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Supremacy of Peter

Cleopas

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The following is taken/amended from another thread, where this was mentioned as an aside. I felt that it would be an interesting topic of it's own. Obviously my position denies the supremacy of Peter (viz., the Roman Pope). Why?

Peter declares in his epistle, by his own hand, and under divine inspiration no less, that he was only one among the bishops (sumpresbuteros). See 1 Peter 5:1

Note the use of sumpresbuteros, a variant of presbuteros, implying "part of the whole" or "one among equals." Peter thus denies any supremacy of his role as a bishop or elder in the church. In fact  Peter who uses the only reference in the NT to designate the shepherd of supremacy in the church, and he does not use it of himself. Rather he uses the designation to refer to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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Spot on. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, not any mortal man. The Pope, when he was Orthodox, was one among our bishops, with all honor due him as a bishop, and even with greater honor since his was the seat of St. Peter and located in the capital of the Empire. But never have we Orthodox given supremacy to any bishop. All are equal and all are under Christ.
 

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Cleopas said:
The following is taken/amended from another thread, where this was mentioned as an aside. I felt that it would be an interesting topic of it's own. Obviously my position denies the supremacy of Peter (viz., the Roman Pope). Why?

Peter declares in his epistle, by his own hand, and under divine inspiration no less, that he was only one among the bishops (sumpresbuteros). See 1 Peter 5:1

Note the use of sumpresbuteros, a variant of presbuteros, implying "part of the whole" or "one among equals." Peter thus denies any supremacy of his role as a bishop or elder in the church. In fact  Peter who uses the only reference in the NT to designate the shepherd of supremacy in the church, and he does not use it of himself. Rather he uses the designation to refer to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I answer by saying that you have to synthesize the entire bible, and not just use one quote to hastily conclude anything. When there are 10 quotes for example, we should not pick one of them and try to fit in the other 9 by it. Rather, we need to balance all of the quotes, or scriptures as the case may be. All heresies can be summed up Thessaly:

They take one quote and make it absolute, and ignore the rest.

Every church denomination is guilty of this.

In the case of non-sole-scriptura Christans, they have to synthesize not only every bible verse, but the sayings of the church fathers. But even in the case of the sayings of the church fathers, you'll see heresies forming from someone trying to deduce all of the quotes by only one quote.

How far we have fallen. God have mercy on us.
 

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earlychurch said:
I answer by saying that you have to synthesize the entire bible, and not just use one quote to hastily conclude anything. When there are 10 quotes for example, we should not pick one of them and try to fit in the other 9 by it. Rather, we need to balance all of the quotes, or scriptures as the case may be. All heresies can be summed up Thessaly:

They take one quote and make it absolute, and ignore the rest.

Every church denomination is guilty of this.

In the case of non-sole-scriptura Christans, they have to synthesize not only every bible verse, but the sayings of the church fathers. But even in the case of the sayings of the church fathers, you'll see heresies forming from someone trying to deduce all of the quotes by only one quote.

How far we have fallen. God have mercy on us.

I find this to be a humorous response, considering that this is exactly what you are asking the contributors of this forum to do on the "How Can Rome Fall" thread-- you are giving one quote (St. Maximos-- and not even citing the source, no less) and asking everyone to judge all quotes (which you say exist but show no support for that claim) by the one quote.


Now, the primacy of Peter has been discussed ad nauseum on this forum, but I have no problem having a little go here...  Here's the short answer:

Yes, Cleopas, you are exactly right about that quote.  Orthodox theologians interpret that passage in the way you said because it is one of MANY passages that affirm that Peter, while he had a primacy, and still would if the churches were reunited, does not have SUPREMACY.

The Petrine Interest of Matthew 16 is the majority claim for the supremacy of Peter by the Catholic Church.  However...
1. While binding and loosing were given to Peter in Matt 16, these powers were also given to ALL the other apostles.
2. The problematic passage of "On this rock..."
*Scholars (even Catholic scholars) are now reinterpreting this passage, putting less emphasis on it.
*Protestants have classically interpretted this passage to mean the FAITH of Peter is the rock, not Peter himself.
*The Orthodox interpretation (as taught at HCHC-- I have to qualify that around here, apparently) is that Peter was A leader among the disciples and the early church.  Peter as rock is his leadership-- he was a strong leader.  This is how it is understood among Orthodox. 
*It must also be affirmed very strongly here that Peter was NOT the ONLY leader of the disciples and the Church.  The Others were St. Paul, John, and James the Brother of the Lord- who was the "big shot," so to speak at the apostolic council in Acts 15, NOT Peter.  This is one citation on the part of the Orthodox, that it was James' words and his proclamation that ended the council.  If Peter were considered the supreme leader, he would have had the last word.  But he didn't. 

Furthermore, there is no evidence that any one apostle had authority over another.  In Galations 2:11ff, Paul states that he "withstood" Peter "face to face, because he was to be blamed."  If Peter had supremacy, Paul wouldn't have done this.  The footnote provided in the Orthodox Study Bible (thus giving the Orthodox interpretation) reads as follows: "No individual apostle (or bishop or patriarch) is infallible.  Even when he speaks officially (ex officio) he is correctable.  Unchecked, Peter could have caused a schism.  Then, Galations 2:14-21, Paul recounts the speech he gave in Antioch when he confronted Peter.

Thus, Peter did not have supremacy over Paul, or any other apostle.  There is no indication in the NT of one presiding bishop over everyone else.  This was not done until later (by the West).  In fact, the fathers (I'd have to dig out some books to provide specific quotes here, but they are all packed away, maybe someone could help me in that area) refer to Paul, not Peter, as the greatest of apostles for the following reasons: Paul was the greatest early missionary; He wrote so many epistles steeped in theology that survived; Paul is the living example of the conversion power of Christ as a Jew who persecuted Christian Jews and then changed because of his encounter with Christ; Paul was a loving pastor who could be very gentle- seen in witness of his life; and(in my opinion the greatest reason), Paul was the PRIMARY figure of revelation after Christ's ascension as the only eyewitness and beholder of the risen and ascended Christ.

I know, Cleopas, that you don't put a lot of stock in the Church fathers (which is okee dokee).  In the context of this conversation, though, I refer to them because they are applicable to the Catholic Church (who recognizes and affirms their authority the way the Orthodox do).  I also refer to them to demonstrate that the idea of the Pope's "supremacy" didn't come into play until later.

These are just a few of the refutations of the supremacy of the Pope.  But note that I use the word "supremacy," not "primacy."  Rome did have primacy (before the schism) because Rome was the capitol of the empire.  Were the church to unify once more, the Orthodox have been very open about the fact that Rome would once again be prime, as the Patriarch of Constantinople is now prime, but no more.  Constantinople was instituted as "New Rome" when Rome broke away because Constantinople was the next in line. 

Again, this topic has been discussed ad nauseum around here.  But I give the other examples above to show that, in fact, 1Peter 5:1ff is NOT taken out of context, or held as one quote, while "all other quotes" are contrary.  Rather, I think I have shown... no, actually, I have only BEGUN to show that 1Peter 5:1ff is just ONE of MANY places where the supremacy of the Pope is refuted, and I have given context to show why.

Hope it helps!
In Christ,
Presbytera Mari
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
Spot on. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, not any mortal man.
This is a tired chestnut. By implication you are saying that Catholics do not accept Christ as the head of the Church. Christ is the head of the Church, and St. Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is his vicar.
 

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lubeltri said:
This is a tired chestnut. By implication you are saying that Catholics do not accept Christ as the head of the Church. Christ is the head of the Church, and St. Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is his vicar.
And THAT is a more tired chestnut. All bishops are vicars of Christ.
 

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lubeltri said:
This is a tired chestnut. By implication you are saying that Catholics do not accept Christ as the head of the Church. Christ is the head of the Church, and St. Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is his vicar.
Or translated from Latin, the language of Mordor, One bishop to rule them all, one bishop to find them, one bishop to bring them all and in the Vatican bind them.  ;)
 

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Αριστοκλής said:
And THAT is a more tired chestnut. All bishops are vicars of Christ.
Indeed. But "primacy of honor" is a meaningless concept without some shepherdly authority ("feed my sheep") behind it.* (To forestall yet another chestnut  ;)) Authority does not mean tyranny but is properly linked with another ancient papal title: Servus Servorum Dei.

*To be honest, even before I became a Catholic, I never understood why (many, not all) EO still cling to this "Roman primacy of honor only." It's a completely denuded concept, not worth keeping if it has no real significance. As if the Pope were like Queen Elizabeth II (who at least retains powers in theory). If you want to go your own way and do not consider communion with Peter's successor in the Holy See to be essential or even important to the Church, why still appeal to what is really a primacy of nothing? You have more patriarchates than you did before---such things change. The most powerful patriarch in the EO churches shepherds a people who had their Christian beginnings only a thousand years ago. This "primacy of honor only" is now claimed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, who struggles to give it any useful meaning by exerting some authority. To no avail, because Moscow sees itself as rightfully in control.

If I did not believe that communion with Peter's successor as head of the bishops was a real and important mark of the Church Catholic, I would have easily become EO. But I still would have been puzzled by this clinging to what is really a primacy of nothing, a primacy that amounts to getting the good seat at the dinner table or the front seat of a driverless car where those in the back are also fighting to take over the wheel.

In my humble opinion, of course.  :) I thought about this for a long time before choosing churches, and I was never able to reconcile this one.
 

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lubeltri said:
Indeed. But "primacy of honor" is a meaningless concept without some shepherdly authority ("feed my sheep") behind it.
And St. Peter does feed the sheep. But never did our Lord say to him, "Feed all of my sheep by yourself." The apostles were all given shepherdly authority, and from them have all bishops who have apostolic succession.
 

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lubeltri said:
*To be honest, even before I became a Catholic, I never understood why (many, not all) EO still cling to this "Roman primacy of honor only." It's a completely denuded concept, not worth keeping if it has no real significance. As if the Pope were like Queen Elizabeth II (who at least retains powers in theory). If you want to go your own way and do not consider communion with Peter's successor in the Holy See to be essential or even important to the Church, why still appeal to what is really a primacy of nothing? You have more patriarchates than you did before---such things change. The most powerful patriarch in the EO churches shepherds a people who had their Christian beginnings only a thousand years ago. This "primacy of honor only" is now claimed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, who struggles to give it any useful meaning by exerting some authority. To no avail, because Moscow sees itself as rightfully in control.

If I did not believe that communion with Peter's successor as head of the bishops was a real and important mark of the Church Catholic, I would have easily become EO. But I still would have been puzzled by this clinging to what is really a primacy of nothing, a primacy that amounts to getting the good seat at the dinner table or the front seat of a driverless car where those in the back are also fighting to take over the wheel.

In my humble opinion, of course.  :) I thought about this for a long time before choosing churches, and I was never able to reconcile this one.
Well, it's not really a primacy of honour only, as certain rights were recognized as belonging to the Roman see that were outside of the scope of a normal bishop's authority - such as the Right of Appeal (which was transferred to Constantinople) which is quite important, and the Right to Preside at liturgy regardless of actual seniority, etc.  The use of "honor only" is rhetorical, and intended to be shown in opposition to the apparent abuse inherent in Supremacy.

Where the Orthodox see abuse is the authority vested in Rome that rightly belongs elsewhere: investiture of bishops belongs to the ruling synod and its President; only a synod of higher authority can tell a bishop what to do within his diocese; only a synod of higher authority can remove a bishop; etc.  Obviously another abuse seen by the Orthodox is the mixing of temporal and ecclesial authority, which is still alive and well since the Pope is a head of state.  Even the hints of the inerrancy of the Papacy and infallibility of its ex cathedra statements fly in the face of the essence of the conciliarity of the Church: the One (President of the Synod) cannot operate without the Many (the rest of the Synod), and the Many cannot operate without the One.

In the end, the Supremacy of Rome is dependent on multiple interpretations of scripture and tradition that are all rejected by the Orthodox (i.e. that Peter was "the rock," that Rome is the only see that is "Peter's See" despite the fact that he founded others directly and indirectly, that Peter had the final say amongst the apostles - even though St. Paul himself says that he had to correct Peter face-to-face and despite the fact that Peter didn't preside over the Apostolic Council, that Christ's words allow Peter's successors in Rome to interfere with the Apostolic ministry of the other successors of the Apostles, etc.).  Roman apologists would do better to give the real reason for Roman Supremacy: that Rome was once the center of the Empire, birthplace of the other Empires, and most influential city in the West until the Renaissance, and the bishop of that city should retain his rights for those reasons and for the reason that he's "always" had them (we Orthodox would still dispute the "always" part, but you get the idea).
 

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To be honest, after over forty years of debating RC's I see they never can see the difference between "feed My sheep" and "lead My sheep". Peter was not "supreme", unless you can't read the Book of Acts.
 

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I will respond here when I get more time. I'd start quoting church fathers, but am afraid they'll be discarded right off! Pretty much every church father document is a forgery anyway right, if it doesnt support...
 

Aristocles

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And while you're at it spend some time learning what and when the term "Catholic Church" meant and arose (and where) along with the definition of "Roman Church" - not necessarily Church of Rome in all cases. This request for both this thread and your 'How could Rome fall" one.

When you get around to it, that is. Thus far we've seen little meat.
 

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Αριστοκλής said:
And THAT is a more tired chestnut. All bishops are vicars of Christ.
Indeed, the whole church is the representative of Christ. We are members one of another, and Christ is alone the head.
As for Vicar, unsure of the depth of application or use of the term, I would submit that the Spirit is the Vicar of Christ, animating the church as it follows his guidance in obedience to it's head.
 

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lubeltri said:
Indeed. But "primacy of honor" is a meaningless concept without some shepherdly authority ("feed my sheep") behind it.* (To forestall yet another chestnut  ;)) Authority does not mean tyranny but is properly linked with another ancient papal title: Servus Servorum Dei.  ...
I understand your distinction and clarification. Indeed we honor those over us in the Lord.
But then that is partly why I cannot see one bishop above all, for it says we are to honor "those" not "Him" over us in the Lord. The consistent, apostolic and NT model is for each church to be overseen by a plurality of qualified godly men designated as elders and/or bishops.

Now, having said that, the NT does show one acting as "first among equals." This is first seen in Peter who was directly appointed by Christ as such when he instructed him to "feed my sheep, my lambs." This is confirmed when we note that in Acts 1 Peter opens and presides over the business of selecting a replacement for Judas.

However, we later clearly find a change in the who was recognized as the "chair" of the Jerusalem church, indeed the church universal. At some point that honor shifted from Peter to Our Lord's brother, James.

Despite this "primacy of honor" and role of "first among equals" we never find one without the others, James is with the elders, Peter with the apostles, etc.

In like fashion as the persons of the Godhead are co=-equal, co-eternal, and of one essence similarly the presbytery is co-equal. Yet, like as God the Father is shown to be over Christ and the Spirit in relationship to each other so also we find a bishop serving as the first among equals in the NT church.

This first among equals is no figure head. It is not a pretentious honor to an otherwise powerless monarch. Nor is it a dictatorial rule of One over all (such authority resides solely in Christ), and it is not even akin to a separate office (like unto the President) from the body of presbyters (Likened by this analogy unto Congress). To use a modern example that seems quite fitting... The first among equals is more like that of Prime Minister in a  Parliamentary Government. He leads, presides, and is honored as first but not greater than the other members of parliament. He is the first among equals.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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Cleopas said:
Indeed, the whole church is the representative of Christ. We are members one of another, and Christ is alone the head.
As for Vicar, unsure of the depth of application or use of the term, I would submit that the Spirit is the Vicar of Christ, animating the church as it follows his guidance in obedience to it's head.
A vicar is essentially a substitute, someone who stands in for Christ and carries out His work under His authority. In one sense, all of us are vicars in that we all bear Christ to the world (the true meaning of Theotokos). Yet in another, we are not all worthy to administer Christ, for we cannot all be His substitute, his deputy--because we do not carry His authority. This authority comes from apostolic succession, and without this most important ingredient any potions we create will be poison rather than the Medicine of our souls. The bishops are the ones entrusted with the sacred task of keeping apostolic succession, and they and their vicars alone can truly administer Christ.

Or are you so self-conscious about not having a bishop that you feel the need to come up with this malarkey to justify it?
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
A vicar is essentially a substitute, someone who stands in for Christ and carries out His work under His authority. In one sense, all of us are vicars in that we all bear Christ to the world (the true meaning of Theotokos). Yet in another, we are not all worthy to administer Christ, for we cannot all be His substitute, his deputy--because we do not carry His authority. This authority comes from apostolic succession, and without this most important ingredient any potions we create will be poison rather than the Medicine of our souls. The bishops are the ones entrusted with the sacred task of keeping apostolic succession, and they and their vicars alone can truly administer Christ.
Very insightful. I agree with your basic distinction. I find your explanation enlightening as to your own tradition's practice. Thank you.

Or are you so self-conscious about not having a bishop that you feel the need to come up with this malarkey to justify it?
Woah! What? I'm not self-conscious about anything, friend. In fact, I too am a bishop, called of God in Christ Jesus. And it is Christ that justifies me. I am here sharing my honest understanding and estimation. I realize you may disagree with me, and find my views rather "out in left field" at times. Just remember, I pretty much feel the same way about you all.

At any rate, blessings to you and yours!
 

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Cleopas said:
Very insightful. I agree with your basic distinction. I find your explanation enlightening as to your own tradition's practice. Thank you.
Glad to be of help.

Woah! What? I'm not self-conscious about anything, friend. In fact, I too am a bishop, called of God in Christ Jesus. And it is Christ that justifies me.
He gave His authority to the apostles. You'll have to get it from them.

I am here sharing my honest understanding and estimation. I realize you may disagree with me, and find my views rather "out in left field" at times. Just remember, I pretty much feel the same way about you all.

At any rate, blessings to you and yours!
LOL! Yeah, we can seem pretty strange to those not of our tradition. I appreciate your honesty; my statement above is just my returning the favor.
 

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lubeltri said:
If I did not believe that communion with Peter's successor as head of the bishops was a real and important mark of the Church Catholic, I would have easily become EO. But I still would have been puzzled by this clinging to what is really a primacy of nothing, a primacy that amounts to getting the good seat at the dinner table or the front seat of a driverless car where those in the back are also fighting to take over the wheel.

In my humble opinion, of course.  :) I thought about this for a long time before choosing churches, and I was never able to reconcile this one.
Funny. My study of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and writings of early Church Fathers pointed me to Holy Orthodoxy. Then I began to read the history of Vatican Council I and the events that led to the dogma of infallibility.

Mama mia!

It was obvious to me that Holy Orthodoxy was on firm ground by rejecting the strange dogma of papal supremacy/infallibilty.
 

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Veniamin said:
Or translated from Latin, the language of Mordor, One bishop to rule them all, one bishop to find them, one bishop to bring them all and in the Vatican bind them.  ;)
bump
 

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lubeltri said:
Indeed. But "primacy of honor" is a meaningless concept without some shepherdly authority ("feed my sheep") behind it.* (To forestall yet another chestnut  ;)) Authority does not mean tyranny but is properly linked with another ancient papal title: Servus Servorum Dei.

*To be honest, even before I became a Catholic, I never understood why (many, not all) EO still cling to this "Roman primacy of honor only." It's a completely denuded concept, not worth keeping if it has no real significance. As if the Pope were like Queen Elizabeth II (who at least retains powers in theory). If you want to go your own way and do not consider communion with Peter's successor in the Holy See to be essential or even important to the Church, why still appeal to what is really a primacy of nothing? You have more patriarchates than you did before---such things change. The most powerful patriarch in the EO churches shepherds a people who had their Christian beginnings only a thousand years ago. This "primacy of honor only" is now claimed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, who struggles to give it any useful meaning by exerting some authority. To no avail, because Moscow sees itself as rightfully in control.

If I did not believe that communion with Peter's successor as head of the bishops was a real and important mark of the Church Catholic, I would have easily become EO. But I still would have been puzzled by this clinging to what is really a primacy of nothing, a primacy that amounts to getting the good seat at the dinner table or the front seat of a driverless car where those in the back are also fighting to take over the wheel.

In my humble opinion, of course.  :) I thought about this for a long time before choosing churches, and I was never able to reconcile this one.
Preach it!!! I have always viewed the EO concept of "primacy of honor" in the same way. Guess the EP gets in line first at the buffet.
 

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cleveland said:
Well, it's not really a primacy of honour only, as certain rights were recognized as belonging to the Roman see that were outside of the scope of a normal bishop's authority - such as the Right of Appeal (which was transferred to Constantinople) which is quite important, and the Right to Preside at liturgy regardless of actual seniority, etc.  The use of "honor only" is rhetorical, and intended to be shown in opposition to the apparent abuse inherent in Supremacy.

Where the Orthodox see abuse is the authority vested in Rome that rightly belongs elsewhere: investiture of bishops belongs to the ruling synod and its President; only a synod of higher authority can tell a bishop what to do within his diocese; only a synod of higher authority can remove a bishop; etc.  Obviously another abuse seen by the Orthodox is the mixing of temporal and ecclesial authority, which is still alive and well since the Pope is a head of state.  Even the hints of the inerrancy of the Papacy and infallibility of its ex cathedra statements fly in the face of the essence of the conciliarity of the Church: the One (President of the Synod) cannot operate without the Many (the rest of the Synod), and the Many cannot operate without the One.

In the end, the Supremacy of Rome is dependent on multiple interpretations of scripture and tradition that are all rejected by the Orthodox (i.e. that Peter was "the rock," that Rome is the only see that is "Peter's See" despite the fact that he founded others directly and indirectly, that Peter had the final say amongst the apostles - even though St. Paul himself says that he had to correct Peter face-to-face and despite the fact that Peter didn't preside over the Apostolic Council, that Christ's words allow Peter's successors in Rome to interfere with the Apostolic ministry of the other successors of the Apostles, etc.).  Roman apologists would do better to give the real reason for Roman Supremacy: that Rome was once the center of the Empire, birthplace of the other Empires, and most influential city in the West until the Renaissance, and the bishop of that city should retain his rights for those reasons and for the reason that he's "always" had them (we Orthodox would still dispute the "always" part, but you get the idea).
Bump for Papist
 

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Papist said:
Oh, you like that one?  There's way too many comparisons between the Pope and the Emperor; I figured it was time to branch out a little. ;)
 

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Veniamin said:
Oh, you like that one?  There's way too many comparisons between the Pope and the Emperor; I figured it was time to branch out a little. ;)
This is actually my favorite one so far. Thanks for this. I think Catholic friends will actually enjoy it.
 

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On Biblical quote that seems to have escaped notice from both the Orthodox critics and Papal apologists is to be found in Luke 22;

25  "The kings of the gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors.

26  "But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves."

Even if the "greatest" of whom Jesus is speaking here refers to the Bishop of Rome and his primacy, this passage clearly demonstrates that that office has evolved into something far out of proportion to what Christ himself intended. Let's forget for a moment the theological implications--the declaration that salvation MUST go through the Roman Pontiff and that his decisions are larger than Ecumenical Councils, etc. The dawn of the Middle Ages saw the Papacy become not only a secular monarchy but in effect, the king of all the kings in Western Europe, amassing more wealth than all the nations of Europe combined, claiming the power to crown heads of state, blessing wars of conquest and colonial expansion to consolidate its not only spiritual but political power, and actually deciding what conquered lands in the Western hemisphere belonged to which country. Wasn't there a Pope arond the time of the Great Schism who called himself 'Emperor of the world"?

Call it an Orthodox bias but I have a hard time reconciling the image of St. Peter's humble ministry, based on all Scriptural and Patristic sources, with the establishment of the Papacy as it has existed for centuries now. There is no evidence I am aware of that St. Peter resided in one of the world's grandest palaces, was carried about on a litter, and required that his feet were to be kissed upon greeting him, as was demanded in Medeival times. If anything, the Papacy as we recognize it resembles the very antithesis of Christ's words in that passage.

I regret the polemic tone but I felt it necessary to be as candid as possible where historical truth is concerned. 

 
 

Papist

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Cyril of New York said:
Call it an Orthodox bias but I have a hard time reconciling the image of St. Peter's humble ministry, based on all Scriptural and Patristic sources, with the establishment of the Papacy as it has existed for centuries now.  
Ok. That's what I will call it.  ;)
 

lubeltri

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How appropriate that today is the feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter!

The second reading from Matins for today is a selection from a sermon by Pope St. Leo the Great:

  Out of the whole world one man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations, and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church. Though there are in God’s people many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed to rule in his own person those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler. Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing of his power that God in his goodness has given to this man. Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter that he has given to others what he has not refused to bestow on them.

    The Lord now asks the apostles as a whole what men think of him. As long as they are recounting the uncertainty born of human ignorance, their reply is always the same.

    But when he presses the disciples to say what they think themselves, the first to confess his faith in the Lord is the one who is first in rank among the apostles.

    Peter says: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus replies: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven”. You are blessed, he means, because my Father has taught you. You have not been deceived by earthly opinion, but have been enlightened by inspiration from heaven. It was not flesh and blood that pointed me out to you, but the one whose only-begotten Son I am.

    He continues: And I say to you. In other words, as my Father has revealed to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you your pre-eminence. You are Peter: though I am the inviolable rock, the cornerstone that makes both one, the foundation apart from which no one can lay any other, yet you also are a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.

    And upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. On this strong foundation, he says, I will build an everlasting temple. The great height of my Church, which is to penetrate the heavens, shall rise on the firm foundation of this faith.

    The gates of hell shall not silence this confession of faith; the chains of death shall not bind it. Its words are the words of life. As they lift up to heaven those who profess them, so they send down to hell those who contradict them.

    Blessed Peter is therefore told: To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth is also bound in heaven. Whatever you lose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.

    The authority vested in this power passed also to the other apostles, and the institution established by this decree has been continued in all the leaders of the Church. But it is not without good reason that what is bestowed on all is entrusted to one. For Peter received it separately in trust because he is the prototype set before all the rulers of the Church.


http://www.universalis.com/readings.htm

 

Pravoslavbob

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Lubeltri, whatever you do, don't respond in too direct a way to Orthodox views concerning the nature of the papacy and the Church, like those issued earlier by Cleveland.  That might lead to honest and frank dialogue.  ;)
 

PJ

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cleveland said:
Well, it's not really a primacy of honour only, as certain rights were recognized as belonging to the Roman see that were outside of the scope of a normal bishop's authority - such as the Right of Appeal (which was transferred to Constantinople) which is quite important, and the Right to Preside at liturgy regardless of actual seniority, etc.  The use of "honor only" is rhetorical, and intended to be shown in opposition to the apparent abuse inherent in Supremacy.
I'm not sure if I've ever heard anyone put it quite that way. (Although Zizioulas does say something similar -- see the quote at the bottom.)

I actually wondered at times whether "primacy of honor" was really just a caricature of the Orthodox position. (Kind of like when people say the Catholic Church teaches that "The Pope is infallible." when in fact the Catholic Church has said no such thing.) But if "primacy of honor only" is understood to exclude supremacy, but not to exclude "primacy of honor and order", then that makes sense to me (not that anyone was asking  ;)).

-Peter.

         Orthodox theologians very often use the formula «primacy of honor and order». What does it mean?
         ZIZIOULAS: When someone speaks of “primacy of honor” he wants to exclude the right of the primate to exercise jurisdiction over the rest of the bishops. But it seems to be a rather ambiguous formula. There seems, in fact, not to exist, even in the Orthodox Church, “a simple primacy of honor”…
         Why?
         ZIZIOULAS: In the Orthodox Church, for example, in the absence of the Patriarch or during the vacancy of his throne there can be no episcopal elections or the performance of any “canonical acts”. Can you then describe the primacy of the patriarch as “a simple honor”?
http://www.30giorni.it/us/articolo.asp?id=9204
 

ialmisry

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lubeltri said:
How appropriate that today is the feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter!
Yes-at Antioch!

The second reading from Matins for today is a selection from a sermon by Pope St. Leo the Great:

    Out of the whole world one man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations, and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church. Though there are in God’s people many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed to rule in his own person those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler. Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing of his power that God in his goodness has given to this man. Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter that he has given to others what he has not refused to bestow on them.

    The Lord now asks the apostles as a whole what men think of him. As long as they are recounting the uncertainty born of human ignorance, their reply is always the same.

    But when he presses the disciples to say what they think themselves, the first to confess his faith in the Lord is the one who is first in rank among the apostles.

    Peter says: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus replies: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven”. You are blessed, he means, because my Father has taught you. You have not been deceived by earthly opinion, but have been enlightened by inspiration from heaven. It was not flesh and blood that pointed me out to you, but the one whose only-begotten Son I am.

    He continues: And I say to you. In other words, as my Father has revealed to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you your pre-eminence. You are Peter: though I am the inviolable rock, the cornerstone that makes both one, the foundation apart from which no one can lay any other, yet you also are a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.

    And upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. On this strong foundation, he says, I will build an everlasting temple. The great height of my Church, which is to penetrate the heavens, shall rise on the firm foundation of this faith.

    The gates of hell shall not silence this confession of faith; the chains of death shall not bind it. Its words are the words of life. As they lift up to heaven those who profess them, so they send down to hell those who contradict them.

    Blessed Peter is therefore told: To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth is also bound in heaven. Whatever you lose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.

    The authority vested in this power passed also to the other apostles, and the institution established by this decree has been continued in all the leaders of the Church. But it is not without good reason that what is bestowed on all is entrusted to one. For Peter received it separately in trust because he is the prototype set before all the rulers of the Church.


http://www.universalis.com/readings.htm
 

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Depends on the mood
PJ said:
I'm not sure if I've ever heard anyone put it quite that way. (Although Zizioulas does say something similar -- see the quote at the bottom.)

I actually wondered at times whether "primacy of honor" was really just a caricature of the Orthodox position. (Kind of like when people say the Catholic Church teaches that "The Pope is infallible." when in fact the Catholic Church has said no such thing.) But if "primacy of honor only" is understood to exclude supremacy, but not to exclude "primacy of honor and order", then that makes sense to me (not that anyone was asking  ;)).

-Peter.
http://www.30giorni.it/us/articolo.asp?id=9204
I've always felt that primacy of honor didn't do a very good job of describing our position, the Pope gets to do more than just be at the front of the procession.  ;)

There is no doubt that the Pope had certain rights and privileges granted to him. But, there are a couple of things we must bear in mind, things that are often dismissed outright by Roman Catholics. First, the right to hear appeals and certain synodical privileges are a long way from universal ordinary jurisdiction. Second, any rights and privileges the Pope has are his because they have been ceded to him by the rest of the episcopate not because of "divine right".

None of us oppose the Pope having the same rights and privileges he enjoyed in the pre-schism Church and I for one don't oppose dialogue to help determine what those rights and privileges were........the problem is when you throw human pride into the equation things are rarely that simple. :)


Yours in Christ
Paisius
 

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Thank you Cleveland and Pasius

cleveland said:
Well, it's not really a primacy of honour only, as certain rights were recognized as belonging to the Roman see that were outside of the scope of a normal bishop's authority - such as the Right of Appeal (which was transferred to Constantinople) which is quite important, and the Right to Preside at liturgy regardless of actual seniority, etc.  The use of "honor only" is rhetorical, and intended to be shown in opposition to the apparent abuse inherent in Supremacy.
On my road to Orthodoxy, I was told this "primacy of honor" line, but when I read a Catholic apologetics book, it said that Rome had an appelate authority and cite incidents in church history.  Then, I thought, wait a minute, this is not just a primacy of honor.  Have I been told the truth?  I have since read--including on this forum-- that Orthodox believe Rome did indeed process such appelate authority (in cases of clergy only, as I recall).  Thanks for confirming this.

The lesson I learned this is to go beyond the slogan.  Slogans help us to understand a complex concept but are not accurate descriptions of the concept.   
 

ialmisry

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trifecta said:
Thank you Cleveland and Pasius

On my road to Orthodoxy, I was told this "primacy of honor" line, but when I read a Catholic apologetics book, it said that Rome had an appelate authority and cite incidents in church history.   Then, I thought, wait a minute, this is not just a primacy of honor.  Have I been told the truth?  I have since read--including on this forum-- that Orthodox believe Rome did indeed process such appelate authority (in cases of clergy only, as I recall).   Thanks for confirming this.

The lesson I learned this is to go beyond the slogan.  Slogans help us to understand a complex concept but are not accurate descriptions of the concept.     
Yes there is an appellate authority of Rome, as there is, according to the canons of the Ecumenical councils, appellate authority of Constantinople even while Rome was still Orthodox.  And, for instance, Alexandria determined the date of Pascha.  Rome was only to announce the date that Alexandria had determined, not approve it.

And as pointed out, these authorities were created by the Church by the bishops granting such authority.  It did not come from Christ directly, as does a bishops authority.
 

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earlychurch said:
I answer by saying that you have to synthesize the entire bible, and not just use one quote to hastily conclude anything. When there are 10 quotes for example, we should not pick one of them and try to fit in the other 9 by it. Rather, we need to balance all of the quotes, or scriptures as the case may be. All heresies can be summed up Thessaly:

They take one quote and make it absolute, and ignore the rest.

Every church denomination is guilty of this.

In the case of non-sole-scriptura Christans, they have to synthesize not only every bible verse, but the sayings of the church fathers. But even in the case of the sayings of the church fathers, you'll see heresies forming from someone trying to deduce all of the quotes by only one quote.

How far we have fallen. God have mercy on us.

I agree with Early Church that all authenticated references made by the Church Fathers and Saints should be taken into account as well as the historical records ( especially of the Ecumenical Councils)..When that is done carefully, we find that Rome and it's Bishop never had Supremacy or rulership over the entire Church but merely an honorary place as "first among equals".

A very good book that goes over the documentation is "Popes and Patriarchs" by Michael Whelan
 

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Has anyone read You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Olivier Clement, an EO response to the gauntlet laid down by Servant of God Pope John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint?

http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Peter-Orthodox-Reflection/dp/1565481895

If so, what is your view of it?
 

PJ

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lubeltri said:
Has anyone read You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy by Olivier Clement, an EO response to the gauntlet laid down by Servant of God Pope John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint?

http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Peter-Orthodox-Reflection/dp/1565481895

If so, what is your view of it?
I haven't, but I do recall reading a review of it in Touchstone.

God bless,
Peter.

P.S. I hadn't remembered that the review is by Anthony Dragani. (I'm guessing that, back when that issue came out, I didn't know who Anthony Dragani is.)
 

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All the Father's of the ancient Church believed and taught Peter was the chief [coryphaeus] disciple, ruler of the apostles, and foundation of the Church. But I am finding the Orthodox to be very ignorant of the Father's in this regard. I'll start by quoting Saint Cyprian:

"Peter...upon whom the Church was founded by the condescendence of the Lord." [De Bono Pat., 9].

According to the saints, the Church was founded on Peter. See above.

 
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