Due to the ongoing debate on the Fourth Council, I by chance was reaquainted with a text I thought appropriate here. It is from the "Life of Shenoute" by his disciple St. Besa. St. Shenoute's writings were the examplar of Coptic literature, but his chief claim to fame was cracking his staff over Nestorius' head at the Council of Ephesus. I one episode, "One day," Besa says, "our father Shenoute and our Lord Jesus were sitting down talking together" (a very common occurance according to the Vita) and the Bishop of Shmin came wishing to meet the abbot. When Shenoute sent word that he was too busy to come to the bishop, the bishop got angry and threatened to excommunicate him for disobedience:
The servant went to our father [Shenouti] and said to him what the bishop had told him. But my father smiled graciously with laughter and said: "See what this man of flesh and blood has said! Behold, here sitting with me is he who created heaven and earth! I will not go while I am with him." But the Savior said to my father: "O Shenoute, arise and go out to the bishop, lest he excommunicate you. Otherwise, I cannot let you enter [heaven] because of the covenant I made with Peter, saying 'What you will bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you will loose on earth will be loosed in heaven' [Matthew 16:19]. When my father heard these words of the Savior, he arose, went out to the bishop and greeted him.
Besa, Life of Shenoute 70-72 (trans. Bell). On the context of this story see Behlmer 1998, esp. pp. 353-354. Gaddis, There is No Crime for those who have Christ, p. 296http://books.google.com/books?id=JGEibDA8el4C
Now this dates not only before the schism of East-West, and the Schism of Chalcedon, but nearly the Schism of Ephesus. Now Shmin is just a town in southern Egypt, and the bishop there just a suffragan of Alexandria. So it would seem to be odd if the Vatican's interpretation of Matthew 16:19 were the ancient one why this would be applied to a bishop far from Rome, in a land where St. Peter never founded any Church. But it makes perfect sense from the Orthodox interpretation of Matthew 16:19, and indeed, according to "the Catholic Encyclopedia," the overwhelming consensus of the Fathers.