Primus inter pares : Πρῶτος μεταξὺ ἴσων, prōtos metaxỳ ísōn) is a Latin phrase meaning first among equals. It is typically used as an honorary title for someone who is formally equal to other members of their group but is accorded unofficial respect, traditionally owing to their seniority in office. Historically, the princeps senatus of the Roman Senate was such a figure and initially bore only the distinction that he was allowed to speak first during debate. Also, Constantine the Great was given the role of primus inter pares. However, the term is also often used ironically or self-deprecatingly by leaders with much higher status as a form of respect, camaraderie, or propaganda. After the fall of the Republic, Roman emperors initially referred to themselves only as princeps despite having power of life and death over their "fellow citizens". Various modern figures such as the chair of the United States Federal Reserve System, the prime minister of parliamentary countries, the federal president of Switzerland, the chief justice of the United States, the chief justice of the Philippines, the archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Communion and the ecumenical patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church fall under both senses: bearing higher status and various additional powers while remaining still merely equal to their peers in important senses.(Ancient Greek
Seniority is the concept of a person or group of people taking precedence over another person or group because the former is either older than the latter or has occupied a particular position longer than the latter. Seniority is present between parents and children and may be present in other common relationships, such as among siblings of different ages or between workers and their managers.
The princeps senatus was the first member by precedence of the Roman Senate. Although officially out of the cursus honorum and owning no imperium, this office brought conferred prestige on the senator holding it.
The Roman Senate was a political institution in ancient Rome. It was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being established in the first days of the city of Rome. It survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC, the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, and the barbarian rule of Rome in the 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries.
In the People's Republic of China, during the collective leadership of the Politburo Standing Committee which Deng Xiaoping put into place following the death of Mao Zedong, the term "first among equals" was often used to describe China's paramount leader. This has fallen out of favour since the consolidation of power under the current core leader, Xi Jinping.
Collective leadership is a distribution of power within an organisational structure. It is considered an ideal form of ruling a communist party, both within and outside a socialist state.
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1992. After Chairman Mao Zedong's death in 1976, Deng led China through far-reaching market-economy reforms and has been called the "Architect of Modern China."
Mao Zedong, also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which he ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist, his theories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.
In the federal Commonwealth realms, Canada and Australia, in which Queen Elizabeth II is head of state as constitutional monarch, a governor-general is appointed by the Queen-in-Council to represent the Queen during her absence. The governor-general typically appoints the leader of the political party holding at least a plurality of seats in the elected legislature to be prime minister, whose relationship with the other ministers of the Crown is primus inter pares, or "first among equals". This is also done at the provincial or state level, wherein the lieutenant governors of the Canadian provinces or governors of the Australian states as Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council appoints the leader of the provincial or state political party holding at least a plurality of seats in the elected provincial or state legislature to be provincial premier or state premier.
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 26 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
A head of state is the public persona who officially embodies a state in its unity and legitimacy. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government and more.
As federations, in Canada, lieutenant-governors represent the Canadian monarch in each of the provinces, thus acting as the "heads of state" in the provinces.[ citation needed ] And, unlike in Australia with the governors of the Australian states, the lieutenant-governors in Canada are not appointed by the Queen-in-Council, but by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister of Canada, known as the Governor-in-Council. Similarly, in Australia, there are governors to represent the Australian monarch in each of the states of Australia that comprise the federal Commonwealth of Australia, making them "head of state" in each of their own states.[ citation needed ] In each case, these several governors or lieutenant-governors are not envisaged as subordinate to the governor general – the governor-general of Australia and the governor general of Canada – as a federal viceroy – is "first among equals".
A federal monarchy is a federation of states with a single monarch as over-all head of the federation, but retaining different monarchs, or a non-monarchical system of government, in the various states joined to the federation.
The provinces and territories of Canada are sub-national governments within the geographical areas of Canada under the authority of the Canadian Constitution. In the 1867 Canadian Confederation, three provinces of British North America—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada —were united to form a federated colony, becoming a sovereign nation in the next century. Over its history, Canada's international borders have changed several times, and the country has grown from the original four provinces to the current ten provinces and three territories. Together, the provinces and territories make up the world's second-largest country by area.
Mayors of German city states have traditionally acted as primus inter pares. In Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen, which had been Free Imperial Cities from the times of the Holy Roman Empire, the government was called Senate and the mayor was one senator amongst many, often referred to as president of the Senate rather than mayor. This ended in Lübeck with the incorporation into Prussia in 1937, while in a constitutional reform in 1996 the mayor of Hamburg was given broad powers to shape the politics of the Senate of Hamburg, thus ending his status as primus inter pares. However, in the city state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which was created after the Second World War, the mayor has had a similar role in the Senate of Bremen. The same was true until 1995 for the governing mayor of Berlin among his colleagues within the Senate of Berlin.
In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official in a municipal government such as that of a city or a town.
Hamburg, officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is the second-largest city in Germany after Berlin and 8th largest city in the European Union with a population of over 1.8 million.
Lübeck, officially the Hanseatic City of Lübeck (German: Hansestadt Lübeck), is a city in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. On the river Trave, it was the leading city of the Hanseatic League, and because of its extensive Brick Gothic architecture, it is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In 2015, it had a population of 218,523.
Starting with the Meiji Constitution of 1885, as part of the "Cabinet System Act", and lasting until the revision of the modern constitution in 1947, the prime minister of Japan was considered to be of the same rank as the other ministers who formed the Cabinet. During this time, the prime minister was referred to as "同輩中の首席" dōhai-chū no shuseki ("chief among peers").
The Constitution of the Empire of Japan, known informally as the Meiji Constitution, was the constitution of the Empire of Japan which was proclaimed on February 11, 1889, and remained in force between November 29, 1890 and May 2, 1947. Enacted after the Meiji Restoration in 1868, it provided for a form of mixed constitutional and absolute monarchy, based jointly on the Prussian and British models. In theory, the Emperor of Japan was the supreme leader, and the Cabinet, whose Prime Minister would be elected by a Privy Council, were his followers; in practice, the Emperor was head of state but the Prime Minister was the actual head of government. Under the Meiji Constitution, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet were not necessarily chosen from the elected members of the group.
The Constitution of Japan is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May 1947, as a new constitution for a post-war Japan.
The Cabinet of Japan is the executive branch of the government of Japan. It consists of the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the Emperor after being designated by the National Diet, and up to nineteen other members, called Ministers of State. The Prime Minister is designated by the Diet, and the remaining ministers are appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister. The Cabinet is collectively responsible to the Diet and must resign if a motion of no confidence is adopted by the Diet.
The prime minister of the Netherlands (officially, the "minister-president") is the chairman of the Council of Ministers and active executive authority of the Dutch government. Although formally no special powers are assigned, the prime minister functions as the "face" of the cabinet of the Netherlands. Usually, the prime minister is also minister of General Affairs. Until 1945, the position of head of the Council of Ministers officially switched between the ministers, although practices differed throughout history. In 1945, the position was formally instituted. Although not formally necessary, the prime minister in practice is the leader of the largest party in the majority coalition in the House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament.
In Switzerland the seven-member Federal Council constitutes the government. Each year, the Federal Assembly elects a president of the Confederation. By convention, the positions of President and Vice President rotate annually, each Councillor thus becoming Vice President and then President every seven years while in office.
The president is not the Swiss head of state, but he or she is the highest-ranking Swiss official. He or she presides over Council meetings and carries out certain representative functions that, in other countries, are the business of the head of state. In urgent situations where a Council decision cannot be made in time, the president is empowered to act on behalf of the whole Council. Apart from that, though, the president is a primus inter pares, having no power above and beyond the other six councillors.
The term "prime minister" can be compared to "primary minister" or "first minister". Because of this, the prime ministers of many countries are traditionally considered to be "first among equals" – they are the chairman or "head" of a Cabinet rather than holding an office that is de jure superior to that of ministers.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has frequently been described as "first among equals". In the UK, the executive is the Cabinet, and during Hanoverian times a minister had the role of informing the monarch about proposed legislation in the House of Commons and other matters. In modern times, however, although the phrase is still occasionally used, it understates the powers of the prime minister, which now include many broad, exclusive, executive powers over which cabinet members have little influence.
First Among Equals is the title of a popular political novel (1984) by Jeffrey Archer, about the careers and private lives of several men vying to become British Prime Minister. It was later adapted into a ten-part miniseries, produced by Granada Television.
Countries and jurisdictions that have adapted the British parliamentary system (such as Canada and Australia) would have the same use for the phrase.
The phrase "first among equals" has also been used to describe the Chief Justice of the United States. The Chief Justice has considerable administrative powers, and can assign the writing of decisions in cases in which he is in the majority, but has no direct control over the decisions of his colleagues on the Supreme Court of the United States. This situation is often found in supreme courts around the world.[ citation needed ]
In many private parliamentary bodies, such as clubs, boards, educational faculty, and committees, the officer or member who holds the position of chair or chairman is often regarded as a "first among equals". That is, while most rules of order will grant the chair special powers within the context of a meeting, the position of chair is usually temporary, rotating, and powerless in other contexts, making the occupant merely a temporary leader required to instil order. This is the case for mayors under a council–manager government, as the "mayor" has the same vote as all other council members and cannot override them, although their opinion may have more sway among other members.
The phrase "first among equals" is also used to describe the role of the patriarch of Constantinople, who, as the "ecumenical patriarch", is the first among all the bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Church. He has no direct jurisdiction over the other patriarchs or the other autocephalous Orthodox churches and cannot interfere in the election of bishops in autocephalous churches, but he alone enjoys the right of convening extraordinary synods consisting of them or their delegates to deal with ad hoc situations, and he has also convened well-attended pan-Orthodox Synods in the last forty years. His title is an acknowledgement of his historic significance and of his privilege to serve as primary spokesman for the Eastern Orthodox Communion. His moral authority is highly respected.
The Eastern Orthodox Church also uses the term "first among equals" in regard to the bishop of Rome during the first thousand years of Christianity.Whereas the patriarch of Constantinople is now considered first among the Orthodox patriarchs, the Orthodox Church considers the bishop of Rome (regarded as the "patriarch of the West") the "first among equals" in the Pentarchy of the patriarchal sees according to the ancient, first millennial order (or "taxis" in Greek) of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, established after Constantinople became the eastern capital of the Byzantine Empire. The bishop of Rome no longer holds this distinction in the Orthodox Church because, following the East–West Schism, he is no longer in communion with the Orthodox Church.
The canons relative to the universal primacy of honor of the patriarch of Constantinople are the 9th canon of the synod of Antiochand the 28th canon of the Council of Chalcedon.
The Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches consider the pope (bishop of Rome) to be the single Vicar of Christ, successor of Saint Peter, and leader of all their bishops (Patriarchs included), in Apostolic succession to the apostles. As such, the Catholic Church does not see the pope merely as being "first among equals", but as actually holding an office with supreme authority in canon law over all other bishops. This jurisdictional claim was one of the main causes of the East-West Schism in the Church, which became formal in 1054.
The Dean of the College of Cardinals in the Catholic Church is generally considered to be the first among equal Prince of the Church in the College, which is the pope's highest-ranking council and elects as conclave (where an age limit applies) the papal successor, generally from its ranks.
Various episcopal sees were granted or claim the title of primate (usually of a past or present political entity), which grants such a primas (usually a metropolitan archbishopric, often in a former/present capital) precedence over all other sees in its circumscription, outranking (other) metropolitan sees, but the incumbent primates can be trumped by personal ranks, as they rank below cardinals. More commonly, dioceses are geographically grouped in an ecclesiastical province, where only one holds the rank of metropolitan archbishop, which outranks his colleagues, who are therefore called his suffragans, even if these include (fairly rarely) another archbishop.
In the Anglican Communion, the archbishop of Canterbury is considered to be "first among equals" in his presidency over the Communion.The senior bishop of the seven diocesan bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church bears the truncated title primus from primus inter pares. Leading bishops or primates in other Anglican 'national' churches are often said to be primus inter pares within their provinces (e.g. Church of Ireland), while the (first) primatial see of Canterbury remains primus among them.
Based on the antiquity with which ecumenical councils have conceded some kind of universal primacy to the bishops of Rome, participants in Anglican–Catholic dialogues have acknowledged for decades that the pope would properly serve as the titular leader of a reunited church; the Anglicans typically have in mind an honorary (non-jurisdictional) primacy such as the phrase "primus inter pares" implies. In one example of such acknowledgement, the International Anglican-Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, in its 2007 agreed statement Growing Together in Unity and Mission, "urge[s] Anglicans and Catholics to explore together how the ministry of the Bishop of Rome might be offered and received in order to assist our Communions to grow towards full, ecclesial communion".
The Moderator of the General Assembly in a Presbyterian church is similarly designated as a primus inter pares. This concept holds also for the Moderators of each Synod, Presbytery, and Kirk Session. As all elders are ordained –some for teaching and some for ruling- none sit in higher status, but all are equal behind the one and only head of the church Jesus Christ.
In the Lutheran Church of Sweden, the archbishop of Uppsala is considered primus inter pares.
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451, at Chalcedon, a town of Bithynia in Asia Minor. The Council was called by Emperor Marcian to set aside the 449 Second Council of Ephesus. Its principal purpose was to assert the orthodox catholic doctrine against the heresy of Eutyches and the Monophysites, although ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction also occupied the council's attention.
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglican, and Lutheran churches or denominations, and other churches founded independently from these lineages.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, claims to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. He is widely regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of the 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, and it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon.
Bartholomew I is the 270th and current Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, since 2 November 1991. In accordance with his title, he is regarded as the primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and as the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.
Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.
The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs.
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis.
The East–West Schism, also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, was the break of communion between what are now the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches, which had lasted until the 11th century. The Schism was the culmination of theological and political differences between the Christian East and West which had developed over the preceding centuries.
Papal primacy, also known as the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, is an ecclesiastical doctrine concerning the respect and authority that is due to the Pope from other bishops and their Episcopal sees.
His Holiness is a style and form of address for some supreme religious leaders. The title is most notably used by the Pope, Oriental Orthodox Patriarchs, and Dalai Lama.
Pentarchy is a model of Church organization historically championed in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It found its fullest expression in the laws of Emperor Justinian I of the Roman Empire. In the model, the Christian church is governed by the heads (patriarchs) of the five major episcopal sees of the Roman Empire: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.
The Catholic Church has engaged in the modern ecumenical movement especially since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the issuing of the decree Unitatis redintegratio and the declaration Dignitatis humanae. It was at the Council that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity was created. Before that time, those outside of the Catholic Church were categorised as heretics or schismatics.
Primates in the Anglican Communion are the most senior bishop or archbishop of one of the 40 churches of the Anglican Communion. The Church of England, however, has two primates, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York.
Oriental Orthodoxy is the communion of Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus. They reject the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon. Hence, these Churches are also called Old Oriental Churches or Non-Chalcedonian Churches.
History of the East–West Schism refers to history of the East–West Schism that occurred in 1054, representing one of the most significant events in the history of Christianity. It includes various events and processes that led to the Schism, and also those events and processes that occurred as a result of the Schism. Eastern and Western Christians had a history of differences and disagreements, some dating back even to the period of Early Christianity. At the very root of what later became the Great Schism were several questions of pneumatology and ecclesiology. The most important theological difference occurred over various questions regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit, and the use of the Filioque clause in the Creed. One of the main ecclesiological issues was the question of Papal supremacy. Other points of difference were related to various liturgical, mainly ritual and disciplinary customs and practices. Some political and cultural processes also contributed to the breakout of the Schism.
The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Christian churches adhering to miaphysite Christology and theology, and together have 60 to 70 million members worldwide. As some of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Oriental Orthodox Churches have played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian body of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarized in that the churches recognize the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.
Sister churches is a term used in 20th-century ecclesiology to describe ecumenical relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and more rarely and unofficially, between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican communion. The term is also used among Protestants to refer to different denominations of the same religious tradition.
Canon 9. The presiding Bishop in a metropolis must be recognized by the Bishops belonging to each province (or eparchy), and undertakei the cure of the entire province, because of the fact that all who have any kind of business to attend to are wont to come from all quarters to the metropolis. Hence it has seemed best to let him have precedence in respect of honor, and to let the rest of the Bishops do nothing extraordinary without him, in accordance with the ancient Canon of the Fathers which has been prevailing, or only those things which are imposed upon the parish of each one of them and upon the territories under it.
Everywhere following the decrees of the Holy Fathers, and aware of the recently recognized Canon of the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops who convened during the reign of Theodosius the Great of pious memory, who became emperor in the imperial city of Constantinople otherwise known as New Rome; we too decree and vote the same things in regard to the privileges and priorities of the most holy Church of that same Constantinople and New Rome. And this is in keeping with the fact that the Fathers naturally enough granted the priorities to the throne of Old Rome on account of her being the imperial capital. And motivated by the same object and aim the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops have accorded the like priorities to the most holy throne of New Rome, with good reason deeming that the city which is the seat of an empire, and of a senate, and is equal to old imperial Rome in respect of other privileges and priorities, should be magnified also as she is in respect of ecclesiastical affairs, as coming next after her, or as being second to her.