For a long time I have been thinking to post here a bit I know about this illustrious saint who was the fourth (or third, according to some sources) pope of Rome.
Some time ago Mag posted on the Traveller to Rome forum (post no 337 from Aug. 30. 13.) the most interesting reference to an exciting article about Roman San Clemente Basilica which was built and consecrated in his honour:
To me Saint Clement is asociated to multiple layers of faith and tradition.
He belonged to the generation within the Church which met and knew the apostles. He was a follower and disciple of Saint Peter.
He was believed of being ordained by Saint Peter, who personally whitnessed the life and word of Jesus Christ and was made apostle by Him. Here we come to a crucial apprehension of the fact of the Successio Apostolica. What always fascinated me is the tangibility of both the historical and mystical reality of the Church – that the apostles made first bishops by laying hands upon their heads, then this is being continued up to current bishops.
Several ancient writings were ascribed to Saint Clement. The only one among them approved to be written by him is the notable Epistle to the Corinthians. He wrote it in the name and with a recognizable authority of the Church of Rome to the Church of Corinth which had been led to a crisis of sedition by some violent spirits.
Saint Clement of Rome is the first pope of Rome after Saint Peter of whom we can trace some historical facts. Nevertheless, we know and revere and love him learning from hagiographical sources. According to that tradition he is said that to be an ardent bishop in Rome, gathering many new members of the Christian Church during the period of persecution. Therefore he was banished to Khersones (Cremea) by emperor Trajanus. There he met and consoled a vast number of Christian exiles, built churches, worked hardly for the Christian community. Finally, he was martyred, being drowned to the sea with a stone (or an anchor) tight to his neck. That was the part of his life conected to the Christian East, ending by the begining of the 2nd century.
The relics of Saint Clement of Rome were miraculously found and finally translated to Rome by Saints Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century. They were laid in the basilica dedicated to him. The brothers Cyril and Methodius were devoted to Saint Clement. The younger of them, Cyril, who prematurely died in Rome, is even burried in the Basillica of Saint Clement. The two brothers are venerated as patrons of Europe on the West and as apostles of the Slavic peoples on the East of Europe. My personal devotion to Saint Clement of Rome was somehow initiated by their care and love for him, as I was first taught to be familiar with them and their apostolic work with Slavs.