« Pammachius, a Roman senator Pamphilus, presbyter of Caesarea Pancratius, martyr »

Pamphilus, presbyter of Caesarea

Pamphilus (1), presbyter of Caesarea, the intimate friend (Hieron. de Script. Eccl. 75) and literary guide of Eusebius the church historian, who adopted his name as a surname, calling himself Εὐσέβιος Παμφίλου. Eusebius composed his friend's biography in three books. The work is entirely lost, and our only knowledge of this chief among the Biblical scholars of his age is derived from a few scattered notices in the existing writings of Eusebius, Jerome, and Photius. Pamphilus was a native of Phoenicia, and, if we accept the doubtful authority of Metaphrastes, born at Berytus, of a wealthy and honourable family. Having received his earlier education in his native city, he passed to Alexandria, where he devoted himself to theological studies under Pierius, the head of its catechetical school (Routh, Rel. Sacr. iii. 430; Phot. Cod. 118). Pamphilus afterwards settled at Caesarea, of which church he became a presbyter, probably during the episcopate of Agapius. Here he commenced the work of his life, hunting for books illustrative of Holy Scripture from all parts of the world. The library thus formed was subsequently repaired, after its injuries during the persecution of Diocletian, by Acacius and Euzoïus, the successors of Eusebius in the see of Caesarea (Hieron. Ep. xxxiv. vol. i. p. 155). Eusebius had catalogued it (H. E. vi. 32). It was especially rich in codices of the Scriptures, many transcribed or corrected by Pamphilus's own hand. In this Eusebius was a zealous coadjutor (Hieron. de Script. Eccl. c. 81). Jerome speaks of Palestinian manuscripts of the LXX current in the Syrian church, which, having been carefully prepared by Origen, were published by the two friends (Hieron. Praef. in Paralip.; adv. Rufin. ii. 27, t. ii. p. 522). Among other priceless literary treasures now lost was a copy of the so-called Hebrew text of the Gospel of St. Matthew (Hieron. de Script. Eccl. c. 3) and the Tetrapla and Hexapla of Origen in the original copy (Hieron. in Tit. iii. 9, t. vii. p. 734). In the catechetical school of Alexandria Pamphilus had conceived a most ardent admiration for Origen, with whose works he made it his special object to enrich his library, copying the greater part himself (Hieron. de Script. Eccl. c. 75). Jerome gloried in the possession of Origen's commentaries on the Minor Prophets in 25 volumes in Pamphilus's autograph. Pamphilus proved his affection for the memory and fame of Origen by devoting the last two years of his life to composing, in prison, with the assistance of Eusebius, an Apology, or Defence of Origen, addressed to the "Confessors condemned to the mines in Palestine." Five books were completed before his death, the sixth being added by Eusebius (Photius, Cod. 118). Photius gives a brief summary of the work, of which we have bk. i. alone in the inaccurate Latin version of Rufinus (Routh, Rel. Sac. iv. pp. 339, 392). What Pamphilus knew and had acquired he regarded as the common property of those who desired to share it. Eusebius describes him as ever ready to help all in need, either in the matters of the body, the mind, or the soul. The copies of the Scriptures he caused to be made by his students he distributed gratuitously, while he liberally supplied the temporal wants of those in distress (Eus. de Martyr. Palaest. c. 11; Hieron. adv. Rufin. i. 9, t. ii. p. 465).

In 307 Pamphilus was committed to prison by Urbanus, the persecuting governor of the city, and for two years was closely confined, cheered by the companionship of his second self, Eusebius (Hieron. ad Pammach. et Ocean. Ep. 84). Pamphilus sealed his life-long confession of his Master with his blood—"the centre of a brave company, among whom he shone out as the sun among the stars"—in 309, when Firmilianus had succeeded Urbanus as governor. The library he collected was destroyed when Caesarea was taken by the Arabs in the 7th cent.


« Pammachius, a Roman senator Pamphilus, presbyter of Caesarea Pancratius, martyr »
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