Feb 14, 2017

Clement I


    I would like you to meet Pope St. Clement I and his letter to The Corinthians. I will be reading this Epistle and plucking out quotes which I personally love and feel have an important message for us. If you wold like to read this letter please refer to the links at the bottom of this post. I highly recommend that you do read it. I know you will be blessed by it! If not, you will still be spiritually enriched by the quotes that I will be providing as long as you prayerfully read and contemplate their meaning.

    Pope St. Clement I is considered to be the fourth pope of the Christian faithful. Clement "was converted to the faith by St. Peter or St. Paul, and was so constant in his attendance on these apostles, and so active in assisting them in their ministry, that St. Jerome and other fathers call him an apostolic man; St. Clement of Alexandria styles him an apostle; and Rufinus, almost an apostle. Some authors attribute his conversion to St. Peter, whom he met at Cesarea with St. Barnabas; but he attended St. Paul at Philippi in 62, and shared in his sufferings there. We are assured by St. Chrysostom that he was a companion of the latter, with SS. Luke and Timothy, in many of his apostolic journeys, labors, and dangers. St. Paul (Phil 4:3) calls him his fellow-laborer, and ranks him among those whose names are written in the book of life; a privilege and matter of joy far beyond the power of commanding devils. (Luke 10:17) St. Clement followed St. Paul to Rome, where he also heard St. Peter preach, and was instructed in his school, as St. Irenaeus and Pope Zosimus testify. Tertullian tells us that St. Peter ordained him bishop, by which some understand that he made him a bishop of nations, to preach the gospel in many countries; others, with Epiphanius, that he made him his vicar at Rome, with an episcopal character to govern that church during his absence in his frequent missions. Others suppose he might at first be made bishop of the Jewish church in that city. After the martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul, St. Linus was appointed Bishop of Rome, and after eleven years, succeeded by St. Cletus. Upon his demise in 89, or rather in 91, St. Clement was placed in the apostolic chair. According to the Liberian Calendar he sat nine years, eleven months, and twenty days..." 

Among his writings are his Letter to the Corinthians, the same Corinthian church that St. Paul wrote to recorded in the bible. He wrote to them regarding many of the same problems that Paul was faced with. His letter to the Corinthians was viewed by Eusebius (a Greek hostorian of christianity 3rd-4th century) "as an admirable work." The letter was ranked next to the canonical books of the new testament and was read in churches. It was found in a "very ancient Alexandrian manuscript copy of the Bible, which Cyril Lucaris sent to our King James I, from which Patrick Young, the learned keeper of that king's library, published it at Oxford in 1633." (quotes from an article titled St. Clement, Pope, Martyr A.D. 100 to read more click the link)

    In this letter St. Clement begins with a most beautiful introduction or godly praise really, such as seen in the letters of the new testament.

"The church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied."

He begins his letter by reminding them about those who have fallen away into schism, warning the Christians not to be like them. It seems from the first chapter that the Corinthians had enlisted the council of Clement for dealing with some of the problems they were having,"especially to that shameful and detestable sedition, utterly abhorrent to the elect of God which a few rash and self-confident persons have kindled to such a pitch of frenzy, that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be universally loved, has suffered grievous injury."

In addition to the reminder of how not to be Clement praises the Corinthians for their good conduct as taught to us through the good news. Quoting from the old testament stories Clement warns in this letter about envy and how it will destroy their faith and virtue. He blames their problems on envy and has much to say about it in this letter talking about how the martyrdom of Peter and Paul were made possible because of envy/jealousy.

Of course all of this talk about sin and envy leads him to discuss repentance reminding them and us that we need Jesus. "These things, beloved, we write unto you, not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves. For we are struggling on the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us. Wherefore let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling. Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him." 

He reminds us that we have many saintly examples that we must pay attention to in order to do the Will of God! "Wherefore, let us yield obedience to His excellent and glorious will; and imploring His mercy and loving-kindness, while we forsake all fruitless labors and strife, and envy, which leads to death, let us turn and have recourse to His compassions. Let us steadfastly contemplate those who have perfectly ministered to his excellent glory. Let us take (for instance) Enoch, who, being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and death was never known to happen to him. Noah, being found faithful, preached regeneration to the world through his ministry; and the Lord saved by him the animals which, with one accord, entered into the ark."

St. Clement has a lot to say about following the Will of God, and the examples of the Saints. He talks about humility and how Christ is The Example of humility. And of course a letter concerning all of this would not be complete without preaching on the resurrection which he does in chapters 24-27 especially. He very interestingly reminds us about some of the examples in nature that point to the resurrection. "Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day [again] departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits [of the earth], how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower goes forth, and casts it into the ground, and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit."

For the sake of having a shorter post I will stop here at chapter 27 and continue my study of this letter in another post. You can follow along with me by clicking one of the links to this letter below. I have offered you two sources but reading the one from New Advent will be sufficient. I hope you have enjoyed this so far. Please like and share on Facebook, twitter and Pinterest below.

Thanks for reading! God bless!

Clement I, Letter to The Corinthians: New Advent, and Early Christian Writings

Clement I 

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