Friday, November 13, 2020

The Petrine Office, Leonine Office, and the Anglican Patriarchate


In Christian Scripture, it was clearly expressed as Christ's will that Peter the Apostle was to be First Among Equals (also known as Prince of the Apostles) and exercise a prominent leadership role in the universal church (Catholic Church). Indeed, it was after Christ's death and Resurrection that Peter was to build the Church, along with the other Apostles. Our Lord bestowed the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven upon Peter, saying "Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Tibi dabo claves regni caelorum." ("Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church; unto thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 16.18). This is known as Papal Primacy, or the Petrine Office. 

St. Peter receives the key from Christ

The Florentine Archfather, Grand Pontiff of the Anglican Rite of the Universal Church and head of the New Roman Communion, as successor to Pope Leo X, holds what is known as the Leonine Office. That office is an extension of the Petrine Office, the primacy of the Pope, and shares in its authority within and regarding the jurisdiction of the Anglican Patriarchate and New Roman Communion. This is reflected in the Key of St. Peter and the Papal tiara included in the Archpatral Insignia, also known as the Leonine Insignia. Also, as temporal successor of the Popes from St. Peter the Apostle through Benedict XVI in Italy and Britain, the Florentine Archfather is Custodian of the Apostolic See of St. Mark in Aquileia, reflected in the Sword of St. Mark in the Archpatral Insignia.

The primacy of the Petrine Office and, by extension, the Leonine Office nevertheless carries with it a responsibility of continuity of doctrine and tradition. Valid and authentic rule must be indeed grounded in the Doctrine and Tradition of the Faith, of which the Pope, the Archfather, and all bishops are custodians. Proclamations, commandments, and so forth cannot rightly be imposed simply as a matter of desire or expediency. Yet it is all too common in the modern age to think that the leadership of the Church can indeed change the doctrine. Such is the sin of modernism, distorting the true theological meaning of primacy.

Pope Leo X
A Florentine Archfather (the ancient title of "Archipater" refers to a chief priest) is defined as one with secular patrimony in Florence and ecclesiastical patriarchal authority. The first four were Patriarchs of the West, i.e., Roman Archfathers/Roman Popes. (For the complete list of Florentine Archfathers, please follow this link. Pope Leo X was the first Florentine Archfather. The significance of Florence to papal primacy derives from the origins of papal claims to overlordship in Italy. The rule of Tuscany came to have the sovereign Vice-Kingship of Italy in the Holy Roman Empire. That was given by Matilda, Margravine of Tuscany, Vice-Queen of Italy to the Pope Pasquale II, at which point the papacy solidified its claim to overlordship over Italy. After the renunciation of the title of Patriarch of the West by Benedict XVI, the Bishop of St. Stephen, Anglo-Italian Imperial Patriarch was recognised as the closest ecclesiastical claimant to Italian patrimony by right of Rome in succession from Matilda of Tuscany, Pope Pasquale II, and Pope Leo X due to the Patriarchate's secular patrimony in Florence. Thus the Bishop of St. Stephen is known primarily as the Florentine Archfather, successor of Pope Leo X, and temporal successor of St. Peter the Apostle in Italy and Britain. Through that the Patriarchate is also the Custodian of the Apostolic See of Saint Mark at Aquileia and Grand Pontiff of the Anglican Rite of the Universal Church.

The New Roman Communion is defined as the Anglican Patriarchate and the churches of all Bishops recognised by the Patriarchate. It takes its name from the Florentine heritage of the Anglican Patriarchate, with Florence recognised as the second New Rome after Constantinople. Bishops of the New Roman Communion need not be of the Anglican Rite, but may be of any traditional Catholic Rite.

By authority of Rome, the Archfather speaks with the full voice and authority of the Pope within and regarding the jurisdiction of the Anglican Patriarchate and New Roman Communion. The Archfather holds Roman imperial dignity and co-imperial rank.

Primacy, in its leadership and teaching role and defence of the faith, must connect the Christian faithful in any particular age and location to the Christian faithful in all times and places. The entirety of the faith must be brought to mind, not just the issues of a particular time period or geographical location, for the Christian faith knows neither time nor space. That places the focus of Christian education indeed on reason and conscience, for indeed God is the Divine Logos, the source of all reason, logic, and order. Logic, analysed by reason and from which order flows, cannot be subjective, relativistic, or defined by about-changing social conformity. Therefore, Christian theology is not defined by mankind, relativism, or subjectivity. Rather, it is defined by God, brought to the world by Christ as the Incarnate Word, and defended by His Holy Church. That is the essence of the primacy of the Petrine Office and its extension by right of Rome, the Leonine Office.