Tag Archives: St Clement of Rome

Saint Clement of Rome

Clement IClement was brought to belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior either by Saint Peter or by Saint Paul. It is tradition that he was consecrated a bishop by Saint Peter the Apostle, known to be the fourth Bishop of Rome and as an Apostolic Father. The Roman Canon recalls his apostolic witness. The Basilica of Saint Clement in Rome, Italy, one of the earliest parish churches in the city. Saint Paul mentions Clement in his letter to the Philippians (4:3).

From a letter to the Corinthians by Saint Clement I, pope and martyr

Beloved, how blessed and wonderful are God’s gifts! There is life everlasting, joy in righteousness, truth in freedom, faith, confidence, and self-control in holiness. And these are the gifts that we can comprehend; what of all the others that are being prepared for those who look to him. Only the Creator, the Father of the ages, the all-holy, knows their grandeur and their loveliness. And so we should strive to be found among those who wait for him so that we may share in these promised gifts. And how is this to be, beloved brothers? It will come about if by our faith our minds remain fixed on God; if we aim at what is pleasing and acceptable to him, if we accomplish what is in harmony with his faultless will and follow the path of truth, rejecting all injustice, viciousness, covetousness, quarrels, malice and deceit.

This is the path, beloved, by which we find our salvation, Jesus Christ, the high priest of our sacrifices, the defender and ally in our helplessness. It is through him that we gaze on the highest heaven, through him we can see the reflection of God’s pure and sublime countenance, through him the eyes of our hearts have been opened, through him our foolish and darkened understanding opens toward the light, and through him the Lord has willed that we should taste everlasting knowledge. He reflects God’s majesty and is as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

Let us then serve in his army, brothers, following his blameless commands with all our might. The great cannot exist without the small nor the small without the great; they blend together to their mutual advantage. Take the body, for example. The head is nothing without the feet, just as the feet are nothing without the head. The smallest parts of our body are necessary and valuable to the whole. All work together and are mutually subject for the preservation of the whole body.

Our entire body, then will be preserved in Christ Jesus, and each of us should be subject to his neighbor in accordance with the grace given to each. The stronger should care for the weak, and the weak should respect the stronger. The wealthy should give to the poor, and the poor man should thank God that he has sent him someone to supply his needs. The wise should manifest their wisdom not in words but in good deeds, and the humble should not talk about their own humility, but allow others to bear witness to it. Since, therefore, we have all this from him, we ought to thank him for it all. Glory to him for ever. Amen.

Bishop of Rome –appreciating its significance for the churches

Pope's chair, Basilica di San Giovanni in Late...

The chair of the Bishop of Rome, Basilica Saint John Lateran, Rome.

In the first moments of his introduction to the world, Pope Francis has spoken of his ministry as the bishop of Rome, and his exercise of said ministry. Nine times, in fact. I think many were surprised at the theological precision that Pope Francis expressed so quickly. How is this possible? Because Francis is clearly Christocentric, and the Petrine ministry located in service of the other and at the foot of the Cross.

We ought to recall that ministries in the Church have gradually taken on new significance over time as the issues of teaching, preaching and sanctifying and governing (leading) surfaced and challenged the unity of the faithful. We know historically that by the third century the parameters of the bishop of Rome began to develop because of the work of Saints Peter and Paul, and because of the importance of the imperial city of Rome, and by the fourth century the influence of the Roman bishop was well-situated; and by the fifth century “canonical” letters, i.e., decrees, were sent to the world’s bishops carrying with them certain authority. One can posit that from almost the beginning bishops from across the Christian world had appealed to the bishop of Rome for assistance in resolving with pastoral problems. 

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Saint Clement of Rome

St Clement.jpg

Almighty ever-living God, who are wonderful in the virtue of all your Saints, grant us joy in the yearly commemoration of Saint Clement, who, as a Martyr and High Priest of your Son, bore out by his witness what he celebrated in mystery and confirmed by example what he preached with his lips.

After Peter as the chosen head of the Church, the next crucial leader of the Church is the 1st century Saint Clement of Rome. In the development of what a “pope” is for the Church, Clement is often claimed to be such. His immediate predecessors Linus and Cletus were certainly bishops of Rome, but it seems as though Clement is concerned for Christians beyond the City walls.

He was a Jewish-Roman by birth and is reported to accepted Christian faith at the hands of either Saints Peter or Paul. Called to be a missionary, Clement assisted these great apostles as well as Jerome and a companion of Barnabas, Luke and Timothy. It is the testimony of Tertullian that we learn that Clement was ordained a bishop by Saint Peter. Clement, is known in papal history for being the 4th bishop of Rome; his papal service followed Peter, Linus and Cletus. Pope Clement served the Church for 9 years, 11 months and 20 days.

Circa 96 Clement wrote to the people of the Church in Corinth defending the faith against their peoples’ abandonment of Christian faith seen in their acceptance of prostitution at the Temple of Aphrodite. But the Corinthians also were accused of being impious, envious, and angry among other issues. Clement laid for us a spiritual path that says that we are to abandon all things of this world to more perfectly follow Jesus. Clement was an ardent worker for unity among Christians. We can’t be friends with Caesar and at the same time with the Lord. Purity of heart and body were essential.

Pope Saint Clement I

St Clement I.jpgHow blessed and wonderful, beloved, are the gifts of God. Life in immortality! Brightness in righteousness! Truth in full assurance! Faith in confidence! Temperance in holiness! And all this God has subjected to our understandings: What therefore will those things be which he has prepared for them that wait for him? Only the Creator and Father of spirits, the Most Holy, knows both the greatness and beauty of them. Let us therefore strive with all earnestness, that we may be found in the number of those that wait for him, and that we may receive the reward which he has promised. But how, beloved, shall we do this? We must fix our minds by faith towards God, and seek those things that are pleasing and acceptable to him. We must perform those things that are agreeable to his holy will and follow the way of truth, casting off from us all unrighteousness and iniquity, together with all covetousness, strife, evil manners, deceit, whispering, detractions, all hatred of God, pride and boasting, or vain-glory and ambition; For they that do these things are odious to God, and not only they that do them, but also all such as approve of
those that do them. (St Clement I to the Corinthians 17)

Saint Clement of Rome, pope

While Saint Clement was praying there appeared unto him the Lamb of God.

St Clement of Rome.jpg
Eternal Shepherd, graciously guard Thy flock, and through blessed Clement, Thy Martyr and Supreme Pontiff, whom Thou didst appoint pastor of the universal Church, keep it under Thy continual protection.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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