Chain of Command in Early Church


#1

I was still going on the thread about leadership in the Church when I read this.

This is a convenient explanation. But it doesn’t answer what happened when Peter died and other apostles were still around, like John. So how does one explain this?


#2

ewtn.com/library/patristc/anf1-1.htm

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS
St. Clement of Rome

Chap. XL. Let us preserve in the Church the order appointed by God.

These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behoves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him. Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.

Chap. XLI. Continuation of the same subject.

Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him. Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace-offerings, or the sin- offerings and the trespass-offerings, but in Jerusalem only. And even there they are not offered in any place, but only at the altar before the temple, that which is offered being first carefully examined by the high priest and the ministers already mentioned. Those, therefore, who do anything beyond that which is agreeable to His will, are punished with death. Ye see, brethren, that the greater the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed.

Chap. XLII. The order of ministers in the Church.

The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done sol from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. [COLOR=“Blue”]Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops s in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.”


#3

Saint John was never made prince of the apostles and ruler of the Church. Saint Peter was. Saint John lived in Ephesus and as far as we know, never went to Rome. Saint Peter’s successor lived in Rome as its bishop.

We can even see the limited scope of Saint John’s jurisdiction in Revelation 2, where Jesus gives him instructions for seven churches in Asia. Ephesus was the largest city in Asia, and Jesus only gives Saint John instructions for Ephesus and its regional cities.

Note that the church in Ephesus tried to invoke the authority of Saint John in the date it used for celebrating Easter (the fourteenth of Nisan - Quartodeciman), contrast to the Petrine tradition in Rome, Alexandria and Antioch of celebrating Easter on Sunday. Pope Victor I threatened to excommunicate the churches in Asia.

“After the pope’s strong measures the Quartodecimans seem to have gradually dwindled away. Origen in the “Philosophumena” (VIII, xviii) seems to regard them as a mere handful of wrong-headed nonconformists.”

newadvent.org/cathen/05228a.htm


#4

The question on the other thread started regarding the historical accuracy of Irenaeus’ writing Against Heresies.

“3. The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy.”
newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm

Did Peter and Paul together commission Linus as the Bishop of Rome? If Peter was alive and Linus was the Bishop of Rome which one had the “keys?” If Linus was the Bishop of Rome when Peter died, then what was Peter’s official role at his death? Or is Irenaeus’ writing not historically accurate?


#5

“Committed into the hands of Linus” could simply mean, “When we die, you take over.”

Eusebius confirms the account of Irenaeus:

“After the martyrdom of Paul and of Peter, Linus was the first to obtain the episcopate of the church at Rome. Paul mentions him, when writing to Timothy from Rome, in the salutation at the end of the epistle.”

newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm


#6

Or it could mean that Peter and Paul made Linus the first Bishop of Rome and then went on to other cities.

“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. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.”
Irenaeus Against Heresies Book III Chapter 1.1
newadvent.org/fathers/0103301.htm

“1…And so greatly did the splendor of piety illumine the minds of Peter’s hearers that they were not satisfied with hearing once only, and were not content with the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, a follower of Peter, and the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to them. Nor did they cease until they had prevailed with the man, and had thus become the occasion of the written Gospel which bears the name of Mark.
2. And they say that Peter — when he had learned, through a revelation of the Spirit, of that which had been done — was pleased with the zeal of the men, and that the work obtained the sanction of his authority for the purpose of being used in the churches.”
Eusebius Ecclesiastical History Book II Chapter 15
newadvent.org/fathers/250102.htm

These church histories are not inspired as Scripture is and can contain errors. They are a good resource, but we need to be aware of how quickly time can change the stories of history. I don’t think we have a clear historical picture of how the events took place.


#7

Ever wonder how a pastor/priest manages his Church when he is away? He obviously invests his authority in a certain person temporarily. Peter must have done this with Linus. He probably did this with James.


#8

#9

How could they verify who’s bones they are? :confused:

We know more about Paul’s ministry than Peter’s. We know when he wrote his letter to the Romans that he had not been to the already established church in Rome, but he wanted to go there. (He did not found the church in Rome as in Irenaeus states in Against Heresies III 3.2). Later he writes letters from a Roman prison. The exact details are not known, but he was definitely in Rome later in his life.

I understand that the earliest copies of Irenaeus’ writing is a 4th century Latin translation of his Greek. The Latin isn’t available online. Earlier in the same chapter the word ‘departed’ is used: “they departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things [sent] from God to us…” I don’t know if the original language used the same word. But, the reason I put the quote from Eusebius’ history in earlier is because we have Irenaeus saying that after Peter and Paul departed from Rome, Mark wrote Peter’s teachings. Eusebius says that after Mark wrote his gospel, Peter found out about it through the Spirit and approved it for use in churches. Either one of these men was wrong in their facts, or Peter departed from the church in Rome before his death. Didn’t the Apostles appoint leaders in all of the churches they started before they moved on?


#10

You could simply take my point in its context, susanlo. Read #7.


#11

#12

You seem to be looking for detailed journal entries accounting for the day by day actions and locations of Peter, Paul, Mark and Linus for every single day of their earthly ministry. What we actually have are one or two sentences in each of Irenaeus and Eusebius, each summing up potentially entire years or decades of ministry. Not even the Bible goes into the level of detail you seem to be looking for - and you can find countless atheist critics who would levy the same criticisms against the narratives in the Scriptures.

Be thankful for the Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition that have been passed down to us. And while being wise as a serpent, don’t forget to also be innocent as a dove.


#13

Um, guys? :blush:


#14

By the doctrine of the papacy, Linus and the later bishops of Rome, not the surviving Apostles, succeeded to the earthly leadership of the Church. There is limited evidence from the period pointing in either direction, save for Clement’s letter issued while John should still have been alive. I am not sure what precisely you want explained, or if it is possible to do so.


#15

Like who the remaining apostles answered to.


#16

What evidence we have indicates that Peter, Linus, (Ana)Cletus, and Clement were all alive at the same time, and likely died in that order. Clement was held up later as someone who still heard the echo of the Apostles’ words, as he had personally heard Peter and Paul speak (presumably a rare thing by the time he died).

There are lists of the Popes that vary from the accepted one on the order of these early successors, putting Clement second or treating Cletus and Anacletus as two separate men. As they were contemporaries, and it’s unclear whether Rome had yet adopted the practice of having exactly one bishop (which became the norm, but not everywhere at once), it is possible that they were all “bishops in Rome” before the idea of a singular “bishop OF Rome” had caught on. Obviously Peter would have been senior while he was there, and the quotation people have been using in this thread indicates that he left Linus in charge, so that’s not to say that the papal succession was made up – but it may not have been until a later era, when the role of the papacy became more important and/or more challenged, that historians felt the need to work out exactly who was the singular Pope at a given time. (In the earliest mentions of the primacy, it’s the see of Rome and not a specific man that guards the Faith, though it is natural that the present bishop would be seen as the personification of that role.) By then all these men would have been in Heaven and no longer Pope in any case.


#17

If I’m understanding you correctly:shrug:

You’re not asking the origin of Papal succession [Mt 10: 1-8 compared to Mt 28:18-20], rather WHY not succession by one of the other Apostle

Only God knows for sure. But three factors come to mind
:
[1] The WIDE dispersion of both the Apostles themselves & MANY of the first believers motivated by severe Roman persecution

[2] The deaths of some of the Apostles BEFORE the death of St. Peter

[3] The first popes by succession were selected [HS inspired] by the local Bishops of and around Jerusalem. So the remaining alive Apostles were not a “quick-fix” consideration by virtue of the fact that they were not readily available for consideration. No doubt the Fathers choose NOT to leace the “SEE” vacant for any prolonged period of time.

christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1-300/whatever-happened-to-the-twelve-apostles-11629558.html

James, the 1st Bishop of Jerusalem died in 62 AD

catholicbridge.com/catholic/did_peter_die_in_rome.php

Peter Died in 67 AD

google.com/search?sourceid=chrome-psyapi2&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8&q=When%20did%20saint%20Paul%20die&oq=When%20did%20saint%20Paul%20die&aqs=chrome…69i57j0l5.6986j0j8

Paul died 62-64 AD

GBY

Patrick


#18

#19

I would agree. It is very probable that they are his bones, but we are definitely not certain. Nor are these bones any basis for the preeminent See of Rome.

We know more about Paul’s ministry than Peter’s. We know when he wrote his letter to the Romans that he had not been to the already established church in Rome, but he wanted to go there. (He did not found the church in Rome as in Irenaeus states in Against Heresies III 3.2). Later he writes letters from a Roman prison. The exact details are not known, but he was definitely in Rome later in his life.

I think it is likely, that Peter founded the Church of Rome by converting and appointing men at Jerusalem after Pentacost. These men were the first believers of Rome, because they were established in Jerusalem, and then went back to Rome. Paul also preached to Roman citizens and had a repertoire with them. How else would he know who he was writing to?

I understand that the earliest copies of Irenaeus’ writing is a 4th century Latin translation of his Greek. The Latin isn’t available online. Earlier in the same chapter the word ‘departed’ is used: “they departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things [sent] from God to us…” I don’t know if the original language used the same word. But, the reason I put the quote from Eusebius’ history in earlier is because we have Irenaeus saying that after Peter and Paul departed from Rome, Mark wrote Peter’s teachings. Eusebius says that after Mark wrote his gospel, Peter found out about it through the Spirit and approved it for use in churches. Either one of these men was wrong in their facts, or Peter departed from the church in Rome before his death. Didn’t the Apostles appoint leaders in all of the churches they started before they moved on?

What is significant, is that these two Apostles founded the first Roman believers, then visited and worked among them, and finally died in that city.


#20

Rome was a large city. There were likely several churches (meeting facilities with their own congregations) within the city. Perhaps Linus, Cletus, and Clement were all overseeing individual churches in Rome and when (before) Peter/Paul died, the Universal Episcolate was assigned to Linus.

I’m not just fabricating this, since I believe it fits in with the information we know, but I’m also not asserting it as fact.

Btw, my quote in the OP was aimed at my friend susanlo. She raised a concern that I didn’t feel was necessarily against Church Teaching. We don’t know if Peter gave his Universal Bishopric to Linus sometime before his death, or if his actual death marked the transfer of Papal authority onto Linus (being the next in command within the Episcopate). I suggested that susanlo is able to freely interpret either senerio without contradicting what is officially Taught.


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