Primacy of the Apostle Peter: Catholic Bible Verses & Early Church Writings

In order to understand Catholic Church hierarchy, one must first understand the hierarchy that Christ organized among the Apostles, not so that they could ‘Lord it over one another,’ but for the service of Christ and his Church.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states;

“When Christ instituted the Twelve, “he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them.”  Just as “by the Lord’s institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another.”

The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.  “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head.”  This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church’s very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.” (CCC. par. 880-882)

Many protestants/evangelicals deny that St. Peter was ever designated as the leader of the apostles by Christ, therefore making Catholic claims of papal authority to be irrelevant.  Catholics respond that there is clear record of St. Peter’s leadership in both Scripture and early Church tradition.

gospelPrimacy of the Apostle Peter in the Bible

[The following quotes focus on the authority of St. Peter.  To see patristic quotes that focus on the primacy of the popes/Church of Rome, click here.  To see quotes on the popes as St. Peter’s successors, click here.]

  • Matthew 16:15-19: “He [Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

In Jesus day, neither the Koine Greek nor the Aramaic language that Jesus possibly spoke made any distinction between the words ‘petros’ and ‘petra.’ They differed only in gender/object usage, and both meant simply ‘rock.’  As many Early Church Fathers testify, the claim that Christ will build the Church on Peter’s ‘confession of faith’ does not exclude the fact that it will also be built upon the person of Peter and his God given authority.

  • Luke 22:24-32: A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.  And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.  But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.  For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves.                                                    You are those who have continued with me in my trials; as my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you  that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,  but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.

Non-Catholics often quote the beginning of this passage to refute the St. Peter’s primacy and/or the papacy.  Sadly, some instances of “lording it over one another” are identifiable in papal history.  However, the papacy has clearly served the Church in many marvelous ways, and as the rest of the passage shows, is consistent with our Lord’s unique ministry that was entrusted to St. Peter alone; a ministry to confirm and strengthen the faith of the rest of the Church’s leaders.

  • John 21:17: “… Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs . . . Tend my sheep . . . Feed my sheep.”
  • St. Peter is mentioned 191 times in the New Testament while all the other apostles’ names combined are mentioned only 130 times. After St. Peter, the next most commonly referenced apostle is St. John, whose name appears only 48 times.
  • In Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, and Acts 1:13, St. Peter’s name heads the list of the apostles.
  • In Luke 9:32, Luke 8:46, and Mark 16:7, the apostles are referred to as ‘Peter and his companions’ or ‘Peter and the other disciples’ (even by an angel).
  • St. Peter speaks on behalf of the other apostles in Matthew 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, and John 6:69.
  • In John 20:4-6, the ‘other disciple’ (St. John) outruns St. Peter to Christ’s tomb, but then waits, allowing St. Peter to enter first.
  • Throughout the book of Acts, St. Peter is shown to lead the Church in numerous ways.  He leads the meeting to elect a replacement apostle for Judas in Acts 1:13-26.  He leads the apostles in preaching at Pentecost in Acts 2:14.  He receives the first converts in Acts 2:41.  He performs the first miracle after Pentecost in Acts 3:6-7.  He exercises the first case of Church discipline in Acts 5:1-11.  He excommunicates the first heretic in Acts 8:21.  He receives the revelation to admit the Gentiles into the Church in Acts 10:44-46.  He speaks with the most authority at the first Ecumenical Council in Acts 15.
  • After St. Paul experienced his conversion, he spent 3 years in Damascus and then he ‘went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him 15 days’ (Galations 1:11-24).

Primacy of the Apostle Peter in the Writings of the Early Church Fathers

Clement_alexandrinSt. Clement of Alexandria, theologian
“The blessed Peter, the chosen, the pre-eminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Saviour paid the tribute (Matthew 17:27), quickly grasped and understood their meaning.  And what does he say?  “Behold, we have left all and have followed you.” [Matt 19:27; Mark 10:28]“  -(Who is the Rich Man That is Saved?, 21:3-5, 190 A.D.)
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TertullianTertullian, apologist
“I now inquire into your opinion, to see whence you usurp this right for the Church.  Do you presume, because the Lord said to Peter, “On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 16:18-19a) or ‘whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew 16:19b) that the power of binding and loosing has thereby been handed onto you, that is to every church akin to Peter?  What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter?” -(On Modesty, 21:9-10, 200 A.D.)
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hippolytusSt Hippolytus of Rome, theologian / priest
“Peter, the Rock of the faith, whom Christ our Lord called blessed, the teacher of the Church, the first disciple, he who has the keys of the kingdom.” -(Hippolytus, Exfabrico. n.9, 225 A.D.)
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OrigenOrigen, theologian
“Peter, likewise, on whom the Church was founded by the good pleasure of the Lord, lays it down in his epistle…” -(De Bono Patient, p.484, 230 A.D.)
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cyprian-of-carthage0012St. Cyprian of Carthage
“The Lord says to Peter: “I say to you,” He says, “that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.  And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)  And again He says to him after His resurrection: “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)  On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and intrinsic reason for that unity.  Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair.  So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord.  If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith?  If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can still be confident that he is in the Church?”                                                                               -(On the Unity of the Catholic Church, 4, 246 A.D.)
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“They alone have remained outside [the Church] who, were they within, would have to be ejected…There [in John 6:68-69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ.  The people joined to the priest, the flock clinging to their shepherd in the Church.  You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishops, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church.  They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priest of God, believing that they are secretly in communion with certain individuals.  The Church, which is one and Catholic is not split or divided, but is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere to one another.” -(Letters 66 (67): 8, 254 A.D.)
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peter_alexandriaSt. Peter of Alexandria, Bishop / martyr
“Peter, set above the Apostles…” -(Peter of Alexandria, Canon.ix.Galland, iv.p.98, 306 A.D.)
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Eusebius_of_CaesareaEusebius of Caesarea, bishop / historian
“That powerful and great one of the Apostles, who, on account of his excellence, was the leader of all the rest.” -(Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. Lib ii. C. 14, 325 A.D.)
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Anthony_the_GreatSt. Anthony of Egypt, monk (c. 330 A.D.)
Peter, the Prince of the Apostles (Anthony, Epist. xvii. Galland, iv p. 687)
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st-ephraim-the-syrianSt. Ephraim of Syria, deacon / theologian
“Simon, my follower, I have you the foundation of the holy Church…You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me.  If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them.  You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples.  Through you I will give drink to all peoples…I have given you the keys of the kingdom.  Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures.” -(St. Ephraim, Homilies 4:1, 338 A.D.)
“[As if spoken by Jesus:] Simon my follower, I have made you the foundation of My holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of all who will build on earth a Church for Me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which My teaching flows, you are the chief of My disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is the life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in My institution, and so that, as the heir, you may be the executor of all My treasures. I have given you the keys of My Kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all My treasures! To whom, O Lord, didst Thou entrust that most precious pledge of the heavenly keys? To Bar Jonas, the Prince of the Apostles, with whom, I implore Thee, may I share Thy bridal chamber…Our Lord chose Simon Peter and appointed him chief of the Apostles, foundation of the holy Church and guardian of His establishment. He appointed him head of the Apostles and commanded him to feed His flock and teach it laws for preserving the purity of its beliefs.”                                                             -(Homilies, 4:1, 350 A.D.)
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cyprian-of-carthage0012St. Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop / theologian
“The Lord is loving toward men, swift to pardon but slow to punish.  Let no man despair of his own salvation.  Peter, the first and foremost of the Apostles, denied the Lord three times before a little servant girl, but he repented and wept bitterly.  Weeping is demonstrative of repentance from the depth of the heart, which is why he not only received the forgiveness of his denial, but also kept his apostolic dignity without forfeit.”  -(Catechetical Lectures 2:19, 350 A.D.)
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St-John-CassianSt. John Cassian, monk
“O Peter, Prince of Apostles, it is just that you should teach us, since you were yourself taught by the Lord; and also that you should open to us the gate of which you have received the Key.  Keep out all those who are undermining the heavenly House; turn away those who are trying to enter through false caverns and unlawful gates since it is certain that no one can enter in at the gate of the Kingdom except the one unto whom the Key, placed by you in the churches, shall open it.” -(Book III, Chap 12, Against the Nestorians on the Incarnation, 362 A.D.)
“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” (Cassian, Contra Nestorium, III, 12, CSEL, vol. 17, p. 276).
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athanasiusSt. Athanasius the Great, bishop
“The Chief, Peter. “(Athan, In Ps. xv. 8, tom. iii. p. 106, Migne)(c.362 A.D.)
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Optatus_de_MileveSt. Opatatus of Milevis, bishop
“In the city of Rome the Episcopal chair was given first to Peter, the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head – that is why he is also called Cephas [Rock] – of all the Apostles, the one chair is which unity is maintained by all.  Neither do the Apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would presume to set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner…Recall then the origins of your chair, those of you who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy Church.”  -(The Schism of the Donatists, 2:2, 367 A.D.)
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st cyril of jerusalemSt Cyril of Jerusalam, bishop / patriarch
 “Our Lord Jesus Christ then became a man, but by the many He was not known. But wishing to teach that which was not known, having assembled the disciples, He asked, ‘Whom do men say that the Son of man is?’ …And all being silent (for it was beyond man to learn) Peter, the Foremost of the Apostles, the Chief Herald of the Church, not using the language of his own finding, nor persuaded by human reasoning, but having his mind enlightened by the Father, says to Him, ‘Thou art the Christ,’ not simply that, but ‘the Son of the living God.’ (Cyril, Catech. xi. n. 3) (c. 363 A.D.)
“For Peter was there, who carrieth the keys of heaven.” (Cyril, Catechetical Lectures A.D. 350).

“Peter, the chief and foremost leader of the Apostles, before a little maid thrice denied the Lord, but moved to penitence, he wept bitterly.” (Cyril, Catech ii. n. 15)

“In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, also the foremost of the Apostles and the key-bearer of the Kingdom of Heaven, healed Aeneas the paralytic in the name of Christ.” (Cyril, Catech. xviii. n. 27)

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st-gregory-the-theologian of nazianzusSt. Gregory of Nazianzus(the younger), bishop / theologian
“Seest thou that of the disciples of Christ, all of whom were great and deserving of the choice, one is called a Rock and is entrusted with the Foundations of the Church…” -(T.i. or. xxii. n.18, 370 A.D.)
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St._Gregory_of_Nyssa,_prothesisSt. Gregory of Nyssa, bishop
“The memory of Peter, the Head of the Apostles, is celebrated; and magnified indeed with him are the other members of the Church; but [upon him] is the Church of God firmly established.  For he is, agreeably to the gift conferred upon him by the Lord, that unbroken and most firm Rock upon which the Lord built His Church.” -(alt. Or. De S. Steph. Galland. t. vi., 371 A.D.)
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macarius-egyptSt. Macarius of Egypt, monk / hermit
“The Chief, Peter.” -(Macarius, De Patientia, n. 3, p. 180)”Moses was succeeded by Peter, who had committed to his hands the new Church of Christ, and the true priesthood.” -(Macarius, Hom. xxvi. n. 23, p. 101)(c. 371 A.D.)

 

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Basil_of_CaesareaSt. Basil the Great of Caesarea, bishop
“And when he, the instrument of such and so great a judgment; he the minister of the so great wrath of God upon a sinner; that blessed Peter, who was preferred before all the other disciples; who alone received a greater testimony and blessing than the rest; he to whom were entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.” -(T. ii. p.1. Procem. de Judic. Dei, n. 7, p.221, 371 A.D.)
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pope damasusThe Decree of Damasus
“Although all the Catholic churches spread abroad throughout the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of the churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, Who says: “You are Peter…” (Matthew 16:18-19).  In addition to this, there is also the companionship of the vessel of election, the most blessed Apostle Paul who, along with Peter in the city of Rome in the time of Caesar Nero, equally consecrated the above-mentioned holy Roman church to Christ the Lord; and by their own presence and by their venerable triumph, they set it at the forefront over the others of all the cities of the world.  The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman church, which has neither stain nor blemish, nor anything like that.  The second see is that of Alexandria, consecrated on behalf of the blessed Peter by Mark, his disciple and an Evangelist, who was sent to Egypt by the Apostle Peter, where he preached the word of truth and finished his glorious martyrdom.  The third see is that of Antioch, which belonged to the most blessed Peter, where first he dwelled before he came to Rome, and where the name “Christians” was first applied, as to a new people.”  -(#3, 382 A.D.)
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Epiphanius-of-SalamisSt. Epiphanius of Salamis
“Holy men are therefore called the temple of God, because the Holy Spirit dwells in them; as that Chief of the Apostles testifies, he that was found to be blessed by the Lord, because the Father had revealed unto him.  To him then did the Father reveal His true Son; and the same (Peter) furthermore reveals the Holy Spirit.  This was befitting in the First of the Apostles, that firm Rock upon which the Church of God is built, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  The gates of hell are heretics and heresiarchs.  For in every way was the faith confirmed in him who received the keys of heaven; who looses on earth and binds in heaven.  For in him are found all subtle questions of faith.  He was aided by the Father so as to be (or lay) the Foundation of the security (firmness) of the faith.  He (Peter) heard from the same God, “feed my lambs”; to him He entrusted the flock; he leads the way admirably in the power of his own Master.”  -(T. ii. in Anchor, 385 A.D.)
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john_chrysostomSt. John Chrysostom, Bishop (c. 387 A.D.)
“Peter himself the Head or Crown of the Apostles, the First in the Church, the Friend of Christ, who received a revelation, not from man, but from the Father, as the Lord bears witness to him, saying, ‘Blessed art thou, This very Peter and when I name Peter I name that unbroken Rock, that firm Foundation, the Great Apostle, First of the disciples, the First called, and the First who obeyed he was guilty …even denying the Lord.”                  -(Chrysostom, T. ii. Hom)
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“Peter, the Leader of the choir of Apostles, the Mouth of the disciples, the Pillar of the Church, the Buttress of the faith, the Foundation of the confession, the Fisherman of the universe.”                                                                                                                     -(Chrysostom, T. iii Hom).
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“Peter, that Leader of the choir, that Mouth of the rest of the Apostles, that Head of the brotherhood, that one set over the entire universe, that Foundation of the Church.”   -(Chrys. In illud hoc Scitote)
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“(Peter), the foundation of the Church, the Coryphaeus of the choir of the Apostles, the vehement lover of Christ …he who ran throughout the whole world, who fished the whole world; this holy Coryphaeus of the blessed choir; the ardent disciple, who was entrusted with the keys of heaven, who received the spiritual revelation. Peter, the mouth of all Apostles, the head of that company, the ruler of the whole world.”                                     -(De Eleemos, iii. 4; Hom. de decem mille tal. 3)
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“In those days Peter rose up in the midst of the disciples (Acts 15), both as being ardent, and as intrusted by Christ with the flock …he first acts with authority in the matter, as having all put into his hands ; for to him Christ said, ‘And thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren.”                                                                                                                             -(Chrysostom, Hom. iii Act Apost. tom. ix.)
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“He passed over his fall, and appointed him first of the Apostles; wherefore He said: ‘ ‘Simon, Simon,’ etc. (in Ps. cxxix. 2). God allowed him to fall, because He meant to make him ruler over the whole world, that, remembering his own fall, he might forgive those who should slip in the future. And that what I have said is no guess, listen to Christ Himself saying: ‘Simon, Simon, etc.’ ”                                                                                      -(Chrys, Hom. quod frequenter conveniendum sit 5, cf. Hom 73 in Joan 5).
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“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 thence forward have confidence, as the denial was done away with, He puts into his hands the presidency over the brethren…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.”  -(In Joan. Hom. lxxxviii. n. 1, tom. viii, 387 A.D.)
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ambrose of milanSt. Ambrose of Milan, Bishop
“It is to Peter that he says, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church” [Matthew 16:18].  Where Peter is, there is the Church.  And where the Church, no death is there, but life eternal.”  -(On Twelve Psalms, 40:30, 394 A.D.)
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st-augustine-hippo2St. Augustine of Hippo
“There are many other things which rightly keep me in the bosom of the Catholic Church.  The consent of the people and nations keeps me, her authority keeps me, inaugurated by miracles, nourished in hope, enlarged by love, and established by age.  The succession of priests keeps me, from the very seat of the apostle Peter (to whom the Lord after his Resurrection gave charge to feed his sheep) down to the present Episcopate [of Pope Siricius].”  -(Against the Letter of Mani Called “The Foundation”, 5, 397 A.D.)
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cYRIL OF AlexandriaSt. Cyril of Alexandria, Patriarch (c. 424)

“He suffers him no longer to be called Simon, exercising authority and rule over him already having become His own. By a title suitable to the thing, He changed his name into Peter, from the word ‘petra’ (rock); for on him He was afterwards to found His Church.” -(Cyril, T. iv. Comm. in Joan., p. 131)

“He (Christ) 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, Comm. on Matt., ad loc.)

“Therefore, when the Lord had hinted at the disciple’s denial in the words that He used, ‘I have prayed for thee that thy faith not fail,’ He at once introduced a word of consolation, and said (to Peter): ‘And do thou, when once thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.’ That is, ‘Be thou a support and a teacher of those who through faith come to me.’ Again, marvel also at the insight of that saying and at the completeness of the Divine gentleness of spirit. For so that He should not reduce the disciple to despair at the thought that after his denial he would have to be debarred from the glorious distinction of being an Apostle, He fills him with good hope, that he will attain the good things promised. …O loving kindness! The sin was not yet committed, and He already extends His pardon and sets him (Peter) again in his Apostolic office.”   -(Cyril Comm. on Luke’s Gospel)

“For the wonderous Peter, overcome by uncontrollable fear, denied the Lord three times. Christ heals the error done, and demands in various ways the threefold confession … For although all the holy disciples fled, …still Peter’s fault in the threefold denial was in addition, special and peculiar to himself. Therefore, by the threefold confession of blessed Peter, the fault of the triple denial was done away. Further, by the Lord’s saying, Feed my lambs, we must understand a renewal as it were of the Apostleship already given to him, washing away the intervening disgrace of his fall, and the littleness of human infirmity.”  -(Cyril, Comm. on John’s Gospel).

“They (the Apostles) strove to learn through one, that preeminent one, Peter. ”            -(Cyril, Ib. 1. ix. p. 736).

“And even blessed Peter, though set over the holy disciples, says ‘Lord, be it far from Thee, this shall be done to Thee.”   -(Cyril, Ibid. 924).

“If Peter himself, that prince of the holy disciples, was, upon an occassion, scandalized, so as suddenly to exclaim, ‘Lord, be it far from Thee,’ what wonder that the tender mind of woman should be carried away?”   -(Cyril, Ibid, p. 1064)

“That the Spirit is God we shall also learn hence. That the prince of the Apostles, to whom ‘flesh and blood,’ as the Savior says, ‘did not reveal’ the Divine mystery, says to Ananias, ‘Why hath Satan tempted thy heart,”  -(Cyril, T. v. Par. 1. Thesaur. p. 340)

“Besides all these, let there come forward that leader of the holy disciples, Peter, who, when the Lord, on a certain occassion, asked him, ‘Whom do men say that the Son of man is?’ instantly cried out, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’                   -(Cyril, T. v. P.2, Hom. viii. De Fest. Pasch. p. 105)

‘If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me.’ When the Coryphaeus (Peter) had heard these words, he began to change. ”  -(Cyril, Ib. Hom.)

“This bold man (Julian), besides all this, cavils at Peter, the chosen one of the holy Apostles.”  -(Cyril, T. vi.l. ix. Contr. Julian. p. 325).

 

Proclus of constantinopleSt. Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople (c.434):

“Peter, the coryphaeus of the disciples, and the one set over (or chief of) the Apostles. Art not thou he that didst say, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’? Thou Bar-Jonas (son of the dove) hast thou seen so many miracles, and art thou still but Simon (a hearer)? He appointed thee the key-bearer of Heaven, and has though not yet layed aside thy fisherman’s clothing?” (Proclus, Or. viii In Dom. Transfig. t. ix. Galland)

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nilusSt. Nilus of Constantinople, hermit (c. 448 A.D.)

“Peter, Head of the choir of Apostles.” (Nilus, Lib. ii Epistl.)

“Peter, who was foremost in the choir of Apostles and always ruled amongst them.”     -(Nilus, Tract. ad. Magnam.)

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theodoret of cyrusTheodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria (c.450 A.D.)
“The great foundation of the Church was shaken, and confirmed by the Divine grace. And the Lord commanded him [St. Peter] to apply that same care to the brethren. ‘And thou,’ He says, ‘converted, confirm thy brethren.’   -(Theodoret, Tom. iv. Haeret. Fab. lib. v.c. 28)
‘For as I,’ He says, ‘did not despise thee when tossed, so be thou a support to thy brethren in trouble, and the help by which thou was saved do thou thyself impart to others, and exhort them not while they are tottering, but raise them up in their peril. For this reason I suffer thee also to slip, but do not permit thee to fall, thus through thee gaining steadfastness for those who are tossed.’ So this great pillar supported the tossing and sinking world, and permitted it not to fall entirely and gave it back stability, having been ordered to feed God’s sheep.”                                                                                        -(Theodoret, Oratio de Caritate in J. P. Minge, ed., Partrologiae Curses Completus: Series Graeca).
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eulogiusSt. Eulogius, Archbishop of Alexandria (c. 581 A.D.)
“Neither to John, nor to any other of the disciples, did our Savior say, ‘I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,’ but only to Peter.”   -(Eulogius, Lib. ii. Cont. Novatian. ap. Photium, Biblioth, cod. 280)
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Sergius, Metropolitain of Cyprus (c. 649 A.D.)
Writing to Pope Theodore:
“O Holy Head, Christ our God hath destined thy Apostolic See to be an immovable foundation and a pillar of the Faith. For thou art, as the Divine Word truly saith, Peter, and on thee as a foundation-stone have the pillars of the Church been fixed.”                    -(Sergius Ep. ad Theod. lecta in Sess. ii. Concil. Lat. anno 649)

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