[This portion of the blog post The Witness of the Church Fathers With Regard to Catholic Distinctives is re-posted with permission of Dave Armstrong. This material is also found in his book: The Church Fathers Were Catholic: Patristic Evidences for Catholicism]
X. The Early Church and the Bishop of Rome
St. Peter in Rome
The final residence of St. Peter in Rome has been questioned, but on inadequate grounds. Babylon, as used in 1 Peter 5:13, is regarded by the early Church and the majority of biblical scholars as a code name (in light of the political situation) for Rome itself, from which this epistle was almost certainly written. Some have also thought that Romans 15:20-22 indicates the presence of another Apostle in Rome before St. Paul wrote to that church.
The Apostolic writing 1 Clement (5), written around 96 A.D. by St. Clement of Rome, implied that St. Peter, like St. Paul, was executed in the Neronian persecution in Rome. St. Ignatius of Antioch, in writing to the Romans around 110 A.D., states, “I do not give you orders like Peter and Paul . . .” (Letter to the Romans, 4,3), and St. Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies (c.199 – 3:1:2, 3:3:1), expressly affirms that these two Apostles founded the Roman church and commenced its apostolic succession.
Finally, the existence and location of the actual tomb of St. Peter and his bones – under the present St. Peter’s cathedral in the Vatican – have been strongly confirmed by archaeological excavation. (253) Continue reading