Saint Linus was the son of Herculanus, of the family of the Mauri, of Volterra, an ancient town of Tuscany. Some authors suppose the family to be the same that is called Morosina at Venice, and Morigia at Milan. At the age of twenty-two he was sent to Rome to study. There he saw Saint Peter, who sent him to Besangon in France to preach the gospel, and it has even been affirmed that this saint had the title of bishop. On his return to Rome, Linus was declared by Saint Peter his coadjutor. The regular canons named after Saint Augustine, who venerate Saint Peter as their founder, include Linus among their number. He was elected as pontiff on the 30th of June, in the year 67. Novaes gives precisely that date, as to the month, but thinks the year was not 67 but 69. Linus was the immediate successor of Saint Peter, according to Saint Irenaeus, Eusebius, and Saint Augustine. But Tertullian says that the Prince of the Apostles named Saint Clement as his successor. These passages are reconcilable on the supposition that Saint Clement refused to accept that dignity until after the decease of Saint Linus. And it is added that the reason why some authors have placed Saint Clement immediately after Saint Peter is that during the life of that apostle, and during one of his apostolical journeys, Clement officiated as Peter’s vicar, and administered, ad interim, the affairs of the Holy See.
It is the generally received opinion that Saint Linus ascended the chair of Saint Peter when the first vicar of Jesus Christ was martyred. Saint Linus, following a recommendation of Saint Paul, ordered that women should never enter the church with uncovered heads. Pope Clement XIV renewed that prohibition in the eighteenth century. Saint Linus excommunicated the Menandrians, who followed Menander, a Samaritan and a disciple of Simon Magus. He maintained that the world was a creation of the angels, and not of God, and defended the errors of the Nicolaites (so called after Nicolas, deacon of Antioch), who pretended that all things were in common among the Christians. In their assemblies they practised, as did most of the early heretics, the most infamous turpitudes. Menander was perhaps the first to introduce into the Church the germs of the Eastern philosophy. This developed itself under various forms, through imposture and ignorance, and propagated an inextricable forest of heresies which it was not easy to uproot. It was under this pontificate that the destruction of Jerusalem took place. Linus might have witnessed the arrival at Rome of the first of those Jews who were subsequently condemned to labor in building the Arch of Titus, where the Roman pride was flattered by the exhibition of the seven-branched candlestick as one of the trophies of the victory. Works have been published, attributed to Saint Linus as their author. They are now pronounced apocryphal, because they are infected by errors resembling those of the Manichaeans. Linus is named among the martyrs in the canon of the Roman Church, which is of a higher antiquity than the Sacramentary of Gelasius, and of greater authority on that point. Saint Linus died in 78; his feast is kept on the 23d of September in the Roman Martyrology. The Biographie Universelle is in error in affirming that Saint Linus received the crown of martyrdom under Nero. It was under Vespasian that this saint perished, a victim to the malignity of Saturninus, a man of consular rank. Linus had assisted, during her long illness, the daughter of that very man who also had solicited the prayers of the pontiff. Pope Saint Linus reigned about eleven years.
- from "The Lives and Times of the Popes", by Alexis-François Artaud de Montor