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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Apostolic, Apostolical

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belonging or relating to the apostles, or traceable to the apostles. Thus we say, the apostolical age, apostolical character, apostolical doctrine, constitutions, traditions, etc. The title, as one of honor, and likely also to imply authority, has been falsely assumed in various ways. Thus the pretended succession of bishops in the prelatical churches has been called Apostolical Succession. (See SUCCESSION). The Roman Church calls itself the Apostolical Church (q.v.), and the see of Rome the Apostolic See (sedes apostolica). The pope calls himself the Apostolical Bishop. At an early period of the church every bishop's see was called by courtesy an apostolic see, and the term implied, therefore, no pre-eminence. The first time the term apostolical is attributed to bishops is in a letter of Clovis to the council of Orleans, held in 511, though that king does not in it expressly denominate them apostolical, but apostolica sede dignissimi, highly worthy of the apostolical see. In 581 Guntram calls the bishops assembled at the council of Magon apostolical pontiffs. In progress of time, the bishop of Rome increasing in power above the rest, and the three patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem having fallen into the hands of the Saracens, the title apostolical was restrained to the pope and his church alone. At length, some of the popes, and St. Gregory the Great, not content to hold the title by this tenure, began to insist that it belonged to them by another-and peculiar right as the successors of St. Peter. In 1049 the council of Rheims declared that the pope was the sole apostolical primate of the universal church. Hence a great number of apostolicals: apostolical see, apostolical nuncio, apostolical notary, apostolical chamber, apostolical brief, apostolical vicar, apostolical blessing, etc., in all of which phrases the name apostolical is identical with papal. See Elliott, Delineation of Romanism, bk. 3, ch. 5; Bingham, Orig. Eccles. bk. 2, ch. 2 and 17; Hook, Ch. Dictionary, s.v.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Apostolic, Apostolical'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/a/apostolic-apostolical.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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