In considering the issue which has divided Christians in the past and still divides them today, a group of Orthodox theologians from different theological perspectives reflect upon the scriptural passages which single out Peter among the disciples of Jesus. Koulomzine (“Peter’s Place in the Primitive Church”) and Kesich (“Peter’s Primacy in the New Testament and the Early Tradition”), as exegetes, read the passages in the light of contemporary New Testament research. John Meyendorff (“St Peter in Byzantine Theology”) looks at the history of exegesis: how were these passages read at the time when East and West split, quarrelling about the issue of authority in the Church? Finally, Schmemann (“The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology”) and Afanassieff (“The Church Which Presides in Love”) look at the meaning of “primacy” as a permanent, through changing, factor of “catholic” ecclesiology.
At a time when an ecumenical reconciliation between Rome and Eastern Christianity appears possible’but when new tensions (or are they actually the old ones?) are surging again’these studies set forth the Orthodox position of the primacy of Peter.