Catholic Dictionary




The method by which the episcopacy has been derived from the Apostles to the present day. Succession means successive consecration by the laying on of hands, performing the functions of the Apostles, receiving their commission in a lineal sequence from the Apostles, succession in episcopal sees traced back to the Apostles, and successive communion with the apostolic See, i.e., the Bishop of Rome. The Eastern Orthodox and others share in the apostolic succession in having valid episcopal orders, although they are not in collegial union with the roman Catholic hierarchy.