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Saint Cleopas the Apostle
Michelangelo Caravaggio 016.jpg
Cleopas from the Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio, London, 1601
Born1st century BC or 1st century AD (probably before 34 BC)[1]
Died1st century
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodoxy
Roman Catholic Church
Feast25 September (Roman Catholic)
30 October (Eastern Orthodox)
10 November (Coptic Orthodox)

Cleopas (Greek Κλεόπας, Kleopas), also spelled Cleophas, was a figure of early Christianity, one of the two disciples who encountered Jesus during the Road to Emmaus appearance in Luke 24:13–32.


Some writers claim that the name Clopas in John 19:25 ("Mary of Clopas" Κλωπᾶς) is a Hellenized form of a claimed Aramaic name "Qlopha" (קלופא), and that Cleopas' name (Κλεόπας) is an abbreviated form of "Cleopatros", a Greek name meaning "glory of the father" (best known in the feminine form Cleopatra).[2]

Catholic and Orthodox traditions hold that Clopas, believed to be the brother of Saint Joseph, is the same person as Cleopas.[3][4][5] Others consider that Clophas, Cleophas and Alphaeus are all the same name.[6]

Account in the Gospel of Luke[edit]

Cleopas appears in Luke 24:13–27 as one of two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Cleopas is named in verse 18, while his companion remains unnamed.[7]

This occurs three days after the crucifixion on the same day Jesus had his resurrection. The two travelers have heard the tomb of Jesus was found empty earlier that day, but have not yet believed the women's testimony. They are discussing the events of the past few days when a stranger asks them what they are discussing. "Their eyes were kept from recognizing him." He soon rebukes them for their unbelief and gives them a Bible study on prophecies about the Messiah. They ask the stranger to join them for the evening meal. When he breaks the bread "their eyes were opened" and they recognize him as the resurrected Jesus. Jesus immediately vanishes.

Cleopas and his friend hasten back to Jerusalem to carry the news to the other disciples, and learn Jesus has also appeared to [one of] them. The same event is recorded in Mark 16:12–13.

Apocryphal books[edit]

The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, which was probably written in the seventh century, states that Mary of Clopas was daughter of Clopas and Anna:

Jesus met them, with Mary His mother, along with her sister Mary of Clopas, whom the Lord God had given to her father Clopas and her mother Anna, because they had offered Mary the mother of Jesus to the Lord. And she was called by the same name, Mary, for the consolation of her parents.[8]

The most common interpretation is that "of Clopas" indicates the husband of Mary of Clopas and subsequently the father of her children, but some see "of Clopas" as meaning this Mary's father. Medieval tradition saw Clopas as the second husband of Saint Anne and the father of "Mary of Clopas".[9]

Catholic and Orthodox traditions believed that Clopas is a brother of Saint Joseph, and that he is the same person with Cleophas.[10][11][12]


Cleopas has no further occurrence in the New Testament, but in tradition he has often been identified with Clopas, another New Testament figure mentioned in John's Gospel.[13]

The historian, Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, quotes the earlier chronicler, Hegesippus, who wrote, c. AD 180, that he had years before interviewed the grandsons of Jude the Apostle and learned that Clopas was the brother of Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary: "After the martyrdom of James, it was unanimously decided that Simeon, son of Clopas, was worthy to occupy the see of Jerusalem. He was, it is said, a cousin of the Saviour." Hegesippus noted that Clopas was a brother of Joseph.[14] Epiphanius adds that Joseph and Cleopas were brothers, sons of "Jacob, surnamed Panther."[15]

According to the surviving fragments of the work Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord of the Apostolic Father Papias of Hierapolis, who lived c. 70–163 AD, Cleophas and Alphaeus are the same person: "Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alphaeus, who was the mother of James the bishop and apostle, and of Simon and Thaddeus, and of one Joseph".[16] The Anglican theologian J.B. Lightfoot regarded the fragment quoted above as spurious.[17][18]

Cleopas is remembered on 30 October in the Eastern Orthodox Church,[19] 25 September in the Martyrology of the Roman Catholic Church, and on 10 November in the Coptic Orthodox Church.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Richard R. Losch All the people in the Bible: an A-Z guide to the saints 2008 Page 279 "Clopas (Κλοπας) is the Hellenized form of the Aramaic Qlopa (קלופא), while Cleopas (Κλεοπας) is a common abbreviated form of the Greek name Cleopatros (Κλεοπατρος)."
  3. ^ St. Cleophas, Catholic Online
  4. ^ Apostle Cleopas, OrthodoxWiki
  5. ^ Joseph the Betrothed, OrthodoxWiki
  6. ^ An American commentary on the New Testament: Issues 13–18 Alvah Hovey – 1890 "They argue that Alphaeus is the Greek form of the Hebrew Cleophas ; that Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and the mother of James and Joses (Mark 15 ... The evidence is not entirely satisfactory that Alphaeus and Cleophas are the same name."
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  9. ^ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. Anne" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  10. ^ St. Cleophas, Catholic Online
  11. ^ Apostle Cleopas, OrthodoxWiki
  12. ^ Joseph the Betrothed, OrthodoxWiki
  13. ^ Tom Wright, Luke for Everyone. SPCK, London. 2002
  14. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Church History, Book III, ch. 11.
  15. ^ of Salamis, Epiphanius; Williams, Frank (2013). The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: De fide. Books II and III Sect 78:7,5. BRILL. p. 620. ISBN 978-9004228412. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  16. ^ of Hierapolis, Papias. Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord. Fragment X. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  17. ^ "The Brethren of the Lord by J.B. Lightfoot". Archived from the original on 18 June 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  18. ^ "Papias". Archived from the original on 16 November 2015.
  19. ^ Cleopas, Apostle of the 70 – Online Chapel – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

External links[edit]