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Pope St. Cletus

St. Cletus (sometimes Anacletus), the third Pope, governed the Roman Church from about 76 to about 88 during the reigns of the Emperor Vespasian and of Domitian.

St. Cletus has given earlier historians some trouble because of his name. Two of the early lists of the popes, the so-called “Liberian Catalogue” and the “Poem Against Marcion” list an Anacletus as well as a Cletus. Most ancient lists, however, give the papal succession as Peter, Linus, Cletus, Clement; and modern scholars agree that this is the correct listing. Anacletus is a variant of Cletus, and this seems to have caused the difficulty.

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 Vatican near the body of St. Peter. St. Cletus’ feast is celebrated along with that of St. Marcellinus on the twenty-sixth of April.

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