Saturday, March 15, 2014


What a wonderful church!  It's also tucked in behind the Colosseum (this time, heading toward St John Lateran), and it has an ancient pedigree:  3 levels of art, architecture, and archaeology are contained in this one building:  the joy, the interest and the adventure never cease.
But more personally, this church is dear to all Slavs (of which I, of course--1/2 Polish and 1/2 Slovak--am one) because its name comes from the martyred Bishop of Rome Clement (author of an important early Christian letter to the Corinthians:  dealing with the same issues St Paul dealt with, and with language very reminiscent of the Letter to the Hebrews). 
In the 9th century, Constantine (soon to be named Cyril) and his brother, Methodius, were challenged by German (Latin) missionaries in the territories of what is modern-day Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and northern Yugoslavia--for they had the nerve (!) to translate the liturgy into the Slavonic language and even create an alphabet to translate the Bible.  When the conflict reached Rome, the two Greek brothers pleaded their cause to the Pope while bringing the supposed relics of St Clement (according to tradition, martyred in the area of the Crimea).  This won for them papal approval, and the relics were enshrined in what was believed to be the family estate of Clement himself.
In one of my more recent groups to Italy I had the great honor of celebrating Mass in this church.

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