Proof that Peter was Pope?


#1

Is there any actual historical evidence that shows that Saint Peter was the first Pope of the Catholic Church that we can show Protestants? Any reading or any books done on the subject? I would really love to read up on Peter’s involvement with the early Church and would like to see some evidence that Peter was Pope. How many references is there to it in the Bible, and where? Thanks for you help.


#2

Lots of references in the Early Church Fathers (see other threads). There are more than 30 references from the second, third and fourth Centuries to Peter’s having been in Rome and having served as the first bishop there. (Also see the home page of Catholic Answers – look at the tracts listed on the left hand side of the page.) The name “Pope” comes later, but that Peter was the Bishop or Rome is disputed only by red-eyed anti-Catholics.

Also read about the archaeological excavations of the necropolis upon which St. Peter’s Basilica is built and how the remains of Pteer were recovered and identified in John Evangelist Walsh’s book, *The Bones of St. Peter. *


#3

Try “Peter and the Keys”

it should be available at any larger Catholic Book Store, or perhaps through this site.


#4

Wow, his remains were actually identified? That’s great! And also, would this mean that the statue of Peter there is accurate in what he really looked like?


#5

I take a stab at it in posts 37 through 60 of this thread.

forum.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=17067


#6

[quote=Greg00]Wow, his remains were actually identified? That’s great! And also, would this mean that the statue of Peter there is accurate in what he really looked like?
[/quote]

They found the BONES – not a portrait. :rotfl: Thanks for the chuckle!


#7

No, no, I didn’t mean that they made the statue after finding the bones. I meant that if Peter really was the Bishop of Rome, then did that mean that someone who knew what he looked like made the statue back then? If so, that would mean that we really know what he looked like.


#8

Also… read the book: Four Witnesses

Excellent read.

It dislplays the epistles of the early Church fathers. They all discuss the “head Bishop.” There is a succession from Peter, the first head bishop…to Linus… then Anacletus… then CLEMENT.

Why I highlighted Clement… he is one of the “four witnesses.” We have much of his writings.

I HIGHLY suggest this book. Not only for the answers, but, it is a page turner.

It is basically the early fathers on their way to get killed. They tell the story of the early Church. It is Catholic indeed.

Oh… except the part where Justin Martyr does an altar call. :smiley:


#9

[quote=Greg00]Is there any actual historical evidence that shows that Saint Peter was the first Pope of the Catholic Church that we can show Protestants? Any reading or any books done on the subject? I would really love to read up on Peter’s involvement with the early Church and would like to see some evidence that Peter was Pope. How many references is there to it in the Bible, and where? Thanks for you help.
[/quote]

The word pope does not appear in the Holy Bible. The Roman Catholic Church did not exist when Jesus told Peter he was the Rock upon which he built His Church. There is no proof but do we really need any? We know that Peter was the first leader of the Christian/Catholic Church. Why do we concern ourselves in proving or disproving that Peter was the first pope or that the Roman Catholic Church is the only correct church. We should celebrate our faith together instead of bickering over differences that cannot be proven or disproven. Our entire Christianity and salvation is based upon our faith. We cannot prove our faith, the existence of God of the fact that Jesus was the Son of God who died and was resurrected for the New Covenant.
I


#10

As per the original question, I’ve skimmed a book I believe it was Keepers of the Keys: A History of the Popes from St. Peter to John Paul II by Nicholas Cheetham…but that might not be the correct one, I’ll get back to you on that.


#11

Phil H–

[quote=Phil H]The word pope does not appear in the Holy Bible.
[/quote]

Actually, a form of it does…Pope=Papa=Father

However, this is not important…the important thing is it wouldn’t matter if it did or didn’t appear in the Bible in any form because that excludes Sacred Tradition from faith. The word “Holy Bible” doesn’t appear in the Holy Bible…except on the cover and on the table of contents–hmm–where did the table of contents come from?

[quote=Phil H]The Roman Catholic Church did not exist when Jesus told Peter he was the Rock upon which he built His Church.
[/quote]

You seem insistent on using “Roman Catholic Church” as if to differentiate between two Churches…there only the Catholic Church, that is, the Rites/Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome–the Successor of St. Peter. Furthermore, Peter did become the first leader of the Catholic Church when Christ gave him the keys to Heaven, the power to bind and loose, then later on breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit, and commanded Peter to feed His flock and tend His sheep. The traditional “birthday of the Church” is Pentecost. Though I usually don’t usually like to link tracts ad nauseam, it appears you have some major misconception about the origins of the Catholic Faith unfortunately I can’t write as much as I’d like so if you would like some personal reading for edification…

Peter’s Papacy
Peter, The Rock
Authority of the Pope, 1
Authority of the Pope, 2

[quote=Phil H]There is no proof but do we really need any? We know that Peter was the first leader of the Christian/Catholic Church. Why do we concern ourselves in proving or disproving that Peter was the first pope or that the Roman Catholic Church
is the only correct church.
[/quote]

  1. There is proof–it is found through the Sacred Tradition of the Church and the clear succession and lineage of the Successors of St. Peter…
    List of Popes

But the 264th occupant of the throne of St. Peter was no more silenced by their misgivings than by the assassin’s bullet he survived in 1981 or the progressive ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, that he withstood for at least a decade.

It’s amazing when even CNN acknowledges a truth of the Church

  1. Yes we do need it–we know Christ’s (one universal Church) will not be overcome by the powers of Hell and that Church has both the teaching authority of Christ and the power to bind and loose.
  2. Why do we concern ourselves with “proving Peter was the first Pope?” well because it is A.) Easy and B.) An essential part of the Catholic faith.
  3. We also seek to defend the objective truth of Catholicism because we know that the fullness of Truth can be found in the Catholic Church and it is our duty, rather, our command to take that message to all nations.

[quote=Phil H]We should celebrate our faith together instead of bickering over differences that cannot be proven or disproven.
[/quote]

We should celebrate our similarities…and I look forward to the day that we can all celebrate our Faith (singular). Bickering is not Christian, but apathy about the Truth isn’t either. As a Catholic I am called to charitably called to share my faith with others. I try to walk a fine line between not being rude, but also being completely honest and open.

[quote=Phil H]Our entire Christianity and salvation is based upon our faith.
[/quote]

That’s not what the Catholic Church says…ergo it goes back to the point that every challenge of Catholicism is, at it’s heart, a challenge of the Church’s authority…making it essential to share the Truth of Catholicism.

Grace, What Does it Do?
Is Salvation Assured?
Necessity of Baptism
Authority

[quote=Phil H]We cannot prove our faith, the existence of God of the fact that Jesus was the Son of God who died and was resurrected for the New Covenant.
[/quote]

The Catholic Faith can be adequately explained using reason. As far as proving Jesus existed, died, and was resurrected–we have to rely on the same things we rely on to prove other historical events happened…written and unwritten history–but as Christians we hold that those are both sacred and inspired/protected.

God Bless,


#12

[quote=mercygate]Lots of references in the Early Church Fathers (see other threads). There are more than 30 references from the second, third and fourth Centuries to Peter’s having been in Rome and having served as the first bishop there. (Also see the home page of Catholic Answers – look at the tracts listed on the left hand side of the page.) The name “Pope” comes later, but that Peter was the Bishop or Rome is disputed only by red-eyed anti-Catholics.

Also read about the archaeological excavations of the necropolis upon which St. Peter’s Basilica is built and how the remains of Pteer were recovered and identified in John Evangelist Walsh’s book, *The Bones of St. Peter. *
[/quote]

Hi Mercygate,

There is no reference in Acts of the Apostles (which covers the period from Jesus Ascension to about Paul’s death in 64 A.D). that Peter was in Rome.

None of Paul’s Epistles makes any reference to Peter being in Rome.

No writing produced withing 100 years of Peter’s death clearly states that Peter was in Rome.

And if you research further, you will find that those previously believed to be “bones” of St. Peter are from a 70 year old woman, two fifty year old men, and a number of animals.

LittleLes


#13

1 Peter 5, 13-14

13 The chosen one 7 at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

The footnote (7) makes it quite clear what Peter means:

7 [13] The chosen one: feminine, referring to the Christian community (ekklesia) at Babylon, the code name for Rome in Rev 14:8; 17:5; 18:2. Mark, my son: traditionally a prominent disciple of Peter and co-worker at the church in Rome, perhaps the John Mark referred to in Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; and in Acts 15:37-39, a companion of Barnabas. Perhaps this is the same Mark mentioned as Barnabas’s cousin in Col 4:10, a co-worker with Paul in Philippians 1:24 (see also 2 Tim 4:11).

First Peter was clearly written from Rome


#14

This is an excerpt from New Advent on St. Peter found here.

That the manner, and therefore the place of his death, must have been known in widely extended Christian circles at the end of the first century is clear from the remark introduced into the Gospel of St. John concerning Christ’s prophecy that Peter was bound to Him and would be led whither he would not – “And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God” (John, xxi, 18-19, see above). Such a remark presupposes in the readers of the Fourth Gospel a knowledge of the death of Peter.
St. Peter’s First Epistle was written almost undoubtedly from Rome, since the salutation at the end reads: “The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you: and so doth my son Mark” (v, 13). Babylon must here be identified with the Roman capital; since Babylon on the Euphrates, which lay in ruins, or New Babylon (Seleucia) on the Tigris, or the Egyptian Babylon near Memphis, or Jerusalem cannot be meant, the reference must be to Rome, the only city which is called Babylon elsewhere in ancient Christian literature (Apoc., xvii, 5; xviii, 10; “Oracula Sibyl.”, V, verses 143 and 159, ed. Geffcken, Leipzig, 1902, 111).

From Bishop Papias of Hierapolis and Clement of Alexandria, who both appeal to the testimony of the old presbyters (i.e., the disciples of the Apostles), we learn that Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome at the request of the Roman Christians, who desired a written memorial of the doctrine preached to them by St. Peter and his disciples (Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.”, II, xv; III, xl; VI, xiv); this is confirmed by Irenaeus (Adv. haer., III, i). In connection with this information concerning the Gospel of St. Mark, Eusebius, relying perhaps on an earlier source, says that Peter described Rome figuratively as Babylon in his First Epistle.

Another testimony concerning the martyrdom of Peter and Paul is supplied by Clement of Rome in his Epistle to the Corinthians (written about A.D. 95-97), wherein he says (v): “Through zeal and cunning the greatest and most righteous supports [of the Church] have suffered persecution and been warred to death. Let us place before our eyes the good Apostles–St. Peter, who in consequence of unjust zeal, suffered not one or two, but numerous miseries, and, having thus given testimony (martyresas), has entered the merited place of glory”. He then mentions Paul and a number of elect, who were assembled with the others and suffered martyrdom “among us” (en hemin, i.e., among the Romans, the meaning that the expression also bears in chap. Iv). He is speaking undoubtedly, as the whole passage proves, of the Neronian persecution, and thus refers the martyrdom of Peter and Paul to that epoch.

In his letter written at the beginning of the second century (before 117), while being brought to Rome for martyrdom, the venerable Bishop Ignatius of Antioch endeavours by every means to restrain the Roman Christians from striving for his pardon, remarking: “I issue you no commands, like Peter and Paul: they were Apostles, while I am but a captive” (Ad. Rom., iv). The meaning of this remark must be that the two Apostles laboured personally in Rome, and with Apostolic authority preached the Gospel there.

Bishop Dionysius of Corinth, in his letter to the Roman Church in the time of Pope Soter (165-74), says: “You have therefore by your urgent exhortation bound close together the sowing of Peter and Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both planted the seed of the Gospel also in Corinth, and together instructed us, just as they likewise taught in the same place in Italy and at the same time suffered martyrdom” (in Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.”, II, xxviii).

continued…


#15

Continued from St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles

Irenaeus of Lyons, a native of Asia Minor and a disciple of Polycarp of Smyrna (a disciple of St. John), passed a considerable time in Rome shortly after the middle of the second century, and then proceeded to Lyons, where he became bishop in 177; he described the Roman Church as the most prominent and chief preserver of the Apostolic tradition, as “the greatest and most ancient church, known by all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul” (Adv. haer., III, iii; cf. III, i). He thus makes use of the universally known and recognized fact of the Apostolic activity of Peter and Paul in Rome, to find therein a proof from tradition against the heretics.

In his “Hypotyposes” (Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.”, IV, xiv), Clement of Alexandria, teacher in the catechetical school of that city from about 190, says on the strength of the tradition of the presbyters: “After Peter had announced the Word of God in Rome and preached the Gospel in the spirit of God, the multitude of hearers requested Mark, who had long accompanied Peter on all his journeys, to write down what the Apostles had preached to them” (see above).

Like Irenaeus, Tertullian appeals, in his writings against heretics, to the proof afforded by the Apostolic labours of Peter and Paul in Rome of the truth of ecclesiastical tradition. In “De Praescriptione”, xxxv, he says: “If thou art near Italy, thou hast Rome where authority is ever within reach. How fortunate is this Church for which the Apostles have poured out their whole teaching with their blood, where Peter has emulated the Passion of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John” (scil. the Baptist). In “Scorpiace”, xv, he also speaks of Peter’s crucifixion. “The budding faith Nero first made bloody in Rome. There Peter was girded by another, since he was bound to the cross”. As an illustration that it was immaterial with what water baptism is administered, he states in his book (“On Baptism”, ch. v) that there is “no difference between that with which John baptized in the Jordan and that with which Peter baptized in the Tiber”; and against Marcion he appeals to the testimony of the Roman Christians, “to whom Peter and Paul have bequeathed the Gospel sealed with their blood” (Adv. Marc., IV, v).

Although the fact of St. Peter’s activity and death in Rome is so clearly established

it wouldn’t matter if he was or wasn’t…being the Bishop of a Diocese does not actually require residence in that diocese (most auxilliary Bishops are Bishops of towns/areas in Africa)


#16

[quote=Phil H]The word pope does not appear in the Holy Bible. The Roman Catholic Church did not exist when Jesus told Peter he was the Rock upon which he built His Church. There is no proof but do we really need any? We know that Peter was the first leader of the Christian/Catholic Church. Why do we concern ourselves in proving or disproving that Peter was the first pope or that the Roman Catholic Church is the only correct church.
[/quote]

I want to belong to the Church which Jesus Christ founded. It is the one which Jesus said the He would be with “until the end of the ages” and “the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” We need to cling to the “pillar and bullwark of Truth.” Who knows where or how the author of confusion will mislead the others in the future?

Yours in Christ.


#17

[quote=LittleLes]Hi Mercygate,

There is no reference in Acts of the Apostles (which covers the period from Jesus Ascension to about Paul’s death in 64 A.D). that Peter was in Rome.

None of Paul’s Epistles makes any reference to Peter being in Rome.

[/quote]

Incorrect here Les. Peter writes from the “Great Babylon”. A common term at the time referencing Rome. Since the actual city of Babylon had been destroyed hundreds of years earlier, that could not have been where he was.

And if you research further, you will find that those previously believed to be “bones” of St. Peter are from a 70 year old woman, two fifty year old men, and a number of animals.

Don’t know where you heard that falsehood, but it’s way off. The bones were in the tomb marked “here lies PETRVS” were definitively determined to be those of a large man. You should also not that, at the time. “PETRVS” was not a proper name, so no one else back in the day had that name. The sources of the actual research documents are available in archives of the University of Rome and other major universities. Could you tell me where I can find credible sources for the information you mentioned?

God Bless


#18

[quote=LittleLes]Hi Mercygate,

There is no reference in Acts of the Apostles (which covers the period from Jesus Ascension to about Paul’s death in 64 A.D). that Peter was in Rome.

None of Paul’s Epistles makes any reference to Peter being in Rome.

No writing produced withing 100 years of Peter’s death clearly states that Peter was in Rome.
[/quote]

Peter signs is first epistle “from the church here in Babylon” – Babylon was “code” for Rome during a time when using the name “Rome” could earn you a trip to the colisseum as lion bait. Even DEEP Protestants acknowledge that.

And if you research further, you will find that those previously believed to be “bones” of St. Peter are from a 70 year old woman, two fifty year old men, and a number of animals.

Indeed, a skeleton, first thought to be that of Peter proved upon analysis to be that of a woman. Subsequent work recovered a second skeleton that had been placed in storage with other remains and artifacts by a non-archaeologist to protect it from desecration. It has been identified as the bones of Peter. It has no head, and the hands are missing. The missing head corresponds with the fact that the Church of St. John Lateran has always claimed to have the head (which is fragmentary). Grafitti asking for the prayers of the Apostle were also found at the site.

How do you know that Peter died in 64 A.D.?


#19

[quote=vern humphrey]1 Peter 5, 13-14

13 The chosen one 7 at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

The footnote (7) makes it quite clear what Peter means:

7 [13] The chosen one: feminine, referring to the Christian community (ekklesia) at Babylon, the code name for Rome in Rev 14:8; 17:5; 18:2. Mark, my son: traditionally a prominent disciple of Peter and co-worker at the church in Rome, perhaps the John Mark referred to in Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; and in Acts 15:37-39, a companion of Barnabas. Perhaps this is the same Mark mentioned as Barnabas’s cousin in Col 4:10, a co-worker with Paul in Philippians 1:24 (see also 2 Tim 4:11).

First Peter was clearly written from Rome
[/quote]

Hi Vern,

Not really. This old saw ignores the following:

(1) It is questionable whether Peter actually wrote 1 Peter, but if he did, obviously he did so before his death in 64 - 67 A.D.

(2) The “code word” Babylon meaning Rome first appears in Revelation written about 95 A.D. See the problem?:slight_smile:

(3) But most significant, Babylon on the Euphrates was a thriving Jewish colony at that time. In fact, after the destruction of Jerusalem, it became more or less the center of Jewish life. Hence, its just where Peter, the Apostle to the Circumcised, was likely to be.!:smiley:

URL’s are always a problem for me, but under your “search” function, type in “Crash Course in Jewish History Part 43 - The Jews in Babylon.”

LittleLes


#20

[quote=LittleLes]Hi Mercygate,

There is no reference in Acts of the Apostles (which covers the period from Jesus Ascension to about Paul’s death in 64 A.D). that Peter was in Rome.

None of Paul’s Epistles makes any reference to Peter being in Rome.

No writing produced withing 100 years of Peter’s death clearly states that Peter was in Rome.
[/quote]

Peter signs is first epistle “from the church here in Babylon” – Babylon was “code” for Rome during a time when using the name “Rome” could earn you a trip to the colisseum as lion bait. Even DEEP Protestants acknowledge that.

And if you research further, you will find that those previously believed to be “bones” of St. Peter are from a 70 year old woman, two fifty year old men, and a number of animals.

Indeed, a skeleton, first thought to be that of Peter proved upon analysis to be that of a woman. Subsequent work recovered a second skeleton that had been placed in storage with other remains and artifacts by a non-archaeologist to protect it from desecration. It has been identified as the bones of Peter. It has no head, and the hands are missing. The missing head corresponds with the fact that the Church of St. John Lateran has always claimed to have the head (which is fragmentary). Grafitti asking for the prayers of the Apostle were also found at the site.


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