Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome (+ 101)

St. Clement of Rome (Feast Day - November 24)

Verses

Clement is cast into the depths like an anchor,
And is present with Christ, the anchor of the eschaton.

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

LIFE

Clement was born in Rome of royal lineage and was a contemporary of the holy apostles. His mother and two brothers, traveling on the sea, were carried by a storm to different places. His father then went to find his wife and two sons and he, too, became lost. Clement, being twenty-four years old, then set out for the east to seek his parents and brothers. In Alexandria, he made the acquaintance of the Apostle Barnabas and, afterward, he joined the Apostle Peter whom his two brothers, Faustinus and Faustinian, had already followed. By God's providence, the Apostle Peter came upon Clement's mother as an aged beggar woman and then his father also. Thus, the whole family was united and all returned to Rome as Christians. Clement did not separate himself from the great apostle, who appointed him as bishop before his death.

After the death of Peter by martyrdom, the bishop of Rome was Linus, then Cletus [Anacletus] - both of them for a short time - and then Clement. Clement governed the Church of God with flaming zeal and, from day to day, brought a great number of unbelievers to the faith of Christ. In addition, he ordered seven scribes to write the lives of the Christian martyrs who, at that time, suffered for their Lord. The Emperor Trajan banished him to Cherson where Clement found about two thousand exiled Christians. All were occupied with the difficult job of hewing stones in an arid place. The Christians received Clement with great joy and he was a living source of comfort to them. By his prayer, he brought forth water from the ground and converted so many of the unbelieving residents to Christianity that, in one year, seventy-five churches were built in that place. In order that he not further spread the faith of Christ, Clement was condemned to death and drowned in the sea with a stone around his neck in the year 101 A.D. His wonderworking relics were removed from the sea only in the time of Saints Cyril and Methodius.


REFLECTION

Many learned pagans entered the Church of Christ and were baptized precisely because the Church preached immortal life as a proven fact and not as a speculation of human reason. St. Clement of Rome had studied all of Greek philosophy, yet his soul remained unsatisfied and empty. As a young man of twenty-four, he desired to know with all his soul if there were another, better life than this. Philosophy gave him only the thoughts of various men, but no real proof. He mourned for his lost parents and brothers and was tormented constantly by not knowing if he would be able to see them in some other life. The All-seeing God directed his footsteps and he met a man who spoke to him of Christians, and of their belief in life beyond the grave. This so stirred the young Clement that he immediately moved from Rome to Judea so that there, in the cradle of the Christian Faith itself, he might come to uncontestable knowledge regarding life beyond the grave. When he heard the preaching of the Apostle Peter, based entirely on Christ's Resurrection from the dead, Clement despised the conjectures of philosophy and sincerely adopted the Christian Faith. He was baptized, and dedicated himself totally to the service of the Church of God. As it was then, so it is today - he who has a strong faith in the resurrected Christ, and a clear knowledge of life beyond death and judgment, easily decides to pay the price for entry into that life; that is, the fulfilling of all God's commandments.


HYMN OF PRAISE:
THE HIEROMARTYR CLEMENT, BISHOP OF ROME

The Aristocrat Clement, of noble birth
Of the living Lord, became a zealous servant.
Scorned all the vanity of opulent Rome,
Above all illusions, raised his spirit.
Spiritual kinship with Peter, bound him,
From bodily kinship, with the emperor loosened.
As a shining star, in Rome he glowed,
With the Honorable Cross, dispelled the dense darkness;
The Apostolic Church, adorned and strengthened,
And, the weak powers of the demons, enraged.
A tempest from the demonic powers rose up
In order to slay with death, the saint of God,
His body they killed; the soul to Paradise went.
On the bottom of the waters of the sea, the holy body remained.
Iron, for eight centuries, would corrode
But, the body of the knight of Christ did not corrode,
But, many glorious miracles proclaimed,
And, with Christ, God glorified Clement.
O, Clement holy, help us also
By your prayers, before the throne of God.


Apolytikion in the Third Tone
You were shown forth as trumpeters of divine knowledge, and revealers of the ordinances of the faith, Clement thou fruitful vine of life, and Peter firm rock of the faithful. Since you are seers of ineffable mysteries deliver us from every harm.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Unshakable divine pillars of the Church, God-inspired and mighty pillars of piety: we praise you, Clement and Peter, guard us all by your intercessions.


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