Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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What is "Apostolic Succession"?

When the popes or patriarchs can trace their origin to one of the apostles, we consider these churches "Apostolic Churches" like the Coptic, the Armenian, the Syrian and many others. The Apostolic Succession means that the Apostles, after having been ordained by Christ, ordained bishops, presbyters, and deacons. These bishops in turn ordained more bishops, presbyters, and deacons and so on and so forth unto the present day. Every single Orthodox bishop, presbyter, and deacon can trace his ordination, through the laying on of hands, directly back to the Apostles and, consequently, to Christ. It was not up to any person, no matter what gift of ministry he has, to just appoint himself as a pastor or be appointed by laymen.
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