The Organization of the Early Church
Clement was bishop of Rome in the last decade of the first century (c. 90–99). Although he was preceded by Linus and Cletus, there is reason to believe that Peter had designated him as successor. His Letter to the Corinthians, urging them to end a schism, is frequently cited as the earliest extant example of an authoritative instruction by a bishop of Rome. As the letter indicates, it was delivered by delegates who were expected to return with an answer. Clement’s message was long and included many allusions to local matters and exhortations supported by scriptural quotations. Chapters 42–44 and 63–65 which are given here contain important references to usages in the primitive Church and especially to the position of bishops as successors of the Apostles. The translation is by F. X. Glimm, S.T.L., The Apostolic Fathers, Fathers of the Church (New York, 1947), pp. 42–44, 57, 58. Reprinted by permission of The Catholic University of America Press. (Notes have been omitted except for scriptural references.)
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