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Apostolic Succession


“We must strive therefore in common to keep the Faith

which has come down to us today, through the Apostolic Succession,”

Pope Celestine (422 – 432 AD), To the Council of Ephesus, Epistle 18, 431 AD.

Sacramental validity flows from Apostolic Succession. Particular Churches that retain historical Apostolic Succession also retain valid Sacraments. 

Eduoard Cardinal Gagnon (January 15, 1918-August 25, 2007) was a Canadian who became a Roman Catholic Cardinal on May 25, 1985. He served as President of the Pontifical Council for the Family from 1974 to 1990. In 2002, Cardinal Gagnon was invited to investigate documentation relating to the episcopal orders received by Bishop Andre Letellier, with a view to commenting on the validity of his consecration. Letellier had been consecrated on 23 May 1968 by the late Archbishop Andre Leon Zotique Barbeau of the Catholic Charismatic Church of Canada. Archbishop Barbeau had in turn been consecrated by Archbishop Charles (Ignatius Carolus) Brearley, an English Old Catholic bishop based in Sheffield, United Kingdom. Cardinal Gagnon's letter reads as follows:


"To Whom It May Concern: After having studied the documentation of Mgr. André LeTellier and his predecessors in episcopal succession, I am convinced that he has been validly consecrated a bishop. It is not my intention to rule on the reports of the organization, incorporated under the name of Catholic Charismatic Church of Canada with the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada and of Québec. But nothing allows me to doubt the validity of episcopal ordination of Mgr André Letellier by Archbishop André Barbeau and that of Archbishop Barbeau by Archbishop Ignatius Charles Brearley, Primate of the Church of the "Old Catholics" having its seat in England. The ordinations of the "Old Catholics" are generally considered to be the same as those of Orthodox bishops. I have known Archbishop Barbeau for more than 60 years since our time at the Grand Seminary of Montreal. I have had little contact with him thereafter, having exercised my ministry far from here. But he has always been known to me as a man of prayer, a mystic. And I think that his disciples are also, above all, men of prayer.

+ Edouard Cardinal Gagnon, p.s.s. Montreal, 6 May 2002."



Beginning with the Holy Apostles and continuing throughout the ages by the Laying on of Hands...

1544 Giovanni Ricci, Archbishop of Manfredonia

Scipione Cardinal Rebiba, Bishop of Sabina,

Titular Patriarch of Constantinople

who on March 12, 1566 consecrated

1566 Giulio Antonio Santorio, Archbishop of Santa Severina

1586 Girolamo Bernerio, O.P., Bishop of Ascoli Piceno

1604 Galeazzo Sanvitale, Archbishop of Bari

1621 Ludovico Ludovisi, Archbishop of Bologna

1622 Luigi Caetani, Titular Patriarch of Antioch

1630 Giovanni Battista Scannaroli, Titular Bishop of Sidon

1655 Antonio Cardinal Berberini (Reims)

1668 Charles Maurice Le Tellier (Reims)

1670 Jacques-Benigne Bossuet (Meaux)

1693 Jacques Goyon de Matignon (Condom)

1719 Dominique Marie Varlet (Ascalon)

1739 Petrus Johannes Meindaerts (Utrecht)

1745 Johannes van Stiphout (Haarlem)

1763 Gaulterus M. van Niewenhuizen (Utrecht)

1778 Johannes Adrian J. Broekman (Haarlem)

1797 Johannes Jacobus van Rhijn (Utrecht)

1805 Gilbertus Cornelius de Jong (Deventer)

1814 Willibrordus van Os (Utrecht) 

1819 Johannes Bon (Haarlem)

1825 Johannes van Santen (Utrecht)

1853 Hermanus Heykamp (Deventer)

1873 Gaspard Johannes Rinkel (Haarlem)

1892 Gerardus Gul (Utrecht)

1908 Arnold Harris Mathew (London)

1914 Frederick Samuel Willoughby (London)

1922 James Bartholomew Banks (London)

1924 Matthew Cooper of (Greenwich) 

1954 Ignatius Charles Brearley (Yorkshire)

1968 André Barbeau (Quebec)

1990 John Peter Walzer (Quebec)

2014 Victor S. Cianca (Pittsburgh, PA)

2015 Joseph Thomas (Pittsburgh, PA) 


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