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Part of the series Mirianism
‘Idtā d-Madniiḥā d-Miryin
1 Foundations of Faith
2 God
3 Sacraments
4 Monasticism
5 Holidays
6 Cosmology
7 Eschatology
8 Soteriology
9 Important Titles
10 Apostolic Succession
11 Sacred sites
* Discussion on Mirianism

Apostolic Succesion (Mirian Syriac: Yuwbala’ šliyḥay) is the doctrine (or teaching) that today's Church is (or those in church leadership are) the spiritual successor to the Twelve Apostles of Yešwa Mišyah. The Mirian Church of the East does claim Apostolic Succesion, but not in the same way that traditional Orthodox, Catholic, and Episcopal/Anglican Churches do. Holy Tradition is passed on through a collective succession of bishops, one of whom is thought to represent Saint Thomas the Apostle and the church he established in India. We may go to the Reverends (Rabbane) for guidance and blessings, but not as superiors of the Law of Mišyah. They have the authority of teaching the Law and performing the Sacraments.

Mirianism teaches that the Twelve Apostles were merely teachers of the Way of Mišyah, and provided the foundation for Church tradition. However, the liturgical tradition of the Mirian Church is the tradition that has been handed down by a long line of bishops of the ancient churches that is traced back to five Elders. The Apostolic line began with Saint James the Just in the Church of Jerusalem, Saint Thomas in the Church of India, Saint Peter in the Church of Antioch, Saint Mark in the Church of Alexandria, and Saint Andrew in the Church of Constantinople. Roman Catholicism, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy hold that they have the literal, unbroken line of Succession. Like mainline Protestantism, however, Mirianism holds that Bishop to Bishop ordinations "cannot be absolutely maintained all the way back to the Apostles."[1] It does, however, "maintain a continuity of Apostolic Ministry."[2]

The succession of Saint Thomas in the East (Kerala, india) is believed, by Mirians, to have ended when Bar Sauma of Nisibis (484) adopted Nestorian Christology into the Church of the East. The schism started with the Persian kings who executed Rabban (Mar) Babowai who in turn was replaced with the Nestorian Bar Sauma as bishop of the Church. The Mirian Church of the East claims to reclaim the apostolic line that was tragically brought down with Rabban Babowai. Saint Thomas's Succession originated in Jerusalem, particularly from Saint James (echoing saying 12 in the Gospel of Thomas) and Saint Peter (Galatians 2:9).

Church Governance

Though originally presbyterian in governance, the ministerial structure of the Mirian Church is currently episcopal.

In order to be promoted into church leadership and share in Apostolic Succession, a disciple (talmiidā) must undergo a three year training and study of Mirian teaching to be inducted as a leader (Rabban) in church government, the Rabbanate. Below are the titles of ordained ministers that Saint Paul prescribed for ecclesiastical leadership in 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 5:17-23 and Titus 1:5-9.

  • Bishops/Episcupus (Qayome): Bishops (Qayome) are the overseers of church congregations and functions. They are the first among equals among the Rabbans, but are elected by the full body of leaders from local congregations. The Bishop (Episcupon/Qayom) is believed to be the apostolic successors of Saint Thomas and his ministry to the Indians, through the apostolic primacy of Saint Peter the Apostle.
  • Elders/Presbyterus (Qaššiišitā): Traditionally, each local church is governed by a body of elected elders, or Qaššiišitā. They are entrusted and bona fide to teach the way of the only Rabbi (Rabbī) and High Priest (Rab Kahniyn), Yešwa‘ Mašyaḥ, under the supervision of the Bishop (Qayom).
  • Deacons/Diakúnui (Mšamšāne) & Deaconesses/Diakúnisses (Mšamšāntā): Deacons and Deaconesses are considered, in the Mirian Church, to be assistants to the Presbyter in their pastoral and administrative duties. These duties include proclaiming & teaching the Gospel, assisting an Elder (Presbyter/Qaššiiš) in the Divine Liturgy (though a non-deacon can also assist the Rabban in the Liturgy), and handling tithes & offerings.

In Mirian tradition, both the offices of the Episcupon and the Presbyter are pastoral, and those holding such positions are collectively known as "Pastors" (Poimenes/Ro‘yā). As such, deacons and deaconesses are distinguished from the pastoral offices in scope and mission.

D-bii-syām ayidā (Laying on of hands)

See: Laying on of hands

The Laying in of hands is a ritual and a method used in invoking the Holy Spirit (Ruwah d-Kudiša) during baptisms, healings (similar to Reiki), blessings, and promoting of ordinary lay members into church governance and, therefore, Apostolic Succession. The Spirit is believed to dwell within all creatures, yet, not everyone is able to personally experience this Holy Spirit. Simple tools, like the laying on of hands, by someone who has already experienced the power of Holy Spirit, will be able to give someone else the same experience and ability.The receiver must first believe that the giver is able to do what he/she claims to be able to do (Matt. 9:28).


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