Wednesday, November 23, 2011

St. Clement and San Clemente

Today is the feast of St. Clement, one of the earliest popes and the namesake of what is surely one of the most unique and liturgically interesting basilicas in the city of Rome -- which is saying much.

For his feast today, I thought we would recount what is said of him in the Liber Pontificalis:

Clement, by nationality a Roman, from the district of the Celian Hill, son of Faustinus, occupied the see 9 years, 2 months and 10 days. He was bishop in the time of Galba and Vespasian from the consulship of Tragalus and Italicus (a.d. 68) until the year when Vespasian was consul for the 9th time and Titus was consul with him (a.d. 79). He wrote many books in his zeal for the faith of the Christian religion and was crowned with martyrdom.

He created 7 districts and assigned them to faithful notaries of the church that they might make diligent, careful and searching inquiry, each in his own district, regarding the acts of the martyrs. He composed two epistles which are called catholic. He, by direction of the blessed Peter, undertook the pontifical office of governing the church, even as Peter received the seat of authority from the Lord Jesus Christ; moreover in the epistle which he wrote to James thou mayest learn in what manner the church was entrusted to him by the blessed Peter. Therefore Linus and Cletus are recorded before him for the reason that they were ordained bishops also by the chief of the apostles to perform the priestly ministry. He held two ordinations in the month of December, 10 priests, 2 deacons and 15 bishops in divers places. He died a martyr in the third year of Trajan. He also was buried in Greece, November 24. And the bishopric was empty 21 days.

The Martyrdom of St. Clement


An impious Caesar in his rage cast thee into the sea,
Now Rome venerates thee in prayer before these altars.
In the ampitheatre near this spot thou wert loaded with insults,
For this, the honours paid to thee here make amends.

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Here are some other posts we have done on St. Clement and the basilica of San Clemente over the past couple of years, which you might enjoy reading on this his feast day:

The Iconography of San Clemente (March 30, 2011)
St. Clement of Rome (Nov. 23, 2009)
Lower Church of the Basilica of San Clemente (Nov. 23, 2009)

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: