I have been reading this weekend the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.
It dates to about 90 AD and many scholars believe that it is older than the canonical Gospels of the New Testament. Scholars also believe, although he never names himself as the author, that it is the genuine work of Clement, third bishop of Rome.
It was accepted as scripture by several of the Eastern Christian churches, though it is not included in the canon today.
It has stimulated me to some thoughts: firstly, that as a Christian, I owe a great debt to these early Christians of Corinth and other branches of the Church. The persecutions they endured are unspeakable.
From a cursory bit of Internet research, I gather that there is no "Mormon" ward in Corinth (Korinthos) today; the reception of the people in modern Greece to the message of the LDS church is as resistant and rocky as the ground beneath their feet.
Something in me sorrows to read that; the same way that I sorrow to know that most of the progeny of the late Joseph Smith Jr., prophet of the Restoration, are not members of the Church that he restored.
But it is also sorrowful, to me, that I am nearly 40 years old and just discovering Clement for the first time. Are not the life and writings of this man just as important as that of Alma, or of Parley P. Pratt? I don't think even the most dogmatic of Latter-day Saints believe that the early Christian Church had fallen into complete apostasy that early in the era -- 90 A.D.
Clement was a brother in the faith, an exemplary brother. Whether I am Mormon or Baptist or Roman Catholic, he and others of his era are, or ought to be, part of my Christian heritage.
So maybe I won't light a candle on November 23, his feast day. But I will certainly think about him and re-read his impassioned letter, still ringing with conviction nearly 2,000 years later.