An “Eastern Papist” Florilegium

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

Emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once upon a time, the Pontificator pointed out how, despite Pope St. Gregory’s clear insistence on the universal supremacy of Rome, he is a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The declarations of papal supremacy by Gregory the Great, as well his predecessor, Pope St. Leo the Great (who is also a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church) are perhaps sufficient in themselves to demonstrate the explicit ancient basis for papal supremacy in the Tradition, East and West.

To quote Pope Leo the Great at his most papal:

The Lord . . . wanted His gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery…. The Apostolic See … has on countless occasions been reported to in consultation by bishops…. And through the appeal of various cases to this see, decisions already made have been either revoked or confirmed, as dictated by longstanding custom.
(Letter to the Bishops of Vienne, July, 445 A.D., 10:1-2; in Jurgens, William A., ed. and tr., The Faith of the Early Fathers [FEF], 3 volumes, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970, vol. 3, p. 269)

Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed Apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others … the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head.
(Letter to Bishop Anastasius of Thessalonica, c.446 A.D., 14:11; in Jurgens, FEF, vol. 3, p. 270)

From the whole world only one, Peter, is chosen to preside over the calling of all nations, and over all the other Apostles, and over the Fathers of the Church…. Peter … rules them all, of whom, too, it is Christ who is their chief ruler. Divine condescension, dearly beloved, has granted to this man in a wonderful and marvelous manner the aggregate of its power; and if there was something that it wanted to be his in common with other leaders, it never gave whatever it did not deny to others except through him.
(Sermons, 4:2; in Jurgens, FEF, vol. 3, v, p. 275)

Not a mere primacy of honor, note well–but the aggregate of the Church’s theandric power.

[Cf. also Vladimir Soloviev, The Russian Church and the Papacy {El Cajon, CA: Catholic Answers, Inc., 2001}, pp. 163ff., for additional striking quotations by Pope Leo IV explicating and asserting his papal sovereignty, insofar as “Peter does not cease to preside in his See and his consortium with the Eternal Pontiff never fails”. Works, ed. Migne, 1846, etc., I:155-56}.]

In similar fashion, as Gregory the Great said,

To all who know the Gospel it is clear that by the words of our Lord the care of the whole Church was committed to Blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles…. Behold, he received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the power to bind and loose was given to him, and the care and principality of the entire church was committed to him…. Yet he was not the universal Apostle. But … John would be called universal Bishop…. [Popes had never assumed this ‘universal’ title, though it had been ascribed to them by other bishops], lest all the Bishops be deprived of their due meed of honor whilst some special honor be conceded to one.
(Epistles, 5, 37; to Emperor Maurice)

Pope St. Gregory’s point is that the universal supremacy of the successor of Peter is not intended to negate the local authority of local bishops qua lesser successors of Peter. Indeed, it is precisely the “principality” of the Roman bishop which redounds to all other bishops in union with him.

In any case, by canonizing and venerating these two popes (not to mention the many other popes it has canonized), the Eastern Orthodox Church has, perhaps despite itself, enshrined two of the most ardent and lucid defenders of papal supremacy, and has therefore entrenched papal supremacy in its own pre-schism Tradition.

As the Pontificator once wrote:

What does one do with this development? Should St Gregory have his sainthood taken away from him? It’s clear that papal primacy was not a medieval corruption. It has its roots in the Patristic period (and of course Catholics would say that it has its roots in Scripture).

Yet, as a reader (Mr. “Photiois” Jones) objected, “more is required to establish Papal supremacy than a ‘Because I say so’ coming from a Pope.” This is a valid point, as far as it goes. After all, why trust a pope about the pope? Why trust Western theology as such in this debate, since, arguendo, it is just that skewed Frankish theology which led to the metastasis of papal power in the first place? No. What we need is the pure and unpapalized lumen orientalum.

I agree.

That is the reasons I why I decided to compile this long list of (almost entirely Eastern) patristic and canonical quotations about the Petrine credentials of the Roman See. Note well that all of the citations that follow are reliably dated to have been expressed prior to the “Great Schism” of 1054, and are, therefore, incontestably witnesses to the mens Ecclesiae, in the East and West, before there was any question of Rome’s apostasy or schism. What you’re about to read, in other words, was expressed by the “two lungs” of the Church, not by mere ad hoc Romish triumphalism.

[NOTE: The archives for the Pontificator’s original Pontifications blog were almost all lost––or maybe not!––when he set up a new Pontifications blog, and on top of that, he recently gave up blogging altogether. Thank God he’s too busy being a Roman Catholic priest! {EBB 27 Jun 07}

{Alas, Fr. Kimel eventually revoked his communion with the Catholic Church. Last I heard, he is a priest in a ROCOR parish in his old stomping grounds. I suppose the Novus Ordo was too much for him, among other things. His latest blog is the universalist-themed Eclectic Orthodoxy. I’m nonplussed by his latest decisions, but he’s also dear to my heart, and he’s been through quite a lot. Pray for him; pray for me. –– EBB 14 April 2013/5 March 2015}]

[My discussions of these issues began in 2004 or so. Since I first posted some of the contents found in this florilegium, I heeded the counsel of these same Eastern Fathers and, on 27 March 2005, officially became a Catholic in communion with the bishop of Rome.

[I originally posted a more systematic form of this florilegium in June, 2007, at my former blog; updated and polished it about two years later; and then decided to re-post it here at in or around February 2013. The latest update took place on 5 March 2015. You can peruse addenda to this post here.]

+ + + + + + + + + +

As you read all this, keep in mind a few guiding principles.

First, as the Church is one Divine Body and the Tradition is one whole and holy truth, early ambiguity about the “presidency” of Rome (in, e.g., Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, et al.) must be understood in light of the subsequent guidance of the Holy Spirit. What ambiguities or rhetorical “excesses” in the early Church were not anathematized by the later reinforces the continuity of thought behind transient verbal ambiguities. Much the same can be said, for example, about understanding the development of the dogma of the Trinity in Tradition. Early ambiguities must be parsed in light of Nicea, Constantinople, etc. Certain dogmatic developments, crystallizations of organic truths, necessitate working according to and from those dogmas, not without of or against them.

A second important factor to recall while reading such quotations, is that, despite the attempts of some to reduce such papal rhetoric to, well, mere rhetoric, the historical breadth and explicit doctrinal consistency of these quotations put the lie to the deflationary claim that early papal Romanism is but Classical verbal obeisance. In other words, while there is certainly a rhetorical tradition in which such quotations belong, that context gives us no reason to ignore the content of the patristic testimony about Rome’s Petrine primacy. To have the same message proclaimed so clearly, for so long, by so many different people, in so many different cultures and in so many different situations––well, it strains credibility to claim that all of it boils down to mere ornate rhetorical custom. Emphasizing the distorting effects of rhetoric to such an extreme degree actually undermines the perspicuity of Scripture, since the Bible, as an ancient text[NOTE 1], is even more profoundly obscured by ancient cultural and rhetoric. Words do have meaning, even centuries apart, and people are made to grasp meaning.[NOTE 2]

A third factor to consider is this: Outside of the Bishop of Rome, of whom else was it said, “Peter has spoken through him!”? Likewise, outside of the Catholic Church, who else still can, much less still does, speak about the Pope as the Fathers cited below speak of the Roman See? In other words, what Church still has a coherent Petrine voice and still has a robust Petrine “rhetoric” to match the patristic quotations cited below?

But enough preface. My various adjustments are in brackets, like so: [ – EBB].

Please enter humbly into these words of Holy Christian Tradition.[NOTE 3]

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

+ St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 98-117 A.D.):

“Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church that has found mercy in the transcendent Majesty of the Most High and… which presides in the chief place of the Roman territory, a church worthy of God, worthy of honor… presiding in love, maintaining the law of Christ, and bearer of the Father’s name: her [and her members — EBB] do I therefore salute… who imperturbably enjoy the full measure of God’s grace and have every foreign stain filtered out of them.”
(Letter to the Romans, preface)

+ Irenaeus of Lyons (ca. 175-189 A.D.):

“Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority [propter potentiorem principalitatem] – that is, the faithful everywhere – inasmuch as the Apostolic Tradition has been preserved continuously by those who are everywhere.”
(Adversus Haereses 3:3:2)

+ Clement of Alexandria (d. ca. 215):

“…the blessed Peter, the chosen, the pre-eminent, the first of the disciples, for whom alone and Himself the Saviour paid tribute…”
(“Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?”, ANF II, 597)

+ Hippolytus (ca. 225 A.D.):

“Peter, the Rock of the faith, whom Christ our Lord called blessed, the teacher of the Church, the first disciple, he who has the keys of the kingdom.”
(Exfabrico. n.9)

+ Origen of Alexandria (ca. 230 A.D.):

“Peter likewise, on whom the Church was founded by the good pleasure of the Lord, lays it down in his epistle…”
(Origen, De Bono Patientia, p. 484)

+ Cyprian of Carthage (ca. 252 A.D.), writing to Pope Stephen in Rome:

“The Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with [the heretic] Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeded the bishop [of Rome], Fabian, by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord glorified also with marytrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and desiring the evangelic and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold the Church in any way.”
(Letters 69 [75]:3 [a.D. 253])

“And He says to him again after the resurrection, ‘Feed My sheep.’ It is on him that He builds the Church, and to him that He entrusts the sheep feed. And although He assigns a like power to all apostles, yet He founded a single Chair, thus establishing by His own authority the source and hallmark of the (Church’s) oneness. No doubt the others were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter, and it is (thus) made clear that there is but one flock which is to be fed by all the apostles in common accord. If a man does not hold fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church? This unity firmly we should hold and maintain, especially we bishops, presiding in the Church, in order that we may approve the episcpate itself to be one and undivided.”
(The Unity of the Church, 4-5 [a.D. 251-256])

“There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one Chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering.”
(Letter to all his People, AD 251, in Jurgens, 1970: 229).

“After such things as these, moreover, they still dare – a false bishop having been apointed for them, by heretics – to set sail and to bear letters from schismatic and profane persons to the throne of Peter, and to the chief church whence priestly unity takes its source; and not to consider that these were the Romans whose faith was praised in the preaching of the apostle, to whom faithlessness could have no access.”
(To Cornelius, Epistle 54/59:14 [a.D. 252])

[ALTERNATIVE CITATION of Epistle 54: “They [those in favor or re-baptizing lapsed Christians – EBB] dare to sail even to the chair of Peter and carry letters from schismatics and seculars to the principal Church, the source of sacerdotal unity.”
(Epistula 55:14, [PL 3:844-45])] 

[Please see the ADDENDUM below for my discussion of St. Cyprian, Flavian, Pope Stephen, and the lapsi crisis.]

+ Aphraates the Sage (ca. 330 A.D.), one of the oldest fathers of the Syrian Church:

“[King] David handed over the Kingdom to [Prince] Solomon and was gathered to his people; and Jesus handed over the Keys to Simon and ascended and returned to Him Who sent Him.”
(Aphraates, xxi, 13)

+ St. Peter, Bishop of Alexandria (306-311 A.D.):

“Peter, set above the Apostles.”
(Peter of Alexandria, Canon. ix, Galland, iv. p. 98)

+ St. Anthony of Egypt (ca. 330 A.D.):

“Peter, the Prince of the Apostles…”
(Epist. xvii., Galland, iv p. 687)

+ St. Ephraem the Syrian (ca. 350 A.D.):

“Then Peter deservedly received the Vicariate of Christ over His people.”
(Sermon de Martyrio. SS. App. Petri et Pauli)

“Thee, O Simon Peter, will I proclaim the blessed, who holdest the keys, which the Spirit made. A great and ineffable word, that he binds and looses those in heaven, and those under the earth…. O thou blessed one, that obtainedst the Place of the Head and of the Tongue, in the body of thy brethren, which (body) was enlarged out of the disciples and sons of thy Lord.”
(Asseman. Bibl. Orient. t. i. p. 95, in Colin Lindsay, The Evidence for the Papacy [1870], p. 31.)

“We hail thee, Peter, the Tongue of the disciples; the Voice of the heralds; the Eye of the Apostles; the Keeper of heaven; the First-born of those that bear the keys.”
(T. iii. Gr. in SS. Apostolorum, p. 464, cited in Allnatt, Cathedra Petri [London: Burnes and Oates, 1878], p. 32)

[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, in W. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, vol. 1 [1970], p. 311)

“[Peter is] the second Moses. … There were both the prince in the Old a the prince of the New Testament confronting one another [at the Transfiguration]. There the saintly Moses beheld the sanctified Simon, the steward of the Father, the procurator of the Son. He who forced the sea asunder to let the people walk across the parted waves, beheld him who raised the new tabernacle and built the Church.”
(Sermo de Transfig. Dom., Sec. IV. Edit. Rom. Syro-Graecolatina Vol. II, as cited in S. Herbert Scott, The Eastern Churches and the Papacy (London: Sheed & Ward, 1928), pp. 62-63.) 

“To whom, O Lord, didst Thou entrust that most precious pledge of the heavenly keys? To Bar Jonas, the Prince of the Apostles, with whom, I implore Thee, may I share Thy bridal chamber…Our Lord chose Simon Peter and appointed him chief of the Apostles, foundation of the holy Church and guardian of His establishment. He appointed him head of the Apostles and commanded him to feed His flock and teach it laws for preserving the purity of its beliefs.”
(T. iii. Syr. Paraen. 33, p. 486, in Colin Lindsay, The Evidence for the Papacy [1870], p. 31; cf. also James T. Shotwell, The See of Peter, pp. 665-666)

+ St. Athanasius (ca. 362 A.D.):

“Rome is called the Apostolic throne.”
(Hist. Arian, ad Monach. n. 3; Migne PG 25:734-35)

“The Chief, Peter.”
(In Ps. xv. 8, Migne, tom. iii., p. 106)

+ St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Patriarch (ca. 363 A.D.):

“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)

“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)

“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.” (Catech. xviii. n. 27)

+ St. Optatus of Milevis (ca. 367 A.D.): 

“You cannot deny that you do know that upon Peter first in the City of Rome was bestowed the episcopal Cathedra (chair), on which sat Peter, the Head of all the Apostles (for which reason he was called Cephas), and 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….

“We read that Peter received the saving Keys — Peter, that is to say, the first of our line, to whom it was said by Christ, ‘To thee will I give the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven’, and these Keys ‘the Gates of Hell shall not overcome.’ How is it, then, that you strive to usurp for yourselves the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, you who, with your arguments, and audacious sacrilege, war against the Chair of Peter?”
(Seven Books Against the Donatists, Book II, 3)

[ALTERNATIVE CITATION: “In the city of Rome the Episcopal chair was given first to Peter, the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head — that is why he is also called Cephas [“Rock”] — of all the Apostles, the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the Apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would presume to set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner…. Recall then the origins of your chair, those of you who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy Church.”
(The Schism of the Donatists, 2:2)]

+ St. Gregory of Nazianzen (ca. 370 A.D.):

“Seest thou that of the disciples of Christ, all of whom were great and deserving of the choice, one is called a Rock and is entrusted with the Foundations of the Church…”
(T.i. or. xxii. n.18)

+ St. Gregory of Nyssa (ca. 371 A.D.):

“The memory of Peter, the Head of the Apostles, is celebrated; and magnified indeed with him are the other members of the Church; but [upon him] is the Church of God firmly established. For he is, agreeably to the gift conferred upon him by the Lord, that unbroken and most firm Rock upon which the Lord built His Church.”
(Alt. Or. De S. Steph., Galland. t. vi.)

“Peter, with his whole soul, associates himself with the Lamb; and, by means of the change of his name, he is changed by the Lord into something more divine. Instead of Simon, being both called and having become a Rock, the great Peter did not by advancing little by little attain unto this grace, but at once he listened to his brother (Andrew), believed in the Lamb, and was through faith perfected, and, having cleaved to the Rock, became himself Peter.”
(T. i. Hom. in C. Cantic, xv.)

+ St. Macarius of Egypt (ca. 371 A.D.):

“Moses was succeeded by Peter, who had committed to his hands the new Church of Christ, and the true priesthood.”
(Hom. xxvi. n. 23, p. 101)

+ The Emperor Theodosius I (347—395 A.D.) and Valentinian writing to Aetius, Master of the Military and Patrician:

“It is certain that for us the only defence lies in the favour of the God of heaven; and to deserve it our first care is to support the Christian faith and its venerable religion. Inasmuch then as the primacy of the apostolic see is assured, by the merit of S. Peter, who is chief of the episcopal order, by the rank of the city of Rome, and also by the authority of a sacred synod, let no one presume to attempt any illicit act contrary to the authority of that see. For then at length will the peace of the churches be maintained everywhere, if the whole body acknowledges its ruler.

“Hitherto these customs have been observed without fail; but Hilary of Arles, as we are informed by the trustworthy report of that venerable man Leo, Pope of Rome, has with contumacious daring ventured upon certain unlawful proceedings…. For Hilary who is called bishop of Arles, without consulting the pontiff of the church of the city of Rome, has in solitary rashness usurped his jurisdiction by the ordination of bishops … and after investigation they have been dispersed by the order of that pious man the Pope of the city. The sentence applies to Hilary and to those whom he has wickedly ordained. This same sentence would have been valid through the Gauls without imperial sanction; for what is not allowed in the Church to the authority of so great a pontiff? Hilary is allowed still to be called a bishop, only by the kindness of the gentle president; and our just command is, that it is not lawful either for him or for anyone else to mix church affairs with arms or to obstruct the orders of the Roman overseer. … [I]n order that not even the least disturbance may arise amongst the churches, nor the discipline of religion appear in any instance to be weakened, we decree by this eternal law that it shall not be lawful for bishops … contrary to ancient custom, to do aught without the authority of the venerable Pope of the eternal city. And whatever the authority of the apostolic see has sanctioned, or may sanction, shall be the law for all; so that if any bishop summoned to trial before the pontiff of Rome shall neglect to come, he shall be compelled to appear by the governor of that province. Those things which our divine parents conferred on the Roman church are to be upheld in every way.”
(Valentinian III, Certum est. 8 July 445. In Leo, Ep. II. [P.L. 54. 637; Kidd, Docs. 2. 282.])

+ St. Basil the Cappadocian (ca. 329-379 A.D.):

“What a hardened heart would not be induced to fear God’s judgment if even that great exactor of so great a judgment as Peter, who was preferred before all the disciples, who, alone received a greater testimony and blessing that the rest, to whom were trusted the keys of the kingdom of heaven, also has to hear: ‘If I do not wash you, you will have no part in me’.”
(De judicio Dei, Proemium, n. 7 [PG 31:671])

+ St. Epiphanius of Salamis (ca. 385 A.D.): 

“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 [or 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.
(T. ii. in Anchor)

+ St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (ca. 387 A.D.):

“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 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.”
(In illud hoc Scitote)

“[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 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.”
(In Joan. Hom. lxxxviii. n. 1, tom. Viii)

“‘And in those days,’ it says, ‘Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said.’ (Acts 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. … But observe how Peter does everything with the common consent; nothing imperiously. … ‘Men and brethren,’ says Peter. For if the Lord called them brethren, much more may he. … ‘And his bishopric let another take’ [Psalm lxix, 25]; that is, his office, his priesthood. So that this, he says, is not my counsel, but His who hath foretold these things. For, that he may not seem to be undertaking a great thing, and just such as Christ had done, he adduces the Prophet as a witness. … Why does he make it their business too? That the matter might not become an object of strife, and they might not fall into contention about it. For if the Apostles themselves once did this, much more might those. This he ever avoids. Wherefore at the beginning he said, ‘Men and brethren. It behooves’ to choose from among you. He defers the decision to the whole body, thereby both making the elected objects of reverence and himself keeping clear of all invidiousness with regard to the rest. …

“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 favor. And besides, he was not yet endowed with the spirit. … 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 old time by prophecy; so that he acted as expositor, not as preceptor. … Again, consider the moderation of James. He it was who received the Bishopric of Jerusalem, and here he says nothing. Mark also the great moderation of the other Apostles, how they concede the throne to him, and no longer dispute with each other. …

“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 vain-glory, and he looked to one thing alone. And yet he had the same power to ordain as they all collectively. But well might these things be done in this fashion, through the noble spirit of the man, and because prelacy then was not an affair of dignity, but of provident care for the governed. … 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.’ (Luke xxii. 32, Ben.)”
(Homily III on Acts i. 12.)

“After that grave fault (for there is no sin equal to denial) after so great a sin, He brought him back to his former honor and entrusted him with the headship [epistasia] of the Universal Church, and what is more than all He showed us that he had greater love for his Master than any of the Apostles, for said He, ‘Peter, lovest thou Me more than these?'”
(Hom. 5, de Poen., 2)

“[God wills] to make the Church immovable in so great an onset of waves, and to cause a fisherman to be stronger than any rock, when the whole world wars against him . . . as the Father said, speaking to Jeremias, that He would set him as a column of brass and as a wall; but Jeremias to a single nation, Peter to the whole world. . . . The Father gave to Peter the revelation of the Son [cf. Matthew 16 – EBB] but the Son gave to him to spread that of the Father and of Himself throughout the whole world, and to a mortal man he entrusted the power over all that is in heaven, in giving the keys to him who extended the Church throughout the world…. He [Jesus] allowed the coryphaeus to fall, to make him more self-restrained, and to anoint him for yet greater love. . . . He moderates him, that he might not in the future have the same fault, when he should receive the government of the world….”
(Cited in Chapman, Studies on the Early Papacy [London: Sheed and Ward, 1928], pp. 72-98., as cited in Jaki, S. Eastern Orthodoxy’s Witness to Papal Primacy [Port Huron, MI: Real View Books, 2004], p. 21ff.)

“God has had great account of this city Antioch, . . . especially in that he ordered Peter, the ruler [epistates] of the whole world, to whom he entrusted the keys of heaven, to whom he committed the office of bringing all in [the Fold of Christ], to pass a long time here, so that our city stood to him in the place of the whole world. . . . [Although Flavian, bishop of Antioch,] has succeeded to the virtue of Peter, and also to his chair [in the city which] received the coryphaeus of the apostles as its teacher in the beginning . . . [yet even] though we received him as teacher, we did not retain him to the end, but gave him up to Royal Rome. Nay, but we did retain him [by retaining his faith, but not his body].”
(Cited in Chapman, Studies on the Early Papacy [London: Sheed and Ward, 1928], pp. 72-98., as cited in Stanley Jaki, Eastern Orthodoxy’s Witness to Papal Primacy [Port Huron, MI: Real View Books, 2004], p. 23f.)

+ Asterius (ca. 400 A.D.):

“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 … as first disciple and greater among the brethren, … [and thus] has shown, by the test of deeds, the power of the Spirit. The first to be called, he followed at once…. The Saviour confided to this man, as some special trust, the whole universal Church, after having asked him three times ‘Lovest thou me?’. And he receive the world in charge…”
(Homily 8, in Giles, pp. 145-146)

+ St. Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople, a disciple of St. John Chrysostom (434 A.D.):

“Peter, the 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. Galland)

+ St. John Cassian (ca. 362-435 A.D.):

“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. …  O Peter, Prince of Apostles, it is just that you should teach us, since you were yourself taught by the Lord; and also that you should open to us the gate of which you have received the Key. Keep out all those who are undermining the heavenly House; turn away those who are trying to enter through false caverns and unlawful gates since it is certain that no one can enter in at the gate of the Kingdom except the one unto whom the Key, placed by you in the churches, shall open it.”
(Contra Nestorium, III, 12, CSEL, vol. 17, p. 276)

+ Bachiarius, monk, (fl. 420 A.D.):

“…none of the heresies could gain hold of or move the Chair of Peter, that is the See of faith.”
(Professio fidei, 2; Migne PL 20:1023; cited in Allnatt, Cathedra Petri [London: Burnes and Oates, 1878], p. 67)

+ St. Cyril of Alexandria (ca. 424 A.D.):

“He [Christ] promises to found the [local and whole – EBB] Church, assigning immovableness to it, as He is the Lord of strength, and over this He sets Peter as shepherd.”
(Comm. on Matt., ad loc. [?])

“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., p. 131)

“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 [similarly ‘special and peculiar’] 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, Ibid. [?], 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. 1064)

“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?'”
(Cyril, T. v. Par. 1. Thesaurus, p. 340)

“Besides all these, let there come forward that leader of the holy disciples, Peter, who, when the Lord, on a certain occassion, 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. 105)

“‘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, Ibid. [?], 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)

+ John Cassian, monk (ca. 430 A.D.), writing to Pope Celestine I:

“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.”
(Contra Nestorium, III, 12, CSEL, vol. 17, p. 276)

+ Philip, a papal legate, as quoted and endorsed in the Acts of the Council of Ephesus, Session III (ca. 431 A.D.):

“There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever, lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed Pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place….”[NOTE 4]
(cf. Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III, col. 621; NPNF, XIV:223)

+ Socrates Scholasticus (ca. 380-450 A.D.), a Greek Church historian in Constantinople:

“…the churches shall not make any ordinances against the opinion of the bishop of Rome.”
(The Ecclesiastical History 2, 8, NPNF 2, 2:38)

+ Pseudo-Nicene (‘Arabic’) canons, ca. 5th century, preserved in Arabic and Syriac among the Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian and Melkite churches:

“It is the will of this ecumenical synod that for all things which have not been justly conducted by a metropolitan or other bishops, the patriarch has the power to decide by his own authority. For he is found above his fellows, and all the bishops are the sons of his heritage. The honor of metropolitans is like that of an elder brother who finds himself among his brothers. The honor of a patriarch is that of a father who has authority over his children. And as the patriarch has the power to do all that he wishes for good in the domain of his authority, so he of Rome will have the power over all the patriarchs like Blessed Peter over the entire community. For he has likewise the place of Peter in the Church of Rome. The transgressor [of this canon] is anathematized by the ecumenical synod.”
[citation? cf. heading no. 5, p. 233; also mentioned here]

+ St. Nilus of Constantinople, a disciple of St. John Chrysostom (448 A.D.):

“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.)

+ St. Peter Chrysologus (ca. 449 A.D.):

“We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the most blessed pope in the city of Rome, for blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the true faith to those who seek it. For we … cannot try cases on the faith without the consent of the bishop of Rome.”
(Letters 25:2)

“Just as Peter received his name from the rock, because he was the first to deserve to establish the Church, by reason of his steadfastness of faith, so also Stephen was named from a crown…the first who deserved to bear witness with his blood. Let Peter hold his ancient primacy of the apostolic choir. Let him open to those who enter the kingdom of heaven. Let him bind the guilty with his power and absolve the penitent in kindness.”
(Sermo 154, P.L. 52. 608.)

+ St. Flavian, patriarch of Constantinople, (d. 449 A.D.), writing to Pope Leo I:

“The whole question [of Eutychianism — EBB] needs only your single decision and all will be settled in peace and quietness. Your sacred letter will with God’s help completely suppress the heresy… and so the convening of a council which is any case difficult will be rendered superfluous.”
(As cited in Vladimir Solovyev, Russia and the Universal Church, trans. H Rees [London: Geoffrey Bles, 1948], p. 134)

+ Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria (ca. 450 A.D.):

“The great 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)

“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 I] healing for wounds of the the Churches. For it pertains to you to have primacy in all things [direct us in all things]; for your throne is adorned with many prerogatives. … Your city has the fullest abundance of good things from the giver of all good. . . . But her chief decoration is her faith, to which the divine apostle is a sure witness when he exclaims “Your faith is proclaimed in all the world”; and if, immediately after receiving the seeds of the saving gospel, she bore such a weight of wondrous fruit, what words are sufficient to express the piety which is now found in her? She has, too, the tombs of our common fathers and teachers of the truth, Peter and Paul, to enlighten the souls of the faithful. And this blessed and divine pair arose indeed in the East, and shed its rays in all directions, but voluntarily underwent the sunset of life in the West, from whence now they light up the whole world. These have rendered your see so glorious: this the height of your good things. For their God has made their see bright, since he has settled your holiness in it to send forth the rays of the true faith.”
(Mansi, Sacrum Conciliorum, 6:36, 37, Ep. Leoni, lii, 1, 5, 6. PL. liv, 847 and 851, cf. PG. Lxxxiii, 1311S and 1315S)

“…Twenty-six years I have been a bishop; I have undergone countless labours; I have struggled hard for the truth; I have freed tens of thousands of heretics and brought them to the Saviour, and now they have stripped me of my priesthood, and are exiling me from the city. … Wherefore I beseech your sanctity to persuade the very sacred and holy Archbishop Leo to [to use his Apostolic power and] bid me hasten to your council. For that holy see [throne] has precedence of [sovereignty over] all churches in the world, for many reasons; and above all for this, that it is free from all taint of heresy, and that no bishop of false opinions has ever sat upon its throne, but it has kept the grace of the apostles undefiled.”
(Ep. 116, to Renatus the presbyter. A.D. 449. [P.G. 83. 1324; P.N.F. 3. 295B.]; Tom. iv. Epist. cxvi. Renato, p. 1197)

“For as I” [he says, quoting Luke 22:31,32 — EBB] “did not despise thee when tossed, so be thou a support to thy brethren in trouble, and the help by which thou wast 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 fail, [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.”
(Oratio de Caritate, P.G. 82. 1509.)

“After the unjust sentence which it pleased Dioscorus to pronounce against me . . . I appealed to the throne of the prince of the apostles, the Apostolic See, and to the holy synod which is under the authority of your Holiness”.
(Theodoret, Schwartz. Acta Concil. Œcum. II Vol. II, pars prior, p. 78)

+ The Greek historian Salminius Hermias Sozomen (ca. 375?-447/48 A.D.), a contemporary of Pope Leo IV:

“8. Athanasius, escaping from Alexandria, came to Rome. Paul, bishop of Constantinople, Marcellus of Ancyra, and Asclepas of Gaza went there at the same time. Asclepas, who was opposed to the Arians, … and Quintian had been appointed in his place. Lucius, bishop of Adrianople, who had been deposed from his office on another charge, was also staying in Rome. The Roman bishop, on learning the accusation against each one, and finding that they were all like-minded about the doctrine of the council of Nicaea, admitted them to communion as of like orthodoxy. And alleging that the care for all belongs to him, because of the dignity of his see, he restored each to his own church. …

“10. … Julius, learning that Athanasius was not safe in Egypt, called him back to himself. He replied at the same time to the letter of the bishops who were convened at Antioch, for just then he happened to have received it, and he accused them of having secretly introduced innovations contrary to the dogmas of the Nicene council, and of having violated the laws of the Church by not calling him to the synod. For there is a priestly law, making void whatever is effected against the mind of the bishop of Rome.”
(Sozomen, Church History, Book 3. A.D. 450. [P.G. 67. 1052; Bagster 113.])

+ Emperor Marcian (r. 450-457 A.D.), writing to Pope Leo IV:

“In all that concerns the Catholic religion and the faith of Christians, we have thought it right to approach in the first place Your Holiness who is overseer and guardian of the divine faith.”
(Mansi, 6:93)

+ Empress Pulcheria (ca. 398-453), wife of Marcian, writing to Pope Leo IV:

“[I am sure that the council] will define the Catholic belief by your authority will define the Catholic belief by your authority [sou auqentountoV], as Christian faith and piety require.”
(Mansi, 6:101.)

+ Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.):

“…the most holy and blessed archbishop Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped him [Disoscorus] of every priestly office [the episcopate]. Therefore let this most holy and great synod… [punish Dioscorus — EBB].”
(Schaff and Wace, eds., NPNF, 2nd series, vol. 14, p. 259-260; cf. also Mansi, Conc. Ampl. Coll. VI, 1047. [Act III]; Schwartz II, Vol. I, pars. altera p. 29 [225] [Act II])

“It is you who through your legates [i.e., his apostolic delegates Paschasinus of Lilybaeum, Lucentius of Ascoli, Frs. Boniface and Basil, and Julian bishop of Cos – EBB] have guided and ruled the whole gathering of the fathers, as the head rules the members, by showing them the true meaning of the dogma [of the hypostatic union].”
(synod of Chalcedon to Pope St. Leo. Ep. xcviii, PL. liv, 951. Mansi vi, 147-148)

“1. … You are set as an interpreter to all of the voice of blessed Peter and to all you impart the blessings of that faith. And so we too, wisely taking you as our guide in all that is good, have shown to the sons of the Church their inheritance of the truth. … For if where two or three are gathered together in his name, he has said that he is in the midst of them, must he not have been much more particularly present with 520 priests who preferred to their country and their ease the spread of knowledge about him? Of all these you were the chief, as head to members, showing your goodwill in matters of organization. …

“2. The enemy would have been like a wild beast outside the fold…if the late pontiff of the Alexandrians had not thrown himself to him for a prey….By his terror-won votes he acquitted Eutyches…. Besides all this he extended his fury even against him who had been charged with the custody of the vine by the Saviour — we refer to your holiness — and he intended to excommunicate one who was zealous to unite the body of the Church. …

“4. We mention further that we have made certain other decisions also for the good management and stability of church affairs, as we are persuaded that your holiness will accept and ratify them when you are told. … We have also ratified the canon [number XVI – EBB] of the 150 holy fathers who met at Constantinople…which declares that after your most holy and apostolic see, the see of Constantinople shall have privileges, being placed second; for we are persuaded that, with your usual interest, you have often extended that apostolic radiance of yours even to the church of Constantinople also. … And so, deign, most holy and blessed father, to embrace as your own, and as lovable and agreeable to good order, the things we have decreed, for the removal of all confusion, and the confirmation of church order. … But we … recognized as fitting the confirmation of the honour by this universal council, and we confidently endorsed it,… knowing that every success of the children redounds to the parents. We therefore beg you to honour our decision by your assent, and as we have yielded agreement to the head in noble things, so may the head also fulfil what is fitting for the children. Thus … the see of Constantinople will receive its recompense for having always displayed such loyalty on matters of religion towards you, and for having so zealously linked itself to you in full agreement.”
(Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, To Leo. A.D. 451. Leo, Ep. 98. [P.L. 54. 952; P.N.F. 12. 72A.])

+ Anatolius, Patriarch of Constantinople (449-458 A.D.):

“With regard to the decree laid down by the recent synod of Chalcedon [i.e., Canon XXVI, which ascribed the next place of honor to Constantinople, but was later rescinded by Pope Leo IV – EBB], let your Beatitude rest assured that this was not my fault. But it was the desire of the reverend clergy of Constantinople, the validity and confirmation of this action being reserved to the authority of your Beatitude”.
(Ep. Leoni cxxxii., 4. PL. liv, 1084. Mansi vi, 278S)

“[T]here was need that all should agree in the right faith (for which purpose the most pious emperor had with the greatest pains assembled the holy Synod) with prayer and tears, your holiness [Pope Leo I] being present with us in spirit and co-operating with us through those most God-beloved men whom you had sent to us, having as our protector the most holy and most comely Martyr Euphemia, we gave ourselves up entirely to this salutary work, all other matters being laid aside. And when the crisis demanded that all the most holy bishops gathered together should set forth an unanimous definition [sumfwnon oron] for the explanation and clearer understanding of our confession of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord God was found appearing to them that sought him not, and even to them that asked not for him.

“And although some from the beginning contentiously made opposition, he shewed forth nevertheless his truth and so disposed flyings that an unanimous and uncontradicted writing was published by us all, which confirmed the souls of the stable, and inviting to the way of truth all who had declined therefrom. And when we had subscribed with unanimous consent the chart [?], we all with one consent, that is our whole synod, entered the martyry of the most holy and triumphant martyr Euphemia, and when at the prayer of our most pious and beloved of Christ Emperor Marcian, and of our most pious and in all respects faithful Empress, our daughter and Augusta Pulcheria, with joy, and hilarity we placed upon the holy altar the decision which we had written for the confirmation of the faith of our fathers in accordance with that holy letter you sent us; and then handed it to their piety, that they might receive it as they had asked for it. And when they had received it they gave glory with us to Christ the Lord, who had driven away the darkness of wicked opinion, and had illustrated with the greatest unanimity the word of truth, etc. which were decreed by the One Hundred and Fifty holy Fathers at Constantinople, for the uprooting of the heresies which had then sprung up, and for the confirmation of the same Catholic and Apostolic Faith of ours.”
(Ep. to St. Leo. Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. LIV. [Leo. M., Opera, Tom. I.] col. 978.)

+ Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople (466-516 A.D.):

“Macedonius 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.'”
(Patr. Graec. 108: 360a [Theophan. Chronogr., pp. 234-346 seq.])

+ St. Fulgentius of Ruspe (462/465-527/533 a.D.):

“That which the Roman Church, which has the loftiest place on the earth, teaches and holds, so does the whole Christian world believe without hesitation for their justification, and does not delay to confess for their salvation”
(Letter 17, 21, ca. A.D. 519)

+ Signatories of the “Formula of Hormisdas” (519 A.D.) to restore union after the Acacian Schism (484 A.D.):

“[We agree that] in the Apostolic See the Catholic Religion is always kept immaculate. . . . We receive and approve all the letters of the blessed Pope Leo . . . and, as we have said, we follow the Apostolic See in everything and teach all its laws. Therefore, I hope that I may deserve to be with you [Pope Hormisdas, r. 514-523 – EBB] in that one Communion taught by the Apostolic See, in which Communion is the whole, real and perfect solidity of the Christian Religion. And I promise that in the future I will not say in the holy Mysteries the names of those who are banished from the Communion of the Catholic Church, that is, who do not agree with the Apostolic See.”
(Cf. Adrian Fortescue, The Eastern Orthodox Church [London: Catholic Truth Society, 1925], pp. 85-86; as cited in Stanley Jaki, Eastern Orthodoxy’s Witness to Papal Primacy [Port Huron, MI: Real View Books, 2004], p. 21f.**)

+ John the Cappadocian, Patriarch of Constantinople (518-519 A.D.), writing to Pope Hormisdas:

“It is first of all clear that the Catholic religion is guarded inviolate in the Apostolic See [Prima salus est quia in sede apostolica inviolabilis semper catholica custoditur religio].”
(Labbe, Concil., 8:451:2)

+ Emperor Justinian (520-533 A.D.), writing to Pope John I:

“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.”
(Epist. ad. Pap. Joan. ii., Cod. Justin. lib. I. tit. 1)

…and to Pope Hormisdas:
“Let your 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)

+ Byzantine Emperor Justinian, to Pope St. Agapetus (ca. 535 A.D.):

“…the source of the priesthood…the venerable See of the most high Apostle Peter…No one doubts that the height of the Supreme Pontificate is at Rome.”
(as cited in The Eastern Churches and the Papacy by S. Herbert Scott, p. 231)

+ Patriarch Mennas (ca. 536-552 A.D.; d. 552 A.D.), commemorated in the West on August 25, in his own sentence against Anthimus at a council in Constantinople (ca. 536 A.D.):

“Indeed Agapetus of holy memory, pope of Old Rome, giving him time for repentance until he should receive whatever the holy fathers defined, did not allow him to be called either a priest or a Catholic… we follow and obey the apostolic throne; we are in communion with those with whom it is in communion, and we condemn those whom it condemns.”
(Mansi 8: 968-70, as found in “Keys Over the Christian World”; author Scott Butler)

+ John, Patriarch of Jerusalem (r. a.D. 575-593):

“As for us, that is to say, the Holy Church, we have the word of the Lord, who said to Peter, Chief of the Apostles, when giving him the primacy of the Faith for the strengthening of the churches. ‘Thou are Peter, etc.’ To this same Peter He has given the keys of heaven and earth; it is in following his faith that to this day his disciples and the doctors of the Catholic Church bind and loose; they bind the wicked and loose from their chains those who do penance. Such is, above all, the privilege of those who on the first most holy and venerable See are the successors of Peter, sound in the Faith, and according to the Word of the Lord, infallible.”
(Letter to the Catholics of Georgia [citation?])

+ Eulogius of Alexandria (ca. 581 A.D., d. 609 A.D.):

“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.”
(Lib. ii. Cont. Novatian. ap. Photium, Biblioth, cod. 280)

“[Let us recall] of the Chair of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, that he himself sits therein to this day in his successors.”
(Epistola 40, Migne PL 77:898)

+ St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (ca. 638 A.D.):

“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.”
(Mansi, xi. 461)

+ Stephen, Bishop of Dora in Palestine, emissary of Sophronius citing him to Pope Martin I (ca. 645 A.D.):

“Traverse quickly all the world from one end to the other until you come to the Apostolic See [in 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 judgement and destroyed from the foundation … the new heresy. …

“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 [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.”

[ALTERNATE CITATION: “…fly away and announce these things to the Chair [of Peter at Rome] which rules and presides over all. … I desire to denounce monotheletism to the chief See, the mistress of all Sees. I desire to do so to your highest and divine See, that it may altogether heal the wound.”] 

(Mansi, Collectio conciliorum, 10:893-896)

+ Sergius, Metropolitan of Cyprus (ca. 649 A.D.), writing 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.”
(Ep. ad Theod., lecta in Sess. ii. Concil. Lat. Anno 649; Mansi, 10:914 and Allnatt, p. 66)

+ St. Maximus the Confessor (ca. 580-662 A.D.), a celebrated theologian and a native of Constantinople:[5]

“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.”
(Opuscula theologica et polemica [A.D. 650], in PG 91:144)

“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 and 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 sacerdotal 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.”
(as cited in J.B. Mansi, ed. Amplissima Collectio Conciliorum, vol. 10)

“I was afraid of being thought to transgress the holy laws, if I were to do this [i.e., write this letter to the patrician Peter, apparently the Governor of Syria and Palestine who had written to him concerning Pyrrhus – EBB] without knowing the will of the most holy see of Apostolic men, who lead aright the whole plenitude of the Catholic Church, and rule it with order according to the divine law. …

“[Pyrrhus and his successor] have not conformed to the sense of the Apostolic see, and what is laughable, or rather lamentable, as proving their ignorance, they have not hesitated to lie against the Apostolic see itself… but have claimed the great Honorius on their side…. What did the divine Honorius do, and after him the aged Severinus, and John who followed him? Yet further, what supplication has the blessed pope, who now sits, not made? Have not the whole East and West brought their tears, laments, obsecrations, deprecations, both before God in prayer and before men in their letters? 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 … 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 [from] 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. For with it the Word who is above the celestial powers binds and looses in heaven also. For if he thinks he must satisfy others, and fails to implore the most blessed Roman pope, he is acting like a man who, when accused of murder or some other crime, does not hasten to prove his innocence to the judge appointed by the law, but only uselessly and without profit does his best to demonstrate his innocence to private individuals, who have no power to acquit him.

“[Discover if Pyrrhus is willing] to agree to the truth. And if he is careful to do this, exhort him to make a becoming statement to the Roman Pope, so that by his command the matter concerning Pyrrhus may be canonically and suitably ordered for the glory of God and the praise of your sublimity.”
(letter to the patrician Peter, ca. AD 642, in Mansi x, 692; Migne PG 91:114) 

[N.B.: This letter is, understandably, contested as bogus by the Eastern Orthodox, but in the absence of better textual evidence, and in conjunction with Maximus’s other assertions elsewhere, it stands.]

+ Byzantine Emperor Justinian (a.D. 482-565):

“The ancient city of Rome has the honor of being the mother of our laws, and no one can doubt that in it the summit of the supreme pontificate lies. This is why wehave also found it necessary to honoour this cradle of the law, this source of the priesthood, by a special decree of our sacred will.”
(Novel 9, ca. 535 a.D.)

“[Rome is] the head of all the churches.”
(PL 66:15) 

“We have condemned Nestrorius and Eutyches, prescribing that in everything the churches of God must keep unity with the most holy pope and patrirach of the elder Rome. … For we cannot tolerate that anything concerning the ecclesiastical order be left out of relation to the holiness of that church, sincse itis the head of all the most holy priests of God, and since, each time that heretics have arisen among us, it is by a sentence and right judgment of that venerable see that theey have been condemned.”
(to his own Byzantine patriarch, Epiphianus; cf. Codex Justiniani I.I.7)

+ Fathers of the Third Council of Constantinople (680-681 A.D.), composed of 170 Eastern Bishops (680 A.D.), writing to Pope St. Agatho:

“Serious illnesses call for greater helps, as you know, most blessed [father]; and therefore Christ our true God gave a wise physician, namely your God-honoured sanctity, to drive away by force the contagion of heretical pestilence by the remedies of orthodoxy, and to give the strength of health to the members of the church. Therefore to thee, as to the bishop of the first see of the Universal Church, we leave what must be done, since you willingly take for your standing ground the firm rock of the faith, as we know from having read your true confession in the letter sent by your fatherly beatitude to the most pious emperor: and we acknowledge that this letter [of Agatho’s –EBB] was divinely written [perscriptas] as by the Chief of the Apostles, and through it we have cast out the heretical sect of many errors which had recently sprung up.”
(Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. LXXXVII., col. 1247 et seqq.; cf. also Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VI., col. 1071 et seqq.)

“With us fought the Chief of the Apostles, for to help us, we had his imitator and successor, who showed in his letter, the mystery of theology. Rome proferred you a divinely written confession, and caused the sunlight of doctrine to rise by the document from the West. The ink shone and Peter spoke by Agatho.”
(Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum, 11:658.)

“[The Pope is the] Head of the Church… [and his chair is] the First See of the Ecumenical Church.”
(J. Hardouin, Conciliorum collectio regia maxima adp. Philippi Labbei et p. Gabrielis Cossartii e Societate Jesu labores haud modica accessione facta et emendationibus pluribus additis…. tom. iii., p. 1632)

+ From the edict of the Emperor, confirming the decrees of the Sixth Council:

“These are the teachings of the voices of the Gospels and apostles, these are the doctrines of the holy councils and of the elect and patristic tongues; these have been preserved untainted by Peter the Rock of the Faith, the Head of the apostles.”
(Mansi, xi, 698.)

[Go here for a discussion of an Eastern Orthodox “zinger” against papal supremacy.]

+ St. John Damascene (680-740 A.D.):

“The church was monarchial from the beginning, for the Apostle Peter whom our Doctor considers the first-called and the first to follow the Saviour.”
(Homily on the Transfiguration 6; Migne, PG, 96:553D)

“Peter was predestined by Jesus Christ to be the worthy head of the Church.”
(Homily on Holy Saturday 33, col. 636C, PG, 96:560C)

“It was not of tents that the Master constituted thee [Peter — EBB] the orderer, but of the Universal Church. Thy disciples, thy sheep, which the Good Shepherd entrusted to thee as head, have fulfilled thy desire [to make tents on the Mount of Transfiguration — EBB]. They have raised one tent to Christ, one to Moses and Elias, and now we celebrate our feasts here.”
(Homily on the Transfiguration, PG 16:596D)

+ John VI, Patriarch of Constantinople (ca. 715 A.D.):

“The Pope of Rome, the head of the Christian priesthood, whom in Peter, the Lord commanded to confirm his brethren.”
(Epist. ad Constantin. Pap. ad. Combefis, Auctuar. Bibl. P.P. Graec.tom. ii. p. 211, seq.)

+ St. Nicephorus (758-828 A.D.), Patriarch of Constantinople:

“This Synod [the 7th Ecumenical Council which condemned the Iconoclasts in a.D. 787] possesses the highest authority…. In fact, it was held with the most legitimate and regular fashion conceivable, because according to the divine rules established from the beginning it was directed and presided over by the glorious portion of the Western Church, I mean by the church of Ancient Rome. Without them [the Romans], no dogma is discussed in the Church, even sanctioned in a preliminary fashion by the canons and ecclesiastical usages, can be considered to be approved or abrogated, for they are the ones, in fact, who have been endowed in order to fulfill the function of guide in the priesthood and we have given them the credit due to those who among the Apostles are the Cotyphaei [SS: Peter and Paul].”

[ALTERNATE CITATION OF LAST PORTION: “Without whom [i.e., 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.”]

(“Great Apology”, Niceph. Cpl. pro. s. imag. c 25 [Mai N. Bibl. pp. ii. 30])

+ From the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Nicaea II (a.D. 787), containing the Letters of Pope Hadrian I:

“They who receive the dignity of the empire, or the honour of the principal priesthood from our Lord Jesus Christ, ought to provide and to care for those things which please him, and rule and govern the people committed to their care according to his will and good pleasure. Therefore, O most holy Head (Caput), it is incumbent upon us and you, that irreprehensibly we know the things which be his, and that in these we exercise ourselves, since from him we have received the imperial dignity, and you the dignity of the chief priesthood. …

“[W]e entreat your paternal blessedness, or rather the Lord God entreats, who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, that you will give yourself to us and make no delay, but come up hither to aid us in the confirmation and establishment of the ancient tradition of venerable images. … As then you are the veritable chief priest (primus sacerdos) who presides in the place and in the see of the holy and superlaudable Apostle Peter, let your paternal blessedness come to us, as we have said before, and add your presence to all those other priests who shall be assembled together here, that thus the will of the Lord may be accomplished.

“For as we are taught in the Gospels our Lord says— When two or three are met together in my name, there am I in the midst of them— let your paternal and sacred blessedness be certified and confirmed by the great God and King of all, our Lord Jesus Christ, and by us his servants, that if you come up hither you shall be received with all honour and glory, and that everything necessary for you shall be granted.”
(The divine sacra sent by Emperor Constantine and Irene to Pope Hadrian I; cf. Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VII., col. 32)

“[H]aving called upon Christ our God, we consulted with them who was [sic] worthy to be exalted to the chair of the Priesthood of this Royal and God-preserved city [and decided to convene an ecumenical council]. … Stand firm as champions of religion, and be ready with unsparing hand to cut away all innovations and new fangled inventions. And, as Peter the Chief of the Apostolic College, struck the mad slave and cut off his Jewish ear with the sword, so in like manner do you wield the axe of the Spirit, and every tree which bears the fruit of contention, of strife, or newly-imported innovation, either renew by transplanting through the words of sound doctrine, or lay it low with canonical censure, and send it to the fires of the future Gehenna, so that the peace of the Spirit may evermore protect the whole body of the Church, compacted and united in one, and confirmed by the traditions of the Fathers; and so may all our Roman State enjoy peace as well as the Church.

“We have received letters from Hadrian, most Holy Pope of old Rome, by his Legates— namely, Peter, the God-beloved Archpresbyter, and Peter, the God-beloved Presbyter and Abbot— who will be present in council with you; and we command that, according to synodical custom, these be read in the hearing of you all; and that, having heard these with becoming silence, and moreover the Epistles contained in two octavos sent by the Chief Priest and other Priests of the Eastern dioceses by John, most pious Monk and Chancellor of the Patriarchal throne of Antioch, and Thomas, Priest and Abbot, who also are present together with you, you may by these understand what are the sentiments of the Church Catholic on this point.”
(The imperial sacra, read at the first session of Nicaea II; cf. Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VII., col. 49)

“[I]f following the traditions of the orthodox Faith, you embrace the judgment of the Church of blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles, and, as of old your predecessors the holy Emperors acted, so you, too, venerating it with honour, love with all your heart his Vicar, and if your sacred majesty follow by preference their orthodox Faith, according to our holy Roman Church. May the chief of the Apostles himself, to whom the power was given by our Lord God to bind and remit sins in heaven and earth, be often your protector, and trample all barbarous nations under your feet, and everywhere make you conquerors. For let sacred authority lay open the marks of his dignity, and how great veneration ought to be shown to his, the highest See, by all the faithful in the world. For the Lord set him who bears the keys of the kingdom of heaven as chief over all, and by Him is he honoured with this privilege, by which the keys of the kingdom of heaven are entrusted to him. He, therefore, that was preferred with so exalted an honour was thought worthy to confess that Faith on which the Church of Christ is founded. A blessed reward followed that blessed confession, by the preaching of which the holy universal Church was illumined, and from it the other Churches of God have derived the proofs of Faith. For the blessed Peter himself, the chief of the Apostles, who first sat in the Apostolic See, left the chiefship of his Apostolate, and pastoral care, to his successors, who are to sit in his most holy seat for ever. And that power of authority, which he received from the Lord God our Saviour, he too bestowed and delivered by divine command to the Pontiffs, his successors, etc.”
(Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. XCVI., col. 1217) 

“And especially if you follow the tradition of the orthodox Faith of the Church of the holy Peter and Paul, the chief Apostles, and embrace their Vicar, as the Emperors who reigned before you of old both honoured their Vicar, and loved him with all their heart: and if your sacred majesty honour the most holy Roman Church of the chief Apostles, to whom was given power by God the Word himself to loose and to bind sins in heaven and earth. For they will extend their shield over your power, and all barbarous nations shall be put under your feet: and wherever you go they will make you conquerors. For the holy and chief Apostles themselves, who set up the Catholic and orthodox Faith, have laid it down as a written law that all who after them are to be successors of their seats, should hold their Faith and remain in it to the end.”
(Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. XCVI., col. 1218.)

“We greatly wondered that in your imperial commands, directed for the Patriarch of the royal city, Tarasius, we find him there called Universal: but we know not whether this was written through ignorance or schism, or the heresy of the wicked. But henceforth we advise your most merciful and imperial majesty, that he be by no means called Universal in your writings, because it appears to be contrary to the institutions of the holy Canons and the decrees of the traditions of the holy Fathers. For he never could have ranked second, save for the authority of our holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, as is plain to all. Because if he be named Universal, above the holy Roman Church which has a prior rank, which is the head of all the Churches of God, it is certain that he shows himself as a rebel against the holy Councils, and a heretic. For, if he is Universal, he is recognized to have the Primacy even over the Church of our See, which appears ridiculous to all faithful Christians: because in the whole world the chief rank and power was given to the blessed Apostle Peter by the Redeemer of the world himself; and through the same Apostle, whose place we unworthily hold, the holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church holds the first rank, and the authority of power, now and for ever, so that if any one, which we believe not, has called him, or assents to his being called Universal, let him know that he is estranged from the orthodox Faith, and a rebel against our holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.”
(Found in L. and C., Concilia, Tom. VII., col. 117.) [This part was never read to the Council at all but is included in the conciliar acta.]

“The Church’s herald, Paul the divine Apostle, laying down a rule (κανόνα) not only for the presbyters of Ephesus but for the whole company of the priesthood, speaks thus explicitly, saying, I have coveted no man’s silver or gold, or apparel. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring you ought to support the weak; for he accounted it more blessed to give. Therefore we being taught by him do decree, that under no circumstances, shall a Bishop for the sake of filthy lucre invent feigned excuses for sins, and exact gold or silver or other gifts from the bishops, clergy, or monks who are subject to him. … For Peter the supreme head (ἡ κερυφαία ἀκρότης) of the Apostles commands, ‘Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre but of a ready mind'”.
(Nicaea II, Canon 4)

+ St. Tarasius of Constantinople to St Adrian I of Rome (c. 790, quoted in Adrian Fortescue, The Orthodox Eastern Church):

“Your holiness has inherited the see of the divine apostle Peter. Wherefore lawfully and by the will of God, you preside over all the hierarchy of the Church.”

+ St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826 A.D.): 

“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 Leo III)

“Hear, O Apostolic Head, divinely-appointed Shepherd of Christ’s sheep, keybearer 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 [chief] of all.”
(Letter of St. Theodore and four other Abbots, writing to Pope Paschal, Bk. ii Ep. 12, Patr. Graec. 99, 1152-3)

“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 [in Constantinople — EBB], 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. Theodore and Four Abbots to Pope Paschal [citation?]).

“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, writing to Emperor Michael)

“I witness now before God and men, they [the Iconoclasts – EBB] 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).

“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)

+ Theodore Abou-Qurra, Arab bishop of Haran (ca. a.D. 820):

“By the grace of the Holy Spirit, in every circumstance our recourse is simply to build ourselves on the foundation of St. Peter, who administered the six holy Councils [the Seventh Ecumenical Council was not yet received in parts of the East] which were convened by order of the Bishop of Rome, the capital of the world. Whoever is established on her throne is the one entrusted by Christ, to turn to the people of the Church his Ecumenical Council, and to confirm them, as we have established in a number of other places [in writings].”
(Essay “On the Death of Christ” [citation?]]

+ St. Methodius, Apostle of the Slavs, or perhaps one of his immediate disciples:

“It is necessary to know that this decision [the 28th canon of the Council of Chalcedon] was not accepted by the Blessed Pope Leo. He did not approve the holy Council of Chalcedon on this point, but he wrote to the Council that he could not accept such a novelty, machinated by the doubtful Anatolius, then bishop of Constantinople. Also, some bishops present at the Council refused to subscribe to the canon.

“And it is not true as this canon affirms that the holy Fathers have accorded the primacy and honor to old Rome because it was the capital of the Empire. But it is from on high that it began, it is of grace divine that this Primacy has derived its origin. It is because of the degree of his faith that Peter, the most exalted of the Apostles, heard these words from the very mouth of Our Lord: ‘Peter, lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep’. This is why he possesses among the hierarchs preeminent rank and the first See.

“For, if as this canon affirms, it is because it is was the capital that Ancient Rome possesses the Primacy, it is evidently Constantinople, now capital of the Empire, which has inherited this honor. But everyone knows that although Emperors have dwelt at Milan and Ravenna and that their palaces are found there to our own day, these cities have not received on that account the Primacy. For the dignity and the preeminence of the priestly hierarchy have not been established by the favor of the civil power but by divine choice and by apostolic authority….

“How would it be possible because of an earthly emperor to displace divine gifts and apostolic privileges and to introduce innovations into the prescriptions of the immaculate faith? Immoveable indeed, unto the end, are the privileges of Old Rome. So in so far as being set over all the Churches, the Pontiff of Rome has no need to betake himself to all the holy Ecumenical Councils, but without his participation manifested by the sending of some of his subordinates, every Ecumenical Council is non-existent, and it is he who renders legal everything that has been decided in the Council”.
(testimony discovered by the Russian Orthodox scholar A. Pavlov and first published in the Russian review Vizantiiskii Vremennik, t. iv. 1897; pp. 147-154)

+ Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople (and the opponent of Photius), in a letter to Pope Nicholas I which would be read and approved in the 869-70 Council of Constantinople:

“Of the wounds and sores of human members art has produced many physicians: of whom one has treated this disease, and another that, using in their experience amputation or cure. But of these, which are in the members of Our Saviour Christ and God, Head of us all, and of His Spouse the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Supreme Chief and most powerful Word, Orderer, and Healer, and Master, the God of all, has produced one singular, pre-eminent, and most Catholic Physician, your fraternal Holiness and paternal Goodness. Wherefore, he said to Peter, the great and supreme Apostle: ‘Thou art Peter’, etc. And again, ‘I will give to thee the Keys’, etc.

“For such blessed words He did not, surely, according to a sort of lot, circumscribe and define to the Prince of the Apostles alone, but transmitted by him to all who, after him, according to him, were to be made supreme pastors, and most divine and sacred Pontiffs of olden Rome. And therefore, from of old and the ancient times, when heresies and contradictions have arisen, many of those who preceded there your Holiness and supreme Paternity, have many times been made the pluckers-up and destroyers of evil tares, and of sick members, plague-struck and incurable: being, that is, successors of the Prince of the Apostles, and imitating his zeal in the faith, according to Christ: and now in our times your Holiness has worthily exercised the power given to you by Christ.”
(Mansi, 16: 47)

+ Fourth Council of Constantinople, canon 21 (869-870 A.D.):

“…no secular powers should treat with disrespect any of those who hold the office of patriarch or seek to move them from their high positions, but rather they should esteem them as worthy of all honour and reverence. This applies in the first place to the most holy pope of old Rome, secondly to the patriarch of Constantinople, and then to the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.

“Furthermore, nobody else should compose or edit writings or tracts against the most holy pope of old Rome, on the pretext of making incriminating charges, as Photius did recently and Dioscorus a long time ago. Whoever shows such great arrogance and audacity, after the manner of Photius and Dioscorus, and makes false accusations in writing or speech against the see of Peter, the chief of the apostles, let him receive a punishment equal to theirs.

“…Furthermore, if a universal synod is held and any question or controversy arises about the holy church of Rome, it should make inquiries with proper reverence and respect about the question raised and should find a profitable solution; it must on no account pronounce sentence rashly against the supreme pontiffs of old Rome.”
(J. Hardouin, Conciliorum collectio regia maxima adp. Philippi Labbei et p. Gabrielis Cossartii e Societate Jesu labores haud modica accessione facta et emendationibus pluribus additis…, 12 vols. Paris 1714-1715.)

+ Current texts for Vespers and Matins for June 29 and 30 from the Byzantine-Slavonic Menaion (Feasts of the Martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul and of the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles):

“With what garlands of praise shall we crown Peter and Paul the greatest among the heralds of the Word of God, distinct in their person but one in spirit–the one the chief Ruler of the Apostles, the other who labored more than the rest? …

“Peter, foundation of the Apostles, rock of Christ’s Church, beginning of Christians, feed the sheep of your fold, guard your lambs from the rapacious wolves and save your flock from ferocious assaults. You, O Peter, were the first bishop of Rome, you the pride and the glory of the greatest city, you were the confirmation of the Church that the forces of hell cannot overcome, as Christ foretold.

“O Peter, rock of foundation….O Peter, first of the glorious apostles and rock of faith….Rejoice, O Peter, apostle and special friend of the Teacher, Christ our God….O my soul, extol Peter the solid rock…. With hymns of praise let us venerate Peter, the rock of faith….

“Having put aside fishing in the deep, you received from the Father himself the revelation of the incarnation of the Word. Thus you confidently cried out in faith to your Creator: I know that You are the Son of God, consubstantial with Him. Therefore, you were truly revealed as the rock of faith and a trustee of the keys of grace.

“Three times Christ asked Peter: Do you love me? In this way He reversed the threefold denial of Himself. Henceforth Simon was to lead those who had witnessed God’s mysteries. … According to the promise of Christ, you have been a fisher of men. He has made you holy for his Church because from its beginning He placed you at the helm. …

“Peter, it is right to call you the rock! The Lord established the unshaken faith of the Church on you. He made you the chief shepherd of his reasonable sheep. … Today Christ the Rock glorifies with supreme honor the Rock of Faith and Leader of the Apostles, Peter, together with Paul and the Twelve….”

+ From the current Byzantine-Slavonic Menaion for January 2:

“Father Sylvester….thou didst appear as a pillar of fire, snatching the faithful from the Egyptian error [the Arian heresy] and continually leading them with unerring teachings to divine light. … Thou hast shown thyself the supreme one of the Sacred Council, O initiator into the sacred mysteries, and hast illustrated the Throne of the Supreme One of the Disciples. … Endowed with the See of the leader of the apostles, you became an outstanding minister of God, enriching, establishing, and increasing the church with divine dogmas. You were the prince of the sacred council and you adorned the throne of the head of the disciples; like a divine prince over the holy Fathers you confirmed the most sacred dogma.”

+ The current Byzantine-Slavonic Menaion, on the feast of St. Leo the Great, February 18 at Matins:

“The pillar of orthodoxy, as the successor of Peter, endowed with his precedence and primacy, gave the divinely inspired definition of faith, appearing to the people of God like a new Moses, who, moved by God, engraved the teachings of the faith upon divinely stamped tablets, and who like a true patriarch fixed his tent in the City where the primacy and seat and order of the patriarchs now stand.”

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

[NOTE 1] To deny the basic nature of the Bible as a human text is to fall into the Docetic heresy, i.e., that the Word of God only appeared mortal. The Bible, as the icon of Christ, is, like Him, a man-made thing, and yet so much more.

[NOTE 2] While we’re on the topic of the Petrine ministry, it’s hard to pass up these words of Martin Luther:

If Christ had not entrusted all power to one man, the Church would not have been perfect because there would have been no order and each one would have been able to say [that] he was led by the Holy Spirit. This is what the heretics did, each one setting up his own principle. In this way as many Churches arose as there were heads. Christ therefore wills, in order that all may be assembled in one unity, that His power be exercised by one man to whom He Himself commits it. He has, however, made this power so strong that he looses all the powers of Hell (without injury) against it. He says: ‘the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it’, as though He said: ‘they will fight against it but never overcome it’, so it is in this way it is made manifest that this power is in reality from God and not from man. Wherefore, whoever breaks away from this unity and order of the power, let him not boast of great enlightenment and wonderful works, as our Picards and other heretics do, ‘for much better is obedience than to be the victims of fools who know not what evil they do.’ (Eccles. Iv.,17).
(Sermo in Vincula S. Petri, “Werke” Weimar edition, I, 69)

[NOTE 3] Lest I be accused of plagiarism, I hereby admit that most of these patristic citations have been taken from Stanley Jaki’s The Keys of the Kingdom, Steve Ray’s Upon This Rock, Butler and Dahlgren’s Jesus, Peter and the Keys, various works by James Likoudis, this Fisheaters page, this blog post, or E. Giles’s Documents Illustrating Papal Authority AD 96-454.

[NOTE 4] Philip’s claims were affirmed by the other council fathers. Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, replied,

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 … 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.

Then Arcadius, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Roman Church, said, “According to the acts of this holy Synod, we necessarily confirm with our subscriptions their doctrines.”

At which point the Holy Synod said, “Since Arcadius and Projectus the most reverend and most religious bishops and legates and Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See, have said that they are of the same mind with us, it only remains, that they redeem their promises and confirm the acts with their signatures, and then let the minutes of the acts be shewn to them.”
(cf. EXTRACTS FROM THE ACTS, SESSION III [Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 621.])

[NOTE 5] Since a great deal of controversy between the East and the West hinges on the filioque controversy, I think it’s helpful to recall St. Maximus’s conciliatory stance:

Those of the Queen of cities [i.e., Constantinople] have attacked the synodal letter of the present very holy Pope, not in the case of all the chapters that he has written in it, but only in the case of two of them. One relates to the theology [of the Trinity] and according to this, says ‘the Holy Spirit also has his ekporeusis from the Son.’

The other deals with the divine incarnation. With regard to the first matter, they [the Romans] have produced the unanimous evidence of the Latin Fathers, and also of Cyril of Alexandria, from the study he made of the gospel of St. John. On the basis of these texts, they have shown that they have not made the Son the cause of the Spirit–they know in fact that the Father is the only cause of the Son and the Spirit, the one by begetting and the other by procession — but that they have manifested the procession through him and have thus shown the unity and identity of the essence.

They [i.e., the Romans] have therefore been accused of precisely those things of which it would be wrong the accuse them, whereas the former [i.e., the Byzantines] have been accused of those things it has been quite correct to accuse them [of Monothelitism].

In accordance with your request I have asked the Romans to translate what is peculiar to them [the ‘also from the Son’] in such a way that any obscurities that may result from it will be avoided. … It is true, of course, that they cannot reproduce their idea in a language and in words that are foreign to them as they can in their mother-tongue, just as we too cannot do.
(St. Maximus Confessor, Letter to Marinus, PG 91, 136.)

See also the assessment by Metropolitan (John) Zizioulas of Pergamom of the 1995 Vatican document, “The Father as the Source of the Whole Trinity: The Procession of the Holy Spirit in Greek and Latin Traditions“.


14 Apr 2013 –– Firmilianus (d. ca. 269) was a bishop of Cæsarea, an eastern see, and is to this day venerated in the eastern and western Church. His claim to fame, as it were, is how he vehemently opposed Pope Stephen in the controversy over the re-baptism of the lapsi (Christians who fell away into heresy under persecution). When Pope Stephen wrote an edict that lapsi could be welcomed back into the Church without being baptized again, but merely by way of the imposition of hands, as was the Roman custom (cf. Cyprian, Ep. 75, 6, 2), hardliners like St. Cyprian of Carthage and Firmilian protested the Pope’s apparent canonical power grab. Opponents of papal authority are wont to cite Cyprian and Firmilian’s reactions as proof that there was no early patristic idea of the supremacy and infallibility of the Petrine See at Rome. But this is fallacious, for a few reasons.

First, the mere fact that some bishops opposed a Pope is irrelevant. If uncontested uniformity is the acid test for orthodoxy, then, sorry to say, little if anything in Christian history could assume the mantle of dogma. In the ensuing two centuries after Firmilianus, there was enormous controversy about the origin of the Son of God, the nature of the Incarnation, the personhood of the Spirit, and even the canon of Scripture. Ultimately, however, truth was declared, always in union with the Roman See, and always in such a way as Eastern Orthodox and conservative Protestants accept to this day. (The phrase Athanasius contra mundum is a good reminder not only that, as far as papal dissent goes, truth is not a matter of conformity, but also that, as far as the Church infallibility goes, the Catholic Church does not claim that only the Bishop of Rome can be infallible. Nor, pace the feverish anti-papalism of this forum thread, does the fact there are many “papas” in the Church negate the Papa-cy of Rome. Analogy, analogy, analogy. Rome is a brother see with all others. Rome is a pope among popes. Peter was an apostle among apostles. The Bible is a book among books. Christ was a man among men. Yes, yes… and yet…!) Moreover, Christ Himself was opposed by His own besserwissers, but that fact isn’t cited by Protestants or Eastern Orthodox that there was no “early consensus” about Christ’s authority. Indeed, authority is precisely what is needed in the face of such resistance!

Second, the protests lodged against Pope Stephen were not primarily about his authority, but rather about his orthodoxy. Firmilian did not deny that Peter was the foundation of the Church, nor even that Rome was Peter’s successor. In fact, he complained precisely because Stephen “boasts of the place of his episcopate and contends the he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the church were laid. Yet, he introduces many other rocks and establishes the buildings of many [heretical] churches! … Stephen, who declares that he holds the chair of Peter by succession, is not stirred with zeal against heretics [as a successor of Peter ought to be]” (ANF V, p. 394 Bercot, emphasis added). As in the case of Honorius, we see that the problem is that a Pope was charged with failing to live up to his calling as the successor of Peter, not that Peter was not the unique Rock, nor that there was no Roman succession of Petrine supremacy. Stephen Ray addresses these points very well on pp. 187–188 of Upon This Rock.

Further, as Fr. Stanley Jaki notes in his The Keys of the Kingdom, actions speak louder than words. The fact that St. Cyprian sought Rome’s aid against Novatianism speaks volumes, especially since he also wrote of Rome as “the Chair of Peter and … the principal church, in which sacerdotal unity has its source” (Epistle to Cornelius [Bishop of Rome] 59:14). Whatever his complaints against Stephen may have been, he never lost sight of the authority of the Roman See.

Third, it turns out that Pope Stephen was right and even the Eastern Orthodox recognize this by accepting the position of Pope Stephen concerning lapsi. If Firmilian and Cyprian were right, the Church as a whole would have followed them in(to) that truth. Since, however, they were wrong, and Stephen was right, the Church once again followed Rome in a way that clarified and hardened orthodoxy forever. In other words, it is incoherent to cite the rectitude of a wrongly opposed pope as proof against the authority of the papacy. Church history must be judged as a whole, particularly in light of the ways in which Providence has objectively guided the Church in the past.

7 Responses to An “Eastern Papist” Florilegium

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  5. Nick says:

    I often return to this Florilegium to confirm what I believe, especially during these trying times. . . . . Interestingly, Orthodox theologian Oliver Clement in response to JP II’s Ut Unum Sint states that the understanding that the bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter who has a real authority over all bishops continues well after the “Great Schism” into the Medieval and Renaissance eras: “Generally speaking, Byzantine theologians saw a true analogy between the place of Peter among the Apostles and the place of the Bishop of Rome among the Bishops.” (Clement’s You Are Peter, 68). . . . . Also interesting is the ancient, medieval, and modern liturgies in the East, especially Syrian, that contain the same truth. See Cyril Behnam Benni’s The Tradition of the Syriac Church of Antioch: Concerning the Primacy and the Prerogatives of St. Peter and Of His Successors The Roman Pontiffs.

    In pace Christi

  6. Nick,

    Thanks for commenting! I’m glad this resource is still “out there” edifying souls of good will.

    I agree about Clement’s book. Strong medicine. But is anyone listening?

  7. Giuseppe Filotto says:

    Excellent. May I reproduce this?
    Giving full credit of course.
    This is a truly awesome resource.

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