"Since in the visitors I have mentioned above, I have seen in faith and loved your entire community, so I beg you, take great care always to act in God's concord, with the bishop who holds the place of God, with the presbyters, who are like the college of the Apostles, and with the deacons who are so dear to me, to whom Jesus' own special work has been entrusted....Let there be nothing among you to serve as an excuse for schism, but unite yourselves to the bishop and to those who preside as an example and lesson of immortality.
Just as the Lord did nothing either by himself or through his Apostles without his Father, with whom he is one, so you should do nothing without the bishops and the presbyters. Do not try to make what you do on your own look acceptable but always act with other: a single prayer, a single petition, one mind, one hope in love, in joy beyond reproach: This is Jesus Christ to whom nothing is to be preferred. All of you hasten to come together as in a single temple of God, around a single altar, united with the one Jesus Christ...."
-St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians.