CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

Carpocrates

CARPOCRATES An Alexandrian of the middle of the second century who was said to be a successor of CERINTHUS. Carpocrates, along with his followers, was attacked more for immoral practices than for doctrinal error. Aside from making a general charge concerning the nature of Christ and the identity of the creator of the world, IRENAEUS …

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Celibacy

CELIBACY The unmarried state, particularly of clergy who are so bound by a solemn vow. Although matrimony is one of the seven holy sacraments and is likened to the union between Christ and the church (Eph. 5:31, 32), ascetic celibacy is regarded as a superior state, as it relieves men from earthly attachments and prepares …

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Apologist

APOLOGIST Apologists is the title given to a group of the Church Fathers who strove in the second century to defend Christianity against pagan attacks. They tried to explain the principles of religion, showing that Christianity is compatible with good citizenship, contrary to the belief that refusing to worship the emperor constituted a plot against …

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Basilides

BASILIDES A Christian Gnostic teacher who was active in Alexandria in the 130s and probably before that. He is reported by Irenaeus to have brought his heresy from Antioch to Alexandria. An elaborate cosmogonic myth is attributed to him by Irenaeus, and a rather different one by Hippolytus. Irenaeus also attributes to him a doctrine …

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Carpocrates

CARPOCRATES A Christian Gnostic teacher active in Alexandria in the early second century. His teachings are summarized by Irenaeus and other Church Fathers. According to them, he taught a typical Gnostic cosmogony according to which the world was created and is governed by inferior creator angels. The soul of Jesus was able to escape their …

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Heracleon

HERACLEON A pupil of Valentinus the Gnostic who was active during the mid-second century. He was referred to by Clement of Alexandria as “the most esteemed member of the school of Valentinus.” He wrote an important commentary on the Gospel of John that was excerpted by Origen in his own commentary on John. Although he …

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Confirmation

CONFIRMATION Confirmation is one of the sacraments of initiation into the Coptic Orthodox Church. It is administered immediately after Baptism and before partaking of the Eucharist. In the Coptic Church, it is performed by unction with the holy oil by a priest or a bishop (in the Catholic Church, it is the right of the …

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Valentinus

VALENTINUS A Christian Gnostic teacher active in Alexandria in the early second century. Born in the Egyptian Delta, he was educated in Alexandria. He is reported by Irenaeus to have adapted the teachings of the Gnostic sect in creating his own system, which conformed to a greater degree to traditional Christian doctrine. Around 140 he …

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