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What Is Apostolic Succession?

- descended fromSCIPIONE CARDINAL REBIBA ITALY 1566 - Giulio Cardinal Santoro 1586 - Girolamo Cardinal Berneri 1604 - Galeazzo Sanvitale 1621 - Ludovico Cardinal Ludovisi 1622 - Luigi Cardinal Caetani 1630 - Giovanni-Batista Scannarolo 1655 - Antonio Cardinal Barberini FRANCE 1668 - Charles Maurice LeTellier 1670 - Jacques-Benigne Bossuet 1693 - Jacques Goyon de Matignon 1719 - Dominique Marie Varlet HOLLAND 1739 - Petrus Johannes Meindaerts 1745 - Johannes van Stiphout 1768 - Gaulterius Michaelis van Nieuwenhuisen 1778 - Adrianus Johannes Broekman 1797 - Johannes Jacobus van Rhijn 1805 - Gisbertus de Jong 1814 - Willibrordus van Os 1819 - Johannes Bon 1825 - Johannes van Santen 1854 - Hermannus Heykamp 1873 - Gaspardus Johannes Rinkel 1892 - Gerardus Gul ENGLAND 1908 - Arnold Harris Mathew 1912 - Rudolph de Landas Berghes AMERICA 1916 - Carmel Henry Carfora 1942 - Hubert Augustus Rogers 1967 - James Edward Burns 1978 - Edward James Ford

“Have you an Apostolic Succession? Unfold the line of your Bishops.” Tertullian, 3rd Century

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Deacon, Priest and Bishop, as these three are found in the Holy Scriptures.

To properly understand what Apostolic Succession is, it is first necessary to understand the nature of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and especially the nature of the Episcopacy.


HOLY ORDERS Holy Orders is one of the Seven Sacrament of the Catholic Faith. It is by means of the reception of this Sacrament that a man becomes a Deacon, Priest or Bishop in the Church. A Sacrament is defined as an outward (or visible) sign, instituted by Christ, to give (an inward and spiritual) grace. The outward sign in the Sacrament of Holy Orders is the “laying-on or imposition of hands” by the ordaining Bishop. The inward or spiritual grace conferred is the means by which the actions of the Deacon, Priest or Bishop are made of spiritual value and in turn confer grace upon the recipients of their ministrations. The Sacrament of Holy Orders was instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ at the Last Supper when He commanded the Apostles to “Do this in remembrance of Me” i.e. to consecrated the bread and wine into His own Sacred Body and Blood. In essence this was the very first Ordination service.

THE STAGES or STEPS TO HOLY ORDERS The Sacrament of Holy Orders (sometimes called Ordination) is conferred in stages as the candidate is prepared and deemed worthy of promotion to the next step or stage. The seminarian is first Tonsured as a rite of his entrance into the clerical state. The Minor Orders consist of Porter, Lector, Exorcist, Acolyte and Subdeacon [at one time classified as a Major Order]. The Major Orders are

The Episcopacy is another name for the Office of Bishops in the Church. They received their authority and mission to lead, and govern the Church when Christ gave The Great Commission to the Apostles as recorded in St Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 28 verses 16-20: “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

THE LINE OF BISHOPS The Apostolic Succession is a term used to describe the direct transmission of that Great Commission from the original Apostles to whom Jesus gave authority and the mission to represent Him, and to continue and to perpetuate His own Ministry of Salvation and Reconciliation throughout the world and throughout the ages until the end of time. Only those persons who stand in this direct line of succession of recipients of the Great Commission (i.e. Successors to the Apostles) have the Divine right and authority to represent Christ as His Priests and Bishops; and only they have the power and grace to fulfill that ministry. This is what Apostolic Succession is. It has sometimes also been called the “Historic Episcopate”. No one can take it upon himself to represent another person, company or organization without permission having been granted, or to pretend to act with power and authority unless he be so

delegated by the respective person, company or organization. So too in the Church, only those who have received in a direct line from the Apostles to our Bishops today, the authority by means of Ordination in the true Apostolic Succession have the right or authority to claim to represent Our Lord Jesus Christ as His Priests or Bishops. At a time when many pretenders were claiming Divine authority to minister in the Church as Deacons, Priests and Bishops attempting to interfere with the legitimate Bishops in governing the church, the great Father of the Church Tertullian, in the 3rd century of the Christian era posed the following question to identify the true Bishops from the pretenders and false shepherds: “Have you an Apostolic Succession? Then unfold the line of your Bishops.” We ask that same question today. Do you have an Apostolic Succession? Then reveal to us the names and lines of your Bishops, and prove that they hold a direct succession from the Apostles and have been duly commissioned to minister and govern in Christ’s Name.

THE NORTH AMERICAN OLD ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH The Apostolic Succession of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church is derived from the Roman Catholic Church whose lines of Apostolic Succession back to the Apostles are unquestioned by any unbiased observer or inquirer. They are descended through the ancient Archdiocese of Utrecht which in turn comes from France and ultimately back to the Vatican. The succession of the Church of Utrecht was obtained from a French missionary in the Louisiana Territory here in the Americas, Dominique Marie Varlet.

What Is Apostolic Succession?  

A brochure of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church describing apostolic succession from the time of the Great Commission, through th...

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