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Pope John VIII

Keys, Papal Authority, Prince of the Apostles, Universal Jurisdiction

“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]).

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