Pope Clement I

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Pope Saint

Clement I
Bishop of Rome
Clemens Romanus.jpg
Archdiocese Rome
See Holy See
Papacy began88 AD
Papacy ended99 AD
Predecessor Anacletus
Successor Evaristus
Orders
Consecrationby  Saint Peter
Personal details
Bornca. 35 AD
Rome, Roman Empire
Died99 AD
Chersonesus,
Taurica, Bosporan Kingdom
(modern-day Crimea, Ukraine/Russia)
Sainthood
Feast day
Venerated in
Attributes
Patronage
Shrines Basilica di San Clemente, Rome
Sr Clement's Church, Moscow
Other popes named Clement

Pope Clement I (Latin : Clemens Romanus; Greek: Κλήμης Ῥώμης; died 99), also known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99. [2] He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church, one of the three chief ones together with Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch. [3]

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Irenaeus Bishop and saint

Irenaeus was a Greek bishop noted for his role in guiding and expanding Christian communities in what is now the south of France and, more widely, for the development of Christian theology by combating heresy and defining orthodoxy. Originating from Smyrna, now Izmir in Turkey, he had seen and heard the preaching of Polycarp, the last known living connection with the Apostles, who in turn was said to have heard John the Evangelist.

Tertullian Christian theologian

Tertullian was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. Of Berber origin, he was the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was an early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy, including contemporary Christian Gnosticism. Tertullian has been called "the father of Latin Christianity" and "the founder of Western theology."

Contents

Few details are known about Clement's life. Clement was said to have been consecrated by Peter, [3] and he is known to have been a leading member of the church in Rome in the late 1st century. Early church lists place him as the second or third [2] [4] bishop of Rome after Peter. The Liber Pontificalis states that Clement died in Greece in the third year of Emperor Trajan's reign, or 101 AD.

Saint Peter apostle and first pope

Saint Peter, also known as Simon Peter, Simeon, Simon, Sham'un al-Safa, Cephas, or Peter the Apostle, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, and the first leader of the early Church.

Christianity in the 1st century Christianity-related events during the 1st century

Christianity in the 1st century covers the formative history of Christianity, from the start of the ministry of Jesus to the death of the last of the Twelve Apostles. According to Christian tradition, the period from Jesus's death, resurrection, and the Great Commission is distinguished as the Apostolic Age.

<i>Liber Pontificalis</i> Book of biographies of popes

The Liber Pontificalis is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II (867–872) or Pope Stephen V (885–891), but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) and then Pope Pius II (1458–1464). Although quoted virtually uncritically from the 8th to 18th centuries, the Liber Pontificalis has undergone intense modern scholarly scrutiny. The work of the French priest Louis Duchesne, and of others has highlighted some of the underlying redactional motivations of different sections, though such interests are so disparate and varied as to render improbable one popularizer's claim that it is an "unofficial instrument of pontifical propaganda."

Clement's only genuine extant writing is his letter to the church at Corinth (1 Clement) in response to a dispute in which certain presbyters of the Corinthian church had been deposed. [2] He asserted the authority of the presbyters as rulers of the church on the ground that the Apostles had appointed such. [2] His letter, which is one of the oldest extant Christian documents outside the New Testament, was read in church, along with other epistles, some of which later became part of the Christian canon. These works were the first to affirm the apostolic authority of the clergy. [2] A second epistle, 2 Clement, was attributed to Clement, although recent scholarship suggests it to be a homily by another author. [2] In the legendary Clementine Literature, Clement is the intermediary through whom the apostles teach the church. [2]

In the New Testament, a presbyter is a leader of a local Christian congregation. The word derives from the Greek presbyteros, which means elder or senior. The Greek word episkopos literally means overseer; it refers exclusively to the office of bishop. Many understand presbyteros to refer to the bishop functioning as overseer. In modern Catholic and Orthodox usage, presbyter is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. In predominant Protestant usage, presbyter does not refer to a member of a distinctive priesthood called priests, but rather to a minister, pastor, or elder.

New Testament Second division of the Christian biblical canon

The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first being the Old Testament. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture.

A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. In Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a homily is usually given during Mass at the end of the Liturgy of the Word. Many people consider it synonymous with a sermon.

According to tradition, Clement was imprisoned under the Emperor Trajan; during this time he is recorded to have led a ministry among fellow prisoners. Thereafter he was executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea. [2] Clement is recognized as a saint in many Christian churches and is considered a patron saint of mariners. He is commemorated on 23 November in the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and the Lutheran Church. [5] In Eastern Orthodox Christianity his feast is kept on 24 or 25 November.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Anglican Communion International association of churches

The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion. Founded in 1867 in London, England, the communion currently has 85 million members within the Church of England and other national and regional churches in full communion. The traditional origins of Anglican doctrines are summarised in the Thirty-nine Articles (1571). The Archbishop of Canterbury in England acts as a focus of unity, recognised as primus inter pares, but does not exercise authority in Anglican provinces outside of the Church of England.

Life

11th-century fresco in the Basilica of San Clemente, Rome: Saints Cyril and Methodius bring Saint Clement's relics to Rome San clemente fresco.jpg
11th-century fresco in the Basilica of San Clemente, Rome: Saints Cyril and Methodius bring Saint Clement's relics to Rome

The Liber Pontificalis [6] presents a list that makes Pope Linus the second in the line of bishops of Rome, with Peter as first; but at the same time it states that Peter ordained two bishops, Linus and Pope Cletus, for the priestly service of the community, devoting himself instead to prayer and preaching, and that it was to Clement that he entrusted the Church as a whole, appointing him as his successor. Tertullian considered Clement to be the immediate successor of Peter. [7] In one of his works, Jerome listed Clement as "the fourth bishop of Rome after Peter, if indeed the second was Linus and the third Anacletus, although most of the Latins think that Clement was second after the apostle." [8] Clement is put after Linus and Cletus/Anacletus in the earliest (c. 180) account, that of Irenaeus, [9] who is followed by Eusebius of Caesarea. [10]

Pope Linus 2nd pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Saint Linus was the second Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff (Pope) of the Catholic Church.

Jerome 4th and 5th-century Catholic priest, theologian, and saint

Jerome was a Latin Catholic priest, confessor, theologian, and historian, commonly known as Saint Jerome. He was born at Stridon, a village near Emona on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia. He is best known for his translation of most of the Bible into Latin, and his commentaries on the Gospels. His list of writings is extensive.

Early succession lists name Clement as the first, [11] [12] second, or third [2] [13] successor of Peter. However, the meaning of his inclusion in these lists has been very controversial. [14] Some believe there were presbyter-bishops as early as the 1st century, [14] but that there is no evidence for a monarchical episcopacy in Rome at such an early date. [2] There is also, however, no evidence of a change occurring in ecclesiastical organization in the latter half of the 2nd century, which would indicate that a new or newly-monarchical episcopacy was establishing itself. [14] Also Dionysius of Corinth and Irenaeus of Lyon both viewed Clement as a monarchial bishop who intervened in the dispute in the church of Corinth.

A tradition that began in the 3rd and 4th century, [2] has identified him as the Clement that Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:3, a fellow laborer in Christ. [15] While in the mid-19th century it was customary to identify him as a freedman of Titus Flavius Clemens, who was consul with his cousin, the Emperor Domitian, this identification, which no ancient sources suggest, afterwards lost support. [3] The 2nd-century Shepherd of Hermas mentions a Clement whose office it was to communicate with other churches; most likely, this is a reference to Clement I. [16]

A large congregation existed in Rome c. 58, when Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans. [2] Paul arrived in Rome c. 60 (Acts). [2] His Captivity Epistles, as well as Mark, Luke, Acts, and 1 Peter were written here, according to many scholars. Paul and Peter were said to have been martyred there. Nero persecuted Roman Christians after Rome burned in 64, and the congregation may have suffered further persecution under Domitian (81–96). Clement was the first of early Rome's most notable bishops. [17]

The Liber Pontificalis , which documents the reigns of popes, states that Clement had known Peter.

Clement is known for his epistle to the church in Corinth (c. 96), in which he asserts the apostolic authority of the bishops/presbyters as rulers of the church. [2] The epistle mentions episkopoi (overseers, bishops) or presbyteroi (elders, presbyters) as the upper class of minister, served by the deacons, but, since it does not mention himself, it gives no indication of the title or titles used for Clement in Rome.

Martyrdom of St Clement by Fungai Saintclementmartyr.png
Martyrdom of St Clement by Fungai

Death and legends of final days

According to apocryphal acta dating to the 4th century at earliest, Clement was banished from Rome to the Chersonesus during the reign of the Emperor Trajan [2] [3] and was set to work in a stone quarry. Finding on his arrival that the prisoners were suffering from lack of water, he knelt down in prayer. Looking up, he saw a lamb on a hill, went to where the lamb had stood and struck the ground with his pickaxe, releasing a gushing stream of clear water. This miracle resulted in the conversion of large numbers of the local pagans and his fellow prisoners to Christianity. As punishment, Clement was martyred by being tied to an anchor [18] and thrown from a boat into the Black Sea. The legend recounts that every year a miraculous ebbing of the sea revealed a divinely built shrine containing his bones. However, the oldest sources on Clement's life, Eusebius and Jerome, note nothing of his martyrdom. [19]

The Inkerman Cave Monastery marks the supposed place of Clement's burial in the Crimea. A year or two before his own death in 869, Cyril brought to Rome what he believed to be the relics of Saint Clement, bones he found in the Crimea buried with an anchor on dry land. They are now enshrined in the Basilica di San Clemente. [3] Other relics of Saint Clement, including his head, are claimed by the Kiev Monastery of the Caves in Ukraine.

Writings

The Liber Pontificalis states that Clement wrote two letters (though the second letter, 2 Clement, is no longer[ citation needed ] ascribed to him).

Epistle of Clement

Clement's only existing, genuine text is a letter to the Christian congregation in Corinth, often called the First Epistle of Clement or 1 Clement. The history of 1 Clement clearly and continuously shows Clement as the author of this letter. It is considered the earliest authentic Christian document outside the New Testament.

Clement writes to the troubled congregation in Corinth, where certain "presbyters" or "bishops" have been deposed (the class of clergy above that of deacons is designated indifferently by the two terms). [2] Clement calls for repentance and reinstatement of those who have been deposed, in line with maintenance of order and obedience to church authority, since the apostles established the ministry of "bishops and deacons." [2] He mentions "offering the gifts" as one of the functions of the higher class of clergy. [2] The epistle offers valuable insight into Church ministry at that time and into the history of the Roman Church. [2] It was highly regarded, and was read in church at Corinth along with the Scriptures c. 170. [2]

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

In the epistle, Clement uses the terms "bishop" and "presbyter" interchangeably for the higher order of ministers above deacons. [2] In some congregations, particularly in Egypt, the distinction between bishops and presbyters seems to have become established only later. [20] But by the middle of the second century all the leading Christian centres had bishops. [20] Scholars such as Bart Ehrman treat as significant the fact that, of the seven letters written by Ignatius of Antioch to seven Christian churches shortly after the time of Clement, the only one that does not present the church as headed by a single bishop is that addressed to the church in Rome, although this letter did not refer to a collective priesthood either. [21]

The epistle has been cited as the first work to establish Roman primacy, but most scholars see the epistle as more fraternal than authoritative, [22] and Orthodox scholar John Meyendorff sees it as connected with the Roman church's awareness of its "priority" (rather than "primacy") among local churches. [23]

Writings formerly attributed to Clement

Saint Clement, by Tiepolo Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 094.jpg
Saint Clement, by Tiepolo

Second Epistle of Clement

The Second Epistle of Clement is a homily, or sermon, likely written in Corinth or Rome, but not by Clement. [2] Early Christian congregations often shared homilies to be read. The homily describes Christian character and repentance. [2] It is possible that the Church from which Clement sent his epistle had included a festal homily to share in one economical post, thus the homily became known as the Second Epistle of Clement.

While 2 Clement has been traditionally ascribed to Clement, most scholars believe that 2 Clement was written in the 2nd century based on the doctrinal themes of the text and a near match between words in 2 Clement and in the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians. [3] [24]

Epistles on Virginity

Two "Epistles on Virginity" were traditionally attributed to Clement, but now there exists almost universal consensus that Clement was not the author of those two epistles. [25]

False Decretals

A 9th-century collection of church legislation known as the False Decretals, which was once attributed to Isidore of Seville, is largely composed of forgeries. All of what it presents as letters of pre-Nicene popes, beginning with Clement, are forgeries, as are some of the documents that it attributes to councils; [26] and more than forty falsifications are found in the decretals that it gives as those of post-Nicene popes from Pope Sylvester I (314–335) to Pope Gregory II (715–731). The False Decretals were part of a series of falsifications of past legislation by a party in the Carolingian Empire whose principal aim was to free the church and the bishops from interference by the state and the metropolitan archbishops respectively. [27] [28] [29]

Clement is included among other early Christian popes as authors of the Pseudo-Isidoran (or False) Decretals, a 9th-century forgery. These decrees and letters portray even the early popes as claiming absolute and universal authority. [30] Clement is the earliest pope to whom a text is attributed.

Clementine literature

St. Clement is also the hero of an early Christian romance or novel that has survived in at least two different versions, known as the Clementine literature, where he is identified with Emperor Domitian's cousin Titus Flavius Clemens. Clementine literature portrays Clement as the Apostles' means of disseminating their teachings to the Church. [2]

Recognition as a saint

St. Clement is one of the few Roman Popes to have a Russian Orthodox church dedicated in his name. StClement Church Moscow 01-2016 img2.jpg
St. Clement is one of the few Roman Popes to have a Russian Orthodox church dedicated in his name.

St. Clement's name is in the Roman Canon of the Mass. He is commemorated on 23 November as a Pope and martyr in the Catholic Church as well as within the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran Church. The Syriac Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, as well as the Syriac Catholic Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and all Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches commemorate Saint Clement of Rome (called in Syriac "Mor Clemis") on 24 November; the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates St Clement on 25 November.

The St Clement's Church in Moscow is renowned for its glittering Baroque interior and iconostasis, as well as a set of gilded 18th-century railings. The parish was disbanded in 1934 and the original free-standing gate was demolished. The Lenin State Library stored its books in the building throughout the Soviet period. It was not until 2008 that the building reverted to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Saint Clement of Rome is commemorated in the Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria on the 29th of the month of Hatour [25 November (Julian) – equivalent to 8 December (Gregorian) due to the current 13-day Julian–Gregorian Calendar offset]. According to the Coptic Church Synaxarium, he suffered martyrdom in AD 100 during the reign of Emperor Trajan (98–117). He was martyred by tying his neck to an anchor and casting him into the sea. The record of the 29th of the Coptic month of Hatour states that this saint was born in Rome to an honorable father whose name was Fostinus and also states that he was a member of the Roman senate and that his father educated him and taught him Greek literature.

Relics

In the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain, it is the tap of San Clemente, gift of Mr. Sidotti (Patriarch of Antioch) to the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Historically this was a highly revered relic in the city. [31]

Symbolism

Anchored Cross, also known as Mariner's or Saint Clement's cross. Mariner's Cross.svg
Anchored Cross, also known as Mariner's or Saint Clement's cross.

In works of art, Saint Clement can be recognized by having an anchor at his side or tied to his neck. He is most often depicted wearing papal vestments, including the pallium, and sometimes with a papal tiara but more often with a mitre. He is also sometimes shown with symbols of his office as Pope or Bishop of Rome such as the papal cross and the Keys of Heaven. In reference to his martyrdom, he often holds the palm of martyrdom.

Saint Clement can be seen depicted near a fountain or spring, relating to the incident from his hagiography, or lying in a temple in the sea. The Anchored Cross or Mariner's Cross is also referred to as St. Clement's Cross, in reference to the way he was martyred. [18]

See also

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References

  1. "Patron Saints and their feast days" . Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 "Clement of Rome, St." Cross, F. L. (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chapman, John. "Pope St. Clement I." in The Catholic Encyclopedia 1908
  4. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that no critic now doubts that the names Cletus and Anacletus in lists that would make Clement the fourth successor of Saint Peter refer to the one person, not two.
  5. See Calendar of Saints (Lutheran)
  6. Liber Pontificalis 2
  7. "CHURCH FATHERS: The Prescription Against Heretics (Tertullian)".
  8. "CHURCH FATHERS: De Viris Illustribus (Jerome)".
  9. Against Heresies 3:3.3 "In the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric."
  10. Church History 3.4.10 "Clement ... was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome"
  11. "History of the Christian Church, Volume II: Ante-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 100-325".
  12. Like Schaff, the Holy See's Annuario Pontificio (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2008 ISBN   978-88-209-8021-4), p. 7*, gives Clement as "supreme pontiff of Rome" in either 92–99 or 68–76, making him either the first or the third successor of Saint Peter, but not the second.
  13. The Catholic Encyclopedia article says that only on the false assumption that "Cletus" and "Anacletus" were two distinct persons, instead of variations of the name of single individual, did some think that Clement was the fourth successor of Saint Peter.
  14. 1 2 3 Van Hove, Alphonse. "Bishop." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 6 Dec. 2008
  15. "Writers of the 3rd and 4th cents., like Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome, equate him (St. Clement I), perhaps, correctly, with the Clement whom St. Paul mentions (Phil. 4:3) as a fellow worker." — Kelly (1985). The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford University Press. p. 7.
  16. "Vision II," 4. 3
  17. "Rome (early Christian)." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  18. 1 2 Stracke, Richard (2015-10-20). "Saint Clement: The Iconography". Christian Iconography.
  19. "But the oldest witnesses, down to Eusebius and Jerome, know nothing of his martyrdom." History of the Christian Church, Volume II: Ante-Nicene Christianity, AD 100–325 – "Clement of Rome"
  20. 1 2 "Bishop." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  21. Bart D. Ehrman, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend (Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN   978-0-19974113-7), p. 83
  22. "Most scholars would now regard 1 Clement as an impressive example of fraternal correction rather than an authoritative intervention." Patrick Granfield and Peter C. Phan, The Gift of the Church: A Textbook On Ecclesiology In Honor Of Patrick Granfield, O.S.B, (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2000), p. 32.
  23. John Meyendorff, The Primacy of Peter: Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church (St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992), p. 135–136
  24. McBrien (2000). Lives of the Popes. HarperCollins. p. 35.
  25. "Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII: Two Epistles Concerning Virginity.: Introductory Notice".
  26. The Encyclopædia Britannica places the Donation of Constantine in this section; the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church places it in the section of the pre-Nicene Popes.
  27. Encyclopædia Britannica: False Decretals
  28. OSV's Encyclopedia of Catholic History: False Decretals
  29. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN   978-0-19-280290-3)] False Decretals
  30. "These early documents were designed to show that by the oldest traditions and practice of the Church no bishop might be deposed, no Church councils might be convened, and no major issue might be decided, without the consent of the pope. Even the early pontiffs, by these evidences, had claimed absolute and universal authority as vicars of Christ on Earth." Durant, Will. The Age of Faith. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1972. p. 525
  31. Fiestas y creencias en Canarias en la Edad Moderna

Further reading

Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Anacletus
Bishop of Rome
Pope

88–99
Succeeded by
Evaristus