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Did St. Athanasius believe in the Papacy and what he taught about the bishop of Rome?

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Christ is in our midst!!

Your question is confusing. What are you asking?

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what st Athanasius taught about bishop of rome?

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Christ is in our midst!!

That's a rather strange question. What did any of the Fathers of his era believe about the Bishop of Rome? Are you confusing Vatican I definitions about the role of the Bishop of Rome with the patristic period?

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Originally Posted by theophan
Christ is in our midst!!

That's a rather strange question. What did any of the Fathers of his era believe about the Bishop of Rome? Are you confusing Vatican I definitions about the role of the Bishop of Rome with the patristic period?

I really don't know about that. happy to know more!

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St Athanasius was embroiled in fighting the Arian heresy in his time. Clearly, the See of Rome was then, and always was, considered to be the ultimate "referee" and authority to decide on the innocence or guilt of bishops and others in matters involving the Catholic Faith.

Emperor Constantius II wanted to have Athanasius removed from the See of Alexandria but Athanasius, following established precedent even at that early stage in the Church's history, appealed to Rome on this. I believe the pope at that time was St Julius (correct me if I'm wrong) who defended Athanasius' Orthodoxy until the day he died.

It wasn't really a question of "What did St Athanasius teach about the role of the Bishop of Rome" (indeed, it was Alexandria itself that was the first to call its patriarch "pope" and even "New Pharaoh"), but what did he teach about the Deity of Christ and how he clearly acknowledged the primacy of Rome as the ultimate arbiter and judge in matters of faith and morals.

To go further, given the fact that the Roman Emperors of the East tried to exercise such control over the Church and given all the intrigues between patriarchs and emperors in the Byzantine East, the Bishop and later Pope of Rome became the natural religious authority over both patriarchs and emperors (even though emperors did call Ecumenical Councils together etc.).

Both patriarchs and emperors, when faced with unresolvable conflicts between church and state, turned to far away Rome as an external arbiter to the conflict, each hedging their bets the pope would side with them to help them win their argument.

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Orthodox Catholic,


 You give an informative picture of St. Athanasius and his time. If I am reading you correctly, St Athanasius, and the early Fathers,  viewed the Pope as THE go-to arbitrator to settle Church disagreements. You present an instance of this with St. Athanasius' appeal. St. Athanasius was schooled and taught in the great catecatical school of Alexandria. He, and other Eastern Fathers, were well educated, brilliant theologians. There were several other great catecatical schools in the East.


 Given all of this, do you think:


1. The Pope and his enclave in Rome were even more educated and brilliant? 


Or, 

2. Did the Fathers see Rome as more objective, less influenced by geo- political concerns? 


Or, 

3. Do you believe that Rome was appealed to as final word  because it's Bishop was the successor to Saint Peter, as part of divine commission?


I am assuming that number 1 isn't necessarily true. I am also assuming number  2 and  3 were THE important factors. 

But, I am really intrigued as to how much weight number 3 carried in the Early Church. Did it carry as much importance as we Catholics place on it today or has that importance evolved/ increased over the centuries?


Thanks in advance for your thoughts.......

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Rome, Antioch and Alexandria are all considered Petrine Sees. Within Rome, Antioch and Alexandria's jurisdiction, they were seen as the final arbiter. If there were a dispute between Sees or an unresolved issue within each See, the Roman See could potentially be appealed to - but this does not mean this would happen, nor that Rome's decision was necessarily accepted. If needed, a Council or Synod could also be held in opposition to the Roman or Patriarchal view. Again, either method required the decision to be accepted back by the faithful. Also, Rome would delegate judgement back to other Sees whenever it wanted, or accepted the decision of the other See to make themselves judge if the Roman See agreed with the decision.

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I am not sure how you can say this...The Bishop of Rome was not the ultimate "referee" as you are stating. The "pope" was not the emperor or president of any of the first 8 Ecumenical Councils and the Bishop of Rome was deposed 2 in 2 different councils alone. An overwhelming amount of Church Fathers believed that no one was above the Councils (including the Bishop of Rome which even St. Augustine and many others agreed with) and it was so prevalent that no one even argued with it or talked about it. It was not until 382 that someone claimed Matthew 16:18 as papal supremacy. Even after that, they did not follow it or even talk about it at any of the councils for the next 600 years. Things did start to reform in 1082 with Gregory the VII but even before this and after this many heresies and errors were made by the papal office. I am a Catholic but am not sure how to get over this problem. You cant just say "it was" when it wasnt in history....

I welcome a dialogue on this


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