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Reflections: Vatican View (History)

Papal Tiara & Keys

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History

 

Category
Quotation

History

Also See: Catholic History (Topic Page)

"In the same reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious providence who watches over all things guided Peter, the great and mighty one among the Apostles, who, because of his virtue, was the spokesman for all the others to Rome." ("History of the Church", Eusebius Pamphilus, circa 300-325 A.D.) [Note: Eusebius Pamphilus has been called the "Father of Ecclesiastical History. Unfortunately, however, he was ultimately excommunicated in connection with the Arian heresy.]

Ad. An. Dom. 42: "Second year of the two hundred and fifth olympiad: the Apostle Peter, after he has established the Church in Antioch, is sent to Rome, where he remains as bishop of that city, preaching the gospel for twenty-five years." ("The Chronicle", Eusebius Pamphilus, circa 303 A.D.) [Note: Eusebius Pamphilus has been called the "Father of Ecclesiastical History. Unfortunately, however, he was ultimately excommunicated in connection with the Arian heresy.]

Ad. An. Dom. 68: "Fourth year of the two hundred and eleventh olympiad: Nero is the first, in addition to all his other crimes, to make a persecution against the Christians, in which Peter and Paul died gloriously at Rome." ("The Chronicle", Eusebius Pamphilus, circa 303 A.D.) [Note: Eusebius Pamphilus has been called the "Father of Ecclesiastical History. Unfortunately, however, he was ultimately excommunicated in connection with the Arian heresy.]

"Time and again, so as to demonstrate what His power can accomplish, He employs weak instruments to rule His Church; in this way, all men may increasingly realize that it is God Himself who governs and protects the Church with his wonderful providence." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846)

"[P]ope Damasus and the other bishops assembled at Rome, writing to the bishops at Illyricum about the council at Rimini, pointed out that the number of bishops assembled at Rimini counted for nothing since it was known that the Roman pontiff, whose decrees were to be preferred before all others, had not given his consent to their meeting" (Fifth Lateran Council)

"What St. Benedict did for the Monasteries, St. Gregory did for the bishops and ultimately the papacy. He defined the episcopal office as one that ministers to heal the spiritual ills of the people, with every bishop on perpetual guard to serve them, not his own ego. It is from Gregory that the popes take the title 'servant of the servants of God'" (Crocker)

"The holy Apostles and disciples of the Savior, however, were scattered throughout the whole world. Thomas, as tradition holds, received Parthia by lot; Andrew, Scythia; John, Asia, busying himself among the people there until he died at Ephesus. Peter, however, seems to have preached to the Jews it the diaspora in the Pontus and in Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia; and at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head downwards, the manner in which he himself had thought it fitting to suffer. Is it needful to say anything of Paul, who fulfilled the gospel of Christ from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and afterwards in the time of Nero was martyred in Rome?" ("History of the Church", Eusebius Pamphilus, circa 300-325 A.D.) [Note: Eusebius Pamphilus has been called the "Father of Ecclesiastical History. Unfortunately, however, he was ultimately excommunicated in connection with the Arian heresy.]

"You cannot deny that you know that upon Peter first in the city of Rome was conferred the episcopal chair, on which sat Peter, the head of all the apostles, whence he is called Cephas, that in this one chair unity should be preserved by all, lest the other apostles might uphold each for himself separate chairs, so that he who should set up a second chair against the unique chair would already be a schismatic and a sinner. Well, then, on the one chair, which is the first of the endowments, Peter sat first, to whom succeeded Linus...to Damasus Siricius, who today is our colleague, and he with the whole world agrees with us in one bond of communion through the intercourse of letters." (St. Optatus of Mileve, 4th century A.D.)

"But when the emperor Constantine had received health of body and soul by the sacrament of baptism, he promulgated a law to the whole world, allowing the Christians to build churches; and he encouraged them in this world by his own example as well as by this edict. Thus, in his Lateran palace he dedicated a church to our Savior: and founded the adjoining baptistery in honor of St. John Baptist, on the very spot where he himself had been baptized by St. Sylvester and cleansed from the leprosy of infidelity. The pontiff consecrated it on the fifth of the Ides of November; and we celebrate the memory thereof on the same day, whereon for the first time a church was publicly dedicated in Rome, and there appeared before the eyes of the Roman people an image of our Savior depicted on the wall." (Liturgical History)

"When Nero was already reigning Peter came to Rome, where, in virtue of the performance of certain miracles which he worked by that power of God which as been given to him, he converted many to righteousness and established a firm and steadfast temple to God. When this fact was reported to Nero, he noticed that not only at Rome but everywhere great multitudes were daily abandoning the worship of idols, and, condemning their old ways, were going over to the new religion. Being that he was a detestable and pernicious tyrant, he sprang to the task of tearing down the heavenly temple and of destroying righteousness. It was he that first persecuted the servants of God. Peter, he fixed to a cross; and Paul, he slew." ("The Deaths of the Persecutors", circa 318 A.D.)

"It was on June 29 in the city of Rome [that Saints Peter and Paul were martyred]. Rome was thus made the mother-Church; and the reign of the Messiah, whom Israel rejected, was promulgated to the whole world, with an evidence which only the voluntary blind could resist. Though Vespasian had opened the campaign against Judea in the spring of that year 67, yet he had to wait for the glorious confession of these two princes of the apostles; that triumph secured, the impatient legions might rush to victory as soon as they pleased. For forty seven long days they had been kept, by some power, staring at the citadel of Jotapata, which it was so easy for them to take, and which would make them masters of Galilee; but June 29 now had its apostolic triumph in Rome, and Vespasian was at liberty to do what he had so long wished to do; on that very June 29 he did it - he took Jotapata." (Liturgical Year)

"Into whose hands are those keys to pass, which he received from Christ as a sign of his dominion over the whole flock? Linus had been for more than ten years the auxiliary of the holy apostle in the midst of the Christians of Rome; the still further increase of the faithful induced Peter to give Linus a colleague in the person of Cletus; yet on neither of these two did the choice of Peter fall at this solemn moment in which he was about to fulfill the promise, contained in his farewell letter, of providing for the continuance of his ministry. Clement, whose nobility of birth, recommended him to the consideration of the Romans, whilst at the same time his zeal and learning merited the esteem of the faithful, was the one on whom the prince of the apostles fixed his choice. During these last days still remaining to him, Peter imposed hands on Clemet, and having invested him with the episcopal character, enthroned him in his own Chair, declaring his intention to have him for his successor. These facts, related in the Liber Pontificalis, are confirmed by the testimony of Tertullian and St. Epiphanius." (Liturgical Year)

"On the twenty-ninth day of June, in the year 67, whilst Peter, having crossed the Tiber by the triumphal bridge, was drawing nigh to the cross prepared for him on the Vatican plain, another martyrdom was being consummated on the left bank of the same river. Paul, as he was led along the Ostian Way, was also followed by a group of the faithful who mingled with the escort of the condemned. His sentence was that he should be beheaded at the Salvian waters. A two mile's march brought the soldiers to a path leading eastwards, by which they led their prisoner to the place fixed upon for his martyrdom. Paul fell on his knees, addressing his last prayer to God; then having bandaged his eyes, he awaited the death-stroke. A soldier brandished his sword, and the apostle's head, as it was severed from the trunk, made three bounds along the ground; three fountains immediately sprang up on these several spots. Such is the local tradition; and to this day three fountains are to be seen on the site of his martyrdom, over each of which an altar is raised." (Liturgical Year)

"Among the holy places venerated of old by the Christians, those were the most venerated of old by the Christians, those were the most honored and most frequented in which the bodies of the saints were preserved, or some relic or memorial of the martyrs. Chief among these holy places has ever been that part of the Vatican hill which was called the Confession of St. Peter. Christians from all parts of the world flocked thither, as to the rock of the faith and the foundation of the Church, and honored with the greatest reverence and piety the spot hallowed by the sepulchre of the prince of the apostles. Hither on the octave day of his baptism came the emperor Constantine the Great; and taking off his diadem, he prostrated on the ground with many tears. Then taking up a hoe and mattock he broke up the earth, of which twelve basketfuls were taken away in honor of the twelve apostles; and on the site thus marked out he built the basilica of the prince of the apostles. Pope St. Sylvester dedicated it on the fourteenth of the Calends of December, just as he had consecrated the Lateran church on the fifth of the Ides of November. He erected it in a stone altar which he anointed with chrism, and decreed that thenceforward all altars should be made of stone. The same blessed Sylvester dedicated the basilica of St. Paul the apostle on the Ostian Way, also magnificently built by the emperor Constantine, who enriched both basilicas with many estates and rich gifts and ornaments. The Vatican basilica, however, began to decay through age; and was rebuilt from its foundations on a more extensive and magnificent scale, through the piety of several Pontiffs. It was solemnly dedicated by Urban VIII...in the year 1626. In the year 1823 the Ostian basilica was burnt to the ground; but the ruins were repaired and it was rebuilt more splendidly than before, through the unwearied exertions of four Popes. Pius IX, seizing the auspicious occasion when his definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the blessed Virgin Mary had drawn an immense number of Cardinals and Bishops even from distant parts of the Catholic world, solemnly dedicated this basilica on the tenth of December, 1854, assisted and surrounded by this noble gathering of prelates; and he decreed that the anniversary commemoration should be celebrated on this day." (Lessons)

Also See: The Church Rests on St. Peter | The Martyrdom of St. Peter | Rome / Italy / The Vatican | St. Peter, the First Pope | Vatican City / Lateran Treaty | Vatican Facts | Pope / Papacy (Topical Scripture)

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