The Catholic Defender: St. Linus, The First Successor Of St. Peter


St. Linus is very important as a successor of St. Peter establishing the historical record of the Papacy, the Bishop of Rome. St. Paul, before he arrived in Rome recognized it's congregations in importance around the world. St. Paul writes, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world." (Romans 1:8)

Why would Rome's Christians be proclaimed in all the world, let alone by St. Paul? It is because of St. Peter and his establishment of this Holy See. Jesus laid the foundation, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The keys have special relevance in regards to an office.

Jesus as the Son of David, has the power and authority to supersede the keys from the household of David in the line of the Old Testament Davidic Kingdom to Jesus New Testament Church. Consider the text of Isaiah 22:22: "And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open." The keys signifies the position of the Royal Steward, the one in charge in the absence of the king.

Jesus knew that His time was short and He was placing His Prime Minister preparing him for this new position that will be based on a new and everlasting Covenant. This is the foundation why St. Paul would recognize the importance of the Roman See.

St. Linus was born in 10 A.D. in Volterra, Italy (Tuscany) whose mother Claudia, has some importance to this story. Claudia was the daughter of a British King (Caractacus) who was brought to Rome by Aulus Plautius, a Roman General as prisoners of Rome. Emperor Claudius granted them freedom and Claudia would eventually marry a Roman Senator (Aulus Pudens). It was sometime before St. Paul's first arrival in Rome (60 A.D.) that Saint Claudia would hear the Gospel story from St. Paul.

Tradition states that St. Linus was raised a nobleman because of his parents prestige. Linus happened upon hearing the Apostle Peter preach and subsequently was baptized and received into the Catholic Church. St. Linus became a co-worker with St. Paul and through his dedication in serving Christ was made a priest and bishop. On one occasion St. Linus preached against idol worship to a group of idolaters, and following this, part of the temple crumbled causing an idol to fall to the group and break into thousands of pieces. The idolaters took a dim view of this and chased him out of the city.

Claudia's son, St. Linus would become a follower of St. Paul, a disciple, and finally, a priest and bishop anointed by St. Paul sometime in 56 A.D. St. Paul writes St. Timothy sending his greetings to Claudia and Linus (2 Timothy 4:21) to include Pundens, Claudia's husband also known as "Herculanus".

St. Linus would be a contemporary of St. Timothy and Titus who were also anointed by St. Paul to be bishops in the new Catholic Church. Of such men, St. Paul writes, "If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task." At this time, St. John was also anointing priests and bishops who will play largely in the infant Catholic Church, St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp.

At the death of St. Peter in 67 A.D., St. Linus was appointed to succeed him as the first successor.

According to the "Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana) 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." This is extremely interesting how this take shape as St. John the Apostle was still alive, also, there were other bishops who were available, but the Holy Spirit chose St. Linus for this position.

From the biblical account, very little is known of St. Linus except he was very influenced by St. Paul.

1 Corinthians 11:1-11 states, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head--it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.) That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels. (Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.) Judge for yourselves; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her pride? For her hair is given to her for a covering."

According to Liber Pontificalis, St. Linus issued a decree that women should cover their heads in church which shows St. Pauls influence but also the Old Testament foundation beginning with Moses ( Exodus 34:33-34, Leviticus 16:2,15). The veil was to signify God's protection within the veil of the sanctuary in the Old Testament, but because of God's plan of liberation, the veil was to come to reflect our freedom. There is power that lies under the veil. As children of God we possess something of God's power through grace. There is something holy when a woman wears a veil today at Mass, it is a reminder to the followers of darkness that the light comes from within. What I find sad is that since women have disrobed themselves by and large of this protection, women are made more as sex objects and many are again enslaved by worldly desires and evil men ( 2 Timothy 3:6-7).

It is interesting that the Mother of Jesus wears a veil where ever she appears around the world. Something happened in the 1960's when suddenly, the tradition of wearing head coverings for women largely ceased. The head covering became a symbol of submission to men which was not it's purpose.

Following the deaths of St. Peter and Paul, St. Linus wrote of their martyrdom's which is wrapped in the tradition handed down throughout the ages. As the 1st Successor of Peter (for Christ), St. Linus installed fifteen bishops and eighteen priests at a time when the Church was largely underground. The Holy Spirit worked great signs and wonders through him driving our demons and healing the sick. St. Linus is depicted in the center of the above picture, notice the vestments and the scriptures in hand.

During the time of St. Linus, he writes of St. Peter in his opposition of Simon Magus who appeared in Rome and was universally condemned by the Apostles because of his self-proclaiming himself a god.

St. Linus delivered demons from a women who happened to be a daughter of an ex-consul (Saturninus) in Rome and a devout Pagan. St. Linus would not renounce Christ nor His Catholic Church. It was September 23, 76 A.D. the holy Pontiff was beheaded according to Pagan Roman Law and his body was buried near that of St. Peter. St. Linus served the Church as Pope for eleven years, two months and twenty-three days.

The second successor St. Peter, Pope Anacletus would lead the infant Church from there.

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