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Documentary – The Ancient Church

The following videos are from an Orthodox Christian catechism that gives an overall introduction to the Eastern Orthodox Church, its beliefs, its history and its presence within the world. (Produced by Silverline Films which is associated with the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.)

Public Note:

To ensure historical accuracy, we should cite one slight error within Part 1 which asserts that the Apostle Peter was the first bishop of Rome. The facts, Church Tradition and Scriptural witness do not bear this out. It is true that St Peter was the first bishop of Antioch, but he journeyed to Rome after St Paul had gone there. So amongst the Apostles, officially it was St Paul who was the first to go to Rome, but as to whether he helped found the congregation in Rome is another story. And the reason for that, is due to the fact that he wrote his epistle to the Romans (that is the Church in Rome) before he went there.

This indicates that there was a Christian presence and congregation before Saints Paul and Peter went to Rome.

Who founded the Church of Rome? It was probably Nazarene (Jewish Christians) and Christian (Gentile) refugees fleeing from the persecution of the Jewish authorities who had hired spies and prosecutors to capture, imprison, torture or kill these followers of Christ whom they believed to be heretics. We must remember that St Paul was one of these figures who were sent by Jewish authorities to stamp out Messianic Jews and their Gentile brethren.

But in returning to the point, it could have been one of the other inner circle of the 70 Disciples as spoken of in the Book of Acts. So it was certainly not St Peter who founded the Church of Rome, but it is probable as historical and Church sources indicate, that he appointed the city’s first bishop, Linus.

The primacy of Rome only developed due to the number of martyrdoms that occurred there, as well as being the political, cultural, economic and social capital of the Roman empire. And this primacy was within a conciliar (synodical) structure on an equal footing with other churches, thus you did not have the papacy in the form that it is now, nor its continual efforts to subvert and undermine other Christian communities.

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