The second question sends us, in the first place, to the letters written by St. Paul during his two Roman "imprisonments," in none of which is there the faintest reference to St.


Peter. Next, let us look to post-Apostolic writers who were in the best position for knowing whether St. Peter had acted as local chief pastor of the Roman Church, in the sense of occupying its see.

St. Clement, whom we may assume to have held such an office, [1] and to have written the letter of the Roman Church to the Corinthian, commonly called his epistle, simply ranks St. Peter with St. Paul in Apostolic endurance and martyrdom: [2] St. Ignatius implies that they both spent some time at Rome, and gave Apostolic injunctions: [3] Dionysius of Corinth, also addressing the Roman Church, speaks to the same effect, adding that both were martyred in Italy: and Caius, about A. D. 200, says that their tombs were shown at Rome. [4] But Irenaeus is more explicit: he ascribes the "foundation" of the Roman Church, - evidently in the sense of settlement, - to the two Apostles Peter and Paul, and then says that they "entrusted Linus with the ministry of the episcopate." [5]


Would such language be natural in one who believed that this "episcopate" had first been held by Peter? Irenaeus adds that "Linus was succeeded by Anencletus" (in the Latin version, Anacletus); "and after him, in the third place from the Apostles, Clement received the episcopate." Here, then, the phrase "from the Apostles" excludes either Apostle from the "episcopal" list.

It is true that in two passages, as quoted by Eusebius, [6] bishop Hyginus is reckoned as ninth in the list, which implies either that one of the two Apostles was the first bishop, or that the "duplication" of Anencletus and Cletus was as old as Irenaeus' time, which, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, is an untenable solution." [7] But against the word "ninth" in these quotations may in all reason be set the definite catalogue of twelve Roman bishops given by Irenaeus in the


third chapter of his third book, according to which Hyginus is eighth bishop, Linus being first of all. The Latin version of Irenaeus reads "eighth" in the second passage, and Stieren considers that it originally read "eighth" in the first passage also. On the whole, then, it is clear that the "Petrine episcopate" receives no attestation from Irenaeus, who had sojourned and studied at Rome: in his view, St. Peter and St. Paul established the see of Rome, and made Linus its first occupant. Some twenty years later, at the end of the second century, Tertullian, while still a Catholic, wrote a treatise, the title of which may be described as "a plea in bar of the claim of heretics" (to represent authentic Christianity)." [8] Here he differs from Irenaeus by reckoning not Linus or Anencletus, but Clement, as coming next after St. Peter, "Clementem a Petro ordinatum." But the context shows that he did not regard Peter as the first bishop: [9] for he is referring to the episcopal lists in various Apostolic churches, as running up to some "first bishop," "appointed and preceded


by an Apostle or an Apostolic man;" [10] and the relation of Clement to St. Peter is paralleled by the relation of Polycarp to St. John, so that, as far as this passage goes, St. Peter was no more bishop of Rome than St. John was bishop of Smyrna. There is, indeed, another point of difference between Irenaeus and Tertullian: the former links Peter with Paul; the latter speaks of Peter only, and in such a way as to suggest that he had got hold of a story which - perhaps at a later period - [11] was embodied in the spurious "Epistle of Clement to James" (i.e. the Lord's "brother," first bishop, as we call him, of Jerusalem), to the effect that Peter, at the close of his own life, laid his hands on Clement and made


him bishop. Tertullian does not, as we have seen, say that Peter had been bishop, but rather implies the contrary: and even if this singular forgery had been extant and had been read by him, he might not have taken literally its assertion that Peter seated Clement "in his own chair." However, the one statement, that Peter ordained (i.e. consecrated) Clement, was adopted by Tertullian; and, as to the Petrine episcopate, we can easily understand that, apart from the "letter" as it stands, or even apart from the Ebionitish Pseudo-Clementine literature in its developed forms, some earlier form of the story about Peter and Clement might have reached the West in the latter part of the second century, [12] and two lines of feeling would popularise it at Rome. Peter, as "the first" Apostle,


and the converter of "Roman sojourners" at the great Pentecost, would be thought of as in his own person the appropriate organiser [13] of the "first" in importance among Churches: and the name of Clement would loom much larger in the view of Roman Church-people than that of Linus or of Anencletus; hence a welcome would be given to the account (however obtained) which brought Clement and Peter close together, as the consecrator and the consecrated. From this point it would be a short step to make St. Peter himself actually the first Roman bishop; he is so regarded in the "Chronicle of Hippolytus," as restored by Bishop Lightfoot, [14] although a different view is implied in a passage quoted by Eusebius from the "Little Labyrinth," written probably by a Roman presbyter; [15] and St. Cyprian is naturally understood in this sense when he call the Roman see "the chair of Peter," and the "place" vacated by a deceased Roman bishop


as the locus Petri. [16] Can we wonder that a tradition grew up in the West, extending itself also into the East, on the basis of a statement which possessed such attractions as to obscure its highly suspicious connection with a copious Ebionitish romance, or that in minds, like so many in the West, unsuspicious of masked heresy, the fictitious story of Clement's adventures, as it became current, should establish the notion of Peter's episcopate and Clement's immediate succession, until, at the end of the fourth century, Jerome could assert the one with a detail as to its twenty-five years' duration, and speak of the other as believed by "most of the Latins"? [17]

But it has been boldly suggested [18] that a contemporary of Irenaeus may probably handed down the fact of the Petrine episcopate: for it is asserted in the "Chronicle" of Eusebius, and Eusebius in his "History" quotes from the "Memoranda" of Hegesippus, to the effect that, "while staying at


Rome, he had made out a list of the succession of bishops down to Anicetus, and that, when he wrote, Eleutherus was in the see." [19] But the extract makes no reference to Peter; and if the context had affirmed his episcopate, Eusebius could hardly have passed over so important an affirmation. As it is, in the history, Eusebius describes the Apostle's relation to the Roman Church without hinting that he became its bishop, [20] whereas St. James's episcopate at Jerusalem is repeatedly asserted. [21] Eusebius, in fact, expressly mentions Linus "the first to receive the episcopate of the Roman Church after the martyrdom of Paul and Peter," [22] language which explains the briefer phrase, "first after Peter," in a passage somewhat further on. [23]


Yet further, he ranks Clement as "third of those who had acted as bishops after both Paul and Peter." [24] Now, before going further, let us observe that, on the Papal hypothesis, the episcopate of St. Peter at Rome was a fact of absolutely unique significance for all Christians; a fact, therefore, on which the "father of Church history" must surely have spoken with unequivocal distinctness and emphasis, instead of leaving it to be read into such a phrase as "from" or "after the Apostles." [25] Nor can we, on this showing, explain why Eusebius records the Roman successions in the same quiet matter-of-fact style that he employs as to the Alexandrian and Antiochene.

But then there is the statement in his Chronicle that Peter "was the first to preside over the Roman Church." [26] Since we have the Greek


here, we need not lay stress on translations. The original expression does not "directly call him bishop;" [27] but the verb used is that which in several places of the History represents the episcopal presidency, at Rome or elsewhere. [28] Yet this one passage cannot be taken to convey Eusebius' adhesion to the popular Roman theory, as opposed to that computation of Roman successions which make Linus the first and Eleutherus the twelfth, and which he formally adopts from Irenaeus in Hist. v. 6. We need not go further down the stream: we have seen that the Irenaean computation is the oldest extant, and that it leaves St. Peter out of the catalogue: and if Jerome adopts the later reckoning, which may not unfairly be named Pseudo-Clementine, he does but report the tradition which he found current at Rome while living there under Damasus: while it is curious that Epiphanius asserts that Peter and Paul


to have been jointly "first bishops" of Rome as well as "Apostles;" [29] and both he and Rufinus, when noticing a difficulty as to whether Clement was appointed by Peter, or came after Linus and "Cletus," adopt a solution which deprives the two latter of any Petrine successorship by placing their episcopates within Peter's own lifetime. [30] The uncertainties as to these earliest Roman episcopates suggest a question of some interest. If the Church in the sub-Apostolic period had understood that the Roman see was not only, as the Gallican theory maintains, or maintained, the centre of her unity, but also, in the Vaticanist sense, the throne of her monarch and the fountain of her teaching, would room have been left for inconsistent traditions as to the first recipients of so momentous a charge? [31] Nor is it open to


Roman arguers to say that, even if St. Peter were not actually bishop of Rome, its bishops could still inherit his peculiar prerogatives, whatever those were, and represent him, and in him, specifically, his Master, in their relation, as bishops of Rome, to the whole Church. For the very core and essence of their present claim is to be really his successors, to hold prerogatives attached to their see by him as not only its establisher, but its occupant: the hypothesis is, that he, by becoming the first bishop of Rome, bound up his supremacy with that particular bishopric, and transmitted it to those who throughout all time should sit in that cathedra which, as the Pseudo-Clementine fiction words it, might be called "his own." Take away the Petrine episcopate, and the Papal claim is a house without a foundation. [32]


[1] Cf. Bishop Lightfoot, St. Clement of Rome, i. 69, 81.

[2] Clem. Ep. ad Cor. 5. He takes both as samples of "pillars" of the Church.

[3] Ign. ad Rom. 4.

[4] Ap. Euseb. ii. 25. Cf. p. Westcott, on the Canon of N. T. 187, ed. 4.

[5] Iren. iii. 3. 3. The verb (enexeirisan) happens to be the one which St. Chrysostom uses (in Act. Hom. 33. 2) as to the appointment of St. James to the bishopric of Jerusalem, which no one imagines any apostle to have previously held.

[6] Iren. i. 27. 1; iii. 4. 3, ap. Euseb. iv. 11. The succession, omitting Peter, was (according to Irenaeus) 1. Linus; 2. Anencletus; 3. Clement; 4. Euarestus; 5. Alexander; 6. Xystus (or Sixtus), whom Irenaeus expressly calls "sixth from the apostles" in iii. 3. 3; 7. Telesphorus; 8. Hyginus; 9. Pius; 10. Anicetus; 11. Soter; 12. Eleutherus, who, says Irenaeus, "now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, holds the office of the episcopate." After Eleutherus came, 13. Victor; 14. Zephyrinus; 15. Callistus.

[7] St. Clement of Rome, i. 204.

[8] Tertull. de Praescr. Haer. 32.

[9] Bishop Lightfoot, indeed, says that Tertullian here "presumably regards Clement as the apostle's own successor in the episcopate" (St. Clement of Rome, i. 344). But the context is against this "presumption." See Dict. Chr. Biogr. i. 577.

[10] See Pearson, Minor Works, ii. 373, that such a first bishop might be called "successor apostoli in ea ecclesia."

[11] Rufinus, in the preface to his translation of the Pseudo-Clementine "Recognitions," say that he "has not prefixed to his work the letter in which Clement informs James that Peter 'se reliquerit successorem cathedrae suae,' because it is of later date, and he had long ago translated and edited it" (Cotelerius, Patr. Apost. i. 492). But Rufinus, at the end of the fourth century, may have been mistaken as to the date of the "letter;" and even if it had only come to Rome with the "Recognitions" (i.e. as Salmon would suppose, about A. D. 200-210), the statement that "Peter placed Clement in his own chair" might well have been current in some "first draft" of the story. It is therefore needless to discuss the relation of the "Recognitions" to the Dialogue on "Laws amd Countries" by a disciple of Bardesanes, as to which Hort and Salmon differ (Dict. Chr. Biogr. i. 258, 577). Cp. Lightfoot, i. 414.

[12] Salmon (Infallibility of the Church, p. 360) says that the real inventor of the story of Peter' Roman episcopate was an editor of the Clementine romance. Bishop Moorhouse contends that the substitution of Clement for Linus as first bishop "after" Peter, with the omission of Paul's name, which Irenaeus had associated with Peter's, and the inclusion (more or less explicit) of Peter in the episcopal list, amounted to such a divergence from the older Roman tradition as "the Clementine fiction" alone can account for (see Guardian of April 24, 1895). Dr. Bigg holds that the Ebionitish "Homilies" were a recension of an orthodox work, which "contained the Clement legend," and came into existence about 200. But he dates this recension in the fourth century (Studia Biblica, ii. 188 ff.).

[13] It was not in the least necessary, in order to this result, that an actual supremacy, a monarchical power over the apostles and the whole Church, should be attributed to St. Peter.

[14] Lightfoot, St. Clement of Rome, i. 264.

[15] Euseb. v. 28. Victor is reckoned as "thirteenth bishop from Peter." The author could hardly be Hippolytus, but might well, as Salmon suggests, be Caius (Dict. Chr. Biogr. iii. 98).

[16] Cypr. Ep. 59. 14 and 55. 8 (ed. Hartel). He also reckons Hyginus as ninth bishop (Ep. 74. 2).

[17] De Vir. Illustr. 1, 15. Cp. Adv. Jov. i. 12, "Clemens successor apostoli Petri." The "twenty-five years" of Peter's "episcopate" appear in the Liberian catalogue (A. D. 354). Lightfoot thinks that twenty-five "might have been adopted as a convenient round number" (St. Clement, i. 283).

[18] Rivington, p. 177. [19] Ap. Euseb. iv. 22. The extract does not in the slightest degree indicate any notion of a generic and essential superiority in importance of the Roman over other "successions."

[20] Euseb. ii. 14 (where Peter's pre-eminence is accounted for by his "courage").

[21] Ib. ii. 1, 23; iii. 5, 7; vii. 19.

[22] I. iii. 2. Literally, "the first to have the episcopate ... assigned to him." Mr. Rivington remarks that "we should say that Henry III. was the first king of England after John, meaning to include John amongst the kings" (Prim. Ch. etc., p. 19). We should say so, no doubt, after saying that John was one of the kings. Only, in the History, Eusebius does not say that Peter was one of the Roman bishops.

[23] Mr. Rivington says that in this passage Eusebius "speaks of Linus as the successor of Peter alone" (p. 20). "Successor" suggests more than is in the text.

[24] Euseb. iii. 21.

[25] In iv. 1, Eusebius says that Primus was fourth bishop of Alexandria "from the Apostles," and that Alexander at Rome "brought down the succession to a fifth place from Peter and Paul." So at Antioch, Theophilus was "sixth from the apostles," iv. 20. So at Jerusalem, Narcissus is named as "thirteenth from the apostles, v. 12. Eusebius had adopted the phrase from Irenaeus. Clearly he did not mean that any apostle had been bishop of Alexandria, or more than one at Jerusalem; of Antioch he makes Euodius the "first bishop."

[26] See Vallarsi's ed. of Jerome, viii. 659. The Greek, ths en Rwmh prwtos proesth, is in a fragment. The Greek also calls Linus "first bishop after Peter." The Armenian version calls Peter "prelate" (Lat. antistes), and reckons Linus as "second bishop." Jerome says that Peter "continued as bishop;" but he translated somewhat freely, representing o korufaios by "Christianorum pontifex primus." Later, he is verbally inconsistent, naming "Cletus" and "Clement" as "second and third bishops," Linus being "first after Peter."

[27] Lightfoot, St. Clement of Rome, i. 215.

[28] E.g. Euseb. iii. 21, 34; iv. 11, 19.

[29] Haer. 27. 6. A sentence in his context is considered by Lightfoot and Salmon to be a quotation from Hegesippus; but it does not follow that Hegesippus is responsible for this assertion about the two apostles, by which probably Epiphanius means that both, when at Rome, had supreme charge of its church. He is not clear whether Clement succeeded "Cletus" in the ordinary way, or whether he was consecrated by Peter, but declined to act as bishop until after the deaths of Linus and "Cletus."

[30] Rufinus says he has "received" this explanation (Praef. in Recogn.).

[31] E.g. the Apostolic Constitutions say that "Linus was appointed as first bishop by Paul, and after Linus' death Clement as second, by Peter." Optatus, followed by Augustine, has this order - Peter, Linus, Clement, Anacletus (Augustine may have written Anencletus). The Liberian Catalogue has - Peter, Linus, Clement, Cletus, Anacletus.

[32] Compare Rivington, p. 6: "St. Clement was successor of St. Peter because he was bishop of Rome: he owed his relationship to the Divine Head of the Church, viz. that of His vicar, to his position in the Church of Rome." This is explicit enough. If Peter was bishop of Rome, is Jerome's date for his accession - A. D. 42 - still maintained?