The church in Rome


Hi All
I was wondering when the church in rome established. I was told that there were seven major church’s established and Rome was the largest city, therefore it was decided to make the church in Rome the head church. Thanks for your insite.
In Him and Only Him


The Church was Rome was established when Paul and Peter came to Rome and preached there. Rome became the Head of the Church because Peter was crucified in Rome. His tomb is in St. Peter’s Basilica.

From the link:

Jesus’ intention to make Simon Peter the foundation “rock” of his Church (cf. Mt 16:18) has a value that outlasts the apostle’s earthly life. Jesus actually conceived his Church and desired her presence and activity in all nations until the ultimate fulfillment of history (cf. Mt 26:14; 28:19; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:47; Acts 1:8). Therefore, as he wanted successors for the other apostles in order to continue the work of evangelization in the various parts of the world, so too he foresaw and desired successors for Peter. They would be charged with the same pastoral mission and equipped with the same power, beginning with the mission and power of being Rock–the visible principle of unity in faith, love and the ministry of evangelization, sanctification and leadership entrusted to the Church.

This was defined by the First Vatican Council: “What Christ the Lord, prince of pastors and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed Apostle Peter for eternal salvation and for the everlasting welfare of the Church, must always perdure, by the will of the same Christ, in the Church which, founded on rock, will remain indestructible until the end of time” (DS 3056).

The same Council defined as a truth of the faith: “It is by the institution of Christ the Lord, that is, by divine right, that blessed Peter has endless successors in his primacy over the whole Church” (DS 3058). This is an essential element of the Church’s organic and hierarchical structure, which no one has the power to change. For the Church’s entire duration, there will be successors of Peter in virtue of Christ’s will.

The Second Vatican Council accepted and repeated this teaching of Vatican I. It gave greater emphasis to the link between the primacy of Peter’s successors and the collegiality of the apostles’ successors, without weakening the definition of the primacy justified by the most ancient Christian tradition, in which St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Irenaeus of Lyons stand out primarily.


Hi NonDe -

Manny is a very devout Catholic defender, bless his heart, but I’ve gotta correct him on one issue. If you read Acts 28:13 and on a little further, you will see that Paul arrives in Rome and some “brothers” met him there. Thus, the church in Rome was established earlier than his arrival.

In later church writings some of the Church Fathers document that Peter established the church in Rome.

The early church had five “Sees”. These were churches that were founded by Apostles and were considered the centers of orthodoxy. Rome became the primary See because of the fact that the Apostles Peter and Paul presided there. They, being of such high stature, along with the Roman Bishop being the only See in the west, made Rome the primary teaching church as recognized by the church at large. (Of course, things changed with time :shrug: )

The other Sees are: Jerusalem, headed by James the brother of Jesus; Antioch, established by Peter; Alexandria, Egypt established by Mark; Byzantium (Constantinople) established by Andrew.

There are other churches established by Apostles: The Armenian Apostolic Church established by Thaddias and Bartholemew; the Syrian and Marantha churches established by Thomas; the Cyprian Church established by Paul and Barnabas, just to name a few.

Common threads of belief that they all have are:
*]The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist (Bread and Wine);
*]The Priesthood;
*]The teaching office of the Bishops;
*]The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance);
*]The Sacrament of Holy Unction (Anointing of the Sick);
*]The Sacrament of Marriage;
*]The Sacrament of Chrismation/Confirmation;
*]The Sacrament of Baptism;
*]The Communion of Saints;
*]A Bible that contains all of the Catholic Church books, and in some cases more.
*]Veneration of Mary including the belief that she was assumed bodily into heaven after her death and remained a virgin throughout her life.
*]and many more.[/LIST]These are the Catholic Churches, “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the capstone.” (Eph 2:20)

None of the Protestant churches can make that claim, try as they may.



I think there’s a little bit of confusion here. I think that idea of the seven churches is from the Book of Revelation. It’s just meant to represent the fullness of the Christian Church (seven is the number that represents perfection and fullness; so the seven churches represent the entire Church).

But with regard to Church governance, Subrosa’s post is a great explanation of it. With this, it wasn’t seven Churches, but rather, four, then later five, Churches. These five Churches were based in big, important cities, and naturally became centres of Christianity. Rome isn’t the head Church because it was the biggest, most important city at the time, but rather because it’s where the Prince of the Apostles went, lived, ruled and died.

The Bishops of Rome, elected to replace Saint Peter, the head Apostle and first Roman Bishop, were held in the highest esteem from the very dawn of Christianity, and were looked to for guidance and help from the other Bishops.

It actually sort of self-complemented the history of the Church. The big cities became the Christian Centres, and fortunately, Saint Peter chose to go to Rome. I think it was Divine Providence that chose this, because if Saint Peter were to go off to some unimportant village instead, the other Bishops might not have looked to Peter and his successors with so much esteem. It looks as if God intentionally sent Peter to the biggest city, because that’s what would benefit the Church the most.


We dont know who were the first Christians in Rome, certainly not Paul, and unlikely to be Peter.
Remember that churches in these times were household churches, based around the home of a prominant Christian. It wasnt until 311 that churches as we have today were made (cf. St John Lateran Basillica). Prior to this, as the Catholic Church became more bold, they met in houses, then richer Christian households would have built a meeting room or court onto their homes. These were called Basillica, and were common to rich Roman families as a meeting room for judicial, or official business. These were where Christians met until the edict of toleration allowed them to finally build purpose built parishes unattached to houses.
It is almost universally conceeded these days that Peter and Paul died in Rome.


This is what St. Irenaeus said. He’s writing in the 180’s or around there.
“But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession 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. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the 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”


So why Rome? The answer is simple and found in Matthew’s Gospel.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

What city could you go to back in the 1st century that had the easiest acces to all nations? Rome!!! Rome traded and had diplomatic relations with the widest varieties of countries by far, so this would be a great place to center the teaching authority.

God, in His Divine Providence, always finds a way!!!


The Church at Rome was well established before Paul got there. It’s faith was already known throughout the world (Romans 1:8) and it’s obedience was known to all (Romans 16:19). Paul was originally only planning on stopping by on the way to Spain (Romans 15:24).

IMO, the Church at Rome had it’s earliest foundation at Pentecost, via the Jews from Rome (Acts 2:10) who converted under Peter’s preaching.

Yet the Church holds Paul as a co-founder, probably because of his residence and work in the city.


I think the Pentecostal Jews started to spread the seeds of the Faith. But until there were Apostles and priests sent to Rome, the seeds couldn’t have grown very much, they just germinated.


I agree, and Paul stated how he didn’t want to tread upon the work of another…probably a reference to Peter. And later as “Apostle to the Jews”, it would seem imperative that Peter go there to minister to them.

But we don’t know how long these Jews were in Jerusalem or if any could have been ordained before returning to Rome. Maybe none were.


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