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The Early Church Fathers on St. Peter's Presence in Rome.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures


  1. St. Dionysius of Corinth, (A.D. c.110 - 171)
    St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202)
    Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218)
St. Dionysius of Corinth, (A.D. c.110 - 171), Greek; bishop of Corinth, famed for his letters. He is described in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History. One of Dionysius' letters commemorated the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul.

You have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time.

Letter to Soter of Rome [inter A.D. 166 -174] as recorded by Eusebius

St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202), Asia Minor; bishop, missionary, theologian, defender of orthodoxy. Though by birth a Greek, he was Bishop of Lyons in the second century. He tells us that, in his early youth, he learned the rudiments of religion from St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John the Apostle. He wrote several works, of which only a few fragments are now known, with the exception of his Treatise against Heretics which we have in five books.

"But as it would be a very long task, to enumerate in such a volume as this, the successions of all the churches : pointing out that tradition which the greatest, and most ancient, and universally known Church, — founded and constituted, at Rome, by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, — derives from the Apostles, and that faith announced to all men, which, through the succession of (her) bishops, has come down to us, we confound all those who, in any way, whether through pleasing themselves, or vain-glory, or blindness, and perverse opinion, assemble otherwise as suit them.

For with this Church, on account of its superior origin, it is necessary that every church agree, that is, all the faithful of the whole world everywhere maintain that tradition which is from Apostles."

Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]

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. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also handed down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.

Against Heresies 3:1:1 [A.D. 189]

Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218), North African; ecclesiastical writer, Christian apologist and lawyer, son of a centurion and contemporary of St. Irenæus, a native and citizen of Carthage. The zeal and ability with which he defended the Christian cause, and vindicated its faith and discipline, have immortalized his name, though it has suffered by his adoption, around the year A.D. 200, of some of the Montanist's errors, whose cause he is thought to have supported until his death. His works are numerous, and are written with great ability and erudition, but in an harsh style.

Let us see what milk the Corinthians drained from Paul; against what standard the Galatians were measured for correction; what the Philippians, Thessalonians, and Ephesians read; what even the nearby Romans sound forth, to whom both Peter and Paul bequeathed the Gospel and even sealed it with their blood.

Against Marcion 4:5:1 [inter A.D. 207-212]



Some contend that Peter couldn't have been the bishop of Rome because he was never in Rome. This of course runs counter to the testimony of the Early Fathers and Scripture.


In 1 Peter 5:12-13, Peter says:

"I write you this briefly through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Remain firm in it. The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son."

Babylon was a code word for Rome and is used elsewhere in Scripture to mean the same thing. Examples can be found in Revelation 18:2, 18:10 and 18:21.


The Church's Scriptures that support St. Peter's Presence in Rome:

12 "I write you this briefly through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Remain firm in it. 13 The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son."

1 Peter 5:12-13


2 And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen; and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every unclean spirit, and the hold of every unclean and hateful bird.

Revelation 18:2


10 Standing afar off for fear of her torments, saying: Alas! alas! that great city Babylon, that mighty city: for in one hour is thy judgment come.

Revelation 18:10

21 And a mighty angel took up a stone, as it were a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying: With such violence as this shall Babylon, that great city, be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

Revelation 18:21

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