Surgical fastener applying apparatus having an articulated shaft assembly intermediate a proximal actuator assembly and a distal fastener applying assembly. The rotational axis of the articulation is transverse to the proximal-distal axis of the shaft assembly. The apparatus is fully operational at any rotational position of the articulation. A detent mechanism may be included to releasably hold the articulation in any of its rotational positions. A locking mechanism may also be provided for locking the articulation in any of its rotational positions. The shaft assembly may also include a second articulation whose rotational axis is the proximal-distal axis. The apparatus is fully operational at any rotational position of the second articulation, and detent and locking mechanisms may also be associated with the second articulation.