Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Seeds of Papal Infallibility Dogma Pre-Vatican I

Papal infallibility is a bogus innovation of the Latins and was unknown in the first millennium of the Church

The following texts from ecumenical councils and diverse Church Fathers and Doctors prove that papal infallibility is not some demonic Latin innovation that just appeared out of nowhere, pace many anti-ecumenical Eastern Orthodox polemicists who incessantly repeat myriad other myths about Catholicism. Several of these quotes state the Apostolic belief that Peter is the Prince of the Apostles, thus proving wrong the denial of this truth by Eastern Orthodox apologist Fr. Victor Potapov against whom I will have more writings on the papacy.

1st Century
West: Pope St. Clement I the Martyr of Rome in ca. 96 [1 Clement 59:1], "The church of God which sojourns at Rome to the church of God which sojourns at Corinth ... But if any disobey the words spoken by him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger."
2nd Century
East: St. Ignatius the Martyr of Antioch in 110 [Prologue to Epistle to the Romans],
Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which has obtained mercy, through the majesty of the Most High God the Father, and of Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son; the Church which is sanctified and enlightened by the will of God, Who farmed all things that are according to the faith and love of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior; the Church which presides in the place of the region of the Romans, and which is worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of credit, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over love...
West: St. Irenaeus the Martyr of Lyons in 180 [Adversus Haereses 3:3:2],
Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority [propter potentiorem principalitatem] – that is, the faithful everywhere – inasmuch as the Apostolic Tradition has been preserved continuously by those who are everywhere.

3rd Century
West: Bishop St. Cyprian the Martyr of Carthage in 252 [Epistle 59:14],
After such things as these, moreover, they still dare--a false bishop having been appointed for them by, heretics--to set sail and to bear letters from schismatic and profane persons to the throne of Peter, and to the chief church whence priestly unity takes its source; and not to consider that these were the Romans whose faith was praised in the preaching of the apostle, to whom faithlessness could have no access.
4th Century
West: Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor) in 393 [Psalm Against the Party of Donatus, 18], "Number the bishops from the See of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who has succeeded whom. That is the rock against which the gates of Hell do not prevail."
West: Hieromonk St. Jerome the Great of Stridon (Doctor) in 375 [To Pope Damasus, Epistle 15:1-2]:
... I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church whose faith has been praised by Paul ... The fruitful soil of Rome, when it receives the pure seed of the Lord, bears fruit an hundredfold ... My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails.
West: Pope St. Siricius of Rome in 385 [To Himerius, Epistle 1],
To your inquiry we do not deny a legal reply, because we, upon whom greater zeal for the Christian religion is incumbent than upon the whole body, out of consideration for our office do not have the liberty to dissimulate, nor to remain silent. We carry the weight of all who are burdened; nay rather the blessed apostle Peter bears these in us, who, as we trust, protects us in all matters of his administration, and guards his heirs.
5th Century
Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431), Epistle of St. Cyril I of Alexandria to Nestorius: And if your holiness have not a mind to this according to the limits defined in the writings of our brother of blessed memory and most reverend fellow-minister Celestine, Bishop of the Church of Rome, be well assured then that you have no lot with us, nor place or standing (λογον) among the priests and bishops of God.

Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431), Council Decree:
As, in addition to other things, the impious Nestorius has not obeyed our citation, and did not receive the holy bishops who were sent by us to him, we were compelled to examine his ungodly doctrines. We discovered that he had held and published impious doctrines in his letters and treatises, as well as in discourses which he delivered in this city, and which have been testified to. Compelled thereto by the canons and by the letter (αναγκαιως κατεπειξθεντες απο τε των κανονων, και εκ της επιστολης, κ. τ. η.) of our most holy father and fellow-servant Celestine, the Roman bishop, we have come, with many tears, to this sorrowful sentence against him, namely, that our Lord Jesus Christ, Whom he has blasphemed, decrees by the holy Synod that Nestorius be excluded from the episcopal dignity, and from all priestly communion.

Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431), Statement of Presbyter Philip the Roman Legate:
There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince (εξαρκος) and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation (θεμελιος) of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith.

Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, Session 2 in 451,
After the reading of the foregoing epistle [the Tome of Pope Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out: This is the faith of the fathers, this is the faith of the Apostles. So we all believe, thus the orthodox believe. Anathema to him who does not thus believe. Peter has spoken thus through Leo. So taught the Apostles. Piously and truly did Leo teach, so taught Cyril. Everlasting be the memory of Cyril. Leo and Cyril taught the same thing, anathema to him who does not so believe. This is the true faith. Those of us who are orthodox thus believe. This is the faith of the fathers. Why were not these things read at Ephesus [the heretical synod held there in 449]? These are the things Dioscorus hid away.
Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451 [To Pope Leo I, Epistle 98:1-2],
The great and holy and universal Synod...in the metropolis of Chalcedon...to the most holy and blessed archbishop of Rome, Leo ... being set as the mouthpiece unto all of the blessed Peter, and imparting the blessedness of his Faith unto all ...and besides all this he [Dioscorus] stretched forth his fury even against him who had been charged with the custody of the vine by the Savior, we mean of course your holiness ...
West: Pope St. Boniface I of Rome in 422 [To Rufus Bishop of Thessalonica, Epistle 13], "For it has never been allowed to discuss again what has once been decided by the Apostolic See."
East: Archbishop St. Flavian the Martyr of Constantinople in 449 [Epistle to Pope St. Leo I the Great],
Prince of the Apostles, and to the whole sacred synod, which is obedient to Your Holiness, at once a crowd of soldiers surrounded me and barred my way when I wished to take refuge at the holy altar. ... Therefore, I beseech Your Holiness not to permit these things to be treated with indifference ... but to rise up first on behalf of the cause of our orthodox Faith, now destroyed by unlawful acts. ... Further to issue an authoritative instruction ... so that a like faith may everywhere be preached by the assembly of an united synod of fathers, both Eastern and Western. Thus the laws of the fathers may prevail and all that has been done amiss be rendered null and void. Bring healing to this ghastly wound.
West: Monk Bachiarius of Spain in 420 [Professio fidei 2 in PL 20:1023]: "...none of the heresies could gain hold of or move the Chair of Peter, that is the See of faith."

East: Monk St. John Cassian in 431 [On the Incarnation of the Lord 3:12], "That great man, the disciple of disciples, that master among masters, who wielding the government of the Roman Church possessed the principle authority in faith and in priesthood. Tell us, therefore, we beg of you, Peter, prince of Apostles, tell us how the Churches must believe in God."
East: Patriarch St. John Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople (Doctor) [In Joan. Hom. 1xxxviii. n. 1, tom. viii],
And why, then, passing by the others, does He converse with Peter on these things? (John 21:15). He was the chosen one of the Apostles, and the mouth of the disciples, and the leader of the choir. On this account, Paul also went up on a time to see him rather than the others (Galatians 1:18). And withal, to show him that he must thenceforward have confidence, as the denial was done away with, He puts into his hands the presidency over the brethren. And He brings not forward the denial, nor reproaches him with what had past, but says, "If you love me, preside over the brethren," ...and the third time He gives him the same injunction, showing what a price He sets the presidency over His own sheep. And if one should say, "How then did James receive the throne of Jerusalem?", this I would answer that He appointed this man [Peter] teacher, not of that throne, but of the whole world.
West: Bishop St. Peter Chrysologus of Ravenna in 449 [Letter 25:2], "We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the most blessed pope in the city of Rome, for blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the true faith to those who seek it. For we ... cannot try cases on the faith without the consent of the bishop of Rome."

6th Century
West: Pope St. Gregory I the Great of Rome (Doctor) in 590 [To the northern Italian bishops], "... remember that the faith of Peter cannot fail or change."
East: Emperor St. Justinian I the Great of Rome on 7/9/520 [Coll. Avell. Ep. 196], "Let your Apostleship show that you have worthily succeeded to the Apostle Peter, since the Lord will work through you, as Supreme Pastor, the salvation of all."
7th Century
Ecumenical Council of Constantinople III (680), Letter of Pope St. Agatho to the Emperor:
Therefore, most Christian lords and sons, in accordance with the most pious jussio of your God-protected clemency, we have had a care to send, with the devotion of a prayerful heart (from the obedience we owe you, not because we relied on the [superabundant] knowledge of those whom we send to you), our fellow-servants here present, Abundantius, John, and John, our most reverend brother bishops, Theodore and George our most beloved sons and presbyters, with our most beloved son John, a deacon, and with Constantine, a subdeacon of this holy spiritual mother, the Apostolic See, as well as Theodore, the presbyter legate of the holy Church of Ravenna and the religious servants of God the monks. For, among men placed amid the Gentiles, and earning their daily bread by bodily labor with considerable distraction, how could a knowledge of the Scriptures, in its fullness, be found unless what has been canonically defined by our holy and apostolic predecessors, and by the venerable five councils, we preserve in simplicity of heart, and without any distorting keep the faith come to us from the Fathers, always desirous and endeavoring to possess that one and chiefest good, viz.: that nothing be diminished from the things canonically defined, and that nothing be changed nor added thereto, but that those same things, both in words and sense, be guarded untouched? To these same commissioners we also have given the witness of some of the holy Fathers, whom this Apostolic Church of Christ [Rome] receives, together with their books, so that, having obtained from the power of your most benign Christianity the privilege of suggesting, they might out of these endeavor to give satisfaction, (when your imperial Meekness shall have so commanded) as to what this Apostolic Church of Christ [Rome], their spiritual mother and the mother of your God-sprung empire, believes and preaches, not in words of worldly eloquence, which are not at the command of ordinary men, but in the integrity of the apostolic faith, in which having been taught from the cradle, we pray that we may serve and obey the Lord of heaven, the Propagator of your Christian empire, even unto the end. Consequently, we have granted them faculty or authority with your most tranquil mightiness, to afford satisfaction with simplicity whenever your clemency shall command, it being enjoined on them as a limitation that they presume not to add to, take away, or to change anything; but that they set forth this tradition of the Apostolic See in all sincerity as it has been taught by the apostolic pontiffs, who were our predecessors.
Ecumenical Council of Constantinople III (680), Prosphoneticus to Emperor: But the highest prince of the Apostles fought with us: for we had on our side his imitator and the successor in his see, who also had set forth in his letter the mystery of the divine word (θεολο γιας). For the ancient city of Rome handed thee a confession of divine character, and a chart from the sunsetting raised up the day of dogmas, and made the darkness manifest, and Peter spoke through Agatho...
Ecumenical Council of Constantinople III (680), Letter of Council to Pope St. Agatho:
Serious illnesses call for greater helps, as you know, most blessed [father]; and therefore Christ our true God, who is the creator and governing power of all things, gave a wise physician, namely your God-honored sanctity, to drive away by force the contagion of heretical pestilence by the remedies of orthodoxy, and to give the strength of health to the members of the church. Therefore to thee, as to the bishop of the first see of the Universal Church, we leave what must be done, since you willingly take for your standing ground the firm rock of the faith, as we know from having read your true confession in the letter sent by your fatherly beatitude to the most pious emperor: and we acknowledge that this letter was divinely written (perscriptas) as by the Chief of the Apostles, and through it we have cast out the heretical sect of many errors which had recently sprung up...
West: St. Columba of Ireland in 612 [Epistle to Pope Boniface IV],
We are Irish, inhabitants of the furthermost part of the world, receiving nothing beyond the evangelic and apostolic doctrine. None of us has been a heretic, none a Jew, none a schismatic; but the faith, just as it was at first delivered by you [the Roman episcopate], the successors, to wit, of the holy Apostles [Peter and Paul], is held unshaken. Purity is not to be reputed to the stream, but to the fountainhead. We are, as I said before, bound to the Chair of Peter. For although Rome is great and illustrious, it is only through this Chair that she is great and bright among us ...and it can be said on account of Christ's two Apostles [Peter & Paul], you are almost heavenly, and Rome is the Head of the churches of all the world ...
East: Monk St. Maximus the Confessor of Constantinople [Opuscula theologica et polemica in PG],
The extremities of the earth, and everyone in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the Most Holy Roman Church and her confession and faith, as to a sun of unfailing light awaiting from her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers, according to that which the inspired and holy Councils have stainlessly and piously decreed. For, from the descent of the Incarnate Word amongst us, all the churches in every part of the world have held the greatest Church alone to be their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell will never prevail against her, that she has the keys of the orthodox confession and right faith in Him, that she opens the true and exclusive religion to such men as approach with piety, and she shuts up and locks every heretical mouth which speaks against the Most High.
East: Patriarch St. Sophronius of Jerusalem in 638 [in Mansi, 11:461],
Teaching us all orthodoxy and destroying all heresy and driving it away from the God-protected halls of our holy Catholic Church. And together with these inspired syllables and characters, I accept all his (the pope's) letters and teachings as proceeding from the mouth of Peter the Coryphaeus (the Head), and I kiss them and salute them and embrace them with all my soul ... I recognize the latter as definitions of Peter and the former as those of Mark, and besides, all the heaven-taught teachings of all the chosen mystagogues of our Catholic Church.
8th Century
Ecumenical Council of Nicaea II, Session II, Letter from Pope Adrian I Excerpt:
If you persevere in that orthodox Faith in which you have begun, and the sacred and venerable images be by your means erected again in those parts, as by the lord, the Emperor Constantine of pious memory, and the blessed Helen, who promulgated the orthodox Faith, and exalted the holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church your spiritual mother, and with the other orthodox Emperors venerated it as the head of all Churches, so will your Clemency, that is protected of God, receive the name of another Constantine, and another Helen, through whom at the beginning the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church derived strength, and like whom your own imperial fame is spread abroad by triumphs, so as to be brilliant and deeply fixed in the whole world. But the more, 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 honor, 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 shewn 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 honored 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 honor was thought worthy to confess that Faith on which the Church of Christ is rounded. A blessed reward followed that blessed confession, by the preaching of which the holy universal Church [this apparently refers to Rome] 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 for ever. And that power of authority, which he received from the Lord God our Savior, he too bestowed and delivered by divine command to the Pontiffs, his successors, etc. 
We greatly wondered that in your imperial commands, directed for the Patriarch of the royal city, Tarasius, we find him there called Universal: but we know not whether this was written through ignorance or schism, or the heresy of the wicked. But henceforth we advise your most merciful and imperial majesty, that he be by no means called Universal in your writings, because it appears to be contrary to the institutions of the holy Canons and the decrees of the traditions of the holy Fathers. For he never could have ranked second, 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, it is certain that he shews himself as a rebel against the holy Councils, and a heretic. For, if he is Universal, he is recognized to have the Primacy even over the Church of our See, which appears ridiculous to all faithful Christians: because in the whole world the chief rank and power was given to the blessed Apostle Peter by the Redeemer of the world himself; and through the same Apostle, whose place we unworthily hold, the holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church holds the first rank, and the authority of power, now and for ever, so that if any one, which we believe not, has called him, or assents to his being called Universal, let him know that he is estranged from the orthodox Faith, and a rebel against our holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Ecumenical Council of Nicaea II (787), Session II, Statement of Patriarch St. Tarasius of Constantinople:
The divine Apostle Paul, who was filled with the light of Christ, and who hath begotten us through the gospel, in writing to the Romans, commending their zeal for the true faith which they had in Christ our true God, thus said: "Your faith is gone forth into all the world." It is necessary to follow out this witness, and he that would contradict it is without good sense. Wherefore Hadrian, the ruler of Old Rome, since he was a sharer of these things, thus borne witness to, wrote expressly and truly to our religious Emperors, and to our humility, confirming admirably and beautifully the ancient tradition of the Catholic Church.
9th Century

15th Century

Stay tuned for Scriptural passages, Patriarch St. Flavian the Martyr of Constantinople, Pope St. Hormisdas, Metropolitan Sergius of Cyrus, Pope St. Martin I the Martyr, St. Theodore the Studite, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, St. John Chrysostom the Great, etc.!!!


BJA said...

Will, very interesting blog!

One slight correction: I'm pretty sure that the author of the last quote is not Symeon the New Theologian, but Simeon of Thessalonica (†1429).

Will Huysman said...

Benjamin Andersen,
Thanks for visiting this blog and thank you for the correction and compliment! May God bless you and yours with holiness, health, and happiness now and in the years to come.

Will R. Huysman

Supremo said...

This is Papsttreu, Will (maybe you can still remember me). Here is a remark posted by a convert to Eastern "Orthodoxy" on this post of yours:

"Hans, I don't really feel like working through this, quote by quote, again. I've done it in the past. This is a list of quotations from Fathers, some of them genuine but misread, some of them floating around on the Internet without attribution, others seriously botched in translation. But the author of this blog evidently copied from another page, formatted it, and posted it as a blog in favor of "Papal infallibility." Just one example of how the author doesn't know much of anything about what he talks about: he quotes Emperor St Justinian in favor of "Papal infallibility." Really? St Justinian had Pope Vigilius imprisoned during the time of the Fifth Ecumenical Synod because of disputations over the three chapters. Evidently he didn't consider the Pope of Rome to be the final word of authority. Or St. Cyprian: the Saint is writing about a Pope he's personally fond of, and he rightly praises the steadfast orthodoxy of the Roman Christians (note: ALL the Roman Christians, not just their bishop.) But when St. Stephen was on the throne of Rome, St. Cyprian would constantly feud with him, and even presided over a Synod where it was declared that St. Stephen should butt out of Carthaginian affairs because it's not in his jurisdiction. Seriously.

(the above frustration is directed at the author of this blog, who I have seen commit sloppy errors like this over and over again against the Orthodox. It's not directed against you.)"

You might want to check such claims.