About Apostolic Succession in general

No where is it as important to understand the importance of what is meant by "Bishop" or an "Apostle in succession" than in the early beginnings of ministry.  Yet, we find that there are many individuals who hold themselves out to be a "Bishop" when in material and spiritual truth, they are more often than not "Wolves In Sheep's Clothing" as Jesus Christ warned us about. It takes more than just "study" of treatises and books to make one truly and spiritually a "Bishop".  It requires understanding and knowing something of history concerning the Church herself.  And, the ancient canons known as the Seven Ecumenical Canons (which was inspired by the Holy Ghost) most certainly guides a true "Bishop" or "Apostle"... Just because a minister is head of some flock of people who call themselves "Christian" does not mean they are a "Bishop" even if they use the word and term for them self. 

 

From the times of the Holy Apostles down through history, a true "Bishop" (successive Apostle) has had hands layed upon him by a previous "Bishop" or "Apostle" who can trace the laying on of hands back to the Apostles of Jesus Christ.  The laying on of hands is just one aspect of a "consecration" of which the ceremony is more than just a "ceremony" or "Liturgical" action but the action of the Holy Spirit through the various chrisms used by the ordaining or consecration "Bishop" or "Apostle". 

 

A single handed consecration is valid under extreme conditions.  Usually two or more bishops (Apostles) consecrate together.  There is more than just the liturgical actions involved, but the individual MUST be more than materially motivated and observant.  Intent and form are rather important!  The candidate/consecrand must be spiritually motivated as well.  He must be willing to sacrifice HIS VERY LIFE even if it means prison or death!  What this means is that he is willing to sacrifice his life to not only preserve the teachings, but the very life of his flock be they individuals or a congregation!

 

Inasmuch as these truths are a part of what a true Bishop or Apostle is... it is even more than just these truths that make him or break him as a valid Bishop/Apostle. 

 

The following is just a portion of how one may be discerned as a Bishop/Apostle... but while the following is limited in and of itself; they should provide further understandings that go beyond the disease of "Scholasticism" to arbitrate the various differences of who constitutes a Bishop/Apostle.

 

The AUGUSTINIAN  THEORY states that because of the indelible character of a consecration, a validly consecrated bishop permanently retains Episcopal powers notwithstanding any schisms or excommunications.

 

The CYPRIANIC THEORY holds that schismatic orders may be accepted or rejected to the extent that they are adjudged expedient to the best interests of the Church, that a bishop is consecrated for a particular jurisdiction and keeps those powers granted to a bishop only as long as he remains under the consecrating jurisdiction.

 

In the published work, “Successio Apostolica,” about Mar Georgius I, Patriarch of Glastonbury, in explanation of his seeking after many different lines of succession it is stated: “Having undertaken the work of the restoration of the Orthodox Apostolic Catholicism of Undivided Christendom, he and those with him realized in the early days of his pontificate, that while all consecrations and ordinations of proven validity are equally efficacious irrespective of any particular line of Apostolic Succession.  Nevertheless, in the present divided state of Christendom, some degree of ‘irregularity’ must inevitably attach itself to acts lacking the ecumenical sanction of the One Body Mystical, being derived as they are from a part of the whole, it was felt under Divine guidance, that to remedy this position and also at the same time to counter any doubts which might be alleged, even though contrariness or ignorance against any particular line of succession that the existing Orders of this Rite should be fortified by a series of conditional consecrations have also the force of co-consecration and of additional commission in the ecumenical sense, thus bringing into being, an ECUMENICAL APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION derived from every part of The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”.

 

“The action of Mar Georgius (and others) in receiving additional lines of succession has been the subject of certain criticism in more than one quarter.  It is readily agreed that in a united Christendom such a thing would be both unnecessary and, indeed, wrong; for under those conditions consecration ‘Sub Conditione’ would be called for only when some specific doubt had arisen as to the validity of the original consecration.  But, in a divided church, quite different considerations apply.”

 

Within the following pages, most of the many reconsecrations of Mar Georgius are enumerated together with others who have had similar thoughts in mind regarding the efficaciousness of additional consecrations.  Most of those known to the writer have been undertaken prayerfully and with the desire to cement ecumenical relationships and shorten the period until the Church, the Body of Christ will once again be united.  We realize that there are those consecrations, which take place for reasons other than herein mentioned.  We regret these, but can do little about it.

 

A Third Theory?  There are some who hold the idea that both theories (Augustinian and Cyprianic) are valid theories to be contemplated by those afflicted by the judicial disease and the disease of scholasticism. 

 

However, it is also believed by some that a valid consecration, whether for reasons so explained in MAR Georgius' “Successio Apostolica,” about Mar Georgius I, Patriarch of Glastonbury, or for other honorable purposes... the chrism from Holy Spirit through the particular consecrator, imbues the one being consecrated with that which comes with all the spiritual character of the consecrator and thus each consecrator has his own spiritual character which is passed on to the one being consecrated.  Thus, it is finally believed by some, that the candidate/consecrand (person being consecrated) who has had numerous consecrations over time, is imbued, by Holy Spirit, with what is specific to the Consecrator.  While such a thought may not be acceptable to some, it is arguable only to the extent that it does validate that which was undertaken with proper intentions, as valid in and of itself.  To deny any consecration when being consecrated, again, is to deny the operation of the Holy Spirit in previous consecrations which is a form of blasphemy by some thinking.

 

One of the most important understandings that can be associated with this particular understanding concerning the movement of the Holy Spirit is that an Apostle (in a long line of succession) retains his office as an Apostle (Bishop or Archbishop, etc.) only if he maintains his faith (his belief) and practices the same as all those previous to him without alteration or modification (additions or deletions) in spirit and in truth! A true apostle (bishop) believes in and maintains that espoused in those ancient canons of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.  To deny them as having any importance or relevancy is to deny the FIRST CANON which is Holy Scripture (the Holy Bible) itself, the Holy Spirit and the Church herself established by Jesus Christ and the Holy Apostles.

 

This means that he maintains himself in accordance with the ancient (Holy Spirit filled) Seven Ecumenical Councils, according to his nature and degree of understanding and ability, for there has never been, since 1054 A.D. when the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church schismed from the faith (the root, ground, and base) of Orthodox Catholic Christianity which is all things CHRISTIAN; there has not been and will never be a full meeting of all Bishops/Apostles of the true Church. 

 

To abrogate or deny  those understandings and practices is blasphemy to the Holy Spirit. 

 

These material and spiritual truths also means that he does not break the ancient vows imbued in such true spirit filled acts and actions wherein a priest or an Apostle (Bishop) does not break the ancient Seals of the Confessional but protects them, even if he were to be thrown in prison or put to death.  For all these things are linked, as a heavy chain is linked... the weakest link being the breaking or denial of the existence of them, with knowledge; for maintaining them is a part of what makes one an apostle (bishop) in a long successive line. 

 

This also means that a true Bishop/Apostle, having foreknowledge of another Bishop/Apostle's actions to protect the faith, even the Seals of the Confessional; who knowingly denies him out of fear or for other reasons, denies his brother in Christ, Jesus; thus denies Jesus Christ and blasphemes the Holy Spirit because to deny one is to deny everything.  A Bishop/Apostle who stands strong and true to NOT deny, is truly spiritually worthy of the statement AXIOS! AXIOS! AXIOS!    For all others who deny; are themselves no longer true APOSTLES/BISHOPS.

 

Those in the vineyard who uphold the Church, upholds Jesus Christ, upholds the action and events of the Holy Ghost (Spirit). Those who deny any one of those true Apostles/Bishops, become like Judas Iscariot... the one who was given 30 pieces of silver....

 

Thus, there are those who may call themselves "Bishop" but who are not true Bishops or Apostles in the Church because they knowingly and (in some instances) intentionally will not or cannot maintain these truths.  This would be the case of those who are Baptists or Pentecostals, or Assemblies of God - all thus far mentioned; being Cultic Protestants who have no lineage back to the early Church, the Apostles and thus are not and cannot be in spirit or in truth, true Christians by any stretch of the imagination for they are the wolves in sheep's clothing warned about by Jesus Christ.  At most they are pseudo-Christians even if they are not aware of their error/heresy! 

 

We are not against anyone as a person so much as being against heresies... and that is the root core of the errors in these present times which have turned many who were once held to be true Bishop/Apostle from being spiritually and materially a true Bishop/Apostle.  They have indeed become a rabid dog who has bitten the spiritual hand that fed them...


 

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