(According to Irenaeus of Lyons, AD 115-190):
"Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the (true) Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; we do this, I say, by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also by pointing out the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of her pre- eminent authority; that is, by the faithful every- where, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those faithful men who exist everywhere.
...Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the one Church; since the apostles, like a rich man depositing his money in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers...
...Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Church with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from her what is certain and clear in regard to the present questions?"
Adversus Heresies III