20110822-030209.jpgClement of Rome was a leader of the early church, who was appointed by the apostle Peter (according to Tertullian and every writer of church history thereafter). His surviving epistle is the letter of First Clement, which was written to the church in Corinth to address division an conflict within the church. The letter itself was written in 96 AD. The following excerpt addresses the matter of the execution of Peter and Paul. Because Clement knew Peter and lived in Rome, which makes it likely that he had first hand knowledge of the deaths of the two. This excerpt is important because, though lacking details, it acknowledges first hand awareness of the apostles’ fate and offers support for later accounts of Peter’s crucifixion and Paul’s beheading. Confirmation of the accounts of their deaths is important because their willing martyrdom indicates conviction in their eye witness accounts.

“But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours; and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and wentinto the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.”
Clement of Rome

Clement was later executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown in the sea. This was after he ran the church from prison for several years.

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