The following is about what the Early Church fathers had done and said regarding recognition of the Primacy of Rome:
The majority of conservative scholars—Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant—throughout Christian history have accepted that the author of the following letter was the bishop of Rome, probably the fourth, with Saint Peter being the first. The significance of this particular quote, therefore: What is the bishop of Rome, Italy, doing expecting obedience of a church in Corinth, Greece? Though Greece at this time was under Roman control, still there was no reason to expect a leader of a religious sect in Rome to have any clout over a similar group of religious sectarians in Greece, unless that leader was a bishop with authority over them.
[INDENT]“Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved … Accept our counsel, and you will have nothing to regret… If anyone disobey the things which have been said by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger…You will afford us joy and gladness if, being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy.”
—St. Clement of Rome
Letter to the Corinthians, 1: 58–59, 63, A.D. 80[/INDENT]
Ignatius, who was from the East, wrote seven letters in all to seven churches, but it was only in his letter to the church in Rome, quoted below, that he expressed such exalted praise of the bishop!
[INDENT]“Ignatius… to the church also which holds the presidency in the place of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father.”
—St. Ignatius of Antioch
Letter to the Romans, 1:1, A.D. 110[/INDENT]
Irenaeus, a bishop from the region of France, who learned his faith from Polycarp, who learned his faith from John, demonstrates below the assumption of his day: that all churches must agree with the Church of Rome. How would a Protestant have to re-write this?
[INDENT]“It is possible, then, for every Church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles, and their successors to our own times… But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions 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. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all 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.”
Against Heresies, 3, 3, 1-2, c. AD 190[/INDENT]
What most impressed me about the next quote is that, as John Henry Cardinal Newman pointed out in his Essay on the Development of Doctrine, this defense of the primacy of the bishop of Rome, expressed rhetorically not defensively, predates by nearly a hundred years the conciliar definitions of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ!
[INDENT]“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’…On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?”
—St. Cyprian of Carthage
The Unity of the Catholic Church, 1st edition, A.D. 251[/INDENT]
"The Early Church Fathers I Never Saw" by Marcus Grodi