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A further gradation of dignity is obtained by the inclusion of the Bishop of Rome, the head of the Church and Vicar of Christ, to whom, by reason of the Divine origin of the hierarchy, the three grades just mentioned are subordinated.If however, those features be taken into account which are of merely ecclesiastical origin, the hierarchy will include not only the remaining sacred orders, viz, the subdiaconate and the minor orders, but also all clerics who possess definite faculties not conferred by the orders themselves.Before I was out of high school I was reading apologetics, then early Christian literature, various Bible translations, etc. I understood I would have to familiarize myself with the important authors in the fields that interested me, Bible and Theology, as well as adjacent studies, and the number of these only grew as the years went by, eventually including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, literary criticism, Deconstruction, and so on. Religious people are highly resistant to young know-it-alls updating their liturgy and hymns.I quickly came to see that I could not rely on second-hand summaries of what the giants had supposedly said, since such summaries are often subtly slanted to make it easier for the scholar describing them to refute them in favor of his own new theory. After all, some idiots lacking any understanding of metaphor have tried to censor Onward Christian Soldiers from hymnals because they falsely imagine it to be militaristic!Later on, the name of testament was given to the collection of sacred texts containing the history and the doctrine of the two alliances; here again and for the same reason we meet the distinction between the Old and New Testaments.
The word hierarchy is, however, also used in a wider sense.There is still a third sense in which the expression hierarchy may be used; in this it includes the whole clergy and laity, inasmuch as they are all members of the Church. In the present article the expression hierarchy is employed in its narrowest sense.No instance of the word found general acceptance is due to the authority of the Pseudo-Areopagite. Since, however, the earliest history of this threefold institution the episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate cannot be given without a detailed inquiry into the entire organization and inner constitution of the early Church, it is proposed to survey in full the earliest history of the organization of the Christian Church up to the year 150; and in this survey it is essential that we extend our inquiry to the Apostolic Office, as the root from which sprang the early Christian episcopate., turned around in amazement at all the authors and titles the professor was slinging around. My answer was not designed to comfort him: Everything!Indeed I had been engaged upon that policy for many years already, and I found it served me in good stead.