Pope St. Cletus
This name is only another form for Anacletus, the second successor of St. Peter. It is true that the Liberian Catalogue, a fourth-century list of popes, so called because it ends with Pope Liberius (d. 366), contains both names, as if they were different persons. But this is an error, owing evidently to the existence of two forms of the same name, one an abbreviation of the other. In the aforesaid catalogue the papal succession is: Petrus, Linus, Clemens, Cletus, Anacletus. This catalogue, however, is the only authority previous to the sixth century (Liber Pontificalis) for distinguishing two popes under the names of Cletus and Anacletus.
Carmen adv. Marcionem is of the latter half of the fourth century, and
its papal list probably depends on the Liberian Catalogue. The
Hieronymianum (q. v.) mentions both
Clitus (23 and 31
December), but on each occasion these names are found in a list of popes; hence
the days mentioned cannot be looked on as specially consecrated to these two
persons. Apart from these lists, all other ancient papal lists, from the second
to the fourth century, give as follows the immediate succession of St. Peter:
Linos, Anegkletos, Klemes (Linus, Anencletus, Clemens), and this succession is
certainly the right one. It is that found in St. Irenæus and in the chronicles
of the second and third centuries. Both Africa and the Orient adhered faithfully
to this list, which is also given in the very ancient Roman Canon of the Mass,
except that in the latter Cletus is the form used, and the same occurs in St.
Epiphanius, St. Jerome, Rufinus, and in many fifth- and sixth-century lists.
This second successor of St. Peter governed the Roman Church from about 76 to
about 88. The
Liber Pontificalis says that his father was Emelianus and that
Cletus was a Roman by birth, and belonged to the quarter known as the Vicus
Patrici. It also tells us that he ordained twenty-five priests, and was buried
in Vaticano near the body of St. Peter.
There is historical evidence for only the last of these statements. The feast
of St. Cletus falls, with that of St. Marcellinus, on 26 April; this date is
already assigned to it in the first edition of the
Liber Pontificalis. (See
POPE SAINT CLEMENT I.)
LIGHTFOOT, Apostolic Fathers, Pt. I: St. Clement of Rome (2nd ed., London, 1890), 201-345; DUCHESNE, Liber Pontificalis, I, LXIX-LXX, 2-3, 52-53; HARNACK, Gesch. der alt-christl. Lit. bis Eusebius, II-I, 144-202; Acta SS., April, III, 409-11; DE SMEDT, Dissertationes selectæ in hist. eccles. (Ghent, 1876), 300-04.
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