When quoting the early church fathers one must take ito consideration the context which such quotes were written. For every quote you gave I can give another quote to counterbalance it. Examples from my files -
"Petrine texts were interpreted allegorically. As we have seen, they were referred by Origen and his
successors to 'the Church; or 'the faithful,' and not to Peter himself Commenting on Matt. 16:18, Origen
stated that 'the Rock' was 'every imitator of Christ from whom they drank, who drank from the spiritual
Rock that followed them.' The Church and its constitution were built on such a Rock. The passage referred
to the apostles as a whole and not only to Peter. Elsewhere, Peter is seen as the pattern of all who had a
tight disposition for the Church to be built. The 'keys of the kingdom' were given to all who believed in the
confession Peter made and repented their faults. Origen's lead was followed. In the fifth century, we find
the Alexandrian Monophysite patriarch, Timothy Eluros (454-77), writing to the Church of Constantinople
and referring to Peter's Rock as 'meaning the orthodox faith,' and not Peter's successors." (W.H.C.
Frend, The Rise of Christianity, p. 400)
The church fathers on Peter -
In fact, Cyprian, unwilling to grant even a simple primacy to the Bishop of Rome, considers that "the whole body of bishops is
addressed in Peter." St. Cyprian rightly concludes that the "Rock is the unity of faith, not the person of Peter." (De Catholicae
Ecclesiae Unitate, cap. 4-5)
"I believe that by the Rock you must understand the unshaken faith of the apostles." (St. Hilary, 2nd Book on the Trinity)
Rome, which relies on the "witness" of history to claim jurisdiction over all believers, is shorn of any defense when she is confronted
with these writings. Is it any wonder that patristics (or the study of the Fathers) is given such a minor place in Roman seminary
curricula? Or can one doubt that with such massive evidence against her, the Church of Rome was forced to edit manuscripts, present
forgeries, and doctor the testimony of ancient observers in the faith?
So complete is the witness of the Fathers that Ignaz von Dollinger, universally acclaimed as the patron of Church history in the late
nineteenth century, who left the Roman Church upon the proclamation of the doctrine of infallibility, writes with candor and certain
"Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages in the Gospels (Matthew 16:18, et. al.) NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM applies
these passages to the Roman bishops as Peter's successor. How many Fathers had busied themselves with these texts, yet not one of
them whose commentaries we possess, Origen, Chrysostom, Hilary, Augustine, Theodoric... has dropped the faintest hint that the primacy of Peter is the consequence of the
commission and promise to Peter. Not one of them has explained the Rock or foundation on which Christ will build His Church as the office given to Peter to be transmitted to
his successors, but they understood by it either Christ Himself, or Peter's confession of faith in Christ, often both together. Or else they thought Peter was the foundation equally
with the other apostles, the twelve being together the foundation stones of the Church." (Ignaz von Dollinger, The Papacy and the Council, p. 91)
"This one (Peter) is called a rock in order that on his FAITH (Rock) he may receive the foundations of the Church." - St.
Gregory Nazianzen, 26th Discourse
"The Rock on which Christ will build His Church means the faith of confession." - St. John Chrysostom, 53rd Homily
on St. Matthew
"The Rock (petra) is the blessed and only rock of the faith confessed by the mouth of Peter. It is on this Rock of the
confession of faith that the Church is built." - St. Hilary of Poitiers, 2nd book on the Trinity
Hilary wrote the first lengthy study of the doctrine of the Church in Latin. Proclaimed a "Doctor of the Church" by the Roman See in 1851, he is called
the Athanasius of the Western Church.
In his Letter to Nestorius, St. Cyril says:
"Peter and John were equal in dignity and honor. Christ is the foundation of all -the unshakeable Rock upon which we
are all built as a spiritual edifice."
"Christ is the Rock Who granted to His apostles that they should be called rocks. God has founded His Church on this
Rock, and it is from this Rock that Peter has been named." - St. Jerome, 6th book on Matthew
"Faith is the foundation of the Church, for it was not of the person but the faith of St. Peter of which it was said, 'the
gates of hell shall not prevail'; certainly it is the confession of faith which has vanquished the powers of hell."
"Jesus Christ is the Rock. He did not deny the grace of His name... to Peter because he borrowed from the Rock the
constancy and solidity of his faith- thy Rock is thy faith, and faith is the foundation of the Church. If thou art a Rock,
thou shalt be in the Church, for the Church is built upon the Rock... (the profession of faith in Christ Jesus)." - St.
Ambrose: The Incarnation
(Note: St. Ambrose often spoke disparagingly of the Bishop of Rome as usurping the legitimate rights of other bishops in the Church. Cf. On the
Incarnation, On St. Luke, and On the 69th Psalm.)
St. Augustine, one of the most renowned theologians of the Western Church, claimed by the Roman See as "Father and Doctor", says:
"In one place I said... that the Church had been built on Peter as the Rock... but in fact it was not said to Peter, "Thou art the Rock," but rather "Thou art
Peter." The Rock was Jesus Christ, Peter having confessed Him as all the Church confesses Him, He was then called Peter, "the Rock"... (ed, for his
faith) ...Between these two sentiments let the reader choose the most probable." (St. Augustine, Retractions - 13th Sermon; Contra Julianum 1:13)
St. Augustine also adds: "Peter had not a primacy over the apostles, but among the apostles, and Christ said to them "I will build upon Myself, I will not
be built upon thee." (ibid.)
To Augustine, this made Peter somewhat less than an infallible teacher, without his fellow bishops and all the faithful by his side. It is this statement by
Augustine which Pope Hadrian VI (1522-25) had in mind when he declared:
"A Pope may err alone, not only in his personal, but official capacity."
In still another letter Augustine quotes Cyprian, with whom he is in full agreement:
"For neither did Peter whom the Lord chose... when Paul afterwards disputed with him... claim or assume anything and arrogantly to himself, so as to
say that he held a primacy and should rather be obeyed by newcomers..."
Finally, Augustine concludes, near the end of his earthly life, with these words on the "Rock of the Church":
"Christ said to Peter... I will build thee upon Myself, I will not be built upon thee. Those who wished to be built among men said, 'I am of Paul, I am of
Apollos, I am of Cephas' - however, those who did not wish to be built upon Peter but upon the Rock say, I am of Jesus Christ." (Retractions, 13th
What do the Canons say?
Canon 6 at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325 AD), which states:
"The Bishop of Alexandria shall have complete control and jurisdiction over Egypt, Libya and the Pentapolis. As also the
Roman bishop over those as are subject to Rome. So too, the Bishop of Antioch and the rest of the bishops shall have
complete control and jurisdiction over those faithful who are under them."
The Council of Nicaea (325 AD) looks up to Rome as a prestigious See of apostolic origin ...but ecclesiologically, according to this Council, Alexandria,
Antioch and Rome arc on an equal level, each endowed with the SAME power within its provincial boundaries."
Canon 3 (381 AD) "The bishop of Constantinople shall have the primacy of honor after the bishop of Rome, because his city is New Rome"
Canon 28 (451 AD) "...the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old
Rome, because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges (
isa presbeia ) to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal
privileges with the old imperial Rome..."
Canon 36 (692 AD) "...we decree that the see of Constantinople shall have equal privileges with the see of Old Rome..."
Through the Canons of the Church, we see that Rome held a "Primacy of Honor". Further, it seems this Primacy of Honor moved to the New Rome,
Constantinople, after the collapse of the Western half of the Roman Empire to the barbarians.
"For no one [of us] has set himself up to be bishop [of bishops ], or attempted with tyrannical dread to force his colleagues to
obedience to him, since every bishop has, for the license of liberty and power, his own will, and as he cannot be judged by another,
so neither can he judge another. But we await the judgment of our universal Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ, who one and alone hath
the power, both of advancing us in the governance of his Church, and of judging of our actions [in that position]." - Council of
You may also want to access the following website -http://aggreen.net/peter/st_peter.html