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In addition to these we find bishops and deacons who possess neither authority nor disciplinary power, who were charged solely with certain functions relative to administration and Divine worship.

The members of the community itself were divided into two classes: the elders ( presbyteroi ) and the youths ( neoteroi ).

The Apostolic and consequently the Divine origin of the monarchical episcopate has always been contested but especially so since Protestantism put forward the doctrine of a universal Christian priesthood.However, as late as the year 140, the organization of the various communities was still widely divergent. Lightfoot, who may be regarded as an authoritative representative of the Anglican Church , holds a less radical system.The monarchic episcopate offers its origin to the need of doctrinal unity, which made itself felt at the time of the crisis caused by the Gnostic heresies. The Primitive Church, he says, had no organization, but was very soon conscious of the necessity of organizing.This development is most conveniently grasped in connection with three great names: Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Cyprian, who represent as many successive advances towards the supremacy ultimately attained.By Ignatius the bishop is regarded as the centre of unity; to Irenaeus he is the depositary of primitive truth ; to Cyprian, he is the absolute vicegerent of Christ in things spiritual (Lightfoot, The Christian Ministry, 181-269, in his commentary on St. Catholic writers agree in recognized the Apostolic origin of the episcopate, but are much divided as to the meaning of the terms which designate the hierarchy in the New Testament writings and the Apostolic Fathers.

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