My opponent begins with a claim well over the bounds of what I have defined at primacy, a far reaching claim of a ‘divinely-established’ authority on the part of the Roman Papacy is untenable in the Fathers of the Church. NONE of the quotes listed demonstrate such a primacy in their historical context.
My opponent begins with part of the liturgical texts of the Church for the feast of St Silvester. I refer the reader back to his opening.
While sounding impressive (Byzantine liturgy must, since most of the liturgical texts are sung), there is no reference to Papal primacy. From the text of the First-Second Council in my opening (and we can adorn that canon with others and Patristic references if my opponent disputes it) the Orthodoxy (and personal holiness) of a Bishop, and certainly a senior hierarch, such as the Pope of Rome, is the criterion for sainthood. Both of these qualities are available in the above reference. The key to understanding this is the Greek ‘coryphaeus’: "head of the choir". But no one disputes that St Peter is the head of the Apostolical choir; I believe I noted that in my opening! Does this equate into a Papal primacy, since even St Silvester earned the title ‘adorning the throne of the coryphaeus’ through his Orthodoxy? I say no. And I defy my opponent to demonstrate otherwise. However, allow me to show what I am saying, rather than just state without proof. The text for the Feast of St Gregory Palamas, without noting the term ‘coryphaeus’, uses almost identical wording otherwise.
Kathisma 1: With hymns do we extol the divine Christian bishop, who like a cloud of light and a pillar of fire, in Spirit does precede today the new people of Israel, and who leads them into the intelligible land of peace, the metropolis of those in Christ who are firstborn. We praise the great Gregory.
Second Canon. Adhering faithfully to the courses of your godly teachings, we escape the wiles of the heretics. And through your sacred treatises we put to flight all their arrays, O most divine father Gregory. Possessing the hypostatic wisdom of God in your heart, you put an end unto the foolish sophistries of heretics, O blessed one, and thus did you obliterate their unsound snortings resoundingly. (St Gregory Palamas, November 14. Matins.)
The Menaion I have access to, that excellent one of Archimandrite Ephrem in England available online to the public, uses the text "Prince" as opposed to "choir-master",--however, what was omitted in the Ikos of the feast is telling:
Enriched with the throne of the Prince of the Apostles, you were revealed as a most wondrous Minister of God, making lovely, establishing and magnifying the Church by divine doctrines.
Three words make all the difference: because it is demonstrated that the "Primacy" of St Silvester was not assumed by the Church, but revealed through the Orthodox Faith which he held.
From the Synaxarion for Matins of the Fathers of Nicea:
Of these holy Fathers, two hundred and thirty two were Bishops, eighty six Priests, Deacons and Monks; those present numbering three hundred and eighteen. The most outstanding were Silvester, Bishop of Rome and Metrophanes of Constantinople who was sick. They were represented by legates. Alexander of Alexandria with Athanasios the Great, who was archdeacon at the time, Efstathios of Antioch and Makarios of Jerusalem, Hosios, bishop of Cordoba, Paphnutios the confessor, Nicholas myrovlitis and Spyridon of Trimytheus….
If the Divine St Silvester actually held the Primacy my opponent discusses, the Church never made any mention of it.
My opponent discusses Pope Julius: "The Eusebians believed that since Rome reserved the right to depose Novation without the East the East should have the freedom to depose Athanasius without interference from the West." Again, historically inaccurate. This was only one part of the argument the Arians put forth against the Orthodox Pope Julius, who recognized the Orthodox St Athanasius of Alexandria and Paul of Antioch as the rightful Bishops of their sees, both of whom had been forcibly removed from their sees by Arians appealing to the Imperial court. (Remember that canon of the council of 870—heretical Bishops aren’t real bishops at all.) Pope Julius, the only untouched Orthodox head of a Petrine See was the only Bishop who was capable of judging this case. (More on multiple Petrine Sees in a moment.) Sozomen:
THUS were the schemes of those who upheld various heresies in opposition to truth successfully carried into execution; and thus did they depose those bishops who strenuously maintained throughout the East the supremacy of the doctrines of the Nicaean Council. These heretics had taken possession of the most important sees…. The ruler of the Church at Rome and all the priests of the West regarded these deeds as a personal insult; for they had accorded from the beginning with all the decisions in the vote made by those convened at Nice, nor did they now cease from that way of thinking. On the arrival of Athanasius, they received him kindly, and espoused his cause among themselves. Irritated at this interference, Eusebius wrote to Julius, exhorting him to constitute himself a judge of the decrees that had been enacted against Athanasius by the council of Tyre. (III, x)
Pope Julius was not quite within his ‘rights’ yet, since Eusebius asks him to ‘constitute himself’ a judge—a selection of words that would not indicate Papal right, but an appeal to an Orthodox Bishop who had submitted to the Nicene decrees. The actual argument placed forth by the Arians was that Rome was worthy of universal honor—but there was included a veiled threat not to interfere with the depositions. Rome’s response would be the council of Sardica: but my opponent has not quoted a single canon of Sardica to demonstrate the Roman primacy. Indeed, the Senior Hierarch of the Orthodox Catholic Church has the prerogative of an ‘all-embracing apostolic care’, in the words of Bp Kallistos of Diokleia, and demonstrated by Sardica, but this simply does not translate into a divine right, nor a primatial right of jurisdiction, but simply a final court of appeal (and in this case involving the second and third ranking hierarchs of the Orthodox Church!)
Without getting into a detailed discussion of the "Vicariate of Rome" my opponent contrives, I note that none of the statements of Pope Boniface had Ecumenical sanction. Indeed, in his reference to St Cyril my opponent ignores crucial notes at the decisions of Ephesus. He references a discussion with between St Cyril of Alexandria and Pope Celestine which is telling: "Wherefore, having assumed unto yourself the authority of our See, and using our stead and our place with authority, you shall execute this sentence with the utmost strictness."The Pope’s phrase is interesting because my opponent assumes that the use of the term "our" refers solely to the Roman Church. This does not match the interpretation given, however, by St Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome:
St Gregory , Pope of Rome, Epistle XL, To Eulogius of Alexandria: Your most sweet Holiness has spoken much in your letter to me about the chair of Saint Peter, Prince of the apostles, saying that he himself now sits on it in the persons of his successors. And indeed I acknowledge myself to be unworthy, not only in the dignity of such as preside, but even in the number of such as stand. But I gladly accepted all that has been said, in that he has spoken to me about Peter's chair who occupies Peter's chair. …And to him it is said by the voice of the Truth, To thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matth. xvi. 19). And again it is said to him, And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (xxii. 32). And once more, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Feed my sheep (Joh. xxi. 17). Wherefore though there are many apostles, yet with regard to the principality itself the See of the Prince of the apostles alone has grown strong in authority, which in three places is the See of one.
Clearly St Gregory is referring back to the canons of the Council of Nicea (325, see opening) which label the three Patriarchal sees as Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. All three are Petrine: Antioch was established by St Peter’s disciple, St Mark: and St Peter established the Church in Alexandria before enduring martyrdom in Rome. St Gregory would then attack St John the Faster’s use of the title "Ecumenical Patriarch" for Constantionople on the basis that the authority of both Alexandria and Antioch would be subverted. While the Papal legates judge Nestorius at the Council of Ephesus, it should be noted that the judgment required the ratification of the Council, headed by St Cyril: Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria said: The professions which have been made by Arcadius and Projectus, the most holy and pious bishops, as also by Philip, the most religious presbyter of the Roman Church, stand manifest to the holy Synod. For they have made their profession in the place of the Apostolic See, and of the whole of the holy synod of the God-beloved and most holy bishops of the West. Wherefore let those things which were defined by the most holy Coelestine, the God-beloved bishop, be carried into effect, and the vote east against Nestorius the heretic, by the holy Synod, which met in the metropolis of Ephesus be agreed to universally; for this purpose let there be added to the already prepared acts the proceedings of yesterday and today, and let them be shewn to their holiness, so that by their subscription according to custom, their canonical agreement with all of us may be manifest. (Session III.)
I give no credence to the appeals of the heretics following Dioscorus. If we were to do so, one could credibly argue that the heretical council that "deposed" Pope Julius acted in a wholly canonical manner.
While my opponent correctly quotes the legates to the Council of Chalcedon (though there remains the argument due to the poor Latin that the text has been corrupted), he neglects to mention that the judges considered it insufficient to point solely to Rome’s authority, and the Legates are forced to point out that a man under judgement should not sit among judges:
The most glorious judges and the full senate, said: It is proper that you should set forth specifically in what he hath goneastray. Lucentius, the venerable bishop and holding the place of the Apostolic See, said: We will not suffer so great a wrong to be done us and you, as that he who is come to be judged should sit down [as one to give judgment].The glorious judges and the whole senate said: If you hold the office of judge, you ought not to defend yourself as if you were to be judged.(LC Concilia, tome iv col 93)
My opponent claims that the Papal Legates simply condemned Dioscorus and the Synod obeyed. He neglects the actual judgment of the Synod, which was that Dioscorus had violated the canons in the formation of the robber-council in terms of refusing to come to judgment by the selfsame Synod:
We do you to wit that on the thirteenth day of the month of October you were deposed … by the holy and ecumenical synod, on account of your disregard of the divine canons, and of your disobedience to this holy and ecumenical synod and on account of the other crimes of which you have been found guilty, for even when called to answer your accusers three times by this holy and great synod according to the divine canons you did not come. (LC Concilia tom iv col 459)
I will not waste time with the sorry affair of the Libellus of Hormisdas, an unclear document that was signed by the majority of the Eastern Bishops under duress -- which my opponent admits-- unless called upon it later. Such a crudely "adopted" document carried no ecumenical sanction and certainly no Patristic weight.
The case of St Maximus the confessor is interesting. There is certainly no real implication of what my opponent is attempting to prove, since Sts Martin and Maximus were fighting a heresy; I refer back yet again to the canon of the First-Second Council. As to whether St Maximus recognized Roman Primacy, since he solely held communion with Rome and had broken communion with the monothelite sees. From the life of St Maximus the confessor (print: HTM, Boston 1982):
"To which church do you belong? To that of Byzantium, of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem?"… To this the righteous man wisely replied, "Christ the Lord called that Church the Catholic Church which maintains the true and saving confession of the Faith. It was for this confession that He called Peter blessed, and He declared that He would found His Church upon this confession. However, I wish to know the contents of your confession, on the basis of which all churches, as you say, have entered into communion. If it is not opposed to the truth, then neither will I be separated from it."
The confession which they were proposing to the Saint was not Orthodox, of course, and so he refused to comply with their coercions….
The Saint said, "They [the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria and all the other heretical bishops of the East] have been deposed and deprived of the priesthood at the local synod which took place recently in Rome. What Mysteries, then, can they perform? Or what spirit will descend upon those who are ordained by them?"
[To this the interrogator asked if St Maximus alone would be saved; he replies that he cannot say, but that he would rather die than unite to heresy.—JS.]
"But what will you do," inquired the envoys, "when the Romans are united to the Byzantines? Yesterday, indeed, two delegates arrived from Rome and tomorrow, the Lord's day, they will communicate the Holy Mysteries with the Patriarch. "
The Saint replied, "Even if the whole universe holds communion with the Patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching."
The Pope who would introduce the succumb to the teaching of monothelitism in the Roman Church would be Pope Honorius, condemned by the Sixth Ecumenical Council.
The premise remains for nothing of substance has been demonstrated to the contrary.