There is much talk about apostolic succession
in churches today. Why is it important
to the modern church?
Apostolic Succession has its roots in the early
church and the Apostles themselves. Paul
told Timothy "[W]hat you have heard
from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach
others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). This telling
is the first three generations of Apostolic Succession defined in
scripture. This passing of the mantle of
leadership and knowledge has its source in the Holy Spirit, when the Bishop
lays his hands upon the crown of the successor’s head.
This passing of
the Holy Spirit on from one to the next has a mystical component that is often
overlooked. Many will talk about the
unbroken line from Peter and Paul to the Bishops of today. Others will talk about truth in teaching as
passed across the generations.
Every moment of
everyday, there are transformational moments.
Some are dramatic and well presented, while others are subtle and
discrete. But when a Bishop with Apostolic
Succession takes their Cathedra, dons the mitre and carries his crozier, he is
transforming the moment into that first Pentecost. His actions draw down the energy of the
Divine, connecting each of us to that first in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Its not as if the
moment is being recreated. The moment is
being lived now as it if it happening for that first time some 2000 years ago. A Bishop who can trace his apostolic ancestry
back to the 1st century church connects us through the centuries –
bringing the early church to the present and the present to the early
We are Franciscan Friars dedicated to the vows of simplicity, fidelity, and unity. We write these articles as we are inspired. They cover a broad range of topics with an emphasis on liturgy, spirituality, and working with people in search of meaning and purpose.