Return to main page or Index

Book 7 Constitutions of the Holy Apostles:
Section 4 Enumeration Ordained by the Apostles

(From The Ante-Nicene fathers. translations of the writings of the fathers down to A.D. 325. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors. Published 1911)


"Today the Apostolic Constitutions are of the highest value as a historical document, as they reveal the moral and religious conditions, as well as the liturgical observances of 3rd and 4th centuries." (Wikipedia) The section shown here gives the bishops of the Early Christian Church that were clearly handed down from the 1st century and of the utmost value.

© 2013 by Dylan Stephens

(Corrections and comments in italic)
Who were they that the holy apostles sent and ordained?
Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:
  • James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord
    (It was on the road to Emmaus Luke 24:13-32 that Jesus, who had survived the Crucifixion, spoke with James shown as 'Cleopas', which was the family title meaning 'renowned', thus symbolic of the fact that Jesus was now making his younger brother, the head of the family and the bishop of Jerusalem, Jesus having gained this name after his father Joseph's death. See Road to Emmaus simulation. Ananus the Younger had James stoned to death in 62 AD. Josephus Antiquities 20.9.1 . It is the death of James which fixes the last possible date for the Clementine Literature as it shows James as the bishop, giving a much earlier timeframe than 2nd to 4th century thus adding to the proof that they are legitimate and not spurious.)
  • upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas
    (Cleopas being the family title is here standing for Joseph, the father of James, rather than James as in 'the road to Emmaus' Luke 24:13-32 and in the fourth Mary, the betrothed of James John 19:25. Simon is the youngest brother, being also brother of Jesus, as in Mark 6:3 showing the correct order of the sons of Joseph and Mary: Jesus, James, Joses, Jude, and Simon. Simon was martyred at the age of 120 according to Hegesippus quoted by Eusebius. (the date of his martyrdom is in flux, but an interesting result is that Jesus would have been 120 years then, but his youngest brother Simon was born in 22 AD therefore subtracting 6 by Jesus' birth in 7BC the result is 114AD making Simon 92 years of age, having been born in AD 22, Church History III 32.1.3: "Certain of these heretics brought accusation against Simon, the son of Cleopas, on the ground that he was a descendant of David and a Christian; and thus he suffered martyrdom, ...." Simon is with Paul in Acts 15:22 as 'Silas'.) Clearly he must have stepped down as bishop at some point to leave the position to his brother Jude who was six years older.
  • after whom the third was Judas the son of James
    (There are two reasons for the strange use of 'son of James' for Jude, the son of Joseph, when really he is the 'brother of James': The first could be the confusion caused by this title 'Cleopas' being used for James and for Joseph, the father, in previous commentaries above. The second, more likely, is due to the splitting of the sons of Joseph into two sides as indicated in Luke 12:52: "There will be five in one house divided, three against two and two against three." Jesus, Joses who is 'Barnabas' with Paul, and Simon against James and Jude. This would make Jude 'the son of James' implying that Jude was second in line to James with James as his superior. Matthew 13:55 shows Jude as the youngest son, but he is really the fourth which is supported by Mark 6:3. The reason for the changed order comes from this 'bishop of Jerusalem' order. Jude is shown as the brother in Jude 1:1 "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ." and in Acts 15:22 as Judas Barsabbas as the representative of James to Paul - note: in contradiction to Dr. Thiering.)

Of Caesarea of Palestine:
  • the first was Zacchaeus, who was once a publican
    (publican is a pun for Sadducee meaning collector of the Church tithes.
    He is Ananus the Younger Luke 19:1-10, the youngest son of Annas the Elder thus also the brother of Jonathan Annas (James of Alphaeus-Alphaeus meaning Annas and Matthew, both listed as disciples of Jesus and also noted as publicans.)
  • after whom was Cornelius
    (This is Luke the writer of the Gospel of Luke and Acts.)
  • and the third Theophilus
    (also a son of Annas, appears in the dedications by Luke: Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1)


Of Alexandria:
  • Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist
    (Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark under the direction of Peter)
  • the second Avilius by Luke, who was also an evangelist
    (Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke under the direction of Jesus - having survived the crucifixion- and wrote Acts of the Apostles.)

Of the church of Rome:

Of Ephesus:
  • Timotheus, ordained by Paul
    (1Tim 4:14 refers to Agrippa II who adopted him to inherit to kingdom of Judea. Also, see Dr. Thiering on Timothy)
  • and John, by me John.

Of Smyrna:
  • Aristo the first
  • after whom Strataeas the son of Lois
    (Lois is also the grandmother of Timothy 2Tim 1:5)
  • and the third Aristo.

Other Bishops
  • Of Pergamus: Gains
  • Of Philadelphia: Demetrius, by me
  • Of Cenchrea, Lucius, by Paul
  • Of Crete: Titus
    (See Letter of Paul to Titus)
  • Of Athens: Dionysius
  • Of Tripoli in Phoenicia: Marathones
  • Of Laodicea in Phrygia: Archippus
  • Of Colossae: Philemon
    See Paul's letter to Philemon
  • Of Borea in Macedonia: Onesimus, once the servant of Philemon
  • Of the churches of Galatia: Crescens
  • Of the parishes of Asia: Aquila and Nicetas
    (These can be identified as John and James, the twins from Clementine Literature)
  • Of the church of Aeginae: Crispus

These are the bishops who are entrusted by us with the parishes in the Lord; whose doctrine keep ye always in mind, and observe our words. And may the Lord be with you now, and to endless ages, as Himself said to us when He was about to be taken up to His own God and Father. For says He, "Lo, I am with you all the days, until the end of the world. Amen."