An "All Deans Day"?

One of the things that the Coptic Church is known for is her theological educational tradition, and we know we have our succession of deans alongside with the patriarchs, and many have overlapped, with deans being bishops of Alexandria.  One of the most important deans that all Orthodox Christians admire, even though he is not a saint due to alleged heresies, is Origen, and I am quite saddened at the very least that such an important figure does not even have a record of the exact date of his departure, let alone his birth.  At the same time, we also have St. Clement of Alexandria and St. Didymus the Blind (or even Origen's father, at least, St. Leonides, though not a dean, was martyred for the faith), who we call saints, but their commemorations is no where to be found in the Synexarium, at least from my search.  In addition with the recent canonization of St. Habib Girgis, it really got me thinking.  I would really wish, as my personal desire, that we at least perhaps have a day in the year set aside as a commemoration for all the deans of the school of Alexandria, and maybe all of Orthodoxy, to commemorate for their education, their loyalty to the Church, and the bringing up of many spiritual children who would become future servants of the Lord, including deacons, priests, and bishops.

I don't know, what do you guys think?


  • That would be amazing
  • Please include Pope Shenouda. It would be amazing to celebrate people who lived millennia apart together in one day.
  • Pope Shenouda would be included in AD 2062.
  • edited July 2014
    but if we're including origen, then canonisation doesn't matter
  • It is a great idea. It will reflect an appreciation for saints who did not let their academic background ruin their spirituality, but they rather used their knowledge with determination for God’s glory. It will serve as a great example.

    I think that all of the early deans till Chalcedon are already saints, even if not officially, with the exception of the greatest of them all, Origen. It should not be no big deal to set aside a date to commemorate them together.

    No chance with Origen being included in this list. It is practically impossible.

    I think the greatest of them all will have to wait till the second coming of the Lord to be exonerated. A tragedy that the man, who defended the faith, expounded the theology in an orthodox manner, influenced the majority of the great fathers after him like Athanasius and regarded himself as the man of the Church, is excluded from any kind of honor in any church, and even hated among some of his very own.
  • Certainly, it would be a general commemoration of deans without specific names.  Like the remembrance of the 318 assembled at Nicea, the 150 at Constantinople, and the 200 at Ephesus.  One can say, to each person, they can use their own imagination who they're thinking of when it's "all deans" ;)
  • Maybe the Church will canonize this dean one day... 


  • Well, he's not from the school of Alexandria ;)

    1. St. Mark the Apostle

    2. Justus, 6th Bishop of Alexandria

    3. Eumenius, 7th Bishop of Alexandria

    4. Marcianius, 8th Bishop of Alexandria

    5. Athenagoras

    6. Pantænus

    7. Clement of Alexandria

    8. Origen

    9. Pope Heracles, 13th Bishop of Alexandria

    10. Dionysius

    11. Didymus the Blind

    12. Archdeacon Habib Guirguis

    13. Shenouda III, 117th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria
    I can't find any sources for deans between Didymus the Blind and Habib Guirguis
  • edited July 2014
    Pierus, Theognostus, St. Theonas, and St. Peter Ieromartyros are some that come to mind, I think.  I'm not sure who was dean between St. Peter and St. Didymus.

    I wanted to give an overview of the Apostolicity of Origen.  Origen records having been inspired by the sermons of St. Hippolytus of Rome.  St. Hippolytus mentioned he was a disciple of St. Irenaeus.  St. Irenaeus was a disciple of St. Polycarp.  St. Polycarp was a disciple of St. John the evangelist.  It's important to notice that not only Origen has the succession of Alexandria's school, but even of Irenaen learning.  He deserves any form of commemoration, even if not one among the saints.
  • edited July 2014
    There is also a possibility that St. Cyril might have been dean, but I'm not quite 100% sure.  But he certainly wrote like one.
  • edited July 2014

    Here's an updated list of the Deans so far:

    St. Mark the Apostle

    Justus, 6th Bishop of Alexandria

    Eumenius, 7th Bishop of Alexandria

    Marcianius, 8th Bishop of Alexandria

    Celadion, 9th Bishop of Alexandria



    Clement of Alexandria


    Pope Heracles, 13th Bishop of Alexandria

    Dionysius the Great, 14th Bishop of Alexandria

    Theonas, 16th Bishop of Alexandria



    Peter Ieromartyrus, 17th Bishop of Alexandria

    Achillas, 18th Bishop of Alexandria


    Didymus the Blind


    Dioscorus, 26th Bishop of Alexandria

    ... (theological education preserved by monks)

    Youssef Bey Mankarious

    Archdeacon Habib Guirguis

    Father Ibrahim Attia

    Shenouda III, 117th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria

    ???1:  it can be speculated that St. Alexander and St. Athanasius might have been deans

    ???2:  it can be speculated that almost every patriarch from that point on until St. Dioscorus were deans, but considering the close relationship of the deaconate in education, probably even St. Timothy II and St. Peter III afterwards.  However, slowly, the education of theological studies was preserved in the monasteries as the Chalcedonian schism took a strong toll on the church

  • I know that John I, 29th Pope was the first monk elected pope
  • edited July 2014
    It would make sense. St. Severus of Antioch, a pillar of faith to the OO church (and he is actually deservedly added to the diptychs of patriarchs of Alexandria, even though he wasn't) was also a monk before his patriarchate. The next most learned Alexandrian Pope would be St. Theodosius right afterwards, who was also a monk.
  • Here's an interesting mention of St Dionysius in "The Coptic Christian Heritage" edited by Omina Lois Farag.

    "Dionysius refuted millenarianism based on a critical study of the Apocalypse of John. Interestingly enough, in this critical study Dionysius proved that the author of the Apocalypse is different than the writer of the Johannine Gospel, based on language, style, and Greek syntax, though there is no reason to doubt that the writer was also called John. His literary criticism of the text was unparalleled till modern times, his argument about the authorship of the Apocalypse remains valid to the present day."

    From Dr. Sr. Lois M. Farag's "The Greek Literature of the Copts: Innovative and Formative Era" in "The Coptic Christian Heritage: History, Faith and Culture."
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