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Eparchy is an anglicized Greek word ( ἐπαρχία ), authentically Latinized as eparchia, which can be loosely translated as the rule or jurisdiction over something, such as a province, prefecture, or territory. It has specific meanings both in politics, history and in the hierarchy of the Eastern Christian churches.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Ecclesiastical jurisdiction in its primary sense does not signify jurisdiction over ecclesiastics, but jurisdiction exercised by church leaders over other leaders and over the laity.
In secular use, the word eparchy denotes an administrative district in the Roman / Byzantine Empire, or in modern Greece or Cyprus.
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.
The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural and military force in Europe. "Byzantine Empire" is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, also known as Hellas, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki.
In ecclesiastical use, an eparchy is a territorial diocese governed by a bishop of one of the Eastern churches, who holds the title of eparch. It is part of a metropolis. Each eparchy is divided into parishes in the same manner as a diocese of western Christendom. In the Catholic Church, an archieparchy equivalent to an archdiocese of the Roman Rite and its bishop is an archieparch, equivalent to an archbishop of the Roman Rite.
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.
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.
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.
Originally eparchy (ἐπαρχίᾱ, eparchia) was the Greek equivalent of the Latin term provincia , one of the districts of the Roman Empire. As such it was used, chiefly in the eastern parts of the Empire, to designate the Roman provinces. The term eparch (Greek : ἔπαρχος, eparchos) however, designating an eparchy's governor, was most usually used to refer to the praetorian prefects (singular in Greek: ἔπαρχος τοῦ πραιτωρίου, "eparch of the praetorium") in charge of the Empire's praetorian prefectures, and to the Eparch of Constantinople, the city's urban prefect.
The Roman provinces were the lands and people outside of Rome itself that were controlled by the Republic and later the Empire. Each province was ruled by a Roman who was appointed as governor. Although different in many ways, they were similar to the states in Australia or the United States, the regions in the United Kingdom or New Zealand, or the prefectures in Japan. Canada refers to some of its territory as provinces.
The praetorian prefect was a high office in the Roman Empire. Originating as the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the office gradually acquired extensive legal and administrative functions, with its holders becoming the Emperor's chief aides. Under Constantine I, the office was much reduced in power and transformed into a purely civilian administrative post, while under his successors, territorially-defined praetorian prefectures emerged as the highest-level administrative division of the Empire. The prefects again functioned as the chief ministers of the state, with many laws addressed to them by name. In this role, praetorian prefects continued to be appointed by the Eastern Roman Empire until the reign of Heraclius in the 7th century AD, when wide-ranging reforms reduced their power and converted them to mere overseers of provincial administration. The last traces of the prefecture disappeared in the Byzantine Empire by the 840s.
The praetorian prefecture was the largest administrative division of the late Roman Empire, above the mid-level dioceses and the low-level provinces. Praetorian prefectures originated in the reign of Constantine I, reaching their more or less final form in the last third of the 4th century and surviving until the 7th century, when the reforms of Heraclius diminished the prefecture's power, and the Muslim conquests forced the East Roman Empire to adopt the new theme system. Elements of the prefecture's administrative apparatus however are documented to have survived in the Byzantine Empire until the first half of the 9th century.
The Dominate-period administrative system was retained In the Byzantine period of the Empire until the 7th century. As Greek became the Empire's main administrative language, replacing Latin, in the latter 6th century even the provinces of the Exarchate of Ravenna, in reconquered Italy, were termed eparchiae in Greek as well as in Latin.
The Dominate or late Roman Empire is the name sometimes given to the "despotic" later phase of imperial government, following the earlier period known as the "Principate", in the ancient Roman Empire. This phase is more often called the Tetrarchy at least until 313 when the empire was reunited.
The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a lordship of the Eastern Roman Empire today referred to by some as the Byzantine Empire in Italy, from 584 to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards. It was one of two exarchates established following the western reconquests under Emperor Justinian to more effectively administer the territories, along with the Exarchate of Africa.
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Italy is located in Southern Europe, and it is sometimes considered as part of Western Europe. The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.
In the latter half of the 7th century, the old provincial administration was replaced by the thematic system. Even after that however, the term eparchos remained in use until the 840s for the senior administrative official of each thema, under the governing strategos . Thereafter, eparchs are evident in some cases as city governors, but the most important by far amongst them was the Eparch of Constantinople, whose office had wide-ranging powers and functioned continuously until the 13th century.
The themes or themata were the main military/administrative divisions of the middle Byzantine Empire. They were established in the mid-7th century in the aftermath of the Slavic invasion of the Balkans and Muslim conquests of parts of Byzantine territory, and replaced the earlier provincial system established by Diocletian and Constantine the Great. In their origin, the first themes were created from the areas of encampment of the field armies of the East Roman army, and their names corresponded to the military units that had existed in those areas. The theme system reached its apogee in the 9th and 10th centuries, as older themes were split up and the conquest of territory resulted in the creation of new ones. The original theme system underwent significant changes in the 11th and 12th centuries, but the term remained in use as a provincial and financial circumscription until the very end of the Empire.
Strategos or Strategus, plural strategoi, is used in Greek to mean military general. In the Hellenistic world and the Byzantine Empire the term was also used to describe a military governor. In the modern Hellenic Army it is the highest officer rank.
The term eparchia was revived as one of the administrative sub-provincial units of post-Ottoman independent Greece, the country being divided into nomoi ("Prefectures"), of which in turn some were subdivided into eparchies. From 1887, the eparchies were abolished as actual administrative units, but were retained for some state services, especially finance services and education, as well as for electoral purposes. Before the Second World War, there were 139 eparchies, and after the war, with the addition of the Dodecanese Islands, their number grew to 147. The provinces were abolished in the mainland (but retained for the islands), in the wide-ranging administrative reform implemented in 1997 (the "Kapodistrias plan") and replaced by enlarged municipalities (demoi).
In Cyprus, the term eparchia is used to refer to the Districts of Cyprus.
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The Christian Church (before the split into Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) adopted elements of political, administrative system of the late Roman Empire, as introduced by the reforms of Diocletian (284–305). Adopted elements included both organizational structure and terminology.
Notwithstanding the primacies of the Apostolic Sees of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch, the bishoprics of each civil province were grouped in one ecclesiastical province, also called eparchy, under the supervision of the metropolitan, usually the bishop of the provincial capital. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 accepted this arrangement and orders that: "the authority [of appointing bishops] shall belong to the metropolitan in each eparchy" (can. iv), i.e., in each such civil eparchy (province) there shall be a metropolitan bishop who has authority over the others.
Since the use of the term eparchy was originally linked to metropolitan rights, later in Eastern Christianity, after a process of title-inflation and multiplying the numbers of metropolitans by elevating local bishops to honorary metropolitan rank without giving them any real metropolitan powers, the use of the word "eparchy" was gradually modified and came to refer to dioceses of such "metropolitan" bishops, and later to dioceses in general. This process was initially promoted in the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and later the new usage of term "eparchy" became prevalent in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the ancient Oriental Churches, and the Eastern Catholic Churches.[ citation needed ]
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the name eparchy is not commonly used as the usual term for a diocese except in the Bulgarian, Czechoslovak, Russian, and Serbian Orthodox Churches. The Russian Orthodox Church in the early 20th century counted 86 eparchies, of which three (Kiev, Moscow, and St. Petersburg) were ruled by bishops who always bore the title "Metropolitan."[ citation needed ]
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.
Chalcedonian Christianity refers to the Christian denominations adhering to the christological definitions and ecclesiological resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451. Chalcedonian Christians follow the Definition of Chalcedon, a religious doctrine concerning the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ. The great majority of Christian communions and confessions in the 21st century are Chalcedonian, but from the 5th to the 8th centuries the ascendancy of Chalcedonian Christology was not always certain.
The name Greek Orthodox Church, or Greek Orthodoxy, is a term referring to the body of several Churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, whose liturgy is or was traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the Septuagint and the New Testament, and whose history, traditions, and theology are rooted in the early Church Fathers and the culture of the Byzantine Empire. Greek Orthodox Christianity has also traditionally placed heavy emphasis and awarded high prestige to traditions of Eastern Orthodox monasticism and asceticism, with origins in Early Christianity in the Near East and in Byzantine Anatolia.
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, one of them being the archdiocese, headed by metropolitan bishop or archbishop who has ecclesiastical jurisdiction over all other bishops of the province.
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church, legally the Patriarchate of Bulgaria, is an autocephalous Orthodox Church. It is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church with some 6 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It was recognized as autocephalous Church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in AD 870, becoming Patriarchate in 918/919.
The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. It is headed by Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi since 2011, seated in Bkerke north of Beirut, Lebanon. Officially known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, it is part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.
The Ukrainian (Greek) Catholic Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul of Melbourne is a Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic eparchy (diocese) of the Catholic Church in Australia based in Melbourne and suffragan of its Latin Metropolitan Archbishop of Melbourne.
The Slovak Greek Catholic Church, or Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church, is a Metropolitan sui iuris Eastern particular Church in full union with the Catholic Church. Its liturgical rite is the Byzantine Rite. L'Osservatore Romano of January 31, 2008 reported that, in Slovakia alone, it had some 350,000 faithful, 374 priests and 254 parishes. In addition, the 2012 Annuario Pontificio gave its Canadian Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius of Toronto as having 2,000 faithful, 4 priests and 5 parishes. The Slovak Greek Catholic Church is in full communion with the Holy See.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa, also known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, is an autocephalous patriarchate that is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Its seat is in Alexandria and it has canonical responsibility for the entire African continent.
The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic is the Catholic eparchy (diocese) governing Byzantine Ruthenian (Rusyn) Catholics in the eastern United States. Its headquarters are at 445 Lackawanna Avenue, Woodland Park, New Jersey. On October 29, 2013, Pope Francis appointed Father Kurt Burnette, until then the Rector of Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as Eparch (Bishop)-elect of the Eparchy, succeeding William Skurla, who had become the leader of the Byzantine Catholic (Ruthenian) Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, the U.S. headquarters of this particular Eastern-rite Catholic church. Bishop-elect Burnette, 57, is a native of Falkenham, England, grew up in Texas, and was originally a priest of the Phoenix Eparchy.
The Ruthenian Catholic Eparchy of Parma, commonly but inaccurately called Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, a suffragan diocese in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, is the eparchy of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church in the Midwestern United States, in practice governing most Byzantine Rite Catholics in the Midwestern United States, hence informally also known as Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma. Its headquarters are located in Parma, Ohio. The Eparchy's Bishop is Milan Lach, SJ.
The Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi is an eparchy of the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church sui iuris covering the Italian island of Sicily, where it has 15 parishes. Its cathedral episcopal see is the Cattedrale di S. Demetrio Megalomartire dedicated to the marty Deemetrio, in Piana degli Albanesi, province of Palermo.
The Greek Catholic Eparchy of Križevci is an eparchy (diocese) of the Catholic Church for Eastern Catholics of Byzantine Rite in part of the former Yugoslavia, with its seat in Križevci, Croatia. It is part of the Greek Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia, an Eastern Catholic Church sui iuris of the Byzantine Rite which is in full union with the Roman Catholic Church. The Eparchy is currently vacant since the retirement of Bishop Nikola Kekić in March 2019, and is administered by Fr. Milan Stipić.
The Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo is an eparchy (diocese) associated with the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church under an unidentified status and territory located in the west of Ukraine, roughly equivalent with Zakarpatska Oblast. The eparchy was created by the Pope Clement XIV in 1771.
The Archeparchy of Polotsk(-Vitebsk) was an eparchy of the Ruthenian Uniate Church in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1596 to 1839.
The Hungarian (Greek) Catholic Eparchy of Miskolc is an eparchy of the Hungarian Greek Catholic Church, a Metropolitan particular church sui juris which uses the Byzantine Rite in the Hungarian language.
The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Kamyanets-Podilskyi is an eparchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church sui iuris in its homeland Ukraine.
Slovak Catholic Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius of Toronto is an Eparchy for Byzantine-rite Eastern Catholics of Slovak origin in Canada. It is part of the Slovak Greek Catholic Church sui iuris, however it is not suffragan to the metropolitan Archeparchy of Prešov, but it is subject immediately to the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. Its territory is extended on the whole territory of Canada. Its bishop is member of the Council of Hierarchs of the Slovak Greek Catholic Church sui iuris.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Eparch .|