January 2007 - Volume 11, Issue 6

The Fifth Pope – Saint Evaristus


Photo of a painting of Saint EvaristusPope Saint Evaristus, (97-105) - Unfortunately, regarding Pope Evaristus, also known as Aristus, one confronts dubious and contradictory assertions about his life. This problem is all too common in investigating the lives of the early pontiffs.

Second century documents name Evaristus as the successor of Pope Saint Clement. He was born to a Hellenic family of Jewish heritage.

Facts are hard to come by regarding the pontificate of Evaristus. Certain institutions and administrative structures of the early Church in Rome that were attributed to Evaristus were actually of a later date. Although there is no question of his important role in the Church, the life of Evaristus suffers from sketchy details and erroneous claims.

How sad it is that so little of the extremely important contributions of the leaders of the seminal Church are lost to history - so far. They lived and ministered in a most dangerous and challenging time. Yet, those men devoted their lives to proclaiming and defending the gospel. They had to steer the ship of the Church through the boiling waters of Roman politics and pagan animosities.

Tradition holds that Evaristus died the death of a martyr, but no historical evidence of such an event has been discovered. It may be factual, however, that he was buried on Vatican Hill near the tomb of Saint Peter.

Habemus papam.