Fracturing the Faith .. Vol 13

 

Stolen faith and the “Apostolic Fathers” part 1

Saint Clement of Rome, is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99. He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church. In the legendary Clementine Literature, Clement is the intermediary through whom the apostles teach the church. Clement is recognized as a saint in the Roman churches and is considered a patron saint of mariners. This, after he was executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea.

Starting in the 3rd and 4th century, tradition not fact, has identified him as “the Clement that Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:3, a fellow laborer in Christ.” ~ Cross, F. L. (ed.), the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

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Philippians 4:3 “And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.”

A large congregation existed in Rome c. 58, when Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans. Paul arrived in Rome c. 60 (Acts).

Early succession lists name Clement as the first, second, or third successor of Peter. However, the meaning of his inclusion in these lists has been very controversial. The lists of early Roman bishops are in hopeless confusion, some making Clement the immediate successor of Peter, others placing Linus, and others still Linus and Anacletus, between him and the apostle. The internal evidence, again, leaves the matter doubtful, though it has been strongly pressed on both sides.

Some believe there were presbyter-bishops as early as the 1st century, but that there is no evidence for a monarchical episcopacy in Rome at such an early date. A mention of episkopoi (overseers, bishops) or presbyteroi (elders, presbyters) as the upper class of minister, served by the deacons, but, since it does not mention himself, it gives no indication of the title or titles used for Clement in Rome. There is also no evidence of a change occurring in ecclesiastical organization in the latter half of the 2nd century, which would indicate that a new or newly-monarchical episcopacy was establishing itself.

Clement’s only existing, genuine text is a letter to the Christian congregation in Corinth, often called the First Epistle of Clement or 1 Clement. Clement’s name is in the Roman Canon of the Mass. In works of art, Clement can be recognized by having an anchor at his side or tied to his neck. He is most often depicted wearing papal vestments, including the pallium, and sometimes with a papal tiara but more often with a mitre. He is also sometimes shown with symbols of his office as Pope or Bishop of Rome such as the papal cross and the Keys of Heaven.

The ‘Keys of Heaven’ or ‘Keys of Saint Peter’ are seen as a symbol of papal authority: “Behold he [Peter] received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the power of binding and loosing is committed to him, the care of the whole Church and its government is given to him [cura ei totius Ecclesiae et principatus committitur (Epist., lib. V, ep. xx, in P.L., LXXVII, 745)]”.~ Catholic Encyclopedia

Clement is included among other early Christian popes as authors of the Pseudo-Isidoran (or False) Decretals, a 9th-century forgery. These decrees and letters portray even the early popes as claiming absolute and universal authority. Clement is the earliest pope to whom a text is attributed. The authors, using the pseudonym of Isidore Mercator, were probably a group of Frankish clerics writing in the second quarter of the 9th century.

To defend the position of bishops against metropolitans and secular authorities, they created documents purportedly authored by early popes and council documents. The basis of their work the Hispana Gallica Augustodunensis, interpolating their forgeries with the genuine material to provide credibility by association. The Pseudo-Isidorian collection includes an earlier (non-Pseudo-Isidorian) forgery, the Donation of Constantine. A collection of about 100 forged papal letters, most allegedly written by Roman bishops during the first three centuries AD.

In attaining sainthood, according to the Roman Catholic Church, the person must have performed some miracle to prove the hand of God had indeed been on the person. The RCC purports “Clement was banished from Rome to the Chersonesus during the reign of the Emperor Trajan and was set to work in a stone quarry. Finding on his arrival that the prisoners were suffering from lack of water, he knelt down in prayer. Looking up, he saw a lamb on a hill, went to where the lamb had stood and struck the ground with his pickaxe, releasing a gushing stream of clear water. This miracle resulted in the conversion of large numbers of the local pagans and his fellow prisoners to Christianity.” This adds to his resume the “Patron saint of stone cutters”. (Freemasonry)

The theology of the Catholic Church is based on natural law, canonical scripture, divine revelation, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. The teachings of the Catholic Church are summarized in various creeds, especially the Nicene (Nicene-Constantinopolitan) Creed and the Apostles’ Creed, and authoritatively summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Clement generally uses the term apokatastasis to refer to the “restoration” of the “gnostic” Christians, rather than that of the universe or of all Christians, but with universal implications. The Alexandrian school, which Clement helped to establish to teach doctrine, adapted Platonic terminology and ideas to Christianity while explaining and differentiating the new faith from all the others.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries several histories published by Universalists, including Hosea Ballou (1829), Thomas Whittemore (1830), John Wesley Hanson (1899) and George T. Knight (1911), argued that belief in universal reconciliation was found in early Christianity and in the Reformation, and ascribed Universalist beliefs to Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and others. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, 2000, describes apocatastasis as “a theory… that all angels and human beings, even the demons and the damned, will ultimately be saved”.

1 Clem. 25:1-5 “Let us consider the marvelous sign which is seen in the regions of the east, that is, in the parts about Arabia. There is a bird, which is named the phoenix. This, being the only one of its kind, liveth for five hundred years; and when it hath now reached the time of its dissolution that it should die, it maketh for itself a coffin of frankincense and myrrh and the other spices, into the which in the fullness of time it entereth, and so it dieth. But, as the flesh rotteth, a certain worm is engendered, which is nurtured from the moisture of the dead creature and putteth forth wings. Then, when it is grown lusty, it taketh up that coffin where are the bones of its parent, and carrying them journeyeth from the country of Arabia even unto Egypt, to the place called the City of the Sun; and in the daytime in the sight of all, flying to the altar of the Sun, it layeth them thereupon; and this done, it setteth forth to return. So the priests examine the registers of the times, and they find that it hath come when the five hundredth year is completed.”

It is overtly apparent from his letter to the Corinthians Clements had been influenced strongly enough by Phoenician Mysticism and pagan myths that he felt compelled to make use of it in his teachings to the church.

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