St Evaristus

(c. 100—109)

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(c. 100–c. 109)

In the earliest succession lists of bishops of Rome he is placed after Anacletus and Clement I, fourth in the line inaugurated by the Apostles Peter and Paul. Another tradition, attested by LP, assigned him the same position but arranged his predecessors in the order Clement and Anacletus. The early sources differ about the length of his reign, Eusebius giving it as either eight or nine years, LP just under ten, and the 4th-century Liberian Catalogue (which names him Aristus) thirteen years and ten months; all these figures are guesses. His name suggests Greek origin, as LP states, but the other information it provides (that his father was a Jew from Bethlehem, that he divided the Roman parishes among his presbyters, and that he instituted seven deacons to escort the bishop) is historically valueless. In particular, its claims that he died a martyr and was buried near St Peter should be rejected. Two letters and two fragments of decretals circulating under his name are apocryphal. While there is no reason to doubt that he held a leading position in the Roman church, nothing is in fact reliably known about him, and in view of the late development of the monarchical episcopate at Rome his role as a church leader there can only be surmised. Feast 27 Oct.

Further Reading

Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 3. 3. 3Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3. 34, 4. 1, 5. 6. 4id., Chron. (Helm, p. 193)LP i, pp. xc–xci, 126 (Davis 1: 3–4, 97, 107)Caspar i. 8, 13, 53DCB ii. 426 (J. Bryce)DHGE xvi. 111 (B. Botte)EThC 34–5 (G. Schwaiger)NCE v. 482 (E. G. Weltin)Lampe

Subjects: Christianity.

Reference entries