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Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria

Neither Clement's birthdate or birthplace is known with any degree of certainty. It is conjectured that he was born in around 150. According to Epiphanius Scholasticus, he was born in Athens, but there is also a tradition of an Alexandrian birth.

His parents were pagans, and Clement was a convert to Christianity. In the Protrepticus he displays an extensive knowledge of Greek mythology and mystery religions, which could only have arisen from the practise of his family's religion.

Having rejected paganism as a young man due to its perceived moral corruption, he travelled in Greece, Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt. Clement's journeys were primarily a religious undertaking. In Greece, he encountered an Ionian theologian, who has been identified as Athenagoras of Athens; while in the east, he was taught by an Assyrian, sometimes identified with Tatian, and a Jew, who was possibly Theophilus of Caesarea.

In around 180, Clement reached Alexandria, where he met Pantaenus, who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Eusebius suggests that Pantaenus was the head of the school, but it is controversial whether the institutions of the school were formalized in this way before the time of Origen. Proponents of a formalized leadership and succession suggest that Clement succeeded Pantaenus as leader of the school, and was succeeded himself by Origen. Clement studied under Pantaenus, and was ordained to the priesthood by Pope Julian before 189. Otherwise, virtually nothing is known of Clement's life in Alexandria. He may have been married, a conjecture supported by his writings. Clement's diet is also unknown, but he said some things that look down upon eating flesh such as, "It is good...neither to eat flesh" and that even the fumes from cooked flesh "darken the soul"; however he said non-vegetarians aren't sinning except in certain circumstances such as those who eat flesh with "gluttony" and he was not opposed to all instances of eating meat.

During the Severian persecutions of 202–203, Clement left Alexandria. In 211, Alexander of Jerusalem wrote a letter commending him to the Church of Antioch, which may imply that Clement was living in in Cappadocia at that time. The date and location of his death are unknown.
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Clement of Alexandria

Exhortation to the Heathen

EXHORTATION TO ABANDON THE IMPIOUS MYSTERIES OF IDOLATRY FOR THE ADORATION OF THE DIVINE WORD AND GOD THE FATHER. Amphion of Thebes and Arion of Methymna were both minstrels, and both were renowned in story. They are celebrated in song to this day in the chorus of the Greeks; the one for having allu... Read More
Clement of Alexandria


FRAGMENTS OF CLEMENS ALEXANDRINUS. [TRANSLATED BY REV. WILLIAM WILSON, M.A.] FRAGMENTS. I.--FROM THE LATIN TRANSLATION OF CASSIODORUS. I.--COMMENTS ON THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER. CHAP. i. 3. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by His great mercy hath regenerated us." For if ... Read More
Clement of Alexandria

Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?

I. Those who bestow laudatory addresses on the rich appear to me to be rightly judged not only flatterers and base, in vehemently pretending that things which are disagreeable give them pleasure, but also godless and treacherous; godless, because neglecting to praise and glorify God, who is alone pe... Read More

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