Skip to comments.Byzantium and the Roman Primacy
Posted on 04/07/2006 2:11:53 PM PDT by pravknight
The most important and the most controversial point in all endeavors for rapprochement of other Churches with the Roman Catholic Church is undoubtedly the question of the Roman Primacy in Christianity. The denial of this prerogative to the Bishop of Rome by the Orthodox is, perhaps, the only serious obstacle on the way to reunion of the Eastern Churches with the Roman Church. The many polemic writings issued in the East and in the West from the eleventh century, denying or defending the primary position of the Roman Bishop, have, so far, failed to produce the desired effect on either side. Mutual distrust caused mostly by political divisions and the different development of the Church's organization in East and West, manifested particularly from the eleventh century on, have often embittered the minds of the controversialists and prevented the faithful on both sides from considering the problem without prejudice.
Instead of repeating all the known arguments pro and contra, let us try the historical method and examine the position which the Byzantine Church took on this problem from earliest times on up to the period when the estrangement between the Eastern and Western parts of mediaeval Christianity became apparent and began to envenom the atmosphere in which the Churches had to live.
The Roman Bishops, from the beginning, derived their prestige from the fact that St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles, had died and was buried in Rome.
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