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St. Athanasius Magazine

DO YOU KNOW WHO IS CLEMENT THAT PAUL MENTIONED IN PHILLIPPIANS 4:3 A FELLOW LABORER IN CHRIST.?

HE IS CLEMENT OF ROME
Clement I is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church. The Liber Pontificalis, which documents the reigns of popes, states that Clement presents the second in the line of bishops of Rome, with St. Peter as first. Clement was consecrated by St. Peter, and he is known to have been a leading member of the church in Rome in the late 1st century. Early church lists place him as the second bishop. He is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99. Peter ordained two bishops, Linus and Cletus, for the priestly service of the community, devoting himself instead to prayer and preaching, and that it was to Clement that he entrusted the Church as a whole, appointing him as his successor. Starting in the 3rd and 4th century, tradition has identified him as the Clement that Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:3, a fellow laborer in Christ.

Clement is known for his epistle to the church in Corinth (c. 96), in which he asserts the apostolic authority of the bishops/presbyters as rulers of the church. The epistle mentions episkopoi (overseers, bishops) or presbyteroi (elders, presbyters) as the upper class of minister, served by the deacons, but, since it does not mention himself, it gives no indication of the title or titles used for Clement in Rome. It has been cited as the first work to establish Roman primacy, but most scholars see the epistle as more fraternal than authoritative, and Orthodox scholar John Meyendorff sees it as connected with the Roman church’s awareness of its “priority” (rather than “primacy”) among local churches. “Do we then think it to be a great and marvelous thing, if the Creator of the universe shall bring about the resurrection of them that have served Him with holiness in the assurance of a good faith, seeing that He showeth to us even by a bird the magnificence of His promise?” 1 Clem 26:1

Clement was banished from Rome to the Chersonesus during the reign of the Emperor Trajan and was set to work in a stone quarry. Finding on his arrival that the prisoners were suffering from lack of water, he knelt down in prayer. Looking up, he saw a lamb on a hill, went to where the lamb had stood and struck the ground with his pickax, releasing a gushing stream of clear water. This miracle resulted in the conversion of large numbers of the local pagans and his fellow prisoners to Christianity. As punishment, Saint Clement was martyred by being tied to an anchor and thrown from a boat into the Black Sea.

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