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Author Topic: Supremacy of Peter  (Read 44794 times) Average Rating: 0
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Cleopas
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« on: February 17, 2008, 09:05:44 AM »

The following is taken/amended from another thread, where this was mentioned as an aside. I felt that it would be an interesting topic of it's own. Obviously my position denies the supremacy of Peter (viz., the Roman Pope). Why?

Peter declares in his epistle, by his own hand, and under divine inspiration no less, that he was only one among the bishops (sumpresbuteros). See 1 Peter 5:1

Note the use of sumpresbuteros, a variant of presbuteros, implying "part of the whole" or "one among equals." Peter thus denies any supremacy of his role as a bishop or elder in the church. In fact  Peter who uses the only reference in the NT to designate the shepherd of supremacy in the church, and he does not use it of himself. Rather he uses the designation to refer to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2008, 11:10:41 AM »

Spot on. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, not any mortal man. The Pope, when he was Orthodox, was one among our bishops, with all honor due him as a bishop, and even with greater honor since his was the seat of St. Peter and located in the capital of the Empire. But never have we Orthodox given supremacy to any bishop. All are equal and all are under Christ.
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008, 07:57:07 PM »

The following is taken/amended from another thread, where this was mentioned as an aside. I felt that it would be an interesting topic of it's own. Obviously my position denies the supremacy of Peter (viz., the Roman Pope). Why?

Peter declares in his epistle, by his own hand, and under divine inspiration no less, that he was only one among the bishops (sumpresbuteros). See 1 Peter 5:1

Note the use of sumpresbuteros, a variant of presbuteros, implying "part of the whole" or "one among equals." Peter thus denies any supremacy of his role as a bishop or elder in the church. In fact  Peter who uses the only reference in the NT to designate the shepherd of supremacy in the church, and he does not use it of himself. Rather he uses the designation to refer to our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I answer by saying that you have to synthesize the entire bible, and not just use one quote to hastily conclude anything. When there are 10 quotes for example, we should not pick one of them and try to fit in the other 9 by it. Rather, we need to balance all of the quotes, or scriptures as the case may be. All heresies can be summed up Thessaly:

They take one quote and make it absolute, and ignore the rest.

Every church denomination is guilty of this.

In the case of non-sole-scriptura Christans, they have to synthesize not only every bible verse, but the sayings of the church fathers. But even in the case of the sayings of the church fathers, you'll see heresies forming from someone trying to deduce all of the quotes by only one quote.

How far we have fallen. God have mercy on us.
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2008, 09:30:09 PM »

I answer by saying that you have to synthesize the entire bible, and not just use one quote to hastily conclude anything. When there are 10 quotes for example, we should not pick one of them and try to fit in the other 9 by it. Rather, we need to balance all of the quotes, or scriptures as the case may be. All heresies can be summed up Thessaly:

They take one quote and make it absolute, and ignore the rest.

Every church denomination is guilty of this.

In the case of non-sole-scriptura Christans, they have to synthesize not only every bible verse, but the sayings of the church fathers. But even in the case of the sayings of the church fathers, you'll see heresies forming from someone trying to deduce all of the quotes by only one quote.

How far we have fallen. God have mercy on us.


I find this to be a humorous response, considering that this is exactly what you are asking the contributors of this forum to do on the "How Can Rome Fall" thread-- you are giving one quote (St. Maximos-- and not even citing the source, no less) and asking everyone to judge all quotes (which you say exist but show no support for that claim) by the one quote.


Now, the primacy of Peter has been discussed ad nauseum on this forum, but I have no problem having a little go here...  Here's the short answer:

Yes, Cleopas, you are exactly right about that quote.  Orthodox theologians interpret that passage in the way you said because it is one of MANY passages that affirm that Peter, while he had a primacy, and still would if the churches were reunited, does not have SUPREMACY.

The Petrine Interest of Matthew 16 is the majority claim for the supremacy of Peter by the Catholic Church.  However...
1. While binding and loosing were given to Peter in Matt 16, these powers were also given to ALL the other apostles.
2. The problematic passage of "On this rock..."
*Scholars (even Catholic scholars) are now reinterpreting this passage, putting less emphasis on it.
*Protestants have classically interpretted this passage to mean the FAITH of Peter is the rock, not Peter himself.
*The Orthodox interpretation (as taught at HCHC-- I have to qualify that around here, apparently) is that Peter was A leader among the disciples and the early church.  Peter as rock is his leadership-- he was a strong leader.  This is how it is understood among Orthodox. 
*It must also be affirmed very strongly here that Peter was NOT the ONLY leader of the disciples and the Church.  The Others were St. Paul, John, and James the Brother of the Lord- who was the "big shot," so to speak at the apostolic council in Acts 15, NOT Peter.  This is one citation on the part of the Orthodox, that it was James' words and his proclamation that ended the council.  If Peter were considered the supreme leader, he would have had the last word.  But he didn't. 

Furthermore, there is no evidence that any one apostle had authority over another.   In Galations 2:11ff, Paul states that he "withstood" Peter "face to face, because he was to be blamed."  If Peter had supremacy, Paul wouldn't have done this.  The footnote provided in the Orthodox Study Bible (thus giving the Orthodox interpretation) reads as follows: "No individual apostle (or bishop or patriarch) is infallible.  Even when he speaks officially (ex officio) he is correctable.  Unchecked, Peter could have caused a schism.  Then, Galations 2:14-21, Paul recounts the speech he gave in Antioch when he confronted Peter.

Thus, Peter did not have supremacy over Paul, or any other apostle.  There is no indication in the NT of one presiding bishop over everyone else.  This was not done until later (by the West).  In fact, the fathers (I'd have to dig out some books to provide specific quotes here, but they are all packed away, maybe someone could help me in that area) refer to Paul, not Peter, as the greatest of apostles for the following reasons: Paul was the greatest early missionary; He wrote so many epistles steeped in theology that survived; Paul is the living example of the conversion power of Christ as a Jew who persecuted Christian Jews and then changed because of his encounter with Christ; Paul was a loving pastor who could be very gentle- seen in witness of his life; and(in my opinion the greatest reason), Paul was the PRIMARY figure of revelation after Christ's ascension as the only eyewitness and beholder of the risen and ascended Christ.

I know, Cleopas, that you don't put a lot of stock in the Church fathers (which is okee dokee).  In the context of this conversation, though, I refer to them because they are applicable to the Catholic Church (who recognizes and affirms their authority the way the Orthodox do).  I also refer to them to demonstrate that the idea of the Pope's "supremacy" didn't come into play until later.

These are just a few of the refutations of the supremacy of the Pope.  But note that I use the word "supremacy," not "primacy."  Rome did have primacy (before the schism) because Rome was the capitol of the empire.  Were the church to unify once more, the Orthodox have been very open about the fact that Rome would once again be prime, as the Patriarch of Constantinople is now prime, but no more.  Constantinople was instituted as "New Rome" when Rome broke away because Constantinople was the next in line. 

Again, this topic has been discussed ad nauseum around here.  But I give the other examples above to show that, in fact, 1Peter 5:1ff is NOT taken out of context, or held as one quote, while "all other quotes" are contrary.  Rather, I think I have shown... no, actually, I have only BEGUN to show that 1Peter 5:1ff is just ONE of MANY places where the supremacy of the Pope is refuted, and I have given context to show why.

Hope it helps!
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 01:02:05 PM »

Spot on. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, not any mortal man.

This is a tired chestnut. By implication you are saying that Catholics do not accept Christ as the head of the Church. Christ is the head of the Church, and St. Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is his vicar.
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2008, 01:30:08 PM »

This is a tired chestnut. By implication you are saying that Catholics do not accept Christ as the head of the Church. Christ is the head of the Church, and St. Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is his vicar.

And THAT is a more tired chestnut. All bishops are vicars of Christ.
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 01:56:41 PM »

This is a tired chestnut. By implication you are saying that Catholics do not accept Christ as the head of the Church. Christ is the head of the Church, and St. Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is his vicar.

Or translated from Latin, the language of Mordor, One bishop to rule them all, one bishop to find them, one bishop to bring them all and in the Vatican bind them.  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2008, 03:06:15 PM »

And THAT is a more tired chestnut. All bishops are vicars of Christ.

Indeed. But "primacy of honor" is a meaningless concept without some shepherdly authority ("feed my sheep") behind it.* (To forestall yet another chestnut  Wink) Authority does not mean tyranny but is properly linked with another ancient papal title: Servus Servorum Dei.

*To be honest, even before I became a Catholic, I never understood why (many, not all) EO still cling to this "Roman primacy of honor only." It's a completely denuded concept, not worth keeping if it has no real significance. As if the Pope were like Queen Elizabeth II (who at least retains powers in theory). If you want to go your own way and do not consider communion with Peter's successor in the Holy See to be essential or even important to the Church, why still appeal to what is really a primacy of nothing? You have more patriarchates than you did before---such things change. The most powerful patriarch in the EO churches shepherds a people who had their Christian beginnings only a thousand years ago. This "primacy of honor only" is now claimed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, who struggles to give it any useful meaning by exerting some authority. To no avail, because Moscow sees itself as rightfully in control.

If I did not believe that communion with Peter's successor as head of the bishops was a real and important mark of the Church Catholic, I would have easily become EO. But I still would have been puzzled by this clinging to what is really a primacy of nothing, a primacy that amounts to getting the good seat at the dinner table or the front seat of a driverless car where those in the back are also fighting to take over the wheel.

In my humble opinion, of course.  Smiley I thought about this for a long time before choosing churches, and I was never able to reconcile this one.
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2008, 04:07:09 PM »

Indeed. But "primacy of honor" is a meaningless concept without some shepherdly authority ("feed my sheep") behind it.
And St. Peter does feed the sheep. But never did our Lord say to him, "Feed all of my sheep by yourself." The apostles were all given shepherdly authority, and from them have all bishops who have apostolic succession.
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2008, 04:08:16 PM »

*To be honest, even before I became a Catholic, I never understood why (many, not all) EO still cling to this "Roman primacy of honor only." It's a completely denuded concept, not worth keeping if it has no real significance. As if the Pope were like Queen Elizabeth II (who at least retains powers in theory). If you want to go your own way and do not consider communion with Peter's successor in the Holy See to be essential or even important to the Church, why still appeal to what is really a primacy of nothing? You have more patriarchates than you did before---such things change. The most powerful patriarch in the EO churches shepherds a people who had their Christian beginnings only a thousand years ago. This "primacy of honor only" is now claimed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, who struggles to give it any useful meaning by exerting some authority. To no avail, because Moscow sees itself as rightfully in control.

If I did not believe that communion with Peter's successor as head of the bishops was a real and important mark of the Church Catholic, I would have easily become EO. But I still would have been puzzled by this clinging to what is really a primacy of nothing, a primacy that amounts to getting the good seat at the dinner table or the front seat of a driverless car where those in the back are also fighting to take over the wheel.

In my humble opinion, of course.  Smiley I thought about this for a long time before choosing churches, and I was never able to reconcile this one.

Well, it's not really a primacy of honour only, as certain rights were recognized as belonging to the Roman see that were outside of the scope of a normal bishop's authority - such as the Right of Appeal (which was transferred to Constantinople) which is quite important, and the Right to Preside at liturgy regardless of actual seniority, etc.  The use of "honor only" is rhetorical, and intended to be shown in opposition to the apparent abuse inherent in Supremacy.

Where the Orthodox see abuse is the authority vested in Rome that rightly belongs elsewhere: investiture of bishops belongs to the ruling synod and its President; only a synod of higher authority can tell a bishop what to do within his diocese; only a synod of higher authority can remove a bishop; etc.  Obviously another abuse seen by the Orthodox is the mixing of temporal and ecclesial authority, which is still alive and well since the Pope is a head of state.  Even the hints of the inerrancy of the Papacy and infallibility of its ex cathedra statements fly in the face of the essence of the conciliarity of the Church: the One (President of the Synod) cannot operate without the Many (the rest of the Synod), and the Many cannot operate without the One.

In the end, the Supremacy of Rome is dependent on multiple interpretations of scripture and tradition that are all rejected by the Orthodox (i.e. that Peter was "the rock," that Rome is the only see that is "Peter's See" despite the fact that he founded others directly and indirectly, that Peter had the final say amongst the apostles - even though St. Paul himself says that he had to correct Peter face-to-face and despite the fact that Peter didn't preside over the Apostolic Council, that Christ's words allow Peter's successors in Rome to interfere with the Apostolic ministry of the other successors of the Apostles, etc.).  Roman apologists would do better to give the real reason for Roman Supremacy: that Rome was once the center of the Empire, birthplace of the other Empires, and most influential city in the West until the Renaissance, and the bishop of that city should retain his rights for those reasons and for the reason that he's "always" had them (we Orthodox would still dispute the "always" part, but you get the idea).
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2008, 06:20:51 PM »

To be honest, after over forty years of debating RC's I see they never can see the difference between "feed My sheep" and "lead My sheep". Peter was not "supreme", unless you can't read the Book of Acts.
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2008, 07:12:04 PM »

Indeed. To me it seems painfully obvious that "feed My sheep" refers to the administration of the Eucharist, nothing more.
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2008, 08:07:07 PM »

Oh, I'll concede a little more for Peter's role - but no supremacy.
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2008, 08:37:35 PM »

I will respond here when I get more time. I'd start quoting church fathers, but am afraid they'll be discarded right off! Pretty much every church father document is a forgery anyway right, if it doesnt support...
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2008, 09:50:19 PM »

And while you're at it spend some time learning what and when the term "Catholic Church" meant and arose (and where) along with the definition of "Roman Church" - not necessarily Church of Rome in all cases. This request for both this thread and your 'How could Rome fall" one.

When you get around to it, that is. Thus far we've seen little meat.
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2008, 10:39:50 PM »

And THAT is a more tired chestnut. All bishops are vicars of Christ.

Indeed, the whole church is the representative of Christ. We are members one of another, and Christ is alone the head.
As for Vicar, unsure of the depth of application or use of the term, I would submit that the Spirit is the Vicar of Christ, animating the church as it follows his guidance in obedience to it's head.
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2008, 10:57:17 PM »

Indeed. But "primacy of honor" is a meaningless concept without some shepherdly authority ("feed my sheep") behind it.* (To forestall yet another chestnut  Wink) Authority does not mean tyranny but is properly linked with another ancient papal title: Servus Servorum Dei.   ...

I understand your distinction and clarification. Indeed we honor those over us in the Lord.
But then that is partly why I cannot see one bishop above all, for it says we are to honor "those" not "Him" over us in the Lord. The consistent, apostolic and NT model is for each church to be overseen by a plurality of qualified godly men designated as elders and/or bishops.

Now, having said that, the NT does show one acting as "first among equals." This is first seen in Peter who was directly appointed by Christ as such when he instructed him to "feed my sheep, my lambs." This is confirmed when we note that in Acts 1 Peter opens and presides over the business of selecting a replacement for Judas.

However, we later clearly find a change in the who was recognized as the "chair" of the Jerusalem church, indeed the church universal. At some point that honor shifted from Peter to Our Lord's brother, James.

Despite this "primacy of honor" and role of "first among equals" we never find one without the others, James is with the elders, Peter with the apostles, etc.

In like fashion as the persons of the Godhead are co=-equal, co-eternal, and of one essence similarly the presbytery is co-equal. Yet, like as God the Father is shown to be over Christ and the Spirit in relationship to each other so also we find a bishop serving as the first among equals in the NT church.

This first among equals is no figure head. It is not a pretentious honor to an otherwise powerless monarch. Nor is it a dictatorial rule of One over all (such authority resides solely in Christ), and it is not even akin to a separate office (like unto the President) from the body of presbyters (Likened by this analogy unto Congress). To use a modern example that seems quite fitting... The first among equals is more like that of Prime Minister in a  Parliamentary Government. He leads, presides, and is honored as first but not greater than the other members of parliament. He is the first among equals.
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2008, 11:09:03 PM »

Indeed, the whole church is the representative of Christ. We are members one of another, and Christ is alone the head.
As for Vicar, unsure of the depth of application or use of the term, I would submit that the Spirit is the Vicar of Christ, animating the church as it follows his guidance in obedience to it's head.
A vicar is essentially a substitute, someone who stands in for Christ and carries out His work under His authority. In one sense, all of us are vicars in that we all bear Christ to the world (the true meaning of Theotokos). Yet in another, we are not all worthy to administer Christ, for we cannot all be His substitute, his deputy--because we do not carry His authority. This authority comes from apostolic succession, and without this most important ingredient any potions we create will be poison rather than the Medicine of our souls. The bishops are the ones entrusted with the sacred task of keeping apostolic succession, and they and their vicars alone can truly administer Christ.

Or are you so self-conscious about not having a bishop that you feel the need to come up with this malarkey to justify it?
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2008, 12:21:30 AM »

A vicar is essentially a substitute, someone who stands in for Christ and carries out His work under His authority. In one sense, all of us are vicars in that we all bear Christ to the world (the true meaning of Theotokos). Yet in another, we are not all worthy to administer Christ, for we cannot all be His substitute, his deputy--because we do not carry His authority. This authority comes from apostolic succession, and without this most important ingredient any potions we create will be poison rather than the Medicine of our souls. The bishops are the ones entrusted with the sacred task of keeping apostolic succession, and they and their vicars alone can truly administer Christ.

Very insightful. I agree with your basic distinction. I find your explanation enlightening as to your own tradition's practice. Thank you.

Quote
Or are you so self-conscious about not having a bishop that you feel the need to come up with this malarkey to justify it?

Woah! What? I'm not self-conscious about anything, friend. In fact, I too am a bishop, called of God in Christ Jesus. And it is Christ that justifies me. I am here sharing my honest understanding and estimation. I realize you may disagree with me, and find my views rather "out in left field" at times. Just remember, I pretty much feel the same way about you all.

At any rate, blessings to you and yours!
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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2008, 09:35:24 AM »

Very insightful. I agree with your basic distinction. I find your explanation enlightening as to your own tradition's practice. Thank you.
Glad to be of help.

Quote
Woah! What? I'm not self-conscious about anything, friend. In fact, I too am a bishop, called of God in Christ Jesus. And it is Christ that justifies me.
He gave His authority to the apostles. You'll have to get it from them.

Quote
I am here sharing my honest understanding and estimation. I realize you may disagree with me, and find my views rather "out in left field" at times. Just remember, I pretty much feel the same way about you all.

At any rate, blessings to you and yours!
LOL! Yeah, we can seem pretty strange to those not of our tradition. I appreciate your honesty; my statement above is just my returning the favor.
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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2008, 11:57:47 AM »

If I did not believe that communion with Peter's successor as head of the bishops was a real and important mark of the Church Catholic, I would have easily become EO. But I still would have been puzzled by this clinging to what is really a primacy of nothing, a primacy that amounts to getting the good seat at the dinner table or the front seat of a driverless car where those in the back are also fighting to take over the wheel.

In my humble opinion, of course.  Smiley I thought about this for a long time before choosing churches, and I was never able to reconcile this one.
Funny. My study of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and writings of early Church Fathers pointed me to Holy Orthodoxy. Then I began to read the history of Vatican Council I and the events that led to the dogma of infallibility.

Mama mia!

It was obvious to me that Holy Orthodoxy was on firm ground by rejecting the strange dogma of papal supremacy/infallibilty.
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2008, 12:00:49 PM »

Or translated from Latin, the language of Mordor, One bishop to rule them all, one bishop to find them, one bishop to bring them all and in the Vatican bind them.  Wink
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« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2008, 12:03:52 PM »

Indeed. But "primacy of honor" is a meaningless concept without some shepherdly authority ("feed my sheep") behind it.* (To forestall yet another chestnut  Wink) Authority does not mean tyranny but is properly linked with another ancient papal title: Servus Servorum Dei.

*To be honest, even before I became a Catholic, I never understood why (many, not all) EO still cling to this "Roman primacy of honor only." It's a completely denuded concept, not worth keeping if it has no real significance. As if the Pope were like Queen Elizabeth II (who at least retains powers in theory). If you want to go your own way and do not consider communion with Peter's successor in the Holy See to be essential or even important to the Church, why still appeal to what is really a primacy of nothing? You have more patriarchates than you did before---such things change. The most powerful patriarch in the EO churches shepherds a people who had their Christian beginnings only a thousand years ago. This "primacy of honor only" is now claimed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, who struggles to give it any useful meaning by exerting some authority. To no avail, because Moscow sees itself as rightfully in control.

If I did not believe that communion with Peter's successor as head of the bishops was a real and important mark of the Church Catholic, I would have easily become EO. But I still would have been puzzled by this clinging to what is really a primacy of nothing, a primacy that amounts to getting the good seat at the dinner table or the front seat of a driverless car where those in the back are also fighting to take over the wheel.

In my humble opinion, of course.  Smiley I thought about this for a long time before choosing churches, and I was never able to reconcile this one.
Preach it!!! I have always viewed the EO concept of "primacy of honor" in the same way. Guess the EP gets in line first at the buffet.
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« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2008, 12:21:24 PM »

Well, it's not really a primacy of honour only, as certain rights were recognized as belonging to the Roman see that were outside of the scope of a normal bishop's authority - such as the Right of Appeal (which was transferred to Constantinople) which is quite important, and the Right to Preside at liturgy regardless of actual seniority, etc.  The use of "honor only" is rhetorical, and intended to be shown in opposition to the apparent abuse inherent in Supremacy.

Where the Orthodox see abuse is the authority vested in Rome that rightly belongs elsewhere: investiture of bishops belongs to the ruling synod and its President; only a synod of higher authority can tell a bishop what to do within his diocese; only a synod of higher authority can remove a bishop; etc.  Obviously another abuse seen by the Orthodox is the mixing of temporal and ecclesial authority, which is still alive and well since the Pope is a head of state.  Even the hints of the inerrancy of the Papacy and infallibility of its ex cathedra statements fly in the face of the essence of the conciliarity of the Church: the One (President of the Synod) cannot operate without the Many (the rest of the Synod), and the Many cannot operate without the One.

In the end, the Supremacy of Rome is dependent on multiple interpretations of scripture and tradition that are all rejected by the Orthodox (i.e. that Peter was "the rock," that Rome is the only see that is "Peter's See" despite the fact that he founded others directly and indirectly, that Peter had the final say amongst the apostles - even though St. Paul himself says that he had to correct Peter face-to-face and despite the fact that Peter didn't preside over the Apostolic Council, that Christ's words allow Peter's successors in Rome to interfere with the Apostolic ministry of the other successors of the Apostles, etc.).  Roman apologists would do better to give the real reason for Roman Supremacy: that Rome was once the center of the Empire, birthplace of the other Empires, and most influential city in the West until the Renaissance, and the bishop of that city should retain his rights for those reasons and for the reason that he's "always" had them (we Orthodox would still dispute the "always" part, but you get the idea).

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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2008, 12:22:10 PM »

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Oh, you like that one?  There's way too many comparisons between the Pope and the Emperor; I figured it was time to branch out a little. Wink
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« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2008, 01:46:28 PM »

Oh, you like that one?  There's way too many comparisons between the Pope and the Emperor; I figured it was time to branch out a little. Wink
This is actually my favorite one so far. Thanks for this. I think Catholic friends will actually enjoy it.
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« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2008, 08:55:53 AM »

On Biblical quote that seems to have escaped notice from both the Orthodox critics and Papal apologists is to be found in Luke 22;

25  "The kings of the gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors.

26  "But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves."

Even if the "greatest" of whom Jesus is speaking here refers to the Bishop of Rome and his primacy, this passage clearly demonstrates that that office has evolved into something far out of proportion to what Christ himself intended. Let's forget for a moment the theological implications--the declaration that salvation MUST go through the Roman Pontiff and that his decisions are larger than Ecumenical Councils, etc. The dawn of the Middle Ages saw the Papacy become not only a secular monarchy but in effect, the king of all the kings in Western Europe, amassing more wealth than all the nations of Europe combined, claiming the power to crown heads of state, blessing wars of conquest and colonial expansion to consolidate its not only spiritual but political power, and actually deciding what conquered lands in the Western hemisphere belonged to which country. Wasn't there a Pope arond the time of the Great Schism who called himself 'Emperor of the world"?

Call it an Orthodox bias but I have a hard time reconciling the image of St. Peter's humble ministry, based on all Scriptural and Patristic sources, with the establishment of the Papacy as it has existed for centuries now. There is no evidence I am aware of that St. Peter resided in one of the world's grandest palaces, was carried about on a litter, and required that his feet were to be kissed upon greeting him, as was demanded in Medeival times. If anything, the Papacy as we recognize it resembles the very antithesis of Christ's words in that passage.

I regret the polemic tone but I felt it necessary to be as candid as possible where historical truth is concerned. 

 
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« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2008, 11:13:49 AM »



Call it an Orthodox bias but I have a hard time reconciling the image of St. Peter's humble ministry, based on all Scriptural and Patristic sources, with the establishment of the Papacy as it has existed for centuries now.  

Ok. That's what I will call it.  Wink
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« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2008, 01:52:49 PM »

How appropriate that today is the feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter!

The second reading from Matins for today is a selection from a sermon by Pope St. Leo the Great:

    Out of the whole world one man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations, and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church. Though there are in God’s people many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed to rule in his own person those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler. Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing of his power that God in his goodness has given to this man. Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter that he has given to others what he has not refused to bestow on them.

    The Lord now asks the apostles as a whole what men think of him. As long as they are recounting the uncertainty born of human ignorance, their reply is always the same.

    But when he presses the disciples to say what they think themselves, the first to confess his faith in the Lord is the one who is first in rank among the apostles.

    Peter says: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus replies: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven”. You are blessed, he means, because my Father has taught you. You have not been deceived by earthly opinion, but have been enlightened by inspiration from heaven. It was not flesh and blood that pointed me out to you, but the one whose only-begotten Son I am.

    He continues: And I say to you. In other words, as my Father has revealed to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you your pre-eminence. You are Peter: though I am the inviolable rock, the cornerstone that makes both one, the foundation apart from which no one can lay any other, yet you also are a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.

    And upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. On this strong foundation, he says, I will build an everlasting temple. The great height of my Church, which is to penetrate the heavens, shall rise on the firm foundation of this faith.

    The gates of hell shall not silence this confession of faith; the chains of death shall not bind it. Its words are the words of life. As they lift up to heaven those who profess them, so they send down to hell those who contradict them.

    Blessed Peter is therefore told: To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth is also bound in heaven. Whatever you lose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.

    The authority vested in this power passed also to the other apostles, and the institution established by this decree has been continued in all the leaders of the Church. But it is not without good reason that what is bestowed on all is entrusted to one. For Peter received it separately in trust because he is the prototype set before all the rulers of the Church.


http://www.universalis.com/readings.htm

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« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2008, 02:36:43 PM »

Well, of course he would say all that.  Wink
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« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2008, 02:52:39 PM »

 Lubeltri, whatever you do, don't respond in too direct a way to Orthodox views concerning the nature of the papacy and the Church, like those issued earlier by Cleveland.  That might lead to honest and frank dialogue.   Wink
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« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2008, 12:18:21 AM »

Well, it's not really a primacy of honour only, as certain rights were recognized as belonging to the Roman see that were outside of the scope of a normal bishop's authority - such as the Right of Appeal (which was transferred to Constantinople) which is quite important, and the Right to Preside at liturgy regardless of actual seniority, etc.  The use of "honor only" is rhetorical, and intended to be shown in opposition to the apparent abuse inherent in Supremacy.

I'm not sure if I've ever heard anyone put it quite that way. (Although Zizioulas does say something similar -- see the quote at the bottom.)

I actually wondered at times whether "primacy of honor" was really just a caricature of the Orthodox position. (Kind of like when people say the Catholic Church teaches that "The Pope is infallible." when in fact the Catholic Church has said no such thing.) But if "primacy of honor only" is understood to exclude supremacy, but not to exclude "primacy of honor and order", then that makes sense to me (not that anyone was asking  Wink).

-Peter.

Quote
          Orthodox theologians very often use the formula «primacy of honor and order». What does it mean?
          ZIZIOULAS: When someone speaks of “primacy of honor” he wants to exclude the right of the primate to exercise jurisdiction over the rest of the bishops. But it seems to be a rather ambiguous formula. There seems, in fact, not to exist, even in the Orthodox Church, “a simple primacy of honor”…
          Why?
          ZIZIOULAS: In the Orthodox Church, for example, in the absence of the Patriarch or during the vacancy of his throne there can be no episcopal elections or the performance of any “canonical acts”. Can you then describe the primacy of the patriarch as “a simple honor”?
http://www.30giorni.it/us/articolo.asp?id=9204
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« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2008, 12:51:29 AM »

How appropriate that today is the feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter!

Yes-at Antioch!

Quote
The second reading from Matins for today is a selection from a sermon by Pope St. Leo the Great:

    Out of the whole world one man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations, and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church. Though there are in God’s people many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed to rule in his own person those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler. Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing of his power that God in his goodness has given to this man. Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter that he has given to others what he has not refused to bestow on them.

    The Lord now asks the apostles as a whole what men think of him. As long as they are recounting the uncertainty born of human ignorance, their reply is always the same.

    But when he presses the disciples to say what they think themselves, the first to confess his faith in the Lord is the one who is first in rank among the apostles.

    Peter says: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus replies: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven”. You are blessed, he means, because my Father has taught you. You have not been deceived by earthly opinion, but have been enlightened by inspiration from heaven. It was not flesh and blood that pointed me out to you, but the one whose only-begotten Son I am.

    He continues: And I say to you. In other words, as my Father has revealed to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you your pre-eminence. You are Peter: though I am the inviolable rock, the cornerstone that makes both one, the foundation apart from which no one can lay any other, yet you also are a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.

    And upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. On this strong foundation, he says, I will build an everlasting temple. The great height of my Church, which is to penetrate the heavens, shall rise on the firm foundation of this faith.

    The gates of hell shall not silence this confession of faith; the chains of death shall not bind it. Its words are the words of life. As they lift up to heaven those who profess them, so they send down to hell those who contradict them.

    Blessed Peter is therefore told: To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth is also bound in heaven. Whatever you lose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.

    The authority vested in this power passed also to the other apostles, and the institution established by this decree has been continued in all the leaders of the Church. But it is not without good reason that what is bestowed on all is entrusted to one. For Peter received it separately in trust because he is the prototype set before all the rulers of the Church.


http://www.universalis.com/readings.htm


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« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2008, 01:18:34 AM »

I'm not sure if I've ever heard anyone put it quite that way. (Although Zizioulas does say something similar -- see the quote at the bottom.)

I actually wondered at times whether "primacy of honor" was really just a caricature of the Orthodox position. (Kind of like when people say the Catholic Church teaches that "The Pope is infallible." when in fact the Catholic Church has said no such thing.) But if "primacy of honor only" is understood to exclude supremacy, but not to exclude "primacy of honor and order", then that makes sense to me (not that anyone was asking  Wink).

-Peter.
http://www.30giorni.it/us/articolo.asp?id=9204

I've always felt that primacy of honor didn't do a very good job of describing our position, the Pope gets to do more than just be at the front of the procession.  Wink

There is no doubt that the Pope had certain rights and privileges granted to him. But, there are a couple of things we must bear in mind, things that are often dismissed outright by Roman Catholics. First, the right to hear appeals and certain synodical privileges are a long way from universal ordinary jurisdiction. Second, any rights and privileges the Pope has are his because they have been ceded to him by the rest of the episcopate not because of "divine right".

None of us oppose the Pope having the same rights and privileges he enjoyed in the pre-schism Church and I for one don't oppose dialogue to help determine what those rights and privileges were........the problem is when you throw human pride into the equation things are rarely that simple. Smiley


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« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2008, 01:55:06 AM »

Thank you Cleveland and Pasius

Well, it's not really a primacy of honour only, as certain rights were recognized as belonging to the Roman see that were outside of the scope of a normal bishop's authority - such as the Right of Appeal (which was transferred to Constantinople) which is quite important, and the Right to Preside at liturgy regardless of actual seniority, etc.  The use of "honor only" is rhetorical, and intended to be shown in opposition to the apparent abuse inherent in Supremacy.


On my road to Orthodoxy, I was told this "primacy of honor" line, but when I read a Catholic apologetics book, it said that Rome had an appelate authority and cite incidents in church history.   Then, I thought, wait a minute, this is not just a primacy of honor.  Have I been told the truth?  I have since read--including on this forum-- that Orthodox believe Rome did indeed process such appelate authority (in cases of clergy only, as I recall).   Thanks for confirming this.

The lesson I learned this is to go beyond the slogan.  Slogans help us to understand a complex concept but are not accurate descriptions of the concept.     
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« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2008, 06:38:12 AM »

Thank you Cleveland and Pasius

On my road to Orthodoxy, I was told this "primacy of honor" line, but when I read a Catholic apologetics book, it said that Rome had an appelate authority and cite incidents in church history.   Then, I thought, wait a minute, this is not just a primacy of honor.  Have I been told the truth?  I have since read--including on this forum-- that Orthodox believe Rome did indeed process such appelate authority (in cases of clergy only, as I recall).   Thanks for confirming this.

The lesson I learned this is to go beyond the slogan.  Slogans help us to understand a complex concept but are not accurate descriptions of the concept.     

Yes there is an appellate authority of Rome, as there is, according to the canons of the Ecumenical councils, appellate authority of Constantinople even while Rome was still Orthodox.  And, for instance, Alexandria determined the date of Pascha.  Rome was only to announce the date that Alexandria had determined, not approve it.

And as pointed out, these authorities were created by the Church by the bishops granting such authority.  It did not come from Christ directly, as does a bishops authority.
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« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2008, 02:40:44 PM »

I answer by saying that you have to synthesize the entire bible, and not just use one quote to hastily conclude anything. When there are 10 quotes for example, we should not pick one of them and try to fit in the other 9 by it. Rather, we need to balance all of the quotes, or scriptures as the case may be. All heresies can be summed up Thessaly:

They take one quote and make it absolute, and ignore the rest.

Every church denomination is guilty of this.

In the case of non-sole-scriptura Christans, they have to synthesize not only every bible verse, but the sayings of the church fathers. But even in the case of the sayings of the church fathers, you'll see heresies forming from someone trying to deduce all of the quotes by only one quote.

How far we have fallen. God have mercy on us.


I agree with Early Church that all authenticated references made by the Church Fathers and Saints should be taken into account as well as the historical records ( especially of the Ecumenical Councils)..When that is done carefully, we find that Rome and it's Bishop never had Supremacy or rulership over the entire Church but merely an honorary place as "first among equals".

A very good book that goes over the documentation is "Popes and Patriarchs" by Michael Whelan
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« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2008, 12:30:00 PM »

Has anyone read You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Olivier Clement, an EO response to the gauntlet laid down by Servant of God Pope John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint?

http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Peter-Orthodox-Reflection/dp/1565481895

If so, what is your view of it?
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« Reply #38 on: February 28, 2008, 08:53:26 AM »

Has anyone read You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Olivier Clement, an EO response to the gauntlet laid down by Servant of God Pope John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint?

http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Peter-Orthodox-Reflection/dp/1565481895

If so, what is your view of it?

I haven't, but I do recall reading a review of it in Touchstone.

God bless,
Peter.

P.S. I hadn't remembered that the review is by Anthony Dragani. (I'm guessing that, back when that issue came out, I didn't know who Anthony Dragani is.)
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« Reply #39 on: May 10, 2008, 12:24:39 AM »


 All the Father's of the ancient Church believed and taught Peter was the chief [coryphaeus] disciple, ruler of the apostles, and foundation of the Church. But I am finding the Orthodox to be very ignorant of the Father's in this regard. I'll start by quoting Saint Cyprian:

"Peter...upon whom the Church was founded by the condescendence of the Lord." [De Bono Pat., 9].

According to the saints, the Church was founded on Peter. See above.

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« Reply #40 on: May 10, 2008, 12:41:37 AM »


The Formula of Hormisdas, was signed by 2500 eastern clergy. The divine primacy of the popes was known universally at that time. If the primacy is by divine right [as Saint Theodore the Studite states] then it is purpetual.
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« Reply #41 on: May 10, 2008, 12:48:03 AM »

2500 eastern priests under Emperor Justin signed the formula. [Roman Deacon Rusticus (c. 5500, PL 67, 1251-2].

The ancient Collectio Avellana, compiled about 550, calls it a libellus or profession of faith "which Pope Hormisdas laid down, to be given by all the bishops of Greece!" [CSEL 35:800].
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« Reply #42 on: May 10, 2008, 01:07:23 AM »


Justin Popovitch was a schismatic. He had no authority. Listen to Ss. Theodore the Studite, Maximos the Confessor, the Lateran Council, and the Seventh Ecumenical Council on the Roman PRIMACY. Notice I'll be using primary sources:


St. Theodore the Studite wrote to Pope Leo III[795-816]:


...O arch-shepherd of the church... save us now... For if they, usurping an authority which does not belong to them, have dared to convene a heretical council, whereas those who follow ancient custom do not even have the right of convening an orthodox one without your knowledge, it seems absolutely necessary, we dare to say to you, that your divine primacy should call together a lawful council, so that the Catholic dogma may drive out heresy and that your primacy may neither be anathematized by these new voices lacking authority...

It is in order to obey your divine authority as chief pastor that we have set forth these things as it befitted our nothingness... [PG 99: 1017-21]

St. Theodore wrote to Pope Paschal[817-824]:


... O apostolic head, divinely established shepherd of Christ’s sheep, doorkeeper of the heavenly kingdom, rock of the faith on which the Catholic Church has been built. For you are Peter-- you are the successor of Peter, whose throne you grace and direct... To you did Christ our God say, "When you have been converted, strengthen your brethren." Now is the time and the place: help us, you who have been established by God for that purpose... [PG 99: 1152-3]

Do you agree that St. Theodore believed the authority of the Pope was a Divine Right? If not, why?

 

Saint Theodore to Pope Paschal I:

"[The iconoclasts] have separated themselves from the body of Christ, and from the chief throne in which Christ placed the keys of faith: against which the gates of hell, namely the mouths of heretics, have not prevailed up to now, nor shall they ever prevail, according to the promise of him who does not lie." [PG 99:128].

We see in light of the above, that the papacy is "the chief throne" where Christ placed "the keys of faith" (authority), and that this authority is perpetual, that the mouths of heretics have never nor will ever overcome it.

He also stated to Pope Paschal:

"leading luminary of the universe, our lord and master, the apostolic pope....From which Christ our God has established Your Beatitude in the west on the first apostolic throne as a divine torch for the illumination of the church which is under heaven...[PG 99:1153-6].

The saint continues...

"For from the beginning, you are the ever pure and ever limpid stream of orthodoxy; you are the tranquil harbor where the whole church finds sure shelter against all the tempests heresy, you are the citidel chosen by God to be assured refuge of salvation." [PG 99:1153-6]. 

He also stated to Michael the emperor:

"...Rome, the summit of all the Churches of God, and through her to the three patriarchs." [PG 99:1309].


LATERAN COUNCIL [649]

Saint Maximos the Confessor put this council on the same status of the ecumenical councils. He approved of this council. And he stated the following:

"For ever since the Word of God condescended to us and became a man, all the Churches of Christians everwhere have held, and hold the great Church [Rome] there as their sole basis and foundation, because, according to the very promises of the Lord, the gates of hell have never prevailed over her, but rather she has the keys of the orthodox faith and confession; she opens the genuine and only piety to those who approach her piously, but closes every heretical mouth that speaks injustice." [PG 91:137-40].

Now, lets take a look at what the Lateran Council stated. This council was convened to refute the Monothelite heresy.

The notary Theophylact welcomed the bishops, explaining that Pope Martin had summoned them to overthrow a new heresy "by his apostolic authority." Then, turning to the pope, Theophylact asked him to address the gathering of the bishops, "over which you are pre-eminent through the great apostolic summit,which is in charge of all preists throught the world."[Mansi X, 867-70].

The conciliar acts contain a letter from Maurus, bishop of Ravenna, "to the most holy and most blessed, apostolic and universal pontiff throughout the world, Pope Martin." [Mansi X, 883-90].

Bishop Stephen of Dora explained the origins of the heresy, and said:

"And for this cause, we sometimes asked for...the wings of a dove..that we might fly away and announce these things to that Chair which rules and presides over all, that is to yours, the head and highest...For this it has been accustomned to do from of old and from the beginning with power by its canonical or spiritual authority, because the truly and great Peter, leader of the apostles, clearly was deemed worthy not only to be entrusted the keys of heaven, alone [and] apart from the rest worthy to open it to believers...." [Mansi X, 893].

A Greek and Armenian delegation of monks was led by John, abbot of St. Sabas, who described the council as meeting " by command of the one divinely presiding over you, priest of priests and father of fathers pre-eminent over all, our Lord Martin, the thrice blessed pope." [Mansi X, 903-5].

John continued."this is why we urge and implore you all, most holy fathers, and the apostolic and highest throne to anathematize heretics. The hearts of all look to you, after God, knowing that you have been established by Christ our God as leader ane head of the churches." [Mansi X, 905-8].

The notary Theophylact also stated:

"To my most holy and most blessed and divinely strenghtened master, father of fathers, archbishop and ecumenical patriarch...Sergius sends greetings in the Lord. O sacred summit, Christ our God has establisged your apostolic see as a fixed and immovable foundation, and a most luminous pillar of the faith. For you are, as the divine word rightly says, Peter, and upon your foundation have the pillars of the Church been fixed....[Mansi X, 911-14].

Theophylact also read an intervention, which three African councils had sent in 643:

"To the most blessed lord raised to the apostolic summit, the holy father of fathers, pope Theodore, supreme pontiff of all bishops, ...[Mansi X, 909].

Pope Martin observed that requests were coming in from all over the Catholic world, "imploring our apostolic and supreme see to arise in condemnation of the new doctrine." Mansi X, 923].

Maximus, primate of Aquileia, remarked that God "has raised up the holy spirit of a man burning with zeal for the Lord, whose venerable name [is] Martin, who has convoked us in holy fashion, and presides over us by apostolic authority." [Mansi X, 1055].


SAINT MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR

 Writing to an abbot named Thalassius, he described the behavior of the Roman legates:

".....How much more is this the case with the Church and clergy of Rome, which from of old up to this time, as the eldest of all the churches under the sun, has the pre-eminence over all.. Having undoubtedly obtained this canonically, both from the councils and from the apostles as well as from their supreme principality, because of the eminence of her pontificate she is not bound to produce any writings of synodical letters, just as in these matters all are subject to her, in accordance with priestly law.........as firm ministers of the truly solid and immovable rock, that is, the greatest apostolic church....." [Mansi X, 677-8].


Saint Maximus also stated:

"....the Apostolic See, which from God the incarnate Word Himself as well as all the holy Councils, according to the sacred canons and definitions, has received and possesses supreme power in all things and for all things, over all the holy churches of God throughout the world, as well as power and authority of binding and loosing. For with this church, the Word, who commands the powers of heaven, binds and looses in heaven...."[ PG 91: 144].

Do you agree with Sts. Theodore, Maximus and the Lateran Council? If not, why? These are Orthodox fathers.

SEVENTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL



The Seventh Ecumenical Council [787] was convened to refute and condemn the iconoclast heresy. Pope Hadrian was pope at that time. He sent a letter to the emperors, which was read at the second session of the council.

Part of his letter states:

"For the very prince of the apostles, Blessed Peter, who first sat upon the Apostolic See, left the principality of his apostleship and pastoral care to his successors, who were to sit perenially upon his most sacred see, [and] upon those pontiffs succeeding him he also, by a divine command, conferred the power of authority such as it was granted to him by the Lord God, our Savior..." [Mansi 12:1057].

We see in light of the above, the principality was legislated to Peter's successors in Rome, that their office is perenial, and that this is by divine authority.

Hadrian also referred to the Church as "...Catholic and apostolic and blameless Roman Church." [Mansi 12:1057-72].

The letter continues:

St. Peter, "whose see, exercising the primacy throughout the world, has been constitued head of all the Churches of God...."[Mansi 12:1073-74].

The pope continued:

"...for throughout the world, the principality and authority were given by the very Redeemer of the world himself to Blessed Peter the apostle, and through the same apostle, whose place we hold, however unworthy, the holy, Catholic and apostolic Roman church has held up to now, and FOREVER HOLDS, the principality and the authority of power..." (emphasis mine). [Mansi 12:1074].

Cosmas the deacon, notary to the council, declared that the pope had written another letter."Let it be read," the council replied. [Mansi 12:1056-7].

Condemning iconoclaism as being contrary to the Fathers and the Apostolic See, the pope cited Matthew 16:18: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church..." adding:

"This see is preeminent throughout the world, holding the primacy, and is head of all the churches of God. Wherefore, the same Blessed Peter the apostle, by the Lord's command feeding the sheep...EVER HELD AND DOES RETAIN THE PRIMACY,"(emphasis mine). [Mansi 12:1077-84].

THE SYNOD AGREED

The council added: "the entire sacred synod so teaches." The legates said: "Let the holy synod tell us whether or not it accepts the letters of the most holy pope of old Rome." The council said:

"we follow them. receive them and admit them." [Mansi, 12:1084-6].

Several metropolitans spoke in approval of the popes letter. Constatine, bishop of Cyprus, said:

"In every respect I agree with the directive sent to our good rulers by Hadrian, the most holy pope of Old Rome..."[Mansi 12:1087].

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« Reply #43 on: May 10, 2008, 01:12:52 AM »

See "Oriental Orthodox Discussion-Petrine Primacy," here in oc.net.

See also the hymnology of the Orthodox Church for the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29th, wherein, both St. Peter and St. Paul are referred to as "Corifie," (sp) "Chief" Apostles.  They were, the first among them; they were not "ruler[ s] of the Apostles;" nor was the Faith founded on them (him).  The Faith was founded on the faith Peter demonstrated, as recorded in scripture, "You are Christ the Son of the Living God."

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« Reply #44 on: May 10, 2008, 01:29:05 AM »


Cleopas,

Peter's primacy and authority over the apostles is found as early as the Scriptures itself. Just two examples.

In John 21:15 Jesus tells Peter to nurture [bosko] his sheep [Church].

In John 21:16 Jesus tells Peter to RULE [poimaino] his sheep [Church].

All the Church Fathers were unanimous that Peter held the primacy. Here are just a few examples:

Saint Cyril of Alexandria [412-444]:

"He allows him no longer to be called Simon, already exercising authority and power over him, as being of His house, but changes [his name] to Peter [rock], for upon him was He about to found His Church." [PG 73:220].

"He promises to found the Church, attributing unshakeability to it, as He is the Lord of powers, and over it He places Peter as shepherd." [PG 72:424].

Many Latin authors referred to Peter as "prince of the apostles." The list includes:

The priest Faustinus, c.380. [De Trinitate, 5. PL 13:71].

Salvian, a fifth century priest of Gaul. [De. Dei Gubern. VI, 1. PL 53:108].

Sedulius, the fifth century poet and priest. [In Gal.II].

Pope Pelagius I [556-560]. [Ep. 6, PL Suppl. 4:1286].

The Second Council of Braga, in 572. [PL 84:570].

Pope Pelagius II [579-590], in his third letter to the bishops of Istria. [ACO IV, Vol. 2,119].

Saint Gregory the Great [590-604], in his epistles, regularly gives the title to Peter. So does Pope Leo II [681-682].

Saint Bede, in Vita Beatorum Abbatum, ch. 1, 2, 22. [Ed. J. Stevenson, Venerabilis Bedae Opera Historica Minora, London 1841:139-41, 161].

The Life of St. Guthlac [c. 720, in A.S. 10:40].

The Life of Saint Paldo the Abbot. [A.S. 52:565].

Blessed John Cassian called Peter prince of the apostles. [De. Incarnatione III, 12].

St. Avitus, bishop of Vienne [c. 500] called Peter "the head of the apostles, that is, the prince of the princes." [Fragment I. PL 59:295].

PETER IS CORYPHAEUS OR LEADER OF THE APOSTOLIC CHOIR

This is stated by:

Eusebius of Caesarea. [In Ps. 68. PG 23:737].

Saint Athanasius. [In Ps. 15].

Saint Ephiphanius, bishop of Salamis in Cyprus. [Tom. II in Anchor. 9].

Saint Macarius of Egypt. [De. Patientia, 3. PG. 34:868].

Saint John Chrysostomos [as already cited].

Saint Gregory of Nyssa. [Alt. Orat. de S. Steph].

The Acts of St. Nicetas. [A.S. 44:40].

Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus in Palestine [c. 450]. [In Ps. 2].

Barsanuphius and John. [Questions and Answers. PO 31:515].

John Moschus. [Pratum Spirittuale, 148. PG 87: 3013].

Saint Sophrnius of Jerusalem, in his synodical letter. [PG 87: 3189].

Saint Nicephorus, patriarch of Constantinople [c. 815]. [Mansi 14:45].

Saint Nilus [c. 425] calls Peter president or protostates of the apostles. and shepherd of the entire world. [Epp. Bk. II: 21, 75. PG. 79:208].

Saint Theodore the Studite called Peter the "coryphaeus [chief] of the apostles." [Cat. 15. Mai. Nova Patrum Bibliotheca 9:37].

Saint Cyrial of Jerusalem [c. 375]:

"Peter, the leader [protostates] of the apostles and chief herald of the Church, not using language of his own devising or persuaded by reasoning of man, but with his understanding enlightened by the Fathers, says to Him," Thou art the Christ..." [Cat. X, 3 PG 33:693].

Ambrosiaster:

"It was fitting that [Paul] should desire to see Peter, because he was first among the apostles, to whom the Savior had delegated the care of the churches." [In Gal. 1, 18. PL 17:344].

Saint Optatus, bishop of Milevis [c. 370]:

"Blessed Peter...merited both to be preferred before all the apostles, and he alone received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to be communicated to the rest." [De Schism. Don. VII, 3. PL 11:1087].

Origen

He describes Peter as "head" of the apostles.[ Hom. 17 in Lk.], as having "more honor than the rest." [Tom. XXII in Jn., 5] and as "greater than the other disciples." [Tom. XIII in Mt., 14].

Saint Ambrose

"...Peter is set over the Church....and He [the Lord] later chose him as pastor of the Lord's flock...." [In Ps. 43. PL 14:1163].

 

The Greek Church celebrated the feast of the chains of St. Peter on January 16. The text venerates Peter as the coryphaeus, "rock of the faith," "key bearer," protothrone," and "law-giver, shepherd and teacher of Christ's flock." [Menaion, Athens 1979, January, 138-45].

Note: According to Liddell and Scott, a standard Greek lexicon, the term "coryphaeus" or "koruphaios," comes from Attic drama and "refers to the leader of the chorus, and means "foremost man, leader, chief." [Oxford University Press 1933, s.v.].

Texts for the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, on June 29, refer to Peter as the leader [prostates] of the Church, the "great president," to whom Christ "entrusted the helm of the Church." [Pitra, LXXIII, LXXVI].

Texts for the commoration of all the apostles, on June 30, call Peter the "foundation of all the faithful," exarch of the apostles," and "divine and sacred head." [Ed. J.B. Pitra, op. cit., XIII, XVII].

A tenth century Byzantine Menology, published by B. Latysev, is strikingly reminiscent of the thinking of St. John Chrysostomos. On June 29, feast of saints Peter and Paul, it has the following notice about St. Peter, alluding to his fall and restoration:

"...and see, he learns to be patient to sinners, and he received simply the diocese of the whole world..."[Menologii Anonymi Byzantini Saeculi X Quae Supersunt, Petropolis, 1911-1912. Fasc. II, 115].

An Armenian Synaxarion attributed to to Catholicos Gregory VII of Anawarza [c.1300] commemorates, on 9 Aratz [January 6], a feast in honor of the chains of Peter, "head" of the apostles and rock of the Church." The Gregorian Synaxiarian calls Peter "head of the apostles."[PO 19:46, 734].

An Egyptian source from the early seventh century remarks that God made a promise, "saying to the chosen one and head of the apostles," Peter: "Thou art a rock, and upon it I shall build my church." [Chronicle of Michael the Syrian, Bk X, 26. Ed. J. Chabot, 2:284].

The Coptic Synaxarian calls Peter "head of the apostles." [PO. 16:313].

A notice for the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul on 5 Abib, or June 29, reads:

"...when [the Lord] chose Peter, He made him first of the disciples..........Then the Lord gave him the best part, established him as cornerstone of the Church....." [PO 17:622-3].

The Coptic Synaxarian commemorates Peter's confession on 7 Mesore, or July 31 and says:

"....Peter became the head of the disciples, and lieutenant [sic] at Rome, for the authority over all the heads of the world...." [PO 17:710].

The Ethiopian Synaxarian commorates St. Peter on 7 Nahase [August 13] and refers to him as "head of the apostles.....He [Peter] is established over all the princes of the world, the patriarchs, metropolitans, bishops, priests, deacons, and the entire priestly clerical order..." [PO 9:291-2].

PETER AND PAUL

In the tradition of the Church, Saints Peter and Paul enjoy a certain distinction within the apostolic choir: they are leaders or "chiefest" of the apostles. Several fathers use this language; for example Venantius Fortunatus, the Latin hymnographer, proclaimed:

"[Paul] was more learned in his admonitions; [Peter] was higher in rank......the one opens the way to heaven by his teachings, the other by the key." [Miscellanea III, 7. PL 88:126].

Peter was prince by virtue of the key; Paul was also first by his teaching. [Miscellanea IX, 2. PL 88:299].

There are also many testimonies to Saint Peter's primacy in the Syriac liturgies, but that will have to wait for another day. He is also given primacy in west Syrian liturgies.

 Saint (Pope) Leo the Great, the "pillar of Orthodoxy:"

"The right of using this authority passed on to the other apostles, but what is intimated to all is, not without reason, commended to one. For this [authority] is singularly entrusted to Peter, because the form of Peter is set before all the rulers of the Church. The priviledge of Peter remains, therefore, wherever judgement is passed through his equity, nor is there excessive severity or remission where nothing shall be bound, nothing loosed, what Blessed Peter shall have either bound or loosed." [Sermon 83: PL 54:430].

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