Peter's Successors

Catholicism teaches that the Bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter; Orthodoxy teaches that all the bishops are, in a sense, successors of Peter.

Isn’t it true that Peter was initially the first bishop of Antioch who then appointed his successor in Antioch before moving to Rome?

Why is Peter’s successor in Rome ‘better’ than Peter’s successor in Antioch?

Yes, Evodius and Ignatius of Antioch were both likely appointed by Peter.

However even Ignatius gave recognition to the bishop of Rome.

Peter did end up in Rome along with Paul.

Per Irenaeus of Lyon, together, Peter and Paul established the church there with preeminent authority with which all other churches must agree.

They also gave the office of the episcopate (bishops) to Linus- the second pope.

The bishop of Rome was the last court of appeals among bishops as well.

Lastly, the church founded in Rome has never chosen schism.

The testimony of Ignatius and Irenaeus about the Roman Church’s primacy (based upon Peter and Paul) shows why Rome was the First See even back then.

It does not explain, however, why Peter’s successor in Antioch does not have the same charisms as Peter’s successor in Rome does according to Catholic teaching.

It does by virtue of Peter and Paul’s authority and handing their office directly to Linus

If the Pope’s unique authority comes from Paul, then that contradicts Catholic teaching, does it not? What special charisms did Paul pass on?

If the Pope’s unique authority comes from Peter, then why doesn’t the bishop of Antioch (arguably his other direct successor) have the same authority/charisms as the Pope?

Both in terms of setting up the church

But Paul was not pope. Peter had additional authority from Christ.

The Catholic position, I believe, stipulates that the Pope’s authority (i.e the charism of Papal infallibility etc.) comes exclusively from the authority that Jesus gave to Peter in, for example, Matt 16:18.

To my mind, this has nothing to do with Paul?

The Successor of Peter today are the Patriarchate of Rome, the Patriarchate of Antioch, and the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

For Catholics, the Pope of Rome is first among equals, and as primus, has special authority that Christ entrusted to Peter as Head.

The earliest Councils always have deference to the Petrine Sees of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch, with Rome as first among equals.

Why does the Successor of Peter in Rome have unique charisms (Papal infallibility for example) that the other successors in Antioch and Alexandria do not have?

If the Pope’s power in matters of infallibility, for example, come from Peter, then why don’t the other successors have the same infallibility?

Even today, the pope ordains other bishops. Go to Pope Francis’ page on

You can see the list of bishops he consecrated/ordained, which continues on up through the present.

But even though Pope Francis consecrated those men bishops, they are not his successors in the sense of inheriting the petrine office. They get apostolic succession from him, but not those aspects unique to the papal office. They aren’t rival popes, nor will any of them be assumed to be pope when Pope Francis dies or resigns.

A particular church being founded by a pope or a particular man being ordained a bishop by a pope is not sufficient for passing on the papal charisms.

All I am saying is that Paul converged with the apostles, including Peter, and was instrumental in setting up the church in Rome.

That does not mean he had the same authority as Peter.

I suppose the argument might be made that if Peter had stayed in Antioch, and died there, his successor there might have succeded him as pope, and the line of Bishops of Antioch would follow as successors to the papacy. But Peter didn’t remain in Antioch. He went to Rome, died there, appointed his successor, and established the line of his successors at Rome as the home of the papacy.

Fair comment.

How do you consecrate/ordain a Pope? And was this clearly established in the Early Church? If not, then how do we know that Peter meant for the Bishop of Rome to be the product of this ‘special’ ordination and not, for example, the Bishop of Antioch?

What does Peter’s death in Rome have to do with the Bishop of Rome having special authority? And in what way is Peter’s successor in Rome different to his successor in Antioch? And is there any evidence that Peter intended there to be any differentiation between these two types of successors?

It doesn’t. The infallibility of the Pope has to do with the infallibility of the Pope by the Authority given to the leader of the Church by Jesus Himself in John 21:16-17 and then Jesus predicted St Peters death by crucifixion in John 21:18

Rome was a center of power and in order for the Church to succeed St. Paul knew that Rome needed to convert… So we see that in St. Pauls letters to the Romans. St. Paul also died in Rome… Some 300 plus years later Rome did convert and Christianity became legal so became the center of the Church and then later even after the papal states (formed after the downfall of the Roman empire) were no more , it was determined that Rome would be the main home of the Church once and for all. For the Center of the Church to be outside of Rome in Vatican City might be a testament to Gods will and how God ruled despite the opposition. It actually becoming the site of much worship because of all the Christians killed and buried there and the conversion of the Romans. The center of St. Peters square has an obelisk standing as a silent witness to those killings. St Peter died before any of this came to fruition but ironically St. Peter was killed and buried in Rome early on. Now I’m not a huge history buff but I enjoy history and learned about this and our Church.

Antioch then was a site for Christianity to build but Rome was even a more important place for the Church to start because it is where the Church needed to start in order to continue on… I hope that makes sense…

The nature of consecration does not clarify or negate the fact that authority over the episcopate was given to Linus from Peter:

Irenaeus of Lyon 130AD – 202 AD, Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul:

  1. 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 preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.

  2. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric.

Only that Peter was Bishop of Rome when he died, and it was succeeding bishops of Rome who took over the succession. Had Peter wished the papacy to reside in Antioch, that’s where he would have stayed. He might have ordained any number of bishops, but there is only one bishop of Rome. We clearly see the authority of the head of the Roman church exercised even in the Epistle of Clement, the 4th pope.

Peter’s primacy was not given up when he appointed the bishop in Antioch. He took his primacy with him to Rome, where it was passed on upon his death. Peter intended to stay, and pass on his primacy/office, in Rome.

I don’t think this is quite right. All bishops are successors of the Apostles, not specifically Peter in every case.

Peter was the Vicar of Christ. Even after he established churches in places like Antioch, he was still the Vicar of Christ. It was not until his death that being the Vicar of Christ was passed on to the successor, Linus, which was in Rome. When Linus died, his successor became the Vicar of Christ and so on down the list of successors who were all Bishops of Rome, which we call the Pope.

i believe it was up to st. peter to decide to whom his role as shepherd of the twelve and their successors would be given. according to church history, he gave that role to linus.

even now, the successor to st. peter can choose to be the bishop of a diocese other than the diocese of rome.

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