Commemorated on January 23
Clement was born in the Galatian city of Ancyra in the year 258, from a
pagan father and a Christian mother. In infancy he lost his father, and at
twelve years of age also his mother, who predicted for him a martyr's death for
belief in Christ. A woman adopting him named Sophia raised him in the fear of
God. During the time of a terrible famine in Galatia several pagans cast out
their own children, not having the wherewithal to feed them, and Sophia
gathered up also these hapless ones, she fed and clothed them, and Saint
Clement assisted her in this. He taught the children and prepared them for Holy
Baptism. Many of them died as martyrs for the faith in Christ.
For his virtuous life
Saint Clement was made a reader, and later a deacon, and at age eighteen he
received the dignity of presbyter, and at age twenty he was ordained bishop of
Ancyra. Soon afterwards there flared up the persecution against Christians
under Diocletian (284-305). Bishop Clement was arrested under denunciation and
had also to answer for himself. The governor of Galatia, Dometian, tried to
sway the saint to the worship of the pagan gods, but Saint Clement firmly
confessed his faith and valiantly endured all the tortures, which the cruel
official subjected him to. They suspended him on a tree, and tore at his body
such that the bare bones could be seen, they struck him fiercely with clubs and
stones, and they turned him about on a wheel and burned at him with a low fire.
The Lord preserved His sufferer and healed his lacerated body. Then Dometian
dispatched the saint to Rome to the emperor Diocletian himself, with a report
that Bishop Clement had been fiercely tortured, but had proven unyielding.
Diocletian, seeing the martyr completely healthy, did not believe the report
and subjected him to still yet crueler tortures, and then had him locked up in
Many of the pagans,
seeing the bravery of the saint and the miraculous healing of his wounds,
believed in Christ. People flocked to Saint Clement in prison for guidance,
healing and Baptism, such that the prison was literally transformed into a
church.Many of these people, when reported about, were executed by the emperor.
Diocletian, struck by the amazing endurance of Saint Clement, sent him off to
Nicomedia to his co-emperor Maximian.
On the ship along the
way, the saint was joined by his disciple Agathangelos, who had avoided being
executed with the other confessors, and who now wanted to suffer and die for
Christ together with Bishop Clement.
The emperor Maximian
in turn sent off Saint Clement and Agathangelos to the governor Agrippina, who
subjected them to such inhuman torments, that even among the pagan on-lookers
there was felt a sense of pity for the martyrs and they began to pelt the torturers
Having been set free,
the saints healed an inhabitant of the city with a laying on of hands and they
baptised and instructed people, thronging to them in multitudes. Arrested again
on orders of Maximian, they were sent off home to the city of Ancyra, where the
Ancyra prince Cyrenius had them put to torture, and then dispatched them off to
the city of Amasia to the official Dometius, known for his especial cruelty.
In Amasia the martyrs
were thrown into molten lime, they spent a whole day in it and remained
unharmed. They flayed their skin, beat them with iron rods, they set them on
red-hot beds and poured sulfur. All this failed to harm the saints, and they
were sent off to Tarsis for new tortures. In the wilderness along the way Saint
Clement in prayer had a revelation, that he would suffer another 28 years for
the Name of Christ. And then having endured a multitude of tortures, the saints
were locked up in prison.
After the death of
Maximian, Saint Agathangelos was beheaded with the sword. Ancyra Christians set
free Saint Clement from prison and they took him to a cave church. There, after
celebrating Liturgy, the saint announced to the faithful the soon impending end
of the persecution and his own approaching demise. The holy martyr soon
actually was killed by soldiers from the city, who stormed the church. They
beheaded the saint during the time of his offering the Bloodless Sacrifice (+
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.