What Does It Mean When a U.S. Church Calls Itself 'Anglican'?

Actually, Anglican priests who convert to Catholicism do need to be re-ordained - I’m not sure if it’s that they don’t recognize Anglican ordination at all or if it’s a “provisional” sort of thing.

Tell that to the Eastern Orthodox churches (which claim founding by various other Apostles) who also have Apostolic Succession :wink: .

Here’s a statement by the Episcopal Church about the Anglican Church of North America.

From that, it looks like the ACNA is a combination of churches that left the Anglican Communion and churches from other traditions that joined up. The ACNA website is conspicuously silent about the history of its own denomination.

It looks like the OP may have driven past the Mariners Church of Detroit which is an ACNA church. From their website, they were originally non-denominational but somewhere along the line joined the ANCA. So they’ve never been connected to the Anglican Communion.

I’ll confess I’m mostly ignorant about all this stuff, but I’d have thought that being an Apostle was a way bigger deal than merely being a bishop, and that an Apostle could do anything a Bishop could.

After all, the New Testament names just thirteen Apostles, and Christian tradition (aside from unaffiliated churches where the pastor might set him or herself up as an Apostle) is that there were no others. But there have been thousands of Bishops.

Frankly, I couldn’t care less, and won’t be telling them anything. They can believe what they want, and it matters not a whit to me if one believes that Jesus was born of a unicorn; another that he knocked up Mary Magdalene and Paul was their son; and another that a talking bunny rabbit dictated Revelation to John, and that’s the origin of the Easter Bunny.

I don’t believe any of it, and that’s my opinion, should anyone ask, so none of it has to reconcile, as far as I’m concerned.

The question was about the reason the Anglican church did something, and I said what I remembered from a college class I had. I’m not prepared to defend it from an historical perspective, because I could be misremembering, and I am even less inclined to defend it from a religious perspective.

The point is that the Eastern Orthodox Churches don’t count their Apostolic Succession to flow from Peter, and therefore Peter is not a prereq.

May not be a prereq for the Eastern Orthodox, and still can be for the Anglicans.

I think it probably applies the other way as well. I know Catholics priests need to be re-ordained in the ELCA, which is in full communion with The Episcopal Church and in that joining the ELCA had to agree to some form of Apostolic Succession (which was very controversial).

Not to minimize the other elements of the reformation, but The Church of England never left the catholic church, and continues to recognize the “church catholic”. The Roman church expelled the English church, and did not recognize it as Christian until Vat II.

So far as I know, all of the sects that recognize the apostolic succession at all recognize all of the Apostles as having been bishops, and Peter as the first Bishop of Rome. Obviously not all of them recognize the Bishop of Rome as having any authority over any other bishop.

That said, I’ve never studied the genealogies, so to speak, of the various lines of bishops, and it may well happen to be that all of the Anglican bishops do trace their lineage back to Peter specifically.

The Collins English dictionary gives that as the first definition: “A tea party”.

“A petty squable or argument” only comes in as entry three - it’s a derived meaning.

The original English Church was an offshoot of the Roman empire, and formal organisation through Bishops recognized by Rome was re-established and accepted later anyway. It wasn’t part of the original middle-eastern church like the Greek church was.

Well, yes, but “bishops recognized by Rome” is not synonymous with “bishops with an apostolic succession tracing back to the Bishop of Rome”.

@amarinth It looks like the OP may have driven past the Mariners Church of Detroit which is an ACNA church. No, I did say I was in Livonia, MI. I’ve been to Mariners Church, and it is nowhere near there. :slight_smile:

That’s why I need to read more carefully :slight_smile: -
His Church Anglican, in Livonia is also in the ACNA. It looks like this was also a non-denominational church that joined, rather than an Episcopalian church that split.

Nobody has a documented apostolic succession tracing back Peter as the first bishop of Rome.

But nobody needs one. The idea of the apostolic succession is is that you are in succession to the apostles, but not to Peter specifically.

However, nobody has a documented apostolic succession back to any particular apostle.

The office of bishop emerged early in the church - within New Testament times. The bishop was the head of a particular local Christian community - it might be Jerusalem, or Antioch, or Corinth, or wherever. As communities grew, bishops came to be assisted by deacons and priests.

Per the New Testament and per tradition, the first heads of the earliest Christian communities were apostles - James, for example was the head of the church in Jerusalem; Peter was the head of the church at Antioch and, later, at Rome, etc. The next heads of these churches were, literally, successors to the apostles; hence “apostolic succession”.

Plus, what confirmed you as the head of the church of (say) Antioch was both your acceptance by that church and your recognition by the heads of neighbouring churches. (It was the communion between local churches, expressed in the mutual recognition and acceptance of their bishops, that constituted the catholic, or universal, church.) So, your place in the apostolic succession was the result both of the fact that you held an office originally held by an apostle and by the fact that your tenure in that office was confirmed or validated by other successors to the apostles.

In the post-apostolic period you get new local churches being established; the first heads of these churches are not, obviously, apostles themselves, but they are nevertheless in the apostlic succession because their position as head of the particular church is affirmed and validated by others who are in the apostolic succession.

And this is formalised and ritually expressed in the act of ordination; existing bishops (who are in the apostolic succession) lay hands upon a newly-chosen bishop (who is thereby taken into the apostolic succession).

Note that the Bishop of (say) London does not trace his succesion through the previous Bishop of London, and the Bishop of London before him, and so on. He traces his succession through the bishops who ordained him, and the bishops who ordained them, and so forth. And, historically, the bishop of a diocese has mostly not be ordained by his immediate predecessor, not least because he has only been chosen to be the new bishop because his immediate predecessor has died. He is ordained by other bishops who, most of the time, would have been the bishops of neighbouring dioceses.

In theory, every bishop has an apostolic lineage, through the person that ordained him, and the person that ordained him, and so on, back to one of the Apostles, but not necessarily back to Peter. In practice, none of this is verifiably documented, since the unbroken series of records does not exist for anyone.

Fascinating factoid of the day: something like 95% of the Catholic bishops today (and a large chunk of bishops in episcopal churches which emerged from the Catholic church) can trade their apostlic succession back to Scipione Rebiba, who was Archbishop of Pisa from 1556 and from 1570 onwards was based in Rome. He ordained a number of bishops and, about 150 years later, a bishop called Pietro Francisco de Orsini, who traced his ordination back to Rebiba, was elected pope under the name Benedict XIII. He was extraordinarily prolific in ordaining bishops - he was the principal consecrator for 139 bishops, many of them for major dioceses around the world, or for mission territories. The result of this is that there are bishops all around the world who trace their apostolic lineage back to Orsini and, through him, to Rebiba.

But there it stops. There is no real doubt but that Rebiba was consecrated a bishop, and almost certainly by several bishops who themselved had a traceable apostolic lineage going back some time. But no record survives of Rebiba’s consecration, so we don’t know who those bishops were or what their lineage was, so the trail stops with Rebiba.

The bishops of the Church of England (and of churches whose orders derive from the church of England) all trace their apostolic succession to Matthew Parker and, through him, to Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester from 1404 to 1447, but there is no record of who consecrated Beaufort. (It was most probably Roger Walden, Bishop of London, but no record confirms this.) This goes for the Episcopalian Church in the US too; as already noted episcopalian bishops trace their succession to Samuel Seabury, who was consecrated by Robert Kilgour, Bishop of Aberdeen, who traces his succession, through, Matthew Parker, to Henry Beaufort.

Huh, OK, I would have thought that records would be kept of that sort of thing, but you’ve obviously done your homework on this. Are there any significant records of bishops prior to Rebiba (records which, obviously, don’t have a known connection to him)?

For the English church it was. Because Rome only recognized English bishops who claimed apostolic succession tracing back to the Bishop of Rome. After interdiction, Rome is unable to recognize any English apostolic succession, because one of the actions interdicted is apostolic succession…

Yes, lots, but they’re patchy. Rebiba was probably ordained by Gian Pietro Caraffa, and we know who consecrated him, so if we had a record of Rebiba’s consecration by Caraffa we could then follow the chain back - until the next break in records, which is with a bishop named Leone di Simone. He was made a bishop in 1442, but we don’t have a record of who his consecrator was.

Part of the problem here is that, prior to the counter-reformation, the Catholic church was a highly decentralised organisation. Not only did each diocese keep its own records, but the mode in which they kept them, the manner in which they were organised and indexed, the standards they obseved - all this was decided locally. So you don’t just have a consistent but decentralised set of records; you have a bewildering patters of diverse and disconnected record-keeping practices. You don’t have a body of records that, later, you can easily draw into a centralised archive.

So, even if the records exist, actually to construct the chain of consecrations of an individual bishop back to the beginning would require you to trek all round Europe and dig through musty, mouldering archives, no two of which resemble one another. And, inevitably, at some point you’ll turn up in some backwater diocese to try to find out who ordained the bishop in 1382 to be told “sorry; any records of that event would have been lost in the chancery dry-rot collapse of 1627”.

Nitpick: Not apostolic succession tracing back to the Bishop of Rome; just apostolic succession in the Catholic tradition. As it happens, Anglican bishops have a lineage that traces back to Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester from 1404 to 1447, but the trail goes cold with him. There are no Bishops of Rome in that line of succession.