Definitions

apostolic

apostolic

[ap-uh-stol-ik]
nuncio, apostolic, resident legate of the Holy See at the capital of a temporal government. Nuncios are in most of the principal countries of Europe and Latin America, but there are none in the United States, Great Britain, or the republics of the former Soviet Union. In some countries the nuncio is by courtesy made the "dean" of the diplomatic corps. Ministers of the second class are called apostolic internuncios.
succession, apostolic: see apostolic succession.

In Christianity, the doctrine that bishops represent an uninterrupted line of descent from the Apostles of Jesus. This succession gives bishops special powers, including the right to confirm church members, ordain priests, consecrate bishops, and rule over the clergy and church members of a diocese. Clement, bishop of Rome, stated the doctrine as early as AD 95, and it is accepted by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Old Catholic, and several other churches. Some Protestant churches maintain that succession is spiritual and doctrinal rather than ritual and historical.

Learn more about Apostolic succession with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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