Diocese of Rome

Last updated

Diocese of Rome

Dioecesis Urbis seu Romana

Diocesi di Roma
Coat of arms Holy See.svg
Country Italy, Vatican City
Territory Rome
Ecclesiastical province Rome
Metropolitan Rome
Coordinates 41°53′9.26″N12°30′22.16″E / 41.8859056°N 12.5061556°E / 41.8859056; 12.5061556 Coordinates: 41°53′9.26″N12°30′22.16″E / 41.8859056°N 12.5061556°E / 41.8859056; 12.5061556
Area881 km2 (340 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2013)
Steady2.svg2,365,923 (Steady2.svg82%)
Denomination Catholic Church
Sui iuris church Latin Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established1st century
Cathedral Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran
Patron saint Saint Peter
Saint Paul
Saint Catherine of Siena
Saint Philip Neri
Saint Lawrence of Rome
Secular priests 1,589
Current leadership
Governance Holy See
Bishop Pope Francis
Auxiliary Bishops
Bishops emeritus
Source: Annuario Pontificio 2012

The Diocese of Rome (Latin : Dioecesis Urbis seu Romana; [2] Italian : Diocesi di Roma) is the ecclesiastical district under the direct jurisdiction of the Pope, who is Bishop of Rome as well as the supreme pontiff and leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. As the Holy See, the papacy is a sovereign entity with diplomatic relations, [3] and civil jurisdiction over the Vatican City State located geographically within Rome. The Diocese of Rome is the metropolitan diocese of the Province of Rome, an ecclesiastical province in Italy. The first bishop of Rome was Saint Peter in the first century. The incumbent since 13 March 2013 is Pope Francis.


Historically, many Rome-born men, as well as others born elsewhere on the Italian Peninsula have served as bishops of Rome. Since 1900, however, there has been only one Rome-born bishop of Rome, Pius XII (1939–1958). In addition, non-Italians have served as bishops of Rome since John Paul II was elected in 1978.

It is the metropolitan archdiocese of the Roman ecclesiastical province and primatial see of Italy. The cathedral is the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran. The primate of Italy is the pope, holding primacy of honor over the Italian sees and also primacy of jurisdiction over all other episcopal sees by Catholic tradition.


The pope is, in the first place, the bishop of Rome. Some titles derive from his role as head of the diocese of Rome. Those officially listed for him in the Annuario Pontificio are:

Other titles are in reference to his position as head of the Church:

The title "pope" does not appear in the official list, but is commonly used in the titles of documents, and appears, in abbreviated form, in the signatures of the popes.



The best evidence available for the origins of the Church in Rome is Saint Paul's Epistle to the Romans. This indicates that the church was established probably by the early 40s AD. Saint Peter became associated with this church sometime between the year 58 and the early 60s. [4]

According to one historian:

The final years of the first century and the early years of the second constitute the "postapostolic" period, as reflected in the extrabiblical writings of Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch. By now the church at Rome was exercising a pastoral care that extended beyond its own community, having replaced Jerusalem as the practical center of the growing universal Church. Appeals were made to Peter and Paul, with whom the Roman church was most closely identified. [4]

Diocesan territory

The city of Rome has grown beyond the boundaries of the diocese. Notable parts of the city belong to the dioceses of Ostia and Porto-Santa Rufina. Ostia is administered together with the Vicariate of the city and thus included in the statistics given below, while Porto is instead administered by its own diocesan bishop. The diocese covers an area of 849 km2 and includes most of the city and the municipality of Rome in Italy, and the entire territory of Vatican City. The diocese is divided into two vicariates, each with its respective vicar general.

Each vicar general, in the name and by mandate of the pope, exercises the episcopal ministry and pastoral government for the diocese of Rome; the vicar general is therefore responsible for the effective government of the Roman diocese, assisted by a vicegerent archbishop and auxiliary bishops.

Vicariate of the Vatican City

The Papal Cathedra, the throne of the Pope in the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran (Archibasilica Lateranensis). Roma-san giovanni03.jpg
The Papal Cathedra, the throne of the Pope in the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran (Archibasilica Lateranensis).
the territory of the Vatican City State. It consists of two parishes: Saint Peter's Basilica and Saint Anne in Vatican. [5] [6] The current Vicar General for Vatican City is Cardinal Angelo Comastri.

Vicariate of Rome (Vicariatus urbis)

the territory under Italian sovereignty, plus the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, which is the cathedral of the diocese. The vicar general for the Vicariate of Rome has for centuries been called the cardinal vicar (Italian : Cardinale Vicario), but in a departure from tradition the current vicar, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, who succeeded Cardinal Agostino Vallini on 29 June 2017, was initially named the titular archbishop of Mottola when appointed vicar general. The vicariate has 336 active and 5 suppressed parishes in its territory. [7] Since 1970 the vicar of the city of Rome has also been assigned the office of archpriest of the Lateran Archbasilica, where the diocesan curia has its headquarters. From a strictly pastoral point of view, the diocese is divided into five sectors: north, south, east, west, and center. Each sector is assigned an auxiliary bishop who collaborates with the vicar general and the vicegerent in the pastoral administration of the diocese. The five bishops of the sectors can be joined by other auxiliary bishops for specific pastoral areas such as health care ministry.

Unless the bishop of a diocese reserves some acts to himself, vicars general have by law within a diocese the power to undertake all administrative acts that pertain to the bishop except those that in law require a special mandate of the bishop. [8]


The diocese covers a territory of 881 square kilometres (340 sq mi) [9] of which 0.44 square kilometres (0.17 sq mi) is in the Vatican City State. The diocese has 1,219 diocesan priests of its own, while 2,331 priests of other dioceses, 5,072 religious priests and 140 Opus Dei priests reside in its territory, as do 2,266 women religious. [10] In 2004, they ministered to an estimated 2,454,000 faithful, who made up 88% of the population of the territory.

Ecclesiastical Province of Rome

Suburbicarian sees

Six of the dioceses of the Roman Province are described as suburbicarian. [11] Each suburbicarian diocese has a cardinal bishop at its titular head.

Diocese of Ostia

There remains the titular Suburbicarian See of Ostia, held, in addition to his previous suburbicarian see, by the cardinal bishop elected to be the dean of the College of Cardinals. The Diocese of Ostia was merged with the Diocese of Rome in 1962, and is now administered by a vicar general, in tight cooperation with the vicar general for Rome. It was also diminished to contain only the cathedral parish of Ostia (Sant'Aurea in Ostia Antica), which, however, in 2012 was divided into two parishes, who together form the present diocese of Ostia.

Suffragan sees

See: List of Catholic dioceses (structured view) § Episcopal Conference of Italy, including San Marino and Vatican City State

Other Italian dioceses having Rome as their metropolitan see:

Other exempt (directly subject) sees

Numerous ordinaries and personal prelatures outside the Province of Rome, worldwide, are "Exempt", i.e. "directly subject to the Holy See", not part of any ecclesiastical province, including:

See also

Related Research Articles

Prelate High-ranking member of the clergy

A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin praelatus, the past participle of praeferre, which means 'carry before', 'be set above or over' or 'prefer'; hence, a prelate is one set over others.

Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran Church in Rome, Italy

The Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the Lateran, also known as the Papal Archbasilica of Saint John [in] Lateran, Saint John Lateran, or the Lateran Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome in the city of Rome, and serves as the seat of the bishop of Rome, the pope.

The seven suburbicarian dioceses are Roman Catholic dioceses located in the vicinity of Rome, whose (titular) bishops are the ordinary members of the highest-ranking order of cardinals, the cardinal bishops. Pope Francis has, in addition, co-opted five cardinals of the Latin Church to join the ranks of the Cardinal-Bishops.

Sede vacante is a term for the state of an episcopal see while without a bishop. In the canon law of the Catholic Church, the term is used to refer to the vacancy of any see of a particular church, but it comes into especially wide journalistic use when the see is that of the papacy.

A titular bishop in various churches is a bishop who is not in charge of a diocese. By definition, a bishop is an "overseer" of a community of the faithful, so when a priest is ordained a bishop, the tradition of the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place. There are more bishops than there are functioning dioceses. Therefore, a priest appointed not to head a diocese as its diocesan bishop but to be an auxiliary bishop, a papal diplomat, or an official of the Roman Curia is appointed to a titular see.

Lateran Palace Ancient palace of the Roman Empire and the main papal residence in Rome

The Lateran Palace, formally the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran, is an ancient palace of the Roman Empire and later the main papal residence in southeast Rome.

A vicar general is the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority and possesses the title of local ordinary. As vicar of the bishop, the vicar general exercises the bishop's ordinary executive power over the entire diocese and, thus, is the highest official in a diocese or other particular church after the diocesan bishop or his equivalent in canon law. The title normally occurs only in Western Christian churches, such as the Latin Church of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Among the Eastern churches, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Kerala uses this title and remains an exception. The title for the equivalent officer in the Eastern churches is syncellus and protosyncellus.

Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Organization of the Catholic Church

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church consists of its bishops, priests, and deacons. In the ecclesiological sense of the term, "hierarchy" strictly means the "holy ordering" of the Church, the Body of Christ, so to respect the diversity of gifts and ministries necessary for genuine unity.

Luigi Traglia

Luigi Traglia was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Vicar General of Rome from 1965 to 1968, and Dean of the College of Cardinals from 1974 until his death. Traglia was elevated to the cardinalate in 1960.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Isiolo is a Latin Catholic pre-diocesan jurisdiction in Eastern Province, Kenya.

<i>Universalis Ecclesiae</i>

Universalis Ecclesiae was a papal bull of 29 September 1850 by which Pope Pius IX recreated the Roman Catholic diocesan hierarchy in England, which had been extinguished with the death of the last Marian bishop in the reign of Elizabeth I. New names were given to the dioceses, as the old ones were in use by the Church of England. The bull aroused considerable anti-Catholic feeling among English Protestants.

Cardinal Vicar

Cardinal Vicar is a title commonly given to the vicar general of the Diocese of Rome for the portion of the diocese within Italy. The official title, as given in the Annuario Pontificio, is Vicar General of His Holiness.

Agostino Vallini Italian prelate of the Catholic Church (born 1940)

Agostino Vallini is an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church. He has been a cardinal since 2006. From 2008 to 2017 he served as Vicar General of Rome. He is also the Archpriest emeritus of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia Catholic missionary jurisdiction

The Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia is a Catholic apostolic vicariate with official seat in Bahrain.

Apostolic Vicariate of Mitú

The Vicariate Apostolic of Mitú is a Latin pre-diocesan jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Colombia.

Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe

The Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe is a Latin Rite Catholic missionary pre-diocesan jurisdiction in the Philippines.

Augusto Paolo Lojudice Italian prelate of the Catholic Church (born 1964)

Augusto Paolo Lojudice is an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church who has been Archbishop of Siena-Colle di Val d'Elsa-Montalcino since 2019.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Novigrad was a Latin rite diocese located in the city of Novigrad, Istria, Croatia until it was suppressed to the Diocese of Trieste in 1831.

Angelo De Donatis

Angelo De Donatis is an Italian Catholic prelate who currently serves as Cardinal Vicar, Archpriest of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University.

Enrico Feroci

Enrico Feroci is an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church, currently serving as the parish priest of Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome, Italy. He has spent his career in the Diocese of Rome, fulfilling pastoral assignments and contributing to the administration of the diocese. From 2009 to 2017 he led the diocesan arm of Caritas, which oversees social service and relief programs.


  1. "Rinunce e Nomine, 07.03.2015" (Press release) (in Italian). 7 March 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  2. Annuario Pontificio 2012, p. 1
  3. Catholic Encyclopedia article: Rome
  4. 1 2 McBrien, Richard P. (2008). The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism . New York: HarperOne. pp.  6, 45.
  5. Annuario Pontificio 2012, p. 1386
  6. "Enti Gruppo - Vicariatus Urbis". www.vicariatusurbis.org.
  7. "Vicariatus Urbis: Parrocchie" [Vicariate of Rome: Parishes]. Diocesi di Roma (in Italian). Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  8. "Canon 479 §1". Vatican.va. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  9. "Diocese of Roma {Rome}". Catholic-Hierarchy.org . David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  10. "Vicariatus Urbis: Persone" [Vicariate of Rome: Personnel] (in Italian). Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  11. For the etymology of this word, see Etymology of the English word suburbicarian Archived 23 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine