Definition of apostolic in English:



  • 1Relating to the Apostles.

    ‘apostolic writings’
    • ‘I admire a lot of things about Protestants and evangelicals - I admire their commitment, their apostolic fervour.’
    • ‘The early church was established by apostolic writing as well as apostolic preaching.’
    • ‘In this ultimo tempo, the paths of Peter and his apostolic twin, Judas, cross and ultimately diverge.’
    • ‘Hence, he criticizes those who fail to exercise judgment in such a way and who simply insist that Presbyterian orders are of apostolic origin and must be followed by all churches at all times.’
    • ‘The most authoritative guidance comes from Holy Scripture understood in the light of apostolic tradition, inasmuch as this is the normative channel whereby revelation is transmitted.’
    • ‘Perhaps post-gospel traditions of Mark as apostolic associate and interpreter were religious by-products of the need, manifested by early Christians, to recall and to recast Jesus' activities.’
    • ‘He who does not bring or teach apostolic doctrine ought not to be received by the Church which is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.’
    • ‘When the Lord commissioned Peter to be a leader of the apostolic church, he presented his role not as commander-in-chief or company executive but as a provider of food.’
    • ‘Also praiseworthy is his emphasis on John as a close reader of Scripture, and as a person of the church with a wide apostolic mission to direct others in the life of contemplative prayer.’
    • ‘Though it is little used today, especially since we have the completed Word of God, it was evident in the New Testament apostolic times.’
    • ‘Did the Jewish Scriptures have the same authority as apostolic Christian writings?’
    • ‘These Oxford dons were convinced that the only reason the state could interfere in the workings of the church was that the English nation had forgotten the apostolic roots of its church.’
    • ‘The apostolic message is that healing space was created through the Christ on the cross as God's response to human violence.’
    • ‘Most of them accepted tradition and creeds only as they contained and were in agreement with the apostolic witness.’
    • ‘Here he saw and put into practice the task of exegesis as listening to the text as apostolic testimony to divine address.’
    • ‘There is ample evidence from apostolic times, from the patristic, canonical and liturgical tradition, well into the Byzantine period that this order was held in high honor.’
    • ‘Paul admitted that boasting over his apostolic credentials made him a fool.’
    • ‘He believes episcopacy to be of apostolic origin and to have received divine approbation, if not direct command.’
    • ‘Persons wishing to embrace the apostolic life as monks had to do so under one of the approved rules and new houses had to be incorporated by charter with one of the existing orders.’
    • ‘The priest is the ordained representative of the bishop and, as such, the most visible apostolic link between the local community and the universal church.’
    ecclesiastical, church, priestly, pastoral, religious, spiritual, prelatic, canonical, parsonical
    View synonyms
  • 2Relating to the Pope, especially when he is regarded as the successor to St Peter.

    ‘an apostolic nuncio’
    • ‘The prestige of the city itself was no longer sufficient; but in the doctrine of apostolic succession the popes had an unassailable position.’
    • ‘As the successors of Peter in Rome, the popes laid claim to apostolic supremacy, just as Peter had been given primacy over the apostles in the mother community in Jerusalem after the Resurrection of Christ.’
    • ‘In Divini Amoris Scientia, his apostolic letter announcing the doctorate, the Pope goes even further.’
    • ‘The same day in Bulgaria, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church revealed more details about the upcoming apostolic visit.’
    • ‘As apostolic nuncio, he automatically became dean of the diplomatic corps.’
    • ‘It was bombarded with complaints from the nuncio, the apostolic administrator for the diocese and other senior clerics.’
    • ‘Bulgarians have expressed a positive attitude towards the Papal apostolic visit.’
    • ‘Later this year, the Vatican is expected to begin an apostolic visitation of U.S. seminaries.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the Vatican has already said that a section of its archive dating from 1931 to 1934 was destroyed or lost during the bombing of Berlin in 1945 and in a fire at the apostolic nuncio's palace.’
    • ‘Together, the miniatures address the presence of a modern Elymas, Luther, and reassert Paul's apostolic authority; legitimately mandated to the papacy.’
    • ‘A private viewing was held at the apostolic palace in the Vatican.’
    • ‘The liturgy will end with the Pope's giving his apostolic blessing, known as Urbi et Orbi, or ‘to the city and the world’.’
    • ‘At the end of 1944, he became apostolic nuncio to France.’
    • ‘The Vatican appoints an apostolic visitor when it receives allegations of ‘grave irregularities’ at an institution of a diocese.’
    • ‘After serving as apostolic delegate to Greece and Turkey from 1935 and as papal nuncio in liberated France from 1944, in 1953 he became a cardinal and Patriarch of Venice.’


Middle English: from French apostolique or ecclesiastical Latin apostolicus, from Greek apostolikos, from apostolos (see apostle).