Lives of the Saints

Our Models and Protectors

November 23
  

Saint Clement I of Rome

Pope and Martyr
(† 100)

Saint Clement I of Rome
Saint Clement I of Rome

Saint Clement is a Roman of noble birth, the son of the Senator Faustinian. Saint Paul speaks of him in his Epistle to the Philippians, chapter 4, assuring that Clement had worked with him in the ministry of the Gospel, and that his name was written in the Book of Life. Later Saint Clement was consecrated bishop by Saint Peter himself. He succeeded in the supreme office to Saint Linus, the immediate successor to Saint Peter, and the Liber Pontificalis says that he reigned nine years, two months and ten days, from 67 to 76, ...until the reign of Vespasian and Titus.

It was, we may say, with the words of the Apostles still resounding in his ears that he began to rule the Church of God; he was among the first, as he was among the most illustrious, in the long line of those who have held the place and power of Peter. Living at the same time and in the same city with Domitian, persecutor of the Church, and having to face not only external foes but to contend with schism and rebellion from within, his days were not tranquil. The Corinthian Church was torn by intestine strife, and its members were defying the authority of their clergy. It was then that Saint Clement intervened in the plenitude of his apostolic authority, and sent his famous Epistle to the Corinthians. He reminded them of the duties of charity, and above all of submission to the clergy. He did not speak in vain; peace and order were restored. Saint Clement had done his work on earth, and shortly after sealed with his blood the Faith which he had learned from Peter and taught to the nations.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 13; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).