The Church Fathers and Peter's Presence in Rome by Joe Gallegos
"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. "
Clement of Rome,The First Epistle of Clement,5(c.A.D. 96),in ANF,I:6
"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 Rome and Corinth."
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."
Clement of Alexandria, fragment in Eusebius Church History,VI:14,6(A.D. 190), in NPNF2,I:261
'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 Rome itself, and that Peter likewise was crucified under Nero. This account of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present day. It is confirmed likewise by Caius, a member of the Church, who arose under Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome. He, in a published disputation with Proclus, the leader of the Phrygian heresy, speaks as follows concerning the places where the sacred corpses of the aforesaid apostles are laid: 'But I can show the trophies of the apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church.' "
Gaius, fragment in Eusebius' Church History,2:25(A.D. 198),in NPNF2,I:129-130
"Peter...at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer this way."
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 Rome..."
Lactantius,The Divine Institutes,4:21(A.D. 310),in ANF,VII:123
"Peter...coming to the city of Rome, by the mighty cooperation of that power which was lying in wait there..."
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 Rome even for this, although indeed one has other grounds for praising it, both for its greatness, and its antiquity, and its beauty, and its populousness, and for its power, and its wealth, and for its successes in war. But I let all this pass, and esteem it blessed on this account, that both in his lifetime he wrote to them, and loved them so, and talked with them whiles he was with us, and brought his life to a close there. Wherefore the city is more notable upon this ground, than upon all others together. And as a body great and strong, it hath as two glistening eyes the bodies of these Saints. Not so bright is the heaven, when the sun sends forth his rays, as is the city of Rome, sending out these two lights into all parts of the world. From thence will Paul be caught up, from thence Peter. Just bethink you, ... what a sight Rome will see, when Paul ariseth suddenly from that deposit, together with Peter, and is lifted up to meet the Lord. What a rose will Rome send up to Christ! what two crowns will the city have about it! what golden chains will she be girded with! what fountains possess! Therefore I admire the city, not for the much gold, not for the columns, not for the other display there, but for these pillars of the Church."
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. Rome] not knowing the reason of this indulgence, think that a dispensation from fasting ought certainly not to be allowed On the Sabbath, because they say that on this day the Apostle Peter fasted before his encounter with Simon[Magus]."
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 Rome, which early laid claim to have witnessed that martrydom, were not the scene of it, where then did it take place? Any city would be glad to claim such a connexion with the name of the Apostle, and none but Rome made the claim...If this evidence for Peter's martydom be not be deemed sufficient, there are few things in the history of the early Church which it will be possible to demonstrate"
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 Rome was once contested by reason of Protestant prejudice.'
'It is sufficient to let us include the martyrdom of Peter in Rome in our final historical picture of the early Church, as a matter of fact which is relatively though not absolutely assured. We accept it, however facts of antiquity that are universally accepted as historical. Were we to demand for all facts of ancient history a greater degree of probability, we should have to strike from our history books a large portion of their contents."
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 Rome under the emperor Nero. The account of Paul's martydom in Rome, which is supported by much of the same evidence, has not called forth similar skepticism."
Jaroslav Pelikan, "The Riddle of Catholicism", (New York:Abingdon,1959) p. 36
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