Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria (Dragan TATIC Österreichische Außenministerium )
Pope Francis sent a message to Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria today:
To His Holiness Tawadros II
Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark
As the second anniversary of our fraternal meeting in Rome is at hand, I wish to express to Your Holiness my prayerful best wishes for your well-being, as well as my appreciation for the spiritual bonds which unite the See of Peter and the See of Mark.
Today more than ever we are united by the ecumenism of blood, which further encourages us on the path towards peace and reconciliation. …
It is particularly encouraging that the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches has recently finalized the document The Exercise of Communion in the Life of the Early Church and its Implications for our Search for Communion Today. I am certain that Your Holiness shares my hope that this vital dialogue will carry on and bear abundant fruit. I am especially grateful for the willingness of the Patriarchate of the See of Saint Mark to hold the next meeting of the Commission in Cairo. …
It is my hope that our cooperation in this area may continue, especially in addressing matters related to mixed marriages.With these sentiments, and recalling what has rightly become known as the day of friendship between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, I exchange with Your Holiness a fraternal embrace in Christ the Lord.
From the Vatican, 10 May 2015
[Original text: English] http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-message-to-his-holiness-tawadros-ii
Notice that three times above, Pope Francis refers to the ‘see of Mark.’
This is outrageous. Catholics and any interested in the truth should be outraged by this.
The Orthodox Church of Alexandria claims that Mark was an apostle and that he passed on the succession to a pious one named Anianus (or sometimes spelled Anianos). Essentially, these claims are based upon records from the fourth century writer Eusebius, which, however, history reveals contains several flaws.
Notice the following claimed succession list (much of which was apparently put together based upon Eusebius’ writings) in Alexandria:
1 THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST MARK (40-62)
2 ANIANOS (62-82)
3 ABELIOS (83-95)
4 KEDRON (96-106)
5 PRIMUS (106-118)
6 JUSTUS (118-129)
7 EUMENIS (129-141)
8 MARK II (141-152)
9 KELADION (152-166)
10 AGGRIPINOS (166-178)
11 JULIAN (178-189)
12 DIMITRIOS (189-232)
13 HERAKLAS (232-248)
14 DIONYSIOS (248-264)
Source: Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF PATRIARCHES OF ALEXANDRIA. http://www.greekorthodox-alexandria.org/index.php?module=content&cid=001003 viewed 05/10/11.
It needs to be understood Eusebius only states that he heard that Mark was in Alexandria (this differs from many other accounts from Eusebius where he claims to rely on written records).
The Coptic Catholic Church of Alexandria also holds a position similar to the Orthodox Church of Alexandria as it claims,
The Coptic Church was founded by the martyr Mark between A.D. 40 and 60 in Alexandria (Eastern Catholics Key for Christian Unity, Says Pope. Zenit – Dec 15, 2006).
However, Eusebius does not claim that Mark was actually in Alexandria for any specific time period. Actually, since Mark is mentioned many times in the New Testament, the dates and events in the Bible that mention Mark, demonstrate that Mark could not have been the Bishop of Alexandria at that time (as he was in, or traveling to, many other places).
Around 43-44 A.D., Mark is mentioned in first Acts 12:12, when he is praying in Jerusalem. Herod is noted as dying in Acts 12:20-23, which was in 44 A.D. (Nelson Study Bible, New Kings James Version. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p. 1813). Sometime after Herod’s death, notice:
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark (Acts 12:25).
Notice that Mark was in Jerusalem and then went with Paul and Barnabas. Also notice what certain scholars believe:
In A.D. 46, Mark spent time with Paul and Barnabas in the Antioch Church before his accompanied them as a helper on their first missionary journey (Nelson Study Bible, New Kings James Version. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p. 1636).
Mark apparently went with Paul and Barnabas from around 47-49 A.D. (Nelson Study Bible, New Kings James Version. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p. 1813).
But Paul was not pleased with Mark and did not want him to accompany him on the next trip:
Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus (Acts 15:37-39).
Notice that Paul considered Mark unfaithful, and notice that Mark then went to Cyprus (not Alexandria)–and this was around 50-53 A.D. (Nelson Study Bible, New Kings James Version. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p. 1813).
Later Paul apparently liked Mark:
Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him) (Colossians 4:10).
This occurred around 60 A.D. and Mark is believed to have been with Paul in Rome then (Nelson Study Bible, New Kings James Version. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, pp. 1637, 2008).
Later Paul declared that Mark was useful:
Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).
And this occurred around 67 A.D. (Nelson Study Bible, New Kings James Version. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p. 2052).
It should be noted that the Bible never mentions that Mark was ever in Alexandria, nor ever gives any indication that he somehow was a “bishop” over any area.
Instead, the biblical account contradicts the position of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria that Mark was its bishop from 42-62 A.D. as Mark was in Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Cyprus and other areas during this time.
Therefore, either someone later made up the idea that Mark of the Bible came to Alexandria and led that church as an apostle or there was a false apostle who named himself Mark who was in Alexandria. While the Bible never calls or hints that Mark was an apostle and that Mark could not have led the church in Alexandria during the time Eusebius mentioned, it clearly does warn against “false apostles.” Specifically Paul wrote:
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:12-13).
Interestingly, Paul wrote the above around, 56 A.D., which is during the time that there is claimed to have been an apostle named Mark in Alexandria.
Furthermore, even though Eusebius mentions “Mark,” Eusebius noted that there was a problem with those who professed Christ early in Alexandria:
1. And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written, and first established churches in Alexandria.
2. And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism, was so great, that Philo thought it worth while to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life.” (Eusebius. Church History, Book II, Chapter 16. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
When Nero was in the eighth year of his reign, Annianus succeeded Mark the evangelist in the administration of the parish of Alexandria (ibid, Chapter 24).
It should be noted that Eusebius’ source or conclusion regarding Anianus, that the Orthodox accept, must be in error. For example, the eighth year of Nero’s reign would be 61-62 A.D., and the Orthodox do claim that Anianus was a bishop there from 62 A.D.
Of course, pretty much nothing is known about Anianus or any of his “successors”–but it does not seem possible that he could have become a bishop after the time of the death of Mark (who may never have actually ever been in Alexandria), hence Eusebius’s writings about Alexandria have been discounted by many scholars.
The late French Cardinal Jean-Guenole-Marie Danielou noted the following related to Clement of Alexandria and those there:
It remains to decide to what type of community Clement’s Elders belonged. It seems to have been very different from that of the Asiatic Elders. There is no trace of millenarianism among them… It must have been founded, in part at least, by Essene Christians who came from Palestine after A.D. 70. This would explain their theology… (Danielou, Cardinal Jean-Guenole-Marie. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminister Press, 1964, p. 52).
The Essenes were NOT true Christians. Many scholars have essentially concluded that the Essenes were the ones that Philo called Therapeutæ.
Whether or not that is strictly the case, it does need to be understood that, in the first century, Philo reported that there were problems with those who were in Alexandria. Here is some of what Eusebius said Philo taught about the ascetic followers (who he seems to improperly allege followed Mark) in Alexandria (any bolding mine):
3. In the work to which he gave the title, On a Contemplative Life or on Suppliants, after affirming in the first place that he will add to those things which he is about to relate nothing contrary to truth or of his own invention, he says that these men were called Therapeutæ and the women that were with them Therapeutrides. He then adds the reasons for such a name, explaining it from the fact that they applied remedies and healed the souls of those who came to them, by relieving them like physicians, of evil passions, or from the fact that they served and worshiped the Deity in purity and sincerity.
4. Whether Philo himself gave them this name, employing an epithet well suited to their mode of life, or whether the first of them really called themselves so in the beginning, since the name of Christians was not yet everywhere known, we need not discuss here…
7. Philo bears witness to facts very much like those here described and then adds the following account: “Everywhere in the world is this race found. For it was fitting that both Greek and Barbarian should share in what is perfectly good. But the race particularly abounds in Egypt, in each of its so-called nomes, and especially about Alexandria…
9. And then a little further on, after describing the kind of houses which they had, he speaks as follows concerning their churches, which were scattered about here and there: “In each house there is a sacred apartment which is called a sanctuary and monastery, where, quite alone, they perform the mysteries of the religious life. They bring nothing into it, neither drink nor food, nor any of the other things which contribute to the necessities of the body, but only the laws, and the inspired oracles of the prophets, and hymns and such other things as augment and make perfect their knowledge and piety.”
10. And after some other matters he says:
“The whole interval, from morning to evening, is for them a time of exercise. For they read the holy Scriptures, and explain the philosophy of their fathers in an allegorical manner, regarding the written words as symbols of hidden truth which is communicated in obscure figures.
11. They have also writings of ancient men, who were the founders of their sect, and who left many monuments of the allegorical method. These they use as models, and imitate their principles”…
15…Philo’s words are as follows:
16. “Having laid down temperance as a sort of foundation in the soul, they build upon it the other virtues. None of them may take food or drink before sunset, since they regard philosophizing as a work worthy of the light, but attention to the wants of the body as proper only in the darkness, and therefore assign the day to the former, but to the latter a small portion of the night.
17. But some, in whom a great desire for knowledge dwells, forget to take food for three days; and some are so delighted and feast so luxuriously upon wisdom, which furnishes doctrines richly and without stint, that they abstain even twice as long as this, and are accustomed, after six days, scarcely to take necessary food.” These statements of Philo we regard as referring clearly and indisputably to those of our communion.
19. For they say that there were women also with those of whom we are speaking, and that the most of them were aged virgins who had preserved their chastity…by their own choice, through zeal and a desire for wisdom…
20. Then after a little he adds still more emphatically: “They expound the Sacred Scriptures figuratively by means of allegories. For the whole law seems to these men to resemble a living organism, of which the spoken words constitute the body, while the hidden sense stored up within the words constitutes the soul. This hidden meaning has first been particularly studied by this sect, which sees, revealed as in a mirror of names, the surpassing beauties of the thoughts”…
23. In addition to this Philo describes the order of dignities which exists among those who carry on the services of the church, mentioning the diaconate, and the office of bishop, which takes the precedence over all the others (Eusebius. Church History, Book II, Chapter XVII. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
So Eusebius claims that Philo (c. late 1st century) reported that those in Alexandria were ascetic, had mysteries, seem to have been gnostics (ones who claimed to have special knowledge/wisdom was essential for salvation), had some promotion of celibacy, allegorized scripture, and had a bishop–and Eusebius seems to claim that they are part of the Catholic Church (see vs. 17 above)–even though the Roman Church did not have celibacy rules at that time (please see the article Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters?). This seems to have been where a major departure from the true faith occurred.
Even Irenaeus condemned the practice of allegorizing:
11…But if any one, “doting about questions,” do imagine that what the apostles have declared about God should be allegorized (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book III, Chapter 12, Verse 11. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
When the Alexandrians first had a bishop who had successors is not clear–and if Anianus was such a bishop, it appears that he led a group that did not teach the Bible the same way that the apostles did. Since the Orthodox Church claims an unbroken link of bishops here, they are apparently including individuals who overly allegorized scriptures and taught other doctrines contrary to those of the apostles.
It perhaps should be noted that there is a document, claimed (but often doubted) to be from the Roman Emperor Hadrian in roughly 134 A.D. that states:
8:1 From Hadrian Augustus to Servianus the consul, greeting. The land of Egypt, the praises of which you have been recounting to me, my dear Servianus, I have found to be wholly light-minded, unstable, and blown about by every breath of rumour. 2 There those who worship Serapis are, in fact, Christians, and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are, in fact, devotees of Serapis. 3 There is no chief of the Jewish synagogue, no Samaritan, no Christian presbyter, who is not an astrologer, a soothsayer, or an anointer. 4 Even the Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to worship Serapis, by others to worship Christ. 5 They are a folk most seditious, most deceitful, most given to injury; but their city is prosperous, rich, and fruitful, and in it no one is idle. (Vopiscus, Vita Saturnini, 8 as published in Loeb Classical Library, 1932.)
Whether or not that letter is authentic (Walter Bauer claimed that some, like Harnack accepted it, while others did not; see Bauer W. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity, 2nd ed. Edited by R. Krafy and G. Krodel. Sigler Press, Mifflintown, PA, 1996, pp. 46-47), the reality is that the area of Alexandria was not particularly known for having truly faithful Christians.
Alexandria was the original home of the heretic Valentinus (who later went to Rome), and it seems like some of the leaders in Alexandria adopted some of his traits. The historian HOJ Brown noted:
Alexandria was the home of the celebrated gnostic Valentinus. Valentinus adopted Philo’s method of allegorical interpretation…For a time, Valentinus and his followers existed with the orthodox Christians of Alexandria. (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 86).
Valentinus, even though condemned by Polycarp of Smyrna, when Polycarp visited Rome, ca. 155, was also tolerated by, and existed in, the Roman Church until at the 170s A.D. when he was finally put out after he had greatly influenced the church there.
One man who was affiliated with Valentinus was Marcus (also can be spelled Markos in English). Notice what Irenaeus wrote:
I showed thee, my very dear friend, that the whole system devised, in many and opposite ways, by those who are of the school of Valentinus, was false and baseless. I also set forth the tenets of their predecessors, proving that they not only differed among themselves, but had long previously swerved from the truth itself. I further explained, with all diligence, the doctrine as well as practice of Marcus the magician, since he, too, belongs to these persons (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book II, Preface, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
In Alexandria Marcus was appointed pastor, after Eumenes had filled the office thirteen years in all (Eusebius. Church History, Book IV, Chapter 11, Verse 6. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
One researcher noted:
Marcus, the seventh bishop listed by Eusebius, could just as well have been the famed disciple of the second-century Valentinus (Coulter Fred. The New Testament In Its Original Order, Appendix U. York Publishing, Hollister, CA, 2004, p. 859).
And that is possible. While the Eastern Orthodox venerate the memory of a Marcus they claim was bishop of Alexandria from A.D. 144-154, Roman Catholics consider that there was a leading Gnostic heretic named Marcus in the second century:
Marcus The name of three leading Gnostics…The founder of the Marcosians and elder contemporary of St. Irenæus, who, c. A.D. 175, in his refutation addresses him as one apparently still living (Adv. Haer., I, xi, 3, where the “clarus magister” is Marcus, not Epiphanes; and I, xiii, 21). Irenaeus, from whom St. Epiphanius (Haer., xxxiv) and St. Hoppolytus (Haer., VI, xxxix-lv) quote, makes Marcus, a disciple of Valentius (q.v.), with whom Marcus’s aeonology mainly agrees…Clement of Alexandria, himself infected with Gnosticism, actually uses Marcus number system though without acknowledgement (Strom, VI, xvi) (Arendzen JP. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas. Marcus. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).
The fact that Clement of Alexandria (a contemporary of Marcus) apparently used Marcus’ numbering system, suggests that it is possible, but does not prove, that this could be the same Marcus (for more information on him, please see Marcus and the Marcosians: Developers of the Eucharist?).
Irenaeus even condemned the Gnostic Marcus who had been acquainted with Valentinus for coming up with some type of a “eucharistic -like” mystery. Notice:
1. In the first book, which immediately precedes this, exposing “knowledge falsely so called,” I showed thee, my very dear friend, that the whole system devised, in many and opposite ways, by those who are of the school of Valentinus, was false and baseless. I also set forth the tenets of their predecessors, proving that they not only differed among themselves, but had long previously swerved from the truth itself. I further explained, with all diligence, the doctrine as well as practice of Marcus the magician, since he, too, belongs to these persons (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book II, Preface, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
1. But there is another among these heretics, Marcus by name, who boasts himself as having improved upon his master…
2. Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of invocation, he contrives to give them a purple and reddish colour, so that Charis, who is one of those that are superior to all things, should be thought to drop her own blood into that cup through means of his invocation, and that thus those who are present should be led to rejoice to taste of that cup, in order that, by so doing, the Charis, who is set forth by this magician, may also flow into them. Again, handing mixed cups to the women, he bids them consecrate these in his presence (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book I, Chapter 13. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
If these two Marcus’s are the same person, it is clear that one in the list of Alexandria’s Orthodox successors was condemned by Irenaeus as a heretic (for more information on him, please see Marcus and the Marcosians: Developers of the Eucharist?).
And even if they are not, the practice of consecration with mysterious invocations was condemned in the second century–even though this is a practice somewhat adopted by the Roman and Orthodox Churches. And very similar to practices associated with Mithraism, as Tertullian noted:
By the devil, of course, to whom pertain those wiles which pervert the truth, and who, by the mystic rites of his idols, vies even with the essential portions of the sacraments of God…Mithra there, (in the kingdom of Satan,) sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers; celebrates also the oblation of bread, and introduces an image of a resurrection, and before a sword wreathes a crown (The Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 40. Translated by the Rev. Peter Holmes, D.D., F.R.A.S.).
In spite of claims from the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, little is known about those it claims as early leaders, but possibly they were influenced by followers of Mithra and Egyptian gods. How Alexandria developed claiming Christ is not clear, but it did not develop as it did directly from teachings from Mark the gospel writer.
Notice also the following:
Eusebius who “found nothing in his sources about the history of Christianity in Alexandria” had in any event searched very diligently for them…Eusebius who calls Annianus, the immediate successor of Mark…does not raise the tradition above the zero point…We first catch sight of something like “ecclesiastical” Christianity in Demetrius, the Bishop of Alexandria from 189-231. (Bauer, pp. 45, 53)
Harnack is perhaps right in saying that the worst gap of our knowledge of early Church History is our almost total ignorance of the history of Christianity in Alexandria and Egypt till A.D. 180. (William J, Wand C. A history of the early church to A.D. 500, 4th edition. Routledge, 1990, p. 70)
The Catholic Encyclopedia reports:
Demetrius is the first Alexandrian bishop of whom anything is known…Demetrius encouraged Origen when blamed for his too literal execution of an allegorical counsel of our Lord, and is said to have shown him great favour…In 230 Demetrius gave Origen a recommendation to take with him on his journey to Athens (Chapman J. Transcribed by Gary Mros. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).
Demetrius is in the list of successors for the Orthodox Church of Alexandria from 188-231. During that time, Demetrius encouraged the heretics Clement of Alexander and later Origen (before eventually renouncing Origen) with their Alexandrian Catechetical School. Thus, no one in the genuine Church of God would consider that those who claim to be his successor are truly successors of the apostles.
Even many Protestant leaders know that the old Alexandrian Catechetical School clearly had problems as the noted Protestant theologian John Walvoord has pointed out:
In the last ten years of the second century and in the third century the heretical school of theology at Alexandria, Egypt advanced the erroneous principle that the Bible should be interpreted in a nonliteral or allegorical sense. In applying this to the Scriptures, they subverted all the major doctrines of faith…the Alexandrian school of theology is labeled by all theologians as heretical…(Walvoord, John F. The Prophecy Handbook. Victor Books, Wheaton (IL), 1990, pp. 9,15).
Clement mixed gnosticism with his form of Christianity:
Unlike Irenaeus who detested it, Clement refers to secret tradition, and his affinities to gnosticism seems to go beyond mere borrowing of gnostic terms. (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 87).
The Catholic Encyclopedia reported:
Clement was an early Greek theologian and head of the catechetical school of Alexandria...Alexandria was, in addition, one of the chief seats of that peculiar mixed pagan and Christian speculation known as Gnosticism…Conservative scholars are inclined to believe that Photius has thrown the mistakes of Clement, whatever they may have been, into undue relief. Clement’s style is difficult, his works are full of borrowed excerpts, and his teaching is with difficulty reduced to a coherent body of doctrine…
In the “Miscellanies” Clement disclaims order and plan…God’s truth is to be found in revelation, another portion of it in philosophy. It is the duty of the Christian to neglect neither. Religious science, drawn from his twofold source, is even an element of perfection, the instructed Christian — “the true Gnostic” is the perfect Christian. He who has risen to this height is far from the disturbance of passion; he is united to God, and in a mysterious sense is one with Him. Such is the line of thought indicated in the work, which is full of digressions…
Some scholars see in the chief writings of Clement, the “Exhortation”, “The Tutor”, the “Miscellanies”, a great trilogy representing a graduated initiation into the Christian life — belief, discipline, knowledge — three states corresponding to the three degrees of the neo-Platonic mysteries — purification, initiation, and vision…
Photius in the “Bibliotheca” censures a list of errors drawn from his writings…when the Roman Martyrology was revised by Pope Clement VIII his name was dropped from the calendar on the advice of Cardinal Baronius. Benedict XIV maintained this decision of his predecessor on the grounds that Clement’s life was little known that he had never obtained public cultus in the Church, and that some of his doctrines were, if not erroneous, at least suspect (Havey, Francis. “Clement of Alexandria.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 17 Nov. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04045a.htm>).
In other words, many scholars understand that Clement of Alexandria, who is often listed as a major leader in Alexandria held a lot of gnostic and other heretical views.
Origen was one of the first major scholars to oppose the literal understanding of scripture (an article of related interest may be What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation?)–which he may have gotten from the gnostic Valentinus.
It should be noted that many historians do not believe that there was an actual succession of bishops in Alexandria prior (or much prior) to Demetrius (see Bauer W. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity, 2nd ed. Edited by R. Krafy and G. Krodel. Sigler Press, Mifflintown, PA, 1996, pp. 44-45 and Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah, NJ, 2001, p. 15).
The idea that there also was NOT a succession of apostolic teachings from the apostles through any early bishops of Alexandria appears to be confirmed by the following account of Clement of Alexandria who wrote:
Now this work of mine in writing is not artfully constructed for display; but my memoranda are stored up against old age, as a remedy against forgetfulness, truly an image and outline of those vigorous and animated discourses which I was privileged to hear, and of blessed and truly remarkable men.
Of these the one, in Greece, an Ionic; the other in Magna Graecia: the first of these from Coele-Syria, the second from Egypt, and others in the East. The one was born in the land of Assyria, and the other a Hebrew in Palestine.
When I came upon the last (he was the first in power), having tracked him out concealed in Egypt, I found rest. He, the true, the Sicilian bee, gathering the spoil of the flowers of the prophetic and apostolic meadow, engendered in the souls of his hearers a deathless element of knowledge.
Well, they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God’s will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds (Clement of Alexandria. The Stromata (Book I, Chapter I. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
The above account shows that Clement claims that he basically has apostolic knowledge based on him coming upon a variety of individuals who claimed to know the apostles. Notice that Clement never even hints that this information was preserved by a line of early bishops in Alexandria.
Well, amongst other reasons, because there is no proof that there ever was no real apostle to bishop to bishop transfers in Alexandria (though there appears to have been proof of some heretical bishops). And even the Bible disagrees with the position that Mark could have been there much from 42-62 A.D.
It gets even worse. “Patriarch DIONYSIOS” (also spelled Dionysius) specifically rejected the Book of Revelation as he considered that it was likely a work of fiction. Eusebius recorded the following about Dionysius:
1. Afterward he speaks in this manner of the Apocalypse of John.
Some before us have set aside and rejected the book altogether, criticising it chapter by chapter, and pronouncing it without sense or argument, and maintaining that the title is fraudulent.
2. For they say that it is not the work of John, nor is it a revelation, because it is covered thickly and densely by a veil of obscurity. And they affirm that none of the apostles, and none of the saints, nor any one in the Church is its author, but that Cerinthus, who founded the sect which was called after him the Cerinthian, desiring reputable authority for his fiction, prefixed the name.
6. After this he examines the entire Book of Revelation, and having proved that it is impossible to understand it according to the literal sense, proceeds…
26. I do not deny that the other writer saw a revelation and received knowledge and prophecy. I perceive, however, that his dialect and language are not accurate Greek, but that he uses barbarous idioms, and, in some places, solecisms. (Eusebius, The History of the Church, Book VII, Chapter 25, verses 1,2,6,26, p p. 160,162)
How can a person who so discounted a book of the Bible be a true successor of the Apostles? Obviously, he cannot be. There never was apostolic succession in Alexandria.
Later, the Church that Demetrius led split in the year 451 into the Coptic Church and the Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
We in the genuine Church of God do not consider that either of the two leaders who now claim to lead the Alexandrian church could be truly faithful to the original teachings from the apostles. The gnostic practice of allegorizing scripture was encouraged in Alexandria, as were many parts of Gnosticism in general.
It should be outrageous to the Catholics of Rome that their pontiff considers that Alexandria has apostolic succession from the gospel writer Mark as this is historically false.
The Bible also warns against the type of ecumenical unity that Pope Francis and Orthodox/Protestant/Coptic leaders are working towards (e.g. Revelation 17).
Some items of possibly related interest may include:
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a version in the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video of related interest could be Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Do You Know That Babylon is Forming? How is the final Babylon forming? Are Protestants such as Joel Osteen and Kenneth Copeland are endorsing something dangerous? Could Pope Francis be the ‘False Prophet’ that the Bible warns against? Is an antipope expected to endorse a one-world religion? Here is a link to a related written article In Vatican City: New Babylon more openly forming!
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? A related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against?
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.