Saint Pope Clement I


Pope and Saint Clement , or in Latin Clemens Romanus and in Greek Κλήμης Ῥώμης, was the third Bishop of Rome and a disciple who studied directly under Saint Peter the Apostle. The Liber Pontificalis lists the Bishops of Rome as Saint Peter, Pope Linus and then to Saint Clement I with Saint Clement being tasked with leading the Church as a whole. Tertullian considered Saint Clement I to be a direct and immediate successor of Saint Peter. In the third and fourth centuries, a tradition began that Saint Clement was the Clement mentioned in Philippians 4:3 as a fellow laborer in Christ.


Saint Clement I is famously known for his epistle to the Church in Corinth where he discusses and asserts the apostolic authority of Bishops in the Church. Outside of the New Testament, the epistle is widely regarded as the earliest authentic Christian document. In his epistle, he calls for the repentance and reinstatement of Bishops and Presbyters that have been disposed by the church there in line with the maintenance of order and obedience to church authority. The epistles were widely read throughout the early church. Here are two famous excerpts:


We should be obedient unto God, rather than follow those who in arrogance and unruliness have set themselves up as leaders in abominable jealousy.... For Christ is with them that are lowly of mind, not with them that exalt themselves over the flock. 1Clem 14:1; 16:1
Do we then think it to be a great and marvelous thing, if the Creator of the universe shall bring about the resurrection of them that have served Him with holiness in the assurance of a good faith, seeing that He showeth to us even by a bird the magnificence of His promise? 1Clem 26:1

During the reign of the Emperor Trajan, Saint Clement I was banished from Rome and sent to work in a stone quarry. Essentially, a sedition arose among the general public of Rome against the Christians and in an effort to keep the peace and prevent a riot, the prefect of the city Mamertinus asked Emperor Trajan to have Saint Clement I banished. Emperor Trajan ordered his arrest and was deported to the stone and marble quarries in the Pontus. When he arrived, he found one major problem - all of the prisoners had been suffering greatly from a lack of water with the nearest source coming from a spring nearly six miles away. He knelt in prayer and when he looked up to the hill side, he could see a lamb standing, it's hoof scraping at the soil. He grabbed his pickaxe, went to the spot the Lamb had stood, and swung the pickaxe down onto the rock. Almost immediately a gushing stream of pure clean water broke forth and this miracle resulted in massive numbers of conversion among both the pagan guards and pagan prisoners. The Roman authorities acted fast and as a punishment had him tied to a boat anchor and drowned in the Black Sea.


In 869, Saint Cyril found bones buried in the Crimeria along side a boat anchor. Believing them to the bones of Saint Pope Clement I, he had the relics enshrined in the Basilica di San Clemente with some of the relics being claimed by the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves in the Ukraine. His feast day is celebrated on the 23rd of November in the Catholic Church, the 24th in the Byzantine church and the 25th in the Russian Orthodox church.

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