On Apostles, Bishops and Presbyters

Blessed Theodoret of Cyr ca. 393-457

[Paul] yokes together bishops and deacons, making no mention of presbyters (Tit. 1:7); certainly it was not possible thatmany bishops should be shepherds in one city, so it is clear that he calls the presbyters bishops. Indeed, in the same Epistle he called the Blessed Epaphroditus their apostle: “Your apostle,” he says, “and the co-worker of my necessity (Phil. 2:25).” Clearly, therefore, Epaphroditus, since Paul gives him the title of apostle, has been entrusted with the episcopal office. (Commentary on the Epistle’s of Paul: Phil. 1:1)

At that time they called the same persons “presbyters” and “bishops”; and those we now call bishops they designated “apostles”. In the course of time, however, they abandoned the name of “apostle” to those who truly were Apostles; and the title of bishop they accorded to those who had of old been called “apostles”. Thus Epaphroditus was apostle of the Philippians: “Your apostle,” he says, “and the co-worker of my necessity (Phil. 2:25).” Thus in Crete Titus and in Asia Timothy were apostles. Thus too the apostles and the presbyters wrote from Jerusalem to those in Antioch. (Commentary on the Epistle’s of Paul 1 Tim. 3:1)