Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY

Clement, pictured on a 14th-century icon from the Church of the Virgin Peribleptos in Ochrid, Macedonia, was a second-century Church Father who spoke out against a Gnostic-Christian group called the Carpocratians (after their leader, Carpocrates). In the letter found at Mar Saba, Clement instructs Theodore to refute the teachings of these Carpocratians. According to Clement, Mark added some passages to his earlier gospel, which were intended only for those who were spiritually advanced in the faith. The Carpocratians had gotten their hands on this secret gospel, however, and twisted the words and meanings to suit their own debauched practices. Clement therefore quotes two sections of “Secret Mark” in the letter to clarify the authentic text.