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St. Clement, Patron Saint of Sailors and Sick Children

Though a more obscure saint, Pope Clement I played an enormous role in the Early Church. Clement knew both St. Peter and St. Paul, and most likely studied under both. Clement helped to spread Christianity in and beyond Rome, contributing to the expansion of the Catholic Faith. Clement was martyred by the Roman Emperor for refusing to give up his faith. We can partially thank Pope Clement for the fact that Catholicism is known around the globe today.

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Little is known of this apostolic father beyond a few facts. He was a disciple of St. Peter, and perhaps of St. Paul as well. St. Paul refers to him very favorably in his Epistle [Philippians 4:3]. Clement played a very important part in the growth of the Early Church, and eventually became the Bishop of Rome.

According to Tertullian, Clement succeeded St. Peter. This would make him the second Pope in history, but this is disputed. According to the list of Popes, Clement is the fourth.

The Church in Rome was divided at this time between supporters of St. Paul and St. Peter. Clement was associated with the Gentiles who had converted to Christianity, rather than the Jewish converts to the Faith. The Church in Rome was bitterly divided between Gentile and Jewish converts.

We know little of the events of Clement's pontificate, except that there was a schism at Corinth. It is believed that Clement did much to spread the faith in Rome and beyond.

The legend of the martyrdom of St. Clement relates that Trajan, the prefect of the city, incited a mob against the Christians, and especially against Clement, the Pope.

Despite him being the victim of the mob, the authorities arrested Clement and sent him to the Emperor, who ordered his banishment to Pontus. Here he was condemned to work in the marble quarries. He found many Christians among his fellow convicts, and comforted and encouraged them. He also converted many of the convicts.

The only spring of drinking water was six miles off, which was a great hardship to the convicts who had to fetch it. One day, Clement saw a lamb scraping at the soil with one of its forefeet. He took it as a sign that water was there, dug, and found a spring.

The local governor was frightened by Clement and his miraculous powers, as well as by his ability to convert people, even brutal convicts. The Pope was drowned at the order of the Governor.

The relics of St. Clement were translated to Constantinople in 860, and some eventually found their way to Russia. Other relics of Clement found their way to Rome and were deposited in the church of San Clemente, where they are still reverently preserved. There have been many miracles attributed to these relics.

Pope St. Clement's feast day is November 23rd.