This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 23 -- Pope St. Clement I

Early popes had it tough. Like Pope St. Pontian, who was sentenced to slavery in the mines as a form of execution, Pope Clement I was sent by the Emperor Trajan to an eastern stone quarry. His fellow miners were parched from thirst; Clement prayed, and then followed a lamb to the top of a hill. There, he struck his pickaxe int he ground and clear spring water gushed forth. Their thirst miraculously slaked, the captive miners converted to Christianity on the scene.

The drowning of St. Clement
The Romans were less accepting. They tied Clement to an anchor and threw him into the Black Sea. Every year, the tide would recede two miles, revealing a divinely-built shrine for Clement's remains. Centuries later, when the shoreline had shifted, St. Cyril discovered Clement's anchor and some of his bones. He returned these to Rome; they are kept at the Basilica di San Clemente. His head, however, is held at the Kiev Monastery of the Caves in Ukraine.

San Clemente, California, was the home of another exiled leader who became the subject of myths and legends. Of course our knowledge of this leader is much better, but still imperfect, and our understanding of him is based nearly as much on our faith and predisposition as on the facts. While we amass a Himalayan collections of information these days, who can say what will survive the millennia? Who knows which facts and legends will leave one sainted, another cursed, and most of us forgotten?

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