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Author Topic: Concerning Apostolic Succession  (Read 10295 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 05, 2009, 04:09:23 AM »

Hi all,

I have some questions regarding Apostolic Succession, if you don't mind.

1. When, and with whom, did Apostolic successsion start? & Is there a biblical record of it?
2. Are their successors to all the Apostles? If not, why not?
3. When did succession from Apostle to Apostle (ordaining new Apostles) cease, and Apostle to Bishop (oradaining Bishops only, no more Apostles) begin?
4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?
5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2009, 04:22:42 AM »

5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?

Eusebius?
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2009, 02:34:16 PM »

I'm actually subscribing to this topic because it's something that I'm quite interested in but haven't managed to find much information about.

The Orthodox Church (RC, and Anglican... to a degree...) all make statements about Apostolic succession, but I've never really known what this actually IS! (i.e., does someone have a book where they've kept a giant log of everyone who has been ordained and who ordained them?) It's a common thing on some Parish websites that state that every priest can trace their ordination back to the Apostles, but don't believe I've ever heard about how this is done.

At the moment it kinda seems like one of those "Slinky" toys. The slinky doesn't cover the whole stair case, but goes down one step at a time. However, after a period of time there's no record of the original slinky steps at the top of the stairs. I know that's a horrendous analogy...  laugh
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 02:46:56 PM by nicholas1870 » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 02:52:40 PM »

Hi all,

I have some questions regarding Apostolic Succession, if you don't mind.

1. When, and with whom, did Apostolic successsion start? & Is there a biblical record of it?
2. Are their successors to all the Apostles? If not, why not?
3. When did succession from Apostle to Apostle (ordaining new Apostles) cease, and Apostle to Bishop (oradaining Bishops only, no more Apostles) begin?
4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?
5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?

1.) Why should there be a Biblical record of it, if it's about those who came after the Apostles?

2.) I have a book  written by a protestant called "The search of the Twelve Apostles". http://www.amazon.com/Search-Twelve-Apostles-William-McBirnie/dp/0842358390 I bought it back when I was Episcopal.

3.) I thought the Apostles were also Bishops.
 Acts 1:20 KJV
For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.


4.)  If the Apostles were also Bishops then why should that be a problem? Those other bishops just didn't fall from the sky.......nor did they appoint themselves as Bishops.....as is the case in Pentecostal Protestant Land.....why I just saw a snippet on T.V. some days ago of Frederick K. C. Price declaring himself to be an Apostle. The Bishops in the Bible were not "SELF APPOINTED". ...........They didn't wake up one day and say....."you know what? I think I should be a Bishop....yeah, I think I'm gonna call myself Bishop so and so. No wait....Bishops are so 1970ish.....I wanna be an Apostle!!! Yeah, the Apostle of Faith!"    sorry buddy, but they didn't do that back then.


5.) Apostolic lineage means very little if you are not in Communion with the Church.






JNORM888
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 03:13:03 PM »

I'm actually subscribing to this topic because it's something that I'm quite interested in but haven't managed to find much information about.

The Orthodox Church (RC, and Anglican... to a degree...) all make statements about Apostolic succession, but I've never really known what this actually IS! (i.e., does someone have a book where they've kept a giant log of everyone who has been ordained and who ordained them?) It's a common thing on some Parish websites that state that every priest can trace their ordination back to the Apostles, but don't believe I've ever heard about how this is done.

At the moment it kinda seems like one of those "Slinky" toys. The slinky doesn't cover the whole stair case, but goes down one step at a time. However, after a period of time there's no record of the original slinky steps at the top of the stairs. I know that's a horrendous analogy...  laugh

Saint Irenaeus





JNORM888
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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 03:16:02 PM »

Hi all,

I have some questions regarding Apostolic Succession, if you don't mind.

1. When, and with whom, did Apostolic successsion start? & Is there a biblical record of it?
It began with Christ and His Apostles.  The record of it is the NT.  If you are looking beyond the Gospels, look in the book of Acts. 

Quote
2. Are their successors to all the Apostles? If not, why not?
I believe so, yes.  I'd have to do more research...
Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, here.

Quote
3. When did succession from Apostle to Apostle (ordaining new Apostles) cease, and Apostle to Bishop (oradaining Bishops only, no more Apostles) begin?
The Apostles WERE Bishops.  For example, St. James, the Brother of the Lord, was the first Bishop of Jerusalem.  Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, etc. We have many saints who are called "equal to the apostles," some who are "apostles." An example would be Mary Magdalene.  Though not one of the 12, she is considered equal to them.  This is something that has been preserved in our faith.

Quote
4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?
Can you be more specific, please? 
The word "Apostle" is usually used to refer specifically to the 12 and Paul.  Bishops were ordained by the Apostles (as were deacons- like Stephen).  Is there somewhere that you are thinking of specifically where you think that they contradict each other?

Quote
5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?
By being ordained by a canonical bishop who traces his lineage to the Apostles.  There are some who disagree with the "canonical" part due to a schism in the Orthodox Church over the calendar resulting in the "Old Calendarists" and "New Calendarists."  But I would say that is tangential to this discussion.  My husband, as an example of being ordained and tracing one's lineage, was ordained within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which is part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.  Constantinople is the Ecumenical See, and one of the original Patriarchates.  Specifically, those under Constantinople trace their lineage to Andrew the First Called Apostle.  Here is a link that shows you how:
http://www.ec-patr.org/list/index.php?lang=en


Here is a bit from the GOARCH website (a tool I love and refer to often) that might help you:
Quote
THE APOSTOLIC TRADITION.

Theologians call this teaching of the Scriptures "the Apostolic Tradition." It encompasses what the Apostles lived, saw, witnessed and later recorded in the books of the new Testament. The bishops and presbyters, whom the Apostles appointed as their successors, followed their teaching to the letter. Those who deviated from this apostolic teaching were cut off from the Church. They were considered heretics and schismatics, for they believed differently from the Apostles and their successors, thus separating themselves from the Church. This brings into focus the Church as the center of unity of all Christians. This is the ecclesiastical or ecclesiological characteristic of Tradition. The Church is the image and reflection of the Holy Trinity since the three persons of the Holy Trinity live, indwell, and act in the Church. The Father offers His love, the Son offers His obedience, the Holy Spirit His comfort. Only in the historical Church can we see, feel, and live the presence of the Holy Trinity in the World. In describing this reality St. Paul writes:

"So he came and proclaimed the good news: peace to you who were far off, and peace to those who were near by; for through him we both alike have access to the Father in the one Spirit. Thus you are no longer aliens in a foreign land, but fellow-citizens with God's people, members of God's household. You are built upon the foundation laid by the Apostles and prophets, and Christ Jesus Himself is the cornerstone. In him the whole building is bonded together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you too are being built with all the rest into a spiritual dwelling of God" (Ephes. 2:17-22).

The unity of the Holy Trinity, being the fundamental reality in the Church and of the Church, also requires a real unity among all its members. All the members of the Church live in the bond of love and unity through the Holy Trinity. This truth is described by St. Peter:

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were no people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2: 9-10).

This Church was established as a historical reality on the day of Pentecost, with the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles:

"While the day of Pentecost was running its course they were all together in one place, when suddenly there came from the sky a noise like that of a strong driving wind, which filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues like flames of fire, dispersed among them and resting on each one. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them power of utterance" (Acts 2: 1-4).

Only in this Church, where the Holy Trinity lives and acts constantly could the teaching of Christ, the very revelation of truth, as received and transmitted by the Apostles, abide and be sustained. Thus truth in its fullness does not exist outside the Church, for there is neither Scripture, nor Tradition. This is why St. Paul admonishes the Galatians that even if an angel from heaven preaches another gospel to them, he must be condemned:

"If any man preach any other gospel to you than that you have received (parelavete) let him be condemned" (1:8-9).

And he writes to his disciple Timothy to follow strictly the "precepts of our faith" and the "sound instructions" he received from him and avoid "godless myths" (1 Tim. 4: 4-7). He also admonishes the Colossians to avoid "merely human injunctions and teachings" (2: 22), and to follow Christ:

"Therefore, since Jesus was delivered to you as Christ and Lord, live your lives in union with Him. Be rooted in Him; be built in Him; be consolidated in the faith you were taught; let your hearts overflow with thankfulness. Be on your guard; do not let your minds be captured by hollow and delusive speculations, based on traditions of man-made teaching and centered on the elemental spirits of the universe and not on Christ. For it is in Christ that the complete being of the Godhead dwells embodied, and in Him you have been brought to completion" (Col. 2: 6-8).

This teaching or Apostolic Tradition was transmitted from the Apostles themselves to their successors, the bishops and the presbyters. St. Clement, Bishop of Rome (second century A.D.), and probably a disciple of the Apostles himself, described this historical truth:

"The Apostles preached to us the Gospel received from Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ was God's Ambassador. Christ, in other words, comes with a message from God, and the Apostles with a message from Christ. Both these orderly arrangements, therefore, originate from the will of God. And so, after receiving their instructions and being fully assured through the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as confirmed in faith by the word of God, they went forth, equipped with the fullness of the Holy Spirit, to preach the good news that the Kingdom of God was close at hand. From land to land, accordingly, and from city to city they preached; and from among their earliest converts appointed men whom they had tested by the Spirit to act as bishops and deacons for the future believers" (Letter to the Corinthians, ch. 42).

One can clearly see how the message of salvation originating from God the Father was taught by Jesus Christ, witnessed to by the Holy Spirit, preached by the Apostles and was transmitted by them to the Church through the clergy they themselves appointed. This became the "unerring tradition of the Apostolic preaching" as it was expressed by Eusebius of Caesarea, bishop of the fourth century, who is considered the "father" of Church History (Church History, IV, Cool.
http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7116

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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2009, 03:19:55 PM »

Saint Mark

(and know you all know one of the reasons why I want Dr. Aziz's book......if only it didn't cost so much)
In quoting Dr. Aziz S. Atiya's book "A History of Eastern Christianity", Dr. McBirnie said:


Quote
"In Chapter "Origins of Coptic Christianity", Aziz S.
Atiya (A History of Eastern Christianity, pp. 25-28)

 tells of the very detailedand firm tradition in Egypt among the Coptic churches regarding St. Mark: "St.
Mark brought his Gospel with him to Alexandria; and though the Greek version
could have fulfilled his purpose in that city, the suggestion is made that
another version in the Egyptian language was prepared for the benefit of native
converts who were "Mark's real labor lay in Africa. First, he crossed the
Mediterranean to Cyrenaica-the Pentapolis which had been his parents' residence
in bygone days. This country was colonized by Greeks and many Jews who offered
his zeal a ripe and hopeful harvest. After performing many miracles and sowing
the seeds of his faith, he went to Alexandria by a circuitous route through the
oases and Babylon, or Old Cairo.
 Alexandria was the Eastern counterpart of Rome,
both in importance and in being a stronghold of paganism, and it was imperative
that Christianity should win the two. The task was as worthy as it was
hazardous. "Here we face the important problem of dates. The History of the
Patriarchs mentions explicitly that the revelation to Peter and Mark, that they
should advance on Rome and Alexandria, came in the fifteenth year after the
Ascension of Christ, that is, 48 A.D.
Other sources put his entry into
Alexandria in 55, 58 and 61 A.D. Whatever the right date of Mark's appearence in
the city, the consensus is that he was martyred in 68 A.D. Between those two
dates he was able to fulfill his mission and to win many converts.
"The story runs that on entering the city by the eastern
gate, he broke the strap of his shoe. So he went to a cobbler to mend it. When
the cobbler took an awl to work on it, he accidentally pierced his hand and
cried aloud: 'Heis ho Theos' (God is one). Mark rejoiced at this utterance and,
after miraculously healing the man's wound, took courage and gave the lesson to
the hubgry ears of his first convert. This happened to be Anianus, Mark's
successor as the second patriarch of Alexandria.
 The spark was fired, and the
cobbler took the Apostle home with him. He and his family were baptized, and
many others followed. So successful was the movement that the word spread that a
Galilean was in the city preparing to overthrow the idols. Popular feeling began
to rise, and men sought him everywhere. Scenting danger, the Apostle ordained
Anianus bishop, with three priests and seven deacons to watch over the
congregation in case anything befell him. Afterwards, he seems to have
undertaken two voyages. First he sallied into Rome where he met Peter and Paul,
and he left the capital only after their martyrdom in 64 A.D. He then stayed at
Aquilea, near Venice, before his return to Alexandria.
 On finding his flock firm
in the faith, he decided to visit the Pentapolis, where he spent two years
performing miracles, ordaining bishops and priests, and winning more converts.
When at last he reached Alexandria, he was overjoyed to find that the brethren
had so multiplied that they were able to build a considerable church in the
suburban district of Baucalis, where cattle grazed by the seashore.
"Spreading rumers that the Christians threatened to
overthrow the pagan deities infuriated the idolatrous populace.
 
The end was approaching, and the saint was unremittingly hunted by the enemy. In the year 68
A.D., Easter fell on the same day as the Serapis festival. The furious mob had
gathered in the Serapion and then descended on the Christians while they were
celebrating Easter at Baucalis. St. Mark was seized, dragged with a rope around
his neck in the streets, and then incarcerated for the night. In the following
morning the same ordeal was repeated until he gave up the ghost.
 
His flesh was torn and bloddy, and it was their intent to cremate his remains. But the wind
blew and the rain fell in torrents, and the populace dispersed. Thus the
Christians stealthily carried off his body and secretly buried it in a grave
which they had carved in the rock under the alter of the church."(A History of
Eastern Christianity, Aziz S. Atiya, pp. 22-28) [1]



According to Eusebius:


Quote
Quote:
"Mark first proclaimed Christianity to the inhabitants of Egypt.

(1) The same Mark, they also say, being the first sent
to Egypt, proclaimed the gospel there which he written and first established
churches at the city of Alexandria. (2) So great a multitude of believers, both
of men and women, were collected there at the very outset, that in consequence
of their extreme philosophical discipline and austerity, Philo considered their
pursuits, their assemblies, and entertainment, and in short their whole manner
of life, as deserving a place in his descriptions." [2]


It was the Apostle Mark that was the first sent to Egypt to proclaim the Gospel there. Also, according to Eusebius, "Annianus was appointed the first bishop of Alexandria after Mark.


Quote
Quote:
"(1) Nero was now in the eighth year of his reign when
Annianus suceeded the apostle and evangelist Mark in the administration of the
church of Alexandria. He was a man distinguished for his piety and admirable in
every respect." [3]


After Annianus was Avilius


Quote
Quote:
"(1) In the fourth year of Domitian Annianus, who was
the first bishop of Alexandria, died after having filled the office twenty
years. He was succeeded by Avilius, who was the second bishop of that
city." [4]


Credon was the third bishop of Alexandria




Quote
Quote:
"(1) After Nerva had reigned a little more than a year,
he was succeeded by Trajan. It was in the first year of his reign that Cerdon
succeeded Avilius in the church of Alexandria, after the latter had governed it
thirteen years. He was the third who held the episcopate there since Annianus.
During this time, Clement was yet bishop of the Romans, who was also the third
who held the Episcopate there after Paul and Peter, Linus being the first and
Anencletus next in order." [5]



Next in line was Primus




Quote
Quote:
"(1) About the Twelfth year of the reign of Trajon, the
bishop of the church of Alexandria, who was mentioned by us a little before,
departed this life. Primus was the fourth from the apostles to whom the
functions of the office were there allotted. At the same time, after Euarestus
had completed the eighth year as bishop of Rome, he was succeeded in the
episcopal office by Alexander, the fifth in succession from Peter and
Paul." [6]



After Primus was Justus




Quote
Quote:
"(1) In the third year of the same reign, Alexandria,
bishop of Rome, died , having completed the tenth year of his ministrations.
Xystus was his successor; and about the same time Primus, dying in the twelfth
year of the episcopate, was succeeded by Justus." [7]












JNORM888


[1] pages 254-256, by Dr. William Stevart Mcbirnie, in the book "The search for the twelve Apostles". Living Books, Tyndale House Publishers 1973

[2] page 50, [3] page 62, [4] page 82, [5] page 85, [6] 109, [7] page 110 by Eusebius in the book "Ecclesiastical History" translated by C.F. Cruse, Hendrickson Publishers 1998
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 03:30:26 PM by jnorm888 » Logged

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2009, 04:42:41 PM »

Cleopas 

Quote
1. When, and with whom, did Apostolic successsion start? & Is there a biblical record of it?

As far as the Bible goes, I don't think there are any verses which mention it. The closest thing that I can think of are verses such as the following:

"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:" (Tit. 1:5; cf 1 Cor. 7:17)

"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." (1 Cor. 12:28)

In these passages I think we can see a couple things. First, church order was important, and they didn't just let communities pick their elders/priests willy nilly, but there was someone in charge of ordaining elders. And second, it was God who established various ministries in the Churches, and "set some in the church," so that whoever the Apostles might have set up as clergy in the Church were apparently (through guidance of the holy spirit) put in place according to the will of God. Past this, I think the earliest clear record of apostolic succession comes with St. Clement of Rome (c. 96 AD):

Quote
"The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith...

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties." - St. Clement of Rome, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 42-44

And while he doesn't explicitly mention apostolic succession, I think the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch (†107 AD) are helpful in understanding the important role that the bishop had by the close of the first century:

Quote
"See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid." - St. Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrneans, 8

"Since therefore I have, in the persons before mentioned, beheld the whole multitude of you in faith and love, I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time, and in the end was revealed. Do all then, imitating the same divine conduct, pay respect to one another, and let no one look upon his neighbour after the flesh, but continually love each other in Jesus Christ. Let nothing exist among you that may divide you; but be united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality." - St. Ignatius, Epistle to the Magnesians, 6

"In like manner, let all reverence the deacons as an appointment of Jesus Christ, and the bishop as Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the Father, and the presbyters as the sanhedrim of God, and assembly of the apostles. Apart from these, there is no Church. Concerning all this, I am persuaded that you are of the same opinion." - St. Ignatius, Epistle to the Trallians, 3

After that we have St. Irenaeus († 202 AD):

Quote
"It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to the perfect apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves. For they were desirous that these men should be very perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men; which men, if they discharged their functions honestly, would be a great boon [to the Church], but if they should fall away, the direst calamity." - St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3, 3

"Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the certain gift of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, [looking upon them] either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth." - St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4, 26

"True knowledge is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither receiving addition nor [suffering] curtailment [in the truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy; and [above all, it consists in] the pre-eminent gift of love, which is more precious than knowledge, more glorious than prophecy, and which excels all the other gifts [of God]." - St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4, 33

After that we have Tertullian († 220 AD):

Quote
"But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs ] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men,— a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed...

To this test, therefore will they be submitted for proof by those churches, who, although they derive not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are accounted as not less apostolic because they are akin in doctrine. Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith." - Tertullian, Prescription Against the Heretics, 32


I'm not sure if others can add to the list, but that's what I've found up through the end of the third century.

Quote
2. Are their successors to all the Apostles? If not, why not?
3. When did succession from Apostle to Apostle (ordaining new Apostles) cease, and Apostle to Bishop (oradaining Bishops only, no more Apostles) begin?
4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?
5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?

As far as I know there are successors to all of the Apostles, though to be honest I've never really heard that much about it. I mean, obviously you hear about the successors of St. Peter or St. Andrew or St. Mark, but I'm not positive about some of the lesser mentioned of the twelve (I'm assuming you mean the twelve apostles, and not using the word apostles generically). Regarding question 3, I think the process started soon after Pentecost. I think James (the half-brother of Jesus) is an example of this, as this is a different James than the Apostle James, the latter being martyred fairly early (Acts 12:2). Whether there was a uniform three-fold ministry right after Pentecost I don't know, I guess most historians would say no, but I wouldn't say either way. I do know that there were bishops fairly early, though, as the Scripture mentions them, whatever there roles might have been. (Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1; Tit. 1:7)

Regarding number 4, it is my understanding that generally speaking bishops were to minister to the flock in a particular place, while apostles generally traveled spreading the good news. Thus you might have both at the same time, because their ministry would be different. But as has been pointed out, the twelve were considered both apostles and bishops at the same time (I don't think this extended to other apostles, though). Regarding number 5, apparently the successors to the Apostles can trace their lineage back to the Apostles through the years, and that's how they demonstrate that they are rightful successors. I think it's a murkier issue than that, but that's the basic jist of it, from what I gather.
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2009, 09:40:59 PM »

Hi all,

I have some questions regarding Apostolic Succession, if you don't mind.

1. When, and with whom, did Apostolic successsion start? & Is there a biblical record of it?
With the Apostles. Yes: see Acts 7 and 13 for examples of the Apostles ordaining others.

Quote
2. Are there successors to all the Apostles? If not, why not?
As far as I know, yes.

Quote
3. When did succession from Apostle to Apostle (ordaining new Apostles) cease, and Apostle to Bishop (oradaining Bishops only, no more Apostles) begin?
There have never ceased to be apostles. After the Twelve came many others, from St. Patrick the Apostle to Ireland to St. Tikhon of the eighteenth century the Apostle to the native peoples of Alaska.

Quote
4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?
Apostles are bishops.

Quote
5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?
Well, if I wanted to know if I have apostolic succession, I would begin with the bishop who ordained me, and then find out which bishop ordained him, and then find out which bishop ordained the bishop who ordained the bishop who ordained me, etc. Eventually the line should lead to an Apostle. If it doesn't, then I don't have apostolic succession.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2009, 07:49:13 AM »

Quote
2. Are there successors to all the Apostles? If not, why not?
As far as I know, yes.

So who ordains others to be apostles? Current apostles?


Quote
Quote
3. When did succession from Apostle to Apostle (ordaining new Apostles) cease, and Apostle to Bishop (oradaining Bishops only, no more Apostles) begin?
There have never ceased to be apostles. After the Twelve came many others, from St. Patrick the Apostle to Ireland to St. Tikhon of the eighteenth century the Apostle to the native peoples of Alaska.

And from which apostles then did they receive apostleship?
I presume it would take an apostle to ordain an apostle, right? I mean a bishop coud not ordain an apostle, but an apostle can ordain a bishop. No?

Quote
Quote
4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?
Apostles are bishops.

With this I agree. Albeit, I am quick to add, as I feel you agree, that Bishops are not conversely Apostles.
However, my questions intent is to understand when and why apostles ceased to be ordained. I now am wondering, by your statement above, do you all still ordain apostles? If so, how?


Quote
Quote
5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?
Well, if I wanted to know if I have apostolic succession, I would begin with the bishop who ordained me, and then find out which bishop ordained him, and then find out which bishop ordained the bishop who ordained the bishop who ordained me, etc. Eventually the line should lead to an Apostle. If it doesn't, then I don't have apostolic succession.

So then basically, no one can actually prove apostolic succession, right? That claim is made because someone way back up the line claimed it, and you might can trace to them, but there is no direct conclusive or traceable evidence of their claim. No?
So, It's really just on paper -- religious hersay if you will?
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2009, 08:13:05 AM »


With this I agree. Albeit, I am quick to add, as I feel you agree, that Bishops are not conversely Apostles.
However, my questions intent is to understand when and why apostles ceased to be ordained. I now am wondering, by your statement above, do you all still ordain apostles? If so, how?

There are no more apostles because the bishops represent them. Since the apostles are present through the bishops, why the need to ordain apostles anew?

A similar question:

Why did God cease to create humans directly from the soil as He had created Adam? Because now we have procreation through sex after Adam and Eve's creation.

So then basically, no one can actually prove apostolic succession, right? That claim is made because someone way back up the line claimed it, and you might can trace to them, but there is no direct conclusive or traceable evidence of their claim. No?
So, It's really just on paper -- religious hersay if you will?

Well, if you look at things from this same perspective, you end up being an agnostic or atheist. How can one be sure that the Gospel of Luke was written by Luke? How can we be sure that Jesus was the true Messiah and rose on the third day? Jews, for instance, regards the New Testament as mere fiction. What direct conclusive and traceable evidence have you got to prove that the Gospels were written through the inspiration of God's Spirit?

 
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2009, 08:25:57 AM »

So then basically, no one can actually prove apostolic succession, right? That claim is made because someone way back up the line claimed it, and you might can trace to them, but there is no direct conclusive or traceable evidence of their claim. No?
So, It's really just on paper -- religious hersay if you will?
No, not really.  For example, take the present day Bishop-Patriarch of Antioch who traces his own succession from the Apostle Peter right back to the 1st century and the Book of Acts


45-53 The Episcopacy of St. Peter, the Apostle, in Antioch.

53 The Episcopacy of Eudoius in Antioch.

68 The Episcopacy of St. Ignatius (d. 107) in Antioch.

100 The Episcopacy of Heros in Antioch.

127 The Episcopacy of Cornelius in Antioch.

151 The Episcopacy of Heros II in Antioch.

169 The Episcopacy of Theophilus (d. 181/182) in Antioch.

188 The Episcopacy of Maximianus (d. 190/191) in Antioch.

191-212 The Episcopacy of Serapion in Antioch.

212-218 The Episcopacy of Aslipiades in Antioch.

218-231 The Episcopacy of Philetus in Antioch.

232 The Episcopacy of Zebinus (a.k.a. Zenobius) in Antioch.

240 The Episcopacy of St. Babylas in Antioch.

253 The Episcopacy of Fabius in Antioch.

256 The Episcopacy of Demetrian in Antioch

See the full list here
http://web.archive.org/web/20040209135915/http://www.antiochian.org/Patriarchate/patriarchs.htm

It takes us right up to the present day.....  2009 AD

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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2009, 08:46:52 AM »

Dear  Christopher,

Another fascinating example of apostolic succession is that of the Church of Smyrna - fascinating because we not only have the succession right back to Saint Polycarp of Smyrna (martyred for Christ) who was appointed as bishop of Smyrna by Saint John the Evangelist but also because it is a concrete example of New Testament prophecy which is still being fulfilled in our own day!!


You remember what the Spirit said to the Church of Smyrna:

"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

"These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. ~Revelation 2:8-11



The Church of Smyrna (now modern Izmir in Turkey) still exists. God is true to His word.

In 1922 a great persecution fell upon Smyrna as the Spirit foretold in Revelation. The Turks killed and martyred nearly all the Christians of Smyrna, burning them and drowning them.

It was shameful that there were American naval ships so close to the shore that they could smell the burning flesh and hear the screams, but they refused to pick up the Christians who tried to escape in small boats. They did not want to offend the Turkish Government.

The Orthodox bishop of Smyrna, Bishop Chrysostom, was killed too..

"On 9 September 1922 crowds were rushing into the cathedral for shelter when Chrysostomos, pale from fasting and lack of sleep, led his last prayer. The Divine Liturgy ended as Turkish police came to the church and led Chrysostomos away. The Turkish General Nouredin Pasha, known as the "butcher of Ionia", first spat on the Metropolitan and informed him that a tribunal in Angora (now Ankara) had already condemned him to death. A mob fell upon Chrysostomos and tore out his eyes. Bleeding profusely, he was dragged through the streets by his beard. He was beaten and kicked and parts of his body were cut off. All the while Chrysostomos, his face covered with blood, prayed: "Holy Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Every now and then, when he had the strength, he would raise his hand and bless his persecutors; a Turk, realizing what the Metropolitan was doing, cut off his hand with a sword. Metropolitan Chrysostomos was then hacked to pieces by the angry mob."

The mind boggles at the awfulness of it all but roughly 100,000 Orthodox Christians were killed in Smyrna in September 1922.

And yet, glory to God, the Church of Smyrna still survives today. The church of Saint Polycarp is still open and the Christians are still there worshipping God. God has been true to His word about Smyrna for 2000 years.

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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2009, 10:02:54 AM »

Hi all,

I have some questions regarding Apostolic Succession, if you don't mind.
Not at all.
Quote

1. When, and with whom, did Apostolic successsion start?

Christ, at His Incarnation.

Quote
& Is there a biblical record of it?

Hebrews 3:1; Acts 1; 20; II Timothy 1:6, I Timothy 4;12-16, Titus 1:5-9, Act 14:23.

Quote
2. Are their successors to all the Apostles?


Irrelevent.  The apostolate and episcopate is an ontological whole: the bishops partake of it, they do not possess it.  Bishops rarely ordain their successors: his peers do that, showing that the candidate is worthy to succeed on the throne.

I do believe that all the Apostles founded lines.  Whether they have all survived till today, I am not sure.  I am sure that Apstolic succession has continued until today.

Quote
If not, why not?

The lists of succession is the trappings, not the essence, of Apostolic succession.

Quote
3. When did succession from Apostle to Apostle (ordaining new Apostles) cease, and Apostle to Bishop (oradaining Bishops only, no more Apostles) begin?

When the Apostles, the witnesses of the earthly ministry and  Resurrection of Christ died, and took their eyewitness authority with them.  Acts 1:20-22.

Quote
4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?


It's the crux of Apostolic succession.  Much like the transition for the last 3 months or so between Presidents Bush and Obama.  Constitutionally, Obama does not have much power before noon January 20, 2009, but they do begin at accrew from November 4, 2008 (when his electors were elected), December 15, 2008 (when the electors meet in the states, and Obama was officially elected president), and January 9, 2009 (when the newly elected and sworn in Congress meets to be officially notified of the electors votes by the states' representatives, declares a winner, or the House immediately goes into session if no winner is declared (there was talk of trying to trigger this in the first Bush election, with faithless electors, objections etc.).  Btw, in Illinois with the impeachment, the General Assembly, under rules similar to Congress, had to vote on impeachment to get it started, and then a week later, with the new Assembly, vote on it again: constitutionally all unfinished business dies with the expiration of the Assembly's term.  Nothing remains for the new legislature to take up).  Congress then went into hearings on his nominees, but the senate could not officially approve them until Obama took the oath (hence the issue of the double swearing in), and officially nominated them as president).

The transition may be seen in Acts 15, where the Apostles and presbyters are spoken as seperate groups, and Acts 20, where the Apostle Paul calls the presbyters (v. 17) and tells them of their duty as bishops (v. 28) when he (and the rest of the Apostles) leave the scene (v. 25).  The presbyters were chorbishops (something like auxiliary bishops), an office which became the rank of "priest" when the bishops took over the reigns from the Apostles.


Quote
5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?

Those who have continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and communion, in the eucharist and the liturgy (THE Prayers) witness by their laying on of hands that the candidate so too continues in the Apostles doctrine and communion.  In other words, that the Apostles would commune them.  Those laying on hands must be in the Orthodox Churches diptychs.
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2009, 03:32:24 PM »

4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?

Regarding this, there is an important point regarding those bishops not Apostles at the Council of Jerusalem, referred to as presbyters, regarding the derived word πρεσβεύομεν πρεσβεύω from the base of presbuteros; to be a senior, i.e. (by implication) act as a representative (figuratively, preacher) -- be an ambassador, i.e. akin to "apostolos/sliH".
2 Corinthians 5:20 ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ οὖν πρεσβεύομεν ὡς τοῦ θεοῦ παρακαλοῦντος δι' ἡμῶν• δεόμεθα ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, καταλλάγητε τῷ θεῷ.
We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God

Ephesians 6:20 ὑπὲρ οὗ πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῷ παρρησιάσωμαι ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι.
for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
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« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2009, 01:36:27 AM »

4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?

Regarding this, there is an important point regarding those bishops not Apostles at the Council of Jerusalem, referred to as presbyters, regarding the derived word πρεσβεύομεν πρεσβεύω from the base of presbuteros; to be a senior, i.e. (by implication) act as a representative (figuratively, preacher) -- be an ambassador, i.e. akin to "apostolos/sliH".
2 Corinthians 5:20 ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ οὖν πρεσβεύομεν ὡς τοῦ θεοῦ παρακαλοῦντος δι' ἡμῶν• δεόμεθα ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, καταλλάγητε τῷ θεῷ.
We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God

Ephesians 6:20 ὑπὲρ οὗ πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῷ παρρησιάσωμαι ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι.
for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.


Christ is the apostle sent by the Father, the disciples are the apostles sent by Christ, the bishops are the apostles sent by the disciples.  I don't think it has ever been put better than by St. Clement: “This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood” (St. Iranaeus, “The Apostolic Tradition”).
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.iv.html

"There is extant also another epistle written by Dionysius to the Romans, and addressed to Soter, who was bishop at that time. We cannot do better than to subjoin some passages from this epistle…In this same epistle he makes mention also of Clement's epistle to the Corinthians, showing that it had been the custom from the beginning to read it in the church....' Dionysius of Corinth, To Pope Soter" (A.D. 171).

St. Clement knew the Apostles, was appointed and ordained by them personally, and whose letter was read like Scripture for many centuries, yet did he ever claim the title "Apostle?"  In I Clement he writes (c. 95, i.e. while the last Apostle John still lived):

...42 The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the command of the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith."...44 Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties and presented the offerings. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honor.

Another man, personally chosen and ordained by the Apostles, St. Ignatius, Patriarch of Antioch by the hand of St. Peter in his original see where "the believers were first called Christians," wrote (c. 105):

It is therefore befitting that you should in every way glorify Jesus Christ, who has glorified you, that by a unanimous obedience you may be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment, and may all speak the same thing concerning the same thing, (1 Corinthians 1:10) and that, being subject to the bishop and the presbytery, you may in all respects be sanctified…Wherefore it is fitting that you should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also you do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp.
(Ignatius to the Ephesians 2, 4)

Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two possesses Matthew 18:19 such power, how much more that of the bishop and the whole Church! He, therefore, that does not assemble with the Church, has even by this manifested his pride, and condemned himself. For it is written, God resists the proud. Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God….Especially [will I do this ] if the Lord make known to me that you come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that you obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5, 20

Since therefore I have, in the persons before mentioned, beheld the whole multitude of you in faith and love, I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time, and in the end was revealed. Do all then, imitating the same divine conduct, pay respect to one another, and let no one look upon his neighbour after the flesh, but continually love each other in Jesus Christ. Let nothing exist among you that may divide you; but be united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality…As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do anything without the bishop and presbyters. Neither endeavour that anything appear reasonable and proper to yourselves apart; but being come together into the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is more excellent. Therefore run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one…Study, therefore, to be established in the doctrines of the Lord and the apostles, that so all things, whatsoever you do, may prosper both in the flesh and spirit; in faith and love; in the Son, and in the Father, and in the Spirit; in the beginning and in the end; with your most admirable bishop, and the well-compacted spiritual crown of your presbytery, and the deacons who are according to God. Be subject to the bishop, and to one another, as Jesus Christ to the Father, according to the flesh, and the apostles to Christ, and to the Father, and to the Spirit; that so there may be a union both fleshly and spiritual.
 Magnesians 6-7, 13.

For, since you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, you appear to me to live not after the manner of men, but according to Jesus Christ, who died for us, in order, by believing in His death, you may escape from death. It is therefore necessary that, as you indeed do, so without the bishop you should do nothing, but should also be subject to the presbytery, as to the apostle of Jesus Christ, who is our hope, in whom, if we live, we shall [at last] be found.  It is fitting also that the deacons, as being [the ministers] of the mysteries of Jesus Christ, should in every respect be pleasing to all. For they are not ministers of meat and drink, but servants of the Church of God…In like manner, let all reverence the deacons as an appointment of Jesus Christ, and the bishop as Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the Father, and the presbyters as the sanhedrim of God, and assembly of the apostles. Apart from these, there is no Church….But shall I, when permitted to write on this point, reach such a height of self-esteem, that though being a condemned man, I should issue commands to you as if I were an apostle?  I have great knowledge in God, but I restrain myself, lest, I should perish through boasting. For now it is needful for me to be the more fearful; and not give heed to those that puff me up…And this will be the case with you if you are not puffed up, and continue in intimate union with Jesus Christ our God, and the bishop, and the enactments of the apostles. He that is within the altar is pure, but he that is without is not pure; that is, he who does anything apart from the bishop, and presbytery, and deacons, such a man is not pure in his conscience…Continue in harmony among yourselves, and in prayer with one another; for it becomes every one of you, and especially the presbyters, to refresh the bishop, to the honour of the Father, of Jesus Christ, and of the apostles…well in Jesus Christ, while you continue subject to the bishop, as to the command [of God], and in like manner to the presbytery
Trallians 2-4, 7, 12

I salute in the blood of Jesus Christ, who is our eternal and enduring joy, especially if [men] are in unity with the bishop, the presbyters, and the deacons, who have been appointed according to the mind of Jesus Christ, whom He has established in security, after His own will, and by His Holy Spirit.  Which bishop, I know, obtained the ministry which pertains to the common [weal], not of himself, neither by men, Galatians 1:1 nor through vainglory, but by the love of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ…I flee to the Gospel as to the flesh of Jesus, and to the apostles as to the presbytery of the Church. And let us also love the prophets, because they too have proclaimed the Gospel, and placed their hope in Him, and waited for Him…See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. .
Philadelphians 1, 5, 8

Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.  Smyrneans 8.

But shall I, when permitted to write on this point, reach such a height of self-esteem, that though being a condemned man, I should issue commands to you as if I were an apostle?
Trallians 3.

Pray, then, do not seek to confer any greater favour upon me than that I be sacrificed to God while the altar is still prepared; that, being gathered together in love, you may sing praise to the Father, through Christ Jesus, that God has deemed me, the bishop of Syria, worthy to be sent for from the east unto the west. It is good to set from the world unto God, that I may rise again to Him….Entreat Christ for me, that by these instruments I may be found a sacrifice [to God]. I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man: they were free, while I am, even until now, a servant. But when I suffer, I shall be the freed-man of Jesus, and shall rise again emancipated in Him…From Syria even unto Rome I fight with beasts, both by land and sea, both by night and day, being bound to ten leopards, I mean a band of soldiers, who, even when they receive benefits, show themselves all the worse. But I am the more instructed by their injuries [to act as a disciple of Christ]; yet am I not thereby justified. (1 Corinthians 4:4)

Cf. [4 For I am not conscious to myself of anything. Yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore, judge not before the time: until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then shall every man have praise from God. 6 But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes: that in us you may learn that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written. 7 For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received, and if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
8 You are now full: you are now become rich: you reign without us; and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you. 9 For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death. We are made a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men.]

And he concludes:
 
Remember in your prayers the Church in Syria, which now has God for its shepherd, instead of me. Jesus Christ alone will oversee it, and your love [will also regard it]. But as for me, I am ashamed to be counted one of them; for indeed I am not worthy, as being the very last of them, and one born out of due time. (1 Corinthians 15:8-9) Romans 2, 4-5,  9.

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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2009, 02:40:45 PM »

To understand Apostolic Succession, you have to first know, who is an Apostle.

First, there is Christ Himself, the font of the Apostolate and the priesthood.

Hebrews 2:11 ὁ τε γὰρ ἁγιάζων καὶ οἱ ἁγιαζόμενοι ἐξ ἑνὸς πάντες• δι' ἣν αἰτίαν οὐκ ἐπαισχύνεται ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοὺς καλεῖν
For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
Hebrews 2:12 λέγων• ἀπαγγελῶ τὸ ὄνομά σου τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μου, ἐν μέσῳ ἐκκλησίας ὑμνήσω σε,
saying, "I will declare your name to my brothers. In the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise."
Hebrews 2:13 καὶ πάλιν• ἐγὼ ἔσομαι πεποιθὼς ἐπ' αὐτῷ, καὶ πάλιν, ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ καὶ τὰ παιδία ἅ μοι ἔδωκεν ὁ θεός.
Again, "I will put my trust in him." Again, "Behold, here I am with the children whom God has given me."
Hebrews 2:14 ἐπεὶ οὖν τὰ παιδία κεκοινώνηκεν αἵματος καὶ σαρκός, καὶ αὐτὸς παραπλησίως μετέσχεν τῶν αὐτῶν, ἵνα διὰ τοῦ θανάτου καταργήσῃ τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου τοῦτ' ἔστιν τὸν διάβολον,
Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
Hebrews 2:15 καὶ ἀπαλλάξῃ τούτους, ὅσοι φόβῳ θανάτου διὰ παντὸς τοῦ ζῆν ἔνοχοι ἦσαν δουλείας.
and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Hebrews 2:16 οὐ γὰρ δήπου ἀγγέλων ἐπιλαμβάνεται ἀλλὰ σπέρματος Ἀβραὰμ ἐπιλαμβάνεται.
For most certainly, he doesn't give help to angels, but he gives help to the seed of Abraham.
Hebrews 2:17 ὅθεν ὤφειλεν κατὰ πάντα τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ὁμοιωθῆναι, ἵνα ἐλεήμων γένηται καὶ πιστὸς ἀρχιερεὺς τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν εἰς τὸ ἱλάσκεσθαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ λαοῦ.
Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people.
Hebrews 2:18 ἐν ᾧ γὰρ πέπονθεν αὐτὸς πειρασθείς, δύναται τοῖς πειραζομένοις βοηθῆσαι.
For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted
Hebrews 3:1 ὅθεν, ἀδελφοὶ ἅγιοι, κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι κατανοήσατε τὸν ἀπόστολον καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν,
Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus
Hebrews 3:2 πιστὸν ὄντα τῷ ποιήσαντι αὐτὸν ὡς καὶ Μωϋσῆς ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ.
who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house
Hebrews 3:3 πλείονος γὰρ οὗτος δόξης παρὰ Μωϋσῆν ἠξίωται, καθ' ὅσον πλείονα τιμὴν ἔχει τοῦ οἴκου ὁ κατασκευάσας αὐτόν•
For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who built the house has more honor than the house.
Hebrews 3:4 πᾶς γὰρ οἶκος κατασκευάζεται ὑπό τινος, ὁ δὲ πάντα κατασκευάσας θεός.
For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God.
Hebrews 3:5 καὶ Μωϋσῆς μὲν πιστὸς ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ ὡς θεράπων εἰς μαρτύριον τῶν λαληθησομένων,
Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken,
Hebrews 3:6 Χριστὸς δὲ ὡς υἱὸς ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ• οὗ οἶκός ἐσμεν ἡμεῖς ἐὰν / ἐάνπερ τὴν παρρησίαν καὶ τὸ καύχημα τῆς ἐλπίδος (μέχρι τέλους βεβαίαν) κατάσχωμεν.
but Christ is faithful as a Son over his house; whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the glorying of our hope firm to the end.

This designation of Christ as Apostle in the Episitle is the basis of His designation as High Priest.  In expounding on the priesthood of Melchizedek, the Epistle is describing the priesthood that the Apostles and their successors serve as loci and conduits for. As our priest spoke in sermon for this past Feast, the Presentation/Entry into the Temple, the term priest is first applied in Scripture to Melchizedek, not Aaron.  In fact, some Fathers opinined the Melchizedek is a Theophany.  Before the bulls offered in the Temple of Solomon, Melchizedek offers the sacrifice of the Christians, bread and wine, later Body and Blood.
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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2009, 11:41:57 AM »

On another thread there is a topic on Autocephaly, which is connected with this issue, and I'd rather argue part of it here.

It may be not out of place to post a list of those, past and present, who have claimed autocephaly.

The bishop/patriarch of Jerusalem.

...

So it seems the primacy of the Desposyni extened to their race, the Hebrews.

You've just argued a claim to primacy within a certain geographical region.  How are primacy and autocephaly synonymous?  I just don't see the connection. Huh

Actually I haven't argued the claim of primacy within a certain geographical region.  But I am about to.  I had intended to go on to argue what was irreducible about Jerusalem's pirmacy, and hence here autocephaly.

One thing I'll deal with this something I posted elsewhere:
In the Apostolic Constitutions (3-4th cent) it states:

Quote
XLVI. Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:—James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord [An incidental proof of the early origin of this compilation is furnished by the clear distinction it makes between James the son of Alphæus and James the brother of our Lord. The theory of Jerome, which identifies them, was later]   upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Cæsarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchæus, who was once a publican; after whom was Cornelius, and the third Theophilus. Of Antioch, Euodius, ordained by me Peter; and Ignatius by Paul. Of Alexandria, Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist; the second Avilius by Luke, who was also an evangelist. Of the church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul   and Clemens, after Linus’ death, the second, ordained by me Peter.   Of Ephesus, Timotheus, ordained by Paul; and John, by me John. Of Smyrna, Aristo the first; after whom Stratæas the son of Lois;  and the third Aristo. Of Pergamus, Gaius. Of Philadelphia, Demetrius, by me. Of Cenchrea, Lucius, by Paul. Of Crete, Titus. Of Athens, Dionysius. Of Tripoli in Phœnicia, Marathones. Of Laodicea in Phrygia, Archippus.Of Colossæ, Philemon.  Of Borea in Macedonia, Onesimus, once the servant of Philemon.Of the churches of Galatia,    Of the parishes of Asia, Aquila and Nicetas. Of the church of Æginæ, Crispus. These are the bishops who are entrusted by us with the parishes in the Lord; whose doctrine keep ye always in mind, and observe our words. And may the Lord be with you now, and to endless ages, as Himself said to us when He was about to be taken up to His own God and Father. For says He, “Lo, I am with you all the days, until the end of the world. Amen.”
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.viii.iv.html

Now notice, there is a multiple of Apostolic centers.  Note too, that some of the sees are explicitely mentioned, including Rome, as having successor bishops ordained by different Apostles (fitting, as the episcopacy is an ontological whole).  Such multimplicity fits the image St. Iranaeus gives of the Apostolic succession.  Note too, the order: it is not in the order of primacy.The Pentarcy was of Ecclesiastical, not Divine nor Apostolic origin.  Rather than saying that the Universal Church was administered by three sees (note, it doesn't say "presided over by three sees," I suspect as to not put Alexandria or Antioch in Rome's alleged league), history would say that these three sees dominated the Universal Church.

The point I want to cover here is the idea of bishop X being the successor of Apostle y, which the OP doesn't directly asked, but I think is involved/implied in his questions.

The importance of this quote is not the historical accuracy of what it portrays (although it is corroborated enough for our puruposes here), but that it is the history that the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils were working under (implicitely it seems at Nicea I and Constantinople II, explicitely at Quinsext, c. II
Quote
Canon II.

It has also seemed good to this holy Council, that the eighty-five canons, received and ratified by the holy and blessed Fathers before us, and also handed down to us in the name of the holy and glorious Apostles should from this time forth remain firm and unshaken for the cure of souls and the healing of disorders.  And in these canons we are bidden to receive the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles [written] by Clement

It does continue with a caveat:

Quote
But formerly through the agency of those who erred from the faith certain adulterous matter was introduced, clean contrary to piety, for the polluting of the Church, which obscures the elegance and beauty of the divine decrees in their present form.  We therefore reject these Constitutions so as the better to make sure of the edification and security of the most Christian flock; by no means admitting the offspring of heretical error, and cleaving to the pure and perfect doctrine of the Apostles

Ancient Epitome of Canon II.

Whatever additions have been made through guile by the heterodox in the Apostolic Constitutions edited by Clement, shall be cut out.

So the Fathers were not uncritical in their reception, i.e. it's NOT "really just on paper -- religious hersay if you will," as claimed above.

I'm not going to go into the documentation too much here, neither on how this is history, nor on how much the Fathers accepted the Apostolic Constitutions.  For those who want, here's a start:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xiv.iii.ii.html
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xvii.iii.html
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.i.html
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01636a.htm
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=343&letter=D&search=Didascalia
(interesting, as it examines the AC as the redaction of early materials of Hebrew/Jewish origin)

I quote the AC here because it provides a summary (which was influential in the times of the Fathers) the material (draw from admittedly ancient sources and corroborated by other evidence and testimony, at least for what I am going to focus on) necessary I believe to show how, say, Ignatius IV of Antioch is the successor of St. Peter and not directly of St. Thaddaeus, and the implications for that.

What I am looking at is the constitutional/ecclesiastical theory of the lines of bishops, and the theology/ecclesiology that underlines it.

I'm going to focus on the sees of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch here.  I'm going to pick up on Jerusalem in the thread on Autocephaly:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19811.msg300498.html#msg300498
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19811.msg301394/topicseen.html#msg301394


With clock running out, and the length of this post, I'll have to continue....
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 11:44:01 AM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2009, 02:15:19 PM »

In the Apostolic Constitutions (3-4th cent) it states:

Quote
XLVI. Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these...Of Antioch, Euodius, ordained by me Peter; and Ignatius by Paul. Of Alexandria, Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist; the second Avilius by Luke, who was also an evangelist. Of the church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul   and Clemens, after Linus’ death, the second, ordained by me Peter...These are the bishops who are entrusted by us with the parishes in the Lord; whose doctrine keep ye always in mind, and observe our words. And may the Lord be with you now, and to endless ages, as Himself said to us when He was about to be taken up to His own God and Father. For says He, “Lo, I am with you all the days, until the end of the world. Amen.”
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.viii.iv.html

To start, although I have only extracted what concerns all of the Apostolic Sees in general and what concerns the Sees of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch (note: NOT in that order, i.e. the order of the Diptychs established at Nicea I, c. 6), we must not lose sight that the summary 1) includes other sees which did not go on to become autocephalous churches (e.g. Ephesus); one that eclipsed an Apostolic see, was the Apostolic see's metropolis and then suffragan (Caesarea) and 2) it does not list them in the order that the Ecumenical Councils put them, i.e. based on the civil administration (there is a relationship, but I'll deal with that later).  Rather, it seems to order them based on Acts and the local traditions, lists, that connected the sees to Acts.  This speaks of the antiquity of the matter, and the AC validity here as an expression of the consensus of the Church preceding the Ecumenical Councils.

Quote
Chapter III.—A refutation of the heretics, from the fact that, in the various Churches, a perpetual succession of bishops was kept up.
1. It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what these [heretics] rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to “the perfect” apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches themselves. For they were desirous that these men should be very perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men; which men, if they discharged their functions honestly, would be a great boon [to the Church], but if they should fall away, the direst calamity.
2. Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the 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 its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.iv.html

Continuing on St. Ignatius' summary, we have the issue of there being some difference in that the lines of Bishops are in succession to one Apostle in particular, e.g. St. Peter, as St. Gregory argues against the EP:
"Your most sweet Holiness [Eulogius of Alexandria] has spoken much in your letter to me about the chair of Saint Peter, Prince of the apostles, saying that he himself now sits on it in the persons of his successors.... I gladly accepted all that has been said, in that he has spoken to me about Peter's chair who occupies Peter's chair.... holy Church has been made firm in the solidity of the Prince of the apostles, who derived his name from the firmness of his mind, so as to be called Petrus from petra. And to him it is said by the voice of the Truth, To thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matth. xvi. 19).... though there are many apostles, yet with regard to the principality itself the See of the Prince of the apostles alone has grown strong in authority, which in three places is the See of one. For he himself exalted the See [Rome] in which he deigned even to rest and end the present life. He himself adorned the See [Alexandria] to which he sent his disciple as evangelist. He himself stablished the See [Antioch] in which, though he was to leave it, he sat for seven years. Since then it is the See of one, and one See, over which by Divine authority three bishops now preside ... "
Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great, Book VII, Epistle XL. To Eulogius, Bishop[/size]

And yet we have the fact that the episcopacy is one, an ontological whole. St. Cyprian, "On the Unity of the Church," I, :
Quote
4. If any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments.  There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth.  The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, “Feed my sheep.” And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;” yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity.  Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, “My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her.” Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church? trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, “There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God?” 5. And this unity we ought firmly to hold and assert, especially those of us that are bishops who preside in the Church, that we may also prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided.  [i.e., the universal episcopate is the chair of Peter.] Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood: let no one corrupt the truth of the faith by perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one for the whole.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iv.v.i.html

Now, the bishop of Rome has always been claimed as the Successor of St. Peter, the bishop of Alexandria the Successor of St. Mark, and the bishop of Antioch also the Successor of St. Peter.  This is reflected in all of the above quotes, which can be multipled.  Harmonized into a summary:

Rome's line
Founded by St. Peter
First bishop, St. Linus, ordained by St. Paul.
predeceased founder
Successor, St. Clement, ordained by St. Peter.


Alexandria's line
Founded by St. Mark, who is ordained by St. Peter
First bishop, St. Hannania, ordained by St. Mark
Successor, St. Avilius, ordained by St. Luke

Antioch's line
Founded by St. Peter
First bishop, St. Evodius, ordained by St. Peter
Successor, St. Ignatius, ordained by St. Paul

Now, what is odd is that although St. Mark is ordained by St. Peter as is St. Clement and St. Evodius, still Alexandria's line is seen as starting with St. Mark, not St. Peter, although it is admitted as a Petrine See.

To this, I'll digress a little on Jerusalem, where, Acts shows us, St. Peter lead the Apostles, but it is not accounted a Petrine See.  Eusebius's sources tell us:
Quote
Chapter I.—The Course pursued by the Apostles after the Ascension of Christ.
1. First, then, in the place of Judas, the betrayer, Matthias, who, as has been shown. was also one of the Seventy, was chosen to the apostolate....2. Then James, whom the ancients surnamed the Just, on account of the excellence of his virtue, is recorded to have been the first to be made bishop of the church of Jerusalem. This James was called the brother of the Lord,because he was known as a son of Joseph,...For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of our Saviour, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor, but chose James the Just bishop of Jerusalem...The Lord after his resurrection imparted knowledge to James the Just and to John and Peter, and they imparted it to the rest of the apostles, and the rest of the apostles to the seventy, of whom Barnabas was one...The Throne [Eusebius only uses this term of Jerusalem, no other See] of James, who first received the episcopate of the church at Jerusalem from the Saviour himself, and the apostles, and who, as the divine records show,was called a brother of Christ, has been preserved until now, the brethren who have followed him in succession there exhibiting clearly to all the reverence which both those of old times and those of our own day maintained and do maintain for holy men on account of their
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vii.ii.html
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.xii.xx.html

So although St. James is ordained by St. Peter (and SS. James and John the Apostles), he is not seen as a successor of St. Peter, but rather he is seen as the founder of Jerusalem's line.

Further the lines are not
Apostle-bishop ordained by Apostle-bishop ordained by bishop
but
Apostle-bishop ordained by Apostle-bishop ordained by another Apostle
or even
Bishop ordained by Apostle-bishop ordained by Apostle

(and actually, "ordained by" should be plural, as numerous sources involve three in ordaining someone, starting with SS Peter, James and John ordaining James the Brother of God)

And in the case of Rome (Clement, Linus) (and with James, Jerusalem) we have those in the episcopal succession who were partially at least classed among the Apostles, whereas in Alexandria (Mark, Luke) we have those founders who were not, in the stricktest sense it seems, Apostles.

to be continued....

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« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2009, 04:25:44 PM »

So we have this cross fertilization of Apostles ordaining lines of bishops. Not a problem, the episcopacy is one, as St. Cyprian tells us, and to be expected, since three are to ordain one bishop (a source, I believe, of confusion in some lines of some sees).

What then, of the role of the lines and lists, those formal documents that give the bishops from the Apostles to our day, that St. Iranaeus speaks of?

To that, let me bring up an analogy I made elsewhere:

The charism does not flow from the canon: the canon codifies the charism.  As such, the bishop's charism may be regulated by the canon, but not abolished nor granted by canon.

Grace and Peace ialmisry,

I reading this but I'm thinking to myself... that I wish he could unpack this a bit more for me...?

If I may, I'll make a politcal/historical analogy (don't know how much you know of US constitutional history: feel free to ask).

The office of president was created by adoption of the present Constitution, when it created the executive branch.  The executive had not existed in the US on the national level since the sovereign gave the colonies their (plural intentional) independence.  It could, by amendment, be abolished.  Things under the executive (like the post office, and, though murky, things like the war powers act) can be taken away.

The Congressional delegations are a different matter: The Constitution did not create representation of the states, but it did regulate it.  The colonists claimed a right to representation, in fact rebelled over it.  The committtees of correspondence in the various colonies solicited (note, not summon, authorize or appoint) delegations from the legislatures to meet in the first and second Continental Congress, which set up for the states approval (and provinces: it was assumed Canada would join. Americans still haven't gotten over that) the first constitution, which provided for the United States in Congress Assembled.  Due to the fact that it did not create any right to representatives, the legislatures of all states had to approve the formation of the United States in Congress Assembled, and each state had only one vote in said Congress.  The state legislature sent, and could recall, representatives to the Congress, and each state determined for itself how the delegates would chosen.  They also could determine how many delegates to send, the only limits being no less than 2 nor more than 7. There were some other relatively straight forward restrictions.  This Congress called the Constitutinal Convention of the present constitution, which went into effect, persuant to Articles 6, 9-10 of the Confederation, and then 13.  The present Constitutional modified the requirements of the State Delegations and their composition, and standardized their selection across the states.  But the right/power of representation was not created, it was recognized: Art. I states "all legislative powers [plural], herein granted, shall be vested in a Congress..." in contrast to Art. II and III, "The executive/judicial power shall be vested..., i.e. Art. II and III create, Art. I only add to an already existing power.

(there's more, but less to the point here)

Now, the episcopacy is one, but it (i.e. the bishops) can decide how to express it for the good of the Church.  Hence the primacy, hence autocephaly, and hence the line lists.  When three bishops ordain another man into the episcopacy, what they are witnessing to is that the candidate is worthy to take over the inheritiance of the see to which he is being appointed, and sit on that same throne as the successors of those who sat on it before.

Let me continue my analogy of the legislature.  We may examine all the records of this last election, and verify that the results are correct, the correct person being seated according to the Constitution and therefore the laws passed by the Congress are therefore valid.  Case in point, Sen. Burris: the Senate refused to seat him until the question about the validity of his appointment was handled.  We take it on faith that prior Congresses have also taken the same care.

Now, when the new Congress is elected, all legislation dies with the prior one (the reason why the House here in Illinois had to vote to impeach twice: in the meantime while preparing the impeachment, the term expired.  The new House just voted to accept the recommendations, but they had to do so).  The administration of the House, for instance, is set up by the prior Congress and vested in the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the individual members as a body voting to do so:
Quote
Every two years regular congressional elections are held. Only one-third of Senators' terms expire at each of these elections, but the terms of office of the entire House end.  The Senate has remained in constant existence since it first went into session in 1789 but the House goes out of existence (and hence a "new" Congress takes office) every two years. To preserve the legal continuity of the House, the existence of the House is vested in the Clerk at the end of each two-year term. Thus, when the newly-elected members of the House gather on January 3, it is the Clerk who summons Representatives and convenes the new Congress for the first time. Accordingly, the Clerk gavels the House into session, chairs the body as it adopts its rules of order, and oversees the election of a Speaker under those rules. The Speaker then takes the chair and the House proceeds with its business (which includes electing a Clerk for the new session). Were the House not to vest such personality in the Clerk, there would be no legally empowered authority to convene the session and lead the House in its first few acts.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clerk_of_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives
(btw, wikipedia is accurate here, as I could personally vouch: I knew the Clerk who presided over the election of Newt Gingrich as speaker, and was present at the convening of the new congress).  The Clerk swears the new members in, having been invested by the old members, and the new members elect a new Speaker, who oversees the election of the new Clerk, among other things.

Now, if someone wanted to, they could try to dredge up that some representative was not validly seated, and hence some legislation is not valid, they can. But because each Congress regulates, investigates and certifies (or accepts the certification of the States) its members, there is a continuity of validity of its acts and a firm record of it. We see that today with Sen. Burris, and the reason why Al Frankin is not Sen. Frankin, at least not yet.  Hence, no such challenge, as far as I know, has succeeded.  And that could have constitutive reprecussions: Congress admits new states.

In like manner the individual bishops preserve the integrity of the episcopate, three members at least in communion with the rest ordaining one into their number.  It is for that reason that we adhere to the Cyprian version of Apostolic succession.

to be cont....
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« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2009, 02:07:22 PM »

Hi all,

I have some questions regarding Apostolic Succession, if you don't mind.
Not at all.
Quote

1. When, and with whom, did Apostolic successsion start?

Christ, at His Incarnation.

Quote
& Is there a biblical record of it?

Hebrews 3:1; Acts 1; 20; II Timothy 1:6, I Timothy 4;12-16, Titus 1:5-9, Act 14:23.

Quote
2. Are their successors to all the Apostles?


Irrelevent.  The apostolate and episcopate is an ontological whole: the bishops partake of it, they do not possess it.  Bishops rarely ordain their successors: his peers do that, showing that the candidate is worthy to succeed on the throne.

I do believe that all the Apostles founded lines.  Whether they have all survived till today, I am not sure.  I am sure that Apstolic succession has continued until today.

Quote
If not, why not?

The lists of succession is the trappings, not the essence, of Apostolic succession.

On another forum  police Roll Eyes police a poster here made some statements on a thread about the Formula of Hormisdas that touch on this question.

The claim is made on the whole inconsistency of the non-Catholic position, taking as a given St. Peter had a special prerogative blah blah blah...we all know the lines.  They claim that having Apostolic succession necessitates an acceptance of the Vatican line that these "prerogatives" are transmitted in the Vatican, that since we "Apostolic Christians" accept that St. Peter had a special role, we must accept that his office continued, and "the only Church that FULLY and faithfully reflects that order today is the Catholic Church," by which he means the Vatican.  The challenge is then for us Orthodox, it is claimed, to explain its disappearance.

Ah, but here is the problem: the Apostles and their successors didn't know of this Petrine office, so perhaps they should explain its disappearance.

When the issue of circumcision came up, they did not go to St. Peter, who had succumbed to the Judaizers and was in Antioch himself when the issue came up.  Rather they went (St. Peter included) to Jerusalem, where St. James presided, not St. Peter, and whose words, not St. Peter's, the decree of the Council conveyed.

When the Samaritans were baptized, St. Peter WAS sent, rather than send, to lay hands on them.

St. Peter founded the see of Antioch, and Patriarch Ignatius is no less a successor of St. Peter as Benedict in Rome.  Actually he is more, as Pat. Ignatius has the same Faith as St. Peter.  And Pope St. Leo also claims that the Pope of Alexandria, through St. Mark, succeeds St Peter and sits on that one Petrine throne. And said poster brought up Ecumenical Councils stating the Pope of Rome spoke for St. Peter. An example would be Ephesus: the problem is that he is compared to St. Paul too, and Pope St. Cyril is likewise honored by being compared to the Apostles.

And one of those successors at Antioch, St. Ignatius I, writing about the Church speaks of the fullness of the Catholic Church (the first recorded use of that term) in the local bishop, the priests, the deacons and the Faithful.  Nothing about a bishop sent by or approved by Rome.

No one speaks of Rome being founded by St. Peter without the same time speaking of St. Paul.  So does the papacy have two fathers?

So back to my post: the Vatican has confused the trappings of the Apostolic line with the essence of the ontological whole of the episcopacy.
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« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2009, 07:48:19 PM »


And one of those successors at Antioch, St. Ignatius I, writing about the Church speaks of the fullness of the Catholic Church (the first recorded use of that term) in the local bishop, the priests, the deacons and the Faithful.  Nothing about a bishop sent by or approved by Rome.

No one speaks of Rome being founded by St. Peter without the same time speaking of St. Paul.  So does the papacy have two fathers?

So back to my post: the Vatican has confused the trappings of the Apostolic line with the essence of the ontological whole of the episcopacy.
Can you explain the meaning of this icon of St Peter and St Paul? Why are they carrying a church? And what does 'first among equals' mean to you? I hope it's in line with the writings of the early Church Fathers. 
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« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2009, 08:50:54 PM »


And one of those successors at Antioch, St. Ignatius I, writing about the Church speaks of the fullness of the Catholic Church (the first recorded use of that term) in the local bishop, the priests, the deacons and the Faithful.  Nothing about a bishop sent by or approved by Rome.

No one speaks of Rome being founded by St. Peter without the same time speaking of St. Paul.  So does the papacy have two fathers?

So back to my post: the Vatican has confused the trappings of the Apostolic line with the essence of the ontological whole of the episcopacy.
Can you explain the meaning of this icon of St Peter and St Paul? Why are they carrying a church? And what does 'first among equals' mean to you? I hope it's in line with the writings of the early Church Fathers. 

Why, yes it is.

Do we find images of St. Peter without St. Paul?  No, we do not.

In Arabic this is underlined by the fact that we still have a dual, and the references to SS Peter and Paul are in it, e.g. (the two) Foremost in the ranks of the Apostles "muqaddimaa...".  al-buTrusaani, lit. "the Two Peters," means "Peter and Paul."  In Christian Arabic grammar, Peter and and Paul (rather, buTrus wa-buulus) are used like Dike and Jane in English pedagogy.

You notice in the icon that they are both carrying the Church, they are both the same size and level, they flank the Church and each other.  St. Peter is not on a throne and St. Paul at his right hand.

First among equals means what it says. First among, not above.  The emblems of the see of Rome always had SS Peter and Paul on them, until Ultramontanism set in and Paul was relegated to the background.  On the emblems of the see of Antioch, also founded by St. Peter, both still appear.  And both are celebrated on June 29.
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« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2009, 09:01:08 PM »

ANTIOCH
Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria (450):

"I therefore beseech your holiness to persuade the most holy and blessed bishop (Pope Leo) to use his Apostolic power, and to order me to hasten to your Council. For that most holy throne (Rome) has the sovereignty over the churches throughout the universe on many grounds." (Theodoret, Tom. iv. Epist. cxvi. Renato, p. 1197).

"It pertains to you (Pope Leo) to hold the primacy in all things, for your throne is adorned with many prerogatives." (Theodoret Ibid, Epist. Leoni)

"If Paul, the herald of the truth, the trumpet of the Holy Spirit, hastened to the great Peter, to convey from him the solution to those in Antioch, who were at issue about living under the law, how much more do we, poor and humble, run to the Apostolic Throne (Rome) to receive from you (Pope Leo) healing for wounds of the the Churches. For it pertains to you to have primacy in all things; for your throne is adorned with many prerogatives." (Theodoret Ibid, Epistle Leoni)

"For that all holy throne has the office of heading the Churches of the whole world, for many reasons; and, above all others, because it has remained free of the communion of heretical taint, and no one holding heterodox sentiments ever sat in it, but it has preserved the Apostolic grace unsullied." (Theodoret, Epist Renato)

"Hasten to your Apostolic See in order to receive from you a cure for the wounds of the Church. For every reason it is fitting for you to hold the first place, inasmuch as your see is adorned with many priviledges. I have been condemned without trial. But I await the sentence of your Apostolic See. I beseech and implore Your Holiness to succor me in my appeal to your fair and righteous tribunal. Bid me hasten to you and prove to you that my teaching follows in the footsteps of the Apostles." (Theodoret to Pope Leo, Ep. 113).

St. Eusebius of Doryleum (450): ...writing to Pope Leo:

"The Apostolic throne has been wont from the beginning to defend those who are suffering injustice. I entreat Your Blessedness, give me back the dignity of my episcopate and communion with yourself, by letters from you to my lowliness bestowing on me my rank and communion." (Eusebius of Doryleum to Pope Leo)

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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2009, 09:15:35 PM »

Pope Clement I



"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).
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« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2009, 09:30:57 PM »

Hi all,

I have some questions regarding Apostolic Succession, if you don't mind.

1. When, and with whom, did Apostolic successsion start? & Is there a biblical record of it?
2. Are their successors to all the Apostles? If not, why not?
3. When did succession from Apostle to Apostle (ordaining new Apostles) cease, and Apostle to Bishop (oradaining Bishops only, no more Apostles) begin?
4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?
5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?
St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of the Church. Born in 354 A.D. and died in 430 A.D..

'For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back
till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: "Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it!" The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: -- Clement,
Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus,
Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus,
Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius.'
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« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2009, 09:31:32 PM »

ANTIOCH
Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria (450):

"I therefore beseech your holiness to persuade the most holy and blessed bishop (Pope Leo) to use his Apostolic power, and to order me to hasten to your Council. For that most holy throne (Rome) has the sovereignty over the churches throughout the universe on many grounds." (Theodoret, Tom. iv. Epist. cxvi. Renato, p. 1197).

"It pertains to you (Pope Leo) to hold the primacy in all things, for your throne is adorned with many prerogatives." (Theodoret Ibid, Epist. Leoni)

"If Paul, the herald of the truth, the trumpet of the Holy Spirit, hastened to the great Peter, to convey from him the solution to those in Antioch, who were at issue about living under the law, how much more do we, poor and humble, run to the Apostolic Throne (Rome) to receive from you (Pope Leo) healing for wounds of the the Churches. For it pertains to you to have primacy in all things; for your throne is adorned with many prerogatives." (Theodoret Ibid, Epistle Leoni)

"For that all holy throne has the office of heading the Churches of the whole world, for many reasons; and, above all others, because it has remained free of the communion of heretical taint, and no one holding heterodox sentiments ever sat in it, but it has preserved the Apostolic grace unsullied." (Theodoret, Epist Renato)

"Hasten to your Apostolic See in order to receive from you a cure for the wounds of the Church. For every reason it is fitting for you to hold the first place, inasmuch as your see is adorned with many priviledges. I have been condemned without trial. But I await the sentence of your Apostolic See. I beseech and implore Your Holiness to succor me in my appeal to your fair and righteous tribunal. Bid me hasten to you and prove to you that my teaching follows in the footsteps of the Apostles." (Theodoret to Pope Leo, Ep. 113).

St. Eusebius of Doryleum (450): ...writing to Pope Leo:

"The Apostolic throne has been wont from the beginning to defend those who are suffering injustice. I entreat Your Blessedness, give me back the dignity of my episcopate and communion with yourself, by letters from you to my lowliness bestowing on me my rank and communion." (Eusebius of Doryleum to Pope Leo)



Trawling for quotes are we?  We have a thread for that, I've replied there:
For your first quotes, Theodoret, there's the little problem that he was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council....
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« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2009, 11:57:21 PM »

Something my priest said tonight got me thinking.  He pointed out how St. Luke begins his Gospel with a priest being picked by lot, and starts his account of the Acts of the Apostles with an Apostle (St. Matthias, whose day it is) being picked by lot.  The fact that the Fathers saw St. John in the Theophany as the Aaronic priesthood yielding to that of Melchizedek got me to thinking about the parallel of the choosing of St. John's father to serve in the presence of God according to the Old Covenant, and the choosing of someone to witness to the presence of God and the New Covenant, as one of the new high priests-the bishops-who partake of the True High Priesthood.
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« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2009, 02:14:56 AM »


1. When, and with whom, did Apostolic successsion start? & Is there a biblical record of it?

Apostolic succession started with the Apostles. There are certain instances of what we believe to be apostolic succession in the NT. Acts shows Matthias being chosen as the successor to Judas. 1 Timothy shows the Apostles ordaining Timothy by laying on of hands and Paul selecting him as his successor to be the leader of the church in Ephesus. Titus shows Paul having selected Titus to take over the work of the Apostles as the leader of the church in Crete. These are the examples I found off-hand, but there may very well be more.


2. Are their successors to all the Apostles? If not, why not?

There are only successors to any one particular Apostle where one particular Apostle formed a particular church, selected another to succeed them as leader, and where this particular church continues to exist. There are not successors to all the Apostles because the any one particular Apostle was not fundamentally important to the form of Apostolic succession, but merely the selection of leaders and ordination by the Apostles in general.


3. When did succession from Apostle to Apostle (ordaining new Apostles) cease, and Apostle to Bishop (oradaining Bishops only, no more Apostles) begin?

The only instance where there is any obvious pretense of Apostle selecting successors to be another Apostle is in the case of Matthias, I believe. Afterwards, their successors were simply understood to be episcopos.


4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?

There is plenty of significance, because the Apostles are not understood as the creators of the Order of the Episcopate. Jesus Christ is understood to have been the creator of the Order of the Episcopate within the Apostles, and the Apostles are understood to be the first bishops. The Apostles are understood to have been both Apostles and Bishops, and what they transmit to their successors is the Episcopate. On this level, the bishops of the Church all throughout history are understood as equivalent to the Apostles.


5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?

In so far as one is in one of the historical episcopal churches, there really is no need to. If these churches are found to have had ordained all of their bishops by laying on of hands, and if they are understood to require that at least three of their bishops participate in the ordination of any bishop, then the presence of the Apostolic lineage should just be self evident. Once one enters outside of clear historical bodies, however, is the point where people need to begin recording their personal apostolic lineage. This is precisely why bishops in mainstream episcopal bodies typically do not even bother to record their apostolic lineage, whereas independent bishops obsess over it.
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« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2009, 04:12:31 AM »

Here's my question:

If we are to understand that Apostolic succession is the gauge of authority within the Church, then how are we to respond to the 'deposition' of Patriarchs?  It seems to me that the authority inherent in the concept comes from the unanimous consent of the college of bishops.  All over the Catholic Church, whether in Egypt, Palestine or Rome, the catholicity of the Church is supposed to be expressed by the harmony of the teachings.  Each council sought to clarify and expand on the beliefs that the Church had always held, not to create new beliefs by vote.  Sometimes new language was employed (i.e. Trinity), but the point was to convey the truth that had always been present in clearer language and philosophy as an answer to heresy. 

That being said, the authority of the Patriarchates seems a bit silly when an emperor can simply depose of a bishop who disagrees with the findings of a council.  After all, if there was merit to the idea that there was a line of teaching going all the way back to Christ and the apostles, then the teaching would have to be preserved in each successive generation.  If those illumined by this line of teaching were so easily seized by error, then what authority did they really have? 

If one Patriarch is deposed and replaced, then how on earth could the 'replacement' be considered a part of the line?  The guy was put in the position without having received theological and pastoral training from the 'throne' itself.  He was brought in from the outside and his name was tacked on the list of Patriarchs.  So what?  That Patriarch would have no historical ties to the leadership position.
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« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2009, 12:33:37 AM »

Can anyone address this question?
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« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2009, 01:50:37 AM »

Here's my question:

If we are to understand that Apostolic succession is the gauge of authority within the Church, then how are we to respond to the 'deposition' of Patriarchs?  It seems to me that the authority inherent in the concept comes from the unanimous consent of the college of bishops.  All over the Catholic Church, whether in Egypt, Palestine or Rome, the catholicity of the Church is supposed to be expressed by the harmony of the teachings.  Each council sought to clarify and expand on the beliefs that the Church had always held, not to create new beliefs by vote.  Sometimes new language was employed (i.e. Trinity), but the point was to convey the truth that had always been present in clearer language and philosophy as an answer to heresy. 

That being said, the authority of the Patriarchates seems a bit silly when an emperor can simply depose of a bishop who disagrees with the findings of a council.  After all, if there was merit to the idea that there was a line of teaching going all the way back to Christ and the apostles, then the teaching would have to be preserved in each successive generation.  If those illumined by this line of teaching were so easily seized by error, then what authority did they really have? 

If one Patriarch is deposed and replaced, then how on earth could the 'replacement' be considered a part of the line?  The guy was put in the position without having received theological and pastoral training from the 'throne' itself.  He was brought in from the outside and his name was tacked on the list of Patriarchs.  So what?  That Patriarch would have no historical ties to the leadership position.

How about the lay man who became Patriarch in a short while.

Quote
The holy Patriarch Paul although he had formerly supported Iconoclasm, later repented and resigned his office. He withdrew to a monastery, where he took the schema. When the holy Empress Irene and her son the emperor came to him, St. Paul told them that the most worthy successor to him would be St. Tarasios (who at this time was still a layman).

Tarasios refused for a long time, not considering himself worthy of such high office, but he then gave in to the common accord on the condition, that an Ecumenical Council be convened to address the Iconoclast heresy.

Proceeding through all the clerical ranks in a short while, St. Tarasios was elevated to the patriarchal throne in the year 784. In the year 787 the Seventh Ecumenical Council was convened in the city of Nicea, with Patriarch Tarasios presiding, and 367 bishops attending. The veneration of holy icons was confirmed at the council. Those bishops who repented of their iconoclasm, were again received by the Church.

St. Tarasios wisely governed the Church for twenty-two years. He led a strict ascetic life. He spent all his money on God-pleasing ends, feeding and giving comfort to the aged, to the impoverished, to widows and orphans, and on Holy Pascha he set out a meal for them, and he served them himself.

If you are concerned about Patriarchs being arbitrarily deposed by political figures (e.g. Byzantine Empire, Russia, et al.), a Hierarch is always appointed as locum tenens (in place of) by the governing Synod of Bishops for that Patriarchate.  A Bishop has Apostolic line of succession - succession is not broken if a Hierarch is removed from office for political or even other reasons.

I hope I understood the question enough to answer it.   Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: August 26, 2009, 10:01:36 PM »

Do heretical bishops, such as an assemblage of Arians, still have what it takes to confer apostolic succession on a new generation of Arian bishops?

If yes, then apostolic succession is no protection against doctrinal error. And there have been times when the majority of bishops were Arian. "Athanasius against the world" and all that.

If no, then how far afield from pure Orthodoxy can a bishop wander before he loses the ability to do so, and what guarantee do you have that a particular bishop is sufficiently orthodox, and that the line of bishops is not riddled with invalid bishops, hence invalid priests and liturgies?

One cause of the Reformation was that faithless men bought bishoprics and used their offices to amass wealth for themselves.  You can go over to CAF and read endless threads from Catholics lamenting the lack of faithful bishops.  Perhaps the East has been spared this problem.  Paul commanded Timothy to find faithful men.  The number of faithless men in the office is unknown, but even one is too many, and it seems to be something God has not protected the Church from.
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« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2009, 07:33:33 PM »

I'd be interested in hearing someone respond to the points Alveus Lacuna and truthstalker brought up. And along the lines of what was asked, we might ask what we do with people who were heretics and then switched to an orthodox position after becoming a bishop. Do they keep their status as bishop, plain and simple? For a rather notable example, there was St. Meletius of Antioch.
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« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2009, 08:19:06 PM »

Here's my question:

If we are to understand that Apostolic succession is the gauge of authority within the Church, then how are we to respond to the 'deposition' of Patriarchs?  It seems to me that the authority inherent in the concept comes from the unanimous consent of the college of bishops.  All over the Catholic Church, whether in Egypt, Palestine or Rome, the catholicity of the Church is supposed to be expressed by the harmony of the teachings.  Each council sought to clarify and expand on the beliefs that the Church had always held, not to create new beliefs by vote.  Sometimes new language was employed (i.e. Trinity), but the point was to convey the truth that had always been present in clearer language and philosophy as an answer to heresy. 

That being said, the authority of the Patriarchates seems a bit silly when an emperor can simply depose of a bishop who disagrees with the findings of a council.  After all, if there was merit to the idea that there was a line of teaching going all the way back to Christ and the apostles, then the teaching would have to be preserved in each successive generation.  If those illumined by this line of teaching were so easily seized by error, then what authority did they really have? 

If one Patriarch is deposed and replaced, then how on earth could the 'replacement' be considered a part of the line?  The guy was put in the position without having received theological and pastoral training from the 'throne' itself.  He was brought in from the outside and his name was tacked on the list of Patriarchs.  So what?  That Patriarch would have no historical ties to the leadership position.

I don't have time right now, but briefly:

The episcopate is an ontological whole, in which the bishops subsist but they do not possess.  If it were not so, any bishop could validly ordain any heretic he wanted.  That is why bishop X, is not ordained by bishop y, rather "by the hand of," as is the case with any Holy Mystery.

Think of the US House of Representative: memeber's districts change, merging and splitting.  Some are taken from one state and given to another, according to the census.  There are often disputes as to elections, which the House as a Body determine.  At the end of the two year term, all their authority expires, but before it does, they vest it in the Clerk of the House, who carries it until he swears in the newly elected next House.  The House's authority does not rise or fall on a few members, because its authority is taken as a whole.
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« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2009, 11:40:00 PM »

I'm not sure this answers it.
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« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2009, 12:04:02 AM »

I just think this must be one of those pesky "mysteries"!   Grin

The whole "succession line" is misleading, because if you just put a long list of names from an apostle all the way down to whoever sits in the seat today, the connotation is that there is a transferal of truth, from one to the next all the way until today.

So is the line one of authority, or of truth and purity in teaching?
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« Reply #37 on: November 23, 2009, 12:10:13 AM »

So is the line one of authority, or of truth and purity in teaching?

One would hope the answer is both.  The difficult thing to remember when looking at a "succession line" for a particular see is that each name on there (or, at the very least, the vast majority of the names there) were elected by a synod, not merely selected by an individual to succeed - thus, there should be a continuity of both doctrine and authority, but this is a continuity preserved by the conciliar action of the Church guided by the Spirit, through the selection, interview, and election process used by the Synod.  Apostolic succession isn't some sort of chart detailing how a dictator has passed power on through the generations, but rather is a list of the men who hopefully represent the Orthodox faith well (can't pick them all correctly, though, as history has demonstrated) both in their teaching and in the exercise of their Episcopal authority.
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« Reply #38 on: November 23, 2009, 01:38:32 AM »

I can't remember the terminology, but some forms of Buddhism have this notion, I believe in Zen, that the "master" passes the "flame" on to a student, from torch to torch.  I suppose I was thinking about it that way.
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« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2010, 12:42:16 PM »

bishophood ... church hierarchy ... apostolic succession

As I said before, in reply to our esteemed GreekChef, it is hard to provide evidence for the absence of something. We simply see no reference to, or presence of, the concept of priesthood (apart of course from references to Jewish priests) in the NT, nor to the intention of a Church organised through the decades and centuries on the basis Apostolic Succession with the laying-on of hands in an unbroken line, nor even to a stratum of church organisation such as is currently filled by bishops in the modern sense of the word.

I am not saying this form of organisation is a hindrance to the Gospel or to spirituality, any more than any other structure which has developed in different times and places among the people of God, all of which can be operated by people filled with the Holy Ghost and be a blessing to men, or by ambitious men and women who wangle a position they have no divine calling or gift for. I am not saying the stratum of bishops should be abolished and every denomination should be run on Baptist lines (that is, autonomous local churches linked in voluntary, equal fellowship).

Quote
I am not saying that your claim to unbroken historical succession of bishops is false (though neither do I see it as proven). What I have said is, that it is not in our view a biblical concept, and thus even if it is a historical fact, it has no spiritual importance.

Quote
I am also aware that we can jump ahead into the following century and see that, in some places at least, the modern sense of the words had begun to develop or was already in place. But I am not qualified to prove (which is what you ask) that your meaning is absent in every case, or that ours must be the only possible sense in every case.  But detaching the NT from Holy Tradition, I do think that our understanding of the words and roles form a coherent and consistent whole

Quote
I am aware that certain words were used in the NT, but I suspect that neither of us has the time or inclination to list every occurrence in the NT of the words priest, bishop, presbyter, elder, pastor and perhaps related words, and to debate the meaning of each in the light of its literary and historical context.

Why not?

I've already got a bunch of stuff on this, which I can start posting for reference.  I've moved the discussion here,  as the question of the NT priesthood of the Orthodox is intertwined and derives from the dogma of succession, such that one cannot be spoken of without the other.

To be up front about the structure of my ideas on this matter, the Apostles ranked the ordained clergy into bishops, priests and deacons.  The term presbyter covers the Apostles (as St. John identifies himself) and bishops (the terms are exchanged in Titus 1 and Acts 20): the priesthood (in the sense of the clergy in the parish under the bishop and as his delegate, the ambiguity I think substantiating my point) coming onto its own as the Apostles disappeared from the scene and their ordained successors, the bishops (btw, the Apostles are not the first bishop of the see they founded, but the font of the episcopacy there) came onto their own as the font of the episcopacy, an ontological whole in which they participated in common with the Apostles. The parish priest grew out of the chorbishops/auxiliary bishops, taking up the functions of the bishops as the latter took up the functions of the Apostles.  Hence the priest as a rank is not as clearly defined in the NT, nor yet as clear in Clement (written when the last Apostles had yet to fall asleep) as they are in Ignatius (where they are a distinct group, in letters written after the Apostles has passed the Church on to their successors). The Deaconate has a different origin, basically being ordained laity appointed by the bishops, so being in essence the highest in the hiearchy of the laity rather than the lowest rank of the ordained priesthood.  The Church consecrates only a priest to become a bishop, and ordains only a deacon to become a priest, and ordains only a baptized man to be a deacon, but I do not think the requirement of baptism for a deacon is the same (it is more essential) as that of the deaconate to be priest.  However, I don't know of a clear ordination of a priest who was not in the diaconate in our 2000 year history.  The consecration of only a priest maybe on the same level as the  requirement of baptism.

The bishops participate in, but do not possess, the episcopacy. Priests are not an alter Christus, but are the delegate of the bishop.  Deacons are the approved delegates of the laity.

Although all bishops are equal, and participate in the same ontological whole, the episcopacy has expressed itself in history in regional synods, which have as their heads primates whose power derives from their synod manifesting the episcopacy.
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« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2010, 01:09:47 PM »

I can't remember the terminology, but some forms of Buddhism have this notion, I believe in Zen, that the "master" passes the "flame" on to a student, from torch to torch.  I suppose I was thinking about it that way.

In my experience, this "mind to mind transmission" in Zen was treated as an actual transfer of enlightened consciousness, as if the new teacher carried the mind of the Buddha, which explains the excessive deference many Zen teachers get from their disciples. Of course, when these "enlightened" masters start sleeping with disciples or buying themselves fancy cars, things get very uncomfortable.

By contrast, or so it seems to me, the Orthodox concept of apostolic succession does not come with the assumption that the recipient will be automatically saintly.
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« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2010, 07:36:15 PM »

I'd be interested in hearing someone respond to the points Alveus Lacuna and truthstalker brought up. And along the lines of what was asked, we might ask what we do with people who were heretics and then switched to an orthodox position after becoming a bishop. Do they keep their status as bishop, plain and simple? For a rather notable example, there was St. Meletius of Antioch.

I could be wrong about this so please someone double check what I am saying. But I thought I read somewhere that in North Western Africa the practice was that if a Donatist bishop came back in communion....then he would either be retired or be used as an auxillary Bishop.

I don't know what happened to Saint Hippolytus when he came back in communion after his schism. I also don't know if the western regional customs were practice everywhere.

Also, I read somewhere that every now and then for short periods of time...... the Copts and the Greek Patrairchate of Alexandria were in communion off and on.

Now I don't know if what I read was true or false. Someone can double check me on that, but if it was true.....I don't know what they did.

Also...in regards to the semi-Arians.....moderate Arians.....many of them were won over to the neonicene and nicene party. I don't know how they worked that out ....in regards to who is bishop where. But something happened....they did something.








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« Reply #42 on: March 12, 2010, 07:49:11 PM »

Thanks. You can delete this post







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« Reply #43 on: March 12, 2010, 07:51:47 PM »

I'm not sure this answers it.
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That's a better question for a PM. It's generally not a good idea to give out personal information on the Internet.
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« Reply #44 on: March 12, 2010, 07:54:28 PM »

Thanks, I'll do that. You can delete these posts if you wanna.






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