Skip to comments.St. Peter and Rome
Posted on 10/27/2006 8:14:39 PM PDT by Salvation
|St. Peter and Rome
Dear Catholic Exchange:
Matthew also issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church (Book 3, Chapter 1, verse 1).The African theologian Tertullian tells us that Peter and Paul both died in Rome in Demurrer Against the Heretics (c. A.D. 200):
Come now, if you would indulge a better curiosity in the business of your salvation, run through the apostolic Churches in which the very thrones of the Apostles remain still in place; in which their own authentic writings are read, giving sound to the voice and recalling the faces of each.... [I]f you are near to Italy, you have Rome, whence also our authority [i.e., in Carthage] derives. How happy is that Church, on which the Apostles poured out their whole doctrine along with their blood, where Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned in a death like Johns [i.e., the Baptist], where the Apostle John, after being immersed in boiling oil and suffering no hurt, was exiled to an island.Tertullian was certainly not the only ancient author who testified that Peter was crucified in Rome. An ancient, orthodox historical text known as the "Acts of Saints Peter and Paul" elaborates on the preaching and martyrdom of the two Apostles in Rome. The dating of this document is difficult, but historians cited in the Catholic Encyclopedia placed its probable origins between A.D. 150-250.
One of the earliest thorough histories of the Church was Bishop Eusebius of Cæsareas Ecclesiastical History. Most of this work was written before Constantine became emperor in A.D. 324, and some portions were added afterward. Eusebius quotes many previous historical documents regarding Peter and Pauls travels and martyrdom in Rome, including excellent excerpts from ancient documents now lost, like Presbyter Gaius of Romes "Disputation with Proclus" (c. A.D. 198-217) and Bishop Dionysius of Corinths "Letter to Soter of Rome" (c. A.D. 166-174). Penguin Books publishes a very accessible paperback edition of Eusebiuss history of the Church, and most libraries will probably own a copy as well.
For more ancient accounts of Peters presence in Rome, see the writings of the Church Fathers, which are published in various collections. Jurgenss Faith of the Early Fathers, volumes 1-3, contains a collection of patristic excerpts with a topical index which apologists find very useful (Liturgical Press). Hendrickson Publishers and Paulist Press both publish multi-volume hardcover editions of the works of the Church Fathers. Penguin Books and St. Vladimirs Seminary Press publish a few works of the Fathers in relatively inexpensive paperback editions.
More treatments of Petrine questions may be found in Stephen K. Rays Upon This Rock (Ignatius); Jesus, Peter, & the Keys by Butler, Dahlgren, and Hess (Queenship); Patrick Madrids Pope Fiction (Basilica); and in the Catholic Answers tracts Was Peter In Rome? and The Fathers Know Best: Peter In Rome.
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Well, he went to Rome so that Michelangelo and others could build a cathedral there at a later date.
Historical fact that Peter ever went to Rome is missing. Show me any evidence that Peter was ever in Rome and I might reconsider my basic protestant argument. After many hundreds of years, Rome has yet to give any proof that Peter ever set foot in Rome.
There is so much desire to explain these verses away. For the record, I would like to comment on the linguistic aspect of verse 18.
This is the literal word-by-word for the Latin:
tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam
you are Peter and on this rock I-shall-build church my
To see the Greek original, go to
, and select Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000) as the first version and any English translation for the second version. Select Matthew as book and chapter 16 verse 18. Leave other controls as by default. You will see the Greek original and the translation in a separate window. The Greek will be in Greek letters, but this is, roughly, what they would be transliterated into English alphabet letter-by-letter:
kago de soi lego oti su es petros kai epi taute te petra oikonomeso mou ten ekklesian kai pulai adou ou katischusousin autes
and-I to you say that you are Petros and upon this the rock I-shall-build my the church and doors of-hell not prevail against-her
Greek words have "gender". Words ending in "os" are masculine. Words ending in "a" are feminine (they also inflect, and there are other endings beside these two, but these two are sufficient for our purpose here). "Petra" is "rock"; it is a feminine noun. Accordingly, "taute" and "te" are feminine prepositions that together mean "this [feminine thing]". "epi taute te petra" means "upon this rock", straight up, -- no wordplay.
Then there is this word, "petros". It is a masculine form of "petra". You can take any Greek word ending in "-a", and make up a similar masculine word out of it replacing "-a" with "-os". We can't do so in English because we don't have gender for inanimate nouns. We have a similar effect with some names, e.g. "Brenda" and "Brendan". But in Greek we can do so systematically. Usually, if we take a regular Greek feminine word and form a masculine counterpart, we get a non-word. "Petros" is a non-word. It suggests "petra" but is wrong, masculine, gender. How can we use such non-word? We can give a man a nickname. The nickname, e.g. Petros, will follow the proper grammar for men, but will still suggest "petra", -- Rock.
There is no record of the proper name Petros used prior to the spread of Christianity. It might have been a rarely used name, or it might have been a non-word till Christ invented it. In any event, there is nothing in the text to indicate any desire on the part of Christ to make Peter a "stone" (the word for that would be "lithos") or a "pebble". There is nothing that suggests pointing away from Peter at some rock far off.
It is possible that the actual words were uttered in Aramaic, and indeed Peter is called Cephas, Aramaic for Rock, elsewhere. In this case the Greek word formation, "petros" is how Matthew rendered the renaming while making the Greek grammar still work.
Nor, of course, is there anything in the broader context to suggest irony on the part of Christ. Simon alone recognized Jesus as the messiah; Jesus indicates that Peter has a divine revelation about that, renames him (in the tradition of Old Testament patriarchs) and promises to Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. He also explains that the "keys" will hold the power to legislate on earth in such way that Christ Himself will enforce these laws in heaven.
And all this time I thought it was for the spaghetti!! ;o)
What Archaeology ProvedWas Peter in Rome?
There is much archaeological evidence that Peter was at Rome, but Boettner, like other Fundamentalist apologists, must dismiss it, claiming that exhaustive research by archaeologists has been made down through the centuries to find some inscription in the catacombs and other ruins of ancient places in Rome that would indicate Peter at least visited Rome. But the only things found which gave any promise at all were some bones of uncertain origin (118).
Boettner saw Roman Catholicism through the presses in 1962. His original book and the revisions to it since then have failed to mention the results of the excavations under the high altar of St. Peters Basilica, excavations that had been underway for decades, but which were undertaken in earnest after World War II. What Boettner casually dismissed as some bones of uncertain origin were the contents of a tomb on Vatican Hill that was covered with early inscriptions attesting to the fact that Peters remains were inside.
After the original release of Boettners book, evidence had mounted to the point that Pope Paul VI was able to announce officially something that had been discussed in archaeological literature and religious publications for years: that the actual tomb of the first pope had been identified conclusively, that his remains were apparently present, and that in the vicinity of his tomb were inscriptions identifying the place as Peters burial site, meaning early Christians knew that the prince of the apostles was there. The story of how all this was determined, with scientific accuracy, is too long to recount here. It is discussed in detail in John Evangelist Walshs book, The Bones of St. Peter. It is enough to say that the historical and scientific evidence is such that no one willing to look at the facts objectively can doubt that Peter was in Rome. To deny that fact is to let prejudice override reason.
Thanks for that link, too. I thought about posting it as well, but I'm glad you did.
At first glance, it might seem that the question, of whether Peter went to Rome and died there, is inconsequential. And in a way it is. After all, his being in Rome would not itself prove the existence of the papacy. In fact, it would be a false inference to say he must have been the first pope since he was in Rome and later popes ruled from Rome. With that logic, Paul would have been the first pope, too, since he was an apostle and went to Rome.
On the other hand, if Peter never made it to the capital, he still could have been the first pope, since one of his successors could have been the first holder of that office to settle in Rome. After all, if the papacy exists, it was established by Christ during his lifetime, long before Peter is said to have reached Rome. There must have been a period of some years in which the papacy did not yet have its connection to Rome.
The Roman viewpoint =
the VERY EDITED AND ANNOTATED pseudo-"facts."
My view of the historical record is that the
did not even begin until at least 200 years after Paul died.
Like most historians, Im still waiting for proof that Peter ever ventured to Rome. Why would he, he had already shown that he was unworthy by denying Christ three times. And after denying Christ, we dont hear about him much. So this has been , denier (sp) of Christ went on to Rome and became the first pope . Excuse me if I dont buy into this whole thing.
BTW, I'm not anti Universal Church of all those who Love The Lord Jesus . . .
I am against hierarchical organizations which end up doing the same thing the religious leaders of the most kosher RELIGIOUS organization of Jesus' dusty pathed days did to those who wanted a real realtionship with God.
The same problems in the Roman group abound in the Protestant groups. Human nature is the same in both camps and now as 2,000 years ago.
The Romans have not learned some secret about keeping organizations and their leaders humble servants to true relationships with God. It has appeared a number of decades and even centuries that actually, the Roman group was euqal to or worse than the RELIGIOUS organization and leaders ruling the roost in Jesus' earthly days.
I do NOT believe that Christ installed Peter as leader of anything.
But EVEN IF HE DID, the supposed successors have truly botched the operation big time multiple times to horrific results over and over and over.
The notion that God still rests His anointing on the Roman Group makes of God an idiot.
God is not that dumb, blind or helpless when He sees His priorities and His anointing trashed compared to His goals and standards.
Even Tai Babilonia couldn't figure it out...
Why, isn't Bernini's Cathedra Petri evidence enough, to say nothing of the whole cathedral around it? Whether he was there, or not, is irrelevant. Quite a lot of excellent art was specifically created on the assumption that he went there, and for that art we ought to be grateful.
A marked grave ain't enough?
after denying Christ, we dont hear about him much
Read the book called the "Bible". It is for sale in "Christian" book stores. Inside, look for Acts, two letters of Peter, and Galatians and do a word search for "Cephas" and "Peter".
Also, read the following in the Gospel of John (it is also a part of the "Bible" book):
Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. 17 He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep. 18 Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not. 19 And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me.This is after the betrayal.
The "Bible" book is also available online: Douay-Rheims Bible
It is good that you have such vibrant interest in Christianity. I'll be glad to help if you have questions, as will many others.
Much thanks for the picture... But I am at WORK>>>>>
It what ways are things being "trashed" as you say by the Catholic Church?
In my way of thinking, it is the Catholic Church who as stood alone on many issues, among them:
The sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman
The holiness of the priesthood, (Yes, some have abused that office, but for the most, it is an extremely holy and honored sacrament.)
The stand against abortion
Against contraception and for Natural Family Planning
The stand against euthanasia
Against embryonic stem cell killing
Wouldn't you agree that the Catholic Church has stood faithfully and alone on these issues. Other faiths have chosed to join these ongoing fights at later dates.