On this Rock I will build my church

Question

Could you explain how the Orthodox interpret the “On this Rock I will build my church” scripture. I am not asking this with regard to papal
claims but, rather, to discover whether Jesus is referring to Peter, to Himself, or in some way to both.


Answer

In Matthew 16:18, the word “rock” refers to Peter’s confession of faith, and not to Peter himself, despite the fact that Peter/rock is a play on the word for rock in Aramaic [petros] and Greek [petra]. As we read in 1
Corinthians 10:4, “...they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ,” Who alone is the very foundation, or true Rock, upon which stands the Church. It is on Jesus Christ, the Rock, that the Church’s unchanging faith and confession is firmly rooted.