Talk:Pope Linus

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On this topic as on so many others, Wikipedia reproduces the uncritical treatment of Linus in the old Catholic Encyclopedia, which was already out of date a century ago. It is agreed by modern scholarship that at this early date, and indeed well into the second century, there was not a single bishop with authority over all Christians in Rome (let alone over the 'Catholic Church' as a whole), but rather a number of 'bishops' (called indifferently 'episkopoi' or 'presbyteroi') -- as is clear from the contemporary evidence of the First Letter of Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas. By the latter part of the second century this had been forgotten, and a list of bishops of Rome was concocted, but it is not historical. There may indeed have been a Linus active in the Roman Church in the second half of the first century, but nothing is known about his rank or role. -- RMP, 29 July 2013.

Isn't it a bit anachronistic to refer to Linus as the "Pope" throughout this article? I mean, even the office of bishop wasn't formalized yet in the first century. It's fair to say that as the second leader of the Roman church, he is counted as the second "Pope," but he sure didn't make any claims to be the father of the entire church at that time. That came quite a bit later. Fishal 02:42, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Why has this article been classified as a stub? It is quite comprehensive and there is not really much more information which can be added. --Funtriviafan 07:52, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I'm not an expert on the subject, but shouldn't there be some mention of the fact that it's Linus' factual existence is controversial? If I have time, I will look up sources and edit accordingly, but I point it out, should anyone else be eager to edit. --Clementduval 00:13, 2 January 2007 (UTC) I have just attempted to do a major edit, after wasting 90 minutes I uploaded it only to be told I needed to exit and log in again, this I did and confirmed it was my work. Nothing happened except all my work was lost. No I am afraid this is a Catholic controlled site and they dare not let the truth appear. User Zalanr 1600 hours BST 2 May 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zalanr (talkcontribs) 15:10, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Preceeded Peter??[edit]

I am reverting it is probable that Saint Linus was in fact the first Pope
I am reverting Linus was the son of Caratacus, Llyn being his Celtic name.
I am unaware of any evidence for these claims--ClemMcGann 02:00, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

Preceeded Peter??[edit]

I recommend restoring it is probable that Saint Linus was in fact the first Pope

2 Timothy 4:21 Paul is writing to Linus in Rome. Linus was active as a Bishop in Rome (on Pauls instructions) before Peter arrived at Rome, and was undoubtably one of the Christians in Rome both Peter and Paul desired to see. It is only Roman Catholic tradition that teaches otherwise. This is understandable of course, because who wants to belong to the Church Linus built. Unfortunately tradition is not factually correct. The Church made the switch in the order of Popes to ensure Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, and I've heard some Roman Catholics concede as much.

Further corroboration of Linus' appointment as the First Bishop of Rome can be found in the writings of St. Peter himself. His words, preserved in the "Apostolic Constitutions" (Bk. I, Chap. 46) read: ' 'Concerning those Bishops who have been ordained in our lifetime, we make known to you that they are these; of Antioch Eudius, ordained by me, Peter; of the Church of Rome, Linus, brother of Claudia, was first ordained by Paul, and after Linus' death, Clemens, the second ordained by me, Peter. In another statement Peter affirms that Linus was a Briton, son of a royal king. Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp (Born cir. A.D. 130) and later Bishop of Smyrna, also confirms Linus' appointment. He wrote: "The apostles, having founded and built up the Church at Rome, committed the ministry of its supervision to Linus. This is the Linus mentioned by Paul in his Epistle to Timothy." (Irenaei Opera Lib. III. C.I.).

I've seen the comments that Irenaeus' comments are also disputed, however Irenaeus is not the only one who draws that connection. No one would dispute Peter's words, or else much more is in doubt than simply Linus' lineage.

Lack of awareness on your part is not sufficent, I think, to justify exclusion of the info. At least it should be mentioned that the sequence itself is in doubt.

--WikiRat 02:00, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

The Timothy letter seems to be the only comtemporary source; all later accounts are apparently preceded by Irenaeus, who may not be the most reliable source since Adversus Haereses is a propagandistic text building the very case it somments upon (i.e., unbroken apostolic succession). This should be remarked in the article; although it raises doubt about some internal workings of Catholicism, at face value (or NPOV, if you will) it is as it is: we have no reliable testimony about the exact nature of relationships between Linus and the Papacy, as historical references discussing this are at least in all probability hagiographical. The utter lack about good sources about Pope Anacletus (AKA Anencletus or possibly Cletus, though not even Catholicism agrees on this) strongly suggests that much of what we "know" about the man Linus is retcon; the main difference between Anacletus and Linus is that the authority of the Papacy crucially hinges on the latter, but not the former. Dysmorodrepanis 19:37, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Even if Linus preceeded Peter as Bishop of Rome, that would not make him the first pope, but rather not pope at all. According to the Catholic Tradition Peter is the first pope (thought certainly not under that title) because Christ made him so. Therefore only his successors can according to Catholic belief be popes, and that because they succeed Peter as head of the Church, not simply by being Bishop of Rome. "Pope" equals "Bishop of Rome" is a Protestant concept. Had Peter say stayed in Antioch, then the Popes would style themselves Bishops of Antioch. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:42, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Preceeded Peter??[edit]

I haven't read about who came first, Peter or Linus, and so can't enter the argument. It seems reasonable (though I suppose controversial), but I am fairly certain about Linus being the son of Caratacus. BTW his name was "Lleyn" - NOT "Llyn" as someone wrote above. I also read somewhere that his brother Cyllinus may have inherited the Silurian throne.

Dear Wiki Rat, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. That mean that it is a repository of existing knowledge. It is not a place for original research. see Wikipedia:No original research. You have some theories. You might be "fairly certain about Linus being the son of Caratacus", but unless you can quote an authorative source, it cannot be added to Wikipedia. Your theory that Linus preceeded Peter is original. Again you need an authorative source. You can't use your interpretation of scripture. If you can find an article in a peer-reviewed academic journal, then perhaps it can be added. Until then, I'm reverting.--ClemMcGann 09:27, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
The understanding that Linus is the son of [Caradoc|Caratacus] is based on a mistranslation of Dio Cassius that called him (Caratacus) a "barbarian Christian" rather than, correctly translate: "barbarian cheiftain."L Hamm 01:51, 22 February 2006 (UTC)


Thank you for pointing out the purpose of this site. I am well aware of its purpose. However lets be clear - It was who is uncertain about Linus’ lineage, and not I (actually I was wrong - seems unclear of the ordering of appointments, not the lineage issue).

However, on the issue of the order of Church appointments, I have cited no less than Saint Peter himself as my source. Since this is an encyclopaedia, as you point out, it should not be the subject of favoured theological doctrine. Also, I would like to direct your attention to Key Policy #2 which states: Avoid bias. Articles should be written from a neutral point of view, representing differing views on a subject factually and objectively.. Feel free also to check out Key Policy #4

Peter’s words are “original source” and should weigh far better than “a peer-reviewed academic journal”. Again, check out Peter’s words in Apostolic Constitutions" (Bk. I, Chap. 46) where Peter himself, comments on the order of appointments.

If you care to dispute Peter’s words as non-authoritative than you have a much larger task ahead of you than simply reverting my contributions to this article. You’ll have to start editing all articles on Catholicism, Early Church History, or Theology that may have been influence by Peter’s teachings.

Finally, I would like to respectfully register my frustration at your tone, which conveys ever-so-slightly the implication that my contribution to this article, is nothing more than meaningless. In good faith I have provided what most reasonable people would be to consider an authority. Though you may not be famaliar with Peter's words, reasonable people have concluded, as I have, that the appointment of Linus as the first Bishop of Rome is reasonable. Furthermore, it explains some of the traditional "ordering" problems cited in this very article. Paul first appoints Linus, and upon his death, Peter appoints Clement. Also, this article (as you keep restoring it), claims that Timothy 4:21's reference to Linus is questionable, yet the relationship between Linus, Claudia (Gladys) and Pudens (not Pudens the senator, but the junior) are pretty well documented, and their position as the first Christian's also fairly well known. When Peter and Paul visited Rome they did so for the purpose of visiting Linus and Pudens (who may have been Paul's half-brother).

Again, lack of awareness on your part (or perhaps the adoption of a favoured theological slant) should not suffice for exclusion of information that is part of the public record, and presented by a fairly “authoritative source” (assuming you’d Agree that Peter’s words ought to carry some weight).

Where is the middleground therefore? I recommend that we enter a paragraph that cites Peter's words, and state no more than these words have lead some to argue that Linus may have been appointed the first Bishop of Rome by Saint Paul, however this is in dispute. Would you agree to that compromise?

Dear WikiRat, first it would be nice if you signed your words. This can be done by appending --~~~~
While I have some sympathy for your point of view, I doubt that wikipedia is the place for it, at least as it currently stands. Just to repeat Wikipedia is not the place for original research. Everything in Wikipedia must be verifiable from another authorative source. See Wikipedia:Verifiability. Regrettably we cannot use my interpretation nor your interpretation of the writings of Peter or any scripture. For example you doubt claims that Timothy 4:21's reference to Linus is questionable. You were wrong, in wikipedia terms, to remove this sentence. It has a source (actually many sources) The Catholic Encyclopaedia says that "we cannot be certain" [1] therefore, in wikipedia terms, it is questionable. Even if you are certain that Timothy was referring to Pope Linus, you can't state it as a fact if an accepted source says otherwise. You say I have cited no less than Saint Peter himself as my source., yet historians have read those same words and have concluded that Linus succeeded rather than preceded Peter. If you want to present your theory, you need a source. If authorities differ then both views can be presented. You said Peter’s words are “original source” and should weigh far better than “a peer-reviewed academic journal”. Unfortunately that is not the way wikipedia works. A view in a peer-reviewed academic journal is preferred. If you can Wikipedia:Cite sources then your theory can be included. If not it will be reverted. At best we can add that British-Israelites hold such a view. Nor can we admit long 'proofs' of a theory which is at odds with the accepted academic view.--ClemMcGann 11:36, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

A little research shows that the above reference to the Apostolic Constitutions is innacurate. A translation is available on CCEL (ain't the internet wonderful?). The relevant passage is in Book VII, Section IV [2], not Book 1 Ch 46, and it says that Linus is Claudia's son, not brother. WikiRat, I've no doubt you've taken the reference in good faith from a secondary source, but it appears to be inaccurate. --Nicknack009 23:15, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

-- What is Reasonable?[edit]

ClemMcGann, I've looked over Wikipedia:Cite sources, and read the Catholic Encyclopaedia links you provided. I've also read additional articles at the same source on Saint Peter, and thank you for pointing them out. The issue here is not who is referenced in 2 Timothy. Nor is the issue whose interpretation is correct (yours or mine), rather the issue here is who was appointed the first Bishop of Rome. Perhaps to Roman Catholics, the historical record is beyond examination, however to non-Roman Catholics it is not. Unfortunately there is some very subtle implications being made here, to avoid accepting a justified change.

Let me therefore comment;

Peter's words found in "Apostolic Constitutions", comment on the appointment of Rome's first Bishop and give useful information about Saint Linus. Peter is a far better authority on the matter, than even the Catholic Encyclopaedia, as the Catholic Encyclopaedia itself treats Peter's words in the "Apostolic Constitutions" as authoritative. Both the reference you cite, and other experts, therefore, treat Peter's words, as authoritative. You can hardly justify, then, the exclusion of Peter's word as non-authoritative. You indicate your belief, that his words are being interpreted to justify a “theory”, implying that the acceptance of Peter's word at face value, are nothing less than unjustified acceptances of speculation. If we accepted Peter's words as authoritative, as the source you provide (the Catholic Encyclopaedia) does, than clearly there is nothing speculative about it. They clearly indicate Peter's opinion that Saint Linus was appointed first Bishop of Rome by Saint Paul.

You argue that historians accept Peter as the first Bishop of Rome. This is not quite correct. Catholic historians consider the matter settled perhaps, however there is less consensus than you state. Historians (protestant, agnostic and otherwise) disagree on the matter and have debated who was the first Bishop of Rome, and what are the facts surrounding the establishment of the first Church.

In trying to objectively sort out who was appointed first Bishop of Rome, and how were the first Christians related, many historians have dared venture beyond the arguments cited in the Catholic Encyclopaedia. There may be a theory here, but if there is one, it is the popular Catholic theory that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome. FromCatholic Encyclopaedia (again your source not mine), the reference for this idea is theological interpretation of [Matt 16:17-19] that holds Christ instituted the supreme head of the Catholic Church. If we accept that, we cannot dispute what is being disputed here. Of course we could argue that the Bible is not an authoritative source because it is neither peer reviewed nor universally accepted, however, for the sake of argument let's accept its credibility.

“Rome” appears 20 times in the Bible (10 in the Old Testament, 10 in the New Testament), and Peter is never mentioned in connection with it. Reading Peter's epistles, we do not even see a single allusion to Rome. Yet Paul's journey's to Rome monopolizes all of Acts 27 and Acts 28. There is no evidence in the New Testament, or any historical proof that Peter was even ever in Rome, but I am sure you would not argue we remove that from Wikipedia based upon a lack of evidence. There is probably not an “expert” alive that would dispute Paul was the first to visit Rome.

Considering the validity of Peter's words, the evidence alone justifies keeping the proposed changes that have been added as reasonable (and authoritative). Please stop trying to imply that Wikipedia is being used as a proving ground for theories, when in fact it is being used to support theological interpretations (Catholic if anything). Also, there is no need add that this is a British-Israelite view (whether it is or not). I am neither interested in Catholic nor British-Israel theology.

This edit is being made to improve the article on Saint Linus by contributing additional (and verifiable) knowledge about the intended subject by citing a reliable source. Having said all that, the proposed changes have considered the popular view, have not changed the order of the Popes, as taught by the Church, or otherwise molested what is known about Saint Linus. These edits have merely commented on and included the words of a Roman Catholic Saint and Church Father, that contradict the popular view of Saint Linus' roll in Church History.

PS Thanks again for teaching me about useful Wikipedia tricks (see immediately below)

--WikiRat 04:21, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

When did he become pope[edit]

I've read over all the points put forward by both sides concerning who was first mentioned in apostolic letters and who first was in Rome, however, in the gospels it clearly says that Christ told Peter to "lead my sheep", Linus isn't mentioned in the Bible until after Christ's death, where Peter is mentioned in the gospels. Also, one would have to ask how if Linus was not an apostle in the sense of the 12 apostles how h could have become leader of the faith without receiving it from one of the original apostles, who would therefore predate him as the first pope in the sense of leading the Christian community. Lastly, Paul's letters were written in the 50s and 60s, traditional theory holds that Peter was pope from somewhere in the 30s until the 60s, so Pauls letters would be looking back and might assume the reader is familiar with the Peterine leadership. Lastly, while I recognize that few people would want a church built on Linus, the Gospels written in the 60-90s clearly show the primacy of Peter and are probably a better source then later documents. Mbisanz 00:24, August 30, 2005 (UTC)


1., Local religious book says Linus was a negro.

2., Linus was either the first or the second pope depending on definiton: a., pope = "heir to Peter" b., pope = "the guy who sits on Peter's throne"

Now, reading all this wisdom plese stop arguing nonsense whether Linus preceded Peter. (This commonet made by an anon editor from IP at 10:57, 29 August 2005, llywrch)


Many dates with lower numerals and higher are preceded or succeded by AD/BC dates. To me any number under 4 digets should have on or the other by it...otherwise it looks funny. As for the Era system I believe since this is about the Catholic Church and in extention Christianity it should have the BC/AD. Your opinions? Chooserr

  • Is there a widespread precedent for your stylistic preferences on other articles dealing with 1st-century topics? If so, then I agree that adding CE/BCE markers to this article is appropriate. Otherwise, let's stick with the status quo. IMHO it's obvious when one is referring to dates. —Psychonaut 00:01, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Okay, fine I'll wait...but if it gets either it should recieve the BC/AD dates because it is a christian article and that is the standard dating system. Chooserr


There seems to be a gross amount of propaganda within the article for the supposed argument of certain protestant scholars. The main point is that, traditionally, Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and most Protestants alike will accept that Linus succeeded Peter and was succeeded by Cletus. The article should reflect this. Discussion of the minority viewpoint should be placed under another heading. The article should be modified accordingly. --- posted by

I know. So, if you have the time, why don't you correct it? I tried. You might have more persistence and success ClemMcGann 10:09, 8 January 2007 (UTC)


It was mentioned a year or so back in the discussion on this page that an editor wishing to insert material should cite sources. But the entire article cites only one reference, the collection of Ante-Nicene Fathers, without giving details--this can of course source only the quotations. Several hundred edits have been made to this page since its origin as a stub. None of them have a single exact source specified, although some of the material gives an indication in the text. And in some cases, as in citing the Epistles, the indication is sufficient. (There isn't even much copied from the Catholic Encyclopedia, which has a relatively short article.) All of the potentially disputable material in the latter part of the articule is unsourced altogether.

At least one part of the article is absurd on its face: the infobox for styles. If there is anything certain about this, it is that none of them could conceivably have been used during his lifetime. I have added an unsourced tag in order to stimulate discussion, and an accuracy tag for the infobox. DGG 01:43, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I've given the article a heavy rewrite for concision and coherence and included inline cites. Hope this is more satisfactory. --Nicknack009 21:07, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Who was the first pope?[edit]

Though it is probable that Linus was the first Pope, the position of Supreme Pontiff (being the leader of the Roman Catholic Church) ought to be defined by the religion the position is applicable to. Since the Roman Catholic Church defines Peter as the first Pope it would be right to state it as such. The reason would simply be because the official position of Supreme Pontiff did not come into effect until later after both Peter and Linus thus all Popes who reigned before the time of the first official pope would have to be named Pope by the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, it is right to list Peter as the first pope.

This idea does not favor any religion. However, it is the right of the Roman Catholic Church to state who was the first Pope as the office of Pope is of the Roman Catholic Church. There are some beliefs that the apostle John was the first Pope and that Peter was appointed by him but the fact that some believe this does not make it correct. The fact that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that Peter was the first Pope does not make that teaching correct either, but it does make that belief right.

The Bottom Line is it is the right of the Roman Catholic Church to define who was the first Pope. I doubt there is a soul alive who truly knows but if the Roman Catholic Church teaches something about themselves, it should be respected.--Mellar (talk) 01:56, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Mellar, I wish you well. You might find that in matters of religion and politics, there are those who would rather avoid being logical and consistent. ClemMcGann (talk) 11:21, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Mellar, your statement it is the right of the Roman Catholic Church to define who was the first Pope is not at all logical. Truth is not something that belongs solely to a certain group of people. Yes, they have the right to believe what they want, but they have no right to demand that the rest of the world must follow their delusions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:18, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I've added the statement that he "was an early Christian leader who is believed by the Roman Catholic Church to have been pope," which I think more neutrally-worded. Until we can invent a time machine and check this stuff out, it's conjecture. (talk) 00:38, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Linus's grave?[edit]

It mentions on Find A Grave's page on Pope Anencletus that "He was buried near Saint Linus, where his relics remain." I have not, however, found info on the actual grave of Linus himself. (Not counting the incorrect one found in the 17th century) So either:

A. It was a symbolic grave (with no actual body) like funerals with empty coffins today.

B. Some damage was done to the extent that Linus's body doesn't actually exist anymore.

C. Linus's body actually does exist but seemingly no one notes it on Google. --Mrdie (talk) 05:11, 18 January 2009 (UTC)