Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Pope St. Clement I

Double (1955 Calendar): November 23

Pope St. Clement I was the fourth pope of the Catholic Church and he was pope from 92 - 99 AD. There is evidence Pope St. Clement I was a disciple of St. Peter. According to Eusebius, St. Jerome, and Origen, St. Clement I is the man mentioned in Philippians 4:3.

According to Tradition, under the persecution of Emperor Trajan, Pope St. Clement I was forced to work in a quarry. While there, he brought many people into the faith. Finally, the Pope was sentenced to death. So, an anchor was wrapped around his feet and he was thrown into the sea and drowned.

After his death, two of his disciples prayed that they could find his remains. In an answer to their prayers, the sea retreated three miles and the two found an angel-built chapel that contained his remains in a chest of stone by an anchor. The sea retreated to reveal the chapel year each, and his remains were kept dry for seven days. Today, his remains have been moved and are kept in the Basilica of St. Clement. His feastday is November 23rd.

He is remembered for his Clementine Literature as well as a letter to the Church in Corinth, often called 1 Clement, and a second epistle, although scholars are not sure he actually wrote the second epistle.

The words of St. Clement are quoted in the Catechism of the Council of Trent in reference to the existence of Confirmation as a true Sacrament instituted by our Lord distinct from Baptism: "All should hasten without delay to be born again unto God, and afterwards to be signed by the Bishop, that is, to receive the seven-fold grace of the Holy Ghost; for, as has been handed down to us from St. Peter, and as the other Apostles taught in obedience to the command and of our Lord, he who culpably and voluntarily, and not from necessity, neglects to receive this Sacrament, cannot possibly be a perfect Christian."

Matins Reading:

Clement was a Roman by birth, son of Faustinus who dwelt in the region of Monte Coelio. He was a disciple of blessed Peter; and is mentioned by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians, in these words: I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have labored with me in the Gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow-labourers, who names are in the book of life. He divided Rome into seven regions, appointing a notary for each, who was to ascertain and record with the greatest care the acts and sufferings of the martyrs. He wrote many useful and learned works, such as did honour to the Christian name.

He converted many to the faith of Christ by his learning and holiness of life, and was on that account banished by the emperor Trajan to the desert of Cherson beyond the Black Sea. Here he found two thousand Christians, likewise banished by Trajan, who were employed in quarrying marble. Seeing them suffering from want of water, Clement betook himself to prayer, and then ascended a neighbouring hill, on the summit of which he saw a Lamb, pointing out with his right foot a spring of sweet water. At this source they all quenched their thirst; and many infidels were converted by the miracle, and began to revere Clement as a Saint.

On hearing this Trajan was enraged, and sent officers with orders to cast Clement into the sea with an anchor tied to his neck. After the execution of this sentence, as the Christians were praying on the shore, the sea began to recede for the distance of three miles; on approaching they found a small building of marble, in the form of a temple, wherein lay the martyr’s body in a stone coffin, and beside it the anchor with which he had been drowned. The inhabitants of the country were so astounded at the miracle, that they were led to embrace the Christian faith. The holy body was afterwards translated to Rome, under Pope Nicholas I and deposited in the church of St. Clement. A church was also built and dedicated in his honour, on that spot in the island where the miraculous fountain had sprung up. He held the pontificate nine years, six months, and six days. In two ordinations in the month of December, he made ten priests, two deacons, and fifteen bishops for divers places.

Cultural Customs on the Feast of St. Clement quoted from the Latin Mass Society:

"[Today] is the Feast of St Clement (23rd November) and traditionally children would go clementing – knocking on doors begging for apples, pear, and nuts in exchange for reciting rhymes. Indeed, it is believed that is the origin of the nursery rhyme “Oranges & Lemons”.

"Also as Pope Clement 1 is the patron saint of metalworkers and blacksmiths and celebrations on Old Clem’s Night began with a bang, quite literally. Blacksmiths filled a small hole in their anvil with gunpowder. This was then struck with a hammer, creating a shower of sparks and a loud boom. The village blacksmiths would dress up in a wig, mask and cloak to represent Saint Clement and gather in the streets, singing loudly and staggering from tavern to tavern."


O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Clement shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

3 comment(s):

del_button August 9, 2006 at 7:58 AM
Anonymous said...

Church history is something I've been reading up on after reading Triumph. Thanks for the info!

del_button August 9, 2006 at 10:03 AM
Matthew said...

You're welcome. I'm going through a history of the popes and posting on each one.

del_button November 23, 2020 at 6:37 AM
Unknown said...

I enjoy reading this daily in the morning before I start my day.

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