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Gratsianskiy Mikhail

Haeres Petri sive vicarius Petri. Arguments of pope Leo the Great for the exceptional prerogatives of power for the bishop of Rome


Gratsianskiy Mikhail (2019) "Haeres Petri sive vicarius Petri. Arguments of pope Leo the Great for the exceptional prerogatives of power for the bishop of Rome ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2019, vol. 89, pp. 27-48 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201989.27-48

Abstract

This article examines the concept of the power of bishop of Rome on the basis of the statements of Pope Leo the Great (440–461) presented in his sermons and epistles. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of the “Petrinology” of Pope Leo, i.e. his views on the role and place of Apostle Peter, who combines the apostolic and episcopal dignity and thus naturally turns out to be the fi rst bishop of Rome, which is the fi rst city of the Roman Empire. According to Leo’s views, Apostle Peter, preserving the gifts given to him by the Lord, continuously and directly controls the Roman Church and occupies the Roman see. This latter fact raises the question about the actual status of the current Roman bishop. In Leo’s writings, there are allegations that the Roman bishop is either the “heir” (haeres) or the “deputy” (vicarius) of the apostle. The article concludes that these designations essentially exclude each other, since, on the one hand, the Pope could hardly inherit the gifts of Saint Peter, individually handed over to him by Christ, and, on the other hand, if considered to be his deputy, he could not claim the integrity of his episcopal status, since the Roman see was considered to be occupied forever by Apostle Peter. Despite these contradictions, Leo considered Roman bishops to be fully legitimate “representatives” of the head of the Church, the Apostle Peter, thus having authority within the entire Church. Leo asserted his views in practice by using in his epistles the phraseology and terminology characteristic of the Roman administrative institutions and designed to emphasise the authority of the Roman Church with regard to other local churches.

Keywords

Apostle Peter, Pope Leo the Great, Roman Church, Roman ecclesiology, papal primacy

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Information about the author

Gratsianskiy Mikhail


Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Academic Degree: PhD in Philosophy;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for the Humanities; 4a Likhov per., Moscow, 127051, Russian Federation;
Post: Leading Researcher;
ORCID: 0000-0002-6981-3216;
Email: gratsianskiy@mail.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.