Popes in a Year
#4 - Pope St. Clement I
Pope from 88-97 A.D.
Died: 97 A.D.
aka "St. Clement of Rome"
How do we know he was pope?
Like Linus & Cletus before him, Clement I is identified by St. Irenaeus in
("Against Heresy") as the fourth pope and third successor of St. Peter. Ancient writers Eusebius and St. Jerome also put Clement I fourth in line.
Give me the scoop on Clement I.
Batting cleanup for the Church as Pope No. 4, St. Clement was a pretty big deal. He was Jewish by birth, and tradition suggests that he's the same Clement mentioned by St. Paul in Philippians 4:3 ("...along with Clement and my other co-workers..."). St. Clement is traditionally remembered as having been martyred for the faith.
What was he known for?
We mentioned he's a big deal: St. Clement's letter to the Corinthians (yes,
Corinthians) is understood to be the oldest
ancient Christian writing in existence after the Sacred Scriptures. Clement's letter taught, among other things, that the Christian faith was one, holy, catholic, and apostolic (sound familiar?), that Christians should worship in sacred spaces, and that the offices of bishop, priest, and deacon were completely legit and willed by Christ. His letter was even read at Mass in many parts of the early Church, according to Eusebius'
History of the Church
(written in the early 300s A.D.), and was written within a few years of when the Gospel of John was put to paper. Or, should we say, papyrus.
St. Clement actually
some of the Apostles, namely St. Peter (by whom he was ordained) and St. Paul. St. Irenaeus, in the same
, wrote, "[Clement], as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes."
What else was going on in the world at the time?
Jewish historian Josephus died around the year 100 A.D., near the end of Clement's papacy. Josephus was the guy who said, "yep, they were real" in affirming the existences of both Jesus and John the Baptist, thus giving a valuable non-Christian historical insight into the facts of the early Church.
Coming tomorrow....Pope St. Evaristus
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 2:00AM