Is Peter the first pope?


"Catholics have always claimed that the apostle Peter was not only the first Roman bishop, but that he was also martyred in Rome. But Peter’s commission was to serve the lost tribes of Israel. In neither his nor Paul’s letters is there any indication that Peter was ever in Rome. Even if he was brought there for execution, the fact remains that he never served there. The false claim that Peter was the first pope is appropriately labeled, “Fiction, pure and simple”


Peter’s commission was to serve the lost tribes of Israel.

What does this mean, and where does it come from?


I am wondering why you state that this thread will be closed soon!:confused:


I do too. :confused: There is nothing wrong with you asking questions - this is, after all, a discussion forum. Doesn’t mean you are right, just means we are open to discussion and educating you of your error. :smiley:



Well, most people belied it until Martin Luther (Celestial Chewiness and Joy and Pancackes be Upon His Head) and his Reformation.



An argument from silence - a great fallacy commited by many protestants.

Even if he was brought there for execution, the fact remains that he never served there. The false claim that Peter was the first pope is appropriately labeled, “Fiction, pure and simple”

If he indeed was not in Rome than explain this (this is just a selection):

Dionysius of Corinth
"You have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time" (Letter to Soter of Rome [inter A.D. 166 -174] recorded by Eusebius).

Matthew also issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also handed down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter (Against Heresies 3:1:1 [A.D. 189]).

But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the Churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all Churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic tradition (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

Let us see what milk the Corinthians drained from Paul; against what standard the Galatians were measured for correction; what the Philippians, Thessalonians, and Ephesians read; what even the nearby Romans sound forth, to whom both Peter and Paul bequeathed the Gospel and even sealed it with their blood (Against Marcion 4:5:1 [inter A.D. 207-212]).

The Apostle Peter, after he has established the Church in Antioch, is sent to Rome, where he remains bishop of that city, preaching the Gospel for twenty-five years (The Chronicle, Ad An. Dom. 42 [A.D. 303]).

When Peter preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been for a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings, should write down what had been proclaimed. Having composed the Gospel, he gave it to those who had requested it (Ecclesiastical History 6:14:1 [A.D. 325]).

Peter of Alexandria
Peter, the first chosen of the Apostles, having been apprehended often and thrown into prison and treated with ignominy, at last was crucified in Rome (Canonical Letter, canon 9 [A.D. 306]).


Heres the thing. I wont stand here and say that I have found scripture in the absolute, unwavering, non-sharing authrority of the true Word of God (The Bible) that “Peter was not the first bisop of Rome” word for word. However we also dont find anything in Scripture about Paul owning a computer, however we can safely assume that he didnt. Now assumptions can get you into trouble if you dont have supporting understanding that at least somewhat validates them such as the like: Rome has been an antagonist of the Christian Church and a persecuter since Nero. Roman responsiblity for the brutal persecution of the Church supports us to safely assume that Peter, a man named by Christ Himself as the rock on which He will build His Church, would then Bishop an empire such as that of Rome. I think this is a pretty safe assumption.


First of all, you are wrong when you claim “there is no indication that Peter was ever in Rome in either of [Peter’s] epistles.” There is, in the greeting at the end of the first epistle: “The Church here in Babylon, united with you by God’s election, sends you her greeting, and so does my son, Mark” (1 Pet. 5:13, Knox). Babylon is a code-word for Rome. It is used that way multiple times in works like the Sibylline Oracles (5:159f), the Apocalypse of Baruch (2:1), and 4 Esdras (3:1). Eusebius Pamphilius, in The Chronicle, composed about A.D. 303, noted that “It is said that Peter’s first epistle, in which he makes mention of Mark, was composed at Rome itself; and that he himself indicates this, referring to the city figuratively as Babylon.”

Consider now the other New Testament citations: “Another angel, a second, followed, saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of her impure passion’” (Rev. 14:8). “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath” (Rev. 16:19). “[A]nd on her forehead was written a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth’s abominations’” (Rev. 17:5). “And he called out with a mighty voice, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great’” (Rev. 18:2). “[T]hey will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, ‘Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon! In one hour has thy judgment come’” (Rev. 18:10). “So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence” (Rev. 18:21).

These references can’t be to the one-time capital of the Babylonian empire. That Babylon had been reduced to an inconsequential village by the march of years, military defeat, and political subjugation; it was no longer a “great city.” It played no important part in the recent history of the ancient world. From the New Testament perspective, the only candidates for the “great city” mentioned in Revelation are Rome and Jerusalem.

Moreover there is additional good reason to say that Babylon actually referes to Rome, and the good reason is persecution. The authorities knew that Peter was a leader of the Church, and the Church, under Roman law, was considered organized atheism. (The worship of any gods other than the Roman was considered atheism.) Peter would do himself, not to mention those with him, no service by advertising his presence in the capital—after all, mail service from Rome was then even worse than it is today, and letters were routinely read by Roman officials. Peter was a wanted man, as were all Christian leaders. Why encourage a manhunt? We also know that the apostles sometimes referred to cities under symbolic names (cf. Rev. 11:8).

In any event, let us be generous and admit that it is easy for an opponent of Catholicism to think, in good faith, that Peter was never in Rome, at least if he bases his conclusion on the Bible alone. But restricting his inquiry to the Bible is something he should not do; external evidence has to be considered, too.

Tertullian, in The Demurrer Against the Heretics (A.D. 200), noted of Rome, “How happy is that church . . . where Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned in a death like John’s [referring to John the Baptist, both he and Paul being beheaded].” Fundamentalists admit Paul died in Rome, so the implication from Tertullian is that Peter also must have been there. It was commonly accepted, from the very first, that both Peter and Paul were martyred at Rome, probably in the Neronian persecution in the 60s.

In his Letter to the Romans (A.D. 110), Ignatius of Antioch remarked that he could not command the Roman Christians the way Peter and Paul once did, such a comment making sense only if Peter had been a leader, if not the leader, of the church in Rome.

Irenaeus, in Against Heresies (A.D. 190), said that Matthew wrote his Gospel “while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church.” A few lines later he notes that Linus was named as Peter’s successor, that is, the second pope, and that next in line were Anacletus (also known as Cletus), and then Clement of Rome.

Finally, archeological evidence also establishes that Peter was indeed the first Pope and was physically in Rome. 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 book, The Bones of St. Peter. It is enough to say that the historical and scientific evidence is such that no one willing to look at the facts objectively can doubt that Peter was in Rome. To deny that fact is to let prejudice override reason.


Peter writes his first Epistle when he is in Rome.

1 Peter 5:13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark.

In the NT Babylon is another name for Rome (cf Apoc. 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2, 10-12).


…I am fairly certain that this thread will be removed… to the Apologetic Forum… shortly.



Ahh, I think I said that. Must be an echo in here.:smiley:


Excuse me? What on earth are you saying?

Peter was named by Christ Himself as the rock on which He will build His Church. OK. We agree on that.

You say that Peter was “Bishop of an empire such as that of Rome?” WHAT does that mean?

Peter was the Bishop of the church at Rome. He was not an official of the Empire. In fact, the Empire crucified him. His bones have been identified and they now repose under the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica.


Aside from your assumption that there is nothing in scripture to support Peter’s presence in Rome, what are the source documents that support that assumption?


Yes Peter was indeed the first Pope, Yes Peter was indeed in Rome.
Perhaps these will you investigate further.

Respectfully in his name.



“After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, ‘My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe’” (Acts 17:7)

Note that St. Peter was to teach the Gentiles. And do the others recognize his authority?

“The whole assembly fell silent” (Acts 17:12)


On a side note, I am a bit curious about your username. Your perspectives are not all that new - they are entrenched heresies that have been addressed time and time again. Honestly, I feel a bit cheated. You, sir, have failed to deliver.


No, I don’t think your question should be deleted, but it should be moved to Apologetics where it belongs.


Of course Paul had a computer! He just didn’t have any wall sockets to plug it into! :stuck_out_tongue:


Uh I dont know what Bible you are reading out of but those scriptures definitely dont correlate with the text you provided. Chapter 17 tells of Paul and Silas bringing the Word to Berea and Pauls sermon on Mars’ Hill in Athens and told them they were to superstitious. Soooo…ya might wanna check that out. Have a good one man.


15:7, 15:12

You too.


I have to agree…When I started reading this thread yesterday, I was stumped on the name. But you said it right…this is by far no new perspective.


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