Clement of Alexandria

QUESTION: Who was Clement of Alexandria?

ANSWER:

Clement of Alexandria is not to be confused with Clement I. Clement I was the fourth church father or pope of the church in Rome. The word 'pope' comes from the Latin and means father.

Clement of Alexandria was Greek, born in Athens about 150 A.D. The presiding father at the church in Rome at that time was Pope Pius I. When Clement came to Alexandria, he became a Christian apologist. An apologist is someone who argues in defense of something. He became the head-master of the church school of Alexandria.

Clement argued for and explained the Christian faith to the Greek cultural world. Alexandria was a cosmopolitan city with many cultures, people, and religions. Many Jews lived in Alexandria who had forgotten their native tongue of Hebrew and were speaking Greek. Here the Scriptures were being translated into Greek.

Many followers of the eastern mystery religions lived in Alexandria: those who followed the teachings of Plato and Epicureus among others. Alexandria was also the seat of Gnosticism. Gnosticism is a sect that tried to marry Christianity to the mysticism of the east thereby spoiling the gospel.

Clement of Alexandria was very knowledgeable of all branches of Greek literature and all existing systems of philosophy. He also knew the Old Testament and understood the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was able to explain to the Greek mind set as well as to the Hellenized Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

He died in Jerusalem about A.D. 215.

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