“Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Who was this Clement that Paul names in his letter to the Philippians? It’s such a strange place to start mentioning someone in the middle of a conflict, and “the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” But it’s perhaps that Paul wanted to say that these feuding women, Euodia and Syntyche were equal co-workers with Paul in the gospel.
But who is Clemente? Perhaps he was the same Clemente that is still honored today in Rome. He was a first century leader who was very influential. You can even visit a church, the Church of San Clemente in Rome today that is built over his possible former home. This known leader was also said to have been a martyr from being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea.
Prior to his martyrdom though, he was a strong leader in the body of Christ. He wrote to the troubled Corinthian church dealing with an assortment of their problems, divisions. He warned them that trouble was often caused by envy, he encouraged them to be humble, he rebuked them for their selfishness and more (read here).
While we don’t know for sure, it is highly likely that the Clement of history and the Clement Paul mentions in his letter to the Philippians are one and the same. By mentioning him, Paul was both raising up the place of Euodia and Syntyche as equal co-workers in the gospel, but also endorsing Clement as a leader. This would prove very valuable as Clement really took on a mantle of leadership in the wake of Paul’s death.
So perhaps we will end here with a prayer that ends Clement’s letter to the Corinthians. And one that reverberates through the pages of history:
“May God, who seeth all things, and who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Lord of all flesh – who chose our Lord Jesus Christ and us through Him to be a peculiar people – grant to every soul that calleth upon His glorious and holy Name, faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering, self-control, purity, and sobriety, to the well-pleasing of His Name, through our High Priest and Protector, Jesus Christ, by whom be to Him glory, and majesty, and power, and honor, both now and forevermore. Amen.”