One of the two disciples to whom Christ appeared on the road to emmaus after His Resurrection (Lk 24.18). Except for his part in the account of the Resurrection appearance found in Lk 24.13–35, nothing is known with certainty of this disciple, for the name does not recur in the New Testment. However, the Greek name Cleopas (κλεοπ[symbol omitted]ς, a shortened form of κλεόπατρος) may have been used as a substitute for Clopas (κλωπ[symbol omitted]ς), probably an Aramaic name of uncertain meaning (cf. the qlwp’ found at palmyra). If the equivalence of the two names is accepted, the way is opened for the identification of the Cleopas named by St. Luke with the Clopas who was the husband (or possibly, though less likely, the father) of one of the Marys present at the Crucifixion in St. John's account (19.25), although there is no positive basis for such identification. If the enumeration "his [Jesus'] mother and his mother' sister, Mary of Clopas [Μαρία ήτο[symbol omitted] κλωπ[symbol omitted], and Mary Magdalene" (Jn 19.25) is to be taken as identifying Mary of Clopas with "his mother's sister," Clopas and Mary, his wife, would be related to Jesus and Mary. Such an identification is possible only if "sister" is taken in the broad Semitic sense of a female relative; otherwise it would entail the unlikely supposition of two sisters named Mary. Tradition has sometimes identified Clopas with Alphaeus, the father of James (Mt 10.3; Mk 3.18; Lk 6.15; Acts 1.13), but there is no sure basis for this. see james (son of alphaeus), st.
Bibliography: Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963) 395. e. jacquier, Dictionnaire de la Bible, ed. f. vigouroux (Paris 1895–1912) 1.1:418–419. f. prat, Jesus Christ: His Life, His Teaching, and His Work, tr. j. j. heenan, 2 v. (Milwaukee 1950) 1:132–138, 500–510.
[j. a. lefranÇois]