St. Linus, With Paul, Sent Greetings to Timothy

“Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers send greetings.” (2 Timothy 4:21)

Patrobulus, Hermas, Linus, Caius and Philologus are five of the 70 disciples depicted in the Menologion of Basil II
Patrobulus, Hermas, Linus, Caius and Philologus are five of the 70 disciples depicted in the Menologion of Basil II (photo: Public Domain)

Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy offers some helpful hints as to who Linus was in the early Church. When Paul wrote this letter, he was imprisoned, probably in Rome. Toward the end of the letter, the great evangelizer mentioned that Linus sent greetings — a very strong suggestion that Linus was either in prison with Paul or at least living in Rome at the time with opportunities to visit Paul. Paul expressed a certain loneliness during this time of his life, a sadness that some had abandoned him. Evidently Linus was one of the few people willing to remain with and give Christian friendship to the forlorn Paul.

Paul included some words in this letter that suggest he felt his death drawing near. Tradition states he was martyred in Rome under Nero sometime near AD 67 or 68, not long after the letter was likely written. It then becomes feasible that Linus may have been with Paul to the end, credibly offering comfort and assurance to the great apostle during his last days on earth.

It has been written that this Linus, who was a friend to the imprisoned Paul, became the Church’s second pope following Peter. It is believed that he served as pope approximately AD 67–78. Tradition tells he was martyred Sept. 23 (which became his memorial day) and buried next to St. Peter. Many claim it was Pope Linus who urged the custom of women covering their heads at church. Some reports state that he named 15 of the early bishops. Claudia, the name listed after Linus’ in 2 Timothy 4:21, is considered by some historians to have been Linus’ mother. St. Linus is honored in the first Eucharistic Prayer:

“Especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and blessed Joseph, her Spouse, your blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, [James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian] and all your Saints; we ask that through their merits and prayers, in all things we may be defended by your protecting help.”

Bible Journaling with St. Linus

Sept. 23 honors St. Linus, as well as a New Testament married couple — Sts. Zechariah and Elizabeth. Though mentioned only once, St. Linus is still worth pondering. By exploring a few extra verses within Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, you can imagine more about St. Linus. Perhaps you would like to spend just three days getting to know St. Linus a little better by reading, praying about, and journaling on the passages below. Consider what his friendship must have meant to Paul — who gave so much to promote the Faith.

  • Day 1) 2 Timothy 4:7
  • Day 2) 2 Timothy 4:16
  • Day 3) 2 Timothy 4:21