World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Apostolic see

Article Id: WHEBN0000407529
Reproduction Date:

Title: Apostolic see  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Malta, Dominus Apostolicus, Addai II Giwargis, Sanctissimus Dominus Noster, Early centers of Christianity
Collection: Apostolic Sees, Christian Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Apostolic see

In Christianity, an apostolic see is any episcopal see whose foundation is attributed to one or more of the apostles of Jesus.

The fourth canon of the First Council of Nicaea of 325 attributed to the bishop of the capital (metropolis) of each Roman province (the "metropolitan bishop") a position of authority among the bishops of the province, without reference to the founding figure of that bishop's see.[1] Its sixth canon recognized the wider authority, extending beyond a single province, traditionally held by Rome and Alexandria, and the prerogatives of the churches in Antioch and the other provinces.[1] Of Aelia, the Roman city built on the site of the destroyed city of Jerusalem, the council's seventh canon reads: "Since custom and ancient tradition have prevailed that the Bishop of Aelia should be honoured, let him, saving its due dignity to the Metropolis, have the next place of honour."[1] The metropolis in question is generally taken to be Caesarea Maritima,[2][3][4][5] though in the late 19th century Philip Schaff also mentioned other views.[6]


  • Pentarchy 1
  • Listing of the sees 2
  • Specific reference to Rome 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


This Council of Nicaea, being held in 325, of course made no mention of Constantinople, a city which was only officially founded five years later, at which point it became the capital of the Empire.[7][8][9][10] But the First Council of Constantinople (381) decreed in a canon of disputed validity: "The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome."[11] A century after the Council of Chalcedon (451) and the ensuing schism between those who accepted it and those who rejected it, Eastern Orthodox Christianity wove these two sources together to develop the theory of the Pentarchy: "[F]ormulated in the legislation of the emperor Justinian I (527–565), especially in his Novella 131, the theory received formal ecclesiastical sanction at the Council in Trullo (692), which ranked the five sees as Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem."[12] Earlier, the Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that the Church of Cyprus should be autocephalous, against the claims of Antioch, the capital of the Roman diocese of the East, of which Cyprus was part.[13]

Listing of the sees

The patriarchs of these five sees consider themselves to be successors of those given special status in these canons:

Other sees who claim to be founded by an apostle and thus can claim to be apostolic sees include:

Specific reference to Rome

In Roman Catholic usage,[24] "the Apostolic See" is used in the singular and capitalized to refer specifically to the See of Rome, with reference to the Pope's status as successor of the Apostle Peter.[25] This usage existed already at the time of the third ecumenical council, held at Ephesus in 431, at which the phrase "our most holy and blessed pope Cœlestine, bishop of the Apostolic See" was used.[26]

In Catholic canon law, the term is applied also to the various departments of the Roman Curia. Both the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches state: "In this Code the terms Apostolic See or Holy See mean not only the Roman Pontiff, but also, unless the contrary is clear from the nature of things or from the context, the Secretariat of State, the Council for the public affairs of the Church, and the other Institutes of the Roman Curia."[27] The bodies in question are seen as speaking on behalf of the See of Rome.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Canons of the First Council of Nicaea
  2. ^ (Taylor & Francis 1999 ISBN 978-0-81533070-7), p. 207Norms of Faith and LifeBrian E. Daley, "Position and Patronage in the Early Church" in Everett Ferguson,
  3. ^ ((University of Chicago Press 1992 ISBN 978-0-22676361-3), p. 78To Take PlaceJonathan Z. Smith,
  4. ^ (Routledge 2013 ISBN 978-1-13610978-2), p. 28Christians in Asia before 1500Ian Gilman, Hans-Joachim Klimkeit,
  5. ^ (Oxford University Press 2012 ISBN 978-0-19973940-0), p. 354Two RomesLucy Grig, Gavin Kelly,
  6. ^ : First Nicaea: Canon VIISeven Ecumenical CouncilsSchaff's : "It is very hard to determine just what was the 'precedence' granted to the Bishop of Ælia, nor is it clear which is the metropolis referred to in the last clause. Most writers, including Hefele, Balsamon, Aristenus and Beveridge consider it to be Cæsarea; while Zonaras thinks Jerusalem to be intended, a view recently adopted and defended by Fuchs; others again suppose it is Antioch that is referred to."
  7. ^ Robin W. Winks, World Civilization: A Brief History (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 1993 ISBN 978-0-939693-28-3), p. 120
  8. ^ Timelines: Southeast Europe
  9. ^ ConstantinopleCatholic Encyclopedia, article
  10. ^ Commemorative coins that were issued during the 330s already refer to the city as Constantinopolis (see e.g. Michael Grant, The climax of Rome (London 1968), p. 133), or "Constantine's City". According to the Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, vol. 164 (Stuttgart 2005), column 442, there is no evidence for the tradition that Constantine officially dubbed the city "New Rome" (Nova Roma). It is possible that the emperor called the city "Second Rome" (Greek: Δευτέρα Ῥώμη, Deutéra Rhōmē) by official decree, as reported by the 5th-century church historian Socrates of Constantinople: see Names of Constantinople.
  11. ^ Canon 3
  12. ^ PentarchyEncyclopaedia Britannica:
  13. ^ Ronald G. Roberson, "The Orthodox Church of Cyprus"
  14. ^ Saint Mark is not called an apostle in the New Testament, but he is said to have been one of the Seventy Apostles and to have been commissioned as an apostle when he accompanied Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas in their apostolic journeys.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Craig A. Evans,The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts-Philemon (David C. Cook, 2004), p. 610)
  20. ^ A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament - 2 Corinthians
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "In the east there were many Churches whose foundation went back to the Apostles; there was a strong sense of the equality of all bishops, of the collegial and conciliar nature of the Church. The east acknowledged the Pope as the first bishop in the Church, but saw him as the first among equals. In the west, on the other hand, there was only one great see claiming Apostolic foundation — Rome — so that Rome came to be regarded as the Apostolic see" (Bishop Kallistos Ware, Orthodox Church).
  25. ^ "An Apostolic see is any see founded by an Apostle and having the authority of its founder; the Apostolic See is the seat of authority in the Roman Church, continuing the Apostolic functions of Peter, the chief of the Apostles. Heresy and barbarian violence swept away all the particular Churches which could lay claim to an Apostolic see, until Rome alone remained; to Rome, therefore, the term applies as a proper name" (The Apostolic SeeCatholic Encyclopedia, article ).
  26. ^ Extract from the Acts of the Council of Ephesus
  27. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 361; Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 48
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.