Patron:
The Hon Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE
former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia
Conference Committee:
Suri Ratnapala, Professor of Public Law, UQ
Thomas John, Chair, European Focus Group, LCA
Nicholas Aroney, Reader in Law, UQ
Hendryk Flaegel, International Law Section, LCA


Episcopal polity

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Episcopal polity is a form of church governance that is hierarchical in structure with the chief authority over a local Christian church resting in a bishop. This episcopal structure is found in the ancient Churches: in the various churches of Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and other Eastern Church lineage, and also those of Anglican lineage. Some churches founded independently of these lineages also employ this form of church governance. The word episcopal is derived from the Greek: ?, transliterated episkopos, which literally means overseer; the word, however, is used in religious contexts to refer to a bishop. Churches having episcopal polity are governed by bishops, who hav authority over dioceses, conferences, or synods (in general referred to as a judicatory). Their presidency is both sacramental and political; as well as performing ordinations, confirmations, and consecrations, the bishop supervises the clergy within the judicatory and is the representative to both secular structures and in the hierarchy of the church. It is usually considered that bishops derive their authority from an unbroken, personal Apostolic Succession from the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Bishops with such authority are known as the historical episcopate. Churches with this type of government usually believe that the Church requires episcopal government as described in the New Testament.

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Louis Spiro