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Posts Tagged ‘Hortatory Discourse to the Greeks’

Date of birth unknown; died about the year 215

Saint Clement was a great theologian and the head of The Catechetical School of Alexandria. The start of his journey in the Christian faith and most likely his birthplace Athens.

After being a servant to many theological maters Saint Clement found himself in Alexandria. He founded his school that he headed up for 20 years, and had over 180 students. Alexandria was fitting for such an endeavor. It was the center for culture and trade. It was a city mixed with culture and philosophical thought. Neo-Platonism was widespread as well as Gnosticism. The Jews also were there in large numbers, and also adopted the secular philosophical culture. Alexandria truly was the most enlightened colony of the Dispersion.

Given the landscape of Alexandria St. Clement took on the task of trying to foster up true faith among the people. He wrote the Protreptikos pros Ellenas (Hortatory Discourse to the Greeks). It was a lofty and well written appeal for the Faith. His apologetic works effectively impacted pagan and the faithful alike.

I find it very interesting the St. Clement took The Greeks science and philosophy to be like the Torah of the Hebrews. They are a preparation for the Gospel. He made sure all students were given a solid education that was both The Gospel of Christ and a sound liberal teaching.

Great regard surrounded St. Clement and his school. He was known as a man who would sit with non-christian scholars. He paved the way for his understudy Origen who is arguably one of the greatest theologians of Greek Christianity.

We should strive to be like St. Clement. Finding balance within Christian theology and liberal thought. Using Scripture, Holy Tradition, and reason (science) when it comes to our understanding of faith. Mostly to be open to positive dialog with those of other faith traditions.

Prayers
O God of unsearchable mystery, who led Clement of Alexandria to find in ancient philosophy a path to knowledge of your Word: Grant that your Church may recognize true wisdom, wherever it is found, knowing that wisdom come from you and leads to you; through our Teacher Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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