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Proof of the Papacy: The Schism of the Universal Church (A.D. 700-1053)

A helpful tool for diving into this project:

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)


St. Bede

“Herein he followed the example of the first pastor of the Church, St. Peter, chief of the Apostles, who, when the Church of Christ was founded at Rome, is said to have consecrated Clement to help him in evangelistic work at the same time to be his successor.” (Ecclesiastical History [A.D. 715]).

John VI

“The Pope of Rome, the head of the Christian priesthood, whom in Peter, the Lord commanded to confirm his brethren.” (John VI, Patriarch of Constantinople, Epist. ad Constantin. Pap. ad. Combefis, Auctuar. Bibl. P.P. Graec.tom. ii. p. 211, seq. [A.D. 715]).

St. John of Damascus

“The Master has appointed you [Peter] as director not of tabernacles, but of the Church throughout the whole world. Your disciples, your sheep, the Good Chief Shepherd has put into your hands.” (St. John of Damascus, Homily on the Transfiguration [c. A.D. 675-749]).

“But why did He [Jesus] take along Peter and James and John? Peter, because he wanted to show him that the witness, which [Peter] had truly borne, was now confirmed by the witness of hte Father, and to make credible His [i.e. Jesus’] own statement that the heavenly Father had revealed this to him [i. e. Peter]; and because as president he was also receiving the oars of the entire Church.” (St. John of Damascus, Homily on the Transfiguration #9; J.P. Migne, Patrolgoia Graeca, 96:560).

“Christ did not give to kings the power to bind and to loose, but to the apostles, (Mt. 18.18) and to their successors and pastors and teachers.” (Apolgoia Against Those Who Decry Holy Images).

St. Pope Gregory II

“Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to Boniface, a holy priest. Your holy purpose, as it has been explained to us, and your well-tried faith lead us to make use of your services in spreading the Gospel, which by the grace of God has been committed to our care. Knowing that from your childhood you have been a student of Sacred Scripture and that you now wish to use the talent entrusted to you by God in dedicating yourself to missionary work, we rejoice in your faith and desire to have you as our colleague in this enterprise. Wherefore., since you have humbly submitted to us your plans regarding this mission, like a member of the body deferring to the head, and have shown yourself to be a true member of the body by following the directions given by the head, therefore, in the name of the indivisible Trinity and by the authority of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, whose government we administer in this See by the dispensation of God, we now place your humble and devout work upon a secure basis and decree that you go forth to preach the Word of God to those people who are still bound by the shackles of paganism. You are to teach them the service of the kingdom of God by persuading them to accept the truth in the name of Christ, the Lord our God. You will instill into their minds the teaching of the Old and New Testaments, doing this in a spirit of love and moderation, and with arguments suited to their understanding. Finally, we command you that in admitting within the Church those who have some kind of belief in God you will insist upon using the sacramental discipline prescribed in the official ritual formulary of the Holy Apostolic See. Whatever means you find lacking in the furtherance of your work, you are to report to us as opportunity occurs. Fare you well.” (Letter to St. Boniface, entrusting him with a mission to the heathens [A.D. 15 May 719]).

“Your devout messenger Denual has brought us the welcome news that you are well and that, by the help of God, you are making progress in the work for which you were sent. He also delivered to us letters from you reporting that the field of the Lord which had long lain fallow and was overgrown with the [81] weeds of pagan customs has now been ploughed up and sown with the truth of the Gospel, producing an abundant harvest of souls. In the same report you included a number of questions concerning the faith and teaching of the Holy Roman and Apostolic Church. This is a commendable practice, for here St. Peter the Apostle held his see and the episcopate had its beginning. And since you seek our advice on matters dealing with ecclesiastical discipline, we will state with all the authority of apostolic tradition what you must hold, though we speak not from our own insufficiency but relying on the grace of Him who opens the mouths of the dumb and makes eloquent the tongues of babes…

“Finally, your letter states that certain priests and bishops are so involved in vices of many sorts that their lives are a blot upon the priesthood and you ask whether it is lawful for you to eat

with or to speak with them, supposing them not to be heretics. We answer, that you by apostolic authority are to admonish and persuade them and so bring them back to the purity of church discipline. If they obey, you will save their souls and win reward for yourself. You are not to avoid conversation or eating at the same table with them. It often happens that those who are slow in coming to a perception of the truth under strict discipline may be led into the paths of righteousness by the influence of their table companions and by gentle admonition. You ought also to follow this same rule in dealing with those chieftains who are helpful to you. It was with great satisfaction that we learned from a repeated reading of the letter from Your Sacred Fraternity that by the grace of Jesus Christ multitudes have been converted by you from paganism and error to a knowledge of the true faith. We, together with the whole Church, applaud such an increase, as we are taught in the parable of him to whom five talents were given and who gained also other five. For this we have ordered the gift of a sacred pallium to be sent to you to be received and worn by the authority of the Holy Apostle Peter, and we direct you to be recognized as an archbishop by divine appointment. How you are to use it you will learn by apostolic instructions; namely, you are to wear it solely when you are celebrating a solemn mass or when you may have occasion to consecrate a bishop. But, since you declare yourself unable to impart the means of salvation to all who are converted to the true faith in those parts, since the faith has already been carried far and wide, we command you, in accordance with the sacred canons and by authority of the Apostolic See to ordain bishops wherever the multitude of the faithful has become very great. Do this, however, after prayerful reflection, lest the dignity of the episcopate be impaired. (Reply to St. Boniface [A.D. 22 November, 726]).

“To the glorious Lord, our son, Duke Charles. Having learned, beloved son in Christ, that you are a man of deeply religious feeling, we make known to you that our brother Boniface, who now stands before you, a man of sterling faith and character, has been consecrated bishop by us, and after being instructed in the teachings of the Holy Apostolic See, over which by God's grace we preside, is being sent to preach the faith to the peoples of Germany who dwell on the eastern bank of the Rhine, some of whom are still steeped in the efforts of paganism, while many more are plunged in the darkness of ignorance.” (Letter to Charles Martel [A.D. December 722]).

“The blessed apostle Peter was the origin of both the apostleship and the episcopate.” (Epistolae 3).

St. Boniface

“I, Boniface, by the grace of God bishop, promise to you, blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles, and to your vicar, the blessed Pope Gregory, and to his successors., in the name of the indivisible Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and on thy most sacred body, that I will uphold the faith and purity of holy Catholic teaching and will persevere in the unity of the same faith in which beyond a doubt the whole salvation of a Christian lies. I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me, but in all things I will show, as I have said, complete loyalty to you and to the welfare of your Church on which, in the person of your vicar and his successors, the power to bind and loose has been conferred.

“Should it come to my notice that some bishops deviate from the teaching of the Fathers I win have no part or lot with them, but as far as in me lies I will correct them, or, if that is impossible, I will report the matter to the Holy See. And if (which God forbid) I should be led astray into any course of action contrary to this my oath, under whatsoever pretext, may I be found guilty at the last judgment and suffer the punishment meted out to Ananias and Sapphira, who dared to defraud you by making a false declaration of their goods.

“This text of my oath, I, Boniface, a lowly bishop, have written with my own hand and placed over thy sacred body. I have taken this oath, as prescribed, in the presence of God, my Witness and my judge: I pledge myself to keep it.” (Oath taken by St. Boniface [A.D. 30 November 722]).

“To our beloved lord Zacharias, who bears the insignia of the supreme pontificate, Boniface, a servant of the servants of God.

“We confess, Father and Lord, that after we had learned through messengers that your predecessor Gregory, of holy memory, had departed this life, nothing gave us greater comfort and happiness than the knowledge that God had appointed Your Holiness to enforce the canonical decrees and govern the Apostolic See. Kneeling at your feet, we earnestly beg that, as we have been devoted servants and humble disciples to your predecessors in the See of Peter, we may likewise be counted obedient servants, under canon law, of Your Holiness.

“It is our firm resolution to preserve the Catholic faith and the unity of the Church of Rome, and I shall continue to urge as many hearers and disciples as God shall grant me on this mission to render obedience to the Apostolic See.”

“We must also inform you, Holy Father, that owing to the conversion of the German people we have consecrated three bishops and divided the province into three dioceses. We humbly desire you to confirm and establish as bishoprics, both by your authority and in writing, the three towns or cities in which they were consecrated. We have established one episcopal see in Wurzburg, another in Buraburg and a third in Erfurt, formerly a city of barbarous heathens. These three places we urgently beg you to uphold and confirm by a charter embodying the authority of the Holy See, so that, God willing, there may be in Germany three episcopal sees founded and established by St. Peter's word and the Apostolic See's command, which neither present nor future generations will presume to change in defiance of the authority of the Apostolic See.

“Be it known to you also, Holy Father, that Carloman, Emperor of the Franks, summoned me to his presence and desired me to convoke a synod in that part of the Frankish kingdom which is under his jurisdiction. He promised me that he would reform and re-establish ecclesiastical discipline.- which for the past sixty or seventy years has been completely disregarded and despised. If he is truly willing, under divine inspiration, to put his plan into execution, I should like to have the advice and the instructions of the Apostolic See. According to their elders, the Franks have not held a council for more than eighty years; they have had no archbishop nor have they established or restored in any place the canon law of the Church. The episcopal sees, which are in the cities, have been given, for the most part, into the possession of avaricious laymen or exploited by adulterous and unworthy clerics for worldly uses. If I am to undertake this task at your bidding and on the invitation of the Emperor I must have at once, with the appropriate ecclesiastical sanctions, both the command and the decision of the Apostolic See.

“Should I discover among these men certain deacons, as they are called, who have spent their lives since childhood in debauchery, adultery and every kind of uncleanness " who have received the diaconate with this reputation, and who even now, when they have four or five or even more concubines in their beds at night, are brazen enough to call themselves deacons and read out the Gospel: who enter the priesthood, continue in the same career of vice and declare that they have the right to exercise the priestly functions of making intercession for the people and offering Mass, and who, to make matters worse, are promoted, despite their reputations, to higher offices and are eventually nominated and consecrated bishops, may I in such cases have a written and authoritative statement regarding the procedure to be followed, so that they may be convicted as criminals and condemned by apostolic authority? Among them are bishops who deny the charges of fornication and adultery but who, nevertheless, are shiftless drunkards, addicted to the chase, who march armed into battle and shed with their own hands the blood of Christians and heathens alike. Since I am recognised as the servant and legate of the Apostolic See, my decisions here and your decisions in Rome ought to be in complete agreement when I send messengers to receive your judgment.

“In another matter, also, I must crave your advice and permission. Your predecessor of holy memory bade me, in your presence and hearing, to appoint a certain priest as my successor to rule this diocese after my death. If this be the will of God, I concur. But now I have my doubts whether it is feasible, for in the meantime a brother of that priest has murdered the duke's uncle, and at the moment I see no possibility of settling the quarrel.

“I beg you, therefore, to give me your authority to act on the advice of my colleagues regarding the choice of a successor, so that in common we may do what is most advantageous for God, the Church and the safeguard of the faith. May I have your permission to act in this matter as God shall inspire me, for without defying the wishes of the duke the former choice seems impossible…

“… Frankish bishops and priests, whose reputation as adulterers and fornicators was notorious, whose children, born during their episcopate or priesthood, are living witnesses to their guilt, now declare on their return from Rome that the Roman Pontiff has granted them full permission to exercise their offices in the Church. Our answer to them is that we have never heard of the Apostolic See giving judgment contrary to the canonical decrees.” (St. Boniface to Pope Zacharias, On His Accession to the Papapcy [A.D. 742].

“We should like you to know and give thanks to God that when we safely reached the threshold of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, the Apostolic Pontiff welcomed us with joy and gave a satisfactory reply to the matters for which we came. He counselled and commanded us to return once more to you and to persevere in the work we have undertaken.

“At the moment we are waiting for the opening of a council of bishops, but we do not know when the Apostolic Pontiff will order it to sit. As soon as it is over, we shall hasten back to you, if God so wills and our health is spared. In this knowledge wait our coming with fraternal love and in the unity of faith, bearing one another's burdens. So doing, you will fulfil the law of Christ and renew your joy.” (Letter to his followers about his reception by the St. Pope Gregory III [A.D. 738).

“We decided in our synod that we will maintain the Catholic faith and unity and our subjection to the Roman Church as long as we live: that we will be loyal subjects of St. Peter and his vicar; that we will hold a synod every year; that our metropolitan bishops shall ask for their palliums from that see; and that in all things we shall obey the orders of St. Peter according to the canons, so that we may be numbered among the flock entrusted to his care. To these declarations we have all agreed and subscribed, and we have forwarded them to the shrine of St. Peter, prince of the Apostles. The Roman clergy and Pontiff have gratefully accepted them” (Letter to Archbishop Cuthbert of Canterbury [A.D. 747]).

St. Pope Zacharias

“Zacharias, servant of the servants of God, to his very reverend' and holy brother and fellow bishop Boniface.

“When we received your letter, most holy brother, which was brought to us by your priest Denehard, and heard that you were in good health (as we hope you may always be), we gave thanks to Almighty God who has deigned to crown your labors with success. Our heart is always filled with great joy on the receipt, of your letters, because we find in them reports about the salvation; of souls and the conversion of new peoples through your preaching to our Holy Mother, the Church.

“Your latest letter tells us that you have established three bishops in three separate places to govern the people whom God, through your intervention, has brought into his fold. You ask that these episcopal sees may be confirmed by our authority. You should, however, first consider and carefully examine whether this is advisable and whether the places and the number of inhabitants warrant the establishment of bishoprics. You will recall, beloved, that the sacred canons decree that bishops should not be attached to villages and small cities lest the dignity of the episcopate be lessened.

“However, in response to your earnest appeal we hasten to grant your request. By our apostolic authority we ordain that bishoprics be fixed there and that a worthy succession of bishops shall govern the people and instruct them in the faith: there shall be one in the fortress called W-rzburg, a second in the town of Buraburg and a third in the place called Erfurt. Let no one dare to violate in the future what we have laid down and confirmed by the authority of the blessed Apostle Peter. (Letter to St. Boniface [A.D. April, 743]).

“Pope Zacharias to Bishop Boniface and through him to the abbots of the monastery built by him, in succession for ever.

“Since reasonable requests ought always to be granted, it is right that the devotion of the founder of a house of prayer should not be denied the grant of privileges. Wherefore, since you have asked for the monastery, which you have built in a place called Bochonia. on the bank of the river Fulda, to be honored by a privilege from the Apostolic See, so that being under the jurisdiction of our holy Church, of which, by God's Will, we are servants, it may be withdrawn from the jurisdiction of any other Church, we grant your pious wish and by our authority fulfil your request.

“Therefore, by this our authority, we forbid any priest of any Church except that of the Apostolic See to exercise any rights whatsoever over the said monastery. No one shall presume, except on the invitation of the abbot, even to celebrate Mass there, and the monastery shall remain for ever in the enjoyment of the rights implied in the apostolic privilege.

“By this our decree we absolutely forbid all prelates of whatsoever Church they may be, of any rank or power, under penalty of excommunication, ever to dare to violate in any way the privilege granted by us to the said monastery.” (Papal Charter for the Monastery of Fuld [A.D. November 751].

The aforesaid holy man further besought us in his letter to confirm your appointment by our apostolic authority. Wherefore, we most willingly with divine assistance and by authority of the blessed Peter, prince of the Apostles, to whom was given by God and our Savior Jesus Christ power to bind and loose the sins of men in heaven and upon earth, do confirm your episcopal sees and decree that they shall remain fixed for all time. We forbid, by authority of the same prince of the Apostles, that any person shall dare to act counter to your episcopal jurisdicition granted you by our order and by God’s favor. We forbid also, according to the tradition of the sacred canons, that any bishop shall dare to occupy your see by being transferred from another bishopric or that any¬ one, except the representative of our Apostolic See in those parts, shall appoint the new bishop after you shall have been called from this world. On the other hand, let no one of you venture to invade the diocese of another or draw away churches therefrom. If any one of you—which God forbid!—shall with rash presumption, act contrary to this our command, let him know that he will be bound in the chains of anathema by the eternal judgment of God. But whoso shall keep the apostolic precepts and maintain the standard of the true orthodox faith shall receive the grace of benediction. (Letter to Wintan).

Lateran Synod of 749

"To the Supreme Father and Apostolic Pontiff, who holds the power and authority of Peter, Prince of the Apostles, Boniface, the lowest servant of the servants of God, warm greetings in the love of Christ.

“Ever since I dedicated myself, nearly thirty years ago, to the service of the Apostolic See, which I did at the instance and with the approval of Pope Gregory II, it has been my custom to relate to the Supreme Pontiff all my joys and sorrows so that in joy we might unite together to praise God and in sorrow I might be comforted by his counsel. Let it be so now. I come as a suppliant to Your Holiness, for the Scripture says: 'Ask thy Father and he will instruct thee, thy elders and they will tell thee.”

St. Stephen the Younger

“How can you call a synod ecumenical when the Bishop of Rome has not consented to it, since the Canons forbid ecclesiastical affairs to be settled without the Pope of Rome?” (A monk from Constantinople, Speaking of the Iconoclastic Synod of Hieria, A.D. 753).

Emperor Anastasius I of Constantinople

“ are shown to have been the author and instigator, as suits you well, we delay too long. Although thirty days ago we removed you from the fellowship of apostolic communion on account of your afore-mentioned transgressions, believing that through priestly resolve you would by due penitence correct your misdeeds more readily, yet now, because you daily become more obdurate and commit yet more serious offences, we therefore with the role and authority of the blessed Peter the apostle, whose place we occupy, despite our inadequacy, together with our brothers and fellow bishops Datius of Milan, John of the Marsi, Zacchaeus of Scyllacum, Valentinus of Silva Candida, Florentius from Matelica, Julian of Cingulum, Romulus from Numana, Dominicus from Callipolis, Primasius of Hadrumetum, Verecundus of Junca, Stephen of Ariminum, Paschasius from Altinum, and Jordanes of Croton by this promulgation of our sentence. decree that you, Theodore, formerly bishop of the city of Caesarea in Cappadocia, are stripped both of priestly dignity and catholic communion and of every episcopal office and faculty.” (The Emperor’s letter of excommunication to Ascidas and Menas of Constantinople).

St. Nicephoruse

“Without whom (the Romans presiding in the seventh Council) a doctrine brought forward in the Church could not, even though confirmed by canonical decrees and by ecclesiastical usuage, ever obtain full approval or currency. For it is they (the Popes of Rome) who have had assigned to them the rule in sacred things, and who have received into their hands the dignity of headship among the Apostles.” (Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople [A.D. 758–828], Niceph. Cpl. pro. s. imag. c 25 [Mai N. Bibl. pp. ii. 30]).

St. Alcuin of York

“Let no Catholic dare to contend against the authority of the Church; and that he may not be found to be a schismatic or a non-Catholic, let him follow the most trustworthy authority of the Roman Church;...that the members be not separated from their Head; that the hearer of the Keys of the heavenly kingdom may not reject them as having deviated from his doctrines.” (Epistle LXX [A.D. 780]).

The Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne

“The Church of Rome is above the rest and must always be consulted on matters of faith. Scripture and doctrine are authenticated by Rome.” (likely written by St. Alcuin, Libri Carolini 1.6; Edward James Martin, a History of the Iconoclastic Controversy).

The Second Council of Nicaea (The Seventh Ecumenical Council)

“If following the traditions of the orthodox Faith, you embrace the judgment of the Church of blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles, and, as of old your predecessors the holy Emperors acted, so you, too, venerating it with honour, love with all your heart his Vicar, and if your sacred majesty follow by preference their orthodox Faith, according to our holy Roman Church. May the chief of the Apostles himself, to whom the power was given by our Lord God to bind and remit sins in heaven and earth, be often your protector, and trample all barbarous nations under your feet, and everywhere make you conquerors. For let sacred authority lay open the marks of his dignity, and how great veneration ought to be shown to his, the highest See, by all the faithful in the world. For the Lord set him who bears the keys of the kingdom of heaven as chief over all, and by Him is he honoured with this privilege, by which the keys of the kingdom of heaven are entrusted to him. He, therefore, that was preferred with so exalted an honour was thought worthy to confess that Faith on which the Church of Christ is founded. A blessed reward followed that blessed confession, by the preaching of which the holy universal Church was illumined, and from it the other Churches of God have derived the proofs of Faith. For the blessed Peter himself, the chief of the Apostles, who first sat in the Apostolic See, left the chiefship of his Apostolate, and pastoral care, to his successors, who are to sit in his most holy seat forever. And that power of authority, which he received from the Lord God our Saviour, he too bestowed and delivered by divine command to the Pontiffs, his successors, etc.” (Session 2, Pope Hadrian I's Letter [A.D. 787]).

“save for the authority of our holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, as is plain to all. Because if he be named Universal, above the holy Roman Church which has a prior rank, which is the head of all the Churches of God” (Session 2, Pope Hadrian I's Letter [A.D. 787]).

“the holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church” (Session 2, Pope Hadrian I's Letter [A.D. 787]).

“Let that false assembly, which without the Apostolic See … was held contrary to the traditions of the venerable fathers against the divine images, be declared anathema in the presence of our delegates, and let the word of our Lord Jesus Christ be fulfilled, that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against her” (Matt. 16:18); and again: ‘Thou art Peter …’ (Matt. 16:18–19), whose throne holding the first place in all the world shines forth and holds its place as the head of the whole Church of God.” (Pope Hadrian I, Epistle 1, Quod ad dilectionem, read at the 7th Ecunmenical Council of Nicaea II, to the schismatic bishops of Istria)

“They who receive the dignity of the empire, or the honour of the principal priesthood from our Lord Jesus Christ, ought to provide and to care for those things which please him, and rule and govern the people committed to their care according to his will and good pleasure.

“Therefore, O Most Holy Head [Caput], it is incumbent upon us and you, that irreprehensibly we know the things which be his, and that in these we exercise ourselves, since from him we have received the imperial dignity, and you the dignity of the chief priesthood.” (Divine Sacra, sent by the Emperors Constantine and Irene to the Most Holy and Most Blessed Hadrian, Pope of Old Rome).

“Constantine and Irene — Sovereigns of the Romans in the Faith, to the most holy Bishops, who, by the grace of God and by the command of our pious Sovereignty, have met together in the Council of Nicaea.

“The Wisdom which is truly according to the nature of God and the Father — our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God — who, by his most divine and wonderful dispensation in the flesh, has delivered us from all idolatrous error: and, by taking on him our nature, has renewed the same by the co-operation of the Spirit, which is of the same nature with himself; and having himself become the first High Priest, has counted you holy men, worthy of the same dignity.

“He is that good Shepherd who, bearing on his own shoulders that wandering sheep — fallen man, has brought him back to his own peculiar folds — that is, the party of angelic and ministering powers [Ephesians 2:14-15], and has reconciled us in himself and having taken away the wall of partition, has broken down the enmity through his flesh, and has bestowed upon us a rule of conduct tending to peace” (The Imperial Sacra, read at the first session).

“Peter and Peter the most beloved-of-God presbyters who held the place of Hadrian, the most holy pope of Rome, said: We ourselves received such letters from our apostolic father and delivered them to the pious lords…Peter and Peter, the God-loved presbyters and legates of the Apostolic See, said: Let the holy Synod say whether it receives the letters of the most holy Pope of Old Rome.” (Readings of Papal legates at Session 2)


St. Theodore the Studite

“In truth we have seen that a manifest successor of the prince of the Apostles presides over the Roman Church. We truly believe that Christ has not deserted the Church here (Constantinople), for assistance from you has been our one and only aid from of old and from the beginning by the providence of God in the critical times. You are, indeed the untroubled and pure fount of orthodoxy from the beginning, you the calm harbor of the whole Church, far removed from the waves of heresy, you the God-chosen city of refuge.” (St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople [A.D. 759–826] Letter of St. Theodor & Four Abbots to Pope Paschal).

“Let him (Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople) assemble a synod of those with whom he has been at variance, if it is impossible that representatives of the other Patriarchs should be present, a thing which might certainly be if the Emperor should wish the Western Patriarch (the Roman Pope) to be present, to whom is given authority over an ecumenical synod; but let him make peace and union by sending his synodical letters to the prelate of the First See.” (Theodore the Studite, Patr. Graec. 99, 1420).

“Since to great Peter Christ our Lord gave the office of Chief Shepherd after entrusting him with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, to Peter or his successor must of necessity every novelty in the Catholic Church be referred. [Therefore], save us, oh most divine Head of Heads, Chief Shepherd of the Church of Heaven.” (Theodore, writing to Pope Leo III, Bk. I. Ep. 23 [Patrologia Graeca 99]).

“Hear, O Apostolic Head, divinely-appointed Shepherd of Christ’s sheep, keybearer of the Kingdom of Heaven, Rock of the Faith upon whom the Catholic Church is built. For Peter art thou, who adornest and governest the Chair of Peter. Hither, then, from the West, imitator of Christ, arise and repel not for ever (Ps. xliii. 23). To thee spake Christ our Lord: ‘And thou being one day converted, shalt strengthen thy brethren.’ Behold the hour and the place. Help us, thou that art set by God for this. Stretch forth thy hand so far as thou canst. Thou hast strength with God, through being the first of all. (Letter of St. Theodore and four other Abbots to Pope Paschal, Bk. ii Ep. 12, Patr. Graec. 99, 1152–3).

“Order that the declaration from old Rome be received, as was the custom by Tradition of our Fathers from of old and from the beginning. For this, O Emperor, is the highests of the Churches of God, in which first Peter held the Chair, to whom the Lord said: “Thou art Peter …and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Theodore, Writing to Emperor Michael of Constantinople, Bk. II. Ep. 86).

“I witness now before God and men, they have torn themselves away from the Body of Christ, from the Surpreme See (Rome), in which Christ placed the keys of the Faith, against which the gates of hell (I mean the mouth of heretics) have not prevailed, and never will until the Consummation, according to the promise of Him Who cannot lie. Let the blessed and Apostolic Paschal (Pope St. Paschal I) rejoice therefore, for he has fulfilled the work of Peter.” (Theodore Bk. II. Ep. 63).

"If they, arrogating authority, have not feared to summon a heretical council, who could not even summon an orthodox one without your authority, according to the ancient custom, how much more is it just and even necessary to hold a lawful one under your divine leadership… (Letter to Pope Leo III).

“We venerate images….not because we are assured that we are right by the second holy synod of Nicaea or by that which earlier decided divinely, but from the very coming of our lord and God in writing and without writing we have been made firm and rest securely upon that [Roman] See to which Christ say – you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church , and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

“Now is the acceptable time that we [the Byzantine Church riddled with Iconoclasm] … should unite ourselves with Rome, the summit of the Churches of God, and through her to the three other Patriarchs [Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem]. (Letter to the Byzantine Emperor).

“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.” (Epistola ad Renatum Presbyterum Romanum).

Theodore Abu Qurrah

“You should understand that the head of the Apostles was Saint Peter, to whom Christ said, “You are the rock; and on this rock I shall build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.” After his resurrection, he also said to him three times, while on the shore of the sea of Tiberius, “Simon, do you love me? Feed my lambs, rams and ewes.” In another passage, he said to him, “Simon, Satan will ask to sift you like wheat, and I prayed that you not lose your faith; but you, at that time, have compassion on your brethren and strengthen them.” Do you not see that Saint Peter is the foundation of the Church, selected to shepherd it, that those who believe in his faith will never lose their faith, and that he was ordered to have compassion on his brethren and to strengthen them?

“As for Christ’s words, “I have prayed for you, that you not lose your faith; but you, have compassion on your brethren, at that time, and strengthen them”, we do not think that he meant Saint Peter himself. Rather, he meant nothing more than the holders of the seat of Saint Peter, that is, Rome. Just as when he said to the apostles, “I am with you always, until the end of the age”, he did not mean just the apostles themselves, but also those who would be in charge of their seats and their flocks; in the same way, when he spoke his last words to Saint Peter, “Have compassion, at that time, and strengthen your brethren; and your faith will not be lost”, he meant by this nothing other than the holders of his seat.

“Yet another indication of this is the fact that among the Apostles it was Saint Peter alone who lost his faith and denied Christ, which Christ may have allowed to happen to Peter so as to teach us that it was not Peter that he meant by these words. Moreover, we know of no Apostle who fell and needed Saint Peter to strengthen him. If someone says that Christ meant by these words only Saint Peter himself, this person causes the Church to lack someone to strengthen it after the death of Saint Peter. How could this happen, especially when we see all the sifting of the Church that came from Satan after the Apostles’ death? All of this indicates that Christ did not mean them by these words. Indeed, everyone knows that the heretics attacked the Church only after the death of the Apostles – Paul of Samosata, Arius, Macedonius, Eunomius, Sabelllius, Apollinaris, Origen, and others. If he meant by these words in the Gospel only Saint Peter, the Church would have been deprived of comfort and would have had no one to deliver her from those heretics, whose heresies are truly “the gates of hell”, which Christ said would not overcome the Church. Accordingly, there is no doubt that he meant by these words nothing other than the holders of the seat of Saint Peter, who have continually strengthened their brethren and will not cease to do so as long as this present age lasts.” (On the Councils, by scholar Theodore Abu Qurrah, Bishop of Haran, Syria [A.D. 820]).

“As for us, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, our sole goal is to build ourselves on the foundation of Saint Peter, he who directed the six holy councils. These councils were gathered by command of the Bishop of Rome, the city of the world. Whoever sits on that city’s throne is authorized by Christ to have compassion on the people of the Church, by summoning the ecumenical council, and to strengthen them, even as we have demonstrated in other places. We ask Christ to confirm us in this forever, that we might inherit through it his kingdom, in that we have joined with it the doing of his commandments. To him be praise, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and forever.” (On the Death of Christ, Theodore Abu Qurrah. John C. Lamoreaux, translator. (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 2005), pp. 68-69; 128.).

Sts. Cyril & Methodius

“It is not true, as this Canon states, that the holy Fathers gave the primacy to old Rome because it was the capital of the Empire; it is from on high, from divine grace, that this primacy drew its origin. Because of the intensity of his faith Peter, the first of the Apostles, was addressed in these words by our Lord Jesus Christ himself ‘Peter, lovest thou me? Feed my sheep’. That is why in hierarchical order Rome holds the pre-eminent place and is the first See. That is why the leges of old Rome are eternally immovable, and that is the view of all the Churches” (Methodius — -N. Brianchaninov, The Russian Church (1931), 46; cited by Butler, Church and Infallibility, 210) (Upon This Rock (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1999), p. 177 [c. A.D. 865]).

“Because of his primacy, the Pontiff of Rome is not required to attend an Ecumenical Council; but without his participation, manifested by sending some subordinates, every Ecumenical Council is as non-existent, for it is he who presides over the Council.” (Ibid).

Pope St. Nicholas I the Great

“The privileges of this see are perpetual, divinely rooted and also planted. One can strike against them but not transfer them; one can drag them but not tear them out. Those matters which were formerly your domain remain, thanks be to God, insofar as they are inviolate; they will remain after you and so long as the Christian name will be preached, they will not cease to exist…. For among other things, these privileges are especially conferred through us, ‘You later being converted,’ he heard from the Lord, ‘confirm your brethren.’ [Lk 22:32] ” (Pope Saint Nicholas I, Letter to the Emperor Michael III [A.D. 858-867]).

“Since, according to the canons, where there is a greater authority, the judgment of the inferiors must be brought to it to be annulled or to be substantiated, certainly it is evident that the judgment of the Apostolic See, of whose authority there is none greater, is to be refused by no one….”

[Pope Saint Nicholas I, Letter Proposueramus quidem to Emperor Michael, Denzinger n. 638-641.]

“Neither by the emperor nor by all the clergy nor by kings minor by the people will the judge be judged [These words are cited as those of Pope Sylvester I] . . . “The first See will not be judged by anyone . . .” (Pope Nicholas I: Letter Proposueramus quidem to Emperor Michael [A.D. September 28, 865]).

“Certainly it is evident that the judgment of the Apostolic See, of whose authority there is none greater, is to be refused by no one . . . the judgment of the Roman bishop being no longer open for reconsideration . . . (Pope Nicholas I: Letter Proposueramus quidem to Emperor Michael).

“…Furthermore, if you do not listen to us [Rome], it remains that you be held by us as our Lord Jesus Christ enjoins us to hold those who refuse to hear the Church of God; especially since the privileges of the Roman Church confirmed in St. Peter by the words of Christ, ordained in the Church itself, observed from of old, proclaimed by the holy universal synods and ever venerated by the whole Church, can by no means be diminished, infringed, or altered, since no effort of man has power to remove a foundation which God has laid, and what God has established stands firm and unshakable….These privileges, then, were bestowed on this holy Church by Christ: they were not bestowed by the Synod but were merely proclaimed and held in veneration by them….it is immediately clear that the judgments of the Apostolic See, than which there is no greater authority, cannot be handled by any other tribunal, nor is it permissible for any to sit in judgement upon its decision…

“The entire Church over the entire world knows that the Chair of Blessed Peter has the right to loose what has been bound by the sentences of any bishop whatsoever, as the See of Peter is entitled to jurisdiction over any Church, while no one is entitled to pass judgement on its decision, for the canons have permitted that appeals should be directed to it from all the world, but no one is permitted to appeal its decision….The Apostolic See has often had the freedom (facultas), without a Synod preceding it, to loose those whom a Synod had unjustly condemned, and also, if necessary, to condemn others without the convocation of a Synod….

“...and thus he [the Pope] judges the whole Church and himself stands before no tribunal and no judgment can be passed on his judgment, nor can his decision be abrogated” (Pope Nicholas, Preposueramus Quidem, 865 AD, to the Emperor Michael, Epistle 8; Mansi xv. 196).

“If anyone condemns dogmas, mandates, interdicts, sanctions, or decrees, promulgated by the one presiding in the Apostolic See, for the Catholic faith, for the correction of the faithful, for the emendation of criminals, either by an interdict of threatening or of future ills, let him be anathema.” [Roman Council 860 and 863; Denzinger 326].

“Neither by the emperor nor by all the clergy nor by kings nor by the people will the judge be judged…. The first See will not be judged by anyone.” [Denzinger n. 638].

“Certainly it is evident that the judgment of the Apostolic See, of whose authority there is none greater, is to be refused by no one … the judgment of the Roman bishop being no longer open for reconsideration. [Letter Proposueramus quidem to Emperor Michael, September 28, 865; Denz. 641].

The Council of Constantinople 869

“Because the sentence of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot be past by , who ways, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’, these words are proved by the real effect which has followed; because in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has ever been kept immaculate, and holy doctrine celebrated there. Wherefore, by no mens desiring to be separated from its faith and doctrine, and following in all things the constitutions of the Fathers, and chiefly of the holy Prelates of the Apostolic See, we anathematize all heresies…Condemning particularly, Photius and Gregory of Syracuse, parricides, that is, who have not feared to put out their tongue against their Spiritual father [Pope Nicholas of Rome]. Since, following in all things the Apostolic See, and observing in all things the Apostolic See, and observing in all things its constitutions, we hope that we may be worthy to be in one communion which the Apostolic See sets forth, in which is the complete and true solidity of the Christian religion. But this my profession I have written with my own hand, and delivered to thee, most holy Hadrian [the Pope current] Supreme Pontiff and Universal Pope” (Papal legates asked that every Bishops should sign this profession of faith, Mansi XVI, 27 [ Ybarra: “Church Fathers & Papal Infallibility”]).

“Of the wounds and sores of human members, art has produced many physicians; of whom one has treated this disease, and another tha, using in their experience amputation or cure. But of these, which are in the members of our Saviour Christ and God, the Head of us all, and of His spouse the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Supreme Chief and most powerful Word, Orderer, and Healer, and Master, the God of all, hath produced one singular pre-eminent and most Catholic physician, your fraternal Holiness, and paternal goodness. Wherefore He said to Peter, the great and supreme Apostle, ‘Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church’, and again, ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom, and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven’. For such blessed words He did not, surely, according to a sort of lot, circumscribe and define to the prince of the Apostles alone [to exclusively Peter], but transmitted by him [Peter] to all , who, after him, according to him, were to be made supreme pastors, and most divine and sacred Pontiffs of OLDEN ROME. And, therefore, from of old, and the ancient times, when heresies and contradictions have arisen, many of those who preceded there your Holiness and supreme Paternity, have many times been made the pluckers-up and destroyers of evil tares, and of sick members, plague-struck and incurable: being, that is, successors of the prince of the Apostles, and imitating his zeal in the faith, according to Christ: and now in our times, your Holiness hath worthily exercised the power given to you by Christ.” (Patriach Ignatius of Constantinople, Letter to St. Pope Nicholas the Great, Mansi, XVI, 47).

“That headship of divine power, which the Maker of all things has bestowed on his elect Apostles, he hath, by establishing its solidity on the unshaken faith of Peter, prince of the Apostles, made his see pre-eminent, yea, the First. For, by the word of the Lord it was said to him, ‘Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church’. Moreover, Peter so entirely ceases not to maintain for his own people the structure of the Universal Church unshaken and rooted in the strength of faith, from the firmness of the Rock, which is Christ, that he hastens to reform by the rule of right faith the madness of the wandering. For, according to the faithful maintenance of the Apostolical tradition, as yourselves know, the holy Fathers have often met, by whom it has both been resolved and observed, that without the consent of the Roman See and the Roman Pontiff no emergent deliberation should be terminated” (St. Pope Nicholas the Great to Emperor Michael, Mansi XVI, 59).

“Because the whole number of believers seeks doctrine, asks for the integrity of the faith, and those who are worthy the deliverance from crimes — from this holy Roman Church, which is the head of all churches, it behoves us, to whom it is entrusted, to be anxious, and the more fervently to be set on watch over the Lord’s flock…” (St. Pope Nicholas the Great to Photius, Mansi XVI, 69).

“Wherefore, because, as your wisdom knows, we are bound by the care of all Christ’s sheep, holding through the abundance of heavenly grace, his place, to whom is especially said by God, ‘Feed My sheep’, and again ‘And thou, when thou are converted, confirm they brethren’ we could not dissimulate or reglect, but that we should visit our sheep dispersed and scattered, and confirm in the faith and good conduct our brethren and neighbors” (St. Pope Nicholas the Great to all Archbishops, Metropolitans, and Bishops subject to Constantinople, Mansi XVI , 101).

“Obey those set over you, and be subject to them, for they watch for your souls, as those that shall give account: thus Paul the great Apostle commands. Therefore, holding the most blessed Pope Nicholas for the organ of the Holy Spirit, as too, most holy Pope Hadrian, his successor, we decree and approve that all things, which by them at different times have been set forth and promulged synodically, as well for the defense of the Church of Constantinople, as for the expulsion of the Photius, be kept and maintained” (Canon 2, Mansi XVI, 160).

“We believe that the saying of the Lord that Christ addressed to his holy apostles and disciples, Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever despises you despises me, was also addressed to all who were likewise made supreme pontiffs and chief pastors in succession to them in the catholic church. Therefore we declare that no secular powers should treat with disrespect any of those who hold the office of patriarch or seek to move them from their high positions, but rather they should esteem them as worthy of all honour and reverence. This applies in the first place to the most holy pope of old Rome, secondly to the patriarch of Constantinople, and then to the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. Furthermore, nobody else should compose or edit writings or tracts against the most holy pope of old Rome, on the pretext of making incriminating charges, as Photius did recently and Dioscorus a long time ago. Whoever shows such great arrogance and audacity, after the manner of Photius and Dioscorus, and makes false accusations in writing or speech against the see of Peter, the chief of the apostles, let him receive a punishment equal to theirs.

“If, then, any ruler or secular authority tries to expel the aforesaid pope of the apostolic see, or any of the other patriarchs, let him be anathema. Furthermore, if a universal synod is held and any question or controversy arises about the holy church of Rome, it should make inquiries with proper reverence and respect about the question raised and should find a profitable solution; it must on no account pronounce sentence rashly against the supreme pontiffs of old Rome.” (Canon 21, Mansi XVI, 174).

Pope Hadrian II

“Although we have read of the Roman pontiff having passed judgement on the bishops of all the churches, we have not read of anyone having passed judgement on him. For even though Honorius was anathematized after this death by the easterners, it should be known that he had been accused of heresy, which is the only offence where inferiors have the right to resist the initiatives of their superiors or are free to reject their false opinions, although even in this case no patriarch or other bishop has the right of passing any judgement on him unless the consent of the pontiff of the same first see has authorized it.” (Pope Adrian II speaking at the Roman Synod of A.D. 869-70, from the Acts of Constantinople IV, ed. Leonardi, 238).

Pope John VIII

“Since it has seemed desirable to us to bring peace to the Church of God, we have sent our legates so that they might execute our will, even though, in your charity, you have already anticipated us, in reinstating Photius. We accept this action, which was done not by our own authority, even though we have the power to do it, but in obedience to the apostolic teachings. Since in fact we have received the keys of the kingdom of heaven from the High Priest, Jesus Christ, by the intermediary of the First of the Apostles to whom the Lord said: ‘I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; everything which you will bind upon earth will be found to be bound in heaven and everything which you will loose upon earth, will be found to be loosed in heaven’; therefore this apostolic throne [Roman bishop] has the power to bind and loose, and this according to the words of Jeremiah, to uproot and to plant. This is why, by the authority of Peter, the prince of the Apostles, we announce to you in union with the whole Church and through you as intermediary, we announce to our dear confreres and concelebrants, the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem and to the other bishops and priests and to all the Church of Constantinople, that we are in agreement with you, or rather in agreement with God, and that we consent to your reques…Accept this man without any hesitation” (Letter to Emperor Basil I, to reinstate Photius upon the death of St. Ignatius of Constantinople. Excersing universal jurisdiction. Mansi 17, 400 [c. A.D. 878]).

Patriarch Photius I of Constantinople

“we may well ask who is the master who has taught you to act in this fashion? – surely, above all, it is Peter, the leaders of the Apostles whom the Lord has placed at the head of all the churches, when he said to him ‘Feed My sheep’. Nor is it only Peter, but also the holy synods and constitutions. And besides, it was the holy and orthodox decrees established by the fathers, as is clear from your divine and holy letters.” (Letter to John VIII, from Francis Dvornik’s Byzantium and the Roman Primacy, pg. 107-118).


“… there came into my possession the apology of the Roman pope, John IV, on behalf of Pope Honorius who was attacked by false accusers because he had written about only one will of our Lord Jesus Christ. This apology indeed makes it excusable enough, I believe, although the sixth holy council declared the anathema on him as if he were a heretic. And it pierced with the weapon of reproach him who was placed in the judgment of God alone, since a heretic springs not so much from the deceit of errors as from a wrong choice and an opinion that is argumentatively obstinate. But meanwhile, who is there amongst us who can say whether he dictated the letter from which his accusers took the kindling for his anathema, since such a thing could also have happened by either the scribe’s lack of discipline, or from hatred towards the Pope?… nothing other seems to be commanded by the great teachers of the Church than that we give the benefit of the doubt in interpreting those deeds when the spirit in which they were done is not known…. It is rash to judge them, and particularly rash to condemn them… But lest we seem to be making an accusation against a council so holy and venerable, or to criticise it carelessly, we think it fitting for us to consider them in the way we know our holy fathers considered the great council of Chalcedon. One of them, namely holy Pope Gregory, indicated that this was to be accepted only ‘up to the issuing of the canons’… But look, while our wordy preface is being directed to you, we have retreated far from my work of translating, digressing to show that in the rock of the apostolic see , as far as the faith is concerned, not even through the agency of Honorius has there been found any trace of the serpent, that is, of the virulent sect. Therefore accept the already mentioned apology of Pope John for Honorius. Accept the apology for the same Honorius from the excerpted letter of Maximus the Monk and truly a philosopher and martyr for Christ our God, sent to the priest Marinus.” (Anastasius, the papal librarian (A.D. 810-878), indicates that the 6th Council’s anathema of Pope Honorius was not binding. Seventh-Century Popes and Martyrs: The Political Hagiography of Anastasius Bibliothecarius (Turnhout, Belgium: Brespols, 2006), 151-157).


St. Symeon the New Theologian

“One should not contradict the Latins when they say that the Bishop of Rome is the first. This primacy is not harmful to the Church. Let them only prove his faithfulness to the faith of Peter and to that of the successors of Peter. If it is so, let him enjoy all the privileges of Pontiff. Let the Bishop of Rome be successor of the orthodoxy of Sylvester and Agatho, of Leo, Liberius, Martin and Gregory, then we also will call him Apostolic and the first among the other bishops; then we also will obey him, not only as Peter, but as the Savior Himself.” (Symeon the New Theologian, Dialogue Against Heresies 23, PG 155:120 AC; cited in Meyendorff, The Primacy of Peter [A.D. 949–1022]).

Pope Saint Leo IX

“Without a doubt, it was for he alone whom the Lord and Savior asserted that he prayed that his faith would not fail, saying, ‘I have prayed for thee, etc.’ [Lk 22:32]. Such a venerable and efficacious prayer obtained that to this point the faith of Peter has not failed, nor can it be believed that it is ever going to fail in his throne.” (Pope Saint Leo IX (1049-54), Epistle to Peter of Antioch).

“By the See of the Chief of the Apostles, namely by the Roman Church, through the same Peter, as well as through his successors, have not the comments of all the heretics been disapproved, rejected, and overcome, and the hearts of the brethren in the faith of Peter — which so far neither has failed, nor up to the end will fail — been strengthened?” [In Terra Pax Hominibus; Denz. 351 [September 2, A.D. 1053]).

“… You are said to have condemned publicly in a strange presumption and incredible boldness the Apostolic and Latin Church, neither heard nor refuted, for the reason chiefly that it dared to celebrate the commemoration of the passion of the Lord from the Azymes. Behold your incautious reprehension, behold your evil boasting, when “you put your mouth into heaven. When your tongue passing on to the earth” [Ps. 72:9], by human arguments and conjectures attempts to uproot and overturn the ancient faith.…

“… The Holy Church built upon a Rock, that is Christ, and upon Peter or Cephas, the son of John who first was called Simon, because by the gates of Hell, that is, by the disputations of heretics which lead the vain to destruction, it would never be overcome; thus Truth itself promises, through whom are true, whatsoever things are true: “The gates of hell will not prevail against it” [Matt. 16:18]. The same Son declares that He obtained the effect of this promise from the Father by prayers, by saying to Peter: “Simon, behold Satan etc.” [Luke 23:31]. Therefore, will there be anyone so foolish as to dare to regard His prayer as in anyway vain whose being willing is being able? By the See of the chief of the Apostles, namely by the Roman Church, through the same Peter, as well as through his successors, have not the comments of all the heretics been disapproved, rejected, and overcome, and the hearts of the brethren in the faith of Peter which so far neither has failed, nor up to the end will fail, been strengthened?… By passing a preceding judgment on the great See, concerning which it is not permitted any man to pass judgment, you have received anathema from all the Fathers of all the venerable Councils… As the hinge while remaining immovable opens and closes the door, so Peter and his successors have free judgment over all the Church, since no one should remove their status because “the highest See is judged by no one.” (From the epistle “In terra pax hominibus” to Emperor Michael Cerularius and to Leo of Achrida, September 2, 1053 ; Denzinger, H., & Rahner, K. (Eds.). (1954). The sources of Catholic dogma. (R. J. Deferrari, Trans.) (p. 142). St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co.).

List of Popes

  1. St. Peter (32-67)

  2. St. Linus (67-76)

  3. St. Evaristus (97-105)

  4. St. Alexander I (105-115)

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

  6. St. Telesphorus (125-136)

  7. St. Hyginus (136-140)

  8. St. Pius I (140-155)

  9. St. Anicetus (155-166)

  10. St. Soter (166-175)

  11. St. Eleutherius (175-189)

  12. St. Victor I (189-199)

  13. St. Zephyrinus (199-217)

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

  15. St. Urban I (222-30)

  16. St. Pontian (230-35)

  17. St. Anterus (235-36)

  18. St. Fabian (236-50)

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

  20. St. Lucius I (253-54)

  21. St. Stephen I (254-257)

  22. St. Sixtus II (257-258)

  23. St. Dionysius (260-268)

  24. St. Felix I (269-274)

  25. St. Eutychian (275-283)

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

  27. St. Marcellinus (296-304)

  28. St. Marcellus I (308-309)

  29. St. Eusebius (309 or 310)

  30. St. Miltiades (311-14)

  31. St. Julius I (337-52)

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

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

  34. St. Siricius (384-99)

  35. St. Zosimus (417-18)

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

  37. St. Hilarius (461-68)

  38. Anastasius II (496-98)

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

  40. St. Hormisdas (514-23)

  41. St. John I (523-26)

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

  43. John II (533-35)

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

  45. St. Silverius (536-37)

  46. Vigilius (537-55)

  47. Pelagius I (556-61)

  48. John III (561-74)

  49. Benedict I (575-79)

  50. Pelagius II (579-90)

  51. Sabinian (604-606)

  52. Boniface V (619-25)

  53. Honorius I (625-38)

  54. Severinus (640)

  55. John IV (640-42)

  56. Theodore I (642-49)

  57. St. Martin I (649-55)

  58. St. Eugene I (655-57)

  59. St. Vitalian (657-72)

  60. Donus (676-78)

  61. St. Agatho (678-81)

  62. St. Leo II (682-83)

  63. John V (685-86)

  64. Conon (686-87)

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

  66. John VI (701-05)

  67. John VII (705-07)

  68. Sisinnius (708)

  69. Constantine (708-15)

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

  71. St. Paul I (757-67)

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

  73. Adrian I (772-95)

  74. St. Leo III (795-816)

  75. St. Paschal I (817-24)

  76. Eugene II (824-27)

  77. Valentine (827)

  78. Gregory IV (827-44)

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

  80. St. Leo IV (847-55)

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

  82. Adrian II (867-72)

  83. John VIII (872-82)

  84. Marinus I (882-84)

  85. St. Adrian III (884-85)

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

  87. Formosus (891-96)

  88. Romanus (897)

  89. John IX (898-900)

  90. Benedict IV (900-03)

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

  92. Sergius III (904-11)

  93. Anastasius III (911-13)

  94. Lando (913-14)

  95. John X (914-28)

  96. Leo VI (928)

  97. Stephen VIII (929-31)

  98. John XI (931-35)

  99. Leo VII (936-39)

  100. Stephen IX (939-42)

  101. Marinus II (942-46)

  102. Agapetus II (946-55)

  103. John XII (955-63)

  104. Leo VIII (963-64)

  105. Benedict V (964)

  106. John XIII (965-72)

  107. Benedict VI (973-74)

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

  109. John XIV (983-84)

  110. John XV (985-96)

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

  112. Sylvester II (999-1003)

  113. John XVII (1003)

  114. John XVIII (1003-09)

  115. Sergius IV (1009-12)

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

  117. John XIX (1024-32)

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

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

  120. Benedict IX (1045)

  121. Gregory VI (1045-46)

  122. Clement II (1046-47)

  123. Benedict IX (1047-48)

  124. Damasus II (1048)

  125. 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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