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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > C > Pope St. Cletus

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.

The "Carmen adv. Marcionem" is of the latter half of the fourth century, and its papal list probably depends on the Liberian Catalogue. The "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" mentions both "Aninclitus" and "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.)

Sources

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.

About this page

APA citation. Kirsch, J.P. (1908). Pope St. Cletus. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04054a.htm

MLA citation. Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope St. Cletus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04054a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Vivek Gilbert John Fernandez. Dedicated to the first popes of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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