Theodore II and Alexandria

Pantheon of Rome: A Symbol of Unity Among Confusion


The following item was in the news:

Sant’Egidio Peace Meeting Draws Orthodox

Cyprus Hosts This Year’s Prayer Event

NICOSIA, Cyprus, NOV. 16, 2008 ( Orthodox, Catholics and people of other faiths are gathered together on the island of Cyprus to pray for a civilization of peace.

The International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, traditionally sponsored by the Catholic lay Sant’Egidio Community, and this year cosponsored by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, began today and ends Tuesday…

Cardinal Sandri then greeted Chrysostomos II and Theodoros II, patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, in the name of Benedict XVI.

Have you heard of Theodore (also known as Theodoros) II?  Notice what Wikipedia reports about his titles:

Patriarch Theodore (Theodoros) II of Alexandria (born Nikolaos Horeftakis on November 25, 1954) is the current Eastern Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa. He is formally styled His Divine Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, Libya, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, All Egypt and All Africa, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Prelate of Prelates, the Thirteenth of the Apostles and Judge of the Ecumene. He is the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in Africa and Madagascar.

Seems a bit presumptuous.

So is the claim that his church has “apostolic succession”.

Early Alexandria was so heretical that even modern Protestant scholars condemn it.

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 of Alexandria 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).

In other words, many scholars understand that Clement of Alexandria (who was the founder of that old Alexandrian Catechetical School), who is often listed as a major leader in Alexandria held a lot of Gnostic and other heretical views.

Furthermore, even though they seem to wish to overlook it now, even Roman Catholic scholars realize that Clement was suspect and that Alexandria did not clearly have any bishops until the latter part of the second century.  Notice what The Catholic Encyclopedia essentially admits:

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…

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 (Havey, Francis. “Clement of Alexandria.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 17 Nov. 2008 <>).

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 Living Church of God would consider that those who claim to be his successor are truly successors of the apostles.

While Theodore II probably knows about the history of his claimed “apostolic see”, if he has publicly denounced his claims to apostolic succession, etc., I have not heard it.

But he should.  The Orthodox (and others) who are having more meetings with the Church of Rome and who seem bent upon ecumenical unity with them need to understand that this is not something that the Bible indicates that they should do.  Actually, they are warned against it (Revelation 18:4-5).

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Living 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 There is a plan to bring the Orthodox back into unity with Rome, but the Bible warns against it, see why and what the Orthodox should do.
Marcus and the Marcosians: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
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!

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