Evaristus, Pope, St.

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Pontificate: 99 or 96 to 108? According to irenaeus (Adv. Haer. 3.3), he succeeded clement i as pope. The liberian catalogue and other sources list him after Anacletus. A sixth-century recension of the Liber pontificalis describes him as a Greek of Antioch, the son of a Jew from Bethlehem. Even if this were not so, his Greek name testifies to the continuing foreign influence in the Roman community. Liber pontificalis also ascribes to him the appointment of clergy to the 25 parishes in Rome and the creation of the seven-man college of deacons, a completely unreliable tradition. His episcopacy lasted seven, eight, or nine years according to Eusebius (Chron. Hist. 3.34; 4.1; 5.6), nine or 13 years according to different recensions of the Liber pontificalis. If Clement died in the third year of trajan's reign, as Eusebius (3.15) says, Evaristus may have become bishop as late as 101. The tradition that he was martyred is doubtful due to the silence of Irenaeus on the matter. Evaristus is one of the most obscure of popes. Modern excavations indicate that he was not buried near Peter in the Vatican.

Feast: Oct. 26.

Bibliography: eusebius, The Ecclesiastical History, tr. k. lake and j. e. l. oulton, 2 v. [Loeb Classical Library (London-New York-Cambridge, Mass.) 192632]. l. duchesne, Liber pontificalis (Paris 118692) 1:XCXCI. j. p. kirsch, Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche 2 (Freiburg 195765) 3:1260. j. n. dkelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 8.

[e. g. weltin]