The Petrine Ministry in the Eyes of the Early Church


#1

Hello,

The purpose of this thread is to discuss the views of the Early Church on the Petrine Ministry in light of Catholic and Eastern Orthodox ecclesiologies.


#2

Hello,

The earliest evidence of the Petrine Primacy outside of the Apostolic Age (actually, probably still in it) occurred with Pope Saint Clement of Rome. He wrote to the Corinthians, who were not in his local jurisdiction:

If, however, any shall disobey the words spoken by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and serious danger; but we shall be innocent of this sin…(Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 59)

Saint Cyprian of Carthage writes On the Unity of the Church:

  1. If any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, “Feed my sheep.” And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;” yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity. Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, “My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her.” Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, “There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God?"

#3

Hello,

Pope Gelasius writing to the Bishops of Dardania in 495 observes We trust that no true Christian is ignorant that the appointment of every Council which the assent of the Universal Church has approved ought to be executed by no other See but the first which both confirms every Council by its authority and maintains them by its continued government in virtue that is of its headship which blessed Peter received indeed from the Lord’s voice but the Church no less following that voice hath ever held and holds.

(quoted from The See of St. Peter the Rock of the Church: The Source of Jurisdiction and the Centre of Unity by Thomas William Allies)


#4

Hello,

John Cassian writes Against Nestorius:
But if you prefer the authority of a greater person (although you ought not to slight the authority of any one of either sex, on whom the confession of the mystery confers weight—for whatever may be a person’s condition, or however humble his position, yet the value of his faith is not thereby diminished) let us interrogate no beginner or untaught schoolboy, nor a woman whose faith might perhaps appear to be but rudimentary; but that greatest of disciples among disciples, and of teachers among teachers, who presided and ruled over the Roman Church, and held the chief place in the priesthood as he did in the faith. Tell us then, tell us, we pray, O Peter, thou chief of Apostles, tell us how the Churches ought to believe in God. For it is right that you should teach us, as you were taught by the Lord, and that you should open to us the gate, of which you received the key. Shut out all those who try to overthrow the heavenly house: and those who are endeavouring to enter by secret holes and unlawful approaches: as it is clear that none can enter the gate of the kingdom save one to whom the key bestowed on the Churches is revealed by you. Tell us then how we ought to believe in Jesus Christ and to confess our common Lord.(Against Nestorius, Book III, Chapter 12)


closed #5

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