Lives of the Popes from St. Peter to the time of Charlamagne
By: Thomas Meyrick
ST. LINUS, ST. CLETUS, ST, CLEMENT.
SECOND PERSECUTION UNDER DOMITIAX.
A.D. 69. — Romulus and Remus, suckled by a wolf, founded Rome in blood — a brother slain by a brother's hand. St. Peter and Paul founded the Christian Church, and inaugurated the reign of Christ on earth, in love and amity, giving their lives for Him and the salvation of men. Although Clement, by appointment of Peter, had the right of succession, he gave an example of unambitious modesty by yielding the place to Linus, the co- adjutor of St. Peter in the city. By his refusal, he obliged Linus and Cletus to be Popes before him.
Accordingly Linus, a Tuscan of the town of Volaterra, the son of Herculanus, succeeded Peter, and was Pontiff from the last year of Nero to the time of Vespasian, from the consulate of Scipio and Satuminus, to the consulate of Capito and Ruffus. Linus, says Father Oldoin, came to Rome for the sake of study at the age of twenty-two, and lived in the house of Fabius, his father s friend. He left all to follow St. Peter, and was sent by him on a mission to Gaul, where he converted the tribune Onasius, and founded a church in honour of the protomartyr Stephen. He is said to have founded also St.
Stephano in Rotondo, in Rome. Ordained bishop by St. Peter, he acted as his vicar. He is mentioned by St. Paul in his Second Epistle to Timothy, " Linus and Eubulus, etc., salute you."
In the time of Linus, Jerusalem was destroyed. According to Josephus, a million of Jews were either slain or otherwise perished in the city, or were led into captivity and sold, being gathered from all parts of the world to keep the Pasch. Thus they received retribution for the death of Christ their king, whom they slew at the time of the Pass- over, being collected there as into a vast prison, to suffer the death of malefactors, and great numbers were crucified. Linus baptised Nazarius, the son of Africanus and Perpetua, who went into Cisalpine Gaul, and was Apostle of Piedmont. He was accompanied by the boy Celsus, who endured with him many torments, from which they were delivered by miracle. Preaching the faith at Milan, they suffered martyrdom in that city, and were buried outside of the Roman gate, where their bodies were afterwards discovered by St. Ambrose, and translated with honour.
In the fifth year of Linus, St. Bartholomew suffered in Armenia, flayed alive; and in the seventh, St. Thomas transfixed by a Brahmin's spear in India, at Calamina.
The empire was convulsed after the death of Nero. Three emperors followed in quick succession. Galba, an old commander coming from Spain, was soon murdered by the Praetorian Guard for refusing a donative and his headless corpse trodden down in the Forum. Otho perished by his own hand in desperation upon news of the defeat of his legions by Vitellius. The German army, led down into Italy by Vitellius, at the cost of sanguinary battles, in one of which forty thousand were left dead upon the field, made him master of Rome for a brief time, in spite of the Praetorian Guard. He feasted for a little while, and then, dragged from a vile hiding-place in the palace, was beaten to death by the populace, and his huge body cast into the Tiber, upon the news of the approach of the legions of Vespasian from the East.
Linus wrote the Acts of the Martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul, and the Contest of St. Peter with Simon Magus; but how far these are genuine as they exist is doubtful He added the " Communicantes " to the Liturgy, and commanded women to veil their heads in the church. He was powerful in chasing demons from the bodies of the possessed, and raised even the dead to life. He was condemned to death by the consul, Satuminus, whose daughter he had delivered from the deviL Besides Nazarius and Celsus, Martialis, the apostle of Gaul, Processus and Martinianus, and many others, were martyrs in his time. He twice held ordinations, creating eleven bishops and eighteen priests, and after a pontificate of ten, or, as some say, eleven years, was buried in the Vatican beside St. Peter, on the 23rd of September, A.D. 79 or 80.