Friday, 23 November 2007

November 23 - Feast of St Clement, Pope, Martyr

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Pope Saint Clement Adoring the Trinity (1737-38)

Here is a snippet from Pope Benedict's audience on St Clement, given earlier this year:

St. Clement, Bishop of Rome in the last years of the first century, was the third Successor of Peter, after Linus and Anacletus. The most important testimony concerning his life comes from St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons until 202. He attests that Clement "had seen the blessed Apostles", "had been conversant with them", and "might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes" (Adversus Haer. 3, 3, 3).

We have, of course, Pope Clement's extant Letter to the Corinthians (c. 96AD), remarkable as the first instance of papal intervention in the affairs of another Church (he was asked by the elders of the church in Corinth to restore order and hierarchy after some upstarts had removed them.) In the early Church this letter had an 'almost canonical character'. I find it especially interesting that the Corinthians sought Clement's intervention even though the Apostle John was still living, and far more local to them than Clement was, all the way over in Rome.

According to my Missal, the epistle for today (Philippians 4) confuses Clement, bishop of Rome, with another Clement. Whoops.

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