Election of the first woman bishop in the historic apostolic succession has rankled some sectors in that tradition, but safeguards had been erected in advance to cushion the shock.

These aimed to stave off ruptures as a result, both in the U.S. Episcopal Church in which the election occurred and in the worldwide Anglican Communion of which the U. S. church is a part.The event, nevertheless, heightened strains on the issue both domestically and internationally in that 70-million-member household of faith, and frayed unity talks with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

They also, along with Anglicans, claim a succession of bishops traced back to the time of Jesus's apostles and passed on by that lineage, but without women in it.

Other churches, including some Protestant bodies with bishops, a few women among them, don't maintain that ancient succession.

The first woman chosen for it, the Rev. Barbara C. Harris, 58, of Philadelphia, was elected Sept. 24 by a convention in Boston of the Episcopal diocese of Massacusetts.