Apostolic Ministry In Rome Essay

1974 words - 8 pages

Apostolic Ministry in Rome

According to tradition, there are two apostles who ministered in Rome. While some modern scholars question whether the Apostle Peter was ever in Rome, he is certainly the most celebrated Apostle of the city. A simple example of this is that the largest basilica in Rome (and one of the largest in the world) is named in honor of Saint Peter. The Apostle Paul's existence in Rome is less disputed and even though he is less commemorated nearly two millennia later. The circumstances surrounding Peter and Paul's arrivals in Rome, their ministries in Rome, and their deaths are worth examining since these two figures are still remembered nearly two millennia after their ministries in Rome.

There is little scriptural evidence to support the notion that Peter ever went to Rome. Peter implicitly mentions being in Rome in the salutation of his first epistle, She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. The meaning of Babylon is unclear because Babylon by the Euphrates was in ruin, which would exclude the possibility that Peter could be writing from there. Some scholars do not think it likely that Peter is writing from a lesser-known Babylon (i.e. the Egyptian Babylon near Memphis). Instead, they claim that Peter uses Babylon in his letter as a symbolic reference to the Babylon of the day: Rome (Kirsch Sec. IV). Another possible reference to Paul being in Rome is found in Johannian literature. The author supposes that it is common knowledge how Peter died (which according to tradition would have happened in Rome) (Kirsch Sec. IV). This would seemingly prove that Peter had at least spent a minimal amount of time in Rome.

Conversely, the voice of tradition is unanimous in asserting that Peter did in fact spend some time in Rome. Among the extra-Biblical sources that give credence to this traditional view is Saint Clement's Letter to the Corinthians. This letter implies that the suggestion that Peter had ministered in Rome was common knowledge in the early second century (Kirsch Sec. IV).? In the middle of the second century, after having spent time in Rome, Iren›Î of Lyons ?described the Roman Church as the most prominent and chief preserver of the Apostolic tradition, as ?the greatest and most ancient church, known by all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul?? (Kirsch Sec. IV).? There are many other testimonies to Paul and Peter spending time in Rome including the apocryphal Acts of St. Peter and the Acts of Sts. Peter and Paul.

While Peter?s visit to Rome is primarily mentioned in extra-Biblical literature, Paul?s visit to Rome is mentioned in some of his epistles and in Acts.? During his third missionary journey, Paul?s ministry to Rome has clearly already begun even before he has ever traveled there.? While at Corinth, he writes to the Roman Church in view of his intention to go to Spain because the...

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