Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 4. Organization and Discipline of the Church” Loc. 13792-14769 (part 6).
§50. Germs of the Papacy.
As Schaff begins his discussion of the rise of the Papacy, he provides a lightly annotated bibliography (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14170). The rise of the Roman bishop to a position of leadership is understandable. As the authority of bishops grew, and the bishops in major cities and old churches were more recognized, it was only natural that the bishop of Rome would be among the leaders (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14189). Because of the claim that Peter had founded the church at Rome, and Paul had also been there, the claim to authority was great. Schaff acknowledges that there is little or no evidence of Peter’s long term as bishop in Rome or his passing of authority to a successor. However, the church did quickly gain substantial recognition (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14201).
The letter of Clement to the Corinthians is an early example of a sort of papal authority (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14226). The letter is sent as from the congregation. In fact, the assumption of the letter is that the church at Rome does have superior wisdom and is in a position of leadership (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14231). Schaff notes that within a hundred years, not the church but the bishop of Rome will exercise authority (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14235).
Ignatius, when writing to the Romans, addresses them as a ruling power (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14238). Irenaeus, also, recognizes the superiority of the Roman church as the one in the major metropolis (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14247). Schaff does view this as a precedence in honor, not authority. Elsewhere, Irenaeus does criticize Rome’s decisions.
Hippolytus, early in the third century, recognizes that the Roman bishop claimed absolute authority (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14259). Tertullian likewise points other churches to the authority of Rome (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14263). He also recognizes Rome’s lax attitude toward discipline. Cyprian clearly viewed the bishop of Rome to be preeminent due to succession from Peter (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14267). The other bishops do remain equals as colleagues.
Firmilius, a follower of Origen, criticized the bishop of Rome because he should have lived up to his rank as the successor of Peter (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14275). Schaff does note that the stature and influence of the bishops of Rome grew over time (Schaff 2014, Loc. 14284). He considers this growth to be a result of their parish, not their ability.