Course:Carey HIST501/Project 2/Clement of Rome

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Research on the life of an early Church Father from the list provided below and put together a 500-word mini biography of the historical figure assigned by the instructor (the list will be posted on the course website). For each mini biography, please include the following:

Clement of Rome (c. 35- c.99 AD)

Year of birth and death (c. 35 AD - c. 99 AD)

Short biographical sketch of the church father

The details of Clement of Rome's[1] life, before his conversion and even afterward, are largely unknown. Some aspects of his writings have led scholars to believe that the fourth Pope either came from a Jewish background, or had converted to Judaism earlier in life before entering the Catholic Church.[2]
Records suggests that Clement was the son of a Roman named Faustinus, and that he joined the Church in Rome during its early years through the preaching of Saint Peter or Saint Paul. He went on to share in the missionary journeys of the apostles, and may even have assisted the first Pope in running the Church on a local level.[2]
Clement as later was ordained a Bishop by the Apostle Peter himself and later becoming the successor of Peter after Popes Linus and Cletus (Anacletus or Anencletus).[3] Some historians place the date of his assumption to the pontificate at 88 AD but the Vatican marks its start in the year 92 AD. One of his most important tasks, during nearly 10 years as Pope, was to resolve serious problems in the Church of Corinth, which St. Paul had also struggled to discipline.[2]
Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians 4:3[4] mentions Clements name referring to him among his co-workers and adding that Clement's name is "in the book of life."[4]
Like his mentor, Clement also wrote a letter to the Church of Corinth (also called I Clement) which was included in some earlier editions of Holy Scripture.[5] The letter was highly revered in the early church that it was included in the Codex Alexandricus[6] immediately following the books of the Apocalypse.
Clement of Rome: Journey to Martyrdom

Major contributions of the church father:

Clement's own letter to the Corinthians, though not part of the biblical canon, offers an important look at the role of authority and charity in the early Church. Its introduction suggests that Pope Clement composed it while his own local Church faced persecution from the Roman Emperor Domitian. In the letter, the Pope describes how the Corinthians had once been “distinguished by humility,” being “in no respect puffed up with pride” and “more willing to give than to receive.” But in time, “the worthless rose up against the honored, those of no reputation against such as were renowned, the foolish against the wise, the young against those advanced in years.” “Let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling,” Pope Clement wrote in his call to repentance. “Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of him who formed us.” Order and discipline, he noted, are at least as important in the Church as they are in the rest of creation, where the powers of nature follow God's decrees. The Pope also warned the Corinthians to follow “those who cultivate peace with godliness,” rather than “those who hypocritically profess to desire it.”[2]
The Church Clement headed was one that honoured tradition and right order as fundamentals of its life. “It behooves us to do all things in order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times,” he told the Corinthians. God, he said, “has enjoined offerings and service to be performed ... not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours.” “Where and by whom (God) desires these things to be done, he himself has fixed by his own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to his good pleasure, may be acceptable to him.”[2]
The fourth Pope's writings reveal much about the early Church, but little about his own life. According to one later account, he died in exile during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, who purportedly banished Clement to Crimea (near modern Ukraine) and had him killed in retaliation for evangelizing the local people. In 868 the Greek missionary St. Cyril claimed to have recovered St. Clement's bones.[2]
St. Clement I probably died around the year 99. He is among the saints mentioned in the Western Church's most traditional Eucharistic prayer, the Roman Canon.[2]
Clement of Rome: Writing

Both short and long-term impact of the selected church father

Clement of Rome is certainly worthy of our attention contemporary Christianity. His encouraging letter (I Clement) gives us a glimpse into first-century church ministry and the relationship between Rome and the surrounding churches. We get a sense of the perspectives, decisions, and behaviours that shaped the church as the apostles were giving way to new leaders, and we see how their teachings were expressed in the life of the church. In the Corinthian church itself we have evidence that this epistle was read regularly for decades[7] and perhaps even longer.This influential letter is Clement of Rome’s only surviving work (though others were falsely attributed to him), and it represents some of the earliest authentic Christian teachings to emerge from the church.

Even when Peter and Paul were alive, this church quarrelled about which leader they followed (1 Corinthians 1:12). In their absence, the church was once again rejecting leadership and embracing divisions. Clement of Rome played an integral role in reuniting the church with its rightful leaders, putting them back on track at a time when persecution could have easily crushed them. As a result of the church’s unity, Christianity continued to thrive despite oppression from the most powerful empire in the world.


  1. Note that Clement is referred to as "of Rome" to distinguish him from Clement of Alexandria, a leader of the catechetical school in the church at Alexandria, who lived a century later.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Pope St. Clement 1". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 25/10/2021. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. "Biographical Sketches of Memorable Christians of the Past: Clement of Rome, Bishop".
  4. 4.0 4.1 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. (NIV)
  5. The Epistle of Clement To the Corinthians (also called I Clement) can be found in collections of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, such as the Penguin Paperback Early Christian Writings, translated by Maxwell Staniforth
  6. "The Codex Alexandrinus: One of the Earliest Bible Texts with Some of the Earliest Manuscript Illumination". 25/10/2021. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. Shelley,, Bruce L. (1995). Church History in Plain Language, Updated 2nd ed. Dallas, TX: Word Pub. pp. 61–62.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)