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To the bishops and house churches to which he writes, he offers strategies on how to pressure house churches who don't recognize the bishop into compliance.Other contemporary Christian writers do not describe monarchial bishops, either continuing to equate them with the presbyters or speaking of episkopoi (bishops, plural) in a city.
"Therefore as the Lord did nothing without the Father, [being united with Him], either by Himself or by the Apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and the presbyters." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 7:1.
Priests, deacons and lay ministers cooperate and assist their bishop(s) in shepherding a flock.
), meaning "overseer" in Greek, the early language of the Christian Church, was not from the earliest times clearly distinguished from the term presbýteros (literally: "elder" or "senior", origin of the modern English word priest), but the term was already clearly used in the sense of the order or office of bishop, distinct from that of presbyter in the writings attributed to Ignatius of Antioch (died c. The earliest organization of the Church in Jerusalem was, according to most scholars, similar to that of Jewish synagogues, but it had a council or college of ordained presbyters (Greek: elders).
Apart from these there is not even the name of a church." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallesians 3:1.
"follow your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God's commandment" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnans 8:1.
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Early sources are unclear but various groups of Christian communities may have had the bishop surrounded by a group or college functioning as leaders of the local churches.
Eventually, as Christendom grew, bishops no longer directly served individual congregations.
In (Acts and Acts ), we see a collegiate system of government in Jerusalem chaired by James the Just, according to tradition the first bishop of the city.
In (Acts ), the Apostle Paul ordains presbyters in churches in Anatolia.
"Plainly therefore we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 6:1.