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1. The Hieromartyr Clement, Bishop of Rome.

Born in Rome and of royal blood, he was a contemporary of the apostles. His mother and two brothers were caught by a storm on a voyage and driven to different places. His father then went off to find his wife and sons, and himself disappeared. Clement, being then twenty-four years old, set off eastwards to look for his parents and brothers. In Alexandria, he made the acquaintance of the Apostle Bamabas, and afterwards became a friend of the Apostle Peter, who was already being followed by his two brothers, Faustinus and Faustinian. By God's providence, the Apostle Peter found Clement's aged mother, who was living as a beggar-woman, and then his father also. Thus the whole family was reunited, and they all returned to Rome as Christians. Clement remained linked with the great apostles, who made him bishop before their death. After Peter's death by martyrdom, Linus was bishop in Rome, then Cletus - both of them only for a short time - and then Clement. He governed the Church of God with burning zeal and, from day to day, brought large numbers of unbelievers to the Faith. He set seven scribes to record the lives of the Christian martyrs who were at that time suffering for their Lord. The Emperor Trajan drove him out to Cherson, where Clement found about two thousand exiled Christians, who were all put to the hard toil of cutting stone in an and region. The Christians welcomed Clement with great joy, and he was to them a living source of comfort. By his prayers, he brought water from the dry ground and converted so many of the pagan inhabitants to Christianity that there were seventy-five churches built in that place in one year. To prevent the further spreading of the Christian faith, Clement was condemned to death, and drowned in the sea with a stone round his neck in the year 101. His wonderworking relics were taken out of the sea only in the time of Ss Cyril and Methodius.

2. The Hieromartyr Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria.

He was the disciple and successor of St Theonas, Archbishop of Alexandria, and was for a time a teacher at Ofigen's famous school of philosophy. He came to the archiepiscopal throne in 299, and died a martyr by the grave of the holy Apostle Mark in 311. He governed the Church in an acutely difficult period, when unbelievers were attacking the faithful from without and heretics from within. Six hundred and seventy Christians suffered in Alexandria in his time; whole families often perishing on the scaffold. At this time, Afius was troubling the faithful with his false teaching. St Peter drove him from the Church and anathematised him both in this world and the next. The Lord Himself appeared to this great and wonderful saint in prison.

3. Our Holy Father Paphnutius.

He never drank wine. He was once seized by robbers, and the chief of the band forced him to drink a cup of wine. Seeing Paphnutius's goodness, the robber chief repented and forsook his brigandage.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
© 1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK