Is the modern role of the Papacy a legitimate development from the early church?
This is the Opening Statement in a debate over the papacy I began with someone from Orthodoxy - but after a problem with plagiarism (which could have been easily fixed) the antagonist (the person taking the negative, I took the positive) has not returned to the debate. So I repeat my opening statement here and now... If there is another adherent to Orthodoxy who would like to pick up the dropped baton, let me know and we can formalize the debate format and continue.
After the conclusion of my Opening Statement I will also be including a listing of Eastern Catholic defenders of the Papacy with quotes from them. The quotes are taken from Jesus, Peter and the Keys, a book by Scott Butler and are also quoted on the website cited at the end of the quotes (a site by Antoine Valentim). The quotes are not intended to be an argument in and of themselves, but to shore up the fact that the Papacy not only was and IS a legitimate development, but that it was also recognized in the East, and not merely in remote pockets - but WIDELY recognized throughout the different Apostolic Sees of the East. Each quote cites its source. I am also sure that my opponent, Chris Iduo (who wishes to keep his real last name anonymous) can find some of these quotes to be lacking if looked at separately, but taken as a whole - they represent an overwhelming support of the Papacy in the Eastern Early Church.
Opening Statement - Scott Windsor
Let us begin with defining what the "modern role of the Papacy" is so that we're discussing/debating the same thing. For the purpose of this debate the role we will focus on is the Corypheus - or "Head" of the Apostles, as many of the quotes which follow will refer to Peter and Peter's successor, the Bishop of Rome. Let us also agree that as of this writing/debate, that Pope Benedict XVI is the current and valid successor to St. Peter's See. I must assume this agreement, or else the debate ends right here and now as if my opponent will not agree that Pope Benedict XVI is rightfully sitting in St. Peter's See as the current and valid successor of St. Peter - then the very premise of this debate cannot be discussed. Since Chris is an Orthodox Christian (a neophyte convert to Orthodoxy from Evangelicalism and before that Anglicanism) and typically the Orthodox recognize the Pope in Rome as the Patriarch of the Latin Church, I believe I am safe in assuming that he will recognize Pope Benedict as the current successor of St. Peter and the Patriarch of the Latin Church, and apostolic succession in general is something we both would agree upon.
n. 1. (Gr. Antiq.) The conductor, chief, or leader of the dramatic chorus; hence, the chief or leader of a party or interest.
St. Peter was selected by Jesus Himself to be the Corypheus of the Church when He singled out Simon, Son of Jonah (Simon Bar Jonah), to be the keeper of the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. In selecting Simon Jesus not only promises these Keys to him, but renames him from Simon to Peter, a name which means "rock" and then within the same context Jesus says, "and upon this rock I will build My Church." Now of course, anyone who is familiar at all with Catholic apologetics knows the verses I am referring to here. It comes from Matthew 16:18-19 and some may even argue that this passage is "over used" among Catholic apologists, like myself. However, the passage - these two verses - say so much in so little space, it is not something which should be summarily dismissed merely because it is used so often. In fact, it is used so often because of the foundational truth expressed by Jesus Himself in these two verses.
Often challengers and/or questioners of the Catholic position will say that Jesus was referring to Simon's faith, and not to Simon himself - but when we look at this objectively, we must see that the context is Simon testifying that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. It is because God the Father has revealed this to Simon that Jesus promises to Simon to receive the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and He renames Simon to Cephas or "Rock" or as we get it from the Greek, "Peter." Jesus further states that Peter has the authority to bind or loose "whatsoever" he chooses AND whatsoever he binds on Earth is also bound in Heaven! In other words, Peter, and Peter alone at this point, was given infallible authority to bind or loose whatsoever he chooses. It has to be infallible authority for it would be unthinkable for a Christian to believe that God would permit error to be bound in Heaven. No other Apostle, alone, was given this authority so in doing this Jesus has made Peter the Head or Corypheus of the Apostles. Yes, later on in Matthew 18:18 Jesus gives a similar authority to the rest of the Apostles, as a group, and it is most notable that no mention of "keys" is made in chapter 18.
Keys Symbolize Authority
Keys are also commonly referred to as a symbol of authority throughout history - not just Christian/Catholic history. As you can see in The Complete Dictionary of Symbols, By Jack Tresidder, keys are symbolic of "authority, power of choice, entry, freedom of action, etc." Keys as symbolic of authority has roots in Roman (not Roman Catholic) tradition where "Janus, the guardian of doors and gates, who was believed to control the passage of day to night and winter to summer" held keys in his left hand, and the "ankh" in Egyptian tradition symbolized the "passage into the afterlife" (and the afterlife for Christian thought is Heaven). The point here, I reiterate, is the use of keys as a symbol of authority is not a Catholic innovation.
The Good Shepherd Hands On His Role to Peter
In John 21:15-17 Jesus, the Good Shepherd, hands off His Authority as Shepherd to St. Peter, and does so in three-fold fashion - affirming three times over that Peter is now the "Shepherd" in charge of His Sheep. This is significant for one of the last things Jesus does before He ascends into Heaven is leave someone in charge in His stead. That is why we have the title "Vicar of Christ" (a vicar is an agent or a representative of another) for St. Peter, and those who sit in his office or seat, have that responsibility of vicar. Jesus didn't leave His Church rudderless, with each bishop doing his own autonomous thing - no, He selected one to lead and as we see in Acts 1:21, the apostolic office of bishop or the bishopric, has, by design, successors to that office.
The modern role of the Papacy has the successor of St. Peter holding the Keys to the Kingdom and is the head or corypheus of the rest of the Apostles. St. Peter's authority is an infallible authority and he was given this authority so that he could lead. We are shown in John 21:15-17 in a three-fold example of Jesus handing on this authority to St. Peter, and thus - the current successor, and all who have preceded him in that bishopric, have this authority and responsibility to Jesus and His People - the Church. Since we're both in agreement on apostolic succession, it is only natural that the current successor to St. Peter's See would have the same rights and authority as St. Peter himself was promised and given by Jesus Christ. Likewise, Bartholomew is the current successor of the Apostle, St. Andrew (Bartholomew is the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox). Whereas St. Andrew was among the college of the Apostles when, as a group, Jesus gave to them the authority to bind or loose whatsoever they chose (which is where we get the infallible authority of an ecumenical council of the Church, and again, my opponent and I agree on this - we just don't agree on the number of ecumenical councils), Jesus gave this authority to St. Peter himself when Jesus spoke to him directly in Matthew 16:18-19.
So we have the sign of keys, a symbol of authority which predates the Christian era, and the keys were promised to St. Peter and to him alone. The keys are never mentioned in regard to the rest of the Apostles. We have St. Peter, alone being given the authority to bind and loose which later is given to all the Apostles, but to them as a group, not to them as individuals, as St. Peter was given. We have Jesus handing on His role of Shepherd to St. Peter, and this three-fold confirmation of this authority is bestowed upon Peter, and Peter alone.
And now the quotes from our Eastern Catholic Fathers:
I reiterate, these quotes are to be taken as a whole. I have no intention of attempting to defend each of them individually, but taken as a whole, we can see how the Eastern Fathers of the Church recognized the position of the Bishop of Rome in a similar, if not exactly the same as we today recognize the modern role of the Pope.
St. Peter, Bishop of Alexandria (306-311 A.D.):
Head of the catechetical school in Alexandria, he became bishop around A.D. 300, reigning for about eleven years, and dying a martyr's death.
Peter, set above the Apostles. (Peter of Alexandria, Canon. ix, Galland, iv. p. 98)
St. Anthony of Egypt (330 A.D.):
Peter, the Prince of the Apostles (Anthony, Epist. xvii. Galland, iv p. 687).
St. Athanasius (362 A.D.):
Rome is called the Apostolic throne. (Athanasius, Hist. Arian, ad Monach. n. 35).
The Chief, Peter. (Athan, In Ps. xv. 8, tom. iii. p. 106, Migne)
St. Macarius of Egypt (371 A.D.):
The Chief, Peter. (Macarius, De Patientia, n. 3, p. 180)
Moses was succeeded by Peter, who had committed to his hands the new Church of Christ, and the true priesthood. (Macarius, Hom. xxvi. n. 23, p. 101)
St. Cyril of Alexandria (c. 424):
He suffers him no longer to be called Simon, exercising authority and rule over him already having become His own. By a title suitable to the thing, He changed his name into Peter, from the word 'petra' (rock); for on him He was afterwards to found His Church. (Cyril, T. iv. Comm. in Joan., p. 131)
He (Christ) promises to found the Church, assigning immovableness to it, as He is the Lord of strength, and over this He sets Peter as shepherd. (Cyril, Comm. on Matt., ad loc.)
Therefore, when the Lord had hinted at the disciple's denial in the words that He used, 'I have prayed for thee that thy faith not fail,' He at once introduced a word of consolation, and said (to Peter): 'And do thou, when once thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.' That is, 'Be thou a support and a teacher of those who through faith come to me.' Again, marvel also at the insight of that saying and at the completeness of the Divine gentleness of spirit. For so that He should not reduce the disciple to despair at the thought that after his denial he would have to be debarred from the glorious distinction of being an Apostle, He fills him with good hope, that he will attain the good things promised. ...O loving kindness! The sin was not yet committed, and He already extends His pardon and sets him (Peter) again in his Apostolic office. (Cyril Comm. on Luke's Gospel)
For the wondrous Peter, overcome by uncontrollable fear, denied the Lord three times. Christ heals the error done, and demands in various ways the threefold confession ... For although all the holy disciples fled, ...still Peter's fault in the threefold denial was in addition, special and peculiar to himself. Therefore, by the threefold confession of blessed Peter, the fault of the triple denial was done away. Further, by the Lord's saying, Feed my lambs, we must understand a renewal as it were of the Apostleship already given to him, washing away the intervening disgrace of his fall, and the littleness of human infirmity. (Cyril, Comm. on John's Gospel).
They (the Apostles) strove to learn through one, that preeminent one, Peter. (Cyril, Ib. 1. ix. p. 736).
And even blessed Peter, though set over the holy disciples, says 'Lord, be it far from Thee, this shall be done to Thee. (Cyril, Ibid. 924).
If Peter himself, that prince of the holy disciples, was, upon an occasion, scandalized, so as suddenly to exclaim, 'Lord, be it far from Thee,' what wonder that the tender mind of woman should be carried away? (Cyril, Ibid, p. 1064)
That the Spirit is God we shall also learn hence. That the prince of the Apostles, to whom 'flesh and blood,' as the Savior says, 'did not reveal' the Divine mystery, says to Ananias, 'Why hath satan tempted thy heart, &c.' (Cyril, T. v. Par. 1. Thesaur. p. 340)
Besides all these, let there come forward that leader of the holy disciples, Peter, who, when the Lord, on a certain occasion, asked him, 'Whom do men say that the Son of man is?' instantly cried out, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' (Cyril, T. v. P.2, Hom. viii. De Fest. Pasch. p. 105)
'If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me.' When the Coryphaeus (Peter) had heard these words, he began to change. (Cyril, Ib. Hom.)
This bold man (Julian), besides all this, cavils at Peter, the chosen one of the holy Apostles. (Cyril, T. vi.l. ix. Contr. Julian. p. 325).
Eulogius of Alexandria (581 A.D.):
Born in Syria, he became the abbot of the Mother of God monastery at Antioch. In 579, he was made Patriarch of Alexandria; and became an associate of St. Gregory the Great while visiting Constantinople. Much of their subsequent correspondence is still extant.
Neither to John, nor to any other of the disciples, did our Savior say, 'I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,' but only to Peter. (Eulogius, Lib. ii. Cont. Novatian. ap. Photium, Biblioth, cod. 280)
Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria (450):
A native of Antioch, Theodoret ruled under the Antiochean Patriarch.
The great foundation of the Church was shaken, and confirmed by the Divine grace. And the Lord commanded him to apply that same care to the brethren. 'And thou,' He says, 'converted, confirm thy brethren.' (Theodoret, Tom. iv. Haeret. Fab. lib. v.c. 28)
'For as I,' He says, 'did not despise thee when tossed, so be thou a support to thy brethren in trouble, and the help by which thou was saved do thou thyself impart to others, and exhort them not while they are tottering, but raise them up in their peril. For this reason I suffer thee also to slip, but do not permit thee to fall, thus through thee gaining steadfastness for those who are tossed.' So this great pillar supported the tossing and sinking world, and permitted it not to fall entirely and gave it back stability, having been ordered to feed God's sheep. (Theodoret, Oratio de Caritate in J. P. Minge, ed., Partrologiae Curses Completus: Series Graeca).
I therefore beseech your holiness to persuade the most holy and blessed bishop (Pope Leo) to use his Apostolic power, and to order me to hasten to your Council. For that most holy throne (Rome) has the sovereignty over the churches throughout the universe on many grounds. (Theodoret, Tom. iv. Epist. cxvi. Renato, p. 1197).
If Paul, the herald of the truth, the trumpet of the Holy Spirit, hastened to the great Peter, to convey from him the solution to those in Antioch, who were at issue about living under the law, how much more do we, poor and humble, run to the Apostolic Throne (Rome) to receive from you (Pope Leo) healing for wounds of the Churches. For it pertains to you to have primacy in all things; for your throne is adorned with many prerogatives. (Theodoret Ibid, Epistle Leoni)
St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 387):
Peter himself the Head or Crown of the Apostles, the First in the Church, the Friend of Christ, who received a revelation, not from man, but from the Father, as the Lord bears witness to him, saying, 'Blessed art thou, &c.' This very Peter and when I name Peter I name that unbroken Rock, that firm Foundation, the Great Apostle, First of the disciples, the First called, and the First who obeyed he was guilty ...even denying the Lord." (Chrysostom, T. ii. Hom)
Peter, the Leader of the choir of Apostles, the Mouth of the disciples, the Pillar of the Church, the Buttress of the faith, the Foundation of the confession, the Fisherman of the universe. (Chrysostom, T. iii Hom).
Peter, that Leader of the choir, that Mouth of the rest of the Apostles, that Head of the brotherhood, that one set over the entire universe, that Foundation of the Church. (Chrys. In illud hoc Scitote)
(Peter), the foundation of the Church, the Coryphaeus of the choir of the Apostles, the vehement lover of Christ ...he who ran throughout the whole world, who fished the whole world; this holy Coryphaeus of the blessed choir; the ardent disciple, who was entrusted with the keys of heaven, who received the spiritual revelation. Peter, the mouth of all Apostles, the head of that company, the ruler of the whole world. (De Eleemos, iii. 4; Hom. de decem mille tal. 3)
In those days Peter rose up in the midst of the disciples (Acts 15), both as being ardent, and as intrusted by Christ with the flock ...he first acts with authority in the matter, as having all put into his hands ; for to him Christ said, 'And thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren. (Chrysostom, Hom. iii Act Apost. tom. ix.)
He passed over his fall, and appointed him first of the Apostles; wherefore He said: ' 'Simon, Simon,' etc. (in Ps. cxxix. 2). God allowed him to fall, because He meant to make him ruler over the whole world, that, remembering his own fall, he might forgive those who should slip in the future. And that what I have said is no guess, listen to Christ Himself saying: 'Simon, Simon, etc.' (Chrys, Hom. quod frequenter conveniendum sit 5, cf. Hom 73 in Joan 5).
And why, then, passing by the others, does He converse with Peter on these things? (John 21:15). He was the chosen one of the Apostles, and the mouth of the disciples, and the leader of the choir. On this account, Paul also went up on a time to see him rather than the others (Galatians 1:18). And withal, to show him that he must thenceforward have confidence, as the denial was done away with, He puts into his hands the presidency over the brethren. And He brings not forward the denial, nor reproaches him with what had past, but says, 'If you love me, preside over the brethren, ...and the third time He gives him the same injunction, showing what a price He sets the presidency over His own sheep. And if one should say, 'How then did James receive the throne of Jerusalem?,' this I would answer that He appointed this man (Peter) teacher, not of that throne, but of the whole world. (Chrysostom, In Joan. Hom. 1xxxviii. n. 1, tom. viii)
St. Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople (434):
A disciple of St. John Chrysostom,...
Peter, the coryphaeus of the disciples, and the one set over (or chief of) the Apostles. Art not thou he that didst say, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God'? Thou Bar-Jonas (son of the dove) hast thou seen so many miracles, and art thou still but Simon (a hearer)? He appointed thee the key-bearer of Heaven, and has though not yet layed aside thy fisherman's clothing? (Proclus, Or. viii In Dom. Transfig. t. ix. Galland)
John Cassian, Monk (c. 430):
That great man, the disciple of disciples, that master among masters, who wielding the government of the Roman Church possessed the principle authority in faith and in priesthood. Tell us, therefore, we beg of you, Peter, prince of Apostles, tell us how the Churches must believe in God (Cassian, Contra Nestorium, III, 12, CSEL, vol. 17, p. 276).
St. Nilus of Constantinople (448):
A disciple of St. John Chrysostom, ....
Peter, Head of the choir of Apostles. (Nilus, Lib. ii Epistl.)
Peter, who was foremost in the choir of Apostles and always ruled amongst them. (Nilus, Tract. ad. Magnam.)
Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople (466-516)
Macedonius declared, when desired by the Emperor Anastasius to condemn the Council of Chalcedon, that 'such a step without an Ecumenical Synod presided over by the Pope of Rome is impossible.' (Macedonius, Patr. Graec. 108: 360a (Theophan. Chronogr. pp. 234-346 seq.)
Emperor Justinian (520-533)
Writing to the Pope, ...
Yielding honor to the Apostolic See and to Your Holiness, and honoring your Holiness, as one ought to honor a father, we have hastened to subject all the priests of the whole Eastern district, and to unite them to the See of your Holiness, for we do not allow of any point, however manifest and indisputable it be, which relates to the state of the Churches, not being brought to the cognizance of your Holiness, since you are the Head of all the holy Churches. (Justinian Epist. ad. Pap. Joan. ii. Cod. Justin. lib. I. tit. 1).
Let your Apostleship show that you have worthily succeeded to the Apostle Peter, since the Lord will work through you, as Supreme Pastor, the salvation of all. (Coll. Avell. Ep. 196, July 9th, 520, Justinian to Pope Hormisdas).
St. Maximus the Confessor (c. 650)
A celebrated theologian and a native of Constantinople, ...
The extremities of the earth, and everyone in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the Most Holy Roman Church and her confession and faith, as to a sun of unfailing light awaiting from her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers, according to that which the inspired and holy Councils have stainlessly and piously decreed. For, from the descent of the Incarnate Word amongst us, all the churches in every part of the world have held the greatest Church alone to be their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell will never prevail against her, that she has the keys of the orthodox confession and right faith in Him, that she opens the true and exclusive religion to such men as approach with piety, and she shuts up and locks every heretical mouth which speaks against the Most High. (Maximus, Opuscula theologica et polemica, Migne, Patr. Graec. vol. 90)
How much more in the case of the clergy and Church of the Romans, which from old until now presides over all the churches which are under the sun? Having surely received this canonically, as well as from councils and the apostles, as from the princes of the latter (Peter & Paul), and being numbered in their company, she is subject to no writings or issues in synodical documents, on account of the eminence of her pontificate .....even as in all these things all are equally subject to her (the Church of Rome) according to sacerodotal law. And so when, without fear, but with all holy and becoming confidence, those ministers (the popes) are of the truly firm and immovable rock, that is of the most great and Apostolic Church of Rome. (Maximus, in J.B. Mansi, ed. Amplissima Collectio Conciliorum, vol. 10)
If the Roman See recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected Pyrrhus also anathematizes the See of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself also, if indeed he is in communion with the Roman See and the Catholic Church of God ...Let him hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman See, for if it is satisfied, all will agree in calling him pious and orthodox. For he only speaks in vain who thinks he ought to persuade or entrap persons like myself, and does not satisfy and implore the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is, the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God Himself, and also all the holy synods, according to the holy canons and definitions has received universal and supreme dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world. (Maximus, Letter to Peter, in Mansi x, 692).
John VI, Patriarch of Constantinople (715):
The Pope of Rome, the head of the Christian priesthood, whom in Peter, the Lord commanded to confirm his brethren. (John VI, Epist. ad Constantin. Pap. ad. Combefis, Auctuar. Bibl. P.P. Graec.tom. ii. p. 211, seq.)
St. Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople (758-828):
Without whom (the Romans presiding in the seventh Council) a doctrine brought forward in the Church could not, even though confirmed by canonical decrees and by ecclesiastical usage, ever obtain full approval or currency. For it is they (the Popes of Rome) who have had assigned to them the rule in sacred things, and who have received into their hands the dignity of headship among the Apostles. (Nicephorus, Niceph. Cpl. pro. s. imag. c 25 [Mai N. Bibl. pp. ii. 30]).
St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (759-826):
Writing to Pope Leo III ....
Since to great Peter Christ our Lord gave the office of Chief Shepherd after entrusting him with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, to Peter or his successor must of necessity every novelty in the Catholic Church be referred. [Therefore], save us, oh most divine Head of Heads, Chief Shepherd of the Church of Heaven. (Theodore, Bk. I. Ep. 23)
Writing to Pope Paschal, ...
Hear, O Apostolic Head, divinely-appointed Shepherd of Christ's sheep, key bearer of the Kingdom of Heaven, Rock of the Faith upon whom the Catholic Church is built. For Peter art thou, who adornest and governest the Chair of Peter. Hither, then, from the West, imitator of Christ, arise and repel not for ever (Ps. xliii. 23). To thee spake Christ our Lord: 'And thou being one day converted, shalt strengthen thy brethren.' Behold the hour and the place. Help us, thou that art set by God for this. Stretch forth thy hand so far as thou canst. Thou hast strength with God, through being the first of all. (Letter of St. Theodore and four other Abbots to Pope Paschal, Bk. ii Ep. 12, Patr. Graec. 99, 1152-3)
Writing to Emperor Michael, ...
Order that the declaration from old Rome be received, as was the custom by Tradition of our Fathers from of old and from the beginning. For this, O Emperor, is the highest of the Churches of God, in which first Peter held the Chair, to whom the Lord said: Thou art Peter ...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Theodore, Bk. II. Ep. 86)
I witness now before God and men, they have torn themselves away from the Body of Christ, from the Supreme See (Rome), in which Christ placed the keys of the Faith, against which the gates of hell (I mean the mouth of heretics) have not prevailed, and never will until the Consummation, according to the promise of Him Who cannot lie. Let the blessed and Apostolic Paschal (Pope St. Paschal I) rejoice therefore, for he has fulfilled the work of Peter. (Theodore Bk. II. Ep. 63).
In truth we have seen that a manifest successor of the prince of the Apostles presides over the Roman Church. We truly believe that Christ has not deserted the Church here (Constantinople), for assistance from you has been our one and only aid from of old and from the beginning by the providence of God in the critical times. You are, indeed the untroubled and pure fount of orthodoxy from the beginning, you the calm harbor of the whole Church, far removed from the waves of heresy, you the God-chosen city of refuge. (Letter of St. Theodor & Four Abbots to Pope Paschal).
Let him (Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople) assemble a synod of those with whom he has been at variance, if it is impossible that representatives of the other Patriarchs should be present, a thing which might certainly be if the Emperor should wish the Western Patriarch (the Roman Pope) to be present, to whom is given authority over an ecumenical synod; but let him make peace and union by sending his synodical letters to the prelate of the First See. (Theodore the Studite, Patr. Graec. 99, 1420)
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Patriarch (363):
Our Lord Jesus Christ then became a man, but by the many He was not known. But wishing to teach that which was not known, having assembled the disciples, He asked, 'Whom do men say that the Son of man is?' ...And all being silent (for it was beyond man to learn) Peter, the Foremost of the Apostles, the Chief Herald of the Church, not using the language of his own finding, nor persuaded by human reasoning, but having his mind enlightened by the Father, says to Him, 'Thou art the Christ,' not simply that, but 'the Son of the living God.' (Cyril, Catech. xi. n. 3)
For Peter was there, who carrieth the keys of heaven. (Cyril, Catechetical Lectures A.D. 350).
Peter, the chief and foremost leader of the Apostles, before a little maid thrice denied the Lord, but moved to penitence, he wept bitterly. (Cyril, Catech ii. n. 15)
In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, also the foremost of the Apostles and the key-bearer of the Kingdom of Heaven, healed Aeneas the paralytic in the name of Christ. (Cyril, Catech. xviii. n. 27)
St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (c. 638):
Teaching us all orthodoxy and destroying all heresy and driving it away from the God-protected halls of our holy Catholic Church. And together with these inspired syllables and characters, I accept all his (the pope's) letters and teachings as proceeding from the mouth of Peter the Coryphaeus, and I kiss them and salute them and embrace them with all my soul ... I recognize the latter as definitions of Peter and the former as those of Mark, and besides, all the heaven-taught teachings of all the chosen mystagogues of our Catholic Church. (Sophronius, Mansi, xi. 461)
Transverse quickly all the world from one end to the other until you come to the Apostolic See (Rome), where are the foundations of the orthodox doctrine. Make clearly known to the most holy personages of that throne the questions agitated among us. Cease not to pray and to beg them until their apostolic and Divine wisdom shall have pronounced the victorious judgment and destroyed from the foundation ...the new heresy. (Sophronius,[quoted by Bishop Stephen of Dora to Pope Martin I at the Lateran Council], Mansi, x., 893)
Stephen, Bishop of Dora in Palestine (645):
And for this cause, sometimes we ask for water to our head and to our eyes a fountain of tears, sometimes the wings of a dove, according to holy David, that we might fly away and announce these things to the Chair (the Chair of Peter at Rome) which rules and presides over all, I mean to yours, the head and highest, for the healing of the whole wound. For this it has been accustomed to do from old and from the beginning with power by its canonical or apostolic authority, because the truly great Peter, head of the Apostles, was clearly thought worthy not only to be trusted with the keys of heaven, alone apart from the rest, to open it worthily to believers, or to close it justly to those who disbelieve the Gospel of grace, but because he was also commissioned to feed the sheep of the whole Catholic Church; for 'Peter,' saith He, 'lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep.' And again, because he had in a manner peculiar and special, a faith in the Lord stronger than all and unchangeable, to be converted and to confirm his fellows and spiritual brethren when tossed about, as having been adorned by God Himself incarnate for us with power and sacerdotal authority .....And Sophronius of blessed memory, who was Patriarch of the holy city of Christ our God, and under whom I was bishop, conferring not with flesh and blood, but caring only for the things of Christ with respect to your Holiness, hastened to send my nothingness without delay about this matter alone to this Apostolic see, where are the foundations of holy doctrine.
St. Epiphanius, Archbishop of Salamis (385):
Holy men are therefore called the temple of God, because the Holy Spirit dwells in them; as that Chief of the Apostles testifies, he that was found to be blessed by the Lord, because the Father had revealed unto him. To him then did the Father reveal His true Son; and the same (Peter) furthermore reveals the Holy Spirit. This was befitting in the First of the Apostles, that firm Rock upon which the Church of God is built, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The gates of hell are heretics and heresiarchs. For in every way was the faith confirmed in him who received the keys of heaven; who looses on earth and binds in heaven. For in him are found all subtle questions of faith. He was aided by the Father so as to be (or lay) the Foundation of the security (firmness) of the faith. He (Peter) heard from the same God, 'feed my lambs'; to him He entrusted the flock; he leads the way admirably in the power of his own Master. (Epiphanius, T. ii. in Anchor).
Sergius, Metropolitan of Cyprus (649 A.D.)
He writes to Pope Theodore, ....
O Holy Head, Christ our God hath destined thy Apostolic See to be an immovable foundation and a pillar of the Faith. For thou art, as the Divine Word truly saith, Peter, and on thee as a foundation-stone have the pillars of the Church been fixed. (Sergius Ep. ad Theod. lecta in Sess. ii. Concil. Lat. anno 649)