Beware Pedigrees

Priests, bishops, and groups outside the Orthodox Church often feel the need to claim “apostolic succession” by listing who ordained them, who ordained them, and so on and so on, back to someone legitimate-sounding.

This is based on a faulty, Western theology of “sacramental validity.” But Apostolic Succession cannot be traded in outside the Church of the Apostles themselves. And normally, Apostolic Succession inheres in a See, a local bishopric, and not a person or chain of persons, anyway…a See of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church. Bishop A of X City, ordained by an Apostle, is succeeded by Bishop B of the same city, who is succeeded by Bishop C there, etc. It’s the Local Church, outside of which there is no “sacramental validity.”

Many of these groups aren’t wrong about everything. They just aren’t the Church until they’re received into Orthodoxy.


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