Pope Clement I
Pope Clement I was the fourth pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Clement was born in Rome, Italy. According to Catholic sources, he was a disciple of St. Peter and he was in fact ordained by Peter himself. On the other hand, there has been some contradictory information stating that Pope Clement I succeeded St. Peter, making him the second pope of the Catholic Church .Some say that he was the third to succeed St. Peter as Pope following Linus and Anacletus.
Although not much is known about Pope Clement I, some of his contributions to the Church cannot be ignored. During his papacy, he wrote a letter to the church in Corinth in which he initiated bishops/presbyters as rulers of the church. He expressed in the letter that bishops were leaders of high order in the Catholic Church and that they were supposed to be served by deacons. However, some Catholic experts have seen this as more of an amicable suggestion than an authoritative directive. They say that it purpose was to impress the bishops in order to win over their support.
During the reign of Emperor Trajan in the 4th century, Pope Clement I is said to have been exiled from Rome to the Chersonesus where he worked in a stone quarry. When he arrived at the quarry, he found that many of the quarry workers were suffering from the lack of water. He knelt down and started praying. Looking up, he saw a lamb on a hill. He quickly went to where the lamb was and struck the ground with a pickaxe he was holding. As a result, a stream of clean water started flowing out.
The miracle of clean water made many pagans and his fellow quarry workers convert immediately to Christianity. But Pope Clement I was punished for this deed by being martyred; he was thrown from a boat into the Black Sea.
There are numerous writings that are attributed to Pope Clement I. the most renown is the Epistle of Clement which is normally referred to as the First Epistle of Clement. This was a letter to the Christian congregation in Corinth where he expressed his concern about the hirarchy of the authority within the church. He stated that bishops were of higher rank and had authority over deacons. There are several other documents that are attributed to Pope Clement as one of the earliest Roman Catholic leaders who formed the foundation of the Church. Some of these writings include: the epistles on virginity, thesecond epistle of Clement, the false decretals and the Clementine literature.
Pope Clement I is commemorated on the 23rd of November as a Pope and Martyr in the Roman Catholic Church. His predecessor was St. Anacletus and he was succeeded by St. Evaristus. His reign lasted between the years c.91 and c.101 when he was martyred.