Catechetical School of Alexandria

Catechetical School of Alexandria

The Catechetical School of Alexandria (founded c.a. 190) was and is a place for the training of Christian theologians and priests in Alexandria. The teachers and students of the school (also known as the Didascalium) were influential in many of the early theological controversies of the Christian church.

The earliest recorded instructor at the school, and the probable founder, was Saint Pantaenus. He was succeeded as head of the school by his student Saint Clement.

Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–211/216).

Other notable theologians with a connection to the school include Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Heraclas, Dionysius "the Great", and Didymus the Blind. Others, including Jerome and Basil, made trips to the school to interact with the scholars there. Currently, the dean of the Catechetical School of Alexandria is His Holiness Pope Shenouda III.



The Catechetical School of Alexandria is the oldest catechetical school in the world. It is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

St. Jerome records that the Christian School of Alexandria was founded by St. Mark himself [1] and the first manager appointed by Saint Mark was Saint Justus, who later became the sixth bishop of Alexandria[2].

There is another opinion that the school was founded mid-second century [3], around 190 A.D.

Under the leadership of the scholar Pantaenus, the school of Alexandria became an important institution of religious learning, where students were taught by scholars such as Athenagoras, Clement, Didymus, and the great Origen, who was considered the father of theology and who was also active in the field of commentary and comparative Biblical studies. Many scholars, such as Jerome, visited the school of Alexandria to exchange ideas and to communicate directly with its scholars.

The scope of this school was not limited to theological subjects; science, mathematics and humanities were also taught. The question-and-answer method of commentary began there, and, 15 centuries before Braille, blind students at the school were using wood-carving techniques to read and write.


The Theological College of the Catechetical School of Alexandria was re-established in 1893 as the Coptic Theological Seminary‎. The new school currently has campuses in Alexandria, Cairo, New Jersey, and Los Angeles, where Coptic priests-to-be and other qualified men and women are taught on subjects including Christian theology, history, Coptic language and art – including chanting, music, iconography, and tapestry.

See also


  1. ^ Coptic Church .net
  2. ^ L A Copts
  3. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica

External links

Origen was excommunicated by the Coptic Orthodox Church in early church history.

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