In addition to a line of historic transmission, Orthodox Christian churches additionally require that a [[hierarch]] maintain Orthodox doctrine as well as [[full communion]] with other Orthodox bishops. As such, the Orthodox do not recognize the existence of apostolic succession outside the Orthodox Church, precisely because the episcopacy is a ministry within the Church.
Apostolic succession in the Holy Scriptures== Most theologians of the protestant tradition deny the doctrine of apostolic succession and are ardant believers of [[congregationalism]]. Consider this statement from a protestant website: "nowhere in Scripture did Jesus, the apostles, or any other New Testament writer set forth the idea of 'apostolic succession'" [http://www.gotquestions.org/apostolic-succession.html]. To refute this clearly anti-orthodox statement, one must merely point to the testimony of the New Testament, especially The Acts of the Apostles. ===Apostolic Authority ===
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Acts 20:28 (Note: this is a clear testimony that the Holy Spirit appointed the Twelve to be "
oeverseers" and "shepherds of the church")
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:18 (Note: the Bible compares the ministry of Jesus to that of the Twelve)
===Transfer of Apostolic Authority Via the Holy Mystery of Ordination ===
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Acts 9:17-19 (Note: God sent Ananias to Paul so that he may lay hand upon him. Only after this point does Paul have the authority to minister)
3"Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." 5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them. Acts 6:3-6 (Note: A clear instance of Ordination)
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 2 Tim. 4:1-6 (St. Paul hands down his minidtry to Timothy)
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers(a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry." 18(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, " 'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, " 'May another take his place of leadership.' 21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." 23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. Acts 1:15-26
==The Testimony Of The Early Church==