Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these: – James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord; upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas ; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Cæsarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchæus , who was once a publican; after whom was Cornelius , and the third Theophilus . Of Antioch , Euodius, ordained by me Peter; and Ignatius by Paul. Of Alexandria , Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist; the second Avilius by Luke, who was also an evangelist. Of the Church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul; (2Ti_4:21) and Clement, after Linus’ death, the second, ordained by me Peter. Of Ephesus, Timotheus , ordained by Paul; and John, by me John. Of Smyrna, Aristo the first; after whom Stratæas the son of Lois ; (2Ti_1:5) and the third Aristo . Of Pergamus, Gaius. Of Philadelphia, Demetrius, by me. Of Cenchrea, Lucius, by Paul. Of Crete, Titus. Of Athens, Dionysius. Of Tripoli in Phœnicia, Marathones Of Laodicea in Phrygia Archippus. Of Colossæ, Philemon. (Phm_1:1) Of Borea in Macedonia, Onesimus, once the servant of Philemon. (Phm_1:10. – R.) Of the churches of Galatia, Crescens. (Comp. 2Ti_4:10. – R.) Of the parishes of Asia, Aquila and Nicetas Of the church of Æginæ, Crispus. These are the bishops who are entrusted by us with the parishes in the Lord; whose doctrine keep ye always in mind, and observe our words. And may the Lord be with you now, and to endless ages, as Himself said to us when He was about to be taken up to His own God and Father. For says He, “Lo, I am with you all the days, until the end of the world. Amen.” (Mat_28:20)
~Constitutions of the Apostles- Book VII Part 2 Vol. 7
Yahushua had chosen His apostles foreseeing the issues and mistakes they would make yet would overcome at the end. The apostles of the second century were men who were walking out the Lord’s commands and lived perfectly (spiritually mature). The other offices, presbyters and deacons, were ordained to those offices based on their righteousness. The Bishops, presbyters, and deacons were imitations of the angelic glory. The Church was patterned after the heavens.
He, then, who has first moderated his passions and trained himself for impassibility, and developed to the beneficence of gnostic perfection, is here equal to the angels. Luminous already, and like the sun shining in the exercise of beneficence, he speeds by righteous knowledge through the love of God to the sacred abode, like as the apostles. Not that they became apostles through being chosen for some distinguished peculiarity of nature, since also Judas was chosen along with them. But they were capable of becoming apostles on being chosen by Him who foresees even ultimate issues. Matthias, accordingly, who was not chosen along with them, on showing himself worthy of becoming an apostle, is substituted for Judas.
Those, then, also now, who have exercised themselves in the Lord’s commandments, and lived perfectly and gnostically according to the Gospel, may be enrolled in the chosen body of the apostles. Such a one is in reality a presbyter of the Church, and a true minister (deacon) of the will of God, if he do and teach what is the Lord’s; not as being ordained by men, nor regarded righteous because a presbyter, but enrolled in the presbyterate because righteous. And although here upon earth he be not honored with the chief seat, he will sit down on the four-and-twenty thrones, (Rev_4:4, Rev_11:16) judging the people, as John says in the Apocalypse.
For, in truth, the covenant of salvation, reaching down to us from the foundation of the world, through different generations and times, is one, though conceived as different in respect of gift. For it follows that there is one unchangeable gift of salvation given by one God, through one
Lord, benefiting in many ways. For which cause the middle wall (Eph_2:14, Eph_2:15, Eph_2:16, Eph_4:13) which separated the Greek from the Jew is taken away, in order that there might be a peculiar people. And so, both meet in the one unity of faith; and the selection out of both is one. And the chosen of the chosen are those who by reason of perfect knowledge are called [as the best] from the Church itself, and honored with the most august glory – the judges and rulers – four-and- twenty (the grace being doubled) equally from Jews and Greeks. Since, according to my opinion, the grades here in the Church, of bishops, presbyters, deacons, are imitations of the angelic glory, and of that economy which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who, following the footsteps of the apostles, have lived in perfection of righteousness according to the Gospel. For these taken up in the clouds, the apostle (1Th_4:17) writes, will first minister [as deacons], then be classed in the presbyterate, by promotion in glory (for glory differs (1Co_15:41) from glory till they grow into “a perfect man.” (Eph_4:13)
~Clement- Stromata Book VI Vol. 2
Here is a history of how the apostles carried out the order in the church the way Christ had given the order to the Apostles and the Apostles passed it down to the next line of Apostles. The apostles foreknew that there would be a contention for the priesthood (episcopate) and had given specific instructions on how to prevent that from happening in the Church.
These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behooves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him. Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.
XLII. — The Order of Ministers in the Church.
The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus, preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labors], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.” (Isa_60:17).
XLIV. — The Ordinances of the Apostles, That There Might Be No Contention Respecting the Priestly Office.
Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest anyone deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behavior from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honor.
~St. Clement- Corinthians Vol. 1
Those who are of Christ are also with the Bishop (Apostle), however those who have fallen away to that unity and join those who are accursed would share in the same judgment as them. The only time they would talk with those who fall away, is if they were willing to listen and repent. Entering into the Kingdom and Salvation were dependent on being part of that unity. Any association with false preachers would be condemned to hell.
Keep yourselves, then, from those evil planes which Jesus Christ does not tend, bat that wild beast, the destroyer of men, because they are not the planting of the Father, but the seed of the wicked one. Not that I have found any division among you do I write these things; but I arm you beforehand, as the children of God. For as many as are of Christ are also with the bishop; but as many as fall away from him, and embrace communion with the accursed, these shall be cut off along with them. For they are not Christ’s husbandry, but the seed of the enemy, from whom may you ever be delivered by the prayers of the shepherd, that most faithful and gentle shepherd who presides over you. I therefore exhort you in the Lord to receive with all tenderness those that repent and return to the unity of the Church, that through your kindness and forbearance they may recover (2Ti_2:26) themselves out of the snare of the devil, and becoming worthy of Jesus Christ, may obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of Christ. Brethren, be not deceived. If any man follows him that separates from the truth, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and if any man does not stand aloof from the preacher of falsehood, he shall be condemned to hell. For it is obligatory neither to separate from the godly, nor to associate with the ungodly. If anyone walks according to a strange opinion, he is not of Christ, nor a partaker of His passion; but is a fox, (Comp. Son_2:15) a destroyer of the vineyard of Christ. Have no fellowship (Comp. 1Co_5:11) with such a man, lest ye perish along with him, even should he be thy father, thy son, thy brother, or a member of thy family. For says [the Scripture], “Thine eye shall not spare him.” (Deu_13:6, Deu_13:18) You ought therefore to “hate those that hate God, and to waste away [with grief] on account of His enemies.” (Psa_119:21) I do not mean that you should beat them or persecute them, as do the Gentiles “that know not the Lord and God;” (1Th_4:5) but that you should regard them as your enemies, and separate yourselves from them, while yet you admonish them, and exhort them to repentance, if it may be they will hear, if it may be they will submit themselves. For our God is a lover of mankind, and “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1Ti_2:4) Wherefore “He makes His sun to rise upon the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust;” (Mat_5:45) of whose kindness the Lord, wishing us also to be imitators, says, “Be ye perfect, even as also your Father that is in heaven is perfect.” (Mat_5:48)
~Ignatius-Epistle to the Philadelphians, Vol. 1