It should be clear from the outset that by "apostolic succession" in the second century is not understood what today is called "apostolic succession", namely , a succession of ordinations. How and in what way a bishop or another minister received his ordination does not play any role in these " successions", which are lists of incumbents of a certain see, irrespective of how they got into the office. Everybody in Rome knew that the monarchical episcopate there existed only after Pius [Pius IV, c. 140-c.154]. So the "succession" is for the first generations somewhat artificial... But the idea is clear: The teaching chair of the founding apostles was never empty. There were always men who continued to proclaim "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
From The Crisis of the Christian Ministry, Lutheran Theological Journal 2.1 (May, 1968), pp34-46.
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