The First Epistle of Clement

The First Letter of Roman Bishop (Pope) Clement

to the Corinthians.

Written 96.

{This is the first written documentation that Peter and Paul were indeed martyred sometime, somehow, and somewhere with all these details omitted.}

Commentary from

Catholic Encyclopedia article on Pope St. Clement I

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04012c.htm

The Church of Corinth had been led by a few violent spirits into a sedition against its rulers. No appeal seems to have been made to Rome, but a letter was sent in the name of the Church of Rome by St. Clement to restore peace and unity. He begins by explaining that his delay in writing has been caused by the sudden calamities which, one after another, had just been falling upon the Roman Church. The reference is clearly to the persecution of Domitian.  {81-96 ACE}  The former high reputation of the Corinthian Church is recalled, its piety and hospitality, its obedience and discipline. Jealousy had caused the divisions; it was jealousy that led Cain, Esau, etc., into sin, it was jealousy to which Peter and Paul and multitudes with them fell victims. The Corinthians are urged to repent after the example of the Patriarchs, and to be humble like Christ himself. Let them observe order, as all creation does.

Text of the Epistle

from

The Early Church Fathers

Edited by Roger Pearse

http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/

being a reprint of Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1, (1885)

Translated by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson.

Chapter One

The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied.

Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us;2 and especially to that shameful and detestable sedition, utterly abhorrent to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-confident persons have kindled to such a pitch of frenzy, that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be universally loved, has suffered grievous injury.


But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes.24 Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death.25 Let us set before our eyes the illustrious26 apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity,27 compelled28 to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west,29 and suffered martyrdom under the prefects.30 Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.


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