Our Holy Father Clement, Pope of Rome
Hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome, was born at Rome into a rich and illustrious family. Separated from his parents from childhood, Clement was raised by strangers. Living in Rome, the youth received a fine education; he was surrounded by luxury, and had access to the imperial court.
However, these comforts brought him no joy, pagan wisdom failed to attract him, and he began to ponder the meaning of life. When the news of Christ and His teaching began to reach the capital, St Clement left his home and estate and went to the lands where the Apostles were preaching. At Alexandria, St Clement met Apostle Barnabas, and while listening to his words with deep attention he perceived the power and truth of the Word of God. Arriving in Palestine, St Clement was Baptized by Apostle Peter and became his zealous disciple and constant companion, sharing his toil and sufferings with him. Shortly before his own sufferings and death, St Peter ordained St Clement as Bishop of Rome. After the death of Apostle Peter, St Linus (67-79 AD) was the next Bishop of Rome, succeeded by St Anacletus (79-91 AD), and then St Clement (92-101 AD).
The virtuous life, charitable works and prayerful activity of St Clement converted many from various classes to Christ. He once baptized 424 people on the day of Pascha. The pagans, seeing the success of his Apostolic preaching, denounced St Clement to emperor Trajan (98-117 AD), accusing the Saint of insulting pagan gods. The emperor banished St Clement from the capital, sending him to the Crimea, to work at a stone quarry near the city of Cherson. Many of the Saint’s disciples followed him, preferring to go into exile rather than live without their spiritual Father. When he arrived at the place of exile, St Clement found many Christians who were sentenced to labour under harsh conditions amidst a scarcity of water. He prayed together with the condemned, and the Lord appeared to him in the form of a lamb and revealed the location of a spring, from which gushed forth a veritable river of water. This miracle attracted a multitude of people to St Clement. Hearing the zealous preacher, hundreds of pagans became Christian each day, and a church was then built in the stone quarry in which he served as Priest.
The Apostolic activity of the Saint aroused the wrath of emperor Trajan in 101 AD, who ordered that St Clement be drowned. They threw the martyr into the sea with an anchor tied to his neck. The Saint’s faithful disciples Cornelios and Fibios asked the people to pray that the Lord would permit them to see the martyr’s body. The sea drew back a distance of about five kilometres from the shore and the people walked out on the seabed until they found a marble cave shaped like a church. There they found the incorrupt body of the Saint. Each year after, on the anniversary of the Saints martyrdom, the sea receded, and for seven days, Christians were able to venerate his holy relics.
St Clement is an Apostolic Father, and has left us two Epistles to the Corinthians, which are the first written examples of Christian teaching after the writings of the holy Apostles.
Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Your gentleness; take not Your mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.
Kontakion (Fourth Tone)
O divine unshakeable towers of Christ’s Church, pillars of true piety who are most mighty and divine; Clement and Peter, all-acclaimed, by your entreaties, protect and guard all of us.
Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria
Saint Peter illustriously occupied the throne of Alexandria for twelve years, and, as Eusebius says, “was a divine example of a bishop on account of the excellence of his life and his study of the sacred Scriptures” (see Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., Book VII, 3 2; Book VIII 11, 13; and Book IX, 6). He excommunicated Arius for his sympathy with the Meletian schism. When Arius learned that Saint Peter had been imprisoned, he sent many priests and deacons to him, asking that he receive him back into the communion of the Church before his martyrdom. When the ambassadors of Arius, who had not, like Saint Peter, perceived the ruin he would engender, were astonished at the vehemence with which Saint Peter refused to receive Arius again, he revealed to them a dread vision he had seen, in which the Master Christ had appeared to him as a child wearing a garment torn from head to foot. When Saint Peter asked the Lord who rent His garment, the Lord answered that it was Arius, and that he must not be received back into communion. The holy hieromartyr Peter was beheaded during the reign of Maximinus in the year 312; he is called the “Seal of the Martyrs,” because he was the last Bishop of Alexandria to suffer martyrdom under the pagan Emperors. His successors to the throne of Alexandria, Saints Alexander and Athanasius the Great, brought to final victory the battle against Arius’ heresy which Saint Peter had begun.
Apolytikion of Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria in the Fourth Tone
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.
Kontakion of Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria in the Fourth Tone
O divine unshakeable towers of Christ’s Church, pillars of true piety who are most mighty and divine: Clement and Peter, ye all-acclaimed, by your entreaties, protect and guard all of us.
Afterfeast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple
Apolytikion of Afterfeast of the Entry of the Theotokos in the Fourth ToneToday is the prelude of God’s pleasure and the proclamation of man’s salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, “Hail, fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation.”
We also celebrate today:
- Hermogenes, the Martyr
- Philoumenos and Christopher the Martyrs