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An ecclesiastical province is one of the basic forms of jurisdiction in Christian Churches with traditional hierarchical structure, including Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity. In general, an ecclesiastical province consists of several dioceses (or eparchies), one of them being the archdiocese (or archeparchy), headed by metropolitan bishop or archbishop who has ecclesiastical jurisdiction over all other bishops of the province.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.
Western Christianity is a religious category composed of the Latin Church and Protestantism, together with their offshoots such as Independent Catholicism and Restorationism. The large majority of the world's 2.4 billion Christians are Western Christians. The original and still major part, the Latin Church, developed under the bishop of Rome in the former Western Roman Empire in Antiquity. Out of the Latin Church emerged a wide variety of independent Protestant denominations, including Lutheranism and Anglicanism, starting from the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, as did Independent Catholicism in the 19th century. Thus, the term "Western Christianity" does not describe a single communion or religious denomination, but is applied to distinguish all these denominations collectively from Eastern Christianity.
Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed outside the Occident, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, and the denominations descended from the Church of the East. It also includes Reformed Eastern churches such as the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church which follows a reformed West Syriac Rite and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church that uses the Byzantine Rite. Historically called the Eastern Church in contrast with the (Latin) Western Church, since the Protestant Reformation Eastern Christianity is used in contrast with Western Christianity, comprising both the said Latin Church as well as Protestantism and Independent Catholicism. Eastern Christianity consists of the Christian traditions and churches that developed distinctively over several centuries in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Malabar coast of South India, and parts of the Far East. The term does not describe a single communion or religious denomination. Some Eastern churches have more in common historically and theologically with Western Christianity than with one another. The various Eastern churches do not normally refer to themselves as "Eastern", with the exception of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East.
In the Greco-Roman world, ecclesia (Greek ἐκκλησίᾱ; Latin ecclesia) was used to refer to a lawful assembly, or a called legislative body. As early as Pythagoras, the word took on the additional meaning of a community with shared beliefs. This is the meaning taken in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Septuagint), and later adopted by the Christian community to refer to the assembly of believers.
The ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by Medieval Greek.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
Pythagoras of Samos was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graecia and influenced the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and, through them, Western philosophy. Knowledge of his life is clouded by legend, but he appears to have been the son of Mnesarchus, a gem-engraver on the island of Samos. Modern scholars disagree regarding Pythagoras's education and influences, but they do agree that, around 530 BC, he travelled to Croton, where he founded a school in which initiates were sworn to secrecy and lived a communal, ascetic lifestyle. This lifestyle entailed a number of dietary prohibitions, traditionally said to have included vegetarianism, although modern scholars doubt that he ever advocated for complete vegetarianism.
In the history of Western world (sometimes more precisely as Greco-Roman world) adopted by the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, Christian ecclesiastical provinces were named by analogy with the secular Roman province as well as certain extraterritorial formations of western world in early medieval times (see Early Middle Ages). The administrative seat of each province is an episcopal see. In hierarchical Christian churches that have dioceses, a province is a collection of those dioceses (as a basic unit of administration).
The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and states, depending on the context, most often including at least parts of Europe, Australasia, and the Americas. There are many accepted definitions, all closely interrelated. The Western world is also known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient, or Eastern world. It is often correlated with the Northern half of the North-south divide.
The Greco-Roman world, Greco-Roman culture, or the term Greco-Roman ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth), when used as an adjective, as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to those geographical regions and countries that culturally were directly, long-term, and intimately influenced by the language, culture, government and religion of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is also better known as the Classical Civilisation. In exact terms the area refers to the "Mediterranean world", the extensive tracts of land centered on the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins, the "swimming-pool and spa" of the Greeks and Romans, i.e. one wherein the cultural perceptions, ideas and sensitivities of these peoples were dominant.
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome, consisting of large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean sea in Europe, North Africa and West Asia ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, it was a principate with Italy as metropole of the provinces and its city of Rome as sole capital. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided into a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when it sent the imperial insignia to Constantinople following the capture of Ravenna by the barbarians of Odoacer and the subsequent deposition of Romulus Augustus. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.
Over the years certain provinces adopted the status of metropolis and have a certain degree of self-rule. A bishop of such province is called the metropolitan bishop or metropolitan. The Catholic Church (both Latin and Eastern Catholic), the Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Communion all have provinces. These provinces are led by a metropolitan archbishop.[ citation needed ]
A metropolis religious jurisdiction, or a metropolitan archdiocese, is an episcopal see whose bishop is the metropolitan bishop of an ecclesiastical province. Metropolises, historically, have been important cities in their provinces.
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis.
Ecclesiastical provinces first corresponded to the civil provinces of the Roman Empire. From the second half of the 2nd century, the bishops of these provinces were accustomed to assemble on important occasions for common counsel in synods. From the end of that century the summons to attend these increasingly important synods was usually issued by the bishop of the capital or metropolis of the province, who also presided over the assembly, especially in the East. Important communications were also forwarded to the bishop of the provincial capital to be brought to the notice of the other bishops. Thus in the East during the 3rd century the bishop of the provincial metropolis came gradually to occupy a certain superior position, and received the name of metropolitan.
A synod is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word synod comes from the Greek σύνοδος (sýnodos) meaning "assembly" or "meeting", and it is synonymous with the Latin word concilium meaning "council". Originally, synods were meetings of bishops, and the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not. It is also sometimes used to refer to a church that is governed by a synod.
At the First Council of Nicaea (325) this position of the metropolitan was taken for granted, and was made the basis for conceding to him definite rights over the other bishops and dioceses of the state province. In Eastern canon law since the 4th century (cf. also the Synod of Antioch of 341, can. ix), it was a principle that every civil province was likewise a church province under the supreme direction of the metropolitan, i.e. of the bishop of the provincial capital.
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynian city of Nicaea by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325.
This division into ecclesiastical provinces did not develop so early in the Western Empire. In North Africa the first metropolitan appears during the 4th century, the Bishop of Carthage being recognized as primate of the dioceses of Northern Africa; metropolitans of the separate provinces gradually appear, although the boundaries of these provinces did not coincide with the divisions of the empire. A similar development was witnessed in Spain, Gaul, and Italy. The migration of the nations, however, prevented an equally stable formation of ecclesiastical provinces in the Christian West as in the East. It was only after the 5th century that such gradually developed, mostly in accordance with the ancient divisions of the Roman Empire. In Italy alone, on account of the central ecclesiastical position of Rome, this development was slower. However, at the end of antiquity the existence of church provinces as the basis of ecclesiastical administration was fairly universal in the West. In the Carolingian period they were reorganized, and have retained their place ever since.
In the Catholic Church, a province consists of a metropolitan archdiocese and one or more suffragan dioceses headed by diocesan bishops. The archbishop of the metropolitan see is the metropolitan of the province. The delimitation of church provinces in the Latin Church is reserved to the Holy See.
However, there have always been dioceses which are exempt from the authority of a metropolitan archdiocese, and are directly subject to the Holy See, such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Strasbourg. There are also some archdioceses that are not metropolitan sees, such as the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which is similarly exempt, and some that are suffragan to another archdiocese; their archbishops do not receive the pallium.
The authority of a Latin Church metropolitan over the other sees within his province is now very limited. During a vacancy in a suffragan diocese, the metropolitan names a temporary diocesan administrator if the College of Consultors of the diocese fails to elect one within the prescribed period.A metropolitan generally presides at the installation and consecration of new bishops in the province, and the tribunal of the metropolitan see generally serves as the first court of appeal regarding canonical matters of provincial diocesan tribunals. The metropolitan's insignia is the pallium. The article in the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1911 on "metropolitan" shows that the metropolitan then had scarcely any power more than now.
In the Eastern Catholic Churches, the patriarchal or major archiepiscopal Churches may also be divided into ecclesial provinces, each headed by a metropolitan. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has several, two of them in the United States and Canada. Some other Eastern Catholic Churches of a lower category and generally less populous, are known as metropolitanates. They are headed by a single metropolitan, the hierarch of a fixed episcopal see,As head of an autonomous Church, his name is mentioned in the liturgy of that Church immediately after that of the Pope and, in suffragan eparchies, ahead of that of the local hierarch.
The borders of provinces have often been inspired, or even determined, by historical or present political borders; the same is often true of diocesan borders within a province. The following are some examples:
Historical development of ecclesiastical provinces in the Eastern Orthodox Church was influenced by strong tendencies of internal administrative centralization. Since the First Ecumenical Council (325), the Archbishop of Alexandria was given supreme jurisdiction over all provinces of Egypt. Similar authority was also granted to Archbishop of Antioch regarding jurisdiction over provinces of Orient. Since the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451), Patriarch of Constantinople was given the right to consecrate metropolitan bishops in all regions that were placed under his supreme jurisdiction.In time, previous administrative autonomy of original ecclesiastical provinces was gradually and systematically reduced in favor of patriarchal centralization. Ancient practice of annual councils of provincial bishops, headed by their local metropolitans, was also abandoned in favor of centralized councils, headed by patriarchs and attended by metropolitan bishops.
The creation of new autonomous and autocephalous jurisdictions was also marked by tendencies of internal centralization. The newly created Archbishopric of Ohrid (1018) was structured as a single ecclesiastical province, headed by an archbishop who had jurisdiction over all of his suffragan bishops. In 1219, autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church was also organized as one ecclesiastical province, headed by archbishop with direct jurisdiction over all Serbian bishops.By the end of Middle Ages, each autocephalous and autonomous church in Eastern Orthodoxy was functioning as a single, internally integrated ecclesiastical province, headed by local patriarch or archbishop.
Only in modern times, some Eastern Orthodox Churches have revived the ancient practice by creating internal ecclesiastical provinces on the middle (regional) level of church administration. In the Romanian Orthodox Church there are six regional metropolitanates, headed by local metropolitans who preside over regional synods of local bishops, and have special duties and privileges. For example, the Metropolitan of Oltenia has regional jurisdiction over four local dioceses. On the other hand, a majority of Eastern Orthodox Churches remain and function as highly centralized church bodies, each of them functioning as a single ecclesiastical province.
Member churches of the Anglican Communion are often referred to as provinces. Some provinces are coterminous with the boundaries of political states, some include multiple nations while others include only parts of a nation. Some, such as the Church of the Province of West Africa, have the word "province" in their names. These member churches are known as "provinces of the Anglican Communion," and are headed by a primate, who is usually also styled archbishop, but may have an alternative title such as primus (for example, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church), presiding bishop, or moderator.
The word is also used to refer to a grouping of dioceses within a member church, commonly known as a metropolitical province, metropolitan province, or internal province. The Church of England is divided into two such provinces: Canterbury and York. The Anglican Church of Australia has five provinces: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, and an extraprovincial diocese. The Anglican Church of Canada has four: British Columbia and Yukon, Canada, Ontario, and Rupert's Land. The Church of Ireland has two: Armagh and Dublin. The Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) numbers, rather than names, its nine provinces. In all cases apart from ECUSA each metropolitan or internal province is headed by a Metropolitan bishop with the title archbishop.
The Evangelical State Church in Prussia, formed in 1821 (renamed: Evangelical State Church in Prussia's older Provinces in 1875, Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union in 1922), had ecclesiastical provinces (Kirchenprovinz[en]) as administrative subsections mostly following the boundaries of those political Provinces of Prussia which formed part of the state before 1866, with some border changes after 1920 following WWI territorial cessions.
|Name||Congregations comprised were located in||Seat||Leading bodies (legislation, executive) and persons||Status as eccl. province||Successor organisation|
|Ecclesiastical Province of Brandenburg (1821–1926)|
German: Kirchenprovinz Brandenburg
Ecclesiastical Province of the March of Brandenburg (1926–1948)
German: Kirchenprovinz Mark Brandenburg
| Province of Brandenburg and|
Berlin (politically separate since 1881)
|provincial synod (Provinzialsynode), |
1829–1933: general superintendents for (1) Berlin inner city, (2) Berlin suburbia (1911–1933), (3) Kurmark and (4) Lusatia and New March
1933–1935: provincial bishops of Berlin and of Brandenburg, provosts of Kurmark and of New March-Lower Lusatia
|1821–1948||Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg|
| Regional Synodal Federation of the Free City of Danzig |
German: Landessynodalverband der Freien Stadt Danzig
|Free City of Danzig||Danzig||regional synod (Landessynode), consistory, |
1922-1933: general supintendent
1933–1940: provincial bishop of Danzig
|1922–1940||Ecclesiastical Region of Danzig-West Prussia|
|Ecclesiastical Region of Danzig-West Prussia|
German: Kirchengebiet Danzig-Westpreußen
|Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia||Danzig||no synod, consistory, |
bishop of Danzig
|1940–1945||de facto dissolved by flight, murder and expulsion of parishioners|
| Ecclesiastical Province of East Prussia |
German: Kirchenprovinz Ostpreußen
| Province of East Prussia |
plus West Prussia governorate in 1922
minus Memel Territory in 1925
plus Memel Territory March 1939
minus West Prussia governorate in 1940
|Königsberg in Prussia||provincial synod, consistory, |
1886–1933: general superintendent, 1933–1945: provincial bishop and general superintendent for Memel (1939–1944)
|1886–1945||de facto dissolved by flight, murder and expulsion of parishioners|
|Regional Synodal Federation of the Memel Territory|
German: Landessynodalverband Memelgebiet
|Klaipėda Region||Memel||regional synod, consistory (est. 1927), |
general superintendent (as of 1926)
|1925–1939||Ecclesiastical Province of East Prussia|
| United Evangelical Church in Polish Upper Silesia |
German: Unierte Evangelische Kirche in Polnisch OberschlesienPolish: Ewangelicki Kościół Unijny na polskim Górnym Śląsku
|East Upper Silesia||Katowice||regional synod, regional ecclesiastical council (Landeskirchenrat), |
|1923–1937||church body continued without status as ecclesiastical province till 1939, then merged in the Ecclesiastical Province of Silesia|
| Ecclesiastical Province of Pomerania |
German: Kirchenprovinz Pommern
|Province of Pomerania|| Stettin (till 1945), |
Greifswald (since 1945)
|provincial synod, consistory, |
1883–1933: general superintendents (east and west region), 1933–1945: provincial bishop
|1821–1950||Pomeranian Evangelical Church|
|Ecclesiastical Province of Posen|
German: Kirchenprovinz Posen
|Province of Posen||Posen||provincial synod, consistory, |
|1821–1920||Ecclesiastical Province of Posen-West Prussia (west), United Evangelical Church in Poland (centre; German: Unierte Evangelische Kirche in Polen, Polish: Ewangelicki Kościół Unijny w Polsce)|
|Ecclesiastical Province of Posen-West Prussia|
German: Kirchenprovinz Posen-Westpreußen
|Province of the Frontier March of Posen-West Prussia||Schneidemühl||provincial synod, consistory, |
1923–1933: general superintendent, 1933–1939: provost
|1921–1939||Ecclesiastical Province of Pomerania|
|Ecclesiastical Province of Prussia|
German: Kirchenprovinz Preußen
|Province of Prussia||Königsberg in Prussia||provincial synod, consistory, |
|1821–1886||Ecclesiastical Province of East Prussia (east), Ecclesiastical Province of West Prussia (west)|
|Ecclesiastical Province of the Rhineland|
German: Kirchenprovinz Rheinland
|Rhine Province, western parts of the Saar Protectorate (1920–1935), Hohenzollern Province (since 1899)||Coblence (till 1934), Düsseldorf (since)||provincial synod, consistory, |
|1821–1947||Evangelical Church in the Rhineland|
|Ecclesiastical Province of Saxony|
German: Kirchenprovinz Sachsen
|Province of Saxony||Magdeburg||provincial synod, 4 consistories in Magdeburg (1815–2008), Roßla (1719–1947), Stolberg at the Harz (1553–2005) and Wernigerode (1658–1930; the latter three with regional competences), |
1815–1933: 3 general superintendents, 1933–1950: provincial bishops
|1821–1950||Evangelical Church of the Ecclesiastical Province of Saxony|
|Ecclesiastical Province of Silesia|
German: Kirchenprovinz Schlesien
| Province of Silesia (1821–1919, 1938–1941)|
Province of Lower Silesia and Province of Upper Silesia (1919—1938, and 1941—1945)
| Breslau (till end of 1946), |
|provincial synod, consistory, |
1829–1933: 2 general superintendents, 1933–2003: (provincial) bishop
|1821–1947||Evangelical Church of Silesia|
|Ecclesiastical Province of Westphalia|
German: Kirchenprovinz Westfalen
|Province of Westphalia||Münster in Westphalia||provincial synod, consistory, |
|1821–1945||Evangelical Church of Westphalia|
|Ecclesiastical Province of West Prussia|
German: Kirchenprovinz Westpreußen
|Province of West Prussia||Danzig||provincial synod, consistory, |
1883–1920: general superintendent
|1886–1921||Regional Synodal Federation of the Free City of Danzig (north), Ecclesiastical Province of East Prussia (east), Ecclesiastical Province of Posen-West Prussia (southwest), United Evangelical Church in Poland (centre)|
The term province, or occasionally religious province, also refers to a geographical and administrative subdivision in a number of orders and congregations. This is true of most, though not all, religious communities founded after the year AD 1000, as well as the Augustinians, who date from earlier.
A province of a religious institute is typically headed by a provincial superior. The title differs by each institute's tradition (provincial minister for Franciscans; provincial prior for Dominicans; provincial for the Augustinians, simply "provincial" or "provincial father" for the Jesuits and many others, for instance).
The borders of a religious institute's provinces are determined independently of any diocesan structure, and so the borders often differ from the 'secular', or diocesan, ecclesiastical provinces. The orders' provinces are usually far larger than a diocese, a secular province, or even a country, though sometimes they are smaller in an institute's heartland.
Most monastic orders are not organized by provinces. In general, they organise their administration through autonomous houses, in some cases grouped in larger families. For example, each Benedictine abbey is an independent foundation, but will often choose to group themselves into congregations based on historical connections.
In Christianity, an archbishop is a bishop of higher rank or office. In some cases, such as the Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Church of England, the title is borne by the leader of the denomination. Like popes, patriarchs, metropolitans, cardinal bishops, diocesan bishops, and suffragan bishops, archbishops are in the highest of the three traditional orders of bishops, priests, and deacons. An archbishop may be granted the title or ordained as chief pastor of a metropolitan see or another episcopal see to which the title of archbishop is attached.
The word diocese is derived from the Greek term dioikesis (διοίκησις) meaning "administration". Today, when used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. Sometimes it is also called bishopric.
An ecclesiastical court, also called court Christian or court spiritual, is any of certain courts having jurisdiction mainly in spiritual or religious matters. In the Middle Ages these courts had much wider powers in many areas of Europe than before the development of nation states. They were experts in interpreting canon law, a basis of which was the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian which is considered the source of the civil law legal tradition.
The term exarch comes from the Ancient Greek ἔξαρχος, exarchos, and designates holders of various historical offices, some of them being political or military and others being ecclesiastical.
A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop and, consequently, are not normally jurisdictional in their role. Suffragan bishops may be charged by a metropolitan to oversee a suffragan diocese. They may be assigned to an area which does not have a cathedral of its own.
An ordinary is an officer of a church or civic authority who by reason of office has ordinary power to execute laws.
The Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, a faith with ancient Christian roots in Egypt. The current holder of this position is Pope Tawadros II, who was selected as the 118th pope on November 18, 2012.
The Archdiocese of Turku, historically known as Archdiocese of Åbo, is the seat of the Archbishop of Turku. It is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and its see city is Turku. The Archbishop has many administrative tasks relating to the National church, and is the Metropolitan and Primate of the church. In common with other Lutheran and Anglican churches the Archbishop is considered primus inter pares while all diocesan bishops retain their independence within their respective jurisdictions. This also applies to the Bishop of Turku Archdiocese. The Archdiocese of Turku has a unique episcopal structure as there are two bishops in the Diocese.
A suffragan diocese is one of the dioceses other than the metropolitan archdiocese that constitute an ecclesiastical province. It exists in some Christian denominations, in particular the Catholic Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the highest Orthodox authority in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It formulates the rules and regulations regarding matters of the church's organisation and faith.
The Catholic Church in Ecuador comprises only a Latin hierarchy, united in a national episcopal conference, which comprises :