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Get to Know Popes of East & West

A guide by TheoGnostus "Encycoptic" (Sketes,Theognostic America)

Products sampled from this guide:
The Early Church (The Penguin History of the Church) (v. 1), The Early Coptic Papacy: The Egyptian Church and Its Leadership in Late Antiquity (Popes of Egypt), Lives of the Popes : The Pontiffs from St. Peter to John Paul II, The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine (Penguin Classics), The Early Christian Fathers: A Selection from the Writings of the Fathers from St. Clement of Rome to St. Athanasius, Early Christian Fathers (Library of Christian Classics), Pope Peter of Alexandria: The deans of the School of Alexandria, The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, A.D. 200-1000, 2nd Edition (The Making of Europe),




Three Ecumenical Bishops:
Since its earliest days, the Church recognized the special positions of three bishops, who were known as Patriarchs (Arch Fathers): the Bishop of Rome, the Bishop of Alexandria, and the Bishop of Antioch. They were joined by the Bishop of Constantinople in 381 and by the Bishop of Jerusalem,451, both confirmed as patriarchate by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The patriarchs held both authority and precedence over fellow bishops in the Church. Among them, the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) was deemed to hold a senior status, 'Primus entra Paris'(First between equals), by virtue of his position as the Bishop of Rome, the Imperial Capital, and later, a case was made as successor of Saint Peter. Even after Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople in 330, the Pope retained his exalted position in the hierarchy, although this was not accompanied by any sort of veto or other monarchical powers over the other Patriarchs. In fact latin North Africa, resented and refuted his authority, most celebrated theologians in Latin West where located in the then flourishing North Africa, West bof todays Tunisia. (examples are Tertullian, and Augustine)

From Papa to Pope:
The word "Pope" is derived from the Greek word pappas ("father") and was originally used in an affectionate sense of any priest or bishop (in the same way contemporary priests, in both Catholic and Orthodox churches are addressed as 'Father').
Papa, during the fourth and fifth centuries, was still frequently used of any bishop in the West, although it gradually came to be increasingly restricted to its exclusive use by the Bishop of Rome, since 1073, when Pope Gregory VII formally prohibited its use for all Western bishops except that of Rome.

Papa of Alexandria:
Papa has been the specific designation for the Archbishop of Alexandria, Patriarch of Egypt, and the See of Saint Mark, whose ecclessiastic title is, Papa Abba, the Abba stands for the devotion of all monastics, from Pentapolis in the West to Constantinople in the East, to his guidance. Abba is the most powerful designation, that for all Monks in the East to volanterily follow his spiritual authority, it should be assumed he was a bearer of Christ.
Historically, this office has held the title of Papa, Father in Coptic, since Papa Heracleus, 13th Alexandrine Patriarch (232-249 AD) was first to associate with the title three centuries before it was assumed by John I, the Roman Bishop (523- 526), who ratified the Alexandrian computation of the date of Easter. Bestowing the title on Rome's Pontiff did not strip it from Alexandria's, and the Roman Catholic Church recognizes this ecclesiastical fact.
Stephen J. Davis examines a wide range of evidence - letters, sermons, theological treatises, and church histories, as well as art, artifacts, and archaeological remains - to discover what the patriarchs did as leaders, how their leadership was represented in public discourses, and how those heirarchs shaped the Egyptian Christian identity in late antiquity.

Patriarch of Antioch:
It was in the city of Antioch (southeast Turkey) that Christians were first so called (Acts 11:26). Traditionally, Saint Peter established the church in Antioch, and was the city's first head. Ignatius of Antioch (martyred c.107) was first bishop of the city, and a prominent apostolic father. By the 4th century, the bishop of Antioch had become the most influential bishop in the east (Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Iran). The Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, addressed with the prefix Mar (Syriac: Sir, Lord)
The Antiochene church became a centre of Christian learning, second only to Alexandria. Antiochene theology was influenced by Rabbinic Judaism and Aristotalian / Stoic philosophy. On Christology, thesided with the Nestorians.

Roman Popes:
Celestine (422-432), as a successor of Peter, claimed oversight over the Church, East and West. This was rejected especially by Antioch whose Patriarch, historically was successor of St. Peter. After the triumph of Alexandrine Christology, always sided by Rome, its main ally, Leo I, the Great, wrote to Dioscorus of Alexandria, in reply to Dioscorus letter of ascention, 'As the Evangelist, John Mark, the preacher of the church of Alexandria was a disciple to Peter, so should the Archbishop of Alexandria behave in same regards to Bishop of Rome, the earthly vicarate of Peter's sucessors.
Lives of the Pope is the most thorough, vivid, and fascinating history of the papacy available. Renowned Catholic commentator Richard McBrien offers a fresh, intelligent look at each of the 262 popes, including the Apostle Peter, the first bishop, in his singular role as Vicar of Christ Formosus, the pope whose corpse was exhumed, dressed in full vestments, and subjected to a mock trial for papal misdeeds Boniface, elected pope after having been defrocked twice for immorality John XXIII, perhaps the most beloved pope in all of history Lives of the Popes provides chronologically arranged biographies of the pontiffs, revealing the full sweep of the papacy. Each entry contains essential information on a pontiff’s life, major writings, controversies, and deeds both great and evil. McBrien eloquently and powerfully brings to life the unique stories of the popes and reveals how they transformed Christianity and the world. John Paul II, the late great Bishop of Rome. (Ed. Review)

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1.  The Early Church (The Penguin History of the Church) (v. 1)  by Henry Chadwick
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2.  The Early Coptic Papacy: The Egyptian Church and Its Leadership in Late Antiquity (Popes of Egypt)  by Stephen J. Davis
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3.  Lives of the Popes : The Pontiffs from St. Peter to John Paul II  by Richard P. McBrien
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4.  The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine (Penguin Classics)  by Eusebius
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5.  The Early Christian Fathers: A Selection from the Writings of the Fathers from St. Clement of Rome to St. Athanasius  by Henry Bettenson
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6.  Early Christian Fathers (Library of Christian Classics)  by Cyril Richardson
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7.  Pope Peter of Alexandria: The deans of the School of Alexandria  by Tadrous Y. Malaty
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8.  The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, A.D. 200-1000, 2nd Edition (The Making of Europe)  by Peter Robert Lamont Brown
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TheoGnostus "Encycoptic" (Sketes,Theognostic America)
Qualifications: Alexandrine Catechist & Ecclestorian
Last updated: 4/9/05
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