Today is St. Clement’s Day--celebrated through the centuries in Christian communities as the threshold to the Advent season and the first of the festive Holy Days (or holidays) that mark the last five weeks of each calendar year.
The third successor to Peter as the pastor of early church in Rome--after Linus and Cletus--Clement (c. 100 AD) was one of the greatest stalwarts of the Patristic Age. His letters, sermons, and commentaries remain one of the best testimonies of the dynamism of the fledgling Christian witness to the world. A constant encouragement to others, he was responsible for the establishment of at least seventy-five churches. His martyrdom apparently occurred on November 23 and as a result, believers have long remembered him on this day.
Celebrated as the first day of winter in many Christian lands, St. Clement's Day has been marked by community or guild suppers--where friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers gather to sing, to roast apples, and to offer mutual encouragement in the faith. So, celebrate this day before Thanksgiving, in accord with Clement's legacy, with a renewed commitment to love well and live well to the glory of Christ.