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lasher
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« on: July 24, 2013, 11:00:19 AM »

Is there any way to actually trace a bishop's apostolic succession to the first century or is this just a tradition that is believed but isn't really provable?
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2013, 11:09:39 AM »

Well, here is a list for the Antiochian Orthodox Church.  Proveable is a tricky word, what is proof to one, may not be proof to another.  We can say that is has been very well documented, if that is what you mean.

http://www.saintgeorgekearney.com/apostolic_succession.html
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 11:10:53 AM »

They have lists for this, usually historical accounts, etc. which established succession. Of course if you are a skeptic you could claim that it is made up, just like some people claim that the existence of Jesus was made up after the fact. I would consider the evidence persuasive, however, and the evidence seemed to be ongoing (e.g. talk of the ability to trace succession start showing up in the 2nd century).
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 11:12:12 AM »

I wouldn't think they were made up. I was just curious if there were actually lists available to view. I would indeed find it convincing if there were (and if they didn't have huge gaps in them).
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 11:12:38 AM »

I took this post out as it was unnecessary, the list was already placed in a comment by "the Trisagion". I will not discipline the poster, however we do not allow dual postings of the same information. Thank you, Thomas Convert Issues Forum moderator
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 11:14:42 AM »

Well, here is a list for the Antiochian Orthodox Church.  Proveable is a tricky word, what is proof to one, may not be proof to another.  We can say that is has been very well documented, if that is what you mean.

http://www.saintgeorgekearney.com/apostolic_succession.html

Are there actual historical documents available that support this list?
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 11:22:16 AM »

I took this post out as it was unnecessary, the list was already placed in a comment by "the Trisagion". I will not discipline the poster, however we do not allow dual postings of the same information. Thank you, Thomas Convert Issues Forum moderator


Thanks Thomas, I should've been paying attention  Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 11:23:17 AM »

Well, here is a list for the Antiochian Orthodox Church.  Proveable is a tricky word, what is proof to one, may not be proof to another.  We can say that is has been very well documented, if that is what you mean.

http://www.saintgeorgekearney.com/apostolic_succession.html

Are there actual historical documents available that support this list?
Yes, but you would have to go digging through all the writings of the Church Fathers.  That would be quite a voluminous undertaking to try from scratch.
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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 11:26:04 AM »

Well, here is a list for the Antiochian Orthodox Church.  Proveable is a tricky word, what is proof to one, may not be proof to another.  We can say that is has been very well documented, if that is what you mean.

http://www.saintgeorgekearney.com/apostolic_succession.html

Are there actual historical documents available that support this list?
Yes, but you would have to go digging through all the writings of the Church Fathers.  That would be quite a voluminous undertaking to try from scratch.

So we should take AS on faith then? Have always heard that there are issues even with Eastern Orthodox lists of succession. Especially with Roman Catholicism. Does anyone have any info on the issues of Eastern Orthodox succession? Are there gaps?
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 11:30:14 AM »

May want to know this about apostolic succession:

Apostolic Succession is not simply a series of ordinations, but at the same time it is the sharing of revealed truth. When a church cuts itself off from the trunk of the Orthodox Church because of doctrinal differences, this means it no longer has the mystery of the priesthood. That is, when revelatory truth is lost and heretical opinions are adopted, this has implications in the Apostolic Succession. The Apostles transmitted the gift of the priesthood, but at the same time they gave, through regeneration, the entire revelatory tradition.

Source: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/04/the-ontology-of-papacy.html
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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2013, 11:32:12 AM »

May want to know this about apostolic succession:

Apostolic Succession is not simply a series of ordinations, but at the same time it is the sharing of revealed truth. When a church cuts itself off from the trunk of the Orthodox Church because of doctrinal differences, this means it no longer has the mystery of the priesthood. That is, when revelatory truth is lost and heretical opinions are adopted, this has implications in the Apostolic Succession. The Apostles transmitted the gift of the priesthood, but at the same time they gave, through regeneration, the entire revelatory tradition.

Source: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/04/the-ontology-of-papacy.html

This is actually why I am so curious about there being documentation of apostolic succession. I am a former protestant leaning heavily towards taking the leap into orthodoxy. I've come to believe that our faith is based on both tradition and scripture. The tradition part seems to me to be linked to valid apostolic succession claims.
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2013, 11:33:43 AM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2013, 11:35:20 AM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?

What kind of problems?

I mean, my first reaction is to say, sure there can be problems in theory, and probably were in practice. But then I can't really say if I don't know what kind of problems you are thinking of.
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2013, 11:41:21 AM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?

What kind of problems?

I mean, my first reaction is to say, sure there can be problems in theory, and probably were in practice. But then I can't really say if I don't know what kind of problems you are thinking of.

That's the rub. If you do a search about these issues there are plenty of people saying that the EO lists have problems, then they never explain what those problems are exactly. Was wondering if anyone here knew what they were talking about. It would be my bet that there are issues even with EO succession lists, just wondering if those more knowledgable could comment.
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2013, 11:45:56 AM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?

There are probably  inconsistencies, but strong faith that God can still lead The Church as promised should overcome them. It's just like sin. In The Orthodox Church we do not claim that we are perfect, but that we are sinners/ill and wish for God to heal us; we are not perfect, but tent towards perfection (in other words, humility).
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lasher
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2013, 11:53:25 AM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?

There are probably  inconsistencies, but strong faith that God can still lead The Church as promised should overcome them. It's just like sin. In The Orthodox Church we do not claim that we are perfect, but that we are sinners/ill and wish for God to heal us; we are not perfect, but tent towards perfection (in other words, humility).

I understand, and I wouldn't expect there to be some perfect immaculate list of every ordination since the dawn of the church. But I am really hoping there is something more substantive available to actually see and touch than just the claim that apostolic succession is valid. I would think this would be a very important concern for orthodox churches.
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2013, 12:00:26 PM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?

There are probably  inconsistencies, but strong faith that God can still lead The Church as promised should overcome them. It's just like sin. In The Orthodox Church we do not claim that we are perfect, but that we are sinners/ill and wish for God to heal us; we are not perfect, but tent towards perfection (in other words, humility).

I understand, and I wouldn't expect there to be some perfect immaculate list of every ordination since the dawn of the church. But I am really hoping there is something more substantive available to actually see and touch than just the claim that apostolic succession is valid. I would think this would be a very important concern for orthodox churches.

Personally, I don't know of lists, but there are other elements that prove to me that The Church has remained consistent (mystically) such as its glorious continuation until today even through various persecutions, it produced saints and miracles until today (for those who investigate and choose to believe), has preserved the teachings in their original form (if one searches properly and puts aside the unavoidable imperfections). It's all about faith in the end, but I am not saying the lists wouldn't be important
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2013, 12:01:37 PM »

I would think this would be a very important concern for orthodox churches.

Sorry. I'm not a genealogy geek. Not sure many others are.
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2013, 12:04:20 PM »

I would think this would be a very important concern for orthodox churches.

Sorry. I'm not a genealogy geek. Not sure many others are.

okay. I wasn't actually asking if any of the members of this forum had personally traced the apostolic succession of their bishops ...
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lasher
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2013, 12:05:40 PM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?

There are probably  inconsistencies, but strong faith that God can still lead The Church as promised should overcome them. It's just like sin. In The Orthodox Church we do not claim that we are perfect, but that we are sinners/ill and wish for God to heal us; we are not perfect, but tent towards perfection (in other words, humility).

I understand, and I wouldn't expect there to be some perfect immaculate list of every ordination since the dawn of the church. But I am really hoping there is something more substantive available to actually see and touch than just the claim that apostolic succession is valid. I would think this would be a very important concern for orthodox churches.

Personally, I don't know of lists, but there are other elements that prove to me that The Church has remained consistent (mystically) such as its glorious continuation until today even through various persecutions, it produced saints and miracles until today (for those who investigate and choose to believe), has preserved the teachings in their original form (if one searches properly and puts aside the unavoidable imperfections). It's all about faith in the end, but I am not saying the lists wouldn't be important


But how is it possible to know if the traditions were preserved in their original form without seeing an actual preservation of apostolic succession?
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« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2013, 12:09:16 PM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?

There are probably  inconsistencies, but strong faith that God can still lead The Church as promised should overcome them. It's just like sin. In The Orthodox Church we do not claim that we are perfect, but that we are sinners/ill and wish for God to heal us; we are not perfect, but tent towards perfection (in other words, humility).

I understand, and I wouldn't expect there to be some perfect immaculate list of every ordination since the dawn of the church. But I am really hoping there is something more substantive available to actually see and touch than just the claim that apostolic succession is valid. I would think this would be a very important concern for orthodox churches.

Personally, I don't know of lists, but there are other elements that prove to me that The Church has remained consistent (mystically) such as its glorious continuation until today even through various persecutions, it produced saints and miracles until today (for those who investigate and choose to believe), has preserved the teachings in their original form (if one searches properly and puts aside the unavoidable imperfections). It's all about faith in the end, but I am not saying the lists wouldn't be important


But how is it possible to know if the traditions were preserved in their original form without seeing an actual preservation of apostolic succession?

Tradition is not just a set of dogmas and rituals, but a way of life, a continuous relationship with The Living God. So, it is deeply experiential and should be tried. That's why many Orthodox don't worry very much about these things (lists) and may even be very simple people who can't read (yet saints), but I am not saying lists cannot be of use and personally I don't know if they exist (you should find someone who is knowledgeable in this stuff).
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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2013, 12:25:08 PM »

Here is a list of bishops and patriarchs of Constantinople going back to Bishop Stachys who was consecrated by the Apostle Andrew in 38 AD:

http://patriarchate.org/patriarchate/patriarchs
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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2013, 12:40:38 PM »

Here is a list of bishops and patriarchs of Constantinople going back to Bishop Stachys who was consecrated by the Apostle Andrew in 38 AD:

http://patriarchate.org/patriarchate/patriarchs

very cool! thanks

I like how it links to each individual bishop. I do wish more of the links were filled out with their info, but that's a good starting point for further research.
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« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2013, 12:52:43 PM »

Here is a list of bishops and patriarchs of Constantinople going back to Bishop Stachys who was consecrated by the Apostle Andrew in 38 AD:

http://patriarchate.org/patriarchate/patriarchs

very cool! thanks

I like how it links to each individual bishop. I do wish more of the links were filled out with their info, but that's a good starting point for further research.

You can find similar information for the other ancient patriarchates, such as Alexandria (http://www.patriarchateofalexandria.com/index.php?module=content&cid=001003).  Jerusalem has a list on its website as well but not as much information is provided, such as the exact dates served by each patriarch (http://www.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/en/patriarx_iero.htm).

It is of interest that the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Oriental Orthodox Church; while we are not in communion and we disagree on dogmatic issues, none claims that the others' apostolic succession is fraudulent.  For instance, the Orthodox Church believes that Roman Catholics are in schism and heresy, yet we do not deny that they have a succession of bishops that goes back to the Apostles.  To the Orthodox, the Roman Catholics have simply failed to maintain the Apostolic faith and so have fallen away from the Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2013, 01:06:18 PM »

Actually, these lists do not prove apostolic succession. These are lists of following patriarchs, but in most cases predecessors couldn't ordain their successors since they had died prior to their successor's enthonements. There are no lists proving apostolic succession since 3 bishops are needed for ordination and after a few generations such lists will be impossible to be read.

They are nice but they do not answer op's question.
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« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2013, 01:10:08 PM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?

There are probably  inconsistencies, but strong faith that God can still lead The Church as promised should overcome them. It's just like sin. In The Orthodox Church we do not claim that we are perfect, but that we are sinners/ill and wish for God to heal us; we are not perfect, but tent towards perfection (in other words, humility).

I understand, and I wouldn't expect there to be some perfect immaculate list of every ordination since the dawn of the church. But I am really hoping there is something more substantive available to actually see and touch than just the claim that apostolic succession is valid. I would think this would be a very important concern for orthodox churches.

Personally, I don't know of lists, but there are other elements that prove to me that The Church has remained consistent (mystically) such as its glorious continuation until today even through various persecutions, it produced saints and miracles until today (for those who investigate and choose to believe), has preserved the teachings in their original form (if one searches properly and puts aside the unavoidable imperfections). It's all about faith in the end, but I am not saying the lists wouldn't be important


But how is it possible to know if the traditions were preserved in their original form without seeing an actual preservation of apostolic succession?
The Church typically does not undertake exhaustive explanations about things unless they are challenged and at that time, they would clarify their position.  No one has really mounted a significant assault on the Orthodox statement of apostolic succession, so there really hasn't been a need to defend it.  Most attacks against it have challenged whether succession is necessary, not if the Orthodox claims are true.  It is kind of like when Arius challenged the Church over the divinity of Christ.  There were no exhaustive apologetics for the Trinity prior to that time becasue they weren't really needed. It was only when it came under assault that the Church undertook to reinforce its position to tramp out heresy.
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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2013, 01:18:43 PM »

I can't remember where I saw Holy Tradition referred to as the "living memory of the Church." But I like that definition.
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« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2013, 01:41:29 PM »

I can't remember where I saw Holy Tradition referred to as the "living memory of the Church." But I like that definition.

As do I. It would seem what's more important is tracing the development of the original church from the New Testament to present day, rather than seeking tangible documentation of ordination services and who was present, etc. (not that that isn't interesting!). But go back to Pentecost. There was a finite, tangible number of people in the upper room, upon whom the Spirit was poured out. That was the Church. From that small, fledgling group our Faith was taken out into the world. You can read the writings of those involved, you can see who was mutually recognizing each other as being Apostolic, you can see who deviated from the faith and who didn't. Follow the communities who didn't deviate and you will find the Orthodox communion of today.
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« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2013, 02:23:57 PM »

Actually, these lists do not prove apostolic succession. These are lists of following patriarchs, but in most cases predecessors couldn't ordain their successors since they had died prior to their successor's enthonements. There are no lists proving apostolic succession since 3 bishops are needed for ordination and after a few generations such lists will be impossible to be read.

They are nice but they do not answer op's question.

I agree.  The lists of patriarchs also have the issue that, in some cases, there are gaps (e.g., vacancy of see for a long period of time, rival claimants, war).  But I would go on to say that even the OP's question seems unclear.  "Apostolic succession" for the Orthodox means more than just the continuity of laying on of hands in ordination going back in an unbroken chain to the apostles, though that is obviously an important part of it.  Many Churches can have this "physical" unbroken succession while being cut off from "apostolic succession".  For instance, RC's accept the succession of the Orthodox but not of the Anglicans, despite both having maintained this form of "apostolic succession". 

If I'm not mistaken, when a bishop is ordained, records are kept of who was ordained by whom when and where.  Since a minimum of two or three bishops are required for ordination of another bishop(s), that's quite a "tree" of records to go through (as Michal said), but I suppose it could be done.  The real issue is what to do when you run out of records.  Their absence doesn't mean that they never existed, but stuff happens and we lose stuff.  Then what?  That doesn't call the physical succession into question anymore than the lack of autographs of the Scriptural books means that they aren't authentic.  The idea of Tradition (and apostolic succession would certainly fall under this) as the "living memory of the Church" means that the Church can vouch for authenticity even when a record can't be found to do so.   

The need for "lists" is really more of an issue for those groups of recent and questionable origin who want to assert the authority of antiquity.  I've seen such lists online, tracing ordinations back to multiple lines (e.g., a line going back to some random Oriental bishops, another line going back to Pope Pius V, etc.), but even those lists stop at a certain point for lack of records or lack of trying (presumably believing that after a certain point they've made their point and need not push it anymore).  No "apostolic" Church (and by this I mean not only OO, but also EO, RC, and let's throw in Anglicans for good measure since they seem to have retained a physical succession) fusses too much over maintaining a meticulous database of their physical successions: they keep records as best they can, but they simply do what they do because that's what Church does.     
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« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2013, 02:24:39 PM »

Exactly. Can anyone state that there are absolutely NO problems with Orthodox succession lists?

What kind of problems?

I mean, my first reaction is to say, sure there can be problems in theory, and probably were in practice. But then I can't really say if I don't know what kind of problems you are thinking of.

Could be conventional "problems" or stuff that arises out of needs and neccessity.
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« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2013, 02:29:12 PM »

Is there any way to actually trace a bishop's apostolic succession to the first century or is this just a tradition that is believed but isn't really provable?

The Bishop of the Catholic Church in the apostolic order of Ignatius of Antioch
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« Reply #31 on: July 24, 2013, 03:55:24 PM »

Quote
That doesn't call the physical succession into question anymore than the lack of autographs of the Scriptural books means that they aren't authentic.

Then we shouldn't be so pompous and arrogant about something that has to be accepted on faith. If this is really the basis of AS: "Take our word on it!", then we really should tone it down a bit on this issue. The same would hold true for the RC and OO as well.
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« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2013, 04:04:02 PM »

Quote
That doesn't call the physical succession into question anymore than the lack of autographs of the Scriptural books means that they aren't authentic.

Then we shouldn't be so pompous and arrogant about something that has to be accepted on faith. If this is really the basis of AS: "Take our word on it!", then we really should tone it down a bit on this issue. The same would hold true for the RC and OO as well.
I don't understand the point of some  of your posts.  Huh

Who is being pompous and arrogant?  Are you trying to say we should not advocate apostolic succession as being integral to the Church?
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« Reply #33 on: July 24, 2013, 04:07:18 PM »

Quote
That doesn't call the physical succession into question anymore than the lack of autographs of the Scriptural books means that they aren't authentic.

Then we shouldn't be so pompous and arrogant about something that has to be accepted on faith. If this is really the basis of AS: "Take our word on it!", then we really should tone it down a bit on this issue. The same would hold true for the RC and OO as well.

Is it pompous, in your estimation, that we maintain that the books of the OT and the NT are the word of God, even though we don't have the original "papers" that the original writers wrote on in their actual handwriting? 
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« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2013, 04:31:24 PM »

My only point is, and this goes out to the OP as well, that everything the Church proclaims has to be accepted on faith. We can't prove any of these things. So one has to humbly accept what the Church says while having no real, hard facts.
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« Reply #35 on: July 24, 2013, 06:35:32 PM »

Bogus. 
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« Reply #36 on: July 24, 2013, 06:52:53 PM »

Bogus. 

Well, you admit that AS is difficult to prove sooo...
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« Reply #37 on: July 24, 2013, 06:55:19 PM »

Bogus. 

Well, you admit that AS is difficult to prove sooo...
It isn't difficult as in tenuous, it is difficult as in labor intensive.  If I were doing a doctoral thesis and spending hours researching it, it would not be difficult, but for the purposes of an internet conversation, it is difficult.
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« Reply #38 on: July 24, 2013, 06:58:51 PM »

Bogus. 

Well, you admit that AS is difficult to prove sooo...

Actually, I did no such thing.  If that's what you got out of this thread, then I believe you're not reading carefully.  Or you're not really interested in understanding what other people are saying.  If it's the latter, that's perfectly fine, just say so.  
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Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

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« Reply #39 on: July 24, 2013, 07:00:06 PM »

And you ignored my question, which was relevant to your previous post. 
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Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

An eloquent crafter of divine posts
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A righteous son of India
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O Holy Mor Ephrem,
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« Reply #40 on: July 24, 2013, 07:03:52 PM »

Quote
Eusebius...the list he gives of the bishops of Antioch is doubtful with respect to its chronology. Compare A. HARNACK: Die Zeit des Ignatius, Leipzig, 1878. He places Ignatius as the second bishop after Peter. As nobody knew any thing about the intervening Euodius, he gradually dropped out of attention, and a new tradition formed, placing Ignatius immediately after Peter (Chrysostom, the Paschal Chronicle, Theodoret). Between these two traditions the Const. Ap. (VII. 46) tries to mediate by making Peter consecrate, first Euodius, and then Ignatius (Uhlhorn, G. "IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH," Philip Schaff, ed., A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, 3rd edn., Vol. 2. Toronto, New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894. p.1058. at http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/ignatius.php 5/14/06 ).

http://www.cogwriter.com/apostolicsuccession.htm
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« Reply #41 on: July 24, 2013, 07:05:15 PM »

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Is it pompous, in your estimation, that we maintain that the books of the OT and the NT are the word of God, even though we don't have the original "papers" that the original writers wrote on in their actual handwriting? 

It is a tradition of the Church that must be accepted on faith.
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« Reply #42 on: July 24, 2013, 07:12:04 PM »

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Is it pompous, in your estimation, that we maintain that the books of the OT and the NT are the word of God, even though we don't have the original "papers" that the original writers wrote on in their actual handwriting? 

It is a tradition of the Church that must be accepted on faith.

I didn't ask whether or not it was a tradition, I asked whether it was pompous or not.  In reply #31, you were the one who suggested the Church's position on apostolic succession was "pompous and arrogant", and that the Church should "tone it down a bit on this issue".   

And a follow-up: since it's been asserted by others and myself in this thread that the Orthodox teaching on apostolic succession involves more than just the continuity of the physical laying on of hands at ordination, what are you referring to when you use "apostolic succession"--the comprehensive Orthodox understanding of that concept or simply one aspect of it? 
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Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

An eloquent crafter of divine posts
And an inheritor of the line of the Baptist
A righteous son of India
And a new apostle to the internet
O Holy Mor Ephrem,
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« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2013, 07:16:18 PM »

Quote
And a follow-up: since it's been asserted by others and myself in this thread that the Orthodox teaching on apostolic succession involves more than just the continuity of the physical laying on of hands at ordination, what are you referring to when you use "apostolic succession"--the comprehensive Orthodox understanding of that concept or simply one aspect of it?

If one aspect of the doctrine is not valid historically then doesn't the whole house of cards come tumbling down?

And yes it is arrogant to belittle other Christian churches by appealing to AS when we can't even be sure if our lists are even accurate.
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« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2013, 07:23:08 PM »

Is there any way to actually trace a bishop's apostolic succession to the first century or is this just a tradition that is believed but isn't really provable?

I am not sure whether a list of ALL Bishops as Apostolic successors is kept anywhere...but due extreme situations, some ordinations were done without them being documented, some unofficiay (ie. Russia during communism)...In some cases documents were lost, damaged or destroyed. However, in any case, there were witnesses to such ordinations and it is included in our Tradition. I can not think of anything or anyone jeopardizing the succession (if by that you meen the continuity of teaching and "passing on" of the Holy Spirit) because even in most extreme situations such as during the time of unofficial temporary unity of Western and Eastern Christedom the unification was not complete (even though it had blessings of most patriarch as well as Byzantine Emperor)...I am talking here of St. Mark of Ephesus...
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