[quote=Fr Ambrose]Were they? The only way to try and prove that is by a selective reading of the historical evidence.
As one example to the contrary, here is Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus telling the Bishop of Rome to butt out and not to intefere about the time when the Christians at Ephesus celebrate Easter… The Roman bishop has even threatened to break communion with Ephesus but Polycrates brushes it aside and points out that their tradition comes from the Apostle John and Rome should mind its own business…
Now, Polycrates was writing to Pope Victor in 190 AD - so it is plain that the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome was not known at that time - 160 years after our Lord’s death.
“We,” *writes the Ephesian bishop to the Roman Pope and his church… *"observe the genuine day; neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom. For in Asia great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again in the day of the Lord’s appearing, in which he will come with the glory from heaven, and will raise up all the saints: Phillip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters; his other daughter; also, who having lived with the influence of the Holy Spirit, now likewise rests in Ephesus; moreover, John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord, who was also a priest, and bore the sacerdotal plate, both a martyr and teacher; he is buried in Ephesus. Also Polycarp of Smyrna, both bishop and martyr, and Thraseas, both bishop and martyr of Eumenia, who sleeps in Smyrna. Why should I mention Sagaris, bishop and martyr who sleeps in Laodicea; moreover the blessed Papirius and Melito, the eunuch [celibate], who lived altogether under the influence of the Holy Spirit, who now rests in Sardis, awaiting the
episcopate from heaven, in which he shall rise from the dead. All
these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith.
Moreover, I, Polycrates, who am the least of you, according to the tradition of my relatives, some of who I have followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth; and my relatives always observed the day when the people of the Jews threw away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, am now sixty-five years in the lord, who having conferred with the brethren throughout the world and having studied the whole of the Sacred Scriptures, am not alarmed at those things with which I am threatened, to intimidate me. For they who are greater than I have said `we ought to obey God rather than men’… I could also mention the bishops that were present, whom you requested me to summon, and whom I did call; whose names would present a great number, but who seeing my slender body consented to my epistle, well knowing that I did not wear my grey hairs for
nought, but that I did at all times regulate my life in the Lord
Phillip Schaff, Encyclopedia History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, “on the Quartodeciman disputes”
“Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.” ~Song of Solomon 4:6
As one example to the contrary, here is Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus telling the Bishop of Rome to butt out and not to intefere about the time when the Christians at Ephesus celebrate Easter…<<
Telling the Bishop of Rome to butt out? Nonsense. You have simply demonstrated that there were some who did not agree with the Roman church’s decision on the quartodecimen debate. If the Bishop of Rome was not the head of the church, why would Bishop Polycrates even bother to debate with him?
The church in Rome had made the decision, the churches followed, with of course the exception of the proud and troublesome future Byzantines, and the quartodecimen debate was resolved; in favor of the Roman church’s decision.
The quartodecimens, of whom your Orthodox churches supported, lost the debate and Easter continued to be observed on Sunday whether or not it fell on the 14th of the month.
Now, Fr Ambrose, where should I give more credibilty to? To the Bishop whose decision stands, or to the Bishop whose decision failed?