Pope Linus

Pope Linus

Infobox Pope|English name=St. Linus

term_start=circa 67
term_end=circa 79
death_date=circa 79
deathplace=Rome, Italy
Eastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Roman Catholicism

Saint Linus (d. ca.79) was the first bishop of Rome, according to Irenaeus ["Against Heresies" [http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm 3:3.3] ] , Jerome, ["Chronicon", [http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/jerome_chronicle_06_latin_part2.htm 14g] (p. 267)] Eusebius, ["Church History" [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201/Page_133.html 3.2] , [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201/Page_147.html 3.13] , [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201/Page_221.html 5.6] ] John Chrysostom, [ [ Homily X] ] the "Liberian Catalogue" ["The Chronography of 354 AD" [http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/chronography_of_354_13_bishops_of_rome.htm Part 13: Bishops of Rome] ] and the "Liber Pontificalis"; ["Liber Pontificalis" [http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/liberpontificalis1.html 2] ] he was succeeded by Anacletus. Irenaeus identifies him with the Linus mentioned in bibleverse|2|Timothy|4:21, an identification that is not certain, saying,:The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. [Irenaeus, "The Church History," Book III, [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.iv.html?highlight=linus#highlight CCEL] .]

The "Liberian Catalogue" and the "Liber Pontificalis" both date his Episcopate to 56–67 during the reign of Nero, but Jerome dates it to 67–78, and Eusebius dates the end of his Episcopate to the second year of the reign of Titus (80).

However, according to Roman Catholic tradition, Saint Peter was the first Pope.

Other sources disagree on Linus's place in the succession of Popes. Tertullian [ [http://www.tertullian.org/articles/bindley_test/bindley_test_07prae.htm On the "Prescription" of Heretics, Chapter XXXII] ] says that Peter appointed Clement I. The "Apostolic Constitutions" ["Apostolic Constitutions" [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.viii.iv.html 7.4] ] says that Linus was the first Bishop of Rome, ordained by Paul, and was succeeded by Clement, who was ordained by Peter. Thus, according to the Church Fathers, the apostolic founder of the church of Rome was Paul and its first bishop was Linus.

According to the "Liber Pontificalis", Linus was an Italian from Tuscany (though his name is Greek), and his father's name was Herculanus. The "Apostolic Constitutions" names his mother as Claudia. The "Liber Pontificalis" also says that he issued a decree that women should cover their heads in church, and that he died a martyr and was buried on the Vatican Hill next to Peter. It gives the date of his death as 23 September, the date on which his feast is still celebrated. ["Martyrologium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)] His name is included in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

On the statement about a decree requiring women to cover their heads, J.P. Kirsch comments in the Catholic Encyclopedia [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09272b.htm article on Pope Linus] : "Without doubt this decree is apocryphal, and copied by the author of the 'Liber Pontificalis' from the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (11:5) and arbitrarily attributed to the first successor of the Apostle in Rome. The statement made in the same source, that Linus suffered martyrdom, cannot be proved and is improbable. For between Nero and Domitian there is no mention of any persecution of the Roman Church; and Irenaeus (1. c., III, iv, 3) from among the early Roman bishops designates only Telesphorus as a glorious martyr."

In the Roman Martyrology, Linus is in fact not called a martyr. The entry about him is as follows: "At Rome, commemoration of Saint Linus, Pope, who, according to Irenaeus, was the person to whom the blessed Apostles entrusted the episcopal care of the Church founded in the City and whom blessed Paul the Apostle mentions as associated with him." ["Martyrologium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7), 23 September]

A tomb found in St. Peter's Basilica in 1615 by Torrigio was inscribed with the letters "LINUS", and was once taken to be Linus's tomb. However a note by Torrigio shows that these were merely the last five letters of a longer name (e.g. Aquilinus or Anullinus). A letter on the martyrdom of Peter and Paul was once attributed to him, but in fact dates to the 6th century. [ws|"" in the 1913 "Catholic Encyclopedia"]

In what appears to be a relatively recent British Israelite legend, Claudia, identified as the historical Claudia Rufina, is given as Linus's sister, and both are said to have been children of the Iron Age Brythonic chieftain, Caratacus. [George Jowett, "The Drama of the Lost Disciples", 1961]


Further reading

*Louise Ropes Loomis, "The Book of Popes" (Liber Pontificalis). Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1-889758-86-8 (Reprint of the 1916 edition. Stops with Pope Pelagius, 579-590. English translation with scholarly footnotes, and illustrations).

External links

* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09272b.htm Pope St. Linus at Catholic Encyclopedia]

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