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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.
In secular use, the word eparchy denotes an administrative district in the Roman / Byzantine Empire, or in modern Greece or Cyprus.
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.
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 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.
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 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 ]
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the bishop of Rome, but the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.
In church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop.
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.
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.
The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, also known as the Antiochian Orthodox Church and legally as the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Headed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, it considers itself the successor to the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter and Paul.
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 Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It was recognized as autocephalous Church by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in AD 1945, becoming patriarchate in 27 July 1961.
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 history of the Eastern Orthodox Church is traced back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The Apostles appointed successors, known as bishops, and they in turn appointed other bishops in a process known as Apostolic succession. Over time, five Patriarchates were established to organize the Christian world, and four of these ancient Patriarchates remain Orthodox today. Orthodox Christianity reached its present form in Late Antiquity, when the Ecumenical Councils were held, doctrinal disputes were resolved, the Fathers of the Church lived and wrote, and Orthodox worship practices settled into their permanent form.
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 .|