The Petrine ministry at the time of the first four ecumenical councils
De Lucia, Pierluigi. “The Petrine ministry at the time of the first four ecumenical councils”, Boston College, 2010. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/1852.
The Petrine ministry of the bishops of Rome and relations with the eastern bishops at the time of the first four ecumenical councils are the focus of this thesis. It places the Church in the complex historical context marked by the public recognition of Christianity under Constantine (312) and the great novelty of the close interactions of the emperors with the bishops of the major sees in the period, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Constantinople. The study examines the structures of the church (local and regional synods and ecumenical councils) and the roles of bishops and emperors in the ecumenical councils of Nicaea (325), Constantinople I (381), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451), including the “robber” council of 449. Attention is given to the most important and sometimes contested canons of those councils regarding the relationship of the eastern bishops and their sees to the bishop of Rome and his claims to exercise a Petrine ministry and authority for the whole Church: canon 6 (Nicaea), canon 3 (Constantinople), canon 7 (Ephesus) and canon 28 (Chalcedon). The method of the study is historical and draws on the contributions of major Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and Catholic scholars. The concluding synthesis and ecclesiological reflection finds that no Roman bishop was present at these councils, but at all but Constantinople, where there was a western observer, he sent legates. Sometimes the bishop of Rome played an important role in the ecumenical councils, i.e., Leo in relation to Ephesus 449 and Chalcedon; Celestine and recognition of Ephesus 431, and in both cases, the emperor also supported the final decisions. Moreover, the bishops of Rome played a minor role in relation to Nicaea and Constantinople. Finally, in regard to canon 3 of Constantinople and 28 of Chalcedon they consistently asserted that their apostolicity and foundation on Peter was the source of the Roman bishop’s authority and precedence.