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In traditional Christianity, bishops claim apostolic succession, a direct historical lineage dating back to the original Twelve Apostles. The bishops are by doctrine understood as those who possess the full priesthood given by Jesus Christ, and therefore may ordain other clergy, including other bishops. A person ordained as a deacon, priest, and then bishop is understood to hold the fullness of the (ministerial) priesthood, given responsibility by Christ to govern, teach, and sanctify the Body of Christ. Priests, deacons and lay ministers co-operate and assist their bishops in pastoral ministry.
Some Pentecostal churches have bishops who oversee congregations, though they do not claim apostolic succession.