November 2008 - St. Clement, Bishop of Rome (88-99)
Feast Day: 24 November
Clement was instructed in the Faith of Christ by St Peter himself and he is mentioned by the Apostle Paul as a fellow-worker in Philippians 4:3. He became Bishop of Rome about the year 91; some traditions call him the first Bishop of Rome. He is the author of the Epistle of Clement, which was so highly esteemed in the early Church that it was often included in early versions of the New Testament.
The holy Bishop effected countless conversions in Rome, even bringing the Governor Sisinius and his wife Theodora to the Faith after miraculously healing them of blindness. St. Clements courageous opposition to the countless injustices and abuses of the civil authorities put him on a collision course with the secular powers. His condemnation of executions is the basis of the official Church opposition to capital punishment for he said ‘not only is it unlawful to take a persons life but even to witness an execution is sinful'.
The bishop's success so angered the Emperor Trajan that he had Clement exiled to the Crimea, on the far eastern frontier of the Empire. There the holy bishop continued to work wonders of evangelism, founding seventy-five churches in one year and bringing countless pagans to faith in Christ. Finally, to put a stop to the Saint's work, the Governor of the region had him arrested and sentenced to forced labour in the mines. His preaching continued among his fellow prisoners and he was finally tortured, and then drowned in the Black Sea.
More than 700 years later, in 860, St Cyril arrived in the Crimea, sent by St Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople. He found the relics of St Clement faithfully preserved there and brought part of them back to Constantinople. Today the relics of St Clement are reserved beneath the high altar of the basilica of San Clemente in Rome
PRAYER OF ST. CLEMENT of ROME
We beg you, Lord, to help and defend us.
Deliver the oppressed, pity the insignificant,
raise the fallen, show yourself to the needy, heal the sick,
bring back those of your people who have gone astray,
feed the hungry, lift up the weak, take off the prisoner's chains.
May every nation come to know that you alone are God,
that Jesus Christ is your child,
that we are your people, the sheep that you pasture.
St Clement of Rome (c. 30 - c. 100)
Bishop of Rome