APOSTOLIC, APOSTOLICAL ap-os-tOl'ilcal), belonging or relating to or traceable to the apostles, as apostolical age, apostolical doc trine, apostolical character, constitutions, tradi tions, etc.
Apostolic, in the primitive church, was an ap pellation given to all such churches as were founded by the apostles; and even to the bishops of those churches, as being the reputed successors of the apostles. These were confined to four, viz., Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. In after times, the other churches assumed the same quality, on account, principally, of the conformity of their doctrine with that of the churches which were apostolical by foundation, and because all bishops held themselves successors of the apos tles, or acted in their diocese with the authority of apostles.
The first time the term apostolical is attributed to bishops, as such, is in a letter of Clovis to the council of Orleans, held in sit, though that king does not there expressly denominate them apos tolical, but (apostolica sede dignissimi) highly worthy of the apostolical see. In 581, Guntram
calls the bishops met at the council of Macon, apostolical pontiffs. apostolic/ pontifices.
In progress of time, the bishop of Rome grow ing in power above the rest, and the three patri archates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem falling into the hands of the Saracens, the title apostolical was restrained to the pope and his church alone ; though some of the popes, and St. Gregory the Great, not contented to hold the title by this tenure, began at length to insist that it belonged to them by another and peculiar right. as being the successors of St. Peter. The council of Rheims, in to49, declared that the pope was the sole apostolical primate of the universal church. And hence a great number of apostol icals ; apostolical see, apostolical nuncio, apostol ical notary, apostolical brief, apostolical chamber, apostolical vicar, etc.