Martyr; b. Berytus, Phoenicia (modern Beirut, Lebanon); d. Caesarea, Palestine, February 16, 310. The two early biographies, one written by his master Pierius, according to Philip of Side, and the other by his disciple eusebius of caesarea, have been lost. Eusebius took his name (Eusebius Pamphili) to display the spiritual filiation between them and speaks of him with admiration in his Ecclesiastical History and in his On the Martyrs of Palestine, where he gives a résumé of his career, imprisonment, and martyrdom (ch. 11.1).
Pamphilus, of a noble family of Berytus, received a careful education and exercised public office there, then became, at the Didaskaleion of Alexandria (Photius, Bibliotheca 118–119), a student of Pierius, head of the school under Bishop Theonas after 281 (Jerome, De vir.ill. 76). Pierius was called Origen the Younger because of his talents and the admiration he had for that great theologian; he communicated this conviction to Pamphilus, who later reopened the School of caesarea founded by origen. Ordained by Bishop Agapius (c. 290), Pamphilus was renowned for his asceticism and charity as well as for his knowledge.
Speaking of his disciples, the brothers Apphianus and Aedesius, Eusebius described the spiritual and scriptural orientation of the teaching of Pamphilus (De mart. Palest. 4.6; 5.2). He reorganized the Christian library attached to the school at Caesarea and employed a band of copyists. Arrested in 307, he was held in prison for two years and then decapitated during the persecution of Maximinus Daia.
The only known writing of Pamphilus is his Apology for Origen, composed while in prison with the assistance of Eusebius of Caesarea, who was the author of the work's sixth book (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6.33, 36; Photius, Bibl. 118). jerome testifies to Pamphilus's authorship (De vir. ill. 75). But after Jerome became an anti-Origenist, he attributed the Apology to Eusebius, whom he described as a semi-Arian to discredit the work. Only book 1 in the translation of rufinus of aquileia exists. It begins with a letter to the Palestinian confessors condemned to the mines and indicates the proper manner of judging the difficulties in Origen's thought: the hypothetical and doubtful character of his speculations, which are not dogmatic affirmations and frequently are self-contradictory. Pamphilus bears witness to Origen's fidelity to orthodoxy. By numerous citations of Origen's works, some of which are otherwise unknown, he refutes the accusations made against Origen's doctrine on the Trinity, the Incarnation, the historicity of the Scriptures, the Resurrection, the soul, metempsychosis, and eternal damnation.
Feast: June 1.
Bibliography: Patrologica Graeca, ed. j. p. migne, 161 v. (Paris 1857–66). 17:541–616. e. venables, in A Dictionary of Christian Biography, ed. w. smith and h. wace, 4 v. (London 1877–87) 4:178–179. g. bardy, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951– ). 11.2:1839–41. j. quasten, Patrology, 3 v. (Westminster, Md. 1950–60) 2:144–146. f. x. murphy, Rufinus of Aquileia (Washington 1945).