By Martina Bollini

23 November is the feast day of Saint Clement. He is believed to be the third or fourth pope of the Catholic Church (92-99 AD).

It is not certain whether he is the one Saint Paulmentions as his fellow-labourer in Philippians 4:3. We do know, though, that Clement occupied a chief position in the Christian community of Rome. According to early Christian writer Tertullian, he was consecrated bishop by Saint Peter.

Many writings have been attributed to Clement I, but his authorship has only been proved for the Letter to the Church of Corinth, one of the oldest Christian documents outside the New Testament canon. For this reason, Clement I is considered one of the first Apostolic Fathers.

The legend of his martyrdom relates that Clement was exiled in the Crimea by Emperor Trajan and cast into the sea with an iron anchor. Around 868, Saint Cyril dug up  what he believed to be the remains of Saint Clement and carried them to Rome. They are now placed in the Basilica of St. Clement.

St Clement celebrating the Mass, c. 1100, Basilica of San Clemente, Rome.

Bernardino Fungai, Martyrdom of San Clemente, c. 1498-1501,York Art Gallery, York.

Giovan Francesco Penni, Clement I, 1520-22, Sala di Costantino, Vatican Palace.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Pope Saint Clement adoring the Trinity, 1737-38, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

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