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Definition of apostolic succession


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#1 Augustine C.

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 05:05 PM

How do we define "Apostolic succession?" What exactly does it mean, in it's most basic sense and in totality?

#2 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 06:10 PM

I think it means the that the Apostles appointed bishops and then those bishops appointed bishops and so on to this present day so that one can trace every Orthodox bishop back to the Apostles. But just because a bishop can be traced back in this way does not mean he has Apostolic Succession he must also be of the same faith as the Apostles or he has abandoned his appointment and no longer has Apostolic Succession. That's what I think any way but I'm not fully sure and I'm sure some one else could explian better than I.

#3 Jesse Dominick

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 06:47 PM

i agree with you Daniel - our bishops can be traced back to the Apostles through a visible line of succession, but it also means that Orthodoxy has preserved the true Apostolic faith. Rome can trace back to St. Peter, but it has departed from the Apostolic faith, so Rome does not have Apostolic Succession.

#4 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 02:51 PM

When you think of it, literally every teaching and group can be traced back to the Apostles if a person chooses to. After all, the first gnostic groups claimed apostolic authority, and that was part of their attraction- their claim to know the 'real teachings' of the Apostles.

In counter to this therefore the Church pointed to the authenticity of its teaching, maintained over time and by its own minsters. It was therefore the integrity of this teaching and the consistency of this which provided the witness of the Apostolic teaching.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#5 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 05:32 PM

Dear Father Raphael,

I thought the Saint John was around when the gnostics and that's why he wrote what he did in 1 John 4:2.

#6 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 01:46 PM

Dear Father Raphael,

I thought the Saint John was around when the gnostics and that's why he wrote what he did in 1 John 4:2.


Well, this could be. Or else St John meant these verses in a more general sense concerning the reality of the Incarnation.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#7 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 04:29 PM

Dear Father Raphael,

I used to read it in a more general sense, but I'm sure I read somewhere that it was against false teachers who said they where Christians but were in fact gnostics but when asked they would not say that Christ had come in the flesh because their heresy did not accept it. But mayhap the article got it wrong.

#8 Kosta

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 06:58 PM

Apostolic succession is explained by St Irenaeous:
True knowledge is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church thru-out 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 without falsification 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].
Wherefore the Church does in every place, because of that love which she cherishes towards God, send forward, throughout all time, a multitude of martyrs to the Father; while all others not only have nothing of this kind to point to...

#9 Augustine C.

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 05:57 PM

Where can I find the list of the line of Bishops over time from the Apostle's to today? Is it online? It would be interesting to take a look at it.

#10 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 06:38 PM

Which bishops? Each major patriarchate (I believe) has a list of succession of the major patriarchs, but that does not include the many "minor" (non-patriarchal) bishops that have been since Apostolic times.

#11 Augustine C.

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 06:55 PM

Is it online anywhere?

#12 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 07:18 PM

Yeah, but not in any single place that I am aware of:

Line of succession of the Patriarch of Constantinople

Wikipedia probably has a few lists if you are interested in a particular place.

What are you looking for specifically?

Herman the specific Pooh

#13 Augustine C.

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 07:28 PM

Line of succession of the Patriarch of Constantinople


What are you looking for specifically?


Something along the lines of what you posted. I was wondering if there was a resource that would have all of them, like a chart of some sort, that would show the expansion from the Apostle's time to now. If it isn't all in one place, I guess I could go about it by looking into a specific place as you mentioned. Thanks for the link.

#14 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 08:11 PM

Each Church is going to have their own lines of succession. Here is a place to start:

World Orthodox Churches

Herman

#15 Augustine C.

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 05:59 PM

Were the Bishops the Apostles appointed the same as we see them today, over a geographical area with many churches, or were they over a single church only? If over a single church only, then it must have developed over time (the role of the Bishop). I think in the New Testament Paul writes about the Bishop, but it seems to be over a local church only. This may have been because Christianity was new and there weren't many churches, probably only one for a city. But as Christianity grew, possibly, the role of the Bishop grew as well, to meet the demand of oversight in a specific area? Also, I don't remember where I read this, but it was along the lines of saying that some of the fathers mention that the church government grew over time, with Clement at Rome having a distinct role as Bishop, while in other areas the word Bishop and presbyter were used interchangeably. So there wasn't unity in the beginning but over time the government became more united across all the different geographical areas. Can someone shed more light on this, or at least point me towards a good resource you would recommend? Thanks for all the input so far!

#16 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 09:05 PM

Development of the office of bishop and priest occurred within the New Testament. The early church of Acts was governed by councils of elders/overseers (presbyters/episcopoi). However, as the Church grew, we see St. Paul directing Timothy and Titus to take charge of the local churches. Paul commands them to ordain presbyters/bishops and to exercise general oversight, telling Titus to "rebuke with all authority" (Titus 2:15). We know that the office of bishop was already quite distinct from that of priest in the writings of Ignatius of Antioch who died in 107AD, and by the middle of the second century all the main centers of Christianity were headed by bishops assisted by presbyters.

The bishop served as the president of the council of presbyters, and so the bishop came to be distinguished both in honor and in prerogative from the presbyters, who were seen as deriving their authority by means of delegation from the bishop. Each Episcopal see had its own bishop and his presence was necessary to consecrate any gathering of the church. The bishop in a large city (the Metropolitan bishop) would appoint a presbyter to pastor the flock in each congregation, acting as his delegate.

So it was merely an organic development to handle the Church as it grew. What worked for a small group of persecuted followers had to adapt as an entire empire became Christian.

I recommend getting a copy of "The Orthodox Church" by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy Ware).

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 28 December 2010 - 11:21 PM.
grammatical changes





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