Feast Day of Pope St. Clement I
Little is known of this apostolic father beyond a few facts. He was a disciple of S. Peter, and perhaps of S. Paul. It is thought that the Clement whom S. Paul praises as a faithful fellow- worker, whose name is written in the Book of Life [Philippians 4:3], was Clement, afterwards bishop of Rome. But there is great difficulty in admitting this supposition. It is certain that Clement, the idol of the Petrine party in the Primitive Church, about whom their myths and traditions circled lovingly, was quite removed in feeling from the Pauline party.
According to Tertullian, Clement succeeded S. Peter immediately in the episcopal government of the Church at Rome. But in the list of bishops given us by Irenaeus and Eusebius he occupies the third place after the apostle, that is, after Linus and Cletus (Anacletus). It is, however, probable that the Church at Rome had at first two successions, one Petrine, the other Pauline, but that they speedily merged into one; and this will account for the confusion in the lists of the first bishops of Rome. Clement probably was Petrine, and Cletus Pauline bishop, the former ruling the converted Jews, the latter the Gentile converts. We know nothing of the events of his pontificate, except that there was a schism at Corinth, which drew forth a letter from him which is preserved. S. Jerome and S. Irenaeus do not say that he died a martyr’s death, but Rufinus and Zosimus give him the title of martyr; but this title by no means implies that he had died for the faith; it had anciently more extended signification than at present, and included all who had witnessed a good confession, and suffered in any way for their faith.
Pope St. Clement I, pray for us.