Fathers and the Primacy of Peter and Rome


#1

We have two or three threads going on the topic of the primacy of Peter and Rome, but the main one (forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=19413 ) has sort of been left on the wayside and has become too large anyway.

This time I want to try to stay focused on the Fathers, and try not to be diverge from them too much. Ultimately, while Scripture exegesis is very important, the true One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church must be verified by the Fathers. If it is the Eastern Orthodox Church, we should see the majority of the Fathers granting Rome, at best, a primacy of honour, and never insisting that the primacy is of divine institution. If the Catholic Church is right, the Fathers should, as a whole, suggest that the primacy of Rome is more than just honour. (Though it should not be necessary to find a full-blown modern Roman Catholic understanding of the papacy in the Fathers, as we do advocate the development of doctrine).

I’m going to start by providing a few quotes from web.globalserve.net/~bumblebee/ecclesia/patriarchs.htm. I highly recommend the rest be read as well (just follow the link). All of the following quotes, and the rest on the page linked above are Eastern Christians from the first millenium. These are only a sample of the ones found on the above page.

I therefore beseech your holiness to persuade the most holy and blessed bishop (Pope Leo) to use his Apostolic power, and to order me to hasten to your Council. For that most holy throne (Rome) has the sovereignty over the churches throughout the universe on many grounds. (Theodoret, Tom. iv. Epist. cxvi. Renato, p. 1197).
(Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria, 5th century)

(Peter), the foundation of the Church, the Coryphaeus of the choir of the Apostles, the vehement lover of Christ …he who ran throughout the whole world, who fished the whole world; this holy Coryphaeus of the blessed choir; the ardent disciple, who was entrusted with the keys of heaven, who received the spiritual revelation. Peter, the mouth of all Apostles, the head of that company, the ruler of the whole world. (De Eleemos, iii. 4; Hom. de decem mille tal. 3)

And why, then, passing by the others, does He converse with Peter on these things? (John 21:15). He was the chosen one of the Apostles, and the mouth of the disciples, and the leader of the choir. On this account, Paul also went up on a time to see him rather than the others (Galatians 1:18). And withal, to show him that he must thenceforward have confidence, as the denial was done away with, He puts into his hands the presidency over the brethren. And He brings not forward the denial, nor reproches him with what had past, but says, 'If you love me, preside over the brethren, …and the third time He gives him the same injunction, showing what a price He sets the presidency over His own sheep. And if one should say, ‘How then did James receive the throne of Jerusalem?,’ this I would answer that He appointed this man (Peter) teacher, not of that throne, but of the whole world. (Chrysostom, In Joan. Hom. 1xxxviii. n. 1, tom. viii)
(St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople, 4th century)

Peter, the coryphaeus of the disciples, and the one set over (or chief of) the Apostles. Art not thou he that didst say, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’? Thou Bar-Jonas (son of the dove) hast thou seen so many miracles, and art thou still but Simon (a hearer)? He appointed thee the key-bearer of Heaven, and has though not yet layed aside thy fisherman’s clothing? (Proclus, Or. viii In Dom. Transfig. t. ix. Galland)
(St. Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople, 5th century)


#2

(continued)
…the disciple of disciples, that master among masters, who wielding the government of the Roman Church possessed the principle authority in faith and in priesthood. Tell us, therefore…Peter, prince of Apostles, tell us how the Churches must believe in God (Cassian, Contra Nestorium, III, 12, CSEL, vol. 17, p. 276).
John Cassian, Monk (5th century)

Yielding honor to the Apostolic See and to Your Holiness, and honoring your Holiness, as one ought to honor a father, we have hastened to subject all the priests of the whole Eastern district, and to unite them to the See of your Holiness, for we do not allow of any point, however manifest and indisputable it be, which relates to the state of the Churches, not being brought to the cognizance of your Holiness, since you are the Head of all the holy Churches. (Justinian Epist. ad. Pap. Joan. ii. Cod. Justin. lib. I. tit. 1).

Let your Apostleship show that you have worthily succeeded to the Apostle Peter, since the Lord will work through you, as Surpreme Pastor, the salvation of all. (Coll. Avell. Ep. 196, July 9th, 520, Justinian to Pope Hormisdas).
(Emperor Justinian, writing to the Pope in the 5th century)

The extremities of the earth, and everyone in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the Most Holy Roman Church and her confession and faith, as to a sun of unfailing light awaiting from her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers, according to that which the inspired and holy Councils have stainlessly and piously decreed. For, from the descent of the Incarnate Word amongst us, all the churches in every part of the world have held the greatest Church alone to be their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell will never prevail against her, that she has the keys of the orthodox confession and right faith in Him, that she opens the true and exclusive religion to such men as approach with piety, and she shuts up and locks every heretical mouth which speaks against the Most High. (Maximus, Opuscula theologica et polemica, Migne, Patr. Graec. vol. 90)

How much more in the case of the clergy and Church of the Romans, which from old until now presides over all the churches which are under the sun? Having surely received this canonically, as well as from councils and the apostles, as from the princes of the latter (Peter & Paul), and being numbered in their company, she is subject to no writings or issues in synodical documents, on account of the eminence of her pontificate …even as in all these things all are equally subject to her (the Church of Rome) according to sacerodotal law. And so when, without fear, but with all holy and becoming confidence, those ministers (the popes) are of the truly firm and immovable rock, that is of the most great and Apostolic Church of Rome. (Maximus, in J.B. Mansi, ed. Amplissima Collectio Conciliorum, vol. 10)


#3

If the Roman See recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected Pyrrhus also anathematizes the See of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself also, if indeed he is in communion with the Roman See and the Catholic Church of God …Let him hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman See, for if it is satisfied, all will agree in calling him pious and orthodox. **For he only speaks in vain who thinks he ought to pursuade or entrap persons like myself, and does not satisfy and implore the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is, the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God Himself, and also all the holy synods, accodring to the holy canons and definitions has received universal and surpreme dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world. ** (Maximus, Letter to Peter, in Mansi x, 692; emphasis added).
(St. Maximus the Confessor, 7th century)

Without whom (the Romans presiding in the seventh Council) a doctrine brought forward in the Church could not, even though confirmed by canonical decrees and by ecclesiastical usuage, ever obtain full approval or currency. For it is they (the Popes of Rome) who have had assigned to them the rule in sacred things, and who have received into their hands the dignity of headship among the Apostles. (Nicephorus, Niceph. Cpl. pro. s. imag. c 25 [Mai N. Bibl. pp. ii. 30]).
(St. Nichephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople, 8th/9th century)

Hear, O Apostolic Head, divinely-appointed Shepherd of Christ’s sheep, keybearer of the Kingdom of Heaven, Rock of the Faith upon whom the Catholic Church is built. For Peter art thou, who adornest and governest the Chair of Peter. Hither, then, from the West, imitator of Christ, arise and repel not for ever (Ps. xliii. 23). To thee spake Christ our Lord: ‘And thou being one day converted, shalt strengthen thy brethren.’ Behold the hour and the place. Help us, thou that art set by God for this. Stretch forth thy hand so far as thou canst. Thou hast strength with God, through being the first of all. (Letter of St. Theodore, Patriarch of Constatinople, and four other Abbots to Pope Paschal, Bk. ii Ep. 12, Patr. Graec. 99, 1152-3)

O Holy Head, Christ our God hath destined thy Apostolic See to be an immovable foundation and a pillar of the Faith. For thou art, as the Divine Word truly saith, Peter, and on thee as a foundation-stone have the pillars of the Church been fixed. (Sergius Ep. ad Theod. lecta in Sess. ii. Concil. Lat. anno 649)
(Sergius, Metropolitain of Cyprus to Pope Theodore in the 7th century).


#4

I should just add catholic.com/library/Authority_of_the_Pope_Part_1.asp and catholic.com/library/Authority_of_the_Pope_Part_2.asp as another collection of quotes.


#5

I started reading your thread and I was going to give some of the quotes you gave but you beat me to it.:smiley: I will give the quote from Irenaeus though.

[size=2]2. 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,([/size]3) that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. Irenaeus Against Heresies Book III Chapter III

Many Eastern Orthodox claim that this is only refering to the church of the west when it says all churches. That is found nowhere in the text and is a pointless arguement that means nothing.

Now, even if the above is only refering to the Patriarch of the West it does not matter. The Eastern Orthodox have a structure that denies the pope any authority and say that it is only a place of Honor that he is bishop of Rome. The patriarches of there church only have a place of honor over all other bishops. The above quote is speaking of the bishop of Rome as actually having authority over all the other bishops. My point is that it does not fit the heirarchy of the eastern church.


#6

Here is a quote from the council of Chalcedon

Paschasinus, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See, stood up in the midst with his most reverend colleagues and said: We received directions at the hands of the most blessed and apostolic bishop of the Roman city, which is the head of all the churches, which directions say that Dioscorus is not to be allowed a seat in this assembly, but that if he should attempt to take his seat he is to be cast out. This instruction we must carry out; if now your holiness so commands let him be expelled or else we leave.

Lucentius, the most reverend bishop having the place of the Apostolic See, said: … And he [Dioscorus] dared to hold a synod without the authority of the Apostolic See, a thing which had never taken place nor can take place.
Paschasinus the most reverend bishop, holding the place of the Apostolic See said: We cannot go counter to the decrees of the most blessed and apostolic bishop “Pope” for “bishop” in the Latin], who governs the Apostolic See, nor against the ecclesiastical canons nor the patristic traditions.

[left]Lucentius, the most reverend bishop, and legate of the Apostolic See, said: Since the faith of Flavian of blessed memory agrees with the Apostolic See and the tradition of the fathers it is just that the sentence by which he was condemned by the heretics should be turned back upon them by this most holy synod.

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[left]Here is a quote from the Lateran council in 649AD.[/left]
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No one can doubt that there is in the Apostolic See a great unfailing fountain, pouring forth waters for all Christians; whence rich streams proceed, bountifully irrigating the whole Christian World; to which See also, in honour of blessed Peter, the decrees of the Fathers gave special veneration in searching out the things of God, which ought by all means to be carefully examined; and above all, and justly, by the Apostolic Head of Bishops, whose care from of old it is, as well to condemn evils as to commend the things that are to be praised. For by the ancient discipline it is ordained that whatsoever be done, even in provinces remote and afar off, shall neither be treated of nor accepted, unless it be first brought to the knowledge of your August See, so that a just sentence may be confirmed by its authority, and that the other Churches may thence receive the original preaching as from its native source, and that the mysteries of saving faith may remain in uncorrupt purity throughout the various regions of the world. , pp 353f)

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[left]The letter of Agatho and the Roman Synod of 125 Bishops which was to serve as instrtruction to the legates sent to attend the sixth synod. [/left]
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Latin version:

]
But we, although most humble, yet strive with all our might that the commonwealth of your Christian empire may be shown to be more sublime than all the nations, for in it has been rounded the See of Blessed Peter, the prince of the Apostles, by the authority of which, all Christian nations venerate and worship with us, through the reverence of the blessed Apostle Peter himself.
ending of the Greek version:]
…** The authority of which for the truth, all the Christian nations together with us worship and revere, according to the honour of the blessed Peter the Apostle himself.** [font=Arial][size=2][/size][/font]
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#7

THE PROSPHONETICUS TO THE EMPEROR.

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But the highest prince of the Apostles fought with us

: for we had on our side his imitator and the successor in his see, who also had set forth in his letter the mystery of the divine word (qeolo giaV). For the ancient city of Rome handed thee a confession of divine character, and a chart from the sunsetting raised up the day of dogmas, and made the darkness manifest, and Peter spoke through Agatho… [font=Arial][size=2] [/size][/font][/left]

[font=Arial][size=2]LETTER OF THE COUNCIL TO ST. AGATHO.

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Serious illnesses call for greater helps, as you know, most blessed [father]; and therefore Christ our true God

, who is the creator and governing power of all things, gave a wise physician, namely your God-honoured sanctity, to drive away by force the contagion of heretical pestilence by the remedies of orthodoxy, and to give the strength of health to the members of the church. Therefore to thee, as to the bishop of the first see of the Universal Church, we leave what must be done, since you willingly take for your standing ground the firm rock of the faith, as we know from having read your true confession in the letter sent by your fatherly beatitude to the most pious emperor: and we acknowledge that this letter was divinely written (perscriptas) as by the Chief of the Apostles, and through it we have cast out the heretical sect of many errors which had recently sprung up…
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[left]All my quotes, except for the Irenaeus quote, are from the link below[/left]
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[left]catholicapologetics.net/apolo_80.htm
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#8

All those quotes are from councils.


#9

Still early, but no response yet from Fr Ambrose and Prodromos.


#10

[quote=Aris]Still early, but no response yet from Fr Ambrose and Prodromos.
[/quote]

Dear Aris,

The simplest thing is to go through the threads that deal with this. It takes too much time to start afresh and basically rewrite what we have already written.

Catholic historian von Dollinger reminds us of the undeniable facts:

"Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages in the Gospels (Matthew 16:18; John 21:17), not a single one applies them to the Roman bishops as Peter’s succesors. How many Fathers have busied themselves with these texts, yet not one of them whose commentaries we possess - Origen, Chrysostom, Hilary, Augustine, Cyril, Theodoret, and those whose interpretations are collected in catenas - has dropped the faintest hint that the primacy of Rome is the consequence of the commission and promise to Peter!

“Not one of them has explained the rock or foundation on which Christ would build His Church as the office given to Peter to be transmitted to his successors, but they understood by it either Christ Himself, or Peter’s confession of faith in Christ; often both together.”

The Jesuit theologian Peter de Rosa also deflates the balloon of papal supremacy:

"It may jolt them [Catholics] to hear that the great Fathers of the church saw no connection between it [Matthew 16:18] and the pope. Not one of them applies ‘Thou art Peter’ to anyone but Peter. One after another they analyse it: Cyprian, Origen, Cyril, Hilary, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine. They are not exactly Protestants.

"Not one of them calls the bishop of Rome a Rock or applies to him specifically the promise of the Keys. This is as staggering to Catholics as if they were to find no mention in the Fathers of the Holy Spirit or the resurrection of the dead…

"For the Fathers, it is Peter’s faith - or the Lord in Whom Peter has faith - which is called the Rock, not Peter. All the Councils of the church from Nicaea in teh fourth century to Constance in the fifteenth agree that Christ Himself is the only foundation of the church, that is, the Rock on which the church rests.

"…not one of the Fathers speaks of a transference of power from Peter to those who succeed him… There is no hint of an abiding Petrine office.

“So the early church did not look on Peter as Bishop of Rome, nor, therefore, did it think that each Bishop of Rome succeeded Peter… The gospels did not create the papacy; the papacy, once in being, leaned for support on the gospels [though the support was not really there].”


#11

There are more Church Fathers and early saints that must also be considered as non-catholics by the Roman Catholic Church Father :slight_smile:

"Petrine texts were interpreted allegorically. As we have seen, they were referred by Origen and his successors to 'the Church; or ‘the faithful,’ and not to Peter himself.

Commenting on Matt. 16:18, Origen stated that ‘the Rock’ was ‘every imitator of Christ from whom they drank, who drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them.’ The Church and its constitution were built on such a Rock. The passage referred
to the apostles as a whole and not only to Peter. Elsewhere, Peter is seen as the pattern of all who had a tight disposition for the Church to be built. The ‘keys of the kingdom’ were given to all who believed in the confession Peter made and repented their faults. Origen’s lead was followed.

In the fifth century, we find the Alexandrian Monophysite patriarch, Timothy Eluros (454-77), writing to the Church of Constantinople and referring to Peter’s Rock as ‘meaning the orthodox faith,’ and not Peter’s successors." (W.H.C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity, p. 400)

The church fathers on Peter -

Cyprian is unwilling to grant even a simple primacy to the Bishop of Rome and considers that

“the whole body of bishops is
addressed in Peter.”

St. Cyprian rightly concludes that the

"Rock is the unity of faith,
not the person of Peter."
De CatholicaeEcclesiae Unitate, cap. 4-5

"I believe that by the Rock you must
understand the unshaken faith of the apostles."
St. Hilary, 2nd Book on the Trinity

Rome, which relies on the “witness” of history to claim jurisdiction over all believers, is shorn of any defense when she is confronted with these writings. Is it any wonder that patristics (or the study of the Fathers) is given such a minor place in Roman seminary curricula? Or can one doubt that with such massive evidence against her, the Church of Rome was forced to edit manuscripts, present forgeries, and doctor the testimony of ancient observers in the faith?

"This one (Peter) is called a rock in order
that on his FAITH (Rock) he may
receive the foundations of the Church."
St. Gregory Nazianzen, 26th Discourse

"The Rock on which Christ will build His Church
means the faith of confession."
St. John Chrysostom, 53rd Homily
on St. Matthew


#12

"The Rock (petra) is the blessed and only rock of the faith confessed by the mouth of Peter. It is on this Rock of the
confession of faith that the Church is built."
St. Hilary of Poitiers, 2nd book on the Trinity

Hilary wrote the first lengthy study of the doctrine of the Church in Latin. Proclaimed a “Doctor of the Church” by the Roman See in 1851, he is called the Athanasius of the Western Church.

In his Letter to Nestorius, St. Cyril says:

“Peter and John were equal in dignity and honor. Christ is the foundation of all -the unshakeable Rock upon which we
are all built as a spiritual edifice.”

"Christ is the Rock Who granted to His apostles that they should be called rocks. God has founded His Church on this
Rock, and it is from this Rock that Peter has been named."
St. Jerome, 6th book on Matthew

“Faith is the foundation of the Church, for it was not of the person but the faith of St. Peter of which it was said, ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail’; certainly it is the confession of faith which has vanquished the powers of hell.”

"Jesus Christ is the Rock. He did not deny the grace of His name… to Peter because he borrowed from the Rock the
constancy and solidity of his faith- thy Rock is thy faith, and
faith is the foundation of the Church. If thou art a Rock, thou shalt be in the Church, for the Church is built upon the Rock… (the profession of faith in Christ Jesus)."
St. Ambrose: The Incarnation

(Note: St. Ambrose often spoke disparagingly of the Bishop of Rome as usurping the legitimate rights of other bishops in the Church. See *On the Incarnation, On St. Luke, * and On the 69th Psalm.)

St. Augustine, one of the most renowned theologians of the Western Church, claimed by the Roman See as “Father and Doctor”, says:

*“In one place I said… that the Church had been built on Peter as the Rock… but in fact it was not said to Peter, “Thou art the Rock,” but rather “Thou art Peter.” The Rock was Jesus Christ, Peter having confessed Him as all the Church confesses Him, He was then called Peter, “the Rock”… (ed, for his faith) …Between these two sentiments let the reader choose the most probable.” *
St. Augustine, Retractions - 13th Sermon; Contra Julianum 1:13

St. Augustine also adds:

"Peter had not a primacy over the apostles, but among the apostles, and Christ said to them “I will build upon Myself, I will notbe built upon thee.”

To Augustine, this made Peter somewhat less than an infallible teacher, without his fellow bishops and all the faithful by his side. It is this statement byAugustine which Pope Hadrian VI (1522-25) had in mind when he declared:

“A Pope may err alone, not only in his personal, but official capacity.”

In still another letter Augustine quotes Cyprian, with whom he is in full agreement:

“For neither did Peter whom the Lord chose… when Paul afterwards disputed with him… claim or assume anything and arrogantly to himself, so as tosay that he held a primacy and should rather be obeyed by newcomers…”

Finally, Augustine concludes, near the end of his earthly life, with these words on the “Rock of the Church”:

"Christ said to Peter… I will build thee upon Myself, I will not be built upon thee. Those who wished to be built among men said, ‘I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas’ - however, those who did not wish to be built upon Peter but upon the Rock say, I am of Jesus Christ."
Retractions, 13th Sermon


#13

Just going back to the statements made by Saint Augustine…

"In one place I said… that the Church had been built on Peter as the Rock… but in fact it was not said to Peter, “Thou art the Rock,” but rather “Thou art Peter.” The Rock was Jesus Christ, Peter having confessed Him as all the Church confesses Him, He was then called Peter, “the Rock”… (ed, for his faith) …Between these two sentiments let the reader choose the most probable."
St. Augustine, Retractions - 13th Sermon; Contra Julianum 1:13
St. Augustine adds:

"Peter had not a primacy over the apostles, but among the apostles, and Christ said to them “I will build upon Myself, I will notbe built upon thee.”

These comments by Augustine are highly significant. They are the fruits of his mature reflection and belong to his work of “Retractions” in which he corrects the former doctrinal errors of his earlier years. These comments totally demolish the Roman Catholic claim that the early Church Fathers taught what is now the modern Catholic teaching as regards the papal office.

Here we have the greatest theologian of the West writing, after 400 years of the Church’s existence, that Peter is not the rock. Augustine allows such an interpretation, but he himself denies it. Would he have been in a position to deny it if the Church had believed it during the preceding 400 years??!

Here we have the man claimed by Rome as their most renowned theologian of the patristic age, the pre-eminent member of the ‘infallible’ magisterium, and yet he gives an interpretation of the most important passage in all the Bible for the claims of the Roman Catholic Church and its authority, which is diametrically opposed to the Roman interpretation.

How does one explain this?

If there were truly, as Vatican I states, a unanimous consensus in the Church Fathers of interpretation of the Roman meaning of this passage, why do we find Saint Augustine deliberately going against such a consensus?

The answer, quite simply, is that there never was such a consensus in the early Church.


#14

Father Ambrose,

No matter how well you defend “Orthodox Church”, there is no substantial documents in the history of Christianity that says the Church was called “Orthodox Church” from the very beginning. The Church always maintained its unity under the headship of Peter and his successors which is, and always will be, in the Catholic Church.

The Church of the East (which was later called “orthodox church” by those who separated from Rome) always held in high esteem and agreement the decision of the Pope when it comes to some rifts in the East. They always go to the Pope for decision-making when they cannot resolve it on their own–and they value it. It was only during the Great Schism that the so called “independence” of the Eastern Churches came into existence when they separated from Rome.

Pio


#15

Father Ambrose:

“Curiously enough, the ecclesiological problem was never posed as a real issue in the medieval debate between Constantinople and Rome . . . only in 1204 . . . after the sack of Constantinople did Byzantine theologians begain to discuss seriously the origin of the power which the popes claimed to have.”

John Meyendorff, The Orthodox Church, New York: Pantheon Books, 1962, p. 209.


#16

Clement, the fourth Bishop of Rome (St. Peter, Linus, Anacletus, Clement), wrote (in part) and sent representatives to the Corinthians, where a schism had broken out, in 96 A.D.:

QUOTE You, therefore, the prime movers of the schism, submit to the presbyters [he uses the very words of Peter, 1 Peter 5:5], and bending the knees of your hearts, accept correction and change your minds. Learn submissiveness and rid yourselves of your boastful and proud incorrigibility of tongue. . . Accept our counsel, and you shall have nothing to regret. . .But should any disobey what has been said by Him [Christ] through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in transgression and no small danger. . .

It is right, therefore, that we should adhere to so many and such notable examples and bow the neck and discharge the duty of obedience, so that, ceasing from that futile dissension, we may without blame reach the goal set before us in truth. You certanly will give us the keenest pleasure if you prove obedient to** what we have written through the Holy Spirit**, and extirpate the lawless passion of your jealousy in accordance with the pleas we have made in this letter for peace and concord. We are sending trustworthy and prudent men . . . so that they may be witnesses between you and us. . .

And as for our representatives, Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Bito, accompanied by Fortunatus, send them back to us at an early conveience, full of peace and joy, that they may without delay bring tidings of peace and concord – the object of our most ardent desires – and that we in turn may without delay rejoice in your tranquillity. END QUOTE

Source: Ancient Christian Writers

This very long admonition of Clement to the Corinthians was written while the Apostle John was still living and residing in Asia Minor, much close to Corinth than Rome. But it was to the Bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter, Chief of the Apostles, that the duty fell of correcting the wayward Corinthians.

JMJ Jay


#17

Father Ambrose, what of those (formerly) Eastern Orthodox Churches that have come home to Rome? They (obviously) do not share your objections. What have they found in the papacy that you reject?

Peace be with you,

JMJ Jay


#18

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Just going back to the statements made by Saint Augustine…

How does one explain this?

If there were truly, as Vatican I states, a unanimous consensus in the Church Fathers of interpretation of the Roman meaning of this passage, why do we find Saint Augustine deliberately going against such a consensus?

The answer, quite simply, is that there never was such a consensus in the early Church.
[/quote]

On the contrary, you have just comiitted the common mistake of taking passages out of their historical context.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

The argument, which was formerly employed by Gallican controversialists (cf. Febronius, “De statu eccl.”, 1:76), however, rests on a misunderstanding of the passages. Augustine is controverting the Novatian heretics, who affirmed that the power to remit sins was a purely personal gift to Peter alone, and had disappeared with him. He therefore asserts that Peter received it that it might remain for ever in the Church and be used for its benefit. It is in that sense alone that he says that Peter represented the Church. There is no foundation whatever for saying that he desired to affirm that the Church was the true recipient of the power conferred. Such a view would be contrary to the whole patristic tradition, and is expressly reprobated in the Vatican Decree, cap. 1.

We can see through historical documents the anxiety the Popes felt about the usurption of Roman authority and subjugation of the Church by the Emperors. The East were content to bow their necks to the secular authority and organize themselves according to the dictates of the emperor whereas the West always fought for the separation of the the two powers.


#19

Non-Catholic polemicists often do not think they themselves are taking things “out of context” because they are, in their estimation, actually taking into account the entire text of a given passage.

What they do NOT take into account is that context does not refer to the text alone, but also to the circumstances behind the given passage - which they often, if ever, never do.

Greg


#20

Fr. Ambrose: I am sorry, but despite your claims, I clearly see Eastern Fathers granting the Keys to Rome. The scholars you quote are wrong.

As well, to say that St. Peter and St. John are of equal dignity and honour is not necessarily contrary to the fact that Peter alone was granted the Keys. They both share the dignity of the apostleship, but Peter was given a special authority that the other Apostles did not have. (As a few of the Eastern quotes attest at the beginning of this thread).

While the above speak of the Roman Pope as the successor of Peter or the key-bearer, or the head of all the Churches, this is particularily explicit:
If the Roman See recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected Pyrrhus also anathematizes the See of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself also, if indeed he is in communion with the Roman See and the Catholic Church of God …Let him hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman See, for if it is satisfied, all will agree in calling him pious and orthodox. For he only speaks in vain who thinks he ought to pursuade or entrap persons like myself, and does not satisfy and implore the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is, the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God Himself, and also all the holy synods, accodring to the holy canons and definitions has received universal and surpreme dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world. (Maximus, Letter to Peter, in Mansi x, 692; ).
(St. Maximus the Confessor, 7th century)


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