Bishops as Successors to the Apostles According to John Chrysostom: Ecclesiastical Authority in the Early Church

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An analysis of St. John Chrysostom’s writings, this work provides unique
insight into early Church authority and leadership by charting the evolution of the role of the bishop.


“. . . no better way to cover this matter. . .” - Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople

“. . . presents a clear and thorough understanding of the establishment of the [bishop’s] role. . .” – Very Rev. Archpriest Gerald Ozlanski, St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church

“. . . an important accomplishment of how one Father of the Church understood the scriptural, theological and spiritual reality of bishops as successors to the Apostles. It is invaluable to understanding the ecclesiology of the Church itself in the first three hundred years of Christianity. A must read for anyone who is involved in ecumenical discussions and for all Orthodox seminarians to better understand the role of their Bishop and the Church.” – Very Rev. Stephen Hutnick, St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary

Table of Contents

The research contained in this book was conducted as a testimony to the celebration of the 1600th anniversary of the repose of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, in 2007. The First Ecumenical Synod of Nicaea is a prime example of hierarchical power, because the bishops (the Fathers of the Church) throughout Christendom assembled together under the authority and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to clearly define and protect orthodox Church doctrine against heresy, clarify the relationships between local bishops and their churches, and establish a unified celebration of the Paschal Feast. Furthermore, Chrysostom identifies the person of the bishop with the Church of God and discusses at length the Christocentric and apostolistic foundations of the episcopate. The diverse functions and characteristics of the bishop and the severity of episcopal misuse of power take center stage.

Commendatory Foreword by Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
1. Christ and the Holy Spirit
2. God and the Apostles
3. The Apostles
4. The Bishops
5. The Church and State
6. Conclusions
Select Bibliography
Scripture Index
Index of Chrysostom’s Works Cited
General Index

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