St. Linus, Pope and Martyr
ST. LINUS was the immediate successor of St. Peter in the see of Rome, as St. Irenæus, Eusebius, St. Epiphanius, St. Optatus, St. Austin, and others assure us. Tertullian says 1 that St. Clement was appointed by St. Peter to be his successor; but either he declined that dignity till St. Linus and St. Cletus had preceded him in it, or he was at first only vicar of St. Peter, to govern under him the Gentile converts, whilst that apostle presided over the whole church, yet so as to be chiefly taken up in instructing the Jewish converts, and in preaching abroad. 2 St. Linus, succeeding St. Peter after his martyrdom, sat twelve years, 3 and is named among the martyrs in the canon of the Roman mass, which is certainly older in this part than the sacramentary of Gelasius, and of the greatest authority in this point. It is not indeed impossible that he might be called a martyr on account of his sufferings for the faith, without dying by the sword. St. Linus was buried on the Vatican hill, near the tomb of St. Peter. 1
This saint distinguished himself among the illustrious disciples of the apostles, who were formed upon their model to perfect virtue, and filled with the holy spirit of the gospel. How little are we acquainted with this spirit of fervour, charity, meekness, patience, and sincere humility; without which it is in vain that we bear the honourable name of Christians, and are a reproach and scandal to so sacred a profession! 2
Note 1. Præscr. c. 32.
Note 2. See Hammond, Pearson, Cave, &c. [back]
Note 3. See Berti, Chron. t. 2, and Chronologia primorum Pontificum ex picturis veteribus in basilicâ S. Pauli, sedente S. Leone vel Symmacho, inter Opr. Anastasii Biblioth. per utrumque Banchinum edita, Romæ, 1717.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. September 23