"The blessed Apostles, 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." St. Irenaeus ("Against All
Heresies," c. 180 A.D.)
"But since it would take too long to set out here the successions of all
the churches, we shall turn to that great, ancient and universally known church
founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul,
and we shall show that the tradition it has received of the apostles and the
faith that it preaches to men has come down to our time through the regular
succession of its bishops; and thus we shall confute all those who, in whatever
way, whether by self-complacency, vainglory, blindness or error, enter into
unauthorized assemblies. For it is with this Roman church, by reason of
its more powerful pre-eminence that every other church, that is to say all the
faithful everywhere, ought to agree, inasmuch as in this church the apostolic
tradition has been preserved continuously by those who come from everywhere."
("Against All Heresies," c. 180 A.D.)
"Cornelius 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." St. Cyprian OfCarthage ("Epistle 53 to Antonius,"
c. 250 A.D.)
"On him (Peter) He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command
to feed the sheep, 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.... 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?" St. Cyprian OfCarthage ("On the Unity of the Catholic Church," 251
"In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the
apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, in the name of
Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is
now called Diospolis (Acts 9:32-34)."
St. Cyril of Jerusalem ("Catechetical Lectures" c. 350 A.D.)
"[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of
the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its
buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for
me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will
condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows;
you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all
peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen
you to be, as it were, the first-born in my institution so that, as the heir,
you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom.
Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures." St. Ephraim of Syria ("Homily 4," c. 351 A.D.)
"In the city of Rome the episcopal chair was
given first to Peter, the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head--that
is why he is also called Cephas ['Rock']--of all the
apostles, the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the
apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would [presume to]
set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very
fact, be a schismatic and a sinner. . . . Recall, then, the origins of
your chair, those of you who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy
Church." St. Optatus
("The Schism of the Donatists," c. 367
"[Christ] made answer: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build
my Church . . .' Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom,
acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock,
thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?"
St. Ambrose of Milan ("The Faith," c. 379 A.D.)
"They (the Novatian heretics) have not the
succession of Peter, who hold not the chair of Peter, which they rend by wicked
schism; and this, too, they do, wickedly denying that sins can be forgiven (by
the sacrament of confession) even in the Church, whereas it was said to
Peter: '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 shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in
Heaven.'" St. Ambrose of Milan ("On Penance," 388 A.D.)
"It is to Peter that He says: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I
will build My Church' (Matthew ).
Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church, no
death is there, but life eternal."St.
Ambrose of Milan ("Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David" c. 389
"(Pope) Stephen . . . was the blessed Peter's twenty-second successor
in the See of Rome." St. Jerome ("Against the Luciferians"
c. 383 A.D.)
"'But,' you [Jovinian] will say, 'it was on
Peter that the Church was founded' [Matt. ]. Well . . . one among the twelve is
chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for
("Against Jovinian," c. 393 A.D.)
"I think it is my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a
church (Rome) whose faith has been
praised by Paul. I appeal for spiritual food to the church whence I have
received the garb of Christ." St. Jerome ("Letter 15," 396 A.D.)
"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none, but
the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has
been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane.
Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood
("Letter 15," 396 A.D.)
"Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida
in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of
the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having
preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of
Claudius to over-throw Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for
twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his
hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his
head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was
unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord." St. Jerome ("Lives of Illustrious Men," c. 396 A.D.)
"If all men throughout the world were such as you most vainly accuse
them of having been, what has the chair of the Roman church done to you, in
which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits
of Hippo ("Against the Letters of Petilani"
c. 402 A.D.)
"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to
represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which
only he bore, he deserved to hear 'I will give to you the keys of the kingdom
of Heaven.'" St. Augustine of Hippo ("Sermon 295,"
c. 411 A.D.)
"If the very order of episcopal succession
is to be considered, how much more surely, truly and safely do we number them
from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord
said, 'Upon this rock I will build my Church...' Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement
by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus...." St. Augustine of Hippo ("Letter 53," 412 A.D.)
"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed
of Hippo ("Commentary on John," c. 416 A.D.)
"Steadfast in the fear of God, and in faith immovable, upon [St.
Patrick] as upon Peter the [Irish] church is built; and he has been allotted
his apostleship by God; against him the gates of Hell prevail not." St. Sechnall of Ireland ("Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick," c. 444 A.D.)