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Apostolic Succession

Since the time of the Apostles, the Church catholic has existed.

Dur­ing the course of his­to­ry, many branch­es of the one, catholic, and apos­tolic Church have evolved. One thing remains con­stant with all the branch­es, how­ev­er, that each has main­tained an unbro­ken line of suc­ces­sion from the Apos­tles to the present. The Apos­tles were the orig­i­nal Bish­ops of the Church, and their author­i­ty as epis­co­pos has been passed down to this day.

There are many Rites in the one, catholic, and apos­tolic Church. In des­ig­nat­ing the uni­ty of these many Rites, the word catholic is used to mean uni­ver­sal, and does not infer pref­er­ence to any one par­tic­u­lar denom­i­na­tion. Such denom­i­na­tions would include the Roman Rite, Angli­can Rite, Celtic Rite, and Ortho­dox Rite, to sug­gest a few—in addi­tion to the many that go unnamed except for the bish­ops who con­tin­ue the lin­eage and serve the teach­ings of Christ in a rel­a­tive­ly unstruc­tured way.

Due to polit­i­cal fac­tions, human dis­agree­ments, and poor­ly kept records, the fog of his­to­ry has obscured many lines of suc­ces­sion. Often­times, miss­ing records have been used to jus­ti­fy accu­sa­tions of invalid author­i­ty. At the same time, oth­er more devot­ed cler­gy and dili­gent schol­ars have set aside dif­fer­ences in favor of uni­ty and his­tor­i­cal accu­ra­cy. It is con­sis­tent­ly true through­out his­to­ry that the author­i­ty and char­ac­ter of the apos­tolic church have been pre­served less by doc­trine and more by the lin­eages of con­se­crat­ed lead­er­ship.

Jesus estab­lished this at the very begin­ning when he sent the Apos­tles out to the world indi­vid­u­al­ly (not col­lec­tive­ly) to teach the good news. With great hon­or and respect for those who have come before we present the Apos­tolic Suc­ces­sions of Spiri­tis Church.

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