How can we say that Pope John Paul II is the successor of Peter?

There has been a proposition that Peter has not one but three successors.

"Three successors of Peter

– Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I,

  • Pope John Paul II,
  • Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV"

How can we really say that Pope John Paul II is the successor of Peter?

To set the record straight……here are the facts:

“From the beginning and with increasing clarity, the Church has understood that, just as there is a succession of the Apostles in the ministry of Bishops, so too the ministry of unity entrusted to Peter belongs to the permanent structure of Christ’s Church and that this succession is established in the see of his martyrdom.(3)

On the basis of the New Testament witness, the Catholic Church teaches, as a doctrine of faith, that the Bishop of Rome is the Successor of Peter in his primatial service in the universal Church; this succession explains the preeminence of the Church of Rome, enriched also by the preaching and martyrdom of St Paul.(4)

In the divine plan for the primacy as “the office that was given individually by the Lord to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be handed on to his successors”, we already see the purpose of the Petrine charism, i.e., "the unity of faith and communion” of all believers. The Roman Pontiff, as the Successor of Peter, is "the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity both of the Bishops and of the multitude of the faithful” and therefore he has a specific ministerial grace for serving that unity of faith and communion which is necessary for the Church to fulfil her saving mission.” (ibid) Click here for full text.

Unam Sanctam
Pope Boniface VIII

“Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter, since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: “Feed my sheep” [Jn 21:17], meaning, my sheep in general, not these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that He entrusted all to him [Peter].:

“This authority, however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, “Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven” etc., [Mt 16:19]. Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2]…”
Click here for full text.

Recommended reading:


Apostolic Succession

The Pope

Eastern Orthodoxy

Et unum sint

Excellent articles on Eastern Orthodox issues
James Likoudis


Ending the Byzantine Greek Schism
By James Likoudis (A convert from Greek Orthodoxy)
(Note: It engages in a refutation of Eastern Orthodox objections to the Roman Primacy of universal jurisdiction in the Church)

The Russian Church and the Papacy
By: Vladimir Soloviev

How can we really say that Pope John Paul II is the successor of Peter?
Aside from the articles and books mentioned above, I recommend you click here.

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