The PriestMartyr Clement, Pope of Rome
Commemorated on November 25 (November 24 by Greek Calendar)
The PriestMartyr Clement, Pope of
was born at Rome into a rich and illustrious family. Since childhood separated
from his parents by force of circumstances, Clement was raised by strangers.
Living at Rome, the youth received a fine education, he was surrounded by
luxury, and had access to the imperial court. But the comforts brought him no
delight, and the pagan wisdom failed to attract him. He began to think about
the meaning of life. When the news about Christ and His teaching began to reach
the capital, Saint Clement left his home and estate and set out to those lands,
where the Apostles were preaching. At Alexandria Saint Clement encountered the
holy Disciple Barnabas, hearkening to his words with deep attention, and with
all his heart perceiving the power and truth of the Word of God. Arriving in
Palestine, Saint Clement accepted Baptism from the holy Apostle Peter and
became his zealous student and constant companion, sharing with him his toil
and sufferings. The holy Apostle Peter shortly before his own sufferings and
death ordained Saint Clement to become a bishop of the city of Rome. After the
death of the Apostle Peter, there followed next as Bishop of Rome Saint Linus
(67-79), succeeded by Saint Anacletus (79-91), and then upon the Roman
cathethra-see came next Saint Clement (92-101).
The virtuous life, charitable works and prayerful activity of holy Pope Clement converted many to Christ. Thus, on the day of Pascha once he baptised 424 people. And among the baptised were people of all social classes: slaves, officials, members of he imperial family.
The pagans, seeing the success of his apostolic preaching, made denunciations against Saint Clement to the emperor Trajan (98-117), accusing the saint of insulting the pagan gods. The emperor banished Saint Clement from the capital, sending him off to the faraway Crimea, for work at the Inkerman stone quarry not far from the city of Kherson. Many of the disciples of the saint followed after him, voluntarily preferring exile rather than separation from their spiritual father. Having arrived at the place of exile, Saint Clement found there many Christian believers, sentenced to toil under harsh conditions, and amidst a scarcity of water. He prayed together with the condemned, and the Lord in the image of the Lamb revealed to him the place of a spring of water, from which gushed forth a veritable river of water. This miracle attracted to Saint Clement a multitude of people. Hearing the zealous preacher, hundreds of pagans were converted to Christ. Each day 500 or more men were baptised. And there, in the stone quarry, was made a church, in which he served as priest.
The apostolic activity of the saint aroused the wrath of the emperor Trajan, and he gave orders to drown Saint Clement. They threw the martyr into the sea with an anchor about his neck. This occurred in the year 101.
Through the prayers of the saint's faithful disciples, Cornelius and Fibius together with all the people, the sea receded, and the people found a not-wrought-by-hand temple ("Angelic Church") the undecayed body of their pastor. After this, yearly on the day of the martyr's death of Saint Clement the sea fell back and in its wake for seven days Christians were able to venerate his holy relics. Only in the IX Century during the reign of the Constantinople emperor Nicephoros (802-811), by Divine sufferance, the relics of Saint Clement for 50 years became inaccessible for veneration. During the time of the emperor Michael and his mother Theodora (855-867), Kherson was visited by holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril and Methodius. Having learned about the concealed relics of Saint Clement, they induced the Kherson bishop George to make a collective service of prayer to the Lord for the revealing of the relics of the priestmartyr. After the service of prayer of Saints Cyril and Methodius and the clergy having come with them from Tsargrad and the fervent prayer of everyone gathered, on the surface of the sea at midnight there miraculously appeared the holy relics of Saint Clement. These they solemnly conveyed to the church of the Holy Apostles [at Constantinople]. A portion of the relics were then transported by Saints Cyril and Methodius to Rome, but a large portion of the relics was later brought to Kiev by the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir (+ 1015) and placed in the Desyatin-Tithe church, together with the relics of Saint Fibius, where a chapel in the name of Saint Clement had been constructed. The memory of the PriestMartyr Clement [in Russian Kliment] is sacredly venerated in Russia. From ancient times many a church has been dedicated to him.
Saint Clement, who belongs to the Apostolic Fathers, has left to us a spiritual legacy – two epistles to the Corinthians – the first such written memorials of Christian teaching after the writings of the holy Apostles. They have been published in Russian translation [and of course also in English]. [trans. note: The significance of the small group of the generation of the Apostolic Fathers, which includes Saint Clement Pope of Rome, is in this: they learned the teaching of Christ directly from the Holy Apostles, who in turn learned directly whilst sitting at the feet of our Lord. The mark of the "Apostolicity of the Church" refers not only to the unbroken chain of priestly ordination stretching back to Christ Himself, but also to our fidelity in the Holy Spirit to the Holy Tradition of the Church stretching back directly through the Apostles to our Lord Jesus Christ, – wherein our faith truly is one with "the Church of Christ and His Holy Apostles"].
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.