What is Apostolic Succession?

Apostolic succession is the belief that the bishops of the Church are the successors of the Apostles, who were chosen by Jesus Christ to carry on His teachings and mission.

The Apostles appointed bishops to lead and teach the early Jewish-Christian communities, and these bishops in turn passed on their authority to their successors. This line of succession has continued throughout the history of the Church, and the bishops of today are seen as the direct descendants of the apostles and the Lord’s family.

The authority and teachings of the Church are transmitted from one generation of bishops to the next, ensuring the continuity and authenticity of the Church’s teachings. This is seen as a vital element of the Church’s identity and mission and is considered to be a sign of its divine origin and authority.

Apostolic succession is associated with the rite of ordination to the office of bishop. The patriarch or a bishop (usually two or three bishops) lays his hands on a candidate for the bishopric, conferring upon him the authority and responsibility to lead and teach the Church. This rite is considered to be a continuation of the Apostles’ own practice of ordaining bishops and is seen as a sign of the continuity and unity of the Church throughout history.

According to the policy of the Church of Jerusalem, a bishop who is declared as no longer in communion with the Holy See, immediately loses his Apostolic Succession and any ordinations he carries out afterward are considered invalid.