Did Andrew have primacy over Peter since he was first?


Fr. Francis Dvornik, a Roman Catholic historian says the following:

(The Greeks believe) St. Andrew was the first to be invited by the Lord to join Him, and because he had introduced his brother Peter to the Master, he, Andrew, should be regarded as the first of the Apostles, and his successors in Byzantium at least equal, if not superior, to the successors of Peter in Rome.

If this could be verified, it would amount to a clear negation of Roman primacy in the Church by the Byzantines.

Fr. says that this is merely a medieval legend made by Constantinople to get on more level footing with Rome in apostolic succession.

I’m not seeing the connection between being first = primacy, but this seems to be something people use as an argument.

Even if the Greek church really was founded by Andrew, would that mean he has primacy over Peter simply because he was the first disciple Jesus called?


Being called by Jesus first does not mean becoming first. Peter was chosen for who he was and how he responded to Jesus’ words after the original calling.


If we just look at the numbers of mentions that they both received in the New Testament, Andrew was mentioned 12 times and Peter was mentioned 141 times (if you do a search in the DRV for each of their names). This might not be a theological response to the question, but I think it might hint at the greater importance which all the writers seemed to have placed on Peter in the Early Church. Just sayin’. :wink:

For curiosity sake I also checked for John, who is mentioned about 29 times (John the Baptist is mentioned far more often).


Well, I suppose that could give him precedence over Simon . . . but once he became Peter, it’s a whole new story . . .



Jesus gave him authority when he said that Jesus was the Messiah.


St. Peter is explicitly described as “protos” in the Greek.

As you pointed out, St. Peter could not have been “protos” in the sense of “the first to be invited by the Lord to join Him”. St. Peter was NOT first in the sense of “time or place”.


pro’-tos Adjective

  1. first in time or place
    a. in any succession of things or persons
  2. first in rank
    a. influence, honour
    b. chief
    c. principal
  3. first, at the first

St. Peter was “first” or “protos” in the order of delegated authority (“the keys”).

God bless.



Andrew was a disciple of the Baptist, right?

And John told Andrew to follow Jesus. But Andrew brought Jesus to his brother. Peter was probably respected among his friends already as a leader.


Andrew was the first chronological apostle but Peter is always listed as first because he was the lead apostle as evidence of Christ giving him the keys to heaven.


I think that’s an interesting point. The fact that Andrew first met Jesus (and another disciple of John, maybe John the Evangelist?) And Andrew introduced his brother to Jesus, yet Peter was listed specifically as “the first”.


Jesus did not change Andrew’s name.

Jesus did not hand Andrew the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus did not pray for Andrew personally so he in turn would strengthen his brothers “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” – Luke 22:32


When the East started to develop a polemic against the primacy, they developed a variety of different theories. This was one of them, but while the association of Andrew with Constantinople has persisted, any arguments about primacy based on Andrew were not carried forward with any seriousness.

As Dvornik notes, claiming Andrew as the founder was a novelty. Apostolic consecration lineage was not even a point of consideration in the Church prior, except in the Petrine Sees–Rome in particular, but also Alexandria and Antioch to a lesser extent.


This just doesn’t hold any water. In the first place, Peter is the most referenced of the Twelve in scripture, often making leadership decisions for the rest. He was the first given the keys. The acts of the councils accepted by both the Catholics and the Orthodox acknowledge the primacy of Peter and the Apostolic See in their declarations (even in a first among equals/first place of honor context; whether primacy means more than that doesn’t need to be debated here).


As the author states, it’s just a medieval legend.

I don’t know any Orthodox (if that’s what the op means by “Greek”) that seriously and credibly challenges the primacy of Peter.

That said, I’m sure there’s some ideologue that does, but that would be an extreme minority opinion.

That said, Andrew is the protokletos, or first called. It’s an honorific, nothing more. Like John the Beloved, caretaker of Mary after the crucifixion.


No, St. Andrew did not have primacy among the Apostled over St. Peter because he was first.


The Orthodox developed polemics against the innovations toward supremacy.

Primacy isn’t widely contested.


Widely? I’ve never seen it contested at all.

(well, OK, save for rabid russian nationalists who think Moscow should have primacy . . .)



That’s exactly who I had in mind while typing it



Fortunately they’re fairly rare.

I remember it coming up on byzcath, and staring at my screen in bewilderment.

If memory serves, he not only wanted moscow supremacy, but Rome permanently humiliated with a penance of been reduced to last among the penarchy, or some such, as the state of restored communion . . .

he was banned shortly thereafter . . .


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