Debate Premise: The idea of Papal Primacy, being anything but a Primacy of Honor, enjoys no sustained Patristic support.
The burden of proof rests upon the one holding the affirmative. What Patristic texts has my opponent provided to affirm the premise? A handful at the most? A reference to St. Irenaeus and Pope St. Gregory the Great and few references to the Canons.
In contrast I have cited over 75 texts covering over a 550 year time period, including numerous Eastern and Western Fathers, Eastern liturgical texts, church historians, the Theodosian code, Orthodox Councils both local and Ecumenical, collections of Canons including an Eastern collection, and letters of appeal to Rome. The appeal letter from Second Syria to Pope Hormisdas, affirming Papal Primacy, alone was signed by almost 200 monks[CSEL 35:572 sq.]. The Slavonic Nomocanon declares Papal Primacy of Jurisdiction based on Divine Right. My opponent erroneously concludes that the publishing date is the date of the text itself. This Nomocanon is from the 9th to 11th century.
In the mid 3rd century we see Pope Stephen[254-257] and the Tradition of the Church prevailing over St. Cyprian and his council of 256. And this fact attested to by the Patristic texts I provided from St. Jerome and St. Vincent of Lerins.
In the 4th century we see the Greek Church proclaiming Pope St. Silvester[314-335] as the one who, "adorned the throne of the coryphaeus of the disciples" as the leader of the "sacred college" at the first Ecumenical Council of Nicea.
Also in the 4th century we see ecclesiastical matters in the East not being valid unless the bishop of Rome says so. Pope Julius declares this right based on Sacred Tradition. Pope Julius, using the authority intrinsic to the Apostolic See, restores the unjustly deposed Eastern bishops to their churches. All this before the Council of Sardica where Rome is called the "head, the See of Peter."
From the late 4th century to the time of Pope St. Leo the Great[440-461] we see an example of Papal Jurisdiction in the East. The bishop of Thessalonica acts as Papal vicar. Without the Papal vicarís approval no bishop was to be ordained, the bishops could not gather apart from his approval, and if the bishops sought to appeal to Rome it had to go through the vicar. It appears my opponent accuses the Popes, even Eastern saints like Pope St. Leo the Great and Pope St. Celestine, of contriving this Vicariate.
In the 5th century we see St. Cyril appealing to Rome for directions on what to do about the heretic Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius. Pope St. Celestine[422-432] delegates his authority to Cyril in dealing with Nestorius. About one year later the Council of Ephesus hands down a sentence which had already been proclaimed by Pope Celestine. The acts of the Council record that Cyril lead the Council in place of Pope Celestine.
Also in the 5th century we see appeals to Rome after the "Robber Council" of 449 proclaiming the Primacy of Rome "in every respect" which "presides over the universe." At the Council of Chalcedon Rome, to the agreement of the Council, acts alone in condemning and deposing Dioscorus.
In the 6th century we see the Formula of Pope Hormisdas which my opponent calls a "sorry affair" and "unclear document," yet we see 2500 Eastern clergy signing the Formula of Pope Hormisdas which declares that in Rome "the Catholic religion has always been preserved immaculate." We see at the Conference of 532 under Emperor Justinian that it was the Monophysites, not the Orthodox, who sought to "suppress the libelli of the Romans... which had been subscribed by all the bishops"[Patrologiae Orientalis 13:194-195] How different was the attitude of the Eastern saint, Patriarch Menas of Constantinople who signed in 536 a variation of the Formula of Pope Hormisdas which says:
...following in all things the Apostolic See, we preach whatever has been laid down by it...[CSEL 35: 342]
I could have easily provided more documentation. For example, Emperor Justinian[526-565] promulgated a code of Roman Law. The "Code of Justinian" had a place in Byzantium much like the Constitution does in the U.S.A. In that code Justinian included a letter where Pope John II[532-535] praised the Emperor saying:
Among the glorious praises of your wisdom and meekness, most Christian of princes, [is the fact that] you preserve the reverence due the See of Rome and subject everything to it... That this see is truly head of the Churches, both the rules of the Fathers and the statutes of princes declare...[Codex Iustinianus I 1, 8. Corpus Iuris Civilis, Berlin 1882, Vol. II, 10]
In 537 Justinian sent Pope Silverius[536-537] into exile to Patara in Lycia in the east . The bishop of Patara rebuked Justinian, saying:
In this world there are many kings, not one, like that pope who is over the church of the whole world. [Liberatus, Breviarium, 22. PL 68: 1040]
In the 7th century we see the Western council of Lateran in 649 which was considered by St. Maximus as Ecumenical. The acts record that the Council, "... occurred in... Old Rome, according to the sacred command and canonical procurement of the most holy and thrice blessed Pope Martin, who presided over the entire divine hierarchy under the sun." The Council had Eastern representation. Stephen of Dora proclaims Rome, "the Chair which rules and presides over all... the head and highest" because St. Peter received the keys, "alone and apart from the rest."
Also from the 7th century I cited a passage from the "Tome of [Pope] Agatho." which the sixth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople proclaimed as "divinely written."
... [Peter] also received from the very Redeemer of all, the Churchís spiritual sheep...by whose protection, this apostolic Church of his has never turned aside to any part of error, whose authority, as that of the prince of all the apostles, the entire Catholic Church of Christ, and the ecumenical councils, ever faithfully embracing, followed in all things...[Mansi 11: 239-42]
When questioned my opponent did not deny that the words, "this apostolic Church of his" referred to the Roman Church. My opponent brought up the fall of Pope Honorius[625-638] yet when the council condemned Honorius it wrote back to Pope St. Agatho[678-681] calling him the "Sacred Head" and had asked him to confirm the acts by his "honorable rescripts."[Mansi 11:685-88]
I brought forth texts from a couple of the Eastís greatest saints. St. Maximus the Confessor and St. Theodore the Studite. St Theodore calls the Pope the, "divinely established shepherd of Christís sheep," and calls his Primacy "divine." I refer the readers of this debate to the my answer to question #5 where I had summarized some of what these Fathers said regarding Romeís Universal Jurisdiction based on Divine Right.
My opponent in his opening statements speaks of, "the fall of the Roman Church from Orthodoxy." Contrast this with St. Theodore the Studite who called Rome:
... the chief throne in which Christ placed the keys of faith: against which the gates of hell, namely the mouths of heretics, have not prevailed up to now, nor shall they ever prevail, according to the promise of Him who does not lie [PG 99: 1281].
My opponent went to great lengths to show that I could not provide a Canon showing Papal Primacy of Jurisdiction based on Divine Right. Contrast this belief with that of the Eastern saint, Maximus the Confessor who said that the Apostolic See of Rome:
... from God the Incarnate Word Himself as well as all the holy Councils, according to the sacred canons and definitions, has received and possesses supreme power in all things and for all things, over all the holy churches of God throughout the world, as well as power and authority of binding and loosing. For with this church, the Word, who commands the powers of heaven, binds and looses in heaven. [PG 91: 144]
My opponent made the point, which I agree with, that Pope St. Gregory[590-604] believed in three Petrine Sees. He appears to conclude that Gregory considered the three Seeís authority to be equal. As I showed in my second rebuttal and in my answer to question #2 Gregory believed the See of Rome possessed a higher degree of authority proclaiming Rome, "head of all the Churches," and "... I know not what bishop is not subject to it." Authority over the other Churches including the See of Constantinople[Epp. IX, 12. PL 77, 957-8].
In this debate one was supposed to provide support from the Fathers and the other was supposed to contradict them. Let the audience decide which one did which.