In the latter case, the tribunal was to consist of bishops from the neighbouring provinces, assisted - if he so chose - by legates of the Roman bishop. The clauses thus made the bishop of Rome president of a revisionary court; and afterwards Zosimus unsuccessfully attempted to employ these canons of Sardica, as decisions of the council of Nice, against the Africans.
Upon this doctrine was built, not by Augustine himself but by others who came after him, the structure of the papacy, the bishop of Rome being finally recognized as the head under Christ of the civitas Dei, and so the supreme organ of divine authority on earth (see Papacy and Pope).
If we set aside the heretical books condemned by the early councils, the earliest known instance of a list of proscribed books being issued with the authority of a bishop of Rome is the Notitia librorum apocryphorum qui non recipiuntur, the first redaction of which, by Pope Gelasius (494), was subsequently amplified on several occasions.
What we know for certain is that after the death of Hyginus, bishop of Rome (or c. 139 A.D.), he arrived, in the course of his travels, at Rome, and made a handsome donation of money to the local church.
At the council of Constantinople (381) the bishop of Constantinople or New Rome was ranked next after the bishop of Rome (canon 3), and at the council of Chalcedon (451) he was given authority over the churches of the political dioceses of Pontus, Asia and Thrace (canon 28).
And it has been an established principle of the undivided church since the 3rd century, the bishop of Rome in this case upholding against St Cyprian the view which subsequent generations have ratified as Catholic truth, that baptism by whomsoever administered is valid if water is used with the right words.
When the episcopate met in council the bishop of Rome had to be at its head.
In practice the different degrees of jurisdiction, as represented in the pope, are of no importance: he is bishop of Rome and governs his diocese by direct episcopal authority; he is also the head of the Church, and in this capacity governs all the dioceses, though the regular authority of each bishop in his own diocese is also ordinary and immediate, i.e.
There was no reason why the bishop of Rome should justify such acts as Innocent himself performed in deposing King John of England and later in annulling Magna Carta; or Gregory IV.
Escaping by way of Strassburg he found an asylum in England, where he was made a prebendary of Canterbury, received a pension from Edward VI.'s privy purse, and composed his chief work, A Trajedy or Dialogue of the unjust usurped Primacy of the Bishop of Rome (1549) This remarkable performance, originally written in Latin, is extant only in the translation of John Ponet, bishop of Winchester, a splendid specimen of nervous English.