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Bishops – Authority of



My child, remember night and day him who speaks the word of God to you, and honor him as you do the Lord. For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord. And seek out day by day the faces of the saints, in order that you may rest upon their words.

Clement of Rome:

For Christ is with them that are lowly of mind, not with them that exalt themselves over the flock. The scepter [of the majesty] of God, even our Lord Jesus Christ, came not in the pomp of arrogance or of pride, though He might have done so, but in lowliness of mind, according as the Holy Spirit spoke concerning Him.

Ignatius: to the Ephesians:

I do not command you, as though I were somewhat. For even though I am in bonds for the Name’s sake, I am not yet perfected in Jesus Christ. [For] now am I beginning to be a disciple; and I speak to you as to my school-fellows.

And in proportion as a man sees that his bishop is silent, let him fear him the more. For every one whom the Master of the household sends to be steward over His own house, we ought so to receive as Him that sent him. Plainly therefore we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself. -ibid

In like manner let all men respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, even as they should respect the bishop as being a type of the Father and the presbyters as the council of God and as the college of Apostles. Apart from these there is not even the name of a church. -ibid: to the Trallians

I do not give you orders as Peter and Paul did. They were Apostles, I am a convict; they were free, but I am a slave to this very hour. Yet if I shall suffer, then am I a freed-man of Jesus Christ, and I shall rise free in Him. Now I am learning in my bonds to put away every desire. -ibid: to the Romans

I am amazed at his forbearance; whose silence is more powerful than others’ speech. For he is attuned in harmony with the commandments, as a lyre with its strings. Wherefore my soul blesses his godly mind, for I have found that it is virtuous and perfect — even the imperturbable and calm temper which he has, while living in all godly forbearance. ibid: to the Philadelphians

Let no man do aught of things pertaining to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be held a valid Eucharist which is under the bishop or one to whom he shall have committed it. Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be; even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church. It is not lawful apart from the bishop either to baptize or to hold a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve, this is well-pleasing also to God; that everything which you do may be sure and valid.-ibid: to the Smyrnaeans.

Shepherd of Hermas:

Life is for all those that keep the commandments of the Lord. But in the commandments there is nothing about first places, or about glory of any kind, but about long-suffering and humility in man.

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