Gregory of Nyssa
“The leader and coryphaeus of the Apostolic choir…The head of the Apostles.” Gregory of Nyssa, A.D. 371, Alt. Orat. De S. Steph. tom. iii. p. 730, 4, in Charles F. B. Allnatt, ed., Cathedra Petri – The Titles and Prerogatives of St. Peter, (London: Burns & Oates, 1879), 51.
“Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to over-throw Simon Magus and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord” (Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]).
**Pope Innocent I **
“In seeking the things of God . . . you have acknowledged that judgment is to be referred to us [the pope] and have shown that you know that is owed to the Apostolic See [Rome], if all of us placed in this position are to desire to follow the apostle himself [Peter] from whom the episcopate itself and the total authority of this name have emerged” (Letters 29:1 [A.D. 408]).
“I am held in the communion of the Catholic Church by…and by the succession of bishops from the very seat of Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection commended His sheep to be fed up to the present episcopate.” (Against the Letter of Mani, 5 [A.D. 395]).
“Carthage was also near the countries over the sea, and distinguished by illustrious renown, so that it had a bishop of more than ordinary influence, who could afford to disregard a number of conspiring enemies because he saw himself joined by letters of communion to the Roman Church, in which the supremacy of an apostolic chair has always flourished.” (To Glorius et.al, Epistle 43:7 [A.D. 397]).
“Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven’” (Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).
“Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?” (Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]).
**Council of Ephesus **
“Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome] said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors’” (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 431]).
**Pope Leo I **
The Lord…wanted His gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery…The Apostolic See…has on countless occasions been reported to in consultation by bishops…And through the appeal of various cases to this see, decisions already made have been either revoked or confirmed, as dictated by longstanding custom. (Letter to the Bishops of Vienne, July, 445 A.D., 10:1-2; in Jurgens, William A., ed. and tr., The Faith of the Early Fathers [FEF], 3 volumes, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970, vol. 3, 269)
Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed Apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others…the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head. (Letter to Bishop Anastasius of Thessalonica, c. 446 A.D., 14:11; in Jurgens, FEF, vol. 3, 270)
“[T]he blessed Peter persevering in the strength of the rock, which he has received, has not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he understood. For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that, from his being called the rock, from his being pronounced the foundation, from his being constituted the doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the umpire to bind and loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ” (Sermons 3:2–3 [A.D. 450]).
From the whole world only one, Peter, is chosen to preside over the calling of all nations, and over all the other Apostles, and over the Fathers of the Church…Peter…rules them all, of whom, too, it is Christ who is their chief ruler. Divine condescension, dearly beloved, has granted to this man in a wonderful and marvellous manner the aggregate of its power; and if there was something that it wanted to be his in common with other leaders, it never gave whatever it did not deny to others except through him. (Sermons, 4:2; in Jurgens, FEF, vol. 3, 275)