The chief apostle
Since Pentecost 2013, Jean-Luc Schneider has been the chief apostle of the New Apostolic Church. As such he leads the Church from its head office in Zurich, Switzerland. Jean-Luc Schneider is a French national.
Highest spiritual authority
As the highest spiritual authority of all New Apostolic District Churches on earth, the chief apostle directs the Church as a whole in all spiritual matters. His primary commission is to proclaim Jesus Christ’s doctrine continually and conscientiously, and to preserve its purity. He appoints and ordains district apostles, apostles, and bishops, and also retires or dismisses them. He determines the boundaries of District Churches, sets up new district apostle areas, and assigns areas of responsibility for pastoral and administrative care to the District Churches. He establishes NACI’s annual budget, makes decisions regarding expenditures and the management of its assets, consults with the district apostles as regards the financial contributions they make to NACI, and decrees regulations and ordinances in matters concerning the Church as a whole. The Chief Apostle’s ordinances, subject to compliance with legal provisions, are binding on all District Churches and their governing bodies.
Appointing a successor
The chief apostle is appointed by his predecessor. This is also the case if the predecessor falls ill or is injured in an accident but is still able to discharge his duties. In the event that the chief apostle suddenly takes ill or is injured in an accident and is left incapacitated, he can deposit documents regarding the appointment of his successor. In the absence of such an appointment, his successor will be elected by secret ballot by the District Apostles’ Meeting or the Apostles’ Meeting from among the ranks of the district apostles, district apostle helpers and apostles. His ministry commences with his ordination, which is performed by the retiring chief apostle or by the longest-serving district apostle. The change will be announced without delay to all New Apostolic congregations around the world.
The Chief Apostle is entitled to retire upon reaching the age of 65. He should not continue in office beyond his 70th year however.
For the purpose of appointing a successor, and to make provisions in the event of a temporary or indefinite impediment in discharging his office and functions, the chief apostle can deposit corresponding documents in NACI’s safe. Should two independent physicians certify a temporary impediment, the three longest-serving district apostles shall open the relevant document. In the event that the chief apostle dies, or is confirmed to be unfit to discharge his duties, NACI will convene the District Apostles’ Meeting within seven days. It will take note of the chief apostle’s will, and implement its stipulations without delay.