On the Necessity of the Priesthood

St. Ignatios of Antioch ca. 50-117
In like manner, let all reverence the Deacons as an appointment of Jesus Christ, and the Bishop as Jesus Christ, Who is the Son of the Father, and the Presbyters as the sanhedrin of God, and assembly of the Apostles. Apart from these, there is no Church. (Epistle to the Trallians 3)