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Aftimios Ofiesh. gif|left|100px]]'''''[[ Episcopi vagantes]] ''''' (Latin for "wandering bishops") are persons who have been [[ ordination|ordained]] as [[ bishop]] s in some irregular fashion, especially those claiming to have valid [[ Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] orders although their ordinations were not authorized by the Roman Catholic Church. (The singular form of the phrase is ''episcopus vagans''. )
Many of these claim succession from the see of Utrecht, or from Orthodox or [[Eastern Rite Catholic]] churches; others from Roman Catholic bishops that have ordained their own bishops after disputes with the Vatican. Such lines continue to persist because of the more mechanistic understanding of [[apostolic succession]] which the Roman Catholic Church has—that is, if a "valid" bishop ordains a man using the proper rituals, then he is "valid" as well, even if neither has any living connection to the Church . The Orthodox understanding, however, necessarily presupposes the impossibility of ''episcopi'' that are ''vagantes'', for the ministry of the episcopacy resides only ''within'' the Church.
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