Friday, May 20, 2011

Clement of Rome

From the earliest extant records that we have, it seems Clement is considered to be the third pastor of the church at Rome. He seems to have followed Linus and Cletus (Anacletus). We know nothing about either one of these men. They are simply names that were found on a list. Clement would probably be nothing more than a name on a list but he wrote an epistle, or letter to the believers in the church at Corinth. Clement's letter has been preserved and exists today.

Tertullian states that Clement was installed as pastor of the church in Rome by Peter. Clement was known to be a prominent member of the church in Rome in the late part of the first century, between Ad 96-100. Jerome considered Clement to be the fourth pastor of the church. Jeromes' reckoning included Peter as a pastor, but there is absolutely no record of Peter having anything to do with the leadership of the church at Rome.  Irenaeus is recorded by Eusebius as stating Clement followed Linus and Cletus, thereby becoming the third pastor of the Roman Church.

The only writing that we know to be authentically from Clement is his letter to the Corinthians. The value of this letter is seen in the fact that Clement asserts the authority of the Elders as rulers of the church. His basis of this assertion was that, "on the grounds that the Apostles had appointed such." This letter and assertion was in response to the actions of the Corinthian church when some Elders had been dismissed by the church. Clement's letter was the first document aside from the New Testament to affirm the apostolic appointment of Elders as the ruling body in individual local churches.

The Liber Pontificals names Clement as the third pope of the church. We know this not to be true due to there being no validity to the offices of Bishops, Cardinals, and or Pope. The word επισκοπη (ep-is-kop-ay’) is synonomus with the term πρεσβυτερος (pres-boo’-ter-os) or  ποιμην (poy-mane’). The bible knows nothing of a separate office of "bishop" that has authority over individual local churches or pastors. Clement in his letter uses the term Elder and Bishop interchangeably as the officers of the local church.

According to a 4th century document, Clement was eventually banished by the Emperor Trajan and was forced to work in a stone quarry. Legend states that Clement was put to death by being tied to a anchor and thrown from a boat into the Black Sea. However, neither Jerome nor Eusebius saying anything about his death or martyrdom. Clement is usually symbolized by an anchor and a cross.


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Wonderful read Gregg, I hope Clement didn't die that awful death.

Have a lovely week-end.

Michael Wright said...

Another great brief biography, Bro. Gregg, thanks for posting.

Penned Pebbles said...

Thank you for your informative and interesting posts! Blessings!

Diane said...

Thanks so much for this tidy little lesson. I always get all these guys mixed up - and that Peter/pope thing..oye!

Blessings brother!

bluepurpleandscarlett said...

very informative-guess we'll never know how he met his end, but it probably wasn't pretty.

JD Curtis said...

"Irenaeus also relates that Pope Linus is the same Linus mentioned by Saint Paul (2 Timothy 4:21) as joining Paul in his greetings to Timothy: "Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers." Link