Part 1: in the Ante-Nicene Church (A.D. 00-300)
Part 2: from Nicaea to Constantinople I (A.D. 300-400)
Part 3: from St. Augustine to the Council of Milevis (A.D. 400-420)
Part 4: from Ephesus to Chalcedon (A.D. 420-500)
Part 5: Rome During the Years of the Rising East (A.D. 501-700)
Part 6: The Schism of the Universal Church (A.D. 700-1053)
According to Edward Giles, “the earliest indication of the use of Papa at Rome for the bishop of Rome is an inscription” marked during the beginning of the 4th century:
"Double cubicle with arched tombs and light made by Severus the deacon with the permission of his Pope Marcellinus (jussu pp sui Iliarcellini) for himself and his relations." ([c. A.D. 303]).
St. Peter I of Alexandria
“Peter, set above the Apostles.” (Peter of Alexandria, Canon. ix, Galland, iv. p. 98 [A.D. 306-311]).
The Martyrs of Lyons
“And when a dissension arose about these said people [the Montanists], the brethren in Gaul once more . . . [sent letters] to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia and, moreover to Eleutherius, who was then [A.D. 175] bishop of the Romans, negotiating for the peace of the churches” (Eusebius, Church History 5:3:4 [A.D. 312])
“And the same martyrs too commended Irenaeus, already at that time [A.D. 175] a presbyter of the community of Lyons, to the said bishop of Rome, rendering abundant testimony to the man, as the following expressions show: ‘Once more and always we pray that you may rejoice in God, Pope Eleutherius. This letter we have charged our brother and companion Irenaeus to convey to you, and we beg you to receive him as zealous for the covenant of Christ’” (ibid., 5:4:1–2).
Pope St. Miltiades
“Whereas divine and fatherly affection has conferred upon us the apostolic leadership and has ordained by divine dignity the see of the vicar of the Lords and we bear the original authentic apostolate upon which Christ founded the Church in the person of our predecessor, who received at the same time the power of loosing and binding, and the responsibility of forgiving sins, we are warned by the doctrine of salvation that while we are continually pardoning sinners we ourselves must not be perverted equally with them.
“So, inasmuch as he has appointed us, that is the bishops to be shepherds of the spiritual shee6,that is the faithful who are placed under our care, let us see to it that no sore of vice be found among them, and let us watch carefully every day that after the heavenly medicine has been applied, their fleece may grow in beauty as they approach the radiance of the garments of heaven.
“In the gospel the Lord spoke to Peter. "Peter," he said " lovest thou me? " And Peter answered : " Yea, Lord ; thou knowest that I love thee." And he said : "Feed my sheep." Wherefore since we have received into the heart's guest chamber this bishopric, that is, the Holy Spirit through the imposition of hands, let us show no harshness to our neighbour. The Lord warns us and says : "Grieve not the Holy Spirit that is within you . . ." And that blessed apostle Puul, the agent, the vicar of Christ, discharging his office in the Church, asserts and says : "Ye are the temple of God, and Christ dwelleth in you." (Pope Miltiades, De Aleatoribus [Pope from A.D. 311-14]).
Eusebius of Caesarea
“Peter the Apostle, by nation a Galilean, the first pontiff of Christians, having first founded the Church of Antioch, proceeds to Rome, where, preaching the Gospel, he continues twenty-five years bishop of the same city.” (Chronicon, Book II: Chronological Canons).
“And at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way. What do we need to say concerning Paul, who preached the Gospel of Christ from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and afterwards suffered martyrdom in Rome under Nero? These facts are related by Origen in the third volume of his Commentary on Genesis.”
“After the martyrdom of Paul and of Peter, Linus was the first to obtain the episcopate of the church at Rome. Paul mentions him, when writing to Timothy from Rome, in the salutation at the end of the epistle.” (Church History Book 3, Chapter 1, 2)
“Peter appears to have preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia to the Jews of the dispersion.... And at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way…As to the rest of his followers, Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul [2 Tim. 4:10], but Linus, whom he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21] as his companion at Rome, was Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there, as has already been shown. Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier [Phil. 4:3]” (Church History 3:4:9–10 [A.D. 312]).
“And that they [Peter and Paul] were martyred both at the same time, Dionysius, bishop of the Corinthians, proves as follows in a passage written to the Romans. "In these ways you also, by such an admonition, have united the planting that came from Peter and Paul, of both the Romans
and the Corinthians. For indeed both planted also in our Corinth, and likewise taught us; and likewise they taught together also in Italy, and were martyred at the same time…
"And the church of the Corinthians continued in the true doctrine until Primus was bishop of Corinth. . . . With them I associated on my voyage to Rome, and I abode with the Corinthians many days; during which we were refreshed together in the true word. But when I came to Rome, I made for myself a successionlist as far as Anicetus; whose deacon was Eleutherus. Soter succeeded Anicetus, after him Eleutherus. In every succession, and in every city, things are as the law and the prophets and the Lord preach.” (Church History).
“A question of no small importance arose at that time [A.D. 190]. For the parishes of all Asia [Minor], as from an older tradition held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Savior’s Passover. . . . But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world . . . as they observed the practice which, from apostolic tradition, has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast [of Lent] on no other day than on that of the resurrection of the Savior [Sunday]. Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all, with one consent, through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other but the Lord’s day and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on this day only. . . . Thereupon [Pope] Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the community the parishes of all Asia [Minor], with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox. And he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate. But this did not please all the bishops, and they besought him to consider the things of peace and of neighborly unity and love. . . . [Irenaeus] fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom” (Church History 5:23:1–24:11, a show of universal jurisdiction).
“Victor, who was the thirteenth bishop of Rome from Peter.” (Book V).
“In the eighth year of the above-mentioned reign Soter succeeded Anicetus as bishop of the church of Rome, after the latter had held office eleven years in all…From them has come down to us in writing, the sound and orthodox faith received from apostolic tradition.” (Book IV).
“And so greatly did the splendor of piety illumine the minds of Peter's hearers that they were not satisfied with hearing once only, and were not content with the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, a follower of Peter, and the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to them.... And Peter makes mention of Mark in his first epistle which they say that he wrote in Rome itself, as is indicated by him, when he calls the city, by a figure, Babylon, as he does in the following words: "The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son…” (Book II).
“It is, therefore, recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and that Peter likewise was crucified under Nero. This account of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present day. It is confirmed likewise by Caius, a member of the Church, who arose under Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome. He, in a published disputation with Proclus, the leader of the Phrygian heresy, speaks as follows concerning the places where the sacred corpses of the aforesaid apostles are laid: "But I can show the trophies of the apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church." And that they both suffered martyrdom at the same time is stated by Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, in his epistle to the Romans, in the following words: "You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time." I have quoted these things in order that the truth of the history might be still more confirmed.” (Book II).
“Thus then did Irenaeus entreat and negotiate [with Pope Victor] on behalf of the peace of the churches — [Irenaeus being] a man well-named, for he was a peacemaker both in name and character. And he corresponded by letter not only with Victor, but also with very many and various rulers of churches” (ibid., 24:18).
“For they [Paul of Samosata’ followers] say that all the early teachers and the apostles received and taught what they now declare, and that the truth of the Gospel was preserved until the times of Victor, who was the thirteenth bishop of Rome from Peter, but that from his successor, Zephyrinus, the truth had been corrupted.
“And what they say might be plausible, if first of all the Divine Scriptures did not contradict them. And there are writings of certain brethren older than the times of Victor, which they wrote in behalf of the truth against the heathen, and against the heresies which existed in their day. I refer to Justin and Miltiades and Tatian and Clement and many others, in all of whose works Christ is spoken of as God.
“For who does not know the works of Irenæus and of Melito and of others which teach that Christ is God and man? And how many psalms and hymns, written by the faithful brethren from the beginning, celebrate Christ the Word of God, speaking of him as Divine.
“How then since the opinion held by the Church has been preached for so many years, can its preaching have been delayed as they affirm, until the times of Victor? And how is it that they are not ashamed to speak thus falsely of Victor, knowing well that he cut off from communion Theodotus, the cobbler, the leader and father of this God-denying apostasy, and the first to declare that Christ is mere man? For if Victor agreed with their opinions, as their slander affirms, how came he to cast out Theodotus, the inventor of this heresy?
“So much in regard to Victor. His bishopric lasted ten years, and Zephyrinus was appointed his successor about the ninth year of the reign of Severus.” (Church History, Book V, Ch 28).
“They say that Fabianus having come, after the death of Anteros, with others from the country, was staying at Rome, and that while there he was chosen to the office through a most wonderful manifestation of divine and heavenly grace.
“For when all the brethren had assembled to select by vote him who should succeed to the episcopate of the church, several renowned and honorable men were in the minds of many, but Fabianus, although present, was in the mind of none. But they relate that suddenly a dove flying down lighted on his head, resembling the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Saviour in the form of a dove.
“Thereupon all the people, as if moved by one Divine Spirit, with all eagerness and unanimity cried out that he was worthy, and without delay they took him and placed him upon the episcopal seat.” (Church History 6:29).
“As Paul had fallen from the episcopate, as well as from the orthodox faith, Domnus, as has been said, became bishop of the church at Antioch.
“But as Paul refused to surrender the church building, the Emperor Aurelian was petitioned; and he decided the matter most equitably, ordering the building to be given to those to whom the bishops of Italy and of the city of Rome should adjudge it. Thus this man was driven out of the church, with extreme disgrace, by the worldly power.
“Such was Aurelian's treatment of us at that time; but in the course of his reign he changed his mind in regard to us, and was moved by certain advisers to institute a persecution against us. And there was great talk about this on every side.
“But as he was about to do it, and was, so to speak, in the very act of signing the decrees against us, the divine judgment came upon him and restrained him at the very verge of his undertaking, showing in a manner that all could see clearly, that the rulers of this world can never find an opportunity against the churches of Christ, except the hand that defends them permits it, in divine and heavenly judgment, for the sake of discipline and correction, at such times as it sees best.
“After a reign of six years, Aurelian was succeeded by Probus. He reigned for the same number of years, and Carus, with his sons, Carinus and Numerianus, succeeded him. After they had reigned less than three years the government devolved on Diocletian, and those associated with him. Under them took place the persecution of our time, and the destruction of the churches connected with it.
“Shortly before this, Dionysius, bishop of Rome, after holding office for nine years, died, and was succeeded by Felix.”(Church History, VII, Ch 30, the Pope is recognized as a juddge ofr disputes of the bishopric in Antioch).
“At that time also Alexander, the fifth in the line of succession from Peter and Paul, received the episcopate at Rome, after Evarestus had held the office eight years.” (Church History, 4).
When Paul had fallen from the episcopate, as well as from his orthodoxy in the faith, Domnus succeeded to the ministry of the church at Antioch
“But as Paul [of Samosata] refused on any account to give up possession of the church building, the emperor Aurelian, on being petitioned, gave an extremely just decision regarding the matter ordering the assignment of the building to those with whom the bishops of the doctrine in Italy and Rome should communicate in writing. Thus was the aforesaid man driven with the utmost indignity from the church by the ruler of this world.” (Church History, 7).
“In the reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious Providence of the universe led Peter, the strong and great apostle, marked out by his qualities as the spokesman of ail the rest, on Simon's heels to Rome, as if to oppose this mighty bane of the world. Having protected himself with divine armour like a noble captain of God, Peter conveyed the precious merchandise of the spiritual light from the East to western folk.” (Church History, 2:14).
The Emperor Constantine
“Since many such documents have been sent to me by Anulinus, the most illustrious proconsul of Africa, in which it is said that Caecilian, bishop of the city of Carthage, has been accused by some of his colleagues in Africa, in many matters; and since it seems to me a very serious ,thing that in those provinces which divine providence has freely entrusted to my devotedness, and in which there is a great population, the multitude are found following the baser course, and dividing, as it were, and the bishops are at variance…it seemed good to me that Caecilian himself with ten bishops who appear to accuse him, and with ten others whom he may consider necessary for his defence, should sail to Rome, that there, in the presence of yourselves and of Rheticius and Maternus and Marinus your colleagues, whom I have commanded to hasten to Rome for this purpose, he may be heard as you may understand to be in accordance with the most holy law. But in order that you may be able to have most perfect knowledge of these things, I have subjoined to my letter copies of the documents sent to me by Anulinus, and have sent them to your above-mentioned colleagues. When your firmness has read these, you will consider in what way the above-mentioned case may be most accurately investigated and justly decided. For it does not escape your diligence that I have such reverence for the legitimate Catholic Church that I do not wish you to leave schism or division in any place. May the divinity of the great God preserve you, most honoured sirs, for many years.” (Constantine Augustus to Pope Miltiades and to Mark, In Eusebius, H.E. 10.5 [A.D. 313)
Council of Arles
“[The Great Emperor] Constantine Augustus to Chrestus, bishop of Syracuse. Already on a former occasion, when some in a base the worship of the holy and heavenly power, and the catholic religion, in my desire to cut short such dissensions among them, I had given orders to the effect that certain bishops should be sent from Gaul, nay further, that the opposing parties, who were contending stubbornly and persistently together, should be summoned from Africa; that so, in the presence also of the bishop of Rome, this question which appeared to have been raised might through their coming receive a right solution by means of a careful examination in every particular.
“But since, as it happens, some, forgetful both of their own salvation and of the reverence they owe to their most holy religion, even now do not cease to perpetuate their private enmities, being unwilling to conform to the judgement already passed, and affirming that after all it was a few persons who gave their opinions and decisions, or that they were in a hurry to pass judgement very speedily and sharply without having first accurately examined all those matters that ought to have been investigated; and since, as a result of all this, it has come to pass that even those very persons who ought to be of one mind in brotherly concord are separate from each other in a disgraceful, nay rather in an abominable, fashion, and give to those men whose souls are strangers to this most holy religion an occasion to scoff, it became incumbent upon me to provide that that which ought to have ceased by voluntary agreement, after the judgement already passed, may even now, if possible, be ended by the presence of many persons. (Ibid)
“We have therefore commanded that very many bishops from various and numberless places should assemble at the city of Arles by the first of August.” (Constantine, To Chrestus of Syracuse [A.D. 314])
“To the most beloved Pope Silvester: Marinus… eternal life in the Lord. Being united by the common tie of charity, and by that unity which is the bond of our mother, the Catholic Church, we have been brought to the city of Arles by the wish of the most pious emperor, and we salute you with due reverence, most glorious Pope. Here we have suffered from troublesome men, dangerous to our law and tradition-men of undisciplined mind, whom both the authority of our God, which is with us, and our tradition and the rule of truth reject, because they have neither reason in their argument, nor any moderation in their accusations, nor was their manner of proof to the point. Therefore by the judgement of God and of Mother Church, who knows and approves her own, they have been either condemned or rejected. Would, most beloved brother, that you had thought it well to be wresent at this great spectacle! We believe surely - that in that case a more severe sentence would have been passed against them; and our assembly would have rejoiced with a greater joy, had you passed judgement together with us; but since you were by no means able to leave that region where the apostles daily sit, and their blood without ceasing bears witness to the glory of God, . . . it did not seem to us, most well-beloved brother, that we ought to deal exclusively with those matters on account of which we had been summoned, but we judged that we also should take counsel on our own affairs ; because, as the countries from which we have come are different, so events of various kinds will happen which we think that we ought to watch and regulate. Accordingly, we thought well, in the presence of the Holy Ghost and his angels, that concerning the various matters which occurred to each of us, we should make some decrees to provide for the present state of peace. We also agreed to write first to you who hold the greater dioceses that by you especially they should be brought to the knowledge of all. What it is that we have determined on, we have appended to this poor letter of ours. In the first place we were bound to discuss a matter that concerned the usefulness of our life. Now since One died and rose again for many, the same season should be observed with a religious mind by all at the same time, lest divisions or dissensions arise in so great a service of devotion. We judge therefore that the Easter of the Lord should be observed throughout the world upon the same day.” (The Council of Arles [Modern France] to Pope Silvester)
“The assembly of bishops, who were gathered together in the city of Arles, to the most holy brother Silvester. . . . What we have' decreed with one consent, we have reported to your
charity, that the bishops may know what ought to be observed in future.
“ In the first place, concerning the observance of Easter, it shall be observed by us on one day and at one time, throughout all the world, when you, according to custom, direct letters to all.
“Since the Africans are used, according to their law, to rebaptize,' we decree that if anyone comes to the Church from heresy they shall interrogate him concerning his creed; and if they perceive that he was baptized in the Father-and the Son and the Holy Ghost, only the hand shall be laid upon him, that he may receive the Holy Ghost. But if on being questioned, he does not answer this Trinity, he shall be baptized.” (Canons).
“The assembly of bishops, who were gathered together in the city of Arles, to the most holy brother Silvester. . . . What we have' decreed with one consent, we have reported to your charity, that the bishops may know what ought to be observed in future… In the first place, concerning the observance of Easter it shall be observed by us on one day and at one time, throughout all the world, when you, according to custom, direct letters to all.” (Canons, Turner 381A).
“And while Nero reigned, the Apostle Peter came to Rome, and, through the power of God committed unto him, wrought certain miracles, and, by turning many to the true religion, built up a faithful and stedfast temple unto the Lord.” (Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, ch 2 [c. A.D. 320])
The First Council of Nicaea (The First Ecumenical Council)
“Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also…” (Canon 6 [A.D. 325).
St. Anthony of Egypt
“Peter, the Prince of the Apostles.” (Anthony, Epist. xvii. Galland, iv p. 687 [A.D. 330]).
Pope St. Julius I
“I have read the letter which was brought by my presbyters Elpidius and Philoxenus, and I am surprised that whereas we wrote in charity and conscious sincerity, you have replied with contention and impropriety; for the pride and arrogance of the writers is exhibited in the letter. These things are alien to the faith in Christ; for what was written in charity should also have a reply in charity. . . . But we are obliged to infer that the words by which you seem to honour us are transformed by irony….
“I must inform you that although I alone wrote, yet the view I expressed is not only mine, but that of all the bishops throughout Italy and in these parts. Indeed I was unwilling to make them all write, lest they should have the pressure of numbers. Of course the bishops assembled on the day fixed, and agreed in these views which I again write to signify to you; so that, beloved, although I alone write, be sure that this is the opinion of all. So much then for the unreasonable, unjust, and suspicious excuses which some of you have devised.
“Now when these things were so spoken, and there were I so many witnesses for him [Athanasius], and so much in justification was advanced for him, what did it bind us to do? What did the ecclesiastical canon require, but that we should I not condemn the man, but rather receive and treat him as a bishop, as we have done? And besides all this, he stayed here a year and six months, awaiting the arrival of you, or of those who wanted to come. His presence shamed everyone, for he would not have been here, if he had not had confidence; and he came not of his own accord, but he was summoned by letter from us, as we wrote to you. But after all this, you complain that we acted against the canons. Now consider : who are they that have done so? We who received the man after so many proofs, or they who, being at Antioch thirty-six halts away, appointed a stranger to be bishop, and sent him to Alexandria with a military force?....
“Now as men with hearts of pity, take care to remedy, as I said before, the things done against the canons, so that if any [harm] has been done, it may be healed by your care. And do not write that I have preferred the communion of Marcellus and Athanasius to yours, for such things are not marks of peace, but of contention and brotherly hatred. I have written the above for this reason, that you may realize that we did not receive them unjustly, and this strife may cease…
“O beloved, the decisions of the Church are no longer according to the gospel, but tend only to exile and death. Supposing, as you assert, that there was some charge against them, the case ought not to have been conducted thus, but according to the ecclesiastical canon. You should have written to us all, so that justice might be determined by all. For the sufferers were bishops, and prominent churches, which the apostles themselves had governed. And why were we not written to especially about the church of the Alexandrians? Are you ignorant that the custom was just to write to us, and then for justice to be determined from here? If then the bishop there was at all suspect, it should have been reported in writing to the church here. As it is they failed to inform us, but acted as they pleased, and now want to obtain our concurrence, though we have not condemned him. Not so the statutes of Paul,not so have the fathers handed down; this is another model, and a new procedure. I beseech you, readily bear with me: what I write is for the common good. For what we have received from the blessed apostle Peter, that I point out to you; and as I believe these things to be obvious to all, I should not have written if the events had not distracted us…” (Pope Julius to the Eusebians, Letter on Behalf of Athanasius, in Athanasius, Apology Against the Arians 20–35 [A.D. 341]).
“For if, indeed as you assert, some sin among them, a jurdicial investigastion ough to have been made according to the ecclesiastical canon, and not in this manner. Everyone should have written to us, in oder that thus what was just might be decided by all; for the bishops were the ones who suffered, and it was not the ordinary churches that were harassed, but which the apostles htemselves goverened in person. Yet why has nothing been written to us, espeically regarding the Alexandrian church? Or do you not know that it is the custom to write to us first, and that here what is just is decided Certainly if any suspicion of this nature did fall upon the bishop of that city, that fact should have been written to this church.” (Epistle to the Antiochenes [A.D. 341]).
“To Gregory, bishop of Alexandria, Amphion, bishop of Nicomedia, Donatus, bishop of Carthage, . . . Wherefore the whole council, following ancient law, condemned Julius of the city of Rome, Hosius, Protogenes, Gaudentius, and Maximin of Trkves, as originators of the communion of Marcellus, Athanasius, and other miscreants, . . . for it was Julius I of the city of Rome, as chief and leader of the wicked, who first opened the door of communion to infamous and condemned men.” [Letter from Philipfopolis of the Eusebians, preserved in Hilary, Fragmentum 3 [A.D. 342]).
Council of Sardica
“If any bishop looses the judgment in some case [decided by his fellow bishops] and still believes that he has not a bad but a good case, in order that the case may be judged anew …let us honor the memory of the Apostle Peter by having those who have given the judgment write to Julius, Bishop of Rome, so that if it seem proper he may himself send arbiters and the judgment may be made again by the bishops of a neighboring province.” (Council of Sardica, Canon 3 [A.D. 342])
“If some bishop be deposed by the judgment of the bishops sitting in the neighborhood, and if he declare that he will seek further redress, another should not be appointed to his see until the bishop of Rome can be acquainted with the case and render a judgment” (Canon 4 [A.D. 342]).
“Bishop Hosius said: Further decreed, that if a bishop is accused, and the bishops of that region assemble and depose him from his office, if he who has been deposed shall appeal and take refuge with the bishop of the Roman church and wishes to be given a hearing, if he thinks it right that the trial or examination of his case be renewed, let him be pleased to write to those bishops who are in an adjacent and neighbouring province, that they may diligently inquire into all the particulars and decide according to the word of truth. But if he who asks to have his case reheard, shall by his entreaty move the Bishop of Rome to send a presbyter a latere it shall be in the power of that bishop to do what he shall resolve and determine upon; and if he shall decide that some be sent, who shall be present and be judges with the bishops invested with his authority by whom they were appointed, it shall be as he shall choose. But if he believe that the bishops suffice to give a final decision, he shall do what he shall determine upon in his most wise judgment.” (Canon 5, Latin).
“ We were not ignorant, but the fact was well known to us, even before we received the letters of your piety, that the supporters of the abominable heresy of the Arians were practising many dangerous schemes . . . when they came to the city of Sardica, they were unwilling to meet the council of all the holy bishops. From this it became evident that the decision of our brother and fellow bishop Julius was a just one.” (To the Church of Alexandria, preserved in Athanasius’ Apology [A.D. 342]).
“The holy council by the grace of God assembled at Sardica, to their dearly beloved brethren in the Lord, the bishops and fellow-ministers of the Catholic Church every where. he Arian fanatics have dared repeatedly to attack the servants of God who hold the right faith; they tried to substitute a spurious doctrine, and to drive out the orthodox. . . . Indeed their slanders were clearly proved by the fact that, when they were called by our dearly beloved fellow minister Julius, they would not come, and also by the writings of Julius himself. For had they had confidence in the measures in which they were engaged against our fellow ministers, they would have come. And besides they gave a more evident proof of their conspiracy by their conduct in the great and holy synod. For when they reached Sardica and saw our brothers Athanasius, Marcellus, Asclepas and the rest, they were afraid to come to a trial, and though they were repeatedly invited to attend, they would not obey the summon.
“We have therefore pronounced our dearly beloved brethren and fellow ministers Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas, and those who minister to the Lord with them, to be innocent and clear of offence, and have written to the district of each, that the people of'each church may know the innocence of their own bishop, and may accept him as their bishop, and expect his coming. As for those who have invaded their churches like wolves, Gregory at Alexandria, Basil at Ancyra, and Quintian at Gaza, no one should call them bishops, or hold any communion at all with them, or receive letters from them or write to them. . . . Those who separate the Son and alienate the Word from the Father ought themselves to be separated from the Catholic Church and to be alien from the Christian name.” (To the whole Church).
“Paul the apostle said concerning himself: "Or do you seek a proof of the Christ that speaks in me?" Yet, of a truth, since the Lord Christ dwelt in him, it would be impossible to doubt that the Holy Ghost spoke through his soul, and resounded through the organ of his body. Accordingly you too, most beloved brother, though separated in the body were present in a harmony of mind and will. The excuse for your absence was both honourable and necessary lest either schismatic wolves might steal and rob by stealth, or heretical dogs bark madly in the wild fury of excitement, or even the crawling devil pour forth the poison of blasphemy; for this will appear best and fittest, that the priests of the Lord from all the provinces should report to the head, that is to the see of Peter the apostle…
“There were three subjects for us to discuss. For our devout emperors themselves gave us permission to debate thoroughly everything under dispute, and first of all the holy faith and sound truth, which are being assailed.
“You, then, in your excellent wisdom, should provide that our brethren in Sicily, Sardinia, and Italy may learn by a communication from you what has been done and decreed, that they may not accept in ignorance letters of communion or certificates from men who have been degraded by a just verdict.” (To Julius, preserved in Hilary, Fragmentum 2).
“I did not defend Athanasius, but because my predecessor Julius, of good memory, had received him, I was afraid lest I might be judged a dissembler in some sort. But when, by God's will, I realized that you had justly condemned him, I at once assented to your opinions ; and I have given letters, about that very man (that is about his condition), to be carried to the emperor Constantius by our brother Fortunatian. So then, Athanasius being removed from communion with all of us, and since I am not even to receive his letters, I say that I am quite at peace with all of you, and in peace and harmony with all the eastern bishops throughout the provinces.” (To the Eastern Presbysters and Bishops [A.D. 357]).
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
“In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis (Acts 9:32–34).” (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Patriarch , Father and Doctor of the Church, Catechetical Lectures [A.D. 350]).
“The Lord is loving toward men, swift to pardon but slow to punish. Let no man despair of his own salvation. Peter, the first and foremost of the apostles, denied the Lord three times before a little servant girl, but he repented and wept bitterly” (Catechetical Lectures 2:19 [A.D. 350]).
“[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him. . . . While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . [T]hey launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was there — he that carries about the keys of heaven [Matt. 16:19]” (ibid., 6:14).
“Our Lord Jesus Christ then became a man, but by the many He was not known. But wishing to teach that which was not known, having assembled the disciples, He asked, ‘Whom do men say that the Son of man is?’ …And all being silent (for it was beyond man to learn) Peter, the Foremost of the Apostles, the Chief Herald of the Church, not using the language of his own finding, nor persuaded by human reasoning, but having his mind enlightened by the Father, says to Him, ‘Thou art the Christ,’ not simply that, but ‘the Son of the living God.’” (Catech. xi. n. 3 [A.D. 363]).
“For Peter was there, who carrieth the keys of heaven.” (Catechetical Lectures A.D. 350).
“Peter, the chief and foremost leader of the Apostles, before a little maid thrice denied the Lord, but moved to penitence, he wept bitterly.” ( Catech ii. n. 15 [A.D. 363]).
“In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, also the foremost of the Apostles and the key-bearer of the Kingdom of Heaven, healed Aeneas the paralytic in the name of Christ.” (Cyril, Catech. xviii. n. 27).
‘Let no one then despair of his own 1 salvation. Peter, the chiefest) and first of the apostles, before a little maid thrice denied the Lord ; but when remorse touched him he wept bitterly; and to weep shows a heartfelt penitence. And so he not only received forgiveness for the denial, but was spared his apostolic dignity.” (Catechetical Lectures, Lecture 2 [A.D. 348]).
“The error spreading, that goodly pair, Peter and Paul, the rulersof the Church, being present, set matters right again….(Catechetical Lectures, Lecture 6 [A.D. 348]).
“And when all were silent, for it was beyond man's reach to learn, Peter, the leader2 of the apostles, and chief herald of the Church, uttering no refinement of his own, nor persuaded by man's reasoning, but having his mind enlightened from the Father, says to him: "Thou art the Christ.” (Catechetical Lectures, Lecture 11 [A.D. 348]).
St. Ephraim the Syrian (Ephrem)
“[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the firstborn in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures!” (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).
“Hail, Peter: gate of sinners, firm trust of penitents, encouragement of converts, recalling those who deny, consolation of the lapsed. Hail, Peter: tongue of the disciples, voice of the heralds, eye of the apostles, keeper of the heavens, firstborn of the key-bearers. Hail, Peter: who plays out the devil's contest, and after injury brings back victory with violence, who overthrows the greatest enemy, who after being wounded brought back honour and after a fall erected a trophy and ripped off the crown from the head of the adversary.” (Eulogy on Peter, Paul, Andrew, etc: Works, Class 5, Sermon 11).
Aurelius Prudentius Clemens
“At Rome now two Princes of the Apostles [Sts. Peter and Paul] reign: One the herald of the Gentiles, the other possessing the First Chair, he opens the gates of eternity to him entrusted.” (hymn on St. Lawrence, by a famous Latin poet from Hispania Tarraconensis [c. A.D. 348-413]).
Rome is called “the Apostolic throne.” (Athanasius, Hist. Arian, ad Monach. n. 35, [362 A.D.]).
“The Chief, Peter.” (Athanasius, In Ps. xv. 8, tom. iii. p. 106, Migne ).
“As soon as Athanasius heard, he, knowing the fury of the heretics, sailed to Rome, that the synod might be held as arranged.” (Athanasius, Historia Arianorum).
“The Egyptians wrote to everyone and to Julius, bishop of Rome. The Eusebians also wrote to Julius and, thinking to frighten me, requested him to call a council, and to be himself the judge, if he so pleased.” (Athanasius, Apologia contra Arianos [A.D. 351]).
“A charge had been laid by some people against the bishop of Alexandria before the bishop of Rome, as he had said that the Son was made, and not one in substance with the Father. This had given great pain to the Roman council; and the bishop of Rome expressed their united sentiments in a letter to his namesake. This led to his writing an explanation which he called The Book of Refutation and Defence.” (De Synodis, On Pope St. Dionysius of Rome [A.D. 359]).
“But to convince him, the bishop said : "How can this be done against Athanasius? How can we condemn a man who has been fairly acquitted first by one council, then by another assembled from all parts of the world, and whom the church of Rome dismissed in peace? Who will approve of us if we reject in his absence one whose presence we welcomed and admitted to communion? There is no such ecclesiastical canon; nos have we ever received such a tradition from the fathers, which tradition they might have received from the blessed and great apostle Peter."
“. . . The emperor therefore writes to Rome, and again palace officials, notaries, and counts are sent with letters to the prefect, that they may either lead Liberius away from Rome by craft, and send him to himself at the camp, or else persecute him by violence.
“After the emperor had frequently written to Rome, had threatened, sent legates, and schemed, the persecution spread to Alexandria. Liberius was dragged before him, but boldly speaking out, he said to him : " Stop persecuting the Christians ; do not try to bring profanity into the Church through me. We are ready to endure anything, rather than to be called Ariomaniacs. We are Christians; do not force us to become Christ's enemies. We also advise you not to fight against him who gave you this rule, nor to show impiety to him instead of thankfulness. Do not persecute those who believe in him.". Thus they tried at first to corrupt the church of the Romans, wishing to introduce impiety into it. But Liberius, after he had been exiled for two years, gave way, and from fear of threatened death he subscribed. But this also shows their violence, and the hatred of Liberius against the heresy, and his support of Athanasius, whilst he had a free choice. For what is done under torture against a man's first judgement is not the willing deed of those who fear, but that of the tormentors. These latter attempted everything to support the heresy, while the people in every church, holding the faith they had learnt, waited for the return of their teachers.
“And they all rejected the anti-Christian heresy, and avoided it like a serpent. But although the ungodly had done all this, yet they thought they had accomplished nothing, so long as the great Hosius escaped their knavish tricks. And now they set out to extend their fury to that venerable old man. They felt no shame that he is the father of the bishops, nor did they care that he had been a confessor, nor respect the length of his episcopate, in which he had continued more than sixty years, but they set aside everything and only looked at the heresy, truly men who neither "fear God nor regard man." So they went to Constantius and again argued as follows : "We have done everything ; we have banished the bishop of the Romans, and before him many other bishops, and we have filled every place with alarm. But these strong measures of yours are nothing to us, nor have we succeeded at all, so long as Hosius remains. While he is in his own place, they all also are in their churches, for he is competent in reason and in faith to persuade all against us. He is the president of councils, and his letters are heard everywhere, and he put forth the faith in Nicaea, and proclaimed everywhere that the Arians were heretics. If therefore he remains, the banishment of the rest is superfluous, for our heresy will be put out. Begin, then, to persecute him also, and spare him not, old as he is. Our heresy does not recognize the honourable grey hairs of the aged." (Historia Arianorum [A.D. 358]).
St. Hilary of Poitiers
“And so his words You are declare that what is asserted of Him is strictly and exactly true to His nature. Next, the Father’s utterance, This is My Son, had revealed to Peter that he must confess You are the Son of God, for in the words This is, God the Revealer points Him out, and the response, You are, is the believer’s welcome to the truth. And this is the rock of confession whereon the Church is built. But the perceptive faculties of flesh and blood cannot attain to the recognition and confession of this truth. It is a mystery, Divinely revealed, that Christ must be not only named, but believed, the Son of God. Was it only the Divine name; was it not rather the Divine nature that was revealed to Peter? If it were the name, he had heard it often from the Lord, proclaiming Himself the Son of God. What honour, then, did he deserve for announcing the name? No; it was not the name; it was the nature, for the name had been repeatedly proclaimed.”
“This faith it is which is the foundation of the Church; through this faith the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. This is the faith which has the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatsoever this faith shall have loosed or bound on earth shall be loosed or bound in heaven. This faith is the Father’s gift by revelation…” (On the Trinity, 6:6 [c. A.D. 315-367]).
“Peter believeth first, and is the prince of the apostleship.” (Commentary on Matthew, 7: 6).
“Blessed Simon, who after his confession of the mystery was set to be the foundation-stone of the Church, and received the keys of the kingdom of Heaven…This faith is the foundation of the Church; through this faith the gates of Hell cannot prevail against her” (On the Trinity, 6: 20, 37).
St. Optatus of Milevis
“Therefore none of the heretics possess either the Keys, which Peter alone received.” (St. Optatus of Milevis, Against the Donatists [A.D. 367]).
“So we have proved that the Catholic Church is the Church which is spread throughout the world.
We must now mention its Adornments, and see where are its five Endowments (which you have said to be six), amongst which the Cathedra is the first; and, since the second Endowment, which is the ‘Angelus,’ cannot be added unless a Bishop has sat on the Cathedra, we must see who was the first to sit on the Cathedra, and where he sat. If you do not know this, learn. If you do know, blush. Ignorance cannot be attributed to you—-it follows that you know. For one who knows, to err is sin. Those who do not know may sometimes be pardoned. You cannot then deny that you do know that upon Peter first in the City of Rome was bestowed the Episcopal Cathedra, on which sat Peter, the Head of all the Apostles (for which reason he was called Cephas), that, in this one Cathedra, unity should be preserved by all, lest the other Apostles might claim—-each for himself—-separate Cathedras, so that he who should set up a second Cathedra against the unique Cathedra would already be a schismatic and a sinner. Well then, on the one Cathedra, which is the first of the Endowments, Peter was the first to sit.” (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).
“To Peter succeeded Linus, to Linus succeeded Clement, to Clement Anacletus, to Anacletus Evaristus, to Evaristus Sixtus, to Sixtus Telesphorus, to Telesphorus Hyginus, to Hyginus Anacetus, to Anacetus Pius, to Pius Soter, to Soter Alexander, to Alexander Victor, to Victor Zephyrinus, to Zephyrinus Calixtus, to Calixtus Urban, to Urban Pontianus, to Pontianus Anterus, to Anterus Fabian, to Fabian Cornelius, to Cornelius Lucius, to Lucius Stephen, to Stephen Sixtus, to Sixtus Dionysius, to Dionysius Felix, to Felix Marcellinus, to Marcellinus Eusebius, to Eusebius Miltiades, to Miltiades Silvester, to Silvester Marcus, to Marcus Julius, to Julius Liberius, to Liberius Damasus, to Damasus Siricius, who to-day is our colleague, with whom the whole world, through the intercourse of letters of peace, agrees with us in one bond of communion. Now do you show the origin of your Cathedra, you who wish to claim the Holy Church for yourselves!...”
“So, of the aforesaid endowments, the chair is, as we have said, the first, which we have proved to be ours, through Peter, and which draws to itself the angelus, unless perchance you claiming him for yourselves, have him shut up in a little place.”
“Catholicism is constituted by a simple and true understanding in the law, by an unique and most true mystery, and by unity of minds. But schism, after the bond of peace has been broken, is brought into existence through passion, is nourished by hatred, is strengthened by envy and dissensions, so that the Catholic Mother is abandoned, whilst her unfilial children go forth outside and separate themselves (as you have done) from the root of Mother Church----cut off by the shears of their hatred----and wickedly depart in rebellion. They are not able, however, to do anything new, or different from that which long ago they learned from their Mother.”
“You have not wished to bring forward the examples to be found in the gospel, as for instance what has been written concerning the person of the most blessed Peter, where we may read a description of the way in which unity is to be obtained or procured. Without doubt it is evil to do anything against a prohibition, but it is worse not to have unity when you can. We see that this unity was preferred to punishment by Christ himself, who chose that all his disciples should be in unity, rather than punish a sin against himself. For, as he did not wish to be denied, he declared that whosoever should deny him before men would he deny before his Father. And though this has been thus written, nevertheless for the good of unity blessed Peter, for whom it would have been enough if after his denial he had obtained pardon only, deserved to be placed before all the apostles, and alone received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to
be communicated to the rest.” (De Schismate, Book 7)
“And though this has been thus written, nevertheless, for the sake of unity, blessed Peter (for whom it would have been enough if after his denial he had obtained pardon only) both deserved to be placed over all the Apostles, and alone received the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, which he was to communicate to the rest.” (Against Parmenian 7:3).
“See that you are ignorant that the schism at Carthage was begun by your chiefs. Search out the origin of these things, and you will find that in associating heretics with schismatics, you have pronounced judgement against yourselves. For it was not Caecilian who went forth from Majorinus, your father's father, but it was Majorinus who deserted Caecilian ; nor was it Caecilian who separated himself from the chair of Peter or of Cyprian, but Majorinus, on whose chair you sit, which had no existence before Majorinus himself.” (De Schismate Donatistorum, Book 1:10).
St. Basil the Great
“Peter…who on account of the pre-eminence of his faith received upon himself the building of the Church.” (Against Eunomians).
“So the collectors of the half-shekel say to the apostle Peter, "Does not your master pay the half-shekel?" Having said which, they agreed that the master pays for all the disciples. Now the Saviour, when he orders it to be given for himself and Peter, seems to have paid out for all; so just as all were included in the Saviour, by virtue of his office as teacher, likewise after the Saviour all were included in Peter. For he appointed him to be their head,l that he might be the shepherd of the Lord's flock. For amongst other things he says to the disciples: "Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation" ; and he says to Peter, "Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat ; but I have prayed for thee, that " thy faith fail not, and do thou later, being converted, strengthen thy brethren". What ambiguity is there? Did he pray for Peter, but not pray for James and John, not to mention the others? It is clear that all are included in Peter, for by praying for Peter, he is seen to have prayed for all. For always a people I ' is blamed and praised in him that is set over.” (Quaestiones ex Nouo Testamento [A.D. 370]).
“. . By the apostles who were somewhat distinguished among their colleagues, whom also he, Paul, because of their constancy calls "pillars", and who had always been intimate with the I Lord, even beholding his glory on the mount, by them he I [Paul] says the gift which he received from God was approved ; so that he would be worthy to have primacy4 in preaching to the Gentiles, even as Peter had the primacy in preaching to the ~ circumcision. And even as he gives colleagues to Peter, outstanding men among the apostles, so he also joins to himself Barnabas, who was associated with him by divine choice; yet I he claims the privilege of primacy granted by God for himself alone, even as it was granted to Peter alone among the apostles, in such a way that the apostles of the circumcision stretched out their right hands to the apostles of the Gentiles to manifest a harmony of fellowship, that both parties, knowing that they had received from the Lord a spirit of completeness in the imparting of the gospel, might show that they were in no way appointing one another.” (Commentaria in XI11 Epistolas Beati Pauli, on Galatians 2:9-10).
St. Macarius of Egypt
“The Chief, Peter.” (Macarius, De Patientia, n. 3, p. 180 [A.D. 371]).
“Moses was succeeded by Peter, who had committed to his hands the new Church of Christ, and the true priesthood.” (Macarius, Hom. xxvi. n. 23, p. 101).
St. Epiphanius of Salamis
“At Rome the first apostles and bishops were Peter and Paul, then Linus, then Cletus, then Clement, the contemporary of Peter and Paul” (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 27:6 [A.D. 375]).
“Holy men are therefore called the temple of God, because the Holy Spirit dwells in them; as that Chief of the Apostles testifies, he that was found to be blessed by the Lord, because the Father had revealed unto him. To him then did the Father reveal His true Son; and the same (Peter) furthermore reveals the Holy Spirit. This was befitting in the First of the Apostles, that firm Rock upon which the Church of God is built, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The gates of hell are heretics and heresiarchs. For in every way was the faith confirmed in him who received the keys of heaven; who looses on earth and binds in heaven. For in him are found all subtle questions of faith. He was aided by the Father so as to be [or lay] the Foundation of the security [firmness] of the faith. He (Peter) heard from the same God, ‘feed my lambs’; to him He entrusted the flock; he leads the way admirably in the power of his own Master.” (Saint Epiphanius, Archbishop of Salamis, T. ii. in Anchor, [A.D. 385]).
“as Manasseh the son of Hezekiah was converted and received by the Lord, and as Saint Peter, the very chiefest of the apostles, who had at one stage denied the Lord, has become for us in truth a solid rock, bearing the weight of the faith of the Lord, on which the Church is, in all ways, built.” (Against the Heresies, Heresy 59 [A.D. 372]).
“All you seek then, you have in Matthew. Why did not you, who teach a bishop, read it all? Look at the opening words of that precept. As Matthew himself reports, the Lord spoke to Peter a little earlier; he spoke to one, that from one he might found unity, soon delivering the same to all. Yet he still begins just as to Peter: "And I say also unto thee", he says " that thou art Peter.” (Epistle 3, to Sympronianus
[c. A.D. 375]).
St. Gregory Nazianzen (The Theologian)
“Truly nature has not given us two suns; but she has given us two Romes, as lights of the whole world, an old dominion and a new; the one differs from the other as the latter outshines the East and the former the West. But the beauty of the one balances exactly in the scales with the beauty of the other. Regarding the faith which they uphold, the ancient Rome has kept a straight course from of old, and still does so, uniting the whole West by sound teaching, as is just, since she presides over all and guards the universal divine harmony” (Carm De Vita Sua, [A.D. 329–390]).
“Peter, the unbreakable rock, to whom was allotted the Key.” (Carminum, Liber I, PG 37:559).
“… of all the disciples of Christ, all of whom were great and deserving of the choice, one is called rock and entrusted with the foundations of the Church…” (Oration 26)
St. Gregory of Nyssa
“Peter, the chief of the Apostles, is recalled and the remaining members of the Church are glorified with him for indeed the Church of God is established upon him. This is in accord with the Lord’s words who made him the firm and most solid rock upon which he had built his Church [cf. Mt 16.16ff]. Then we have mention of James, John and [J.105] as sons of thunder whom the Savior had named and who had brought rain clouds; for the gathering of clouds by necessity herald rain. Thus the clouds represent Apostles and prophetic words; although times of preaching differ, nevertheless the laws of true religion are in harmony and one spirit is the source of various gifts….” (Two Homilies Concerning Saint Stephen).
“According to the privilege granted him by the Lord, Peter is that unbreakable and most solid rock upon which the Savior built His church.” (Sermon [A.D 395]). [ή άρραγής καί όχυρωτάτη πέτρα έφ ήν τήν Έκκλησίαν ό Σωτήρ ώκοδόμησε]. (Patrologia Graeca 46, 733).
“through Peter gave to the bishops the keys of the heavenly honors [their prerogative].” (“St. Peter and the Keys of the Kingdom” by Eric Ybarra. PG xlvii, 312c).
The First Council of Constantinople (The Second Ecumenical Council)
“The bishop of Constantinople shall have the primacy [prerogative] of honor after the bishop of Rome, because his city is New Rome.” (The Second Ecumenical Council, Canon 3 [A.D. 381]).
“You have shown your brotherly love for us by convoking a synod in Rome, in accordance with God’s will, and inviting us to it, by means of a letter from your most God-beloved emperor, as if we were limbs of your very own…you should not now reign in isolation from us, given the complete agreement of the emperors in matters of religion. Rather, according to the word of the apostle, we should reign along with you.” (Synodal Letter to Rome).
“We wish all nations which are governed by the measure of our kindness to abide in that religion which is declared to have been introduced by St. Peter, the apostle to the Romans, and by him to have been handed down to this day, and which is followed by the pontiff Damasus, and by Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. This is, that according to the apostolic discipline, and the doctrine of the gospel, we should believe the sole deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, under an equal majesty and a pious Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to embrace the name of catholic Christians, and we declare the rest to be foolish madmen who uphold the disgrace of heretical dogma ; neither shall their meeting-houses receive the name of churches. Besides the divine condemnation, we by the will of heaven are further moved to inflict the penalties of revenge. (A.D. February 21, 380).
Pope St. Damasus I
“[We] have considered that it ought to be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of the churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, Who says: “You are Peter …(Matt 16:18–19).” In addition to this, there is also the companionship of the vessel of election, the most blessed Apostle Paul who, along with Peter in the city of Rome in the time of Caesar Nero—not at a different time, as the heretics prattle, but at one and the same time and on one and the same day: and they equally consecrated the above-mentioned holy Roman Church to Christ the Lord; and by their own presence and by their venerable triumph, they set it at the forefront over the others of all the cities of the world. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman church, which has neither stain nor blemish, nor anything like that. The second see is that of Alexandria, consecrated on behalf of the blessed Peter by Mark, his disciple and an Evangelist, who was sent to Egypt by the Apostle Peter, where he preached the word of truth and finished his glorious martyrdom. The third see is that of Antioch, which belonged to the most blessed Peter, where first he dwelled before he came to Rome, and where the name “Christians” was first applied, as to a new people.” (Decree of Damasus 3, A.D. 382).
“Although, dearest brethren, the decrees of the Fathers are known to you, yet we cannot wonder at your carefulness as regards the institutes of our: forefathers that you cease not, as the custom ever has been, to refer all those things which can admit of any doubt to us as to the head that thence you may derive answers, whence you received the institution and rule of living rightly.” (Ep. v. Prosp. Numid.).
“Damasus to his most beloved brother Paulinus. By my son Vitalis, I directed to you a letter, in which I left everything to your discretion. And through Petronius the presbyter, I briefly indicated that, just as he set out, I was rather upset. And so lest any scruple should remain in you, and lest your wise caution should deter those who would perhaps want to be joined to the Church, we are sending you a statement of faith, not so much for yourself, who share the communion of the same faith, as for those who, by subscribing to it, may wish to be joined to you, that is, to us through you, most beIoved brother. Further if my son Vitalis, mentioned above, and those with him, should desire to be brought into the flock, they ought first to subscribe to that exposition of faith which was affirmed by the pious will of the Nicene fathers.” (Ep. 3, Per jlium meum Vitalem).
“Those who have migrated from church to church we hold I to be alien from our communion, until they return to those cities in which they were first appointed. If while any is travelling about, another is ordained in his place, then he who forsook the city is deprived of the priestly office until his successor rest in peace.” (Epistle 4, Post concilium Nicaenum, to Bishop Paulinus).
“We will that if anyone has been condemned by the judgement of Damasus, which he had given with the advice of five or seven bishops, or by the judgement or advice of those who are catholics, if he But if a question of this kind arises in more distant parts, let the examination be transferred by the local courts to the metropolitan ; or if he is a metropolitan himself, he should be ordered of necessity to journey to Rome without delay, or to those judges whom the Roman bishop may appoint, so that those who shall have been deposed be kept away from the bounds of the city in which they exercised the priesthood, lest they again impudently usurp that which they have been deprived of by law. Certainly, if either the metropolitan or any other priest be suspected of favour or iniquity, it is lawful to appeal either to the Roman bishop or to a council of fifteen neighbouring bishops. unjustly wishes to retain the church, so that he through insolence does not come when called to a priestly judgement, he be summoned with authority, either by the illustrious men the praetorian prefects of Gaul and Italy, or by the proconsuls or vicars, and be sent to the episcopaljudgement, or else come under prosecution at Rome. Or if such arrogance should arise in more distant parts, let the whole pleading of the cause be submitted to the examination of the metropolitan in the same province as the bishop; or if he is a metropolitan himself, he should of necessity journey to Rome without delay or to those judges whom the Roman bishop may appoint; so that they who have been deprived be kept away from the bounds of the town in which they were priests. For we punish people less severely than they merit, and we avenge sacrilegious obstinacy more leniently than it deserves. But if the iniquity or favour of the metropolitan bishop or other priest is suspected, it is lawful for the ac- , cused to appeal to the Roman bishop, or to a council of fifteen neighbouring bishops.” (To Aquilinus, Vicar of the
City, Ordinariorum sententiae, [A.D. 378]).
“The bishops assembled at Rome in sacred synod, Damasus and Valerian and the rest, to their beloved brethren the bishops of Illyria, send greeting in God. . . . When first the wickedness of the heretics began to flourish, and when, as now still more, the blasphemy of the Arians was creeping abroad, our fathers, 318 bishops, the holiest bishops in the Roman empire, deliberated at Nicaea. The wall which they set up against the weapons of the devil, and the antidote wherewith they repelled his deadly poisons, was their confession that the Father and the Son are of one substance, one godhead, one virtue, one power, one likeness, and that the Holy Ghost is of the same essence and substance. Whoever did not thus think was judged separate from our communion. Their deliberation was worthy of all respect, and their definition sound. But certain men have intended by other later discussions to corrupt and befoul it. Yet at the very outset, error was so far set right by the bishops on whom the attempt was made at Ariminum to compel them to manipulate or innovate in the faith, that they confessed themselves seduced by opposite arguments, or owned that they had not perceived any contradiction to the opinion.” (Epistle 1, Credimus sanctam Jidem, preserved in Theodoret, H.E, 2 [A.D. 317]).
Council of Rome, 378
“This also, most merciful sovereigns is a clear example of your glory and piety that, when we gathered in considerable numbers from the different parts of Italy, to the sublime sanctuary of the apostolic see, and were considering what request we should make to you on behalf of the churches, we could find nothing better than that which you, in your spontaneous forethought, have bestowed. We now realize that there ought to be no shame in asking, or need to obtain by petition, favours which you have already granted. For as regards the fairness of our petition, long ago we gained what we now request; but, as regards the need of renewing our prayer, since we have not received the effect of your favours, we wish to obtain them again. . . .
“We request your clemency to make an order, that if anyone shall have been condemned by the judgement of Damasus or of ourselves, who are catholics, and shall unjustly wish to retain a church, or when called by a priestly judgement is absent through insolence, that he be summoned to Rome either by the illustrious men the praetorian prefects of your Italy or by the vicar. (To the Emperors, Et hoc gloriae).
Council of Rome, 384
“[the Bishop of Rome is] the head of all the Churches by virtue of the word which the Lord spoke to Peter: You are Peter etc. ”
St. Ambrose of Milan
“[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?” ( Exposition of the Christian Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).
“They (the Novatian heretics) have not the succession of Peter, who hold not the chair of Peter, which they rend by wicked schism; and this, too, they do, wickedly denying that sins can be forgiven (by the sacrament of confession) even in the Church, whereas it was said to Peter: ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven.’” (On Penance [A.D. 388]).
“And this confession is indeed rightly made by them, for they have not the succession of Peter, who hold not the chair of Peter, which they rend by wicked schism; and this, too, they do, wickedly denying that sins can be forgiven even in the Church, whereas it was said to Peter: “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 shall loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.” And the vessel of divine election himself said: “If ye have forgiven anything to any one, I forgive also, for what I have forgiven I have done it for your sakes in the person of Christ.” Why, then, do they read Paul’s writings, if they think that he has erred so wickedly as to claim for himself the right of his Lord? But he claimed what he had received, he did not usurp that which was not due to him.” (On Repentance).
“It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal” (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]).
“Could not Christ, who confided to him the Kingdom by His own authority, have strengthened the faith of the one whom He designated a Rock to show the foundation of the Church?” (De Fide, bk. 4, n. 56).
“He (St. Peter), then, who before was silent, to teach us that we ought not to repeat the words of the impious, this one, I say, when he heard, ‘But who do you say I am,’ immediately, not unmindful of his station, exercised his primacy, that is, the primacy of confession, not of honor; the primacy of belief, not of rank.” (The Sacrament of the Incarnation of Our Lord).
“Faith, then, is the foundation of the Church, for it was not said of Peter’s flesh, but of his faith, that ‘the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.’ But his confession of faith conquered hades. And this confession did not shut out (even) one heresy, for, since the Church like a good ship is often buffeted by many waves, the foundation of the Church should prevail against all heresies.” (The Sacrament of the Incarnation of Our Lord).
“Believe, therefore, as Peter believed, that thou also mayest be blessed, and that thou also mayest deserve to hear, ‘Because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in heaven, etc. ‘… Great is the grace of Christ, Who has imparted almost all His Own names to His disciples. ‘I am,’ said He, ‘the light of the world,’ and…, ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ ‘I am the living bread’; and ‘we all are one bread’ (1 Cor. x.17)…Christ is the rock, for ‘they drank of the same spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ’ (1 Cor. x.4); also He denied not to His disciple the grace of this name; that he should be Peter (petrus), because he has from the Rock (petra) the solidity of constancy, the firmness of faith. Make an effort, therefore, to be a rock! Do not seek the rock outside of yourself, but within yourself! Your rock is your deed, your rock is your mind. Upon this rock your house is built. Your rock is your faith, and faith is the foundation of the Church. If you are a rock, you will be in the Church, because the Church is on a rock. If you are in the Church the gates of hell will not prevail against you." (Commentary on Luke).
“[No disturbance should strike] the Roman Church, the Head of the whole Roman world… for from thence flow all the rights of venerable Communion to all persons.” (Letter to Emperor Gratian).
“But he was not so eager as to lay aside caution. He called the bishop to him, and esteeming that there can be no true thankfulness except it spring from true faith, he enquired whether he agreed with the Catholic bishops, that is, with the Roman Church? (On the Death of Satyrus).
“This man who at first was silent, as he teaches that we ought not to repeat the words of the wicked, when he heard : "Who do ye say that I am?", at once mindful of his place, assumed the primacy : undoubtedly a primacy of confession, not of honour; a primacy of faith, not of rank. That is to say, "Now let no one surpass me". (Liber de Incarnationis Dominicae Sacramento [A.D. 381]).
“There is no doubt, therefore, that Peter believed, and that he believed because he loved, and loved because he believed. Consequently he is also made sad, because he is asked yet a third time : " Lovest thou me?"For he about whom there is a doubt is questioned, but the Lord is not in doubt, and he was asking the question, not in order to get information, but in order to teach him whom he was leaving for us, as a vicar of his love, seeing that he was to be raised into heaven. For thus you find 1 " Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? " Likewise " Lord, thou knowest that I love thee", and Jesus says, " Feed my lambs ". In full self-awareness, Peter testifies to a love not assumed for the occasion, but long since known to God. For who else is there that could easily make this profession about himself? And for that very reason, he alone of all men makes it : he is placed before all men; for love is greater than all.” (Expositio in Lucam, Book 10. [A.D. 390])
“Again there was Peter, and he followed him when he was led by the Jews to the house of Caiaphas, chief of the synagogue. That is Peter to whom he said, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church ". Where therejiore Peter is, there is the Church. Where the Church is, there is no death but eternal life. And he also adds, "And the gates of hades shall not prevail against it, and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven". Against blessed Peter, neither has the gate of hades prevailed, nor the gate of heaven shut, but on the contrary he has destroyed the forecourt of hades and thrown open the heavenly one.” (Enarratio in Psalmurn XL [A.D. 395]).
“Peter is sifted, as he is driven on to deny Christ. He falls into temptation, speaking like a man full of chaff. . . . In the end he wept and washed away his chaff, and by those temptations, he was worthy that Christ should intervene for him. . . . At length, after being tempted by the devil, Peter is set over the Church. And so the Lord indicated beforehand that which happened later, namely that he chose him as shepherd of his flock; for he said to him, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren". And so the holy apostle Peter is converted to good fruit, and sifted like wheat, that he with the saints of the Lord might be one bread which should be our food.” (Enarratio in Psalmum XLIII [A.D. 397).
“Nothing is to be taken away from the apostolic writings, and nothing is to be added to them; and in the same way we must expunge nothing from the creed drawn up and handed down by the apostles, nor must we add anything to it. This is the creed which the Roman church holds, where Peter, the first of the apostles, sat, and thither he brought the common decision.” (Explanatio Symboli ad Initiandos).
“Peter was for twenty-four years Bishop of the Church of Rome…
“and further how he speaks of the city of Rome, which now through the grace of God is reckoned by Christians as their capital” (Apology, Book 2).
“Being all [the apostles] therefore met together, and being filled with the Holy Ghost, they composed, as we have said, this brief formulary [apostles creed] of their future preaching, each contributing his several sentence to one common summary: and they ordained that the rule thus framed should be given to those who believe.
“I think it well to mention that in different Churches some additions are found in this article. This is not the case, however, in the Church of the city of Rome; the reason being, as I suppose, that, on the one hand, no heresy has had its origin there, and, on the other, that the ancient custom is there kept up, that those who are going to be baptized should rehearse the Creed publicly. (Commentary on the Apostles Creed).
“ I believe in God the Father Almighty. But before I begin to discuss the exact meaning of these words, I think it is here not unsuitable to mention that in various churches certain additions to this clause are to be found. This, however, we do not observe to be the case in the church of the city of Rome. The reason is, I imagine, that no heresy has ever had its origin there.” (Commentarius in Symbolum Ajostolorum).
St. John Chrysostom
“In speaking of S. Peter, the recollection of another Peter has come to me, the common father and teacher, who has inherited his prowess, and also obtained his chair. For this is the one great privilege of our city, Antioch, that it received the leader of the Apostles (Peter) as its teacher in the beginning. For it was right that she who was first adorned with the name of Christians, before the whole world, should receive the first of the apostles as her pastor. But though we received him as teacher, we did not retain him to the end, but gave him up to royal Rome.” (On the Inscription of the Acts, II, Chrysostom [c. 387]).
“Jesus said to Peter, ‘Feed my sheep’. Why does He pass over the others and speak of the sheep to Peter? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir. For this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others. And also to show him that he must have confidence now that his denial had been purged away. He entrusts him with the rule [prostasia] over the brethren and He brings not forward the denial, nor reproaches him with what had taken place, but says, If you love Me, preside over your brethren, and the warm love which you ever manifested, and in which you rejoiced, show thou now; and the life which you said you would lay down for Me, now give for My sheep. (Homilies on John [21:15], 88.1).
“If anyone should say ‘Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?’, I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that see but of the whole world.” (Homilies on John [21:19], 88.3).
“Peter, the Leader of the choir of Apostles, the Mouth of the disciples, the Pillar of the Church, the Buttress of the faith, the Foundation of the confession, the Fisherman of the universe.” (Chrysostom, T. iii Hom).
“Peter, that Leader of the choir, that Mouth of the rest of the Apostles, that Head of the brotherhood, that one set over the entire universe, that Foundation of the Church.” (Chrys. In illud hoc Scitote [c. 387]).
“And why, then, passing by the others, does He converse with Peter on these things? (John 21:15). He was the chosen one of the Apostles, and the mouth of the disciples, and the leader of the choir. On this account, Paul also went up on a time to see him rather than the others (Galatians 1:18). And withal, to show him that he must thenceforward have confidence, as the denial was done away with, He puts into his hands the presidency over the brethren. And He brings not forward the denial, nor reproches him with what had past, but says, ‘If you love me, preside over the brethren, …and the third time He gives him the same injunction, showing what a price He sets the presidency over His own sheep. And if one should say, ‘How then did James receive the throne of Jerusalem?,’ this I would answer that He appointed this man (Peter) teacher, not of that throne, but of the whole world.” (Chrysostom, In Joan. Hom. 1xxxviii. n. 1, tom. viii).
“Peter himself the Head or Crown of the Apostles, the First in the Church, the Friend of Christ, who received a revelation, not from man, but from the Father, as the Lord bears witness to him, saying, ‘Blessed art thou, This very Peter and when I name Peter I name that unbroken Rock, that firm Foundation, the Great Apostle, First of the disciples, the First called, and the First who obeyed he was guilty …even denying the Lord.” (Chrysostom, T. ii. Hom).
“(Peter), the foundation of the Church, the Coryphaeus of the choir of the Apostles, the vehement lover of Christ …he who ran throughout the whole world, who fished the whole world; this holy Coryphaeus of the blessed choir; the ardent disciple, who was entrusted with the keys of heaven, who received the spiritual revelation. Peter, the mouth of all Apostles, the head of that company, the ruler of the whole world.” (De Eleemos, iii. 4; Hom. de decem mille tal. 3).
“And yet when Peter, the leader of the apostles, said this to Him, "Be it far from thee Lord, this shall not happen unto Thee,” (On Matthew 26:39).
“In those days Peter rose up in the midst of the disciples (Acts 15), both as being ardent, and as intrusted by Christ with the flock …he first acts with authority in the matter, as having all put into his hands ; for to him Christ said, ‘And thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren.” (Chrysostom, Hom. iii Act Apost. tom. ix.).
“He passed over his fall, and appointed him first of the Apostles; wherefore He said: ‘ ‘Simon, Simon,’ etc. (in Ps. cxxix. 2). God allowed him to fall, because He meant to make him ruler over the whole world, that, remembering his own fall, he might forgive those who should slip in the future. And that what I have said is no guess, listen to Christ Himself saying: ‘Simon, Simon, etc.’” (Chrys, Hom. quod frequenter conveniendum sit 5, cf. Hom 73 in Joan 5).
“And why, then, passing by the others, does He converse with Peter on these things? (John 21:15). He was the chosen one of the Apostles, and the mouth of the disciples, and the leader of the choir. On this account, Paul also went up on a time to see him rather than the others (Galatians 1:18). And withal, to show him that he must thenceforward have confidence, as the denial was done away with, He puts into his hands the presidency over the brethren. And He brings not forward the denial, nor reproches him with what had past, but says, ‘If you love me, preside over the brethren …and the third time He gives him the same injunction, showing what a price He sets the presidency over His own sheep.” (Homilies on John, 88.1).
“Jesus said to Peter, ‘Feed my sheep’. Why does He pass over the others and speak of the sheep to Peter? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir. For this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others. And also to show him that he must have confidence now that his denial had been purged away. He entrusts him with the rule [prostasia] over the brethren. . . . If anyone should say ‘Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?’, I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that see but of the whole world.” (Ibid).
“Peter himself the head or crown of the Apostles… when I name Peter I name that unbroken rock, that firm foundation…” (Homily 3).
“ ‘And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’; that is, on the faith of his confession.” ( Homily 53 on St. Matthew).
“[After his repentance,] He [Peter] becomes again head of the Apostles and the whole world is committed to his care” (8th Discourse on the Jews).
“[after Peter gave his three fold confirmation of faith in the 21st chapter of John,] He restored him to his former dignity, and He handed over to him the authority [jurisdiction / επιστασιαν] of the Universal Church; greatest of all, He proved to us that he, of all the apostles, had the most love for the Master. "Peter," He asks him, "do you love me more than these?" This alone carries equal esteem as a virtues. (On Repentance and Almsgiving, Homily 5)
“This Peter, and when I say Peter I mean the solid rock, the tranquil foundation, the great apostle, the first disciple, the first one called by Christ, and the first one who obeyed. He did something not trivial but exceedingly great—he denied the Master Himself. I am saying this not to accuse that righteous individual but to give you cause for repentance.” (On Repentance and Almsgiving, Homily 3: Concerning Almsgiving and the Ten Virgins)
“In those days Peter rose up in the midst of the disciples" (Acts i. 15) : Both as being ardent and as intrusted by Christ with the flock, . . . he first acts with authority in the matter, as having all put in his hands; for to him Christ had said, 'And thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren' (Hom. iii. in Act. Apost).”
“ ‘Feed my sheep’ (John 21:17), that is, in my place be in charge of your brethren.”
“This Linus [mentioned in 2 Timothy], some say, was second Bishop of the Church of Rome after Peter.” (Homily 10).
“What then saith the mouth of the apostles, Peter, the ever fervent, the leader of the apostolic choir? When all are asked, he answers. And whereas when He asked the opinion of the people, all replied to the question; when He asked their own, Peter springs forward, and anticipates them, and saith,” (Homily 54 on Matthew’s Gospel).
“And in those days," it says, "Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said." (v. 15.) Both as being ardent, and as having been put in trust by Christ with the flock, and as having precedence in honor, he always begins the discourse.” (Homily 3 on Acts).
“I would fain inquire then of those who desire to lessen the dignity of the Son, which manner of gifts were greater, those which the Father gave to Peter, or those which the Son gave him? For the Father gave to Peter the revelation of the Son; but the Son gave him to sow that of the Father and that of Himself in every part of the world; and to a mortal man He entrusted the authority over all things in Heaven, giving him the keys; who extended the church to every part of the world, and declared it to be stronger than heaven.” (Homily LIV).
“And how has He set over us so many to reprove; and not only to reprove, but also to punish? For him that hearkens to none of these, He has commanded to be as a heathen man and a publican. And how gave He them the keys also? Since if they are not to judge, they will be without authority in any matter, and in vain have they received the power to bind and to loose.” (Homily 12 on the Gospel of John).
“At all events the master of the whole world, Peter, to whose hands He committed the keys of heaven, whom He commanded to do and to bear all, He bade tarry here for a long period. Thus in His sight our city was equivalent to the whole world. But since I have mentioned Peter, I have perceived a fifth crown woven from him, and this is that this man succeeded to the office after him. For just as any one taking a great stone from a foundation hastens by all means to introduce an equivalent to it, lest he should shake the whole building, and make it more unsound, so, accordingly, when Peter was about to depart from here, the grace of the Spirit introduced another teacher equivalent to Peter, so that the building already completed should not be made more unsound by the insignificance of the successor.” (Homily on St. Ignatius).
St. John Chrysostom interprets the following passage in Galatians, where Paul rebukes Peter:
“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision.” (Galatians 2:11-12).
Now to the commentary:
“Many, on a superficial reading of this part of the Epistle, suppose that Paul accused Peter of hypocrisy. But this is not so, indeed it is not, far from it; we shall discover great wisdom, both of Paul and Peter, concealed herein for the benefit of their hearers. But first a word must be said about Peter’s freedom in speech, and how it was ever his way to outstrip the other disciples. Indeed it was upon one such occasion that he gained his name from the unbending and impregnable character of his faith. For when all were interrogated in common, he stepped before the others and answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mat. xvi. 16.) This was when the keys of heaven were committed to him. So too, he appears to have been the only speaker on the Mount; (Mat. xvii. 4.) and when Christ spoke of His crucifixion, and the others kept silence, he said, “Be it far from Thee.” (Mat. xvi. 22.) These words evince, if not a cautious temper, at least a fervent love; and in all instances we find him more vehement than the others, and rushing forward into danger. So when Christ was seen on the beach, and the others were pushing the boat in, he was too impatient to wait for its coming to land. (John xxi. 7.) And after the Resurrection, when the Jews were murderous and maddened, and sought to tear the Apostles in pieces, he first dared to come forward, and to declare, that the Crucified was taken up into heaven. (Acts ii. 14, 36.) It is a greater thing to open a closed door, and to commence an action, than to be free-spoken afterwards. How could he ever dissemble who had exposed his life to such a populace? He who when scourged and bound would not bate a jot of his courage, and this at the beginning of his mission, and in the heart of the chief city where there was so much danger,—how could he, long afterwards in Antioch, where no danger was at hand, and his character had received lustre from the testimony of his actions, feel any apprehension of the believing Jews? How could he, I say, who at the very first and in their chief city feared not the Jews while Jews, after a long time and in a foreign city, fear those of them who had been converted? Paul therefore does not speak this against Peter, but with the same meaning in which he said, “for they who were reputed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me.” But to remove any doubt on this point, we must unfold the reason of these expressions.
“The Apostles, as I said before, permitted circumcision at Jerusalem, an abrupt severance from the law not being practicable; but when they come to Antioch, they no longer continued this observance, but lived indiscriminately with the believing Gentiles which thing Peter also was at that time doing. But when some came from Jerusalem who had heard the doctrine he delivered there, he no longer did so fearing to perplex them, but he changed his course, with two objects secretly in view, both to avoid offending those Jews, and to give Paul a reasonable pretext for rebuking him. For had he, having allowed circumcision when preaching at Jerusalem, changed his course at Antioch, his conduct would have appeared to those Jews to proceed from fear of Paul, and his disciples would have condemned his excess of pliancy. And this would have created no small offence; but in Paul, who was well acquainted with all the facts, his withdrawal would have raised no such suspicion, as knowing the intention with which he acted.
“Wherefore Paul rebukes, and Peter submits, that when the master is blamed, yet keeps silence, the disciples may more readily come over. Without this occurrence Paul’s exhortation would have had little effect, but the occasion hereby afforded of delivering a severe reproof, impressed Peter’s disciples with a more lively fear. Had Peter disputed Paul’s sentence, he might justly have been blamed as upsetting the plan, but now that the one reproves and the other keeps silence, the Jewish party are filled with serious alarm; and this is why he used Peter so severely. Observe too Paul’s careful choice of expressions, whereby he points out to the discerning, that he uses them in pursuance of the plan, (oikonomias) and not from anger.
“His words are, “When Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned;” that is, not by me but by others; had he himself condemned him, he would not have shrunk from saying so. And the words, “I resisted him to the face,” imply a scheme for had their discussion been real, they would not have rebuked each other in the presence of the disciples, for it would have been a great stumblingblock to them. But now this apparent contest was much to their advantage; as Paul had yielded to the Apostles at Jerusalem, so in turn they yield to him at Antioch.” (Commentary on Galatians).
“If any is blameless." "In every city," he says, for he did not wish the whole island to be intrusted to one, but that each should have his own charge and care, for thus he would have less labor himself, and those under his rule would receive greater attention, if the Teacher had not to go about to the presidency of many Churches, but was left to be occupied with one only and to bring that into order.” (Homily 2 on Titus).
"And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church", that is on the faith of his confession. Thus he shows many will believe and raises his mind and makes him shepherd. . . . Do you see how he himself' leads Peter to high thoughts of him, and reveals himself and shows that he is the Son of God by these two promises? For those things which are peculiar to God alone, namely to forgive sins, and to make the Church immovable in such an onset of waves, and to declare a jsherman to be stronger than any rock while all the world wars against him, these things he himself promises to give; as the Father said, speaking to Jeremiah, that he would set him as a column of brass and as a wall-but him for one nation, this man for all the world. I would ask those who wish to lessen the dignity of the Son, which gifts were greater, those which the Father gave to Peter, or those which the Son gave to him? The Father gave to Peter the revelation of the Son, but the Son gave him to sow that of the Father and of himself throughout the world; and to a mortal man he entrusted the authority over all things in heaven, giving him the keys, who extended the Church throughout the world and declared it to be stronger than heaven.” (Homily 54, On Matthew).
“After that grave fall (for there is no sin equal to denial), after so great a sin, he brought him back to his former honour, and entrusted him with the care of the universal Church, and, what is more than all, he showed us that he had a greater love for his master than any of the apostles, for he saith, " Peter, lovest thou me more than these?” (Homily 5, On Penitence).
“And if anyone would say “How did James receive the chair of Jerusalem?", I would reply that he 1 appointed Peter a teacher not of the chair, but of the world.” (Homily 88, On John).
“Notice how Peter ends on a fearful note. He does not preach to them from the prophets, but from current events of which they were witnesses. Of course these add their witness and strengthen the word by what has now happened. And notice, he first allows the question to be moved in the Church, and then speaks…” (Homily 32, On the Acts of the Apostles).
“If therefore we desire to partake of that Spirit which is from the Head, let us cleave to one another. For there are two kinds of separation from the body of the Church : the one when we wax cold in love, the other when we dare to do things unworthy of our membership; for in either way we cut ourselves off from the fullness. . . .. . . . Therefore I assert and protest that to make a schism in the Church is no less an evil than to fall into heresy. . . . I speak not of you who are present, but of those who are deserting from us. This act is adultery.” (Homily 11).
“To this end was the Spirit given, that he might unite those who are separated by race and by different manners. And how then is this unity preserved? " In the bond of peace. " This cannot exist in strife and discord. " For ", he says, " where there are strifes among you, and jealousy, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk after the manner of men? " For as fire, when it finds dry pieces of wood, works up all together into one blazing pile, but, when the wood is wet, does not act at all or unite the pieces; as, in the same way, no cold substance can strengthen this union, but generally speaking any warm one can : thus it is that the glow of charity is produced ; by the bond of peace, he wishes to bind us all together.” (Homily 9, On the Epistle to the Ephesians).
“They who were dragged hither and thither, who were despised and bound with fetters, and who suffered all those thousand torments, in their death are more honoured than kings; and consider how this has come to pass: in the most regal city of Rome, to the tomb of the fisherman and the tentmaker run emperors and consuls and generals.” (Contra Judaeos et Gentiles).
“. . . . Where the seraphim praise and the cherubim do fly, there we shall see Paul with Peter. as chief and leader of the choir of the saints, and shall enjoy his generous love. For if when here he so loved men that when he might have departed to be with Christ, he chose to be here, much more will he there display a warmer affection. I love Rome even for this, although indeed one has other grounds for praising it, both for its greatness, its antiquity, its beauty, its numbers, its power, its riches, and its victories in war. But I let all these things pass, and bless it for this reason, that he both wrote to them when living, and loved them so much, and spoke to them when he was with them, and there ended his life. And so indeed the city is more famous for this than for all the other things. And as a body great and strong, it has two shining eyes,l the bodies of these saints. The heaven is not so bright, when the sun sends forth his rays, as is the city of Rome, sending out these two lights into all the world. Thence Paul will be caught up, thence Peter . . . What two crowns has the city about it, with what golden chains it is girded, what fountains it has! Therefore I admire the city, not for its much gold, not for its columns, not for any other phantasy, but for these pillars of the Church.” (Homily 32, On Romans).
“ ‘And after they had held their peace, James answered . . .’ I. This man was bishop, as they say, and so he speaks last, and the saying is fulfilled, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established". . . . " Men and brethren," he says, " hearken unto me." Notice the moderation of the man. His also is a fuller speech, for it completes the matter under discussion. " Symeon", he says, "declared" : in Luke, when he prophesied "how first God did visit the Gentiles " There was no arrogance in the Church. Peter speaks after Paul, and no one silences him. James waits patiently; he does not start up. Neither John nor the other apostles say anything ; they kept silence, for James was inuested with the chief rule, and they think this was no hardship, for their soul was clean from the love of glory. Peter certainly spoke more emphatically, but James more mildly; for it is necessary for one in high authority to leave what is unpleasant for others to say, while he himself appears in the milder part.” (Homily 33).
"And in those days ", it says, " 'Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples and said ". Both as being ardent, and as having been put in trust by Christ with the flock, and as having precedence in honour,l he always begins the discourse. . . . Why did he riot ask Christ to give him some one in the room of Judas? It is better as it is. For in the first place, they were engaged in other things ; secondly, of Christ's presence with them the greatest proof that could be given was this : as he had chosen when he was among them, so did he now being absent. Now this was no small matter for their consolation. But observe how Peter does everything with the common consent, nothing imperiously.
“. . . And so at the beginning he said, " Men and brethren, it is necessary to choose from among you". He defers the decision to the whole body, thereby both making the elected objects of reverence, and keeping himself clear of all invidiousness with regard to the rest. ". . . One must be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection", that their college might not be left mutilated. Then why did it not rest with Peter to make the election himself?
“What was the motive? This, that he might not seem to bestow it of favour. And besides, he was not yet endowed with the Spirit. "And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias." Not "he appointed them" ; but it was he that introduced the proposition to that effect, at the same time pointing out that even this was not his own, but from of old by prophecy ; so that he acted as expositor, not as preceptor.
“. . . ‘Men and brethren . . .’ Here is forethought for providing a teacher : here was the first who ordained a teacher. He did not say, "We are sufficient ". So far was he beyond all vainglory, and he looked to one thing alone. Andyet he had the same power to ordain as they all collectively. But well might these thinis be done in this fashion, through the noble spirit of the man, and considering that prelacy was not then an affair of dignity, but of care for the governed. This neither made the elected to become elated, for it was to dangers they were called, nor those not elected to hake a grievance of it, as if they were disgraced. But these things are not done in that way nowadays ; no, quite the contrary. For observe, they were 120, and he asks for one out of the whole body; with good right, as having been put in charge of them ; for to him had Christ said, '' And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Homily 3, On Acts).
“The merciful God is wont to give this honour to his servants, that by their grace others may acquire salvation ; as was agreed by the blessed Paul, that teacher of the world who emitted the rays of his teaching everywhere.” (Homily 24).
. . . He says to hinl " Feed my sheep ". Why does he pass over the others and speak about these to him? He was the chosen one of the apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir; for this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others. And also, to show him that he must now have confidence, since the denial was done away, he entrusts him with the primacy1 of the brethren; and he does not bring forward the denial, or reproach him with the past, but says: " If you love me, rule the brethren,2 and now show the fervent love which you have always shown, and in which you rejoiced, and now give for my sheep the life which you said you would lay down for me." . . . And if anyone would say "How did James receive the chair of Jerusalem?", I would reply that he appointed Peter a teacher not of the chair, but of the world.
“And he [Christ] did this to withdraw them [Peter I and John] from the unseasonable sympathy for each other; for I since they were about to receive the charge of the world, it was 11 necessary that they should no longer be closely associated together.” (Homily 5, On Penitence).
“The apostles do not see their own affairs, but those of others, all together and each separately. Peter, the leader of the choir, the mouth of all the apostles, the head of that tribe, the ruler of the whole world, the foundation of the Church, the ardent lover of Christ ; for he says " Peter, lovest thou me more than these? " I speak his paisis that you may learn that he loves Christ, for the care of the slaves isthe greatest proof of love to the Lord. It is not I who say these things, but the beloved Lord. "If thou lovest me," he says, "feed my sheep." Let us see whether he has the primacy of a shepherd.” (Homily 2, on Timothy 3:1).
“ ‘And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church’, that is on the faith of his confession. Thus he shows many will believe and raises his mind and makes him shepherd. . . . Do you see how he himself' leads Peter to high thoughts of him, and reveals himself and shows that he is the Son of God by these two promises? For those things which are peculiar to God alone, namely to forgive sins, and to make the Church immovable in such an onset of waves, and to declare a jsherman to be stronger than any rock while all the world wars against him, these things he himself promises to give; as the Father said, speaking to Jeremiah, that he would set him as a column of brass and as a wall-but him for one nation, this man for all the world. I would ask those who wish to lessen the dignity of the Son, which gifts were greater, those which the Father gave to Peter, or those which the Son gave to him? The Father gave to Peter the revelation of the Son, but the Son gave him to sow that of the Father and of himself throughout the world; and to a mortal man he entrusted the authority over all things in heaven, giving him the keys, who extended the Church throughout the world and declared it to be stronger than heaven.” (Homily 54, On Matthew).
“For, at that time, our divine religion had obtained a wide prevalence in the city. Peter was there executing the office of bishop, and Paul, too, after he had been brought to Rome, on appealing to Caesar from the unjust judgment of the governor.” (Sacred History, ch 28).
Council of Aquileia, 381
“We recognize in the letter of your holiness [Pope Siricius] the vigilance of the good shepherd. You faithfully watch over the gate entrusted to you, and with pious care you guard Christ’s sheepfold [John 10:7], you that are worthy to have the Lord’s sheep hear and follow you.” (The Synod of St. Ambrose, Synodal Letter to Pope Siricius [A.D. 389]).
Pope St. Siricius
“Therefore in accordance with the apostolic precept, since they preached other than what we received, it was the one sentence of us all, presbyters, deacons, and all the clergy, that Jovinian, Auxentius, Genialis, Germinator, Felix, Plotinus, Martian, Januarius, and Ingeniosus, who were found to be promoters of the new heresy and blasphemy, should be condemned by the divine sentence and our judgement, and remain permanently outside the Church. I have sent this letter, not doubting that your holiness will observe it. (Ep. 7 to Bishop Himerius of Tarragon, of the Church of Milan.” [A.D. 390]).
“The account which you, brother, directed to our predecessor of holy memory Damasus, found me now installed in his see because the Lord thus ordained. When we read that [account] more carefully in an assembly of brethren, we found to the degree we had hoped to recognize things which ought to be praised and much which was worthy of reprimand and correction. And since it is necessary for us to succeed to the labors and responsibilities of him whom, through the grace of God, we succeeded in honor, having first given notice, as was necessary, of my promotion, we do not refuse, as the Lord deigns to inspire, a proper response to your inquiry in every point. For in view of our office there is no freedom for us, on whom a zeal for the Christian religion is incumbent greater than on all others, to dissimulate or to be silent. We bear the burdens of all who are oppressed, or rather the blessed apostle Peter, who in all things protects and preserves us, the heirs, as we trust, of his administration, bears them in us. [proceeds to list a number of errors being promoted in Tarragona (Spain)]… it is also inappropriate henceforth for you to deviate from that path, if you do not wish to be separated from our company by synodal sentence….Enough error on this matter! All priests who do not wish to be torn from the solidity of the apostolic rock, upon which Christ built the universal Church, should now hold the aforementioned rule…[lists more errors]…let them know that they have been expelled by the authority of the apostolic see from every ecclesiastical office, which they used unworthily…[lists more errors]… there is freedom for no priest of the Lord to be ignorant of the statutes of the apostolic see and the venerable decrees of the canons…”
"For in view of our office there is no freedom for us, on whom a zeal for the Christian religion is incumbent greater than on all others, to dissimulate or to be silent. We bear the burdens of all who are oppressed, or rather the blessed apostle Peter, who in all things protects and preserves us, the heirs, as we trust, of his administration, bears them in us…[proceeds to list a number of errors being promoted in Tarragona (Spain)]… it is also inappropriate henceforth for you to deviate from that path, if you do not wish to be separated from our company by synodal sentence….Enough error on this matter! All priests who do not wish to be torn from the solidity of the apostolic rock, upon which Christ built the universal Church, should now hold the aforementioned rule…[lists more errors]…let them know that they have been expelled by the authority of the apostolic see from every ecclesiastical office, which they used unworthily…[lists more errors]… there is freedom for no priest of the Lord to be ignorant of the statutes of the apostolic see and the venerable decrees of the canons…" (Pope Siricius’s reply to questions by the Spanish Bishop Himerius of Tarragona, Epistle 1, Directa Ad Decessorem. Patrologia Latina 13.1132; Ed. Pierre Coustant, Epistolae Romanorum pontificum (Paris, 1721; reprint Farnborough, 1967), 623–638 [A.D. 385]).
“this book of regulations [are to be] carefully introduced to neighboring peoples and bishops as a model, for with the aid of the holy Apostle Peter, through whom both the apostolate and episcopate in Christ took their origin the Church should be presented unto God without spot or wrinkle” (Response to Victricius, who requested a canonical book of Roman tradition. Etsi Tibi Frater, Patrologia Latina 20, 468-81 [A.D. 404], brought forth in Eric Ybarra’s article “Papal jurisdiction & The Universal Petrine Episcopate”).
“You are aware that in all princinces when questions are asked, replies always proceed from the Apostolic source. Especially, as often as the reasons for faith are under discussion, then all out brethen and fellow-bishops, should in my opinion refer (relatio) to St. Peter, as to the author of their [bishops] name and dignity, as you have now referred” (Letter to the Council of Mileve, Inter Caeteras, Patrologia Latina 20. 589-93).
“[The Roman See is] the source of the episcopate” (Letter to the Council of Carthage, In requirendis, Patrologia Latina 20. 582-8).
“[This Roman synod] Assembled together at the relics of the holy Apostle Peter from whom both the apostolate and episcopate in Christ took their beginning…” (Cum in Unum, Patrologia Latina 13, 1155-62).
“In view of our office, we are not free to dissemble or to keep silent, for our zeal for the Christian religion ought to I be greater than anyone's. We bear the burdens of all who are heavy laden, or rather the blessed apostle Peter bears them in us, who in all things, as we trust, protects and defends those who are heirs of his government. At the beginning of your page, you have observed that many who were baptized by the wicked Arians are hastening to the catholic faith, and that they wish to be rebaptized by one of our brethren: this is illegal, being forbidden by the apostle, by the canons, and in a general order sent to the firovinces by my Predecessor Liberius of revered memory, after the quashing of the Ariminum council. As has been laid down in synod, we admit these persons, in common with Novatianists aid other heretics, into the congregation of catholics, only through the invocation of the sevenfold Spirit, by the laying on of hands of a bishop. All the East and West keep this rule; and in future it is by no means fitting that you, either, should deviate from this path, if you do not wish to be separated from our college by sentence of the synod. . . . Up to now there have been enough mistakes of this kind. In future all priests must keep the above rule who do not wish to be torn away from the solid apostolic rock upon which Christ built the universal Church. We have explained, as I think, dearest brother, all the matters of which you complained, and to every case which you have referred, by our son Bassian the presbyter, to the Roman Church, as to the head of your body, we have I believe returned I adequate replies. And now we urge the mind of your brotherhood more and more to observe the canons and keep the decretals which have been framed, so that what we have replied to your inquiries you may bring to the notice of all our 1 fellow bishops, and not only of those who are in your diocese : but let what we have profitably ordained be sent, with your letters also, to all the Carthaginians and Baeticans, Lusitanians and Gallicians, and to those in the provinces adjoining your own. And though no priest of the Lord is free to be ignorant of the statutes of the apostolic see, or of the venerable provisions of the canons, yet it would be more useful, and, on account of the seniority of your priesthood, a very high honour for you, beloved, if those things which have been written generally, and to you especially by name, were brought by your care to the notice of all our brethren ; so that what has been profitably drawn up by us, not without consideration, but with care and great caution and deliberation, may remain inviolate, and that the way may be stopped for all.” (Epistle 1, Directa ad decessorem, to Himerius, Bishop of Tarragona [A.D. 385]).
Council of Milan
“To their lord, their dearly beloved brother, Pope Siricius; Ambrose, Sabinus, Bassianus, and the rest send greeting. In your holiness' letter we recognized the viligance of a good shepherd, for you faithfully guard the door which has been entrusted to you, and with pious care watch over the fold of Christ, being worthy to be heard and followed by the sheep of the Lord. Knowing therefore the lambs of Christ, you will easily discover the wolves, and meet them as a wary shepherd, so as to keep them from scattering the Lord's flock by their unbelieving life and dismal barking. We praise you for this, our lord and brother dearly beloved... But if they will not believe the doctrines of the priests, let them believe Christ's oracles, let them believe the admonitions of angels who say "For with God nothing is impossible". Let them believe the apostles' creed which the Roman church has always kept undefiled…And so you are to know that Jovinian, Auxentius [etc.]..., whom your holiness has condemned, have also been condemned by us, in accordance with your judgement.” (Ep. 42, The Council of Milan to Pope Siricius, A.D. 390]
“Blessed Cyprian attempted to avoid heresy, and therefore rejected the baptism conferred by heretics, sent [the acts of] an African Council on this matter to Stephen, who was then Bishop of the city of Rome, and twenty-second from St. Peter; but his attempt was in vain. Eventually those very Bishops, who had decreed with him that heretics were to be rebaptized, returned to the ancient custom, and published a new decree.” (Against the Luciferians, 23).
“[Pope] Stephen . . . was the blessed Peter’s twenty-second successor in the See of Rome” (St. Jerome, Father and Doctor of the Church, Against the Luciferians 23 [A.D. 383]).
“‘But, you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]: although elsewhere the same is attributed to all the Apostles, and they all receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the strength of the Church depends upon them all alike, yet one among the twelve is chosen so that when a head has been appointed, there may be no occasion for schism.” (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).
“Being informed, then, by a letter of the aforesaid bishop, we inform your holiness that we in like manner who are set in the city of Rome in which the prince of the apostles, the glorious Peter, first founded the church and then by his faith strengthened it; to the end that no man may contrary to the commandment read these books which we have mentioned, have condemned the same; and have with earnest prayers urged the strict observance of the precepts which God and Christ have inspired the evangelists to teach. We have charged men to remember the words of the venerable apostle Paul, prophetic and full of warning:--’if any than preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.’ ” (Letter 95).
“A great many years ago when I was helping Damasus bishop of Rome with his ecclesiastical correspondence, and writing his answers to the questions referred to him by the councils of the east and west,” (Letter 123).
“The words may be justly applied to him: "Seed of evil-doers, prepare thy children for the slaughter because of the sins of thy father." Jovinianus, condemned by the authority of the Church of Rome,” (Against Vigilantius).
“Far be it from me to censure the successors of the apostles, who with holy words consecrate the body of Christ, and who make us Christians. Having the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” (Letter 14).
“I meantime keep crying: ‘He who clings to the chair of Peter is accepted by me.’ ” (Epistle 57).
“I think it is my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church (Rome) whose faith has been praised by Paul. I appeal for spiritual food to the church whence I have received the garb of Christ.” (Letter 15 [396 A.D).
“even before the Apostle Paul, Peter had come to know that the law was not to be in force after the gospel was given; nay more, that Peter was the prime mover in issuing the decree by which this was affirmed. Moreover, Peter was of so great authority, that Paul has recorded in his epistle: “Then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” In the following context, again, he adds: “Then, fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles;” proving that he had not had confidence in his preaching of the gospel if he had not been confirmed by the consent of Peter and those who were with him.” (Letter to Augustine).
“Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to over-throw Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord.” (Lives of Illustrious Men [c. 396 A.D]).
“Clement, of whom the apostle Paul writing to the Philippians says ‘With Clement and others of my fellow-workers whose names are written in the book of life,’ the fourth bishop of Rome after Peter, if indeed the second was Linus and the third Anacletus, although most of the Latins think that Clement was second after the apostle” (Lives of Illustrious Men 15 [A.D. 396]).
“I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails” (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).
“Far be it from me to speak adversely of any of these clergy who, in succession from the apostles, confect by their sacred word the Body of Christ and through whose efforts also it is that we are Christians” (Letters 14:8 [A.D. 396]).
“The Church here is split into three parts, each teacher to seize me for its own. . . Meanwhile I keep crying: "He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!" Meletius, Vitalis, and Paulinus each claims to be loyal to you, which I could believe did only one make the claim. As it is, either two of them are lying, or else all three. Therefore I implore Your Blessedness by the cross of the Lord, by the necessary glory of our faith, the Passion of Christ -- that as you follow the Apostles in dignity may you follow them also in worth,-- . . . tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria. Despise not a soul for whom Christ died! (Letter of Jerome to Pope Damasus, 15, 2 [A.D. 374-379])
“The well-being of a Church depends upon the dignity of its chief-priest, and unless some extraordinary and unique functions be assigned to him, we shall have as many schisms in the Churches as there are priests.” (St. Jerome, The Dialogue Against the Luciferians, ch 9).
“This was to prove that among the ancients, priests were the same as bishops; but by degrees, in order that the young shoots of dissensions might be uprooted, the whole solicitude was given to one man. As therefore the priests are aware that by the custom of the Church they are subject to him who is set over them, so let bishops remember that it is rather by custom than by the truth of the Lord's disposition that they are greater than priests, and that they ought to rule the Church in common with them, as Moses, did," etc…
“A priest is then the same as a bishop , and before party - spirit in religious matters arose by the devil's suggestion , and it was said among the peoples : ' I am of Paul , I of Apollos , and I of Cephas , ' the Churches were governed by a common council of presbyters . But after each of them came to think that those whom he had baptized were his own and not Christ's , it was decreed in the whole world that one of the priests should be elected to be placed above the others , and that to him the whole care of the Church should belong , and thus the seeds of division should be destroyed.” (Commentary on Ep. of Titus, vol VII, 694-5).
“When there has been much disputing, Peter rose up, with his wonted readiness, and said, ‘Men and brethren… we shall be saved even as they’. And to this opinion the apostle James and all the elders gave consent. These quotations should not be tedious to the reader, but useful for to him and to me, as proving that, even before the apostle Paul, Peter had come to know what the law was not to be in force after the gospel was given: nay more, that Peter was the prime mover in issuing the decree by which this was affirmed. Moreover Peter was of so great authority that Paul has recorded in his epistle ‘Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter’…. proving that he would not have had confidence in his preaching of the gospel if he had not been confirmed by the consent of Peter and those who were with him… No one can doubt, therefore, that the apostle Peter was himself the author of that rule which he is accused of breaking” (Epistle 112, On the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15).
“Since the East, shattered as it is by the long-standing feuds, subsisting between its peoples, is bit by bit tearing into shreds the seamless vest of the Lord, woven from the top throughout, [John 19:23] since the foxes are destroying the vineyard of Christ, [Song of Songs 2:15] and since among the broken cisterns that hold no water it is hard to discover the sealed fountain and the garden inclosed, [Song of Songs 4:12] I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church whose faith has been praised by Paul. I appeal for spiritual food to the church whence I have received the garb of Christ. The wide space of sea and land that lies between us cannot deter me from searching for the pearl of great price. [Matthew 13:46] Wheresoever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together. [Matthew 24:28] Evil children have squandered their patrimony; you alone keep your heritage intact. The fruitful soil of Rome, when it receives the pure seed of the Lord, bears fruit an hundredfold; but here the seed grain is choked in the furrows and nothing grows but darnel or oats. [Matthew 13:22-23] In the West the Sun of righteousness [Malachi 4:2] is even now rising; in the East, Lucifer, who fell from heaven, [Luke 10:18] has once more set his throne above the stars. [Isaiah 14:12] You are the light of the world, [Matthew 5:14] you are the salt of the earth, [Matthew 5:13] you are vessels of gold and of silver. Here are vessels of wood or of earth, [2 Timothy 2:20] which wait for the rod of iron, [Revelation 2:27] and eternal fire.
“Yet, though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the priest I demand the safe-keeping of the victim, from the shepherd the protection due to the sheep. Away with all that is overweening; let the state of Roman majesty withdraw. My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! [Matthew 16:18] This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. [Exodus 12:22] This is the Ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. [Genesis 7:23] But since by reason of my sins I have betaken myself to this desert which lies between Syria and the uncivilized waste, I cannot, owing to the great distance between us, always ask of your sanctity the holy thing of the Lord. Consequently I here follow the Egyptian confessors who share your faith, and anchor my frail craft under the shadow of their great argosies. I know nothing of Vitalis; I reject Meletius; I have nothing to do with Paulinus. He that gathers not with you scatters; [Matthew 12:30] he that is not of Christ is of Antichrist.” (Epistle 15 to Pope Damasus [A.D. 376).
“If, then, the apostle Peter, upon whom the Lord has founded the Church, [Matthew 16:18]has expressly said that the prophecy and promise of the Lord were then and there fulfilled, how can we claim another fulfilment for ourselves?” (Letter 41).
“The fruitful soil of Rome, when it receives the pure seed of the Lord, bears fruit an hundredfold“ (Epistle 15).
“...yet one of them is elected among the twelve, that by the setting up of a head the occasion of schism may be removed. But why was not John, the virgin, elected? Deference was had to age, because Peter was older,” (Against Jovinnius).
“I meantime keep crying: He who clings to the chair of Peter is accepted by me. Meletius, Vitalis, and Paulinus all profess to cleave to you, and I could believe the assertion if it were made by one of them only. As it is, either two of them or else all three are guilty of falsehood. Therefore I implore your blessedness, by our Lord's cross and passion, those necessary glories of our faith, as you hold an apostolic office, to give an apostolic decision. Only tell me by letter with whom I am to communicate in Syria.” (Epistle 16 to Pope Damasus).
“Whosever you be who assert new dogmas, I beg you to spare Roman ears, spare that faith which was praised by the mouth of the Apostle. Why after four hundred years do you try to teach us what we knew not till now? Why do you produce doctrines which Peter and Paul did not think fit to proclaim? Up to this day the world has been Christian without your doctrine. I will hold to the faith in my old age in which I was regenerated as a boy.” (Epistle 84).
"These words are his own, he cannot deny them. The very elegance of the style and the laboured mode of speech, and, surpassing all these, the Christian 'simplicity' which here appears, reveal the character of their author. But there is a different phase of the matter: Eusebius, it seems, has depraved these books; and now my friend who accuses Origen, and who is so careful of my reputation, declares that both Eusebius and I have gone wrong together, and then that we have held correct opinions together, and that in one and the same work. But he cannot now be my enemy and call me a heretic, when a moment before he has said that his belief was not dissonant from mine. Then, I must ask him what is the meaning of his balanced and doubtful way of speaking: The Latin reader, he says, will find nothing here discordant from our faith. What faith is this which he calls his? Is it the faith by which the Roman Church is distinguished? Or is it the faith which is contained in the works of Origen? If he answers the Roman, then we are the Catholics, since we have adopted none of Origen's errors in our translations. But if Origen's blasphemy is his faith, then, though he tries to fix on me the charge of inconsistency, he proves himself to be a heretic." (Contra Rufinus, Book I).
“For your admonition concerning the canons of the Church we thank you, for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth... but know that we have nothing more at heart than to observe the laws of the Church, and not to move the landmarks of the Fathers, and ever to be mindful of that Roman faith which the Church of Alexandria boasts of participating.” (Epistle 63 to Pope Theophilus).
“Was there no other province in the world to receive this panegyric [gathering] of voluptousness into which this adder could have crept, but that one which was founded on Christ the Rock by the doctrine of Peter?" (Contra Jovinian, Book II).
“Origen himself in a letter written to Fabian, bishop of Rome, expresses penitence for having made erroneous statements, and charges Ambrose with over haste in making public what was meant only for private circulation.” (Epistle 84).
“You [Donatist] know what the Catholic Church is, and what that is cut off from the vine; if there are any among you cautious, let them come; let them find life in the root. Come, brethren, if you wish to be engrafted in the vine; a grief it is when we see you lying thus cut off. Number the bishops even from the very seat of Peter, and see every succession in that line of fathers; that is, the rock, which the proud gates of hell prevail against not” (Psalmus contra partem Donati).
“So, you see, the labors of this one man have surpassed those of all previous writers, Greek and Latin. Who has ever managed to read all that he has written? Yet what reward have his exertions brought him? He stands condemned by his bishop, Demetrius, only the bishops of Palestine, Arabia, Phenicia, and Achaia dissenting. Imperial Rome consents to his condemnation, and even convenes a senate to censure him, not — as the rabid hounds who now pursue him cry — because of the novelty or heterodoxy of his doctrines, but because men could not tolerate the incomparable eloquence and knowledge which, when once he opened his lips, made others seem dumb.” (Epistle 33, an account of St. Pope Pontianus (A.D. c. 230) ratifying a condemnation of Origen in Alexandria).
“Since the East, dashed against itself by the accustomed fury of its peoples, is tearing piecemeal the undivided tunic of Christ, woven from the top throughout, and foxes are destroying the vine of Christ, so that among the broken cisterns which have no water it is hard to locate the sealed fountain and the enclosed garden, I have considered that I ought to consult the chair of Peter, and the faith praised by the mouth of the apostle, asking now food for my soul, from the place whence I received the garment of Christ. Neither the vast expanse of ocean, nor all the breadth of land which separates us could preclude me from seeking the precious pearl. ‘Wherever the body is, there.’
“...will the eagles be gathered together." Now that evil children have squandered their patrimony, you alone keep your heritage intact. There the fertile earth reproduces a hundredfold the purity of the Lord's seed. Here the corn, cast into the furrows, degenerates into darnel or wild oats. It is now in the West that the sun ofjustice rises ; whilst in the East Lucifer who fell has set his seat above the stars. "Ye are the light of the world." "Ye are the salt of the earth." Ye are vessels of gold and silver. Here the vessels of clay or wood await the iron rod and eternal fire.
“Yet though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the priest I ask the salvation of the victim; from the shepherd, the safety of the sheep. Away with envy! The canvassing of the Roman height recedes. I speak with the successor of the fisherman, with the disciple of the cross. Following none in the first place but Christ, I am in communion with your beatitude, that is with the chair of Peter. On that rock I know the Church is built. Whoever shall eat the Lamb outside this house is profane. If any be not with Noah in the ark, he shall perish in thejood. And because for my sins I have migrated to this solitude, where Syria borders on the barbarians, and I cannot always at this great distance ask for the Holy One of the Lord from your holiness, therefore I follow here your colleagues the Egyptian confessors; and under these great ships, my little vessel lies hid. Vitalis I know not, Meletius I reject; I ignore Paulinus. Whoso gathereth not with thee scattereth, that is, he who is not of Christ is anti-Christ.
“Decide, I beseech, if you please, and I will not fear to acknowledge three hypostases. If you order it, let a new creed be compiled after the Nicene, and the orthodox will confess in like words with the Arians. . . . Well might Ursinus 1 be joined to your beatitude, Auxentius2 to Ambrose. Far be this from the faith of Rome. May the devout hearts of the people drink no such sacrilege. Let us be satisfied to say one substance, three persons subsisting, perfect, equal, coeternal. Let us drop three hypostases, if you please, and hold one. It is no use using different words in the same sense. . . . But if you think right that, with explanations, we should say three hypostases, we do not refuse. . .
“Wherefore I beseech your holiness, by the crucified Saviour of the world, that you will write and authorize me to say or refuse the hypostases. . . . Likewise inform me with whom I ought to communicate at Antioch; for the Campenses are joined to the heretical Tarsenes, and desire nothing but to preach three hypostases in the old sense, as if supported by the authority of your communion.” (Epistle 15, to Pope Damasus [A.D. 375]).
“I therefore, who received Christ's robe in Rome, am now detained in the border waste of Syria. And, lest you think I received this sentence from another, I inflicted my own punishment. But as the heathen poet says : "They change sky, not mind, who cross the sea." The untiring foe follows me behind, so that now I wage fierce wars in the desert. On the one side storm the raging Arians, upheld by worldly power. On the other, a church, torn in three parts, tries to seize me. The authority of ancient monks who dwell around rises against me. Meantime I cry: "He who is joined to Peter's chair is mine." Meletius, Vitalis, and Paulinus say that they adhere to you. If one of them asserted this, I could believe him. Now either two are lying or all. Therefore I implore your blessedness by the cross of the Lord, by the essential glory of our faith, the passion of Christ, that you who follow the apostles in honour will follow them in worth. May you sit in judgement on a throne with the twelve. In old age, may another gird you with Peter : may you gain with Paul the heavenly citizenship, if you write and tell me with whom I ought to communicate in Syria. Despise not a soul for which Christ died.” (Epstle 16), to Pope Damasus).
“Liberius was ordained the 34th bishop of the Roman church, and when he was driven into exile for the faith, all the clergy took an oath that they would not recognize any other bishop. But when Felix was put in his place by the Arians, a great many foreswore themselves; but at the end of the year they were banished, and Felix too; for Liberius, giving in to the irksomeness of exile and subscribing to the heretical and false doctrine, made a triumphal entry into Rome.” (Chronicon ad Ann).
“ . . . The safety of the church depends on the dignity of the high priest. If to him is not given a certain independence and eminence of power, there will be made in the church as many schisms as there are priests. This is the reason that without chrism and the command of a bishop, neither presbyter nor deacon has the right to baptize. . . .
“Cyprian of blessed memory tried to avoid broken cisterns, and not to drink of strange waters ; and therefore, rejecting heretical baptism, he summoned his African synod in opposition to Stephen, who was the blessed Peter's 22nd successor in the see of Rome. They met to discuss this matter, but the attempt failed. At last those very bishops who had together with him determined that heretics must be rebaptized reverted to the old custom, and published a fresh decree. . .
“.If, however, those who were ordained by Hilary, and who have lately become sheep without a shepherd, are disposed to allege scripture in support of what the blessed Cyprian left in his letters, advocating the rebaptizing of heretics, I beg them to remember that he did not anathematize those who refused to follow him. . . .
“Hilary himself confesses that Julius, Mark, Sylvester,' and the other bishops of old alike welcomed all heretics to repentance ; and further, to show that he could not justly claim possession of the true custom, the council of Nicaea also, to which we referred not long ago, welcomed all heretics with the exception of the disciples of Paul of Samosata.
“I might spend the day in speaking to the same effect, and dry up all the streams of argument with the single sun of the Church.” (Contra Luciferianos [A.D. 383]).
“We read in Isaiah, "A fool will speak folly". I am told that someone has been mad enough to put deacons before presbyters, that is, bishops. For when the apostle plainly teaches that presbyters are the same as bishops, what happens to the server of tables and widows that he sets himself up arrogantly over those at whose prayers the body and blood of Christ are made? . . . That afterwards one was chosen to preside over the rest, this was done as a remedy for schism, lest anyone should rend the Church of Christ by drawing it to himself. Besides at Alexandria, from Mark the evangelist until the episcopates of Heraclas and Dionysius, the presbyters always chose one of their number, and placing him in a higher rank called him bishop. . . . For what does a bishop do which l a presbyter does not, except ordain? It is not the case that there is one church at Rome, and another in all the world besides. Gaul and Britain, Africa and Persia, India and the barbarians worship one Christ and observe one rule of truth. If you ask for authority, the world outweighs the city. Wherever there is a bishop, whether at Rome or Gubbio, or Constantinople or Rhegium, or Alexandria or Tanis, his worth is the same, and his priesthood is the same.1 The power of riches or the lowliness of poverty does not make him a higher or a lower bishop. But all are successors of the apostles.
“But you say, "How is it that at Rome a presbyter is ordained on the recommendation of a deacon?" Why bring forward to me the custom of one city? Why in the laws of the Church do you appropriate a paltry case which has given rise to pride? The rarer a thing is, the more it is sought. In India pennyroyal is more costly than pepper. Deacons, being few, are made honorable; presbyters in the mass are made contemptible. But even in the church of Rome, presbyters sit and deacons stand ; although bad habits have gradually crept in, so that I have seen a deacon, in the absence of a bishop, sit among the presbyters, and at social gatherings give blessings to them. Those who act thus must learn that they are wrong.” (Epistle 45, to Ansella).
“It was decreed in the whole world that one of the presbyters should be elected to be placed above the others, to whom the whole care of the church should belong, and the seeds of schism should be destroyed. . . . so let bishops remember that it is rather by custom than by the truth of the Lord's direction that they are greater than presbyters.” (In Epistolam ad Titum).
“But you say that the Church was founded upon Peter: although elsewhere the same is attributed to all the apostles, and they all receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the strength of the Church depends on them all alike, yet one among the twelve is chosen so that when a head has been appoint~d, there may be no occasion for schism. But why was not John chosen, who was a virgin? Deference was paid to age, because' Peter was the elder : one who was a youth, I may say almost a boy, could not'be set over men of advanced age ; and that the good Master, who was bound to remove every occasion of strife among his disciples, . . . might not seem to afford a ground for jealousy in appointing the young man whom he had loved. Peter was an apostle, and John was an apostle; the first married, the second a virgin. But Peter was only an apostle, while John was an apostle and an evangelist and a prophet.” (Adversus Jovinianum [A.D. 392]).
“Would you know, Paula and Eustochium, how the apostle designates each province by its own qualities? To this day remain the same traces of virtues and of errors. Of the Roman people the faith is praised. Where else do people run with the same eagerness and in such crowds to the churches or to the tombs of the martyrs? Where does the Amen so resound like the thunder of heaven, shaking the empty temples of the idols? Not that the Romans have any other faith than that of all the churches of Christ, but in them is greater devotion and simplicity in believing. Again they are reproved for laxity and I pride. For laxity as follows : "I beseech you, brethren, mark ~ them which are causing divisions.” (In Epistolam ad Galatas).
“Was there no other province in the whole world to receive the gospel of pleasure, and into which the serpent might insinuate itself, except that which was founded by the teaching of Peter upon the rock Christ Idol temples had fallen 1 before the standard of the cross and the severity of the gospel ; now on the contrary lust and gluttony try to overthrow the solidity of the cross. Mighty city, mistress city of the world, city of the apostle's praises, show the meaning of your name. Rome is either strength in Greek, or height in Hebrew. Lose not the excellence your name implies : let virtue lift you up on high ; do not let sensuality debase you. (Adversus Jouinianum).
“Whoever you are who are thus preaching new doctrines, I beseech you to spare the ears of the Romans, spare the faith of a church which an apostle has praised. Why after 400 years do you try to teach us Romans doctrines of which we have known nothing until now? Why do you proclaim in public, opinions which Peter and Paul refused to profess? Until now, no such teaching has been heard of, and yet the world has become Christian.” (Epistle 84, to Pammachius and Oceanus [A.D. 400]).
“When there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, with his wonted readiness, and said, ‘Men and brethren . . . we shall be saved even as they. And to his opinion the apostle James and all the elders together gave consent.’
“These quotations should not be tedious to the reader, but useful both to him and to me, as proving that, even before the apostle Paul, Peter had come to know that the law was not to be in force after the gospel was given ; nay more, that Peter was the prime mouer in issuing the decree by which this was affirmed. Moreover Peter was of so great authority that Paul has recorded in his epistle "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter ". . . proving that he would not have had confidence in his preaching of the gospel if he had not been confirmed by the consent of Peter and those who were with him. . . . No one can doubt, therefore, that the apostle Peter was himself the author of that rule which he is accused of breaking.” (Epistle 112, to St. Augustine [A.D. 404]).
“I have all but passed over the most important point of all. While you were still quite small, Bishop Anastasius of holy and blessed memory ruled the Roman church. In his days a terrible storm of heresy came from the East and strove first to corrupt and then to undermine that simple faith which an apostle has praised. However, the bishop, rich in poverty and as careful of his flock as an apostle, at once smote the noxious thing on the head, and stayed the hydra's hissing. Now I have reason to fear-in fact a report has reached me to this effect that the poisonous germs of this heresy still live and sprout in the minds of some to this day. I think, therefore, that I ought to warn you, in all kindness and affection, to hold fast the faith of the saintly Innocent, the son of Anastasius and his successor in the apostolic see; and not to receive any foreign doctrine, however wise and discerning you may take yourself to be. (Epistle 130, to Demetrias [A.D. 414]).
Asterius, Bishop of Amasea in Pontus
“In order that he may show his power, God has endowed none of his disciples with gifts like Peter. But, having raised him with heavenly gifts, he has set him above all. And, as first disciple and greater among the brethren, he has shown, by the test of deeds, the power of the Spirit. The first to be called, he followed at once. . . . The Saviour conjded to this man, as some special trust, the whole universal Church, after having asked him three times " Lovest thou me? ". And he received the world in charge, as one flock one shepherd, having heard, "Feed my lambs" ; and the Lord gave, wellnigh in his own stead, that most faithful disciple to the proselytes as a father, and shepherd and instructor.” (Homily 8: On the Chief Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul [A.D. 395]).
The Apostolic Canons
“The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern his own parish, and the country places which belong to it. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit. (Canon 34 , late fourth century).
Part 1: in the Ante-Nicene Church (A.D. 00-300)
Part 2: from Nicaea to Constantinople I (A.D. 300-400)
Part 3: from St. Augustine to the Council of Milevis (A.D. 400-420)
Part 4: from Ephesus to Chalcedon (A.D. 420-500)
Part 5: Rome During the Years of the Rising East (A.D. 501-700)
Part 6: The Schism of the Universal Church (A.D. 700-1053)