Church History - was Peter Bishop of Rome?

Hi, all. This started as a question about a specific anti-Catholic preacher named Charlie Campbell (Always Be Ready Ministries - associated with Calvary Chapel), and it was suggested that I create specific threads about the different topics he covers in his video “Roman Catholicism,” to which I am trying to create a response. So, reposting this part from my previous, general thread:

In the first part of the video, Campbell takes a direction I didn’t expect as much. He doesn’t get into the scriptural analysis of, for example, Matthew 16:18 and the Petros/petra thing; in fact, he doesn’t even address that at all. Essentially, he argues that Catholic history is untrue.

About seven minutes in, he starts with: “Most scholars, outside of the Catholic Church,” he says, “reject the popular teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, that the church at Rome was established by Christ Himself through the apostle Peter.” Following are Campbell’s basic points:

[list]No record of Peter as bishop of Rome.
[list]Irenaeus’ list of “the first twelve leaders of the church of Rome… Peter’s name does not appear. Irenaeus says that the first leader of the church in Rome was actually a man by the name of Linus.”[/list]
[list]Eusebius “never mentions Peter as the Bishop of Rome. He does tell us that Peter came to Rome ‘about the end of his days’ and was crucified there.” (emphasis his)[/list]
[list]Paul doesn’t name Peter in his greetings in the letter to the Romans. “That would be a strange omission if Peter was living in Rome, and especially if he was the overseer of the church there.”[/list]
[/list]
I found Irenaeus’ “Against Heresies,” Book III Ch. 3, and it’s easy to see where he left out the part about Peter and Paul “hand[ing] over the office of the episcopate to Linus.” I also found Eusebius’ “Church History,” Book III Ch. 4, that says that Linus was “Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there.” So while it’s not explicit (i.e., “Peter was the Bishop of Rome”), I think it’s hard to be the successor of someone who wasn’t in that position. It does raise a question that I’d like to be able to head off: Eusebius says that Clement was the third bishop, but shouldn’t he be fourth? Irenaeus lists Linus (2), Anacletus (3), and Clement (4).

[list]Next up: “Most scholars date the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church at 590 A.D…” My question: Where’s this date from? Haven’t heard this before.[/list]

[list]Then: “Rome’s claim to supremacy and legal jurisdiction was vigorously resisted by other church leaders and could never be enforce in the eastern portion of the Empire.” Then dissension remained between Rome and Constantinople, culminating in the big split in 1054.[/list]
I think once I get past this and into the doctrinal things (mostly that we’re un-Biblical), it’ll be a little easier for me to find information. Anything that can get me started with the history would be wonderful. Thanks!

Eruorto #1
Re: anti-Catholic preacher named Charlie Campbell assuming:

  1. No record of Peter as bishop of Rome.

St. Peter ends his first Epistle with the words, “The Church which is in Babylon salutes you, and so doth my son, Mark.” All reputable scholars admit that the first Christians called pagan Rome Babylon on account of its vices. St. Peter, therefore, was writing from Rome.

It is simple history that St. Peter went to Rome about the year 43 A.D., went back to Jerusalem after a few years for a short time, and then returned to Rome until his death, save for very short absences. He died about the year 67, during the reign of Nero. Papias wrote, about 140 A.D., “Peter came and first by his salutary preaching of the Gospel and by his keys opened in the city of Rome the gates of the heavenly kingdom.” Lanciani, the eminent archaeologist, wrote, “The presence of St. Peter in Rome is a fact demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt by purely monumental evidence. “The Pope” in Vol 1]
Radio Replies | Catholic Apologetics Online | Rumble & Carthyradioreplies.info/site-search.php?q=St+Peter+in+Rome+&db=1

  1. “Most scholars date the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church at 590 A.D…”

False. Catholic was first used by St Ignatius of Antioch in his letter to the Smyrneans, A.D. 107, “Where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” It is from the Greek *katholike *meaning “general” or “universal”. Within 90 years it meant also “orthodox” or faithful to the teachings of Christ. (The Catholic Catechism, Fr John A Hardon, S.J., Doubleday, 1975, p 217).

  1. “Rome’s claim to supremacy and legal jurisdiction was vigorously resisted by other church leaders and could never be enforce in the eastern portion of the Empire.” Then dissension remained between Rome and Constantinople, culminating in the big split in 1054.

It’s interesting also that Arnold Lunn in Now I See, Sheed & Ward, 1955) could quote from the Anglican Vicar of Oddington, Rev S Herbert Scott, that St Peter and his successors were recognised as the supreme judges in matters of faith by a long succession of great Eastern saints, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Denys, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and others.

Scott quotes from the Graeco-Slav Liturgy at the Council of Nicea addressing the Pope, St Sylvester, who was not himself present: “…thou didst appear as a pillar of fire, snatching the faithful from Egyptian error (sc. Arius) and continually leading them with unerring teachings to divine light.” [Op. cit. Lunn, p 218-9]. Sir Arnold remarks that “This unwilling tribute from the Greek Church of today to the “unerring teaching” of the Roman Pope is most impressive.”

About Pope Victor I’s declaration by edict, about the year 200, that any local Church that failed to conform with Rome was excluded from the union with the one Church by heresy, none other than Adolph von Harnack admitted that Victor I was “recognised, in his capacity of bishop of Rome, as the special guardian of the ‘common unity’… " (See And On This Rock, p 118, 1987, Trinity Communications, Fr Stanley L Jaki).

Abu, thanks for the information. I had to dig for a minute to find “Was Peter the bishop?” but got it. I’d like to know more about Peter’s travels - going to Rome in 43 A.D., back to Jerusalem, etc.

Regarding the 2nd question, it’s not so much the use of the word “catholic” (although I think that will be helpful). My fault for not using the full quote: “Most scholars date the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church at 590 A.D. when the leader of the church in Rome, Gregory the First consolidated the power of the bishops in Rome and set the church on a new course.” What’s 590 A.D. about?

I’d like to respond to this one:

I think the best evidence that the East accepted Rome’s supremacy and universal jurisdiction comes from the ecumenical councils. Here is a list of quotes from the first seven ecumenical councils where they acknowledge, teach, and even depend on papal infallibility. Here is a list of quotes from the same councils where they teach and rely upon the universal jurisdiction of the pope.

I think that, together, these quotes show pretty conclusively that the early Church recognized and relied upon the pope as (1) infallible and (2) in charge of the whole Church. Let me know what you think.

Most scholarship today, including that of Catholic scholars, indicates that Peter did not write the epistles associated with him, (see NAB intro to 1 & 2 Peter), nor that he was ever considered “bishop” of Rome by his contemporaries. The Church existed in Rome before Peter ever arrived there, and episcopal leadership would have already been in place. This does not take away from Peter’s role as chief Apostle. Keep in mind that in the early church bishops were chosen from among the faithful and were leaders of that local church. Consider what would happen if the Pope came to your parish and diocese. He may overshadow your bishop and parish priest for awhile, but he would not be taking over for anyone. I see Peter as having that type of role during his time in Rome.

There is absolutely no need to labour under delusions. Further many so-called “Catholic scholars” go against the Church as in 1978, R. H. Fuller, one of the chief form critics, wrote in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, “It is ironic that just at the time when the limitations of the historical-critical method are being discovered in Protestantism, Roman Catholic scholars should be bent on pursuing that method so relentlessly.” By 1980, the same R. H. Fuller considered the method they followed so relentlessly to be “bankrupt.” [See Fr William G Most, *Catholic Apologetics Today, TAN, 1986, p 237].

Peter’s tomb has been found. It was found under the altar of St. Peters Basilica in Rome in 1965. The tomb is plainly marked with his name and there are human remains within it. Anyone who visits St. Peters can see the tomb for himself.

Tertullian, “The demurrer against the heretics”, chapter XXXII,1,
“…like the church of the Romans where Clement was ordained by Peter.”

Eusebius, “History of the Church”, 2,14,6, 300 A.D., J651dd
In the same reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious providence which watches over all things guided Peter, the great and mighty one among the Apostles, who, because of his virtue, was the spokesman for all the others, to Rome."

Holy Scripture tells us that the Roman Emperor Claudius (41-54) ordered all Jews to leave Rome (Acts 18:2). Peter was a Jew, but the Church was an underground Church in hiding at the time. The Church was forced to practice the faith in an underground situation in order to avoid persecution. The Romans had a policy of hunting down and persecuting all of the Apostles.

Eusebius wrote in “The Chronicle” (Ad An Dom 42), that Peter, after establishing the Church in Antioch, went to Rome where he remained as Bishop of Rome for 25 years. We know from other early writings that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome in 67 A.D… That date, minus 25 years would put him in Rome in the year 42, during the reign of Claudius.

Who has the authority to ordain priests? Only Bishops do. Clement was ordained by the Bishop of Rome, Peter.
thecatholictreasurechest.com/petrom.htm

I don’t think your statement is supported by the NAB intro, at least not if I understand it correctly. The NAB does not appear to say that “most” scholars doubt Petrine authorship, it only says “Some modern scholars” doubt it, and it points out that “Other scholars believe” they can answer the supposed difficulties of Petrine authorship.

The NAB intro itself says that the letter “begins with an address by Peter” and, if I’m reading it correctly, it merely notes that there is a popular theory among some scholars that Petrine authorship is “unlikely” (their words). This theory, if I understand it correctly, attirubtes the letters to a different author “after the death of [Peter and Paul]” (words in the NAB intro). The intro doesn’t seem to endorse that suggestion, at least not to me, because it uses the hypothetical phrase “The author would be [someone other than Peter]” and because the intro already said Peter wrote the address.

Anyway, let me know what you think of that evidence.

[Peter] was [never] considered “bishop” of Rome by his contemporaries.

I think there is evidence that he was, in part because of the part in the letter where he writes from “Babylon”. To me, he indicates that he holds a position of authority similar to a bishop in that letter, and I think the part about Babylon is a code word for Rome. Therefore, it seems to follow, at least based on my interpretation, that he was bishop of Rome, and that the receivers of his letters recognized that. Anyway, that’s what I think. I know you don’t think scholars accept that he wrote that letter, but what do you think of my reply to that objection?

The Church existed in Rome before Peter ever arrived there, and episcopal leadership would have already been in place.

I think the church could already exist without yet having a local bishop. Does that make sense? For example, I think there were things similar to “mission dioceses” at that time, where a bishop would come in to do some services, but not remain there as “their bishop.” Do you think that’s possible? Because I think there is evidence for it.

The Roman Catholic Church maintains that sometime after the recorded events of the Book of Acts, the Apostle Peter became the first bishop of Rome, and that the Bishop of Rome was accepted by the early church as the central authority among all of the churches.

They can’t refute this
#[FONT=Arial]34[/FONT]

Be sure to open up and read all the internal links. It’s a quick history of the 1st 400 years of the Catholic Church beginning in the first century.

If Peter was never in Rome, why are his bones there? :wink:

Note that Irenaeus refers to the Apostles forming the church and then placing it in Linus’ hands: there is no suggestion of the Apostles having had the office themselves. Also, compare Eusebius 3.4 and 3.13. He sets out his list as Linus first, Anencletus 2nd, and Clement 3rd.

What both Irenaeus and Eusebius say is that the church in Rome was founded by the Apostles, who left it in Linus’ charge, making him the first overseer (bishop), i.e. Linus was, in so far as those two historians understood the situation, the first person to bear that title. That does not actually exclude Peter from having been the first individual leader of the church there, but I have yet to see a source from the period which uses that particular label for him.

Next up: “Most scholars date the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church at 590 A.D…” My question: Where’s this date from? Haven’t heard this before.

:rotfl:
590!?! That’s just daft! Somehow, he seems to have conflated Gregory I’s accession with the beginning of the Roman Church.

He really ought to go to Rome, because there is archaeological evidence of the first century Roman church in the catacombs.

Then: “Rome’s claim to supremacy and legal jurisdiction was vigorously resisted by other church leaders and could never be enforce in the eastern portion of the Empire.” Then dissension remained between Rome and Constantinople, culminating in the big split in 1054.

This one gets very messy very quickly, in part because, with all respect, Catholics are wont to interpret historical expressions of pre-eminent honour as demonstrations of supervening power. The whole Filioque debacle was about the fact that Rome thought that its pre-eminence stretched far enough to allow it such independent action, while the Eastern Church did not think so.

Still, as for enforcing jurisdiction in the East, that comment is an enormous oversimplification of the East-West split of the Empire, the fact that the two halves of the empire frequently warred against one another, and the fact that each side was repeatedly torn by wars, rebellions, and revolutions.

I do not think that the guy is arguing that Peter wasn’t there, just that he wasn’t bishop. Still, I wouldn’t advise using that line of reasoning for saints, who were frequently “translated”, i.e. moved, post mortem. There are plenty of saints whose bodies (or body parts) are now very, very far from where they lived and died.

It is important to understand that Peter’s baptism of Cornelius the centurion in 39 A.D. opened the way for the reception of Gentiles into the Church.

King Herod Agrippa had James the son of Zebedee beheaded in the early 40’s, the first Apostle to suffer martyrdom for Christ, and Peter was imprisoned, condemned to the same fate. Miraculously liberated from prison, Peter soon left Jerusalem and on his way to Rome, first went to Antioch where he chose Evodius for bishop of that city.

Peter arrived in Rome before the end of 42 A.D. Of the Twelve, it is only Peter’s significant actions that are recorded during the first twelve years of the history of the Church. James the Just becomes bishop of Jerusalem and Peter becomes bishop of Rome.
[See *The Founding Of Christendom, A History of Christendom Vol. 1, Dr Warren H Carroll, Christendom Publications, 1985, p. 403-14].

Already, Peter had exercised his supreme authority in the upper room before Pentecost to have Judas’ place filled. At the first Apostolic Council of Jerusalem Peter settled the heated discussion over circumcising the gentiles and “the whole assembly fell silent” (Acts 15:7-12). Paul made sure that his ministry to the gentiles was recognised by, Peter (Gal 1:I8).

“…to deny the Roman stay of Peter is an error which today is clear to every scholar who is not blind. The martyr death of Peter at Rome was once contested by reason of Protestant prejudice.” [Adolph Harnack, *The Search For The Twelve Apostles by William Stuart McBirnie (Tyndale House, 1988), p. 63].

Pope Paul VI was able to announce officially something that had been discussed in archaeological literature and religious publications for years, that the actual tomb of the first Pope had been identified conclusively, that his remains were apparently present, and that in the vicinity of his tomb were inscriptions identifying the place as Peter’s burial site, meaning early Christians knew that the Prince of the Apostles was there.

"The story of how all this was determined, with scientific accuracy, is too long to recount here. It is discussed in detail in John Evangelist Walsh’s The Bones Of St. Peter.

‘The importance of the testimony of the Greek historian Eusebius (born A.D. 260)—who so clearly, in his “Chronicle” and “Ecclesiastical History,” asserts the Roman Episcopacy of St. Peter—can only be duly appreciated by those who consider the vast number of works by much earlier authors (most of which have long been lost) to which he had access, and of which he made use in compiling the works above mentioned.’
See: archive.thetablet.co.uk/article/27th-march-1880/20/st-peter-the-first-bishop-of-rome

I would believe St. Optatus before hjm:

I will let St. Optatus speak, writing against the Donatist schism…sometime in the AD300s…calledtocommunion.com/201…ishop-of-rome/

You cannot then deny that you do know that upon Peter first in the City of Rome was bestowed the Episcopal Cathedra, on which sat Peter, the Head of all the Apostles … that, in this one Cathedra, unity should be preserved by all [in qua unica Cathedra unitas ab omnibus servaretur], lest the other Apostles might claim each for himself separate Cathedras, so that he who should set up a second Cathedra against the unique Cathedra would already be a schismatic and a sinner. Well then, on the one Cathedra, which is the first of the Endowments, Peter was the first to sit.25

Its Tradition and it evolved.

catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=1355

This custom was practiced also by Rome in the first period of her Christian life. The earliest known list of Roman Bishops given by St. Irenaeus of Lyon (who died in 202) designates not only Peter, but also Paul, as founder of the Church of Rome.4 As the first Bishop of Rome is designated Linus, who was ordained by the Apostles. It is possible that Irenaeus of Lyon used the Roman catalogue of Bishops established by Hegesippus.5 If he did, this would be another indication that what he said concerning Peter and Paul was in the oldest Roman tradition. Hippolytus’ list likewise does not count Peter or Paul among the Roman Bishops. Although Pope Callixtus (217-22) is said by Tertullian6 to have connected the origins of Christianity in Rome only with Peter (since he is the first to have used the famous passage of Matt. 16:18 f.), the custom of attributing the origins of Roman Christianity to Peter and Paul and not to designate Peter as the first Roman Bishop continued to be observed in the West, in some cases, up to the fifth century.

The so-called Liberian Catalogue from the year 3547 is the first which introduces the practice which became general, of attributing the origins of Roman Christianity to Peter only, and to place his name at the head of the Roman Bishops. This failure to stress Peter’s function as founder and as first Bishop of the Roman Church seems to indicate that, as long as Rome was the capital of the Empire and the Imperial residence, its privileged position in Christianity was sufficiently guaranteed because all ecclesiastical organization was modeled according to the political divisions of the Empire.

Consider 2 points (which are connected)

[LIST=1]
*]The following excerpt from the council of Ephesus
*]Augustine’s chronology of popes of Rome down to his day
[/LIST]Obviously this connection between Peter and Rome, and Peter and the popes of Rome, that has always been known in the Catholic Church. And note that no one is arguing against it in an ecumenical council.

From 3rd Ecumenicqal council of Ephesus
Scroll to Pg 338, session lll on the link provided

(all emphasis mine)

[LIST]
*]“Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince (ἔξαρχος) and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation (θεμέλιος) of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Coelestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith. For they both have kept and are now keeping intact the apostolic doctrine handed down to them from their most pious and humane grandfathers and fathers of holy memory down to the present time.”
[LIST]
*]documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0431-0431,_Concilium_Ephesenum,Documenta_Omnia%5BSchaff%5D,_EN.pdf
[/LIST]
*]Augustine’s list of popes of Rome (successors to Peter) down to his day [/FONT]Letter 53[FONT=Calibri] Ch 1 vs 2
[LIST]
*]2. For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it! The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these:— Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius.
[/LIST]
[/LIST]As a note. Augustine’s letter was during the time of Anastasius. Pope Anastasius died in 401. Since we want to get to(Coelestine /Celestine) and the council of Ephesus, the popes following Anastasius were St. Innocent I (401-17) St. Zosimus (417-18) St. Boniface I (418-22) St. Celestine I (422-32

This is a Roman legate talking about Rome, and giving the standard Roman view of it. That no one objects is hardly a surprise, since doing so would be extremely impolite.

Pope Coelestine’s own letter to that same council is well worth reading, however, especially in regard to how he describes the conciliar operation of the Church: " “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” And since this is so, if the Holy Spirit is not absent from so small a number how much more may we believe he is present when so great a multitude of holy ones are assembled together! Every council is holy on account of a peculiar veneration which is its due; for in every such council the reverence which should be paid to that most famous council of the Apostles of which we read is to be had regard to. Never was the Master, whom they had received to preach, lacking to this, but ever was present as Lord and Master; and never were those who taught deserted by their teacher. For he that had sent them was their teacher; he who had commanded what was to be taught, was their teacher; he who affirms that he himself is heard in his Apostles, was their teacher. This duty of preaching has been entrusted to all the Lord’s priests in common, for by right of inheritance we are bound to undertake this solicitude, whoever of us preach the name of the Lord in divers lands in their stead for he said to them, “Go, teach all nations.”"

The reaction of the council is likewise interesting, especially in regard to the comparison between Coelestine and Cyril of Alexandria: “And all the most reverend bishops at the same time cried out. This is a just judgment. To Coelestine, a new Paul! To Cyril a new Paul! To Coelestine the guardian of the faith! To Coelestine of one mind with the synod! To Coelestine the whole Synod offers its thanks! One Coelestine! One Cyril! One faith of the Synod! One faith of the world!”

This is not simple, and I am afraid that I am going to be too busy to cover it in much detail over the next few days, and so I will have to wait until the weekend. The very short version is that the occasionally-voiced idea of a Roman bishop ruling over the whole Early Church is inaccurate, whilst that of the Roman bishop being pre-eminent in honour is (mostly) accurate.

Augustine’s list of popes of Rome (successors to Peter) down to his day

Yes, Augustine implicitly refers to Peter as bishop of Rome, writing in AD 400, more than 330 years after the event. This tells us what Romans subsequently felt, not what title was used in Peter’s own day.

You can, if you like, refer to Augustus as the first emperor of Rome, but he did not hold that title in his own time. This is hugely pedantic, of course, but accuracy generally is.

I think there’s more to the story than that. I think the papal legates asserted the universal jurisdiction of the pope in more than one place, some of which were accepted by the Council, and I think St. Cyril’s letter to Nestorius (in the collection you cited) indicates the pope’s right to depose an Eastern Patriarch. What do you make of it? Here are the quotes I’m referring to: Session I - “[If] your holiness * have not a mind to [accept] the limits defined in the writings of [Pope] Celestine, Bishop of the Church of Rome, be well assured then that you have no lot with us, nor place or standing among the priests and bishops of God.” source

This quotation is from a letter from St. Cyril to the heresiarch Nestorius. The letter was accepted by the Council in Session 1. The text of the letter suggests that papal authority can be universally binding, and the historical context of the letter makes this case even stronger. It appears that St. Cyril’s letter to Nestorius was a result of an earlier letter (source) from Pope Celestine to St. Cyril. In that letter, the pope instructs St. Cyril to depose the heresiarch Nestorius from the see of Antioch in the name of the pope, if he does not repent of his heresy. In that light, I think St. Cyril’s letter commanding Nestorius to submit to the pope or be deposed is a slam-dunk in favor of the pope’s authority over the other sees of Christendom, and the fact that this deposition was approved by the Council of Ephesus makes it that much more significant.

Before the papal legates arrived at the council, the pope gave them these instructions: “We enjoin upon you the necessary task of guarding the authority of the Apostolic See. … [In] the assembly, if it comes to controversy, it is not yours to join the fight but to judge of the opinions [on my behalf]." (Letters 17) source

When they arrived at the council, the legates announced that this was their right and privilege, and the council accepted it:

Session 2 - “[W]hen the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you…you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations.” “[We now] ask that you give order that there be laid before us what things were done in this holy Synod before our arrival; in order that according to the opinion of our blessed pope and of this present holy assembly, we likewise may ratify their determination.” source

Theodotus of Ancyra responded, apparently in the name of the council, saying that this announcement was made “very reasonably.” (ibid.) Later the Council confirms this:

Session 7 - “For it is [Rome’s] custom in such great matters to make trial of all things, and the confirmation of the Churches you * have made your own care. [And] since it is right that all things which have taken place should be brought to the knowledge of your holiness, we are writing of necessity [about our Synod]. … And that you may know in full all things that have been done, we have sent you a copy of the Acts, and of the subscriptions of the Synod. We pray that you, dearly beloved and most longed for, may be strong and mindful of us in the Lord.” source* I think those passages indicate the Council’s acceptance of and reliance on papal supremacy in power over the whole Church. What do you think?*

From your post, I think you’re saying these quotes are incompatible with the pope having primacy of jurisdiction. Am I interpreting you correctly? Because I don’t think they are. I think a pope can still have universal jurisdiction while councils remain holy and other priests retain a common right to preach. Does that seem reasonable?

The reaction of the council is likewise interesting, especially in regard to the comparison between Coelestine and Cyril of Alexandria: “And all the most reverend bishops at the same time cried out. This is a just judgment. To Coelestine, a new Paul! To Cyril a new Paul! To Coelestine the guardian of the faith! To Coelestine of one mind with the synod! To Coelestine the whole Synod offers its thanks! One Coelestine! One Cyril! One faith of the Synod! One faith of the world!”

From your post, I think you’re trying to say that they wouldn’t have put St. Cyril and St. Celestine on a kind of level plane if they thought St. Celesite had universal jurisdiction. Is that what you mean? Because I don’t think this passage suggests that they were on a plane in that way. I think it praises both of them for teaching the same thing, but I think it can do that without implying that they are equal in every way. Does that make sense?

This is not simple, and I am afraid that I am going to be too busy to cover it in much detail over the next few days, and so I will have to wait until the weekend.

Take your time. I would love to know what you think of my points.

The very short version is that the occasionally-voiced idea of a Roman bishop ruling over the whole Early Church is inaccurate, whilst that of the Roman bishop being pre-eminent in honour is (mostly) accurate.

What about the quotes I point out in this thread, especially the ones from the Council of Chalcedon? How do you interpret the place where the Council seems to call the pope “Archbishop of all the churches” (source)? I think that indicates that the Council accepted the pope as ruler of the whole Church. What do you think?

Yes, Augustine implicitly refers to Peter as bishop of Rome, writing in AD 400, more than 330 years after the event. This tells us what Romans subsequently felt, not what title was used in Peter’s own day.

You can, if you like, refer to Augustus as the first emperor of Rome, but he did not hold that title in his own time. This is hugely pedantic, of course, but accuracy generally is.

St. Peter was viewed as the head of the Church in his own day, just like Augustus was viewed as the head of government in his. And this view held by St. Augustine in the 5th Century was prevalent at the end of the 2nd Century.

The Poem Against Marcion, written either in the last decade of the 2nd Century or right at the year 200, had this to say about the bishopric of Rome:

“Peter bade Linus to take his place and sit on the chair whereon he himself had sat”

Sure…it’s roughly 150 years after the fact but you have to remember that we have very little writing from this period.

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