apostolic succession

Why use 2 Timothy 2:2; 3:14 as Bible proof that extra-biblical oral tradition is to be followed through apostolic succession, when tradition says Timothy became the bishop of Ephesians, which through succession, is now part of the Greek Orthodox church headed out of Constantinople? If 2 Timothy 2:2 proves succession, doesn’t this prove the Roman Catholic church is not part of that succession?

I believe there should only be one church, i just need to know why i believe.

Peter is the first Pope there is a line from then till now. By the way I am a convert from the Church of Christ, nice to meet you.:slight_smile:

High it is nice to meet you to, however as i wrote in another forum Rome did not have control in the early church yes 588 AD marked the beginning of a great power struggle and rivalry between Old Rome (West, Italy) and New Rome (East, Constantinople). It was actually this power struggle that accelerated the Bishop of Rome to take on the title of Universal Bishop. Neither one was “over” the others district, but were viewed as equals, although Rome had made claims of supremacy that were not accepted elsewhere.
Later this title was confirmed to John IV., the Faster, when he was officially proclaimed “universal bishop” via a synod in 588 AD by the emperor. Gregory strongly renounced any suggestion that he was a “universal Bishop” and viciously objected to John IV’s use of it.
Gregory warns that John’s use of “Universal Bishop” is a sign the antichrist was near! He was referring to this verse: “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the second coming] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (2 Thess 2:3-4)
What is most important here, is that when John IV, Patriarch of Constantinople, started calling himself the “Universal Bishop” Gregory I, Patriarch of Rome, did not say, “Hey that’s my title, you have right to wear it.” Instead Gregory said that no man should consider himself the “Universal Bishop” calling it the sign the “antichrist” was near. (see 2 Thess 2:3-4) The bishop of Constantinople, John IV. was saying, “I am over you”, Gregory was saying, “we are equal”, even though Gregory would readily admit he, not John, was a successor of Apostle Peter.

Peter was not, according to some evidence, the first Pope.
The earliest accounts mention the fact that Rome’s Christian community was founded by Sts. Peter and Paul. Irenaeus wrote that Peter was not acting alone… “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church.”[1]

Ireneaus goes on to say

“Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say, ] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate.”[2]

Eusebius also accepts this role for Linus "The blessed apostles having founded and established the church, entrusted the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul speaks of this Linus in his Epistles to Timothy.[3]

In the west the idea of Petrine supremacy would rise, and accordingly later writers would tend to stress the role of St. Peter in Rome’s foundations, but the earlier writers were not burdened by such dogma. Reading Irenaus further we see that he doesn’t count a bishops line from St. Peter at all, but from Linus…“Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric.”[4] What also is important to note again is the repeating of the idea that Linus’ tenure came after and upon the foundation of all the Apostles, plural.

Many people accept the idea that Peter was the first Pope. Some early sources state that St. Peter did not even ordain Linus as the first Bishop of Rome!

“Of the church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul; and Clemens (Clement), after Linus’ death, the second, ordained by me Peter."[5]

[1] Irenaus, “Against Heresies”, Book III.1.1 (quoted at ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-60.htm#P7297_1937859)

[2] Ibid. Book III.3.2-3

[3] Eusebius “The History of the Church” Book V Chapter VI. Catalogue of the Bishops of Rome cited at ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF2-01/Npnf2-01-10.htm#P2930_1381485

[4] Irenaus. Book III.3.3

[5] “Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions,” Book 7, Chapter XLVI – “Who Were They that the Holy Apostles Sent and Ordained?” quoted at



Good article from PhilVaz:

Pope Gregory the Great and The “Universal Bishop” Controversy

Letter can be found at

St. Gregory

Epistle XXXIII. To Mauricius Augustus.


But first some background…

"At this time, the Patriarch of Constantinople began to use the title Oecumenical Patriarch (that is, Imperial Patriarch –Oecumene being a common title of the Empire) since he resided in the Imperial capital, which title the Latins, with a poor understanding of Greek, read as “Ecumenical”or “Universal Patriarch”. Through this misunderstanding, we have the blessing of learning from Pope St. Gregory the Great himself his opinion on the idea of a universal patriarch or bishop. When the title first appeared, St. Pope Gregory wrote to his fellow-bishops:

“I say it without the least hesitation, whoever calls himself the universal bishop, or desires this title, is, by his pride, the precursor of Antichrist, because he thus attempts to raise himself above the other bishops. The error into which he falls springs from pride equal to that of Antichrist; for as that Wicked One wished to be regarded as exalted above other men, like a god, so likewise whoever would be called sole bishop exalts himself above others…” “I exhort and entreat that not one of you bishops ever accept this name, that not one consent to it’s use…, since this thing is being done to the injury and rending asunder of the whole Church, and, as we have said, to the condemning of all of you. For if anyone, as he supposes, is universal bishop, it remains that you are not bishops.”


Your article is flawed from the outset.

It’s title: “Pope Gregory the Great and the “Universal Bishop” Controversy Was the Pope denying his own Papal Authority? Debunking a popular Protestant myth” (
bringyou.to/apologetics/num7.htm )gives this away as it assumes Gregory had a Papal Authority to which he was then alleged to have denied. He never contradicted himself when he argued that no one should be called ‘universal bishop’.

Even so called ‘replies’ miss the mark…
REPLY: Gregory was Pope, and knew that he was Pope

Indeed he was. But the word “Pope” doesn’t mean ‘universal bishop’. It is simply a title alike “Patriarch”. There’s a Pope in Alexandria too.

REPLY: In so protesting Gregory exercised his universal jurisdiction as Bishop of Bishops, not hesitating to condemn John the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople.
That’s again missing the mark. Gregory refers to John as a fellow bishop (I note your site is short on citing the actual letter; preferring to play word games which what some Protestants have alleged). He wasn’t addressing him as a junior. He had no jurisdiction over John, which is why he addresses the letter to the Emperor. He is appealing to the Emperor to do something about this.

Thus Gregory is denying that anyone at all should call himself a universal bishop. He makes this plain that his objection is absolute…
"Now I confidently say that whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called, Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others"

All this proves, is that The Catholic Church enjoys Apostolic Succession (as shown in Rome and other Diocese) as well as the Greek Orthodox Church (which I believe the Catholic Church accepts).

The Pope never took on the title, “Universal Bishop” for it would deny the title of “Bishop” to the rest of the bishops throughout the Church.

The Emperor has no power over the Church. He can not proclaim anyone “Universal Bishop”. This is a good example of the Eastern Church, when it disagrees with the Western Church to turn to the Emperor to get what she wishes. That’s a bad precedence that would haunt the Eastern Church for centuries.

Why? Again, because it strips the power of all the bishops. This does not happen with the Papacy.

Two simple points:

  1. Paul (who ordained Timothy) was not the only Apostle. Nor was Paul the head of the Church – that was Peter.

  2. The Catholic Church recognizes that the Orthodox Church has maintained the Apostolic Succession. It is their refusal to accept the primacy of Peter and his successors that separates the two Churches, not the Apostolic Succession.

Paul wrote his letter to the Romans before he ever visited Rome. There was a Christian community in Rome long before Paul ever arrived. So when someone says that Paul founded the Christian community in Rome, they can only mean that he took a young Church and helped it through the troubling times of it’s persecutions.

Rome was founded by Peter and then aided by Paul.

It’s hard to ordain your successor as Bishop after you’ve been crucified.

This could easity be reconciled by the fact that they are talking about the priestly ordination. Linus was ordained a priest by Paul and Clement by Peter. I understand Priests are ordained, Bishops are selected.

What’s the point of pole-vaulting over mouse droppings?

It was Peter whom Christ appointed head of His Church. It was Peter to whom the keys were given. It was Peter to whom the power to loose and bind were given. And Peter passed on his commission to the Bishop of Rome.

If he had been in Hoboken, New Jersey at the time of his martyrdom, he might have passed the keys to the Bishop of Hoboken. But he was in Rome. So the Bishop of Rome is Peter’s successor.

End of story.

And the light turns on!!! :tiphat:


Me too have read from some source written by a Roman Catholic who have have the doubt about the Apostolic Succession and went all the way to Vatican to do research and i was rather shocked that his finding wasn’t promising as not much of the judification can prove Peter was the first Pope of the church, in fact i have posted the same topic couple of months ago quoting those statement made by this RC author (i would rather get Catholic to debate among themselves then to have me as protestant debating with them about their own finding) and in the end i was slapped with words by the some of the catholic here for making those quote, how ironic (i laughed till i almost fell from my chair when they slapped me with words, for they didn’t even realise that they were slapping their own brethen Catholic with words)…

All the Catholic gave was forever the same, Jesus appointed Peter as head of Church for he was given the key. But since the Catholic interpret this verse as Peter was appointed the lst pope of RC, then i rather respect their teaching. However i always wonder why modern Catholic cannot be like St Peter a great Gospel preacher, a great missionary?? For all the Catholic frez i know i never hear them share with me about their Catholicism teaching, never reach out to lose soul and bring them to church. Keeping their faith themselve and only know how to bash my church about little thing we do and love to challenge me about what i know about Christianity, ask protestant not to tithe…strange and funny pple, having time to bash others, might as well spend time winning lost soul. (At time i find it is a waste of time talking to my Catholic frez, for they don’t even know their destiny as a believer is to help God to win lost soul, why don’t they be more like St Peter, spread and spread Gospel, plant and plant more churches for God)

I respect Catholic teaching and believe their teaching as i am attending my RCIA for further understanding on Catholicism , however i am more disappointed to those who practise Catholicism.

I have no problem with the community having its foundation in both Peter and Paul

It would be, but we go by the historical evidence.

It could well be, however the evidence says that Linus was counted as first, and he was appointed by Paul

What a strange remark

Where did He do this?

However Matthew 18:18 shows that all the Apostles received the same powers. That’s why John Chrysostomon can say the Apostle John (the Son of Thunder) also held the keys
”For the Son of thunder, the beloved of Christ, the pillar of the Churches throughout the world, who holds the keys of heaven”
John Chrysostom, “Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 1.1”
quoted in Schaff, P, “Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers” (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume XIV, p1. Also at: ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF1-14/npnf1-14-05.htm#P175_1913

Origen notes the same thing (Read 11. The Promise Given to Peter Not Restricted to Him, But Applicable to All Disciples Like Him at ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-10/anf10-48.htm .)

See above re: Matthew 18:18. It is why Paul said that the Church was founded upon all the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20)
And sure Peter was told to feed the flock, but so were all the other Apostles; as all of them were the leaders of the church.
Acts 20:28
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
(note more than one overseer of the flock!)
Even Peter exhorts others to feed the flock
1 Peter 5:2
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind

Peter took part in the foundation of several churches, including mine; at Antioch. Show me where Rome was given this special commission.

If only.


Me too have read from some source written by a Roman Catholic who have have the doubt about the Apostolic Succession and went all the way to Vatican to do research and i was rather shocked that his finding wasn’t promising as not much of the judification can prove Peter was the first Pope of the church, in fact i have posted the same topic couple of months ago quoting those statement made by this RC author (i would rather get Catholic to debate among themselves then to have me as protestant debating with them about their own finding) and in the end i was slapped with words by the some of the catholic here for making those quote, how ironic (i laughed till i almost fell from my chair when they slapped me with words, for they didn’t even realise that they were slapping their own brethen Catholic with words)…

There’s the Catholic historian Davis who notes that Ecumenical Councils were called despite the Pope’s wishes
"The emperor, disregarding the papal condemnation as definitive, had already convoked a general council"

Davis L. D. “The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787) Their History and Theology”, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1990, p153

And the Jesuit Abbé Guettée says “The truth confessed by St. Peter is, therefore, the foundation of the Church, and no promise was made to his person, nor, consequently, to his subjective faith.”

Abbé Guettée, “The Papacy: Its Historic Origin and Primitive Relations with the Eastern Churches” quoted at jmgainor.homestead.com/files/PU/Lks/AbGu/AbGuch4.htm

Abbe Guettee’s The Papacy on St Leo, How Reliable?
Fr Guettee had been ordained in the Roman Catholic Church in France but left it and was received into the Russian Orthodox Church.

Abbe Guettee’s characterization of St Leo does not fit the historical record. Instead, it can be viewed as an attempt to re-write Church history to harmonize with the post-Schism rejection of the papacy.


From chapter II of his book, he cites many Church Fathers…
In Holy Scripture the Rock is frequently spoken of in a figurative sense. This word always signifies Christ, and never, directly or indirectly, St. Peter. The best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture itself. It is then with good reason that the immense majority of the Fathers and Doctors have given to the passage in question the interpretation that we claim for it is always referring either to Jesus Christ, or to faith in his divinity the word rock, which the Saviour used. This interpretation has the threefold advantage of being more conformed to the text, of better according with other passages of Holy Scripture, and of not attributing to Christ a play upon words little worthy of his majesty. Among the Fathers who have given this interpretation to the famous passage, “Tu est Petrus,” we will name St. Hilary of Poitiers, The Trinity, sixth book; St. Gregory of Nyasa, Advent of our Lord; St. Ambrose, book 6, on chapter ix. of St. Luke and on 2d chapter of Epistle to the Ephesians; St. Jerome upon the 18th verse of the 16th chapter of St. Matthew; St. John Chrysostom homilies 55 and 83 upon St. Matthew, and lst chapter Epistle to the Galatians; St. Augustine, Tracts 7 and 123 upon St. John, 13th sermon upon the words of the Lord, taken from St. Matthew, 1st Book of the Retractions; Acacius, homily pronounced at the Council of Ephesus; St. Cyril of Alexandria, 4th book upon Isaiah, 4th book of the Trinity; St. Leo I, Sermons 2d and 3d, upon his elevation to the episcopate, sermon upon the Tranfiguration of our Lord, sermon 2d upon the nativity of the apostles Peter and Paul; St. Gregory the Great, 3d book, 33d epistle; St. John Damascene upon the Transfiguration. This interpretation of the Fathers was preserved In the West until the era when Ultramontanism was erected into a system by the Jesuits in the 16th century. It will suffice to prove this to cite Jonas of Orleans, 3d book on the worship of images; Hincmar of Rheims, 33d essay; Pope Nicholas I, 6th letter to Photius; Odo of Cluny, sermon upon the see of St. Peter; Rupert, 3d book upon St. Matthew and 12th book upon the Apocalypse; Thomas Aquinas, supplement Q. 25, art. 1; Anselm, upon the 16th chapter of St. Matthew; Eckius, 2d book of the primacy of St. Peter; Cardinal de Cusa, Catholic Concordance, 2d book, chapters 13 and 18.

“From my conversations with His Grace,” wrote Fr. Guettée, “it became clear that although formally I was not Orthodox, I was nevertheless a genuinely Orthodox writer…And I fervently desired to become Orthodox in deed, i.e., to belong to the Russian Church.” An exception was made and, by order of the Holy Synod, Guettée was received into the Orthodox Church in his clerical rank (under the present circumstances such economy would clearly be inadmissible). “I became Orthodox,” said Fr. Guettée, "without having read a single book about Orthodoxy, simply having studied the Fathers of the Church, the decrees of the first ecumenical councils, and the incontestable facts of the history of the Church."

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