Some Key Figures in the Story of San Clemente
Very little is known about the life of St Clement (92-101 AD). According to the oldest list of Roman bishops, he was the third successor to St Peter in Rome.
He is the author of an Epistle to the Corinthians which was written c. 96 AD in the name of the Church of Rome to deal with disturbances in the Church at Corinth.
The letter is one of the earliest witnesses to the authority of the Church of Rome and was so highly regarded that it was read publicly at Corinth with the Scriptures in the second century.
St Clement is revered as a martyr: fourth-century accounts speak of his forced labour in the mines during exile to the Crimea in the reign of the emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) and his missionary work there which prompted the Romans to bind him to an anchor and throw him into the Black Sea.
Sometime later, the accounts continue, the water receded, revealing a tomb built by angels from which his body was recovered.
The relics of St Clement are reserved beneath the high altar of the basilica and on 23 November, the Feast of St Clement, they are exposed for veneration and carried in solemn procession through the neighbouring streets.