A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.
Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian, Anglican, Old Catholic and Independent Catholic churches, as well as the Assyrian Church of the East, bishops claim apostolic succession, a direct historical lineage dating back to the original Twelve Apostles. Within these churches, bishops are seen as those who possess the full priesthood and can ordain clergy, including other bishops. Some Protestant churches, including the Lutheran, Anglican and Methodist churches, have bishops serving similar functions as well, though not always understood to be within apostolic succession in the same way. 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.