by acknowledging that even to begin to speak of prayer is to draw a contour for a great mystery; "The discussion of prayer is so great a task that it requires the Father to reveal it, his First-born Word to teach it, and the Spirit to enable us to think and speak rightly of so great a subject."
To speak of prayer, then, is to be on holy ground. Those quotations keep dear Rodolph vivid memory in my mind's noia. Origen ends his treatise on prayer saying, "I have struggled through my treatment of the subject of prayer and of the prayer in the Gospels together with its preface in Matthew. But if you press on to the things in front and forget those behind and pray for me in my undertaking, I do not despair of being enabled to receive from God the Giver a fuller and more divine capacity for all these matters,..."
Evagrius, one of Origen's best theologians, concludes, "eventually give way to 'prayerful' existence,the fulfillment of contemplation, as theologia." Andrew Louth describes the progression to this state as, "This is the realm of prayer, which Evagrius regards as a state, rather than an activity, not so much something you do as something you are. In this state the soul recovers its true nature: 'the state of prayer is an impassible habit which snatches up the soul that loves wisdom to the intellectual heights by a most sublime love'
Exhortatio ad Martyrium
Origen is probably the most voluminous writer the Church has ever had and that even antiquity ever knew. Origen left two ascetical works,"On Prayer" and "an Exhortation to Martyrdom." The Exhortation, written around 235, in early days of Maximinus' persecution. Addressed to Ambrose and to Protoctetus, a presbyter of Caesarea, whom Origen exhorts to confess their faith up to death.
A forceful and earnest address, which expresses the author's own attitude towards martyrdom. The exaltation of martyrdom was a corner stone of Origen's training in the Christian life, and a major topic in his teaching. throughout his life, Origen's thoughts were linked to Martyrdom, as professing true faith. He was a martyr by race; yearned in his youth to be martyred with his father Leonides.
Martyrdom was a continuation of the work of redemption for who Origen risked his life in encouraging martyrs, starting with his own father when he was only seventeen. He was himself tortured as an elder man and died in Caesarea, a short time later. But the Alexandrian, who had spent much of his life exhorting others to martyrdom if necessary and encouraging the persecuted, shown no signs of betraying the faith.
His life was endangered many times, but he survived, and continued his instruction of novice believers in the Christian faith. In his late sixties, Origen himself was put in prison, tortured, and died a confessor due to his sufferings. Origen shares with St. Ignatius of Antioch his desire for martyrdom, and with Clement of Alexandria, on teaching that martyrdom was the perfection of love.
Much of Origen's life in Alexandria was devoted to support believers in the midst of persecution. Many of his own students were martyred, but Origen was spared, though he was often present at prisons and executions. Martyrdom, for him was an attestation to the truth of Christianity, Christians were not just capable of dying for their faith, but because martyrdom shows Christian contempt for death, and proves the defeat of the powers of evil (I Cor. 15:55).
Restoration of all things
"Origen held a firm conviction that not a single rational being will be lost to the darkness of ignorance and sin. Even the most recalcitrant sinner, he argued, will eventually attain salvation." Edward Moore.
Because the soul is essentially rational, argued Origen, it will eventually be restored to the divine truth, salvation will follow. Apokatastasis is the word Origen used to describe this process of universal salvation "restoration of all things." Origen may have come to view the mission of the temporal Church as "a gathering up of all lost, fallen souls into a unity resembling that which subsisted primordially."
Apokatastasis, may be viewed as restoration, the culmination of gathering souls in a unity of faith. Since Origen proposed his breaking through hope, some of the Church Fathers, including Gregory of Nyssa, and Didymus the Blind held for apokatastasis, universal restoration and salvation of all.
von Balthasar mentions Christian writers as well as theologians who, he maintains, agree with what his defense. In all cases these men speak of hell as being a "real possibility" but few ask the specific question about whether any humans are actually damned. Mystics in the Church who still seek union with God, followed Origen continuing to pursue divinization, in spite of the Church councils. But the Christian mystics were continually dogged by charges of heresy. Balthasar charges that when writing and speaking of hell, 'the great man, to whom posterity owes so much, did not do that within the limits laid down by the Gospel.'