Author Topic: On Mt XVI,18.  (Read 1971 times)

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Offline optxogokcoc

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On Mt XVI,18.
« on: October 01, 2004, 10:18:20 AM »
Transcription from my discussion with RC on another forum.

There are couple of aspects of Petrine/Papal Supremacy that has to be addressed in order to fully explain and understand the issues of wrong egsegesis of passage that follows by the latin theologians

13   When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14   And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15   He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16   And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17   And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18   And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.19   And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
20   Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
Mt XVII,13-20.

I would like to start by saying that doctrine of Papal supremacy of power never was, is not, and never will be, accepted by the east, that is to say that primacy of honour is.

Latin church needs this passage in Matthew XVI explained Latin way because it is a dogmatic constitution (and a very important one) and if proven wrong would mean that there could be other dogmatic constitutions that might be open to "renegotiations" and this is by the very definition of dogmatic constitution impossible.

We are all aware of the latin way of explaining this verse. It could be shortly described something as: You are Peter and on you I will build my Church... This is why the change of Simons name to Peter.

The Orthodox Church has a different view and it could mean that Simons proclamation that Jesus is The Christos the Son of the Living God is the rock on which the Holy Church will be built. THIS VERY PROCLAMATION IS THE ROCK, JESUS CHRIST THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD is the ROCK, not Simon Peter. This very proclamation is the essence of the Church, the science of the faith, the Theology of the Holy Martyrs, living and dead, the flag of the Militant Church, the glory of the Heavenly Church. JESUS CHRIST THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD is Christianity, not Peter, not anything else.

Why, then, the change of the name? Due to the fact that Simon WAS THE ONE who said it. Jesus is saying to Simon, to disciples and to all the faithful in all the times, something like 'Yes, Haleluiah, God bless you Simon, you are the man, from now on your name will be Rocky (no pun intended) because you let the God, the Father speak through you, it is not your own oppinion, because you let Him speak through you, and it is not your flash and blood speaking but the Holy Spirit, Good on ya Rocky!'.
Thats why the change of his name.

Our Lord did not make Simon Peter what Latin theology makes him to be. He was the keeper of the faith, the leader of the flock, BUT, ALL THE APOSTLES were empowered with the very same power as Simon Peter (Mt 18,18). Wow, they ALL have the keys or at least the same power as Peter... which means that they had the keys too unless, they used lock picks.

When it came to Protocouncil of Jerusalem, ALL THE APOSTLES AND PRESBYTERS came together to consider the matter (Acts 15,6). Not just Peter. ALL OF THEM!

And Peter, the leader of the flock, first of the equals, the sheperd of his faithful, father of the thousands, stood up and gave his oppinion (Acts 15,7-11). Then Varnavas and Paul talked (Acts 15,12-13). Then James the blessed brother of Our Lord, the First Episkopos of Jerusalem gave his oppinion (Acts 15, 12-21) and MADE A JUDGEMENT (Acts 15,19), James made the judgement, not Peter, James! And then IT PLEASED ALL THE APOSTLES AND PRESBYTERS, WITH THE WHOLE CHURCH (Acts 15,22) to do so and so. At the end of the meeting the council decided to write the canon law of its kind and send the chosen men to give it to the Church in Anthioch, which starts with the words:"The apostles, the presbyters and the brethren to the...".

This is the formulae, which was used always, everywhere and by all, until, some sad man, hundreds of years later came up with Papal supremacy.

Saint Peter was important member of the council, as all the Bishops of Rome will be, I will not go into opposite way and his role must not be minimised as some would do, but, also, his role can not be emphysised as Latin West is doing.

We have seven Oecumenical councils wich used this very formulea, with Pentarchy and thousand years, even more, passed before Pope "became" what Latins hold him to be, The King of the college of Bishops.

We, the Orthodox hold that primacy of Pope (in case of return of bishop of Rome and those in communion with him to Right Faith) was and always will be PRIMACY OF HONOUR. Nothing more, nothing less. When the Church talks about Prerogatives it is ALWAYS Prerogative of Honour. ALWAYS.

Canon VII, First Oecumenical Council of the Catholic Church
Inasmuch as a custom has prevailed, and an ancient tradition, for the Bishop in Aelia to be honored, let him have the sequence of honor, with the Metropolitan having his own dignity preserved.

Canon III, Second Oecumenical Council of the Catholic Church
Let the Bishop of Constantinople, however, have the priorities of honor after the Bishop of Rome, because of its being New Rome. (This particulr Canon, although widely accepted by the East was not accepted by St Leo at this time, this canon was however but was accepted by the Lateran Council in XIII century)

Did Church change her opinion in regard to PETER - ROCK theology since the old days. Answer is NO. Church does not change her theology. The witness is always true and same. Here are some of many statements that show how holy fathers saw this issue.

"Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’; and elsewhere: ‘The rock, moreover, was Christ.’ For, as the Apostle indicates with these words: ‘No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.’ Then, too, after the Savior himself, you may rightly judge the foundations of the Church to be the words of the prophets and apostles, in accordance with the statement of the Apostle: ‘Built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.’ These foundations of the world have been laid bare because the enemies of God, who once darkened the eyes of our mind, lest we gaze upon divine things, have been routed and put to flight—scattered by the arrows sent from God and put to flight by the rebuke of the Lord and by the blast from his nostrils. As a result, having been saved from these enemies and having received the use of our eyes, we have seen the channels of the sea and have looked upon the foundations of the world. This has happened in our lifetime in many parts of the world (EUSEBIUS-Commentary on the Psalms, M.P.G., Vol. 23, Col. 173, 176).

In a passage in this book, I said about the Apostle Peter: ‘On him as on a rock the Church was built’...But I know that very frequently at a later time, I so explained what the Lord said: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,’ that it be understood as built upon Him whom Peter confessed saying: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ and so Peter, called after this rock, represented the person of the Church which is built upon this rock, and has received ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ For, ‘Thou art Peter’ and not ‘Thou art the rock’ was said to him. But ‘the rock was Christ,’ in confessing whom, as also the whole Church confesses, Simon was called Peter. But let the reader decide which of these two opinions is the more probable (The Fathers of the Church (Washington D.C., Catholic University, 1968), Saint Augustine, The Retractations Chapter 20.1).

And I tell you...‘You are Peter, Rocky, and on this rock I shall build my Church, and the gates of the underworld will not conquer her. To you shall I give the keys of the kingdom. Whatever you bind on earth shall also be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall also be loosed in heaven’ (Mt 16:15-19). In Peter, Rocky, we see our attention drawn to the rock. Now the apostle Paul says about the former people, ‘They drank from the spiritual rock that was following them; but the rock was Christ’ (1 Cor 10:4). So this disciple is called Rocky from the rock, like Christian from Christ...Why have I wanted to make this little introduction? In order to suggest to you that in Peter the Church is to be recognized. Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter’s confession. What is Peter’s confession? ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ There’s the rock for you, there’s the foundation, there’s where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer (John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1993), Sermons, Vol. 6, Sermon 229P.1, p. 327).

Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter’s confession. What is Peter’s confession? ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ There’s the rock for you, there’s the foundation, there’s where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer. (AUGUSTINE, Sermon 229).

AMBROSE, St. of Milano:
Upon this rock your house is built. Your rock is your faith, and faith is the foundation of the Church. If you are a rock, you will be in the Church, because the Church is on a rock. If you are in the Church the gates of hell will not prevail against you...He who has conquered the flesh is a foundation of the Church; and if he cannot equal Peter, he can imitate him (AMBROSE, Commentary in Luke VI.98, CSEL 32.4).

They sucked honey out of the firm rock,’ (Deut. xxxii.13): for the flesh of Christ is a rock, which redeemed heaven and the whole world (AMBROSE, Epistle 43.9.)

When the cock crew, the very rock of the Church did away with his guilt (Hymn. Aeterne rerum conditor. p. 76).

JOHN. St. CHRYSOSTOME of Constantinople:
Do you not see that the headship was in the hands of these three (Peter, John, James) especially of Peter and James? This was the chief cause of their condemnation by Herod (Saint Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homily XXVI, p. 169)

For the Son of thunder, the beloved of Christ, the pillar of the Churches throughout the world, who holds the keys of heaven, who drank the cup of Christ, and was baptized with His baptism, who lay upon his Master’s bosom, with much confidence, this man now comes forward to us now (Saint Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 1.1, p. 1)

And this He did to withdraw them (Peter and John) from their unseasonable sympathy for each other; for since they were about to receive the charge of the world, it was necessary that they should no longer be closely associated together (Saint Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 88.1-2, pp. 331-332).

This (James) was bishop, as they say, and therefore he speaks last..There was no arrogance in the Church. After Peter Paul speaks, and none silences him: James waits patiently; not starts up (for the next word). No word speaks John here, no word the other Apostles, but held their peace, for James was invested with the chief rule, and think it no hardship. So clean was their soul from love of glory. Peter indeed spoke more strongly, but James here more mildly: for thus it behooves one in high authority, to leave what is unpleasant for others to say, while he himself appears in the milder part (Saint Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homily 33, pp. 205, 207).

He speaks from this time lowly things, on his way to His passion, that He might show His humanity. For He that hath built His church upon Peter’s confession, and has so fortified it, that ten thousand dangers and deaths are not to prevail over it...(Sant Chrysostom, On Matthew, Homily 82.3, p. 494).

Other foundation no man can lay but that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus (1 Cor. iii.11). It is necessary to build upon, not to lay foundations. For it is impossible for him who wishes to build wisely to lay another foundation. The blessed Peter also laid this foundation, or rather the Lord Himself. For Peter having said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;’ the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build My Church.’ Therefore call not yourselves after men’s names, for Christ is the foundation (St. Theodoret of Cyr, 117Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1,12.).

CYRIL, St. of Alexandria:
It is likely that by these words (Is. 33:16) our Lord Jesus Christ is called a rock, in Whom, as some cave or sheepfold, the Church is conceived as having a safe and unshaken abiding place for its well-being; ‘For thou art Peter,’ the Saviour says, ‘and upon this rock I will build My Church’ (Cyril of AlexandriaCommentary on Isaiah 3.iii, on Isaiah 28:16).

HILARY, St. of Pointiers:This faith is that which is the foundation of the Church; through this faith the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. This is the faith which has the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatsoever this faith shall have loosed or bound on earth shall be loosed or bound in heaven...The very reason why he is blessed is that he confessed the Son of God. This is the Father’s revelation, this the foundation of the Church, this the assurance of her permanence. Hence has she the keys of the kingdom of heaven, hence judgment in heaven and judgment on earth....Thus our one immovable foundation, our one blissful rock of faith, is the confession from Peter’s mouth, Thou art the Son of the living God (Hilaryof Poitiers,On The Trinity, Book VI.36,37; Book II.23; Book VI.20.).

The one foundation which the apostolic architect laid is our Lord Jesus Christ. Upon this stable and firm foundation, which has itself been laid on solid ground, the Church of Christ is built...For the Church was founded upon a rock...upon this rock the Lord established his Church; and the apostle Peter received his name FROM this rock (Mt. 16.18) (Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 7.25,).


Epiphanius was born in Palestine and was bishop of Salamis on Cyprus. He was an ardent defender of Nicene orthodoxy. He gives an interpretation of the rock of Matthew 16 that is consistent with the overall Eastern exegesis:

He confessed that ‘Christ’ is ‘the Son of the living God,’ and was told, ‘On this rock of sure faith will I build my church’—for he plainly confessed that Christ is true Son (The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis Books II and III, Haer. 59.7, 6-8,3, pp. 108-109).

Basil was a fifth century Eastern bishop of Seleucia in Isauria. He took part in the Council of Chalcedon in 451:

Now Christ called this confession a rock, and he named the one who confessed it ‘Peter,’ perceiving the appellation which was suitable to the author of this confession. For this is the solemn rock of religion, this the basis of salvation, this the wall of faith and the foundation of truth: ‘For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.’ To whom be glory and power forever (Oratio XXV.4, M.P.G., Vol. 85, Col. 296-297).

PAUL OF EMESA (Died—ca. A.D. 444)
Paul was consecrated bishop of Emesa just after 410 A.D. He took part in the Council of Ephesus:

Whom do you say that I am?’ Instantly, the Coryphaeus of the apostles, the mouth of the disciples, Peter, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God...Upon this faith the Church of God has been founded. With this expectation, upon this rock the Lord God placed the foundations of the Church (Homily of the Nativity).

This is that firm and immovable faith upon which, as upon the rock whose surname you bear, the Church is founded. Against this the gates of hell, the mouths of heretics, the machines of demons—for they will attack—will not prevail. They will take up arms but they will not conquer (Homily on the Transfiguration, M.P.G., Vol. 96, Col. 554-555).

This rock was Christ, the incarnate Word of God, the Lord, for Paul clearly teaches us: ‘The rock was Christ’ (1 Cor. 10:4) (Homily on the Transfiguration, M.P.G., Vol. 96, Col. 548).

Lets note first that the supremacy of honour is not, ever was and ever will be disputed and always was deemed to be in Rome.

The point is that, this supremacy WAS DEDICATED FROM political reasons. Rome was the capital of the empire. It has nothing to do with imagined "Petrine Jurisdictional Supremacy". The Oecumenical councils state that organisational characteristic of the Pentarchy (Divine inspired Metropolitan order) is political, going from most important city thus giving importance of the Episkopos of the city, and is not Jurisdictional, unless there is a need to go and solve issues.

Canon XXVII, Fourth Oecumenical Council of the Catholic Church
Everywhere following the decrees of the Holy Fathers, and aware of the recently recognized Canon of the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops who convened during the reign of Theodosius the Great of pious memory, who became emperor in the imperial city of Constantinople otherwise known as New Rome; we too decree and vote the same things in regard to the privileges and priorities of the most holy Church of that same Constantinople and New Rome. And this is in keeping with the fact that the Fathers naturally enough granted the priorities to the throne of Old Rome on account of her being the imperial capital. And motivated by the same object and aim the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops have accorded the like priorities to the most holy throne of New Rome, with good reason deeming that the city which is the seat of an empire, and of a senate, and is equal to old imperial Rome in respect of other privileges and priorities, should be magnified also as she is in respect of ecclesiastical affairs, as coming next after her, or as being second to her...

So, to conclude.

St. Peter had the power to bind and loose-so will all other Apostles.
When Apostles argue about their supremacy, Our Lord DID NOT name anyone a leader but encontrare, He shows them what real primacy is.
St. Peter was not a leader on the Protocouncil.
St. Paul does not see him as a jurisdictional leader anywhere in the epistles.

All the Oecumenical councils see the Prerogatives as Prerogtive of HONOUR (as seen above).

The Councils state that all Bishops have equality.

For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. (The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian, The Judgment of Eighty-Seven Bishops on the Baptism of Heretics, 250 AD)

"He [Augustine, referring back to Cyprian and the Seventh Council of Carthage] allows me, therefore, without losing the right of communion, not only to continue inquiring into the truth, but even to hold opinions differing from his own. "For no one of us," he says, "setteth himself up as a bishop of bishops, or by tyrannical terror forces his colleagues to a necessity of obeying." What could be more kind? what more humble? Surely there is here no authority restraining us from inquiry into what is truth. "Inasmuch as every bishop," he says, "in the free use of his liberty and power, has the right of forming his own judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he can himself judge another," (Augustine-Anti-Donatist Writings, Book III, Chapter 3, 5)

I do apologise for the length of this post, by I do consider this question to be very important.



Offline Shiloah

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Re:On Mt XVI,18.
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2004, 09:07:40 AM »
This is that firm and immovable faith upon which, as upon the rock whose surname you bear, the Church is founded.  

Thank you for this wonderful compilation to the topic of Matthew 14:18.

It needs to be pointed out and brought back to remembrance once in a while.

If we are striving for unity, we need to find a common denominator, and to stand on the right Rock together is certainly a good platform.  ;D

I think you did a great job, Orthodoxos. There is nothing wrong with a man standing up for what he thinks is right. As long as we don't kill each other over the differences.

The world needs the Orthodox faith.  People want what we have. The Campuses are full of young people who are very hungry for the true faith. We need to prepare ourselves and know the basics, know the Scriptures and be able to discern right from wrong. Yet the best and most appealing  and convincing thing will always be our attitude. Lord have mercy on me a sinner.

"God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" 2.Cor.4:6

"One thing is education: that we learn how to love God. "

Offline optxogokcoc

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Re:On Mt XVI,18.
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2004, 12:44:35 PM »
Shiloah, much appreciated. I mean it.

Maran Atha.

Offline Jakub

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Re:On Mt XVI,18.
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2004, 05:00:18 PM »

I being a RC of a certain persuasion, do appreciate the quotes of St. Augustine & St. Jerome and do agree with them.

This is the major point that if resolved the rest of the issues will be resolved much quicker, hopefully.

A good post & thank you.

An old timer is a man who's had a lot of interesting experiences -- some of them true.

Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Offline MatthewPanchisin

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Re:On Mt XVI,18.
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2004, 07:46:14 PM »
Dear Orthodoxos,

So many times I have had discussions regarding the Orthodox position on the Papacy, it gets old quick. Can I use your above post as a template for future replies?  Of couse I will quote you as the author.

Well written.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

Offline optxogokcoc

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Re:On Mt XVI,18.
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2004, 08:11:03 AM »
Jakub, I do agree. The problem of "placement" of the Bishop of Rome is THE PROBLEM. From this one, all the others spawn.

Matthew, what you take for free give for free. Use, no need for mentioning anybody.

God bless you all.