October 2006 - Volume 11, Issue 3

The Second Pope – Saint Linus


Illustration of Pope LinusLinus (67-76) – Information about the life of Linus is very sparse. A number of prominent theologians of the early Church identify him as the companion of Paul who was mentioned in 2 Timothy. Although details of his life are fragmentary, his status among the notable figures of the early Church is underscored by his mention immediately after Peter and Paul in the ancient Canon of the Mass. We find Linus listed after the Apostles in Eucharistic Prayer I of the current Sacramentary.

As is so often the case in the Church of the First Century, little evidence of the ministerial work of Linus is verifiable. It is improbable that the tradition that Linus proclaimed, in support of Peter, that women should cover their heads when in church is accurate. Once again, the historical setting in which the Church functioned did not lend itself to free and copious publication of papal activities. One must remember that the Church of that era was an underground and secretive community of believers. The faithful and their leaders functioned in an atmosphere of increasing suspicion by the populace and reoccurring persecution by the Emperors.

Legend holds that Linus died a martyr. Again, there is no reliable account of his martyrdom and the time between the reigns of the Roman Emperors Nero and Domitian record no persecution of the Roman Church. Legend also holds that Linus was buried near the grave of Saint Peter on Vatican Hill.

Habemus papam