St. Clement of Alexandria

quotes from Clement of Alexandria:→

Titus Flavius Clemens, also known as Clement of Alexandria (150-215 CE), is a Church Father and was ordained to the priesthood by Pope Julian sometime before 189.  He was a theologian, and philosopher who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria, where among his pupils were Origen of Alexandria and Alexander of Jerusalem.

Three of Clement’s major works have survived in full and they are collectively referred to as a trilogy:  the Protrepticus (Exhortation) – written c. 195 AD, the Paedagogus (Tutor) – written c. 198 AD, the Stromata (Miscellanies) – written c. 198 AD – c. 203 AD. Besides the great trilogy, Clement’s only other extant work is the treatise Salvation for the Rich, also known as Who is the Rich Man who is Saved?

Quotes & Excerpts:



When we are baptized, we are enlightened. Being enlightened, we are adopted as sons. Adopted as sons, we are made perfect. Made perfect, we become immortal . . . ‘and sons of the Most High’ [Ps. 82:6]. This work is variously called grace, illumination, perfection, and washing. It is a washing by which we are cleansed of sins, a gift of grace by which the punishments due our sins are remitted, an illumination by which we behold that holy light of salvation


“One and only is the Virgin Mother.
I love to call her the Church…
She is at once both Virgin and Mother; as a Virgin, undefiled, as a Mother, full of love. Calling her children about her, she nourishes them with holy milk, that is with the Infant Word… He delivers His flesh and pours out His Blood so that nothing is lacking for the growth of His children.”
-The Instructor of Children 1,6,41,3 (ca 200 A.D.)


Eat my flesh, he says, and drink my blood (John 6:53-5). Such is the suitable food which the Lord ministers, and he offers his flesh and pours forth his blood, and nothing is wanting for the children’s growth. O, amazing mystery! We are enjoined to cast off the old and carnal corruption, as also the old nutriment, receiving in exchange another new regimen, that of Christ, receiving him if we can, to hide him within; and that, enshrining the Savior in our souls, we may correct the affections of our flesh.


Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted


To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature


Innumerable other commands are written in the holy Bible pertaining to chosen persons, some to presbyters, some to bish-ops, some to deacons, others to widows, of whom we shall speak elsewhere. Many things spoken in enigmas, many in parables, may benefit those who fall in with them. But it is not my province, says the instructor, to teach these any longer.
But we need a teacher of the exposition of those sacred words, to whom we must direct our steps [Instructor of Children 3:12 (c.
A.D. 197)



“It is a good thing, I reckon, to leave good children to posterity. This is the case with children born of our bodies, but words are the progeny of the soul.
Hence, we call those who have instructed us, fathers.”
– Miscellanies 1:1 Written 202 A.D.)


Well, they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God’s will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds. And well I know that they will exult; I do not mean delighted with this tribute, but solely on account of the preservation of the truth, according as they delivered it. For such a sketch as this, will, I think, be agreeable to a soul desirous of preserving from loss the blessed tradition


That Scripture counsels marriage, however, and never allows any release from the union, is expressly contained in the law: ‘You shall not divorce a wife, except for reason of immorality.’ And it regards as adultery the marriage of a spouse, while the one from whom a separation was made is still alive. ‘Whoever takes a divorced woman as wife commits adultery,’ it says; for ‘if anyone divorce his wife, he debauches her’; that is, he compels her to commit adultery. And not only does he that divorces her become the cause of this, but also he that takes the woman and gives her the opportunity of sinning; for if he did not take her, she would return to her husband


Even here in the Church the gradations of bishops, presbyters, and deacons happen to be imitations, in my opinion, of the angelic glory and of that arrangement which, the scriptures say, awaits those who have followed in the footsteps of the apostles and who have lived in complete righteousness according to the gospel


When we hear, ‘Your faith has saved you,’ we do not understand the Lord to say simply that they will be saved who have believed in whatever manner, even if works have not followed. To begin with, it was to the Jews alone that he spoke this phrase, who had lived in accord with the law and blamelessly and who had lacked only faith in the Lord


And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things that exist? So that we may be taught that the world was originated (in this way), and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: “This is the book of the generation: also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth.” For the expression “when they were created” intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression “in the day that God made,” ; that is, in
and by which God made
“all things,” and without which not even one thing was made, points out the activity exerted by the Son.”


In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him


From what has been said, then, it seems clear to me that the true Church, that which is really ancient, is one; and in it are enrolled those who, in accord with a design (24), are just. . .. [S] We say, therefore, that in substance, in concept, in origin and in eminence, the ancient and Catholic Church is alone, gathering as it does into the unity of the one faith which results from the familiar covenants, – or rather, from the one covenant in different times, by the will of the one God and through the one Lord, – those already chosen, those predestined by God who knew before the foundation of the world that they would be just.

Who is the Rich Man Saved


“Indeed, God conspires with willing souls.
But if they abandon their eagerness, the Spirit which is bestowed by God is also restrained.
To save the unwilling is to exercise compulsion; but to save the willing belongs to Him that bestows grace.”


[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? ‘Behold, we have left all and have followed you’ [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]


“After the death of the tyrant, [the apostle John] came back again to Ephesus from the Island of Patmos; and, upon being invited, he went even to the neighboring cities of the pagans, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole churches, and there to ordain to the clerical state such as were designated by the Spirit”


“The circumstances which occasioned . . . [the writing] of Mark were these: When Peter preached the Word publicly at Rome and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings, should write down what had been proclaimed” (Sketches [A.D. 200], in a fragment from Eusebius, History of the Church, 6, 14:1).