Apostolic Succession

with The Archbishop of Oceania

Most Reverend Rima Tamaiparea-Puki

Laying on of Hands.jpg

"Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [their first] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles." —Tertullian

1. What is Apostolic Succession?

Many of the Church's bishops (not just ROCC) are able to trace their succession back to the Apostles through the bishops who consecrated them. Hence why the bishops are called the successors to the apostles.

2. Clearly Apostolic Succession is important, but why?​

A person claiming Apostolic Succession cannot do so through genealogical lines. It is passed down by the laying on of hands.

The Founder of Christianity left an important legacy and gave instructions for it to be continued (Mt 28:20). As a bishop of the Church, I lay claim to that legacy and through my lines of succession. Having the succession means we can say who we are; where we get our authority and here’s the proof. No one becomes a Bishop with the intention of not continuing what they have received. 

3. How do you start a Church? How does the succession apply?

​Anyone can start a Church... Label it ‘Christian’... And have it legalised... But that means nought if they have no clear line of authority. 

The Church teaches that Form and Matter are essential elements for the Sacrament to be considered valid. For baptism we refer to two scriptural texts “Except a person is born of water…” (Jn 3:5) in this instance the necessary ‘matter’ is water, and “baptise them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…” (Mt 28:19) and the ‘form’ being the words. For that of the consecration of a bishop is the laying of hands (Matter) and the prayers of consecration (Form). They are essential for the validity of the Sacrament.

4. What then is your opinion on the other Churches who do not have Apostolic Succession?

There’s no such thing as a ‘Church without Apostolic Succession’. The Church is the means by which the Faithful may obtain salvation, through Jesus Christ. Otherwise, they’re simply Communities or social organisations. From a superficial perspective, there’s nothing bad about that, except if they claim to possess the same principles as the Church, then I would revert to the questions answered in my earlier point (question 3).

5. Are you familiar with the Document Dominus Iesus put out by the Roman Catholic Church, August 6, 2000 and what are your thoughts on it?

Unfortunately, yes. And I say "unfortunately" because many from our tradition, that is, the Independent Sacramental Movement (ISM), use it to validate their existence.

Unlike the organisation that replaced the Roman Catholic Church after the second vatican council, we have maintained the Apostolic Succession. That's primarily what the ISM is about. To answer the original question, "Yes", I have read the Document from The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. What are my thoughts on it? I think Rome is finding things are not so black and white anymore and are scrambling to find boxes for different communities that do not fit in the strict sense of the word Church.

The Primate's succession is produced here and The Archbishop's is presented here. A document on Valid Orders can be purchased from Church Publishing.