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Proof of the Papacy in the Ante-Nicene Church (A.D. 00-300)


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Part 1: in the Ante-Nicene Church (A.D. 00-300)

Part 2: from Nicaea to Constantinople I (A.D. 300-400)

Part 3: from St. Augustine to the Council of Milevis (A.D. 400-420)

Part 4: from Ephesus to Chalcedon (A.D. 420-500)

Part 5: Rome During the Years of the Rising East (A.D. 501-700)

Part 6: The Schism of the Universal Church (A.D. 700-1053)



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St. Matthew the Apostle

“And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter [the name “Peter” means “rock” in Greek and Aramaic], and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 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. Then charged he the disciples that they should tell no man that he was the Christ.” (Matthew 16:18–20 [A.D. 70]).

St. Luke the Evangelist

“When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

“Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:8–11 [A.D. 80]).

“And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31–32 [A.D. 80]).

St. John the Apostle

“Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas [Rock].” (John 1:42 [A.D. 80]).

“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17 [A.D. 80]).

The Council of Jerusalem

“And when there had been much questioning, Peter [the first Bishop of Rome] rose up, and said unto them, ‘Brethren, ye know that a good while ago God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.’ ” (Acts 15:7 [A.D. 80]).

St. Peter

“The church that is at Babylon [Rome], elected together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son.” (1 Peter 5:13).

St. Paul

“Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus [the second Bishop of Rome], Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.” (2 Timothy 4:21).

“Yea, I beseech thee also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement [the fourth Bishop of Rome] also, and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life.” (Philippians 4:3).

Hermas

“Therefore shall you [Hermas] write two little books and send one to Clement [the Bishop of Rome] and one to Grapte. Clement shall then send it to the cities abroad, because that is his duty” (The

Shepherd 2:4:3 [c. A.D. 80]).

Pope St. Clement I

“Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy” (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80])

“Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry” (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).

“But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours; and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.”

(Spurious) Clement of Rome

“The epistle in which the same Clement, writing to James the Lord's brother, informs him of the death of Peter, and that he had left him his successor in his chair and teaching, and in which also the whole subject of church order is treated, I have not prefixed to this work, both because it is of later date, and because I have already translated and published it. But I do not think it out of place to explain here what in that letter will perhaps seem to some to be inconsistent. For some ask, Since Linus and Cletus were bishops in the city of Rome before this Clement, how could Clement himself, writing to James, say that the chair of teaching was handed over to him by Peter? Now of this we have heard this explanation, that Linus and Cletus were indeed bishops in the city of Rome before Clement, but during the lifetime of Peter: that is, that they undertook the care of the episcopate, and that he fulfilled the office of apostleship; as is found also to have been the case at Caesarea, where, when he himself was present, he yet had Zacchaeus, ordained by himself, as bishop. And in this way both statements will appear to be true, both that these bishops are reckoned before Clement, and yet that Clement received the teacher's seat on the death of Peter.” (Recognitions, Book 1 [A.D. 27-97]).

Inscription at the Church Built Upon the Birthplace of Peter

“Constantine, the servant of Christ…[continues with a petition for intercession by Peter] chief and commander of the heavenly apostles.” (First century).

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Teachings of the Apostles (Syriac)

“They too, again, at their deaths committed and delivered to their disciples after them whatsoever they had received from the apostles; also what James had written from Jerusalem, and Simon from the city of Rome…. that the epistles of an apostle might be received and read in the churches that were in every place, just as the achievements of their Acts, which Luke wrote.” ([c. A.D. 100]).


St. Ignatius of Antioch

“ To the Church which has obtained mercy, through the majesty of the Most High Father, and Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son; the Church which is beloved and enlightened by the will of Him that wills all things which are according to the love of Jesus Christ our God, which also presides in the place of the region of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of obtaining her every desire, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over love, is named from Christ, and from the Father.” (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).

“You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force” (ibid., 3:1).

“Not as Peter and Paul do I command ye.” (Epistle to the Roman Church).

“Apart from the bishop, let no one do anything that pertains to the Church. The only true Eucharist is the one performed by the bishop or by him whom the bishop has appointed. Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be; even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church.” (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans).

St. Dionysius of Corinth

“For from the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in various ways and to send contributions to all the churches in every city. . . . This custom your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved, but is augmenting, by furnishing an abundance of supplies to the saints and by urging with consoling words, as a loving father his children, the brethren who are journeying.” (Letter to Pope Soter, the 12th Pope, in Eusebius, Church History 4:23:9 [A.D. 170]).

“Today we have observed the Lord’s holy day, in which we have read your letter [Pope Soter]. Whenever we do read it [in church], we shall be able to profit thereby, as also we do when we read the earlier letter written to us by Clement.” (ibid., 4:23:11).

"In these ways you also, by such an admonition, have united the planting that came from Peter and Paul, of both the Romans and the Corinthians. For indeed both planted also in our Corinth, and likewise taught us; and likewise they taught together also in Italy, and were martyred at the same time." (Letter to the Romans).

Tatian the Syrian

“Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]).

Hegesippus

“When I had come to Rome, I [visited] Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. And after Anicetus [died], Soter succeeded, and after him Eleutherus. In each succession and in each city there is a continuance of that which is proclaimed by the law, the prophets, and the Lord.” (Memoirs, cited in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4:22 [A.D. 180]).

Abercius of Hierapolis

“I, the freeman of an elect city, made this when living, that I might have in due time a place here for my body. My name is Abercius and I am the disciple of the holy shepherd, who feeds flocks of sheep upon the hills and plains, who has great eyes looking everywhere, for this man taught me faithful scriptures. He sent me to royal Rome to consider and to behold the queen with garment and sandals of gold ; there I beheld a people having a shining seal.” (Epitaph [A.D. 180]).

St. Theophilus of Antioch

“The dinner being ended, He commits to Peter the superintendence over the sheep of the world, not to the others: So when they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, Do love you Me more than these do?’. Thence is taken the custom of threefold confession in baptism. There is a difference perhaps between lambs and sheep. The lambs are those just initiated, the sheep are the perfected.” (Patriarch of Antioch [A.D. 184]).

“Now this was said to Peter, because he was bolder than the rest, and might feel proud because of the things which Christ had promised.”

St. Irenaeus of Lyons

“It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about” (St. Irenaeus, Doctor of the Church, student of Polycarp, c. 130–200, Against All Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189]).

“But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul — that church which has the tradition and the faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition” (ibid., 3:3:2).

“Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time” (ibid., 3:3:4).

“Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth, so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. . . . For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the apostles held constant conversation, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question?” (ibid., 3:4:1).

“It is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church — those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the infallible charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth” (ibid., 4:26:2).

“The true knowledge is the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, and the manifestation of the body of Christ according to the succession of bishops, by which succession the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere” (ibid., 4:33:8).

“The blessed Apostles [Peter and Paul], then, founded and built up the church in Rome. They committed the office of bishop into the hands of Linus. Of this, Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus. After him, in the third place from the Apostles, Clement was allotted the office of bishop. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome dispatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spoke with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolic tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Soter having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.” (Against All Heresies 3: 3[A.D. 189]).

“So Matthew brought out a written gospel among the Jews in their own style, when Peter and Paul were preaching the gospel at Rome and founding the church. But after their demise Mark himself, the disciple and recorder of Peter, has also handed on to us in writing what had been proclaimed by Peter. And Luke, the follower of Paul, set forth in a book the gospel that was proclaimed by him.” (Against All Heresies 3.1.1–2).

“This kerygma [proclamation] and this faith the Church, although scattered over the whole world, observes diligently, as if it occupied but one house, and believes as if it had but one mind, and preaches and teaches as if it had but one mouth. And although there are many dialects in the world, the force of the tradition is one and the same.” (Against All Heresies 1:10).

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St. Clement of Alexandria

“The blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly gasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? ‘Behold, we have left all and have followed you’ [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]” (Who Is the Rich Man That Is Saved? 21:3–5 [A.D. 200]).

“Mark, the follower of Peter, while Peter was publicly preaching the gospel at Rome in the presence of some of Caesar’s knights and uttering many testimonies about Christ, on their asking him to let them have a record of the things that had been said, wrote the Gospel that is called the Gospel of Mark from the things said by Peter, just as Luke is recognized as the pen that wrote the Acts of the Apostles and as the translator of the Letter of Paul to the Hebrews.” (Clement of Alexandria, ca. 150–215; Adumbrationes in Epistolas Canonicas on 1 Peter 5:13).

Old Latin Prologue to Mark

“…Mark, who was also called Stubfinger because he had shorter fingers with regard to the other dimensions of the body. He had been the disciple and recorder of Peter, whom he followed, just as he had heard him relating. Having been asked by the brethren in Rome, he wrote this short Gospel in the regions of Italy. When Peter heard about it, he approved and authorized it to be read to the church with [his own] authority. But after the demise of Peter, taking this Gospel that he had composed he journeyed to Egypt, and being ordained the first bishop of Alexandria he founded the church there, preaching Christ. He was a man of such great learning and austerity of life that he induced all the followers of Christ to imitate his example.” (Old Latin Prologue to Mark [c. A.D. 175]).

Tertullian of Carthage

“Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22 [A.D. 200]).

“If, because the Lord has said to Peter, Upon this rock will I build My Church, to you have I given the keys of the heavenly kingdom; or, Whatsoever you shall have bound or loosed in earth, shall be bound or loosed in the heavens, you therefore presume that the power of binding and loosing has derived to you, that is, to every Church akin to Peter.” (On Modesty).

“[The apostles] founded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification. Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive Church, [founded] by the apostles, from which they all [spring]. In this way, all are primitive, and all are apostolic, while they are all proved to be one in unity.” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 20 [A.D. 200]).

“What it was which Christ revealed to them [the apostles] can, as I must here likewise prescribe, properly be proved in no other way than by those very churches which the apostles founded in person, by declaring the gospel to them directly themselves . . . If then these things are so, it is in the same degree manifest that all doctrine which agrees with the apostolic churches — those molds and original sources of the faith must be reckoned for truth, as undoubtedly containing that which the churches received from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, [and] Christ from God. Whereas all doctrine must be prejudged as false which savors of contrariety to the truth of the churches and apostles of Christ and God. It remains, then, that we demonstrate whether this doctrine of ours, of which we have now given the rule, has its origin in the tradition of the apostles, and whether all other doctrines do not ipso facto proceed from falsehood” (ibid., 21).

“But if there be any [heresies] which are bold enough to plant [their origin] in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [their first] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men — a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter” (ibid., 32).

“But should they even effect the contrivance [of composing a succession list for themselves], they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles [as contained in other churches], will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man; because, as the apostles would never have taught things which were self-contradictory” (ibid.).

“Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic Church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith” (ibid.).

"Let us see what milk the Corinthians drank from Paul; to what rule of faith the Galatians were brought for correction; what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, the Ephesians read by it; what utterance also the Romans give, so very near (to the apostles), to whom Peter and Paul conjointly bequeathed the gospel even sealed with their own blood." (Against Marcion 4:5 [A.D. 209]).

“For though you think that heaven is still shut up, remember that the Lord left the keys of it to Peter here, and through him to the Church, which keys everyone will carry with him if he has been questioned and made a confession [of faith]” (Antidote Against the Scorpion 10 [A.D. 211]).

“I now inquire into your opinion, to see whence you usurp this right for the Church. Do you presume, because the Lord said to Peter, "On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven", or "whatever you shall have bound or loosed on Earth will be bound or loosed in Heaven," that the power of binding and loosing has thereby been handed on to you, that is, to every Church akin to Peter? What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when He conferred this personally upon Peter? On you He says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church; and whatever you/shall have bound or you shall have loosed, not what they shall have bound or they shall have loosed.” (On Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).

“Peter alone (among the Apostles) do I find married, and through mention of his mother-in-law. I presume he was a monogamist; for the Church, built upon him, would for the future appoint to every degree of orders none but monogamists.” (On Monogamy, 8:4).

“It is the system of Christian modesty which is being shaken. . . . I hear that there has even been an edict set forth, and a peremptory one too. The Pontifex [or sovereign] Maximus, that is the bishop of bishops, pronounces : "I remit the crimes of adultery and fornication, to those who have done penance." O edict on which cannot be inscribed "Well done!...

“And to produce the aforesaid effect in a person, you make fine speeches with every possible allurement of pity in the roll of kind shepherd and blessed Pope.

“Now then, apostolic sir, show me samples of your prophetic gifts, and I will recognize their divine origin. Secondly, justify your claim to the power of remitting such nins. . . . Now with reference to your decision, I ask: how do you come to usurp the prerogatives of the Church? If it is I~ccause the Lord said to Peter, "Upon this rock I will build my Church, to thee I have given the keys of the heavenly kingdom" ; or "Whatsoever thou shalt bind or loose on earth, shall be bound or loosed in heaven" ; do you for that reason presume to have diverted the power of binding and loosing to yourself, that is to every sister church of Petrine origin? What a fellow you are, subverting and wholly changing the obvious intention of the Lord, who conferred this on Peter personally! He says, "on thee will I build my Church and I will give the keys to thee", not to the Church.” (On Modesty [De Pudiciti], aimed at either St. Pope Zephyrinus or St. Pope Callistus).

“Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally. Achaia is very near you, (in which) you find Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi; (and there too) you have the Thessalonians. Since you are able to cross to Asia, you get Ephesus. Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! Where Peter endures a passion like his Lord's! Where Paul wins his crown in a death like John's where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile! See what she has learned, what taught, what fellowship has had with even (our) churches in Africa!” (Prescription Against Heretics, Chapter 36).

"In this chair in which he himself had sat, Peter in mighty Rome commanded Linus, the first elected, to sit down. After him, Cletus too accepted the flock of the fold. As his successor, Anacletus was elected by lot. Clement follows him, well-known to apostolic men. After him Evaristus ruled the flock without crime. Alexander, sixth in succession, commends the fold to Sixtus. After his illustrious times were completed, he passed it on to Telesphorus . He was excellent, a faithful martyr . . . " (Poem Against the Marcionites 276–284 [A.D. 267]).

“Where was [the heretic] Marcian, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus, the disciple of Platonism? For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago – in the reign of Antoninus [AD 138-161] for the most part – and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus [AD 175-189], until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled. . . . Afterward . . . Marcian professed repentance and agreed to the conditions granted to him – that he should receive reconciliation if he restored to the Church all the others whom he had been training for perdition; he was prevented, however, by death. (Demurrer Against the Heretics).

“This is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrneans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John, like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter.” (Prescription Against Heretics, ch 32).

“The apostolic churches the voice of the apostles, let the heretics examine their apostolic claims, in each case, indisputable. The Church of Rome doubly apostolic; its early eminence and excellence. Heresy, as perverting the truth, is connected therewith. Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally. Achaia is very near you, (in which) you find Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi; cross to Asia, you get Ephesus. Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord's!” (Prescription Against Heretics, ch 36).

Caius

"For they say that all those of the first age, and the apostles themselves, both received and taught those things which these men now maintain; and that the truth of Gospel preaching was preserved until the times of Victor, who was the thirteenth bishop in Rome from Peterr; but that the truth was falsified from the days of his successor, Zephyrinus...

“And how are they not ashamed to ascribe these things falsely to Victor, when they certainly know that Victor excommunicated Theodotus the cobbler, the prime mover and father of this God-denying apostasy, when he was the first to say that Christ was a mere man? For if Victor was of their way of thinking, as their slander affirms, how could he have cast out Theodotus, the inventor of this heresy?...

“…So Natalius [the Confessor] was persuaded by them to take the title of bishop of this heresy at a salary, and to be paid by them one hundred and fifty denarii a month. When, therefore, he became one of them, he was frequently admonished by the Lord in visions. For our compassionate God and Lord, Jesus Christ, did not wish that a witness to his own sufferings should perish outside the Church.

“But when he paid less regard to the visions, being ensnared by having the first place among them, and by the greed of filthy lucre which destroys many, he was finally scourged by the holy angels, and suffered no light punishment the whole night long; insomuch that he arose at dawn, put on sackcloth, covered himself with ashes, and with all haste prostrated himself in tears before Zephyrinus, the bishop; and, rolling at the feet not only of the clergy but also of the laity, he moved with his tears the compassionate Church of the merciful Christ. And though he used much entreaty and showed the weals of the stripes he had received, scarcely was he taken back into communion.” (The Little Labyrinth [A.D. 211], preserved in Eusebius, Church History 5:28:3).

(Spurious) Clement of Rome

“Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter, the first fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect” (The 2nd Letter of Clement, to James, [A.D. 221]).

“[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]” (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]).

Unknown Writer


“I also hear that an edit is published and is indeed final. Evidently the Supreme Pontiff, because he is the bishop of bishops, declares: I forgive the sins of adultery and fornication to those who have performed the penance.” (Unknown writer, likely referring to an edict by St. Pope Zephyrinus, fragment found in Tertullian’s De pudicita [c. A.D. 220-240])


Didascalia Apostolorum

“They too, again, at their deaths committed and delivered to their disciples after them whatsoever they had received from the apostles; also what James had written from Jerusalem, and Simon from the city of Rome, and John from Ephesus, and Mark from Alexandria the Great, and Andrew from Phrygia, and Luke from Macedonia, and Judas Thomas from India: that the epistles of an apostle might be received and read in the churches that were in every place, just as the achievements of their Acts, which Luke wrote.” (Didascalia Apostolorum, or the Teachings of the Apostles, [c. A.D. 230]).

Pope St. Anterus

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the tradition of the apostles and the apostolic seat, "that our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, may comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good work and word.” ([A.D. 236]).

Origen

“Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]” (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).

“If we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens” (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).

“It is manifest, even if it were not expressed, because the gates of Hell can prevail against neither Peter nor the Church, for if they prevailed against the rock on which the Church was founded, they would prevail against the Church.” [Mt 16:18] [Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) (p. 160). Mediatrix Press. Kindle Edition].

“Are the keys of the kingdom of heaven given by the Lord to Peter only, and will no other of the blessed receive them? But if this promise, I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 16:19 be common to the others, how shall not all the things previously spoken of, and the things which are subjoined as having been addressed to Peter, be common to them? For in this place these words seem to be addressed as to Peter only, Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven…” (Gospel of Matthew Commentary‎).

“And Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail left only one epistle of acknowledged genuineness.” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book 5).

“and if any one who is not a Peter, and does not possess the things here spoken of, imagines as a Peter that he will so bind on earth that the things bound are bound in heaven, and will so loose on earth that the things loosed are loosed in heaven, he is puffed up, not understanding the meaning of the Scriptures, and, being puffed up, has fallen into the ruin of the devil.” (Commentary on Matthew 7:14).

“And indeed if we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter and those who have three times admonished the brethren, a great difference and a preeminence in the things said to Peter, compared with the second class. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of only heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on the earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not

in the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage, with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens. The better, therefore, is the binder, so much

more blessed is he who has so been loosed that in every part of the heavens his loosing has been accomplished.” (Commentary on Matthew, Book 13).

St. Cyprian

"Would the heretics dare to come to the very seat of Peter whence apostolic faith is derived and whither no errors can come?" (Letters 59 [55]).

“Cornelius [the 21st Pope] was made bishop by the judgment of God and of His Christ. This was by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the election of the people who were then present, and by the assembly of ancient priests and good men…. This occurred when the place of Fabian, that is, when the place of Peter and the degree of the priestly chair, was vacant.” (Cyprian Of Carthage, Epistle 53 to Antonius [c. 250 A.D]).

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). … On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

“The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother. If any one could escape who was outside the Ark of Noah, then he also may escape who shall be outside of the Church. The Lord warns, saying, He who is not with me is against me, and he who gathers not with me scatters. [Matthew 12:30] He who breaks the peace and the concord of Christ, does so in opposition to Christ; he who gathers elsewhere than in the Church, scatters the Church of Christ. The Lord says, I and the Father are one; [John 10:30] and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, And these three are one. [1 John 5:7] And does any one believe that this unity which thus comes from the divine strength and coheres in celestial sacraments, can be divided in the Church, and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? He who does not hold this unity does not hold God's law, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation.” (Ibid).

“[T]he Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with [the heretic] Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop [of Rome], Fabian, by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way” (Letters 69[75]:3 [A.D. 253]).

“Cyprian to [Pope] Cornelius, his brother. Greeting. . . . We decided to send and are sending a letter to you from all throughout the province [where I am] so that all our colleagues might give their decided approval and support to you and to your communion, that is, to both the unity and the charity of the Catholic Church.” (Letters 48:1, 3 [A.D. 253]).

“Cyprian to Antonian, his brother. Greeting … You wrote … that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague [Pope] Cornelius, so that, laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church” (ibid., 55[52]:1).

“Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men … when the place of Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside [the Church]. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church” (ibid., 55[52]:8).

“With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source” (ibid., 59:14).

“There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering” (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]).

“There [John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are secretly [i.e., invisibly] in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another” (ibid., 66[69]:8).

“He cannot have God as his Father who does not have the Church as his Mother.”

"After such things as these, moreover, they still dare — a false bishop having been appointed for them by, heretics— to set sail and to bear letters from schismatic and profane persons to the throne of Peter, and to the chief church whence priestly unity takes its source; and not to consider that these were the Romans whose faith was praised in the preaching of the apostle, to whom faithlessness could have no access." (Epistles LIV).

“Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, “My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her.” (Song of Songs 6:9) Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, “There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God?” (Eph 4:4) And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided.” (De catholicae ecclesiae unitate, 4-5).

“Such a one is to be turned away from and avoided, whosoever he may be, that is separated from the Church. Such a one is perverted and sins, and is condemned of his own self. Does he think that he has Christ, who acts in opposition to Christ’s priests, who separates himself from the company of His clergy and people? He bears arms against the Church, he contends against God’s appointment. An enemy of the altar, a rebel against Christ’s sacrifice, for the faith faithless, for religion profane, a disobedient servant, an impious son, a hostile brother, despising the bishops, and forsaking God’s priests, he dares to set up another altar, to make another prayer with unauthorized words, to profane the truth of the Lord’s offering by false sacrifices, and not to know that he who strives against the appointment of God, is punished on account of the daring of his temerity by divine visitation.” (De catholicae ecclesiae unitate, 17).

“Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: ‘I say unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers.” (Epistle 26).

“Has once learned, never departs from Him at all, and that those are the Church who remain in the house of God; but that, on the other hand, they are not the plantation planted by God the Father, whom we see not to be established with the stability of wheat, but blown about like chaff by the breath of the enemy scattering them, of whom John also in his epistle says, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us,”

"It is on one man that He builds the Church; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles after His resurrection, when He says, "As the Father has sent me, so also do I send you; receive the Holy Spirit: if you forgive any man his sins, they shall be forgiven; and if you retain any man's sins, they shall be retained (John 20:21), nevertheless, in order that unity might be clearly shown, He established by His own authority a source for that unity, which takes its beginning from one man alone. Indeed, the other Apostles were that also which Peter was, being endowed with an equal portion of dignity and power; but the origin is grounded in unity, so that it may be made clear that there is but one Church of Christ. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of the Church, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he resists and withstands the Church, can he still be confident that he is in the Church, when the blessed Apostle Paul teaches this very thing and displays the sacred sign of unity when he says: "one body and one spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God?" Most especially must we bishops, who exercise authority in the Church, hold firmly and insist upon this unity, whereby we may demonstrate also that the episcopate itself is one and undivided. Let no one mislead the brotherhood with a lie, let no one corrupt the faith by a faithless perversion of the truth. The episcopate is one, of which each bishop holds his part within the undivided structure. The church also is one, however widely she has spread among the multitude through her fruitful increase. . . . The Church is bathed in the light of the Lord, and pours her rays over the whole world; but it is one light that is spread everywhere, and the unity of her structure is undivided. (The Unity of the Catholic Church, ch 4).

“With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal Church, in which sacerdotal unity has its source; nor did they take thought that these are Romans, whose faith was praised by the preaching Apostle, and among whom it is not possible for perfidy to have entrance.” (Letter of St. Cyprian to St. Pope Cornelius).

“Our Lord, whose commands we ought to fear and observe, says in the Gospel, by way of assigning the episcopal dignity and settling the plan of His Church: ‘I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: what whatever things you bind on Earth will be bound also in Heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth, they will be loosed also in Heaven.’

“From that time the ordination of bishops and the plan of the Church flows on through the changes of times and successions; for the Church is founded upon the bishops (cf. Ephesians 2:20), and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rules. Since this has indeed been established by divine law, I marvel at the rash boldness of certain persons who have desired to write me as if they were writing their letters in the name of the Church, "since the Church is established upon the bishop and upon the clergy and upon all who stand firm in the faith.” (The Lapsed [A.D. 250]).

“They who have not peace themselves now offer peace to others. They who have withdrawn form the Church promise to lead back and to recall the lapsed to the Church. There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one Chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering.” (St. Cyprian to All His People).

“Peter holds primacy so as to show that Christ's Church is one, that his chair is one.; God is one. The Lord is one. The Church is one. The Chair founded by Christ is one.” (Epistle 43:5).

"the Lord says to Peter; ’I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt 16:18-19])…On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e. apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built can he still be confident that he is in the Church? (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

“Both baptism is one and the Holy Spirit is one and the Church, founded by Christ the Lord upon Peter, by a source and principle of unity, is one also.”

“If any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, "I say 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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, "As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;" yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity. Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, "My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her." Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, "There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God?" (Epistle 46).

“But what is the greatness of his error, and what the depth of his blindness, who says that remission of sins can be granted in the synagogues of heretics, and does not abide on the foundation of the one Church which was once based by Christ upon the rock, may be perceived from this, that Christ said to Peter alone, "Whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." And again, in the Gospel, when Christ breathed on the apostles alone, saying, remitted unto them, and whose soever sins ye retain they are retained." Therefore the power of remitting sins was given to the apostles, and to the churches which they, sent by Christ, established, and to the bishops who succeeded to them by vicarious ordination. But the enemies of the one Catholic Church in which we are, and the adversaries of us who have succeeded the apostles, asserting for themselves, in opposition to us, unlawful priesthoods, and setting up profane altars, what else are they than Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, profane with a like wickedness, and about to suffer the same punishments which they did, as well as those who agree with them, just as their partners and abettors perished with a like death to theirs?” (Epistle 74).

“But it is manifest where and by whom remission of sins can be given; to wit, that which is given in baptism. For first of all the Lord gave that power to Peter, upon whom He built the Church, and whence He appointed and showed the source of unity--the power, namely, that whatsoever he loosed on earth should be loosed in heaven. And after the resurrection, also, He speaks to the apostles, saying, "As the Father hath sent me, even so I send you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith, unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." Whence we perceive that only they who are set over the Church and established in the Gospel law, and in the ordinance of the Lord, are allowed to baptize and to give remission of sins; but that without, nothing can either be bound or loosed, where there is none who can either bind or loose anything.” (Epistle 72).

“After such things as these, moreover, they still dare--a false bishop having been appointed for them by, heretics--to set sail and to bear letters from schismatic and profane persons to the throne of Peter, and to the chief church whence priestly unity takes its source; and not to consider that these were the Romans whose faith was praised in the preaching of the apostle, to whom faithlessness could have no access.” (Epistle 54).

"Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men, at a time when no one had been made [bishop] before him-when the place of [Pope] Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church.” (Epistle 51).

“There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, "I say 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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, "As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;" yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity. Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, "My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her." Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, "There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God?" ” (Treatise 1).

“These [Novatianists] now rend the Church, and rebel against the peace and unity of Christ, and attempt to set up a chair for themselves and to assume the primacy, and to claim the right of baptizing and offering.” (Epistle 69).

“However, certain people sometimes disturb the minds and souls of men by their reports, representing things falsely. To be sure, we furnish all who sail hence with a rule [of faith], lest in sailing they meet with temptation, and we well know that we have exhorted them to acknowledge and hold to the womb and root of the Catholic Church. Our province is somewhat scattered, for it includes Numidia and Mauritania, and the fact of a schism in the city might perplex and unsettle the minds of those absent. Accordingly with the aid of those bishops we ascertained the exact truth and got better authority for the proof of your ordination. Then at length, all scruples being removed from the minds of everyone, we decided to send, and are sending, a letter to you from all throughout the province; so that all our colleagues might give their decided pproval and support to you and your communion, that is, both the unity and the charity of the Catholic Church.” (Epistle 48).

“I received your first letter, dearest brother, which firmly stood by the unity of the priestly college, and agreed with the Catholic Church. In your letter you pointed out that you did not communicate with Novatian, but followed our advice, and agreed with Cornelius, our fellow bishop. You wrote, also, that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague Cornelius, that, so laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church.

“…There arrived, however, afterwards your other letter, sent by Quintus, our fellow presbyter, in which I perceive that your mind, influenced by a letter of Novatian, has begun to waver…

“I wrote fully to Rome to the clergy, then still acting without a bishop. . . . That I wrote this you may learn from their answer ; for they wrote as follows : "However, in so important a matter, we agree with you that the peace of the Church must be awaited, and then, in a full conference of bishops, presbyters, deacons, and confessors, with the laity also who have stood fast, account be taken of the lapsed." It was added also (Novatian then writing) . . . that peace should be granted to the lapsed who were sick and at the point of death. Which letter was sent throughout the whole world.

“However, in accordance with a previous decision, when the persecution was lulled and opportunity given for meeting together, a large number of bishops assembled. These had been preserved safe and sound by their own faith and the care of the Lord. And, Holy Scripture being cited on both sides, we balanced our resolution [about the lapsed] with healthy moderation. . . . And lest the number of bishops in Africa should seem insuffcient, we wrote to Rome also on this subject to our colleague Cornelius, who himself likewise, in a council held with very many fellow bishops, agreed in the same opinion with us…

“I come now, dearest brother, to the character of Cornelius, our colleague, that you with us may know him more truly, not from the lies of envious and disparaging men, but from the judgement of God who made him a bishop and from the witness of fellow bishops, the whole company of whom, throughout the entire world, have consented with unanimity. . . . He too was made bishop . . . when the place of Fabian, that is, when the place of Peter, and the rank of the priestly chair were vacant. This chair being occupied by God's will, and ratified by the consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to be made bishop . . . whoever he be, although greatly boasting of himself and claiming very much for himself, is profane, an alien and without the pale. And as after the first there cannot be a second, whoever is made after one who ought to be alone is no longer second, but none at all…

“He [Cornelius] sat fearless at Rome in the priestly chair, at that time when a tyrant, hostile to God's priests, was threatening whatever can or cannot be uttered: one who , would with much more patience and endurance hear that a , rival prince was raised against himself than that a priest of God was established at Rome. . . .

“When a bishop has been made in the Church by sixteen fellow bishops, Novatian tries by intrigue to be made an adulterous and strange bishop by deserters; and whereas there is one Church from Christ throughout the whole world divided into many members, and one episcopate, di$used throlrd a harmonious multitude of many bishops, he, in spite of the tradition of God and the unity of the Catholic Church everywhere com- ' pacted and joined together, attempts to make a human church, and sends his new apostles through very many cities, that he may establish certain recent foundations of his own institution. And although there have already been ordained, through all.” (Epistle 55, to Antoian, his brother).

“There is an easy proof for faith in a summary of troth. The Lord says to Peter, " I say unto thee", says he, " that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will builu my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 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". Upon one he builds the Church, and though to all the apostles, after' his resurrection, he gives an equalpower and says, "As the Father sent me, even so send I you; receive the Holy Ghost : whose sins ye remit, they are remitted to them : whose ye retain, they shall be retained", yet in order that he might make clear the unity,= by his authority, he has placed the source of the same unity, as beginning from one. Certainly the other apostles were what Peter was, endowed with equal fellowship both of honour and of power, but a beginning is made from unity, that one Church of Christ may be shown. This one Church, also, the Holy Ghost in the person of the Lord describes in the Song of Songs and says : " My dove, my spotless one, is but one ; she is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her." He who does not hold this unity of the Church, does he think that he holds the faith? He who opposes and resists the Church, does he trust himself to be in the Church? For the blessed apostle Paul teaches this same thing, and expounds the sacrament of unity saying, "One body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God". .

“We ought firmly to hold and assert this unity, especially we bishops who preside in the Church, that we may prove that the episcopate itself also is one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by lies; let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by a faithless treachery. The episcopate is one, part of which is held by each one in solidity.” (De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, version one, the one most scholars agree is the original).

“Thou art Peter . . . shall be loosed in heaven ". And to the same after his resurrection, he says to him "Feed my sheep ". Upon him he builds the Church, and he commits to him the sheep to feed, and though to all the apostles he gives an equal power, yet he founded one chair, and by his authority appointed the source and system of unity. Certainly the rest were as Peter was, but primacy is given to Peter and one Church and one chair is shown : and they are all shepherds, but one flock is exhibited, which is fed by all the apostles with unanimous consent. And he who does not hold this unity of his Church, does he think he holds the faith? He who deserts the chair of Peter, upon whom the Church was founded, does he trust himself to be in the Church? The episcopate is one, part of which is held by each one in solidity.” (De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, version two).

“The Lord says to Peter, "I say unto thee", says he, "that thou art Peter . . . shall be loosed in heaven ". And to the same after his resurrection he says "Feed my sheep ". Upon that one he builds the Church, and he commits to him his sheep to feed, and though to all the apostles he gives an equal power, yet he founded one chair, and appointed the origin of unity by the authority of his utterance. Certainly the rest were as Peter, but primacy is given to Peter that one Church and one chair may be shown : and they are all shepherds, but one flock is exhibited, which is fed by all the apostles with unanimous consent. And he who does not hold this unity of Paul, does he think he holds the faith? He who deserts the chair of Peter upon which the Church was founded, does he trust himself to be in the Church? Upon one he builds the Church, and though to all the apostles.” (De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, version three).

“The Lord says to Peter, "I say unto thee", says he, ‘that thou art Peter . . . shall be loosed also in heaven’. And again to the same after his resurrection he says ‘Feed my sheep’. Upon that one he builds his Church, and he commits to him his sheep to feed. And though to all the apostles after his resurrection he gives an equal power and says, "As the Father sent me, even so send I you ; receive the Holy Ghost : whose sins ye remit, they are remitted to them : whose ye retain, shall be retained", yet in order that he might make clear the unity, he founded one chair; by his authority he has placed the source of the same unity as beginning from one. Certainly the other apostles were what Peter was, endowed with equal fellowship both of honour and of power, but a beginning is made from unity, and primacy is given to Peter, that one Church of Christ and one chair may be shown: and they are all shepherds and one flock is exhibited, which is fed by all the apostles with unanimous consent, that one Church of Christ may be shown. This one Church, also, the Hob Ghost in the person of the Lord describes in the Song of Songs and says: " My dove, my spotless one, is but one; she is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her." He who does not hold this unity of the Church, does he think that he holds the faith? He who opposes and resists the Church, he who deserts the chair of Peter on whom the Church is founded, does he trust himself to be in the Church? For the blessed apostle Paul teaches this same thing, and expounds the sacrament of unity saying, ‘One body and one spirit, one hope of your call in., one Lord, one-faith, one baptism, one God.’

“We ought firmly to hold and assert this unity, especially we bishops who preside in the Church, that we may prove that the episcopate itself also is one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by lies; let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by a faithless treachery. The episcopate is one, part of which is held by each one in solidity.

“[the following two paragraphs are also found in the second and third versions]. . . The episcopate is one, part of which is held by each one in solidity. The Church is one, though it is widely spread into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. . . . Of her womb we are born, with her milk we are fed, with her spirit we are made alive. The spouse of Christ cannot become adulterate; she is undefiled and pure. She knows one home. . . . And does anyone think that this unity coming from the divine strength, and cohering in the heavenly sacraments, can be seoered in the Church, and split by the divorce of contending wills? He who does not hold this unity does not hold the law of God, or the faith of the Father and the Son, or life and salvation. Who then is so wicked, faithless, or insane with the madness of discord, as to think he can rend or dare to rend God's unity, the Lord's robe, Christ's Church? He himself warns us in his gospel, and teaches saying, "And there shall be one flock and one shepherd". And does anyone think there can be in one place either many shepherds or many flocks? . . . Do you think you can stand and live, withdrawn from the Church, building for yourself other seats and different homes?

“. . . There is one God, and one Christ, and his Church is one, and the faith is one, and there is one people joined in solid unity of the body by the glue of agreement. Unity cannot be severed, nor can. the one body be separated by a division of its structure, or be torn with its entrails extracted by laceration. Parted from the womb, a thing cannot live and breathe separately; it loses the substance if health.” (De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, version four, manuscript dates back to the tenth century).

“What sort of people do you think they are, those enemies of the priests and rebels against the Catholic Church, who are alarmed neither by the severe warning of the Lord, nor by the vengeance of future judgement? For this has been the source from which heresies and schisms have arisen, that God'spriest is not obeyed, nor do people reflect that there is for the time one priest in the church, who for the time is judge instead of Christ, and if the whole brotherhood would obey him, according to divine teaching, no one would stir up anything against the college of priests; no one after the divine judgement, after the votes of the people, after the consent of the fellow bishops, would make himself a judge, not now of the bishop but of God…

“Peter, however, on whom the Church has been built by the same Lord, speaking one for all, and answering with the voice of the Church, says, "Lord to whom shall we go?" .

“Hence too, dearest brother, you may at once discern the other lies which desperate and abandoned men have there spread around….

“For these too it was not enough to have departed from the gospel, to have deprived the lapsed of the hope of satisfaction and penance. . . . After all this, they yet in addition, having had a false bishop ordained for them by heretics, dare to set sail, and to carry letters from schismatic and profane persons to the chair of Peter, and to the principal church, whence the unity of the priesthood took its rise.3 They fail to reflect that those Romans are the same as those whose faith was publicly praised by the apostle, to whom unbelief cannot have access. (Epstile 59, to Cornelius [A.D. 252]).

“. . . Over there [i.e. in Rome], the courage of the bishop who leads has been publicly tested, and the unity of the brethren who accept his leadership has been displayed. Since there is one mind and one voice among you Romans, your whole church has confessed.

“Dearest brother, the faith which the blessed apostle praised in you has been evident. This excellence of courage and firmness of strength he even then foresaw in the Spirit . . . the examples of agreement and bravery which you have given to the other brethren are magnificent.” (Epistle 60, to Cornelius).

“. . . The cup of the Lord is not water alone, or wine alone, unless both are mingled together, so also the body of the Lord cannot be flour alone, or water alone, unless both be united and joined together and compacted in the structure of one loaf. In this-very sacrament our people are shown to be made one ; so that just as many grains collected into one, and ground and mingled together make one loaf, so in Christ, who is the heavenly bread, we may know that there is one body, in which our whole company is joined and united.” (Epistle 63).

“ "We believe and are sure that thou art the Son of the living God." There speaks Peter, upon whom the Church was to be built. He teaches and shows in the name of the Church that although a rebellious and proud multitude of heedless men may withdraw, yet the Church does not depart from Christ. And they are the Church who are a people united to the priest, and a flock sticking to its shepherd. From this you ought to realize that the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the bishop; and if any one is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. Further, they flatter themselves in vain who creep in and imagine that they communicate secretly with some people, without having peace with the priests of God. In actual fact the Church which is catholic and one is not cut or divided, but is undoubtedly connected and joined together by the cement of priests mutually cleaving to each other.” (Epistle 66).

“To admit that they have baptized is to approve the baptism of heretics and schismatics. For it cannot be partly void and partly valid. If he could baptize, he could also give the Holy Ghost. But if he cannot give the Holy Ghost, because, standing without the pale, he is not with the Holy Ghost, neither can he baptize anyone who comes [to him],.because there is one baptism and one Holy Ghost and one Church founded by Christ our Lord upon Peter for the origin and principle of unity. So it comes about that all among them is empty and false, and that nothing which they have done ought to have our approval.” (Epistle 70).

“Nor should we be governed by custom, but reason should prevail. For even Peter, whom the Lord chose, and on whom he built his Church, when Paul later disputed with him about circumcision, did not claim anything insolently for himself, or assume anything arrogantly, or say that he held the primacy and ought to be obeyed the more by novices and new-comers. . . . His Church should know that remission of sins can only be given in the Church, and that the enemies.” (Epistle 71, to Quintus).

Pope St. Cornelius

“There was one voice from all, giving thanks to God; all were expressing the joy of their heart by tears, embracing them as if they had this day been set free from the penalty of the dungeon. And to quote their very own words —“We,” they say, “know that Cornelius is bishop of the most holy Catholic Church elected by Almighty God, and by Christ our Lord. We confess our error; we have suffered imposture; we were deceived by captious perfidy and loquacity. For although we seemed, as it were, to have held a kind of communion with a man who was a schismatic and a heretic, yet our mind was always sincere in the Church. For we are not ignorant that there is one God; that there is one Christ the Lord whom we have confessed, and one Holy Spirit; and that in the Catholic Church there ought to be one bishop.” (Cyprian’s 45 Epistle, including the letter of Pope St. Cornelius to St. Cyprian).

Letter from Schismatic Bishops

“We know that Cornelius [the 21st bishop of Rome], bishop of the most holy Catholic Church, was chosen by God almighty and by Christ our Lord; we confess our error; we have suffered imposture; we have been deceived by treachery and captious loquacity; for although we seemed to have held, as it were, a certain communication with a schismatical and heretical man, nevertheless our heart has always been in the Church for we are not ignorant that there is one God and that there is one Lord Christ, whom we have confessed, that there is one Holy Spirit and that there ought to be one bishop in the Catholic Church.” .” (Maxiumus, Urban, Sidonius, from epistle 6, Quanam solicitudinem, to Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. This profession of faith by schismatics was accepted by Pope Cornelius [A.D. 252]).

Firmilian

“But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]” (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:16 [A.D. 253]).

“[Pope] Stephen … boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. … Stephen [the 23rd pope] … announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter” (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:17 [A.D. 253]).

“Such a departure Stephen has now dared to make by breaking the peace against you which his predecessors always kept with you in mutual love and honour. In this way he defames the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, declaring that they had handed down this custom, who in fact execrated heretics in their letters, and warned us to avoid them. From this it is apparent that this tradition [of Stephen] is human, for it supports the heretics and asserts that they have the baptism which belongs to the Church alone.

“. . . For as a heretic may not lawfully ordain or lay on hands, neither may he baptize or perform any holy or spiritual act, since he is alien to spiritual and godly holiness. Some time ago we confirmed that all this should be held fast and maintained against the heretics. We were assembled with those from Galatia, Cilicia, and other nearby regions at a place in Phrygia called Iconium, because some people were doubtful about these things.

“ In view of this, I am rightly indignant at the folly of Stephen so open and conspicuous. He who so boasts about the place of his bishopric and insists that he holds his succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid, is introducing many other rocks and is building many new churches, as long as he supports their baptism with his authority. . . . Stephen, who declares that he has the chair of Peter by succession, is roused by no zeal against the heretics.

“Of no one more than of thee [Stephen] do the divine scriptures say "An angry man stirreth up strife, and a wrathful man heapeth up sins". For what great strifes and dissensions hast thou stirred up throughout the churches of the whole world ! And how great a sin hast thou heaped up, when thou cuttest thyself off from so many flocks ! For thou didst cut thyself off; be not deceived; for he who has made himself an apostate from the communion of the united Church is truly the schismatic. For while thou thinkest that all may be excommunicated by thee, thou hast excommunicated thyself alone from all.” (Ibid).

Pope St. Dionysius of Rome

“Next I naturally turn to those who divide and cut into pieces and destroy that most sacred doctrine of the Church of God, the monarchy. . . . So we may not divide into three god- heads the wonderful and divine unity; nor disparage as a created being the dignity and exceeding majesty of the Lord; but we must believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus his Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and that the word is united to the God of the universe. For he says " I and the Father are I one" and " I am in the Father and the Father is in me ". In this way both the divine Trinity and the holy doctrine of the monarchy will be preserved.” (Adversus Sabellianos, preserved in Athanasius’s De Decretis Nicaenae Synodi [c. A.D. 260]).

Pope St. Lucius I

“The Roman Apostolic Church is the mother of all Churches and has never been shown to have wandered from the path of Apostolic tradition, nor being deformed, succumbed to heretical novelties according to the promise of the Lord himself, saying, ‘I have prayed for thee, etc.’ [Lk 22:32]” ([Pope Saint Lucius I, Martyr, Epist. I ad Episcopos Hispaniae et Galliae [A.D. 253-254]).

Pope St. Felix I

“As it took up in the beginning the norm of the Christian Faith from its authors, the Princes of the Apostles of Christ, She remains unsullied according to what the Lord said: ‘I have prayed for thee, etc.’ [Lk 22:32]” (quoted by Saint Robert Bellarmine. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V, De Controversiis, p. 157-158, Mediatrix Press [Pope from A.D. 269-274])

St. Peter of Alexandria

“…and guardian of all preceding and subsequent occupiers of this pontifical chair …Peter was the first of the apostles…” (St. Peter of Alexandria, Genuine Acts of Peter [c. A.D. 260–311]

“A cycle of two hundred and eighty-five years from the incarnation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had rolled round, when the venerable Theonas, the bishop of this city, by an ethereal flight, mounted upwards to the celestial kingdoms. To him Peter, succeeding at the helm of the Church, was by all the clergy and the whole Christian community appointed bishop, the sixteenth in order from Mark the Evangelist, who was also archbishop of the city.” (Ibid).

“...feared to rend His coat; he was so hurried on by giving the rein to his madness, that, rending asunder the Catholic Church not only in the cities of Egypt, but even in its villages, he ordained bishops of his own party, nor cared he aught for Peter, nor for Christ, who was in the person of Peter.” (Ibid).

“In these days information was brought to Maximin about the aforesaid archbishop, that he was a leader and holding chief place among the Christians; and he, inflamed with his accustomed iniquity, on the instant ordered Peter to be apprehended and cast into prison.... Now while the man of God was being kept for a few days in the same stocks,” (Ibid).

“And while he was thus speaking, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to them in the form of a child, and said to them: Hail, Peter, bishop of the whole of my Church!” (Acts of the Holy Apostles Peter and Andrew [late second century]).

“feared to rend His coat; he was so hurried on by giving the rein to his madness, that, rending asunder the Catholic Church not only in the cities of Egypt, but even in its villages, he ordained bishops of his own party, nor cared he aught for Peter, nor for Christ, who was in the person of Peter.” (Ibid).

“In these days information was brought to Maximin about the aforesaid archbishop, that he was a leader and holding chief place among the Christians; and he, inflamed with his accustomed iniquity, on the instant ordered Peter to be apprehended and cast into prison…. Now while the man of God was being kept for a few days in the same stocks,” (Ibid).

St. Theodotus of Ancyra

“This holy See holds the reign of the Churches of the world, not only on account of other things, but also because she remains free from the heretical stench.” (from the Syrian martyr’s Epistola ad Renatum Presbyterum Romanum [martyrdom c. A.D. 303]).

Unknown Pope


“A heavy charge is laid upon us, fellow Christians, the care of the whole brotherhood. It is made yet heavier through the reckless wickedness of abandoned men who are drawing others into crime and involving themselves in the snares of death. It is gamblers to whom I refer. The fatherly goodness of God has bestowed on us the authority of the Apostolate; of His heavenly mercy He has ordained that we should occupy the chair by which we represent the Lord [vicariam Domini]; through our predecessor we have as ours that source of the true apostolate on which Christ founded His Church, amd we have received authority to bind and loose, and with due regard to reason forgive sins. And on these very grounds we are warned by the doctrine of salvation to take heed, lest if constantly overlook the faults of sinners we suffer them a like penalty.” (Adversus Aleatores, likely written by an unknown Pope; Joyce, G. “Harnack and His Critics on the “De Aleatoribus.” The American Catholic Quarterly Review, Oct. 1901. Pp 679 [c. A.D. 180-300]).



List of Popes

  1. St. Peter (32-67)

  2. St. Linus (67-76)

  3. St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)

  4. St. Clement I (88-97)

  5. St. Evaristus (97-105)

  6. St. Alexander I (105-115)

  7. St. Sixtus I (115-125) Also called Xystus I

  8. St. Telesphorus (125-136)

  9. St. Hyginus (136-140)

  10. St. Pius I (140-155)

  11. St. Anicetus (155-166)

  12. St. Soter (166-175)

  13. St. Eleutherius (175-189)

  14. St. Victor I (189-199)

  15. St. Zephyrinus (199-217)

  16. St. Callistus I (217-22) Callistus and the following three popes were opposed by St. Hippolytus, antipope (217-236)

  17. St. Urban I (222-30)

  18. St. Pontian (230-35)

  19. St. Anterus (235-36)

  20. St. Fabian (236-50)

  21. St. Cornelius (251-53) Opposed by Novatian, antipope (251)

  22. St. Lucius I (253-54)

  23. St. Stephen I (254-257)

  24. St. Sixtus II (257-258)

  25. St. Dionysius (260-268)

  26. St. Felix I (269-274)

  27. St. Eutychian (275-283)

  28. St. Caius (283-296) Also called Gaius

  29. St. Marcellinus (296-304)

  30. St. Marcellus I (308-309)

  31. St. Eusebius (309 or 310)

  32. St. Miltiades (311-14)

  33. St. Sylvester I (314-35)

  34. St. Marcus (336)

  35. St. Julius I (337-52)

  36. Liberius (352-66) Opposed by Felix II, antipope (355-365)

  37. St. Damasus I (366-84) Opposed by Ursicinus, antipope (366-367)

  38. St. Siricius (384-99)

  39. St. Anastasius I (399-401)

  40. St. Innocent I (401-17)

  41. St. Zosimus (417-18)

  42. St. Boniface I (418-22) Opposed by Eulalius, antipope (418-419)

  43. St. Celestine I (422-32)

  44. St. Sixtus III (432-40)

  45. St. Leo I (the Great) (440-61)

  46. St. Hilarius (461-68)

  47. St. Simplicius (468-83)

  48. St. Felix III (II) (483-92)

  49. St. Gelasius I (492-96)

  50. Anastasius II (496-98)

  51. St. Symmachus (498-514) Opposed by Laurentius, antipope (498-501)

  52. St. Hormisdas (514-23)

  53. St. John I (523-26)

  54. St. Felix IV (III) (526-30)

  55. Boniface II (530-32) Opposed by Dioscorus, antipope (530)

  56. John II (533-35)

  57. St. Agapetus I (535-36) Also called Agapitus I

  58. St. Silverius (536-37)

  59. Vigilius (537-55)

  60. Pelagius I (556-61)

  61. John III (561-74)

  62. Benedict I (575-79)

  63. Pelagius II (579-90)

  64. St. Gregory I (the Great) (590-604)

  65. Sabinian (604-606)

  66. Boniface III (607)

  67. St. Boniface IV (608-15)

  68. St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I) (615-18)

  69. Boniface V (619-25)

  70. Honorius I (625-38)

  71. Severinus (640)

  72. John IV (640-42)

  73. Theodore I (642-49)

  74. St. Martin I (649-55)

  75. St. Eugene I (655-57)

  76. St. Vitalian (657-72)

  77. Adeodatus (II) (672-76)

  78. Donus (676-78)

  79. St. Agatho (678-81)

  80. St. Leo II (682-83)

  81. St. Benedict II (684-85)

  82. John V (685-86)

  83. Conon (686-87)

  84. St. Sergius I (687-701) Opposed by Theodore and Paschal, antipopes (687)

  85. John VI (701-05)

  86. John VII (705-07)

  87. Sisinnius (708)

  88. Constantine (708-15)

  89. St. Gregory II (715-31)

  90. St. Gregory III (731-41)

  91. St. Zachary (741-52) Stephen II followed Zachary, but because he died before being consecrated, modern lists omit him

  92. Stephen II (III) (752-57)

  93. St. Paul I (757-67)

  94. Stephen III (IV) (767-72) Opposed by Constantine II (767) and Philip (768), antipopes (767)

  95. Adrian I (772-95)

  96. St. Leo III (795-816)

  97. Stephen IV (V) (816-17)

  98. St. Paschal I (817-24)

  99. Eugene II (824-27)

  100. Valentine (827)

  101. Gregory IV (827-44)

  102. Sergius II (844-47) Opposed by John, antipope

  103. St. Leo IV (847-55)

  104. Benedict III (855-58) Opposed by Anastasius, antipope (855)

  105. St. Nicholas I (the Great) (858-67)

  106. Adrian II (867-72)

  107. John VIII (872-82)

  108. Marinus I (882-84)

  109. St. Adrian III (884-85)

  110. Stephen V (VI) (885-91)

  111. Formosus (891-96)

  112. Boniface VI (896)

  113. Stephen VI (VII) (896-97)

  114. Romanus (897)

  115. Theodore II (897)

  116. John IX (898-900)

  117. Benedict IV (900-03)

  118. Leo V (903) Opposed by Christopher, antipope (903-904)

  119. Sergius III (904-11)

  120. Anastasius III (911-13)

  121. Lando (913-14)

  122. John X (914-28)

  123. Leo VI (928)

  124. Stephen VIII (929-31)

  125. John XI (931-35)

  126. Leo VII (936-39)

  127. Stephen IX (939-42)

  128. Marinus II (942-46)

  129. Agapetus II (946-55)

  130. John XII (955-63)

  131. Leo VIII (963-64)

  132. Benedict V (964)

  133. John XIII (965-72)

  134. Benedict VI (973-74)

  135. Benedict VII (974-83) Benedict and John XIV were opposed by Boniface VII, antipope (974; 984-985)

  136. John XIV (983-84)

  137. John XV (985-96)

  138. Gregory V (996-99) Opposed by John XVI, antipope (997-998)

  139. Sylvester II (999-1003)

  140. John XVII (1003)

  141. John XVIII (1003-09)

  142. Sergius IV (1009-12)

  143. Benedict VIII (1012-24) Opposed by Gregory, antipope (1012)

  144. John XIX (1024-32)

  145. Benedict IX (1032-45) He appears on this list three separate times, because he was twice deposed and restored

  146. Sylvester III (1045) Considered by some to be an antipope

  147. Benedict IX (1045)

  148. Gregory VI (1045-46)

  149. Clement II (1046-47)

  150. Benedict IX (1047-48)

  151. Damasus II (1048)

  152. St. Leo IX (1049-54)


Solemn Declarations by the Church

“We teach and declare that, according to the gospel evidence, a primacy of jurisdiction over the whole church of God was immediately and directly promised to the blessed apostle Peter and conferred on him by Christ the lord.” (Infallible declaration of the First Vatican Council [1869–1870 AD]).

“Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.” -(Infallible declaration of the First Vatican Council [1869–1870 AD]).




Part 1: in the Ante-Nicene Church (A.D. 00-300)

Part 2: from Nicaea to Constantinople I (A.D. 300-400)

Part 3: from St. Augustine to the Council of Milevis (A.D. 400-420)

Part 4: from Ephesus to Chalcedon (A.D. 420-500)

Part 5: Rome During the Years of the Rising East (A.D. 501-700)

Part 6: The Schism of the Universal Church (A.D. 700-1053)


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