A beloved shepherd who converted many thousands

Hieromartyr Clement of Rome inspired and mighty pillar of the faith

December 08, 2021

Hieromartyr Clemen of Rome

Saint Clement was a disciple of Saint Peter, whom he ordained as the Bishop of Rome in 91. He was well versed in philosophy and left two examples of fine Christian epistles. He was also a beloved shepherd of his flock noted for his righteous life and piety. He converted to Christ countless people from all social strata and performed multiple healings and miracles.

He was born into a wealthy and famous family but was separated from his parents by ill luck. Strangers raised him, sent him to a fine school surrounded him with wealth and supplied him with connections to the Imperial Court. Yet these luxuries failed to bring him joy, and Pagan wisdom lost its attraction. At that point, he discovered the teachings of Christ, met his apostles and went off to preach with them in distant lands. Apostle Peter baptised him in Palestine. Apostle Paul referred to him as his fellow worker.

Returning to Rome, he converted thousands to Christ. Some of the new converts were members of the emperor's family whom he had healed from blindness. A courtier reported him to the Roman Emperor Trajan, who ordered him exiled to the far east of the Emperor in Cherson, Crimea and sentenced him to a long term of hard labour. His disciples followed him to exile, preferring the harsh and dry conditions of the peninsula to separation from their teacher.

In exile, he found many other fellow Christians persecuted for their faith. They were suffering from acute water shortage, and one of the saint's most notable miracles was finding water for the thirsty. After praying with his flock, he had a vision of Christ who showed him a spring rich in water. He led the flock where the Lord showed him and found water there. He continued his fiery preaching of Christ, baptising hundreds of Pagans each day.

Disturbed by his successful apostolic ministry in Crimea, the Roman emperor Trajan ordered the saint to be drowned. His assassins put an anchor around his neck and threw him into the Black Sea in 101.

The discovery of his relics from the sea is attributed to the prayers of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. They were found on the surface of the sea during a holy cross procession that they led. Parts of his relics were taken to Rome, but the larger part was brought to Kiev by the Kievan Prince Vladimir. Since then, Saint Clement has been venerated in the Eastern Church, and multiple churches have been consecrated in his honour.

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