Is the modern role of the Papacy a legitimate development from the early church?
conclusion of my Opening Statement I will also be including a listing
of Eastern Catholic defenders of the Papacy with quotes from them. The
quotes are taken from Jesus, Peter and the Keys, a book by Scott Butler
and are also quoted on the website cited at the end of the quotes (a
site by Antoine Valentim). The quotes are not intended to be an
argument in and of themselves, but to shore up the fact that the Papacy
not only was and IS a legitimate development, but that it was also
recognized in the East, and not merely in remote pockets - but WIDELY
recognized throughout the different Apostolic Sees of the East. Each
quote cites its source. I am also sure that my opponent, Chris can find some of
these quotes to be lacking if looked at separately, but taken as a
whole - they represent an overwhelming support of the Papacy in the
Eastern Early Church.
Opening Statement - Scott Windsor
Let us begin with
defining what the "modern role of the Papacy" is so that we're
discussing/debating the same thing. For the purpose of this debate the
role we will focus on is the Coryphaeus - or "Head" of the Apostles, as
many of the quotes which follow will refer to Peter and Peter's
successor, the Bishop of Rome. Let us also agree that as of this
writing/debate, that Pope Benedict XVI is the current and valid
successor to St. Peter's See. I must assume this agreement, or else the
debate ends right here and now as if my opponent will not agree that
Pope Benedict XVI is rightfully sitting in St. Peter's See as the
current and valid successor of St. Peter - then the very premise of
this debate cannot be discussed. Since Chris is an Orthodox Christian
(a neophyte convert to Orthodoxy from Evangelicalism and before that
Anglicanism) and typically the Orthodox recognize the Pope in Rome as
the Patriarch of the Latin Church, I believe I am safe in assuming that
he will recognize Pope Benedict as the current successor of St. Peter
and the Patriarch of the Latin Church, and apostolic succession in
general is something we both would agree upon.
n. 1. (Gr. Antiq.)
The conductor, chief, or leader of the dramatic chorus; hence, the chief
or leader of a party or interest.
St. Peter was
selected by Jesus Himself to be the Corypheus of the Church when He
singled out Simon, Son of Jonah (Simon Bar Jonah), to be the keeper of
the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. In selecting Simon Jesus not only
promises these Keys to him, but renames him from Simon to Peter, a name
which means "rock" and then within the same context Jesus says, "and
upon this rock I will build My Church." Now of course, anyone who is
familiar at all with Catholic apologetics knows the verses I am
referring to here. It comes from Matthew 16:18-19 and some may even
argue that this passage is "over used" among Catholic apologists, like
myself. However, the passage - these two verses - say so much in so
little space, it is not something which should be summarily dismissed
merely because it is used so often. In fact, it is used so often
because of the foundational truth expressed by Jesus Himself in these
and/or questioners of the Catholic position will say that Jesus was
referring to Simon's faith, and not to Simon himself - but when we look
at this objectively, we must see that the context is Simon testifying
that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. It is
because God the Father has revealed this to Simon that Jesus promises
to Simon to receive the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and He renames
Simon to Cephas or "Rock" or as we get it from the Greek, "Peter."
Jesus further states that Peter has the authority to bind or loose
"whatsoever" he chooses AND whatsoever he binds on Earth is also bound
in Heaven! In other words, Peter, and Peter alone at this point, was
given infallible authority to bind or loose whatsoever he chooses. It
has to be infallible authority for it would be unthinkable for a
Christian to believe that God would permit error to be bound in Heaven.
No other Apostle, alone, was given this authority so in doing this
Jesus has made Peter the Head or Corypheus of the Apostles. Yes, later
on in Matthew 18:18 Jesus gives a similar authority to the rest of the
Apostles, as a group, and it is most notable that no mention of "keys"
is made in chapter 18.
Keys Symbolize Authority
Keys are also
commonly referred to as a symbol of authority throughout history - not
just Christian/Catholic history. As you can see in The Complete
Dictionary of Symbols, By Jack Tresidder, keys are symbolic of
"authority, power of choice, entry, freedom of action, etc." Keys as
symbolic of authority has roots in Roman (not Roman Catholic) tradition
where "Janus, the guardian of doors and gates, who was believed to
control the passage of day to night and winter to summer" held keys in
his left hand, and the "ankh" in Egyptian tradition symbolized the
"passage into the afterlife" (and the afterlife for Christian thought
is Heaven). The point here, I reiterate, is the use of keys as a symbol
of authority is not a Catholic innovation.
The Good Shepherd Hands On His Role to Peter
In John 21:15-17
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, hands off His Authority as Shepherd to St.
Peter, and does so in three-fold fashion - affirming three times over
that Peter is now the "Shepherd" in charge of His Sheep. This is
significant for one of the last things Jesus does before He ascends
into Heaven is leave someone in charge in His stead. That is why we
have the title "Vicar of Christ" (a vicar is an agent or a
representative of another) for St. Peter, and those who sit in his
office or seat, have that responsibility of vicar. Jesus didn't leave
His Church rudderless, with each bishop doing his own autonomous thing
- no, He selected one to lead and as we see in Acts 1:21, the apostolic
office of bishop or the bishopric, has, by design, successors to that
The modern role of
the Papacy has the successor of St. Peter holding the Keys to the
Kingdom and is the head or corypheus of the rest of the Apostles. St.
Peter's authority is an infallible authority and he was given this
authority so that he could lead. We are shown in John 21:15-17 in a
three-fold example of Jesus handing on this authority to St. Peter, and
thus - the current successor, and all who have preceded him in that
bishopric, have this authority and responsibility to Jesus and His
People - the Church. Since we're both in agreement on apostolic
succession, it is only natural that the current successor to St.
Peter's See would have the same rights and authority as St. Peter
himself was promised and given by Jesus Christ. Likewise, Bartholomew
is the current successor of the Apostle, St. Andrew (Bartholomew is the
Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox). Whereas St. Andrew was among the
college of the Apostles when, as a group, Jesus gave to them the
authority to bind or loose whatsoever they chose (which is where we get
the infallible authority of an ecumenical council of the Church, and
again, my opponent and I agree on this - we just don't agree on the
number of ecumenical councils), Jesus gave this authority to St. Peter
himself when Jesus spoke to him directly in Matthew 16:18-19.
So we have the sign
of keys, a symbol of authority which predates the Christian era, and
the keys were promised to St. Peter and to him alone. The keys are
never mentioned in regard to the rest of the Apostles. We have St.
Peter, alone being given the authority to bind and loose which later is
given to all the Apostles, but to them as a group, not to them as
individuals, as St. Peter was given. We have Jesus handing on His role
of Shepherd to St. Peter, and this three-fold confirmation of this
authority is bestowed upon Peter, and Peter alone.
And now the quotes from our Eastern Catholic Fathers:
I reiterate, these
quotes are to be taken as a whole. I have no intention of attempting to
defend each of them individually, but taken as a whole, we can see how
the Eastern Fathers of the Church recognized the position of the Bishop
of Rome in a similar, if not exactly the same as we today recognize the
modern role of the Pope.
St. Peter, Bishop of Alexandria (306-311 A.D.):
Head of the
catechetical school in Alexandria, he became bishop around A.D. 300,
reigning for about eleven years, and dying a martyr's death.
Peter, set above the Apostles. (Peter of Alexandria, Canon. ix, Galland, iv. p. 98)
St. Anthony of Egypt (330 A.D.):
Peter, the Prince of the Apostles (Anthony, Epist. xvii. Galland, iv p. 687).
St. Athanasius (362 A.D.):
Rome is called the Apostolic throne. (Athanasius, Hist. Arian, ad Monach. n. 35).
The Chief, Peter. (Athan, In Ps. xv. 8, tom. iii. p. 106, Migne)
St. Macarius of Egypt (371 A.D.):
The Chief, Peter. (Macarius, De Patientia, n. 3, p. 180)
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. Cyril of Alexandria (c. 424):
He suffers him no
longer to be called Simon, exercising authority and rule over him
already having become His own. By a title suitable to the thing, He
changed his name into Peter, from the word 'petra' (rock); for on him
He was afterwards to found His Church. (Cyril, T. iv. Comm. in Joan.,
promises to found the Church, assigning immovableness to it, as He is
the Lord of strength, and over this He sets Peter as shepherd. (Cyril,
Comm. on Matt., ad loc.)
Therefore, when the
Lord had hinted at the disciple's denial in the words that He used, 'I
have prayed for thee that thy faith not fail,' He at once introduced a
word of consolation, and said (to Peter): 'And do thou, when once thou
art converted, strengthen thy brethren.' That is, 'Be thou a support
and a teacher of those who through faith come to me.' Again, marvel
also at the insight of that saying and at the completeness of the
Divine gentleness of spirit. For so that He should not reduce the
disciple to despair at the thought that after his denial he would have
to be debarred from the glorious distinction of being an Apostle, He
fills him with good hope, that he will attain the good things promised.
...O loving kindness! The sin was not yet committed, and He already
extends His pardon and sets him (Peter) again in his Apostolic office.
(Cyril Comm. on Luke's Gospel)
For the wondrous
Peter, overcome by uncontrollable fear, denied the Lord three times.
Christ heals the error done, and demands in various ways the threefold
confession ... For although all the holy disciples fled, ...still
Peter's fault in the threefold denial was in addition, special and
peculiar to himself. Therefore, by the threefold confession of blessed
Peter, the fault of the triple denial was done away. Further, by the
Lord's saying, Feed my lambs, we must understand a renewal as it were
of the Apostleship already given to him, washing away the intervening
disgrace of his fall, and the littleness of human infirmity. (Cyril,
Comm. on John's Gospel).
They (the Apostles)
strove to learn through one, that preeminent one, Peter. (Cyril, Ib. 1. ix. p. 736).
And even blessed
Peter, though set over the holy disciples, says 'Lord, be it far from
Thee, this shall be done to Thee. (Cyril, Ibid. 924).
If Peter himself,
that prince of the holy disciples, was, upon an occasion, scandalized,
so as suddenly to exclaim, 'Lord, be it far from Thee,' what wonder
that the tender mind of woman should be carried away? (Cyril, Ibid, p.
That the Spirit is
God we shall also learn hence. That the prince of the Apostles, to whom
'flesh and blood,' as the Savior says, 'did not reveal' the Divine
mystery, says to Ananias, 'Why hath satan tempted thy heart, &c.'
(Cyril, T. v. Par. 1. Thesaur. p. 340)
Besides all these,
let there come forward that leader of the holy disciples, Peter, who,
when the Lord, on a certain occasion, asked him, 'Whom do men say that
the Son of man is?' instantly cried out, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the living God.' (Cyril, T. v. P.2, Hom. viii. De Fest. Pasch. p.
'If I wash thee
not, thou shalt have no part with me.' When the Coryphaeus (Peter) had
heard these words, he began to change. (Cyril, Ib. Hom.)
This bold man
(Julian), besides all this, cavils at Peter, the chosen one of the holy
Apostles. (Cyril, T. vi.l. ix. Contr. Julian. p. 325).
Eulogius of Alexandria (581 A.D.):
Born in Syria, he
became the abbot of the Mother of God monastery at Antioch. In 579, he
was made Patriarch of Alexandria; and became an associate of St.
Gregory the Great while visiting Constantinople. Much of their
subsequent correspondence is still extant.
Neither to John,
nor to any other of the disciples, did our Savior say, 'I will give to
thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,' but only to Peter. (Eulogius,
Lib. ii. Cont. Novatian. ap. Photium, Biblioth, cod. 280)
Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria (450):
A native of Antioch, Theodoret ruled under the Antiochean Patriarch.
foundation of the Church was shaken, and confirmed by the Divine grace.
And the Lord commanded him to apply that same care to the brethren.
'And thou,' He says, 'converted, confirm thy brethren.' (Theodoret,
Tom. iv. Haeret. Fab. lib. v.c. 28)
'For as I,' He
says, 'did not despise thee when tossed, so be thou a support to thy
brethren in trouble, and the help by which thou was saved do thou
thyself impart to others, and exhort them not while they are tottering,
but raise them up in their peril. For this reason I suffer thee also to
slip, but do not permit thee to fall, thus through thee gaining
steadfastness for those who are tossed.' So this great pillar supported
the tossing and sinking world, and permitted it not to fall entirely
and gave it back stability, having been ordered to feed God's sheep.
(Theodoret, Oratio de Caritate in J. P. Minge, ed., Partrologiae Curses
Completus: Series Graeca).
I therefore beseech
your holiness to persuade the most holy and blessed bishop (Pope Leo)
to use his Apostolic power, and to order me to hasten to your Council.
For that most holy throne (Rome) has the sovereignty over the churches
throughout the universe on many grounds. (Theodoret, Tom. iv. Epist.
cxvi. Renato, p. 1197).
If Paul, the herald
of the truth, the trumpet of the Holy Spirit, hastened to the great
Peter, to convey from him the solution to those in Antioch, who were at
issue about living under the law, how much more do we, poor and humble,
run to the Apostolic Throne (Rome) to receive from you (Pope Leo)
healing for wounds of the Churches. For it pertains to you to have
primacy in all things; for your throne is adorned with many
prerogatives. (Theodoret Ibid, Epistle Leoni)
St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 387):
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, &c.'
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 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)
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)
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 reproaches
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)
St. Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople (434):
A disciple of St. John Chrysostom,...
coryphaeus of the disciples, and the one set over (or chief of) the
Apostles. Art not thou he that didst say, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the living God'? Thou Bar-Jonas (son of the dove) hast thou seen so
many miracles, and art thou still but Simon (a hearer)? He appointed
thee the key-bearer of Heaven, and has though not yet layed aside thy
fisherman's clothing? (Proclus, Or. viii In Dom. Transfig. t. ix.
John Cassian, Monk (c. 430):
That great man, the
disciple of disciples, that master among masters, who wielding the
government of the Roman Church possessed the principle authority in
faith and in priesthood. Tell us, therefore, we beg of you, Peter,
prince of Apostles, tell us how the Churches must believe in God
(Cassian, Contra Nestorium, III, 12, CSEL, vol. 17, p. 276).
St. Nilus of Constantinople (448):
A disciple of St. John Chrysostom, ....
Peter, Head of the choir of Apostles. (Nilus, Lib. ii Epistl.)
Peter, who was foremost in the choir of Apostles and always ruled amongst them. (Nilus, Tract. ad. Magnam.)
Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople (466-516)
declared, when desired by the Emperor Anastasius to condemn the Council
of Chalcedon, that 'such a step without an Ecumenical Synod presided
over by the Pope of Rome is impossible.' (Macedonius, Patr. Graec. 108:
360a (Theophan. Chronogr. pp. 234-346 seq.)
Emperor Justinian (520-533)
Writing to the Pope, ...
Yielding honor to
the Apostolic See and to Your Holiness, and honoring your Holiness, as
one ought to honor a father, we have hastened to subject all the
priests of the whole Eastern district, and to unite them to the See of
your Holiness, for we do not allow of any point, however manifest and
indisputable it be, which relates to the state of the Churches, not
being brought to the cognizance of your Holiness, since you are the
Head of all the holy Churches. (Justinian Epist. ad. Pap. Joan. ii.
Cod. Justin. lib. I. tit. 1).
Apostleship show that you have worthily succeeded to the Apostle Peter,
since the Lord will work through you, as Supreme Pastor, the salvation
of all. (Coll. Avell. Ep. 196, July 9th, 520, Justinian to Pope
St. Maximus the Confessor (c. 650)
A celebrated theologian and a native of Constantinople, ...
The extremities of
the earth, and everyone in every part of it who purely and rightly
confess the Lord, look directly towards the Most Holy Roman Church and
her confession and faith, as to a sun of unfailing light awaiting from
her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers,
according to that which the inspired and holy Councils have stainlessly
and piously decreed. For, from the descent of the Incarnate Word
amongst us, all the churches in every part of the world have held the
greatest Church alone to be their base and foundation, seeing that,
according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell will
never prevail against her, that she has the keys of the orthodox
confession and right faith in Him, that she opens the true and
exclusive religion to such men as approach with piety, and she shuts up
and locks every heretical mouth which speaks against the Most High.
(Maximus, Opuscula theologica et polemica, Migne, Patr. Graec. vol. 90)
How much more in
the case of the clergy and Church of the Romans, which from old until
now presides over all the churches which are under the sun? Having
surely received this canonically, as well as from councils and the
apostles, as from the princes of the latter (Peter & Paul), and
being numbered in their company, she is subject to no writings or
issues in synodical documents, on account of the eminence of her
pontificate .....even as in all these things all are equally subject to
her (the Church of Rome) according to sacerodotal law. And so when,
without fear, but with all holy and becoming confidence, those
ministers (the popes) are of the truly firm and immovable rock, that is
of the most great and Apostolic Church of Rome. (Maximus, in J.B.
Mansi, ed. Amplissima Collectio Conciliorum, vol. 10)
If the Roman See
recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is
certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected
Pyrrhus also anathematizes the See of Rome, that is, he anathematizes
the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself
also, if indeed he is in communion with the Roman See and the Catholic
Church of God ...Let him hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman
See, for if it is satisfied, all will agree in calling him pious and
orthodox. For he only speaks in vain who thinks he ought to persuade or
entrap persons like myself, and does not satisfy and implore the
blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is,
the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God
Himself, and also all the holy synods, according to the holy canons and
definitions has received universal and supreme dominion, authority, and
power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God
throughout the whole world. (Maximus, Letter to Peter, in Mansi x, 692).
John VI, Patriarch of Constantinople (715):
The Pope of Rome,
the head of the Christian priesthood, whom in Peter, the Lord commanded
to confirm his brethren. (John VI, Epist. ad Constantin. Pap. ad.
Combefis, Auctuar. Bibl. P.P. Graec.tom. ii. p. 211, seq.)
St. Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople (758-828):
Without whom (the
Romans presiding in the seventh Council) a doctrine brought forward in
the Church could not, even though confirmed by canonical decrees and by
ecclesiastical usage, ever obtain full approval or currency. For it is
they (the Popes of Rome) who have had assigned to them the rule in
sacred things, and who have received into their hands the dignity of
headship among the Apostles. (Nicephorus, Niceph. Cpl. pro. s. imag. c
25 [Mai N. Bibl. pp. ii. 30]).
St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826):
Writing to Pope Leo III ....
Since to great
Peter Christ our Lord gave the office of Chief Shepherd after
entrusting him with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, to Peter or his
successor must of necessity every novelty in the Catholic Church be
referred. [Therefore], save us, oh most divine Head of Heads, Chief
Shepherd of the Church of Heaven. (Theodore, Bk. I. Ep. 23)
Writing to Pope Paschal, ...
Hear, O Apostolic
Head, divinely-appointed Shepherd of Christ's sheep, key bearer of the
Kingdom of Heaven, Rock of the Faith upon whom the Catholic Church is
built. For Peter art thou, who adornest and governest the Chair of
Peter. Hither, then, from the West, imitator of Christ, arise and repel
not for ever (Ps. xliii. 23). To thee spake Christ our Lord: 'And thou
being one day converted, shalt strengthen thy brethren.' Behold the
hour and the place. Help us, thou that art set by God for this. Stretch
forth thy hand so far as thou canst. Thou hast strength with God,
through being the first of all. (Letter of St. Theodore and four other
Abbots to Pope Paschal, Bk. ii Ep. 12, Patr. Graec. 99, 1152-3)
Writing to Emperor Michael, ...
Order that the
declaration from old Rome be received, as was the custom by Tradition
of our Fathers from of old and from the beginning. For this, O Emperor,
is the highest of the Churches of God, in which first Peter held the
Chair, to whom the Lord said: Thou art Peter ...and the gates of hell
shall not prevail against it. (Theodore, Bk. II. Ep. 86)
I witness now
before God and men, they have torn themselves away from the Body of
Christ, from the Supreme See (Rome), in which Christ placed the keys of
the Faith, against which the gates of hell (I mean the mouth of
heretics) have not prevailed, and never will until the Consummation,
according to the promise of Him Who cannot lie. Let the blessed and
Apostolic Paschal (Pope St. Paschal I) rejoice therefore, for he has
fulfilled the work of Peter. (Theodore Bk. II. Ep. 63).
In truth we have
seen that a manifest successor of the prince of the Apostles presides
over the Roman Church. We truly believe that Christ has not deserted
the Church here (Constantinople), for assistance from you has been our
one and only aid from of old and from the beginning by the providence
of God in the critical times. You are, indeed the untroubled and pure
fount of orthodoxy from the beginning, you the calm harbor of the whole
Church, far removed from the waves of heresy, you the God-chosen city
of refuge. (Letter of St. Theodor & Four Abbots to Pope Paschal).
Let him (Patriarch
Nicephorus of Constantinople) assemble a synod of those with whom he
has been at variance, if it is impossible that representatives of the
other Patriarchs should be present, a thing which might certainly be if
the Emperor should wish the Western Patriarch (the Roman Pope) to be
present, to whom is given authority over an ecumenical synod; but let
him make peace and union by sending his synodical letters to the
prelate of the First See. (Theodore the Studite, Patr. Graec. 99, 1420)
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Patriarch (363):
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.' (Cyril, Catech. xi. n. 3)
For Peter was there, who carrieth the keys of heaven. (Cyril, 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. (Cyril, Catech ii.
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)
St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (c. 638):
Teaching us all
orthodoxy and destroying all heresy and driving it away from the
God-protected halls of our holy Catholic Church. And together with
these inspired syllables and characters, I accept all his (the pope's)
letters and teachings as proceeding from the mouth of Peter the
Coryphaeus, and I kiss them and salute them and embrace them with all
my soul ... I recognize the latter as definitions of Peter and the
former as those of Mark, and besides, all the heaven-taught teachings
of all the chosen mystagogues of our Catholic Church. (Sophronius,
Mansi, xi. 461)
all the world from one end to the other until you come to the Apostolic
See (Rome), where are the foundations of the orthodox doctrine. Make
clearly known to the most holy personages of that throne the questions
agitated among us. Cease not to pray and to beg them until their
apostolic and Divine wisdom shall have pronounced the victorious
judgment and destroyed from the foundation ...the new heresy.
(Sophronius,[quoted by Bishop Stephen of Dora to Pope Martin I at the
Lateran Council], Mansi, x., 893)
Stephen, Bishop of Dora in Palestine (645):
And for this cause,
sometimes we ask for water to our head and to our eyes a fountain of
tears, sometimes the wings of a dove, according to holy David, that we
might fly away and announce these things to the Chair (the Chair of
Peter at Rome) which rules and presides over all, I mean to yours, the
head and highest, for the healing of the whole wound. For this it has
been accustomed to do from old and from the beginning with power by its
canonical or apostolic authority, because the truly great Peter, head
of the Apostles, was clearly thought worthy not only to be trusted with
the keys of heaven, alone apart from the rest, to open it worthily to
believers, or to close it justly to those who disbelieve the Gospel of
grace, but because he was also commissioned to feed the sheep of the
whole Catholic Church; for 'Peter,' saith He, 'lovest thou Me? Feed My
sheep.' And again, because he had in a manner peculiar and special, a
faith in the Lord stronger than all and unchangeable, to be converted
and to confirm his fellows and spiritual brethren when tossed about, as
having been adorned by God Himself incarnate for us with power and
sacerdotal authority .....And Sophronius of blessed memory, who was
Patriarch of the holy city of Christ our God, and under whom I was
bishop, conferring not with flesh and blood, but caring only for the
things of Christ with respect to your Holiness, hastened to send my
nothingness without delay about this matter alone to this Apostolic
see, where are the foundations of holy doctrine.
St. Epiphanius, Archbishop of Salamis (385):
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. (Epiphanius, T. ii. in Anchor).
Sergius, Metropolitan of Cyprus (649 A.D.)
He writes to Pope Theodore, ....
O Holy Head, Christ
our God hath destined thy Apostolic See to be an immovable foundation
and a pillar of the Faith. For thou art, as the Divine Word truly
saith, Peter, and on thee as a foundation-stone have the pillars of the
Church been fixed. (Sergius Ep. ad Theod. lecta in Sess. ii. Concil.
Lat. anno 649)