Topical Reference to the Beliefs of the Church Fathers by Dave Armstrong Part 1
Documents illustrating the coordinate authority of Sacred Tradition
Private Exegesis apart from Tradition and Church
Interpreting Scripture with the eyes of the Church
Peter's Presence in
Peter in Patristic thought
Primacy of the Apostolic See
Authority Claimed by the Bishop of
Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
Sacrament of Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick)
Bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Devotion to and Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Church and the Canon
The hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church
The Indefectibility of the Catholic Church
The Unity of the Catholic Church
The Infallibility of the Ecumenical Councils
The Visibility of the Catholic Church
Faith and Works
Once Saved NOT Always Saved!
Salutary works require grace
Veneration and Invocation of the Saints
Documents illustrating the coordinate authority of Sacred Tradition
'[A]nd maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you'
1 Corinthians 11:2
Fathers of the Church
'But if they will not beleive the doctrines of the priests, let them beleive Christ's oracles, let them beleive the admonitions of angels who say, "For with God nothing is impossible". Let them beleive the apostles CREED WHICH the ROMANS CHURCH as always kept undefiled'
'The confession arrived at Nicea was, we say more, SUFFICIENT and enough by ITSELF, for the subversion of all ireligious heresy, and for the security and furtherance of the doctrine of the Church'
Ad Afros 1
'But the WORD OF THE LORD which came THROUGH the Ecumenical Synod at Nicea, abides forever'
Ad Afros 2
'forcing on the divine oracles a misinterpretation according to their OWN PRIVATE sense'
'...that He was not before that time, but is wholly man by nature and nothing more. But this is NO sentiment of the CHURCH, but of the Samosatene and of the present Jews...'
"This then I consider the sense of this passage, and that, a VERY ECCLESIASTICAL sense."
'Who heard in his FIRST CATECHISING, that God has a Son and has made all things by His proper Word, *BUT* understood it in THAT SENSE in which we now mean it? Who on the rise of this odious heresy of the Arians, was not startled at what he heard, as *strange* '
"However here too they(the Arians) introduce their private fictions, and contend that the Son and the Father are not in such wise 'one,' or 'like,' as the CHURCH preaches, but as they themselves would have it" Orat 3,10
"If we now consider the OBJECT of that FAITH which we Christians HOLD, and using it as a RULE, apply ourselves, as the Apostle teaches to the reading of inspired Scripture. For Christ's enemies, being ignorant of this OBJECT, have wandered from the way of truth, and have stumbled on a stone of stumbling, thinking otherwise than they should think"
'let us, retaining the GENERAL SCOPE of the faith, acknowledge that what they interpret ill, HAS a right intepretation'
Had Christ enemies thus dwelt on these thoughts, and recognized the ECCLESIASTICAL SCOPE and an ANCHOR for the faith, they would NOT have made SHIPWRECK of the faith..."
"We are content with the fact that this is not the teaching of the Catholic Church, nor did the Fathers hold this."
"But our faith is right, and starts from the teaching of the Apostles and tradition of the fathers, being confirmed both by the NT and the Old."
"But after him (the devil) and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies,who indeed refer to the Scriptures, BUT DO NOT hold such opinions as thesaints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err,because they DO NOT rightly KNOW THEM nor their power"
Festal Letter 2
'Scarcely, however, did they begin to speak, when they were condemned, and one differed from another; then perceiving the straits in which their heresy lay, they remained dumb, and by their silence confessed the disgrace which came upon their heterodoxy. On this the Bishops, having negatived the terms they had invented, published against them the SOUND and ECCLESIASTICAL faith....And what is strange indeed, Eusebius of Caesarea in Palestine, who had denied the day before, but afterward subscribed, sent to his Church a letter, saying that this was the CHURCH's faith and the TRADITION of the FATHERS'
De Decretis 3
'Are they not then committing a crime in their very thought to gainsay so GREAT and ECUMENICAL a Council'?
De Decretis 4
'For, what OUR FATHERS have delivered, THIS IS TRULY DOCTRINE; and this is truly the TOKEN of doctors, to CONFESS THE SAME THING with each other, and to vary NEITHER from themselves nor from their FATHERS...Thus the Greeks, as not witnessing to the SAME doctrines, but quarreling one with another, have no truth of teaching; but the holy and veritable HERALDS of TRUTH AGREE TOGETHER, and do not differ..preaching the same Word harmoniously'
De Decretis 4
'...and it is seemingly and most irreligious when Scripture contains such images, to form ideas concerning our Lord from others which are neither in Scripture, nor have any religious bearing. THEREFORE let them tell us FROM WHAT TEACHER or BY WHAT TRADITION they derived these notions concerning the Saviour?...But they seem to me to have a wrong understanding of this passage also; for it has a RELIGIOUS and VERY ORTHODOX sense, which had they understood, they would NOT have blasphemed the Lord of glory'
De Decretis 13
'...and in dizziness about TRUTH, are full set upon accusing the COUNCIL, let them tell us what are the Scriptures from what they have learned , or WHO is the saint by whom they have BEEN TAUGHT...'
De Decretis 18
'MUST needs hold and intend the decisions of the Council, suitably regarding them to signify the relation of the RADIANCE to the LIGHT, and FROM THENCE gaining the illustration TO THE TRUTH'
De Decretis 20
'We are PROVING that THIS view has been TRANSMITTED from FATHER to FATHER, but ye, O modern Jews and disciples of Caiaphas, how many FATHERS CAN YE ASSIGN to your phrases? Not one of the understandings and wise; for all abhor you, but the devil alone; none but he is your father in this apostasy, who both in the beginning sowed you with the seed of this IRRELIGION, and now persuades you to slander the ECUMENICAL Council, for committing to writing, not YOUR doctrines, but that which from the BEGINNING those who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word have handed down to us. For the faith which the COUNCIL has confessed in writing, that is the faith of the Catholic Church; to assert this, the BLESSED FATHERS so expressed themselves while condemning the Arian heresy...'
De Decretis 27
'...For they dissent from each other, and , whereas they have revolted from THEIR FATHERS, are not of ONE AND THE SAME MIND, but float about with various and discordant changes'
De Synodis 13
'For it is right and meet thus to feel, and to maintain a good conscience toward the FATHERS, if we be not spurious children, but have received the TRADITIONS from them, and the LESSONS of religion at their hands'
De Synodis 47
'Such then, as we confess and beleive, being the SENSE of the FATHERS...'
De Synodis 48
'...but do you, remaining on the foundation of the Apostles, and holding fast the TRADITIONS of the FATHERS, pray that now at length all strife and rivalry may CEASE and the futile questions of the heretics may be condemned...'
De Synodis 54
'Of course, the holy Scriptures, divinely inspired are self-sufficient for the proclamation of the truth. But there are also numerous works composed for this purpose by blessed teachers. The ONE WHO READS THEM will ==UNDERSTAND== the INTERPRETATION of the Scriptures AND will be ABLE to GAIN knowledge he desrires'
C. Gentes 1
'But the sectaries, who have fallen away from the TEACHING of the CHURCH, and made SHIPWRECK concerning the faith'
C. Gentes 6
'But that the soul is made immortal is a further point in the CHURCH'S TEACHING which you must know...'
C. Gentes 33
'But what is also to the point, let us note that the very TRADITION, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning was preached by the Apostles and PRESERVED by the FATHERS. On this the CHURCH was founded; and if anyone departs from THIS, he neither is, nor any longer ought to be called, a Christian.'
Ad Serapion 1,28
ANTONY of EGYPT
"Wherefore keep yourselves all the more untainted by them, and observe the TRADITIONS of the FATHERS, and chiefly the holy faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, which you have learned from the SCRIPTURE, AND of which you have often been put in mind BY ME"
Vita S. Antoni 89
"For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual men attain in this life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, indeed, becuase they are but men, still without any uncertainty...The consent of peoples and nations keep me in Church, so does her authority, inaugerated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The SUCCESSION of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the APOSTLE PETER, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave it in charge to feed his sheep, down to the present EPISCOPATE...The epistle begins thus:--'Manicheus, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the providence of God the Father. These are the wholesome words from the perennial and living fountain.' Now, if you please, patiently give heed to my inquiry. I do not beleive Manichues to be an apostle of Christ. Do not, I beg you, be enraged and begin to curse. For you know that it is my rule to beleive none of your statements without consideration. Therefore I ask, who is this Manicheus? You will reply, An Apostle of Christ. I do not beleive it. Now you are at a loss what to say or do; for you promised to give knowledge of truth, and here you are forcing me to beleive what I have no knowledge of. Perhaps you will read the gospel to me, and will attempt to find there a testimony to Manicheus. But should you meet with a person not yet beleiving in the gospel, how would you reply to him were he to say, I do not beleive? For MY PART, I should NOT BELEIVE the gospel except moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to beleive in the gospel tell me not to beleive in Manicheus, how can I BUT CONSENT?"
C. Epis Mani 5,6
"Wherever this tradition comes from, we must believe that the Church has not believed in vain, even though the express authority of the canonical scriptures is not brought forward for it"
Letter 164 to Evodius of Uzalis
"To be sure, although on this matter, we cannot quote a clear example taken from the canonical Scriptures, at any rate, on this question, we are following the true thought of Scriptures when we observe what has appeared good to the universal Church which the authority of these same Scriptures recommends to you"
C. Cresconius I:33
"It is obvious; the faith allows it; the Catholic Church approves; it is true"
"If therefore, I am going to beleive things I do not know about, why should I not believe those things which are accepted by the common consent of learned and unlearned alike and are established by most weighty authority of all peoples?"
C. Letter called Fundamentals 14:18
"Will you, then, so love your error, into which you have fallen through adolescent overconfidence and human weakness, that you will seperate yourself from these leaders of Catholic unity and truth, from so many different parts of the world who are in agreement among themselves on so important a question, one in which the essence of the Christian religion involved..?"
C. Julian 1:7,34
"The authority of our Scriptures, strenghtened by the consent of so may nations, and confirmed by the succession of the Apostles, bishops and councils, is against you"
C. Faustus 8:5
"No sensible person will go contrary to reason, no Christian will contradict the Scriptures, no lover of peace will go against the CHURCH"
"Let us now investigate what are our common conceptions concerning the Spirit, as well those which have been gathered by us from Holy Scripture AS WELL those which have been gathered concerning it as those which we have RECEIVED from the UNWRITTEN tradition of the Fathers"
Holy Spirit 22
"Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the Apostles by the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force"
Holy Spirit 27
"The day would fail me, if I went through the mysteries of the Church which are not in Scripture. I pass by the others, the very confession of faith, in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, from what written document have we?"
Holy Spirit 67
"While the unwritten traditions are so many and their bearing on 'the mystery of godliness' is so important, can they refuse us a single word which has come down to us from the Fathers;--which we found, derived from untutotred custom, abiding in unpreverted churches;--a word for which contributes in no small degree to the completeness of the force of the mystery"
Holy Spirit 67
"In answer to the objection that the doxology in the form 'with the Spirit' has NO written authority, we maintain that if there is not other instance of that which is unwritten, then this must not be recieved. But if the great number of our mysteries are admitted into our constitution without written authority, then, in company with many others, let us recieve this one. For I HOLD IT APOSTOLIC TO ABIDE BY THE UNWRITTEN TRADITIONS. 'I praise you,' it is said, 'that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I have delivered them to you;' and 'Hold fast the traditions which ye have been taught whether by by word, or our Epistle.' One of these traditions is the practice which is now before us, which they who ordained from the beginning, rooted firmly in the churches, delivering it to their SUCCESSORS, and its use through long custom advances pace by pace with time. If as in a court of Law, we were at a loss for documentary evidence, but were able to bring before you a large number of witnesses, would you not give your vote for our aquittal? I think so; for 'at the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the matter be established'. And if we could prove clearly to you that a long period of time was in our favour, should we not have seemed to you to urge you with reason that this suit ought not to be brought into court against us? For ancient dogmas inspire a certain sense of awe, venerable as they are with hoary antiquity"
Holy Spirit 71
"...and I have not allowed my judgement concerning them to rest wholly with myself, but have followed the decisions given about them by our Fathers."
Basil continues affirming that he would receive the Arians if they started: "accepting the Nicene Creed.."
"is to be recieved without hesitation and difficulty, citing in support of his opinion the unanimous assent of the bishops of Macedonia and Asia"
Again repudiating private opinion and affirming Scripture, tradition and Church. Regarding the authority of St. Athanasius, the unanimous consent of Bishops, and Nicean Creed, Basil writes:
"considering myself bound to follow the high authority of such a man and of those who made the rule, and with every desire on my part to win the reward promised peacemakers, did enroll in the lists of communicants all who accepted that creed. The fair thing would be to judge of me, not from one or two who do not walk uprightly in the truth, but from the multitiude of bishops throughout the world, connected with me by the grace of the Lord... you may learn that we are all of one mind and of one opinion. Whoso shuns communion with me, it cannot escape your accuracy, CUTS himself off from the whole Church."
'Not to accept the VOICE of the Fathers as being of more authority than their OPINION deserves reproof as something filled with pride!'
Epis to Canonicas
To Pope Cornelius
'After all this, they yet in addition, having had a false bishop ordained for them by heretics, dare to set sail, and to carry letters from schismatic and profane persons to the CHAIR of Peter, and the PRINCIPLE CHURCH, whence the unity of the priesthood took its rise. They fail to reflect that those Romans are the same as those who faith was publicly praised by the apostle, to whom unbelief CANNOT have access"
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
Speaking of his own teachers,
'But they, safeguarding the TRUE tradition of the blessed teachin, which comes straight from the Apostles Peter, James, John and Paul and transmitted from father to son have come down to us with the help of God to deposit in us those acenstral and apostolic seeds'
Right after Clement repudiates the private interpretation of the Gnostics he writes:
'For US...having grown old in the Scriptures, PRESERVING the Apostolic and ecclesiastical correctness of doctrine, living a life according to the Gospel, is led by the Lord to discover the proofs from the Law and the prophets which he seeks.'
COUNCIL OF NICEA I(AD 325)
'We believe in ONE HOLY CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC ++++CHURCH++++'
COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE II(AD 553)
'We confess that(we) hold and declare the faith given from the beginning by the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ to the Holy Apostles, and preached by them in the whole world; which the sacred FATHERS CONFESSED and EXPLAINED, and HANDED down to the holy churches, and especially(those fathers) who assembled in the four sacred Synods, whom we follow and accept through all things and in all things...judging as at odds with piety all things, indeed, which are not in accord with what has been defined as RIGHT FAITH by the same four holy Councils, we condemn and anathematize.'
COUNCIL OF NICEA II(AD 787)
'If anyone rejects all ecclesiastical tradition either written or not written...let him be anathema'
CYRIL of JERUSALEM
'But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that only, which is now DELIVERED TO THEE by THE CHURCH, AND which has been built up strongly out of all the SCRIPTURES.'
Catechetical Lectures 5,12
'Learn also diligently, and FROM THE CHURCH, WHAT ARE THE BOOKS of the Old Testaments, and WHAT are the books of the NEW'
Catechetical Lectures 5,33
'So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word, or by our epistle of ours'. Hence it is manifest, that they did not deliver all things by Epistle, but many things unwritten, and in like manner both the one and the other are worthy of credit. Therefore let us think the tradition of the Churh also worthy of credit. It is a tradition seek no farther."
Homilies on 2 Thess 2:15
"We may answer, that what is here written, was sufficient for those who would attend, and that the sacred writers ever addressed themsleves to the matter of immediate importance, whatever it might be at that time: it was no object with them to be writers of books: in fact, there are many things which have been delivered by UNWRITTEN TRADITION. Now while all that is contained in this Book is worthy of admiration, so is especially the way the Apostles have of coming down to the wants of their hearers: a condescension suggested by the Spirit who has so ordered it, that the subject on which they cheifly dwewll is that pertains to Christ as man. For so it is, that while they discourse so much about Christ, they have spoke little concerning His Godhead: it was mostly of the manhood that they discoursed, and of the Passion, and the Resurrection, and the Ascencion."
Homilies on Acts 1,1
"Not in vain did the Apostles order that remembrance should be made of the dead in the dreadful mysteries"
Hom Phil 3,4
EPIPHANIUS OF SALAMIS
'But for all the divine words, there is no need of allegory to grasp the meaning; what is necessary is study and understanding to know the MEANING of each statement. We must have recourse to TRADITION, for all cannot be received from the divine Scriptures. That is why the holy Apostles handed down certain things in writings but others by TRADITIONS. As Paul said:" Just as I handed them on to you." '
GREGORY of NAZIANZUS
"My sheep hear my voice, which I heard from the oracles of God, which I have been taught by the Holy FATHERS, which I have taught alike on all occasions, not conforming myself to the opportune, and which I will never cease to teach; in which I was born, and in which I will depart"
"I desire to learn what is this fashion of innovation in things concerning the Church..But since our faith has been proclaimed, both in writing and without writing, here and in distant parts, in times of danger and of safety, how comes it that some make such attempts, and that others keep silence?"
GREGORY of NYSSA
"It suffices for proof of our statement that we have a tradition coming down from the Fathers, an inheritance as it were, by succession from the Apostles through the saints who came after them."
C. Eunomius 4:6
"...I say, that the Church teaches this in plain langauge, that the Only-begotten is essentially God, very God of the essence of the very God, how OUGHT one who OPPOSES her DECISIONS to overthrow the preconceived opinion?"
C. Eunomius 4,6
"They, on the other hand, who change their doctrines to this novelty, would need the support of their arguments in abundance, if they were to bring over to their views, not men light as dust, and unstable, but MEN of weight and steadiness: but so long as their statement is advanced without being established, and without being proved, who is so foolish ad so brutish as to account the teaching of the evangelists and apostles, AND of those who successively shone like lights in the churches, of less force than this undemonstrated nonsense"
C. Eunomius 4,6
HILARY OF POITIERS
'It behooves us not to withdraw from the CREED which we have received...nor to back off from the faith which we have recieved from through the prophets ... or to back-slide from the Gospels. Once laid down, it continues even to this day through the TRADITION of the FATHERS'
Ex. Oper. Hist. Fragment 7,3
HIPPOLYTUS OF ROME
'It is NOT by drawing on the Holy Scriptures NOR BY GUARDING the TRADITION of some holy person that the HERETICS have formulated these doctrines.'
Refutation of All Heresies 1,Preface
IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH
'If I do not find it in the ancient Scriptures(OT), I will not beleive the Gospel; on my saying to them, It is written, they answered me, That remains to be proved. But to me Jesus Christ is in the place of all that is ancient: His cross, and death and resurrection, and the FAITH which is by Him are undefiled monuments of antiquity..'
Epis Philadelphians 8,2
'Follow the bishop, all of you, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the presbterium as the Apostles. As for the deacons, respect them as the Law of God. Let no one do anything with reference to the Church without the bishop. Only that Eucharist may be regarded as legitimate which is celebrated with the bishop or his delegate presiding. Where the bishop is, there let the community be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church'
Epis Symyrnaens 8
IRENAEUS(The Father of Tradition)
'The apostles at that time FIRST PREACHED the Gospel but later by the will of God, they delivered it to us in the Scriptures, that it might be the foundation and pillar of our faith'
Against Heresies(AH) 3,1
'Since, therefore, the TRADITION from the apostles DOES thus EXIST in the Church, and is PERMAMENT AMONG US, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, and that no lie is in Him'
"Through none others know we the disposition of our salvation, than those through whom the gospel came to us, first heralding it, then by the will of God delivering to us the Scriptures, which were to be the foundation and pillar of our faith...But when, the heretics are Scriptures,as if they were wrong, and unauthoritative, and were variable, and the truth could not be extracted from them by those who were ignorant of tradition...And when we challenge them in turn what that tradition, which is from the Apostles, which is guarded by the succession of elders in the churches, they oppose themselves to Tradition, saying that they are wiser, not only than those elders, but even than the Apostles. The Tradition of the Apostles, manifested 'on the contrary' in the whole world, is open in every Church to all who see the truth...And, since it is a long matter in a work like this to enumerate these successions, we will confute them by pointing to the Tradition of that greatest and most ancient and universally known Church, founded and constituted at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, a tradition which she has had and a faith which she proclaims to all men from those Apostles'
For Irenaeus tradition included three things
1)the faith that was handed on-oral or in writing
'For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us their writings? Would it not be necessary to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those whom they did commit the Churches?'
2)a living authority
"Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church...those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have recieved the certain gift of truth..."
3)transmission and preservation by succession.
"In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is MOST abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the Apostles until now, and handed in truth"
"Then I have pointed out the truth, and shown the preaching of the Church, which the prophets proclaimed(as I have already demonstrated), but which Christ brought to perfection, and the apostles have handed down , from which the Church, recieving [these truths], and throughout all the world alone preserving them in their integrity, has transmitted them to her sons. Then also-having disposed of all questions which the heretics propose to us, and having explained the doctrine of the apostles, and clearly set forth many of those things which were said and done by the Lord in parables--I shall endeavor, in this fifth book of the entire work which treats of the exposure and refutation of knowledge falsely so called, to exhibit proofs from the rest of the Lord's doctrine and apostolic epistles; [thus] complying with demand, as thou didst request of me(since indeed I have been assigned a place in ministry of the word); and, labouring by every means...and convert them to the Church of God...that they may preserve stedfast the faith which they have recieved, guarded by the Church in its integrity, in order that they be in no way preverted by those who endeavor to teach them false doctrine..."
AH V Preface
"Now all these [heretics] are of much later date than the bishops to whom the apostles committed to the Churches; which fact I have in the third book taken all pains to demonstrate. It follows, then, as a matter of course, that these aforementioned, since they are blind to the truth,and deviate from the [right] way, will walk in various roads; and therefore the footsteps of their doctrine are scattered here and there without agreement or connection. But the path of those belonging to the Church circumscribes the whole world, as possessing the sure tradition of the Apostles, and gives unto us to see that the faith of all is one and the same ....And undoubtily the preaching of the Church is true and stedfast, in which one and the same way of salvation is shown throughtout the whole world...For the Church preaches the truth everywhere..."
AH V 20,1
"Those, therefore, who desert the preaching of the Church, call in question the knowledge of the holy presbyters....It behoves us, therefore, to avoid their doctrines, and take careful heed lest we suffer any injury from them; but to flee to the Church, and be brought up in her bosom, and be nourished with the Lord's Scriptures."
AH V 20,2
"Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church, those who as I have shown, possess succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of bishops, have recieved the CERTAIN GIFT of TRUTH, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also uncumbent] to hold in SUSPICION others who DEPART from the primitive succession of the succession, and assemble themselves....But those who cleave asunder, and separate the unity of the Church, [shall] recieve from God the same punishments as Jeroboam did"
"Heretics assent neither to Scripture nor to Tradition"
'Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in Acts of the Apostles. And even if it did NOT REST on the authority of the Scripture the CONSENSUS of the WHOLE WORLD in this respect would have the force of COMMAND...'
C. Dialogue Luciferians 8
'And let them not flatter you themselves if they think they have Scripture authority sinc the devil himself has quoted Scripture texts...we could all, while preserving in the letter of Scripture, read into it some novel doctrine'
'So, then in expectation of His coming we worship toward the East. But this tradition of the apostles is unwritten. For much that has been handed down to us by tradition is unwritten'
Orthodox Faith 4,12,16
'Moreover that the Apostles handed down much that was unwritten, Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, tells us in these words: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught of us, whether by word or epistle" And to the Corinthians he writes, "Now I praise your brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I have delivered them to you.'
Orthodox Faith 4,16
'He who does not beleive according to the tradition of the Catholic Church is an unbeleiver'
MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR
'I have no private opinion, but only agree with the Catholic Church'
Quoted from 'From the Housetops' Vol 9, No.2 Serial 23 , p28
"The Church's preaching has been handed down through an orderly succession from the Apostles and remains in the Church until the present. That alone is to be believed as the truth which in no way departs from ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition"
First Principles 1,2
"We do not take our scriptural teaching from the parables but we interpret the parables according to our TEACHING"
'Let them show the origins of their churches, let them unroll the list of their bishops,(showing) through a succession coming down from the very beginning that their first bishop had his authority and predecessor someone from among the number of Apostles or apostolic men and, further, that he did not stray from the Apostles. In this way the apostolic churches present their earliest records. The
Prescr Ag Heretics 32
THEODORET OF CYRUS
'This teaching has been handed down to us not only by the Apostles and prophets but also by those who have INTERPRETED their writings, Ignatius, Eustathius, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory...and other lights of the world and before them, by the HOLY FATHERS gathered at Nicea whose confession of faith we have kept intact, as the inheritance from a Father, while those who dare to VIOLATE THEIR TEACHINGS, we call corrupt and enemies of truth'
THEODOSIUS, says Socrates
'..This being an anxious matter to Nectarius, Sicinnius advised him to avoid all dialectic contests, and to APPEAL to the STATEMENTS of THE ANCIENTS, and to put the question to the heresiarchs from the Emperor whether they made any account of the doctors who belonged to the Church before the division or came to issue with them as aliens from Christianity'
VINCENT OF LERINS
Vincent of Lerins remarks(as many of the Fathers do) that the first thing the heretic says to affirm his position is:
'It is written...!'
'When anyone asks one of these heretics who presents arguments: Where are the proofs of your teacing that I should leave behind the world-wide and ancient faith of the Catholic Church? He will jump in before you have finished with the question: "It is written" He follows up immediately with thousands of texts and examples...'
"Here perhaps, someone may ask: Since the canon of the Scripture is complete and more than sufficient in itself, why is it necessary to add to it the authority of ecclesiastical interpretation? As a matter of fact, [we must answer] Holy Scripture, because of its depth, is not universally accepted in one and the same sense. The same text is interpreted different by different people, so that one may almost gain the impression that it can yield as many different meanings as there are men. Novatian, for example, expounds a passage in one way; Sabellius, in another; Donatus, in another. Arius, and Eunomius, and Macedonius read it differently; so do Photinus, Apollinaris, and Priscillian; in another way, Jovian, Pelagius, and Caelestius; finally still another way, Nestorius. Thus, becuase of the great distortions caused by various erros, it is, indeed, necessary that the trend of the interpretation of the prophetic and apostolic writings be directed in accordance with the rule of the ecclesiastical and Catholic meaning"
Private Exegesis apart from Tradition and Church
"True knowledge is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither receiving addition nor [suffering] curtailment [in the truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy; and [above all, it consists in] the pre-eminent gift of love, which is more precious than knowledge, more glorious than prophecy, and which excels all the other gifts [of God]."
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,4,33:8 (inter A.D. 180-199),in ANF,I:508
"But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men, �a man, moreover, who continued stedfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed. Let the heretics contrive something of the same kind. For after their blasphemy, what is there that is unlawful for them (to attempt)? But should they even effect the contrivance, they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles, will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man; because, as the apostles would never have taught things which were self-contradictory, so the apostolic men would not have inculcated teaching different from the apostles, unless they who received their instruction from the apostles went and preached in a contrary manner. To this test, therefore will they be submitted for proof by those churches, who, although they derive not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are accounted as not less apostolic because they are akin in doctrine. Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith."
Tertullian,On Prescription against the Heretics,32 (c.A.D. 200),in ANF,III:258
"For those are slothful who, having it in their power to provide themselves with proper proofs for the divine Scriptures from the Scriptures themselves, select only what contributes to their own pleasures. And those have a craving for glory who voluntarily evade, by arguments of a diverse sort, the things delivered by the blessed apostles and teachers, which are wedded to inspired words; opposing the divine tradition by human teachings, in order to establish the heresy."
"When heretics show us the canonical Scriptures, in which every Christian believes and trusts, they seem to be saying:'Lo, he is in the inner rooms [ie., the word of truth] ' (Matt 24.6). But we must not believe them, nor leave the original tradition of the Church, nor believe otherwise than we have been taught by the succession in the
Origen,Homilies on Matthew,Homily 46,PG 13:1667 (ante A.D. 254),in CON,392
"For the method of godliness consists of these two things, pious doctrines, and virtuous practice: and neither are the doctrines acceptable to God apart from good works, nor does God accept the works which are not perfected with pious doctrines. For what profit is it, to know well the doctrines concerning God, and yet to be a vile fornicator? And again, what profit is it, to be nobly temperate, and an impious blasphemer? A most precious possession therefore is the knowledge of doctrines: also there is need of a wakeful soul, since there are many that make spoil through philosophy and vain deceit. The Greeks on the one hand draw men away by their smooth tongue, for honey droppeth from a harlot's lips: whereas they of the Circumcision deceive those who come to them by means of the Divine Scriptures, which they miserably misinterpret though studying them from childhood to all age, and growing old in ignorance. But the children of heretics, by their good words and smooth tongue, deceive the hearts of the innocent, disguising with the name of Christ as it were with honey the poisoned arrows of their impious doctrines: concerning all of whom together the Lord saith, Take heed lest any man mislead you. This is the reason for the teaching of the Creed and for expositions upon it."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,4:2 (A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:19
"And, O wretched heretic! you turn the weapons granted to the Church against the Synagogue, against belief in the Church's preaching, and distort against the common salvation of all the sure meaning of a saving doctrine."
Hilary of Poitiers,On the Trinity,12:36 (inter A.D. 356-359),in NPNF2,IX:227
"But since they allege the divine oracles and force on them a misinterpretation, according to their private sense, it becomes necessary to meet them just so far as to vindicate these passages, and to shew that they bear an orthodox sense, and that our opponents are in error."
Athanasius,Discourse Against the Arians,I:37(A.D. 362),in NPNF2,IV:327-328
"To refuse to follow the Fathers, not holding their declaration of more authority than one's own opinion, is conduct worthy of blame, as being brimful of self-sufficiency."
Basil,EpistleTo the Canonicae,52:1 (A.D. 370),in NPNF2,VIII:155
"While (the sects) mutually refute and condemn each other, it has happened to truth as to Gideon; that is, while they fight against each other, and fall under wounds mutually inflicted, they crown her. All the heretics acknowledge that there is a true Scripture. Had they all falsely believed that none existed, some one might reply that such Scripture was unknown to them. But now that have themselves taken away the force of such plea, from the fact that they have mutilated the very Scriptures. For they have corrupted the sacred copies; and words which ought to have but one interpretation, they have wrested to strange significations. Whilst, when one of them attempts this, and cuts off a member of his own body, the rest demand and claim back the severed limb....It is the church which perfect truth perfects. The church of believers is great, and its bosom most ample; it embraces the fulness (or, the whole) of the two Testaments."
Ephraem,Adv. Haeres. (ante A.D. 373),in FOC,I:377-378
"Who knows not that what separates the Church from heresy is this term, 'product of creation, ' applied to the Son? Accordingly, the doctrinal difference being universally acknowledged, what would be the reasonable course for a man to take who endeavors to show that his opinions are more true than ours?"
Gregory of Nyssa,Against Eunomius,4:6 (inter A.D. 380-384),in NPNF2,V:162
"For heresies, and certain tenets of perversity, ensnaring souls and hurling them into the deep, have not sprung up except when good Scriptures are not rightly understood, and when that in them which is not rightly understood is rashly and boldly asserted. And so, dearly beloved, ought we very cautiously to hear those things for the understanding of which we are but little ones, and that, too, with pious heart and with trembling, as it is written, holding this rule of soundness, that we rejoice as in food in that which we have been able to understand, according to the faith with which we are imbued;"
Augustine,On the Gospel of John,Homily XVIII:1 (A.D. 416 et 417),NPNFI,VII:117
"If you produce from the divine scriptures something that we all share, we shall have to listen. But those words which are not found in the scriptures are under no circumstance accepted by us, especially since the Lord warns us, saying, In vain they worship me, teaching human commandments and precepts'(Mt 5:19) "
Maximinus(Arch-Arian Heretic),Debate with Maximinus,1 (c.A.D. 428),in AAOH,188
"Therefore, as I said above, if you had been a follower and assertor of Sabellianism or Arianism or any heresy you please, you might shelter yourself under the example of your parents, the teaching of your instructors, the company of those about you, the faith of your creed. I ask, O you heretic, nothing unfair, and nothing hard. As you have been brought up in the Catholic faith, do that which you would do for a wrong belief. Hold fast to the teaching of your parents. Hold fast the faith of the Church: hold fast the truth of the Creed: hold fast the salvation of baptism."
Cassian,John,Incarnation of the Lord,6:5 (c.A.D. 429/430),in NPNF2,XI:593-594
"I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical pravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church."
Vincent of Lerins,Commonitory,2:4 (c.A.D. 434),in NPNF2,XI:132
"But the Church of Christ, the careful and watchful guardian of the doctrines deposited in her charge, never changes anything in them, never diminishes, never adds, does not cut off what is necessary, does not add what is superfluous, does not lose her own, does not appropriate what is another's, but while dealing faithfully and judiciously with ancient doctrine, keeps this one object carefully in view, if there be anything which antiquity has left shapeless and rudimentary, to fashion and polish it, if anything already reduced to shape and developed, to consolidate and strengthen it, if any already ratified and defined to keep and guard it. Finally, what other object have Councils ever aimed at in their decrees, than to provide that what was before believed in simplicity should in future be believed intelligently, that what was before preached coldly should in future be preached earnestly, that what was before practised negligently should thenceforward be practised with double solicitude ? This, I say, is what the Catholic Church, roused by the novelties of heretics, has accomplished by the decrees of her Councils, this, and nothing else, she has thenceforward consigned to posterity in writing what she had received from those of olden times only by tradition, comprising a great amount of matter in a few words, and often, for the better understanding, designating an old article of the faith by the characteristic of a new name."
Vincent of Lerins,Commonitory,23:59 (c.A.D. 434),in NPNF2,XI:148-149
"[A]ll heresies, that they evermore delight in profane novelties, scorn the decisions of antiquity, and ...make shipwreck of the faith. On the other hand, it is the sure characteristic of Catholics to keep that which has been committed to their trust by the holy Fathers...."
Vincent of Lerins,Commonitory,24:63 (c.A.D. 434),in NPNF2,XI:150
"His (Nestorius) first attempt at innovation was, that the holy Virgin, who bore the Word of God, who took flesh of her, ought not to be confessed to be the mother of God, but only the mother of Christ; though of old, yea from the first, the preachers of the orthodox faith taught, agreeably to the apostolic tradition, that the mother of God. And now let me produce his blasphemous artifice and observation unknown to any one before him."
Theodoret of Cyrus,Compendium of Heretics' Fables,12 (c.A.D. 453),in FOC,I:449
Interpreting Scripture with the eyes of the Church
"Those, therefore, who desert the preaching of the Church, call in question the knowledge of the holy presbyters, not taking into consideration of how much greater consequence is a religious man, even in a private station, than a blasphemous and impudent sophist. Now, such are all the heretics, and those who imagine that they have hit upon something more beyond the truth, so that by following those things already mentioned, proceeding on their way variously, in harmoniously, and foolishly, not keeping always to the same opinions with regard to the same things, as blind men are led by the blind, they shall deservedly fall into the ditch of ignorance lying in their path, ever seeking and never finding out the truth. It behoves us, therefore, to avoid their doctrines, and to take careful heed lest we suffer any injury from them; but to flee to the Church, and be brought up in her bosom, and be nourished with the Lord's Scriptures."
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,5,20:2(A.D. 180),in ANF,I:548
"Since this is the case, in order that the truth may be adjudged to belong to us, "as many as walk according to the rule," which the church has handed down from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, and Christ from God, the reason of our position is clear, when it determines that heretics ought not to be allowed to challenge an appeal to the Scriptures, since we, without the Scriptures, prove that they have nothing to do with the Scriptures. For as they are heretics, they cannot be true Christians, because it is not from Christ that they get that which they pursue of their own mere choice, and from the pursuit incur and admit the name of heretics. Thus, not being Christians, they have acquired no right to the Christian Scriptures; and it may be very fairly said to them, "Who are you? When and whence did you come?"
Tertullian,Prescription against the heretics,37(A.D. 200),in ANF,III:261
"Now the cause, in all the points previously enumerated, of the false opinions, and of the impious statements or ignorant assertions about God, appears to be nothing else than the not understanding the Scripture according to its spiritual meaning, but the interpretation of it agreeably to the mere letter. And therefore, to those who believe that the sacred books are not the compositions of men, but that they were composed by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, agreeably to the will of the Father of all things through Jesus Christ, and that they have come down to us, we must point out the ways (of interpreting them) which appear (correct) to us, who cling to the standard of the heavenly Church of Jesus Christ according to the succession of the apostles. "
Origen,First Principles,4,1:9(A.D. 230),in ANF,IV:357
"The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the
Cyprian,Unity of the Church,6(A.D. 256),in ANF,V:423
"But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that only, which is now delivered to thee by the Church, and which has been built up strongly out of all the Scriptures....Take heed then, brethren, and hold fast the traditions[ie. The creed] which ye now receive, and write them an the table of your heart."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,5:12(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:32
"[T]hey who are placed without the Church, cannot attain to any understanding of the divine word. For the ship exhibits a type of Church, the word of life placed and preached within which, they who are without, and lie near like barren and useless sands, cannot understand."
Hilary of Poitiers,On Matthew,Homily 13:1(A.D. 355),in FOC,I:347
"But beyond these [Scriptural] sayings, let us look at the very tradition, teaching and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached, and the Fathers kept."
Athanasius,Four Letters to Serapion of Thmuis,1:28(A.D. 360),in SHAP,133-134
"This then I consider the sense of this passage, and that, a very ecclesiasitcal sense."
Athanasius,Discourse Against the Arians,1:44(A.D. 362),in NPNF2,IV:331
"It is the church which perfect truth perfects. The church of believers is great, and its bosom most ample; it embraces the fullness of the two Testaments."
Ephraem,Against Heresies(ante A.D. 373),in FOC,I:378
"Now I accept no newer creed written for me by other men, nor do I venture to propound the outcome of my own intelligence, lest I make the words of true religion merely human words; but what I have been taught by the holy Fathers, that I announce to all who question me. In my Church the creed written by the holy Fathers in synod at
Basil,To the Church of Antioch,Epistle 140:2(A.D. 373),in NPNF2,VIII:204
"For they [heretics] do not teach as the church does; their message does no accord with the truth."
Epiphanius,Panarion,47(A.D. 377),in PAN,168
"[S]eeing, I say, that the Church teaches this in plain language, that the Only-begotten is essentially God, very God of the essence of the very God, how ought one who opposes her decisions to overthrow the preconceived opinion... And let no one interrupt me, by saying that what we confess should also be confirmed by constructive reasoning: for it is enough for proof of our statement, that the tradition has come down to us from our fathers, handled on, like some inheritance, by succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them."
Gregory of Nyssa,Against Eunomius,4:6(A.D. 384),in NPNF2,V:163
"Wherefore all other generations are strangers to truth; all the generations of heretics hold not the truth: the church alone, with pious affection, is in possession of the truth."
Ambrose,Commentary of Psalm 118,19(A.D. 388),in FOC,I;171
"They teach what they themselves have learnt from their predecessors. They have received those rites which they explain from the Church's tradition. They preach only 'the dogmas of the Church' "
Chrysostom,Baptismal Instruction(A.D. 389),in CON,445
"But when proper words make Scripture ambiguous, we must see in the first place that there is nothing wrong in our punctuation or pronunciation. Accordingly, if, when attention is given to the passage, it shall appear to be uncertain in what way it ought to be punctuated or pronounced, let the reader consult the rule of faith which he has gathered from the plainer passages of Scripture, and from the authority of the Church, and of which I treated at sufficient length when I was speaking in the first book about things."
Augustine,On Christian Doctrine,3,2:2(A.D. 397),in NPNF1,II:557
" 'So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word, or by Epistle of ours.' Hence it is manifest, that they did not deliver all things by Epistle, but many things also unwritten, and in like manner both the one and the other are worthy of credit. Therefore let us think the tradition of the Church also worthy of credit. It is a tradition, seek no farther."
Chrysostom,Homily on 2nd Thessalonians,4:2(A.D. 404),in NPNF1,XIII:390
"My resolution is, to read the ancients, to try everything, to hold fast what is good, and not to recede from the fath of the Catholic Church."
Jerome,To Minervius & Alexander,Epistle 119(A.D. 406),in FOC,I:73
"But those reasons which I have here given, I have either gathered from the authority of the church, according to the tradition of our forefathers, or from the testimony of the divine Scriptures, or from the nature itself of numbers and of similitudes. No sober person will decide against reason, no Christian against the Scriptures, no peaceable person against the church."
Augustine,On the Trinity,4,6:10(A.D. 416),in NPNF1,III:75
"But it will be said, If the words, the sentiments, the promises of Scripture, are appealed to by the Devil and his disciples, of whom some are false apostles, some false prophets and false teachers, and all without exception heretics, what are Catholics and the sons of Mother Church to do? How are they to distinguish truth from falsehood in the sacred Scriptures? They must be very careful to pursue that course which, in the beginning of this Commonitory, we said that holy and learned men had commended to us, that is to say, they must interpret the sacred Canon according to the traditions of the Universal Church and in keeping with the rules of Catholic doctrine, in which Catholic and Universal Church, moreover, they must follow universality, antiquity, consent."
Vincent of Lerins,Commonitories,70(A.D. 434),in NPNF2,XI:152
"[H]old fast the faith in simplicity of mind; establishing the tradition of the church as a foundation, in the inmost recesses of thy heart, hold the doctrines which are well-pleasing unto God."
Peter's Presence in
"Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars[of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. "
"I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you."
Ignatius of Antioch,Epistle to the Romans,4(c.A.D. 110),in ANF,I:75
'You have thus by such an admonition bound together the plantings of Peter and Paul at
Dionysius of Corinth, Epistle to Pope Soter,fragment in Eusebius' Church History,II:25(c.A.D. 178),in NPNF2,I:130
"Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome,and laying the foundations of the Church."
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,3:1:1(c.A.D. 180),in ANF,I:414
"As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out."
'We read the lives of the Caesars: At Rome Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising blood. Then is Peter girt by another(an allusion to John 21:18), when he is made fast to the cross."
Tertullian, Scorpiace,15:3(A.D. 212),in ANF,III:648
"[W]hat utterance also the Romans give, so very near(to the apostles), to whom Peter and Paul conjointly bequeathed the gospel even sealed with their own blood."
Tertullian, Against Marcion,4:5(inter A.D. 207-212),in ANF,III:350
"It is, therefore, recorded that Paul was beheaded in
Gaius, fragment in Eusebius' Church History,2:25(A.D. 198),in NPNF2,I:129-130
"Peter...at last, having come to
Origen,Third Commentary on Genesis,(A.D. 232) fragment in Eusebius 3:1:1,in NPNF2,X:132
"Thus Peter, the first of the Apostles, having been often apprehended, and thrown into prison, and treated with igominy, was last of all crucified at Rome."
Peter of Alexandria,The Canonical Epistle,Canon 9(A.D. 306),in ANF,VI:273
"[W]hich Peter and Paul preached at
Lactantius,The Divine Institutes,4:21(A.D. 310),in ANF,VII:123
"Peter...coming to the city of
Eusebius,Ecclesiastical History,II:14,5 (A.D. 325),in NPNF2,X:115
"This man[Simon Magus],after he had been cast out by the Apostles,came to Rome...Peter and Paul,a noble pair,chief rulers of the Church, arrived and set the error right...For Peter was there, who carrieth the keys of heaven..."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,6:14-15(c.A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:37-38
"And Peter, who had hid himself for fear of the Jews, and the Apostle Paul who was let down in a basket, and fled, when they were told, 'Ye must bear witness at Rome,' deferred not the journey; yea, rather, they departed rejoicing..."
Athanasius,Defence of his Flight,18(c.A.D. 357),in NPNF2,IV:261
"I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church whose faith has been praised by Paul...My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross."
Jerome,To Pope Damasus,Epistle 15 (A.D. 377),in NPNF2,VI:18
"Where the Cherubim sing the glory, where the Seraphim are flying, there shall we see Paul, with Peter, and as a chief and leader of the choir of the Saints, and shall enjoy his generous love. For if when here he loved men so, that when he had the choice of departing and being with Christ, he chose to be here, much more will he there display a warmer affection. I love
Chrysostom,Epistle to the Romans,Homily 32 (c.A.D. 391),in NPNFI,XI:561-562
"Which was mere to the interest of the Church at Rome, that it should at its commencement be presided over by some high-born and pompous senator, or by the fisherman Peter, who had none of this world's advantages to attract men to him?"
Gregory of Nyssa,To the Church at Nicodemia,Epistle 13 (ante A.D. 394),NPNF2,V:535
"For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: 'Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it !' The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: -- Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found. But, reversing the natural course of things, the Donatists sent to Rome from Africa an ordained bishop, who, putting himself at the head of a few Africans in the great metropolis, gave some notoriety to the name of 'mountain men,' or Cutzupits, by which they were known."
Augustine,To Fortunatus,Epistle 53(A.D. 400),in NPNFI,I:298
"But some people in some countries of the West, and especially in the city,[ie.
John Cassian,Institutes,X(ante A.D. 435),in NPNF2,XI:218
"The whole world, dearly-beloved, does indeed take part in all holy anniversaries[of Peter & Paul], and loyalty to the one Faith demands that whatever is recorded as done for all men's salvation should be everywhere celebrated with common rejoicings. But, besides that reverence which to-day's festival has gained from all the world, it is to be honoured with special and peculiar exultation in our city, that there may be a predominance of gladness on the day of their martyrdom in the place where the chief of the Apostles met their glorious end. For these are the men, through whom the light of Christ's gospel shone on thee, O Rome, and through whom thou, who wast the teacher of error, wast made the disciple of Truth. These are thy holy Fathers and true shepherds, who gave thee claims to be numbered among the heavenly kingdoms, and built thee under much better and happier auspices than they, by whose zeal the first foundations of thy walls were laid: and of whom the one that gave thee thy name defiled thee with his brother's blood."
Pope Leo the Great(regn. A.D. 440-461),Sermon LXXXII(ante A.D. 461),in NPNF2,XII:194
Some non-Catholic historians
"Some Protestant controversialists have asserted that Peter was never in Rome...I think the historical probability is that he was...Protestant champions had undertaken the impossible task of proving the negative, that Peter was never in Rome. They might as well have undertaken to prove out of the Bible that St. Bartholomew never preached in Pekin...For myself, I am willing, in absence of any opposing tradition, to accept the current account that Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome. If
G. Salmon "Infallibilty of the Church" (Grand Rapids:Baker,1959) pp. 348-9(a critic of the Catholic faith)
"...to deny the Roman stay of Peter is an error which today is clear to every scholar who is not blind. The Martyr death of Peter at
'It is sufficient to let us include the martyrdom of Peter in
Oscar Cullman "Peter, Disciple, Apostle, Martyr" (London:SCM,1962) p. 114
"That Peter and Paul were the most eminent of many Christians who suffered martyrdom in Rome under Nero is certain..."
F.F. Bruce "NT History" (New York:Doubleday,1971) p. 410
"It seems certain that Peter spent his closing years in Rome"
JND Kelly "The Oxford Dictionary of Popes" (Oxford:Oxford,1986) p. 6
"The martrydom of both Peter and Paul in Rome...has often been questioned by Protestant critics, some of whom have contended that Peter was never in Rome. But the archeaological researches of the Protestant Historian Hans Lietzmann, supplemented by the library study of the Protestant exegete Oscar Cullman, have made it extremely difficult to deny the tradition of Peter's death in
Jaroslav Pelikan, "The Riddle of Catholicism", (New York:Abingdon,1959) p. 36
Peter in Patristic thought
"Peter was proncounced blessed by the Lord...the duty of feeding the spiritual sheep of the Church under whose protecting shield, this Apostolic Church of his has NEVER turned away from the path of truth in ANY direction of ERROR, whose AUTHORITY, as that of the Prince of all the Apostles, the whole Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Synods have faithfully embraced..."
Agatho Pope,To Ecumenical Council VI at
"It was right indeed that he(Paul) should be anxious to see Peter; for he was the first among the apostles, and was entrusted by the Savior with the care of the churches."
Ambrosiaster,Commentary on Galatians,PL 17:344 (A.D. 384),in SPP,62
" 'Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church', Wherefore where Peter the Church is..."
Ambrose,Commentary on the Psalms,40:30 (AD 395),in DOP,184
"At length, after being tempted by the devil, Peter is set over the Church."
Ambrose,Commentary on the Psalms,43:40(AD 397),in GILES,145
"...the chief of the disciples...the Lord accepted him, set him up as the foundation, called him the rock and structure of the church."
Aphraates, De Paenitentibus Homily 7:15(A.D. 337),in SPP,58
"In order that he may show his power, God has endowed none of his disciples with gifts like Peter. But, having raised him with heavenly gifts, he has set him above all. And, as first disciple and greater among the brethren, he has shown, by the test of deeds, the power of the Spirit. The first to be called, he followed at once....The Saviour confided to this man, as some special trust, the whole universal Church, after having asked him three times 'Lovest thou me?'. And he receive the world in charge..."
Asterius,Homily 8(A.D. 400),in GILES,145-146
"Number the priests even from that seat of Peter. And in that order of fathers see to whom succeeded: that is the rock which the proud gates of hades do not conquer."
Augustine,Psalmus contr Partem Donati(A.D. 393),in GILES,182
"Peter bore the person of the church"
Augustine, Sermon 149:7(inter A.D. 391-430),in SPP,69
"Peter upon which rock the Lord promised that he would build his church."
Basil,In Isaias,2:66(A.D. 375),in SPP,55
"Peter is again called 'the coryphaeus of the Apostles"
Basil of Seleucia,Oratio 25(ante A.D. 468),in FOC,II:49
" 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven'? When Wilfrid spoken thus, the king said, 'It is true, Colman, that these words were spoken to Peter by our Lord?' He answered, 'It is true O king!' Then says he, 'Can you show any such power given to your Columba?' Colman answered, 'None.' Then added the king,"Do you both agree that these words were principally directed to Peter, and that the keys of heaven were given to him by our Lord?'They both answered,'We do.' "
Bede Venerable, AD 700, Ecclesiastical History,3:5(A.D. 700),in RCH,I:271
"[B]ut that great man, the disciple of disciples, that master among masters, who wielding the government of the Roman Church possessed the authority in faith and priesthood. Tell us therefore, tell us we beg of you, Peter, prince of the Apostles, tell us how the churches must believe in God."
Cassian John,Contra Nestorium,3:12(A.D. 430),in SPP,61
"A copy of the letter sent by the holy and Ecumenical Sixth Council to Agatho, the most blessed and most holy pope of Old Rome...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-honoured 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.."
Constantinople III Council to Pope Agatho,(A.D. 680),NPNF2,XIV:349
"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith..."
" '...thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church' ... It is on him that he builds the Church, and to him that he entrusts the sheep to feed. And although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, thus establishing by his own authority the source and hallmark of the (Church's) oneness...If a man does not fast to this oneness of Peter, does he still imagine that he still holds the faith. If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church?"
Cyprian, De Unitate Ecclesiae(Primacy text),4(A.D. 251),in NE,228-229
"He promises to found the church, assigning immovableness to it,as He is the Lord of strength, and over this he sets Peter as shepherd."
Cyril of Alexandria,Commentary on Matthew (A.D. 428),in SPP,74
"Peter, the foremost of the Apostles, and Chief Herald of the Church..."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,11:3(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VIII:64
"(Peter)The first of the Apostles, the foundation of the Church, the coryphaeus of the choir of disciples."
Chrysostom John,Ad eos qui scandalizati 17(ante A.D. 407),in SEP,74
"Peter, that head of the Apostles, the first in the Church, the friend of Christ, who recieved revelation not from man but from the Father...this Peter, and when I say Peter, I mean that unbroken Rock, the unshaken foundation, the great Apostle, the first of the disciples, the first called, the first to obey"
Chrysostom John, De Eleemosyna,3:4(ante A.D. 407),in SEP,74
"[W]e have considered that it ought be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it..."...The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither the stain nor blemish nor anything like it"
Damasus Pope, Decree of Damasus,3(A.D. 382), in JUR,I:406
"[T]he first of the apostles, the solid rock on which the Church was built."
Epiphanius, In Ancorato,9:6 (A.D. 374),in SPP,in 57
"Simon, My follower, I have made you the foundation of the
Ephraim, Homily 4:1,(A.D. 373),JUR,I:11
"...Peter, that strongest and greatest of all the apostles, and the one who on account of his virtue was the speaker for all the others..."
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History,2:14 (A.D. 325),in NPNF2,I:115
"And Peter,on whom the Church of Christ is built, 'against which the gates of hell shall not prevail' "
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History,6:25 (A.D. 325),in NPNF2,I:273
"...folly of (Pope) Stephen, that he who boasts of the place of the episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundation of the Church were laid..."
Firmilian,Epistle To Cyprian,Ep 75(74):17(A.D. 256),in ANF,V:394
"To Peter,that is, to his church, he gave the power of retaining and forgiving sins on earth."
Fulgentius, De Remissione Peccatorum,2:20(A.D. 523),in SPP,71
"The holy Roman Church is senior to the other churches not by virtue of any synodal decrees, but obtained the primacy from Our Lord and Savior in the words of the Gospel,'Thou art Peter...' "
Gelasius Pope,Decree of Gelasium(A.D. 492),in SPP,166
"Who could be ignorant of the fact that the holy church is consolidated in the solidity of the prince of the Apostles, whose firmness of character extended to his name so that he should be called Peter after the 'rock', when the voice of the Truth says, 'I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven'. To him again is said "When after a little while thou hast come back to me, it is for thee to be the support of thy brethren."
Gregory the Great Pope,Epistle 40(A.D. 604),in SPP,66
"Seest thou that of the disciples of Christ, all of whom were exalted and deserving of choice, one is called rock, and is entrusted with the foundations of the church."
Gregory of Nazianzen,Oration 32:18(A.D. 380),in SPP,56
"The memory of Peter, who is the head of the apostles...he is the firm and most solid rock, on which the savior built his Church."
Gregory of Nyssa,Panegyric on St. Stephen,3(ante A.D. 394),in SPP,56
"[B]lessed Simon, who after his confession of the mystery was set to be the foundation-stone of the Church, and received the keys of the kingdom..."
Hilary de Poiters,On the Trinity,6:20(A.D. 359),in NPNF2,IX:105
"By this Spirit Peter spake that blessed word, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' By this Spirit the rock of the Church was stablished."
Hippolytus,Discourse on the Holy Theophany,9(ante A.D. 235),ANF,V:237
"[T]he statement of Our Lord Jesus Christ who said, 'Thou art Peter,and upon this rock I will build my Church,'...These (words) which were spoken, are proved by the effects of the deeds, because in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved without stain.''
Hormisdas Pope,Libellus professionis fidei,(A.D. 519),in DEN(171),73
"The decrees of the Roman Pontiff, standing upon the supremacy of the Apostolic See, are unquestionable."
Isidore of Seville,(ante A.D. 636),in PL:84
"But you say, the Church was rounded upon Peter: although elsewhere the same is attributed to all the Apostles, and they all receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the strength of the Church depends upon them all alike, yet one(ie. Peter)among the twelve is chosen so that when a head has been appointed, there may be no occasion for schism."
Jerome,Against Jovinianus,1 (A.D. 393),in NPNF2,VI:366
"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!"
Jerome,To Pope Damasus,Epistle 15(A.D. 375),in NPNF2,VI:18
"[B]lessed Peter preserving in the strength of the Rock, which he has received, has not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he under took...And so if anything is rightly done and rightly decreed by us, if anything is won from the mercy of God by our daily supplications,it is of his work and merits whos power lives and whose authority prevails in his See...to him whom they know to be not only the patron ofthis See, but also primate of all bishops. When therefore...beleive that he is speaking whose representative we are:..."
Leo the Great(Pope),Sermon 3:3-4(A.D. 442),in NPNF2,XII:117
"[T]he Lord wished to be indeed the concern of all the Apostles: and from him as from the Head wishes His gifts to flow to all the body: so that any one who dares to secede from Peter's solid rock may understand that he has no part or lot in the divine mystery."
Leo the Great(Pope),To Bishops of Vienne,Epistle 10 (A.D. 450),in NPNF2,XII:8
"For the extremities of the earth, and all in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the most holy Roman Church and its confession and faith, as it were a sun of unfailing light, awaiting from it the bright radiance of our fathers, according to what the six inspired and holy Councils have purely and piously decreed, declaring most expressly the symbol of faith. For from the coming down of the Incarnate Word among us, all the churches in every part of the world have possessed that greatest church alone as their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell do never prevail against it, that it possesses the Keys of right confession and faith in Him, that it opens the true and only religion to such as approach with piety, and shuts up and locks every heretical mouth that speaks injustice against the Most High"
Maximus the Confessor,Opuscula theologica et polemica(A.D. 650),in PG(91:137-144)
"This Peter on whom Christ freely bestowed a sharing in his name. For just as Christ is the rock, as the Apostle Paul taught, so through Christ Peter is made rock, when the Lord says to him: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church..."'
Maximus of Turin,Homily 63(A.D. 408),in SPP,61-62
"[F]or the good of unity blessed Peter, for whom it would have been enough if after his denial he had obtained pardone only, deserved to be placed before all the apostles, and alone received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to be communicated to the rest."
Optatus of Milevis, De Schismate Donatistorum,7:3(A.D. 370),in GILES,120
"And Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail..."
Origen,Commentary on John,5:3(c.A.D. 232),in ANF,X:347
"[T]he Lord spoke to Peter a little earlier; he spoke to one, that from one he might found unity, soon delivering the same to all."
Pacian,To Sympronianus,Epistle 3:2(AD 372),in GILES,123
"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped him of the episcopate, and hath alienated from him all hieratic worthiness.'Peter, the apostle, who is the rock and support of the Catholic Church' "
Paschasinus, Council of Chalcedon,Session III(A.D. 451)in NPNF,XIV:259-260
"You know that the Lord proclaims in the Gospel: 'Simon, Simon, behold:Satan has desired to possess you,so that he might sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you,that your faith may not fail. And you,once you have converted, confirm your brethren!'(Lk 22:31-32). Consider that the truth could not have lied,nor will the faith of Peter be able to be shaken or changed forever. For, although the devil desired to sift all the disciples,the Lord testifies that He Himself asked for Peter alone,and wished that the others be confirmed my him;and to Peter also was committed the care of 'feeding the sheep'(John 21:15);and to him also did the Lord hand over the 'keys of the kingdom of heaven'(Matthew 16:19),and upon him did He promise to 'build His Church' (Matthew 16:18);and He testified that 'the gates of Hell would not prevail against it' (Matthew 16:19)."
Pelagius II(Pope),Quod Ad Dilectionem(c.A.D. 685),in DNZ(246),95
"We exhort you, honourable brother, to submit yourself in all things to what has been written by the blessed Bishop of Rome, because St. Peter, who lives and presides in his see, gives the true faith to those who seek it. For our part,for the sake of peace and the good of the faith, we cannot judge questions of doctrine without the consent of the Bishop of Rome."
Peter Chrysologus,Epistle 25 of Leo from Peter(A.D. 449),in SPP,215
"There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of faith, and foundation 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, lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed Pope Celestine,according to due order,is his successor and holds his place..."
Philip,Council of Ephesus,Session III (A.D. 431),in NPNF,XIV:223
"...the most firm rock, who(Peter) from the principal Rock recieved a share of his virtue and his name"
Prosper of Aquitaine,The Call of All Nations,2:28(A.D. 426),in SPP,71
"Peter, who is called 'the rock on which the church should be built,' who also obtained 'the keys of the kingdom of heaven...' "
Tertullian,On the Prescription Against the Heretics,22(c.A.D. 200),in ANF,III:253
"If Paul, the herald of the truth, the trumpet of the Holy Ghost, hastened to the great Peter in order that he might carry from him the desired solution of difficulties to those at Antioch who were in doubt about living in conformity with the law, much more do we, men insignificant and small, hasten to your apostolic see in order to receive from you a cure for the wounds of the churches. For every reason it is fitting for you to hold the first place, inasmuch as your see is adorned with many privileges."
Theodoret of Cyrus,To Pope Leo,Epistle 113(A.D. 449),in NPNF2,III:293