Pope St Linus I, Memorial: September 23


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Pope Saint Linus I (d. ca. 76) was the second Bishop of Rome following St Peter.  St Irenaeus wrote:

"The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate."

Not much is definitively known of his life (from the Wikipedia):

"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 (immediately after the name "Linus" in 2 Timothy 4:21 a Claudia is mentioned, but the Apostolic Constitutions does not explicitly identify that Claudia as Linus's mother). 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. 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: "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."

The Roman Martyrology does not call Linus 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."

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