Bishop

Bishop

Overview
A bishop is an ordained
Ordination
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

 or consecrated
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

 member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

, in the Independent Catholic Churches
Independent Catholic Churches
Independent Catholic churches are Catholic congregations that are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church or any other churches whose sacraments are recognized by the Roman Catholic Church...

, and in the Anglican churches, bishops claim apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

, a direct historical lineage dating back to the original Twelve Apostles. Within these churches, bishops can ordain clergy including other bishops.
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Timeline

506   The bishops of Visigothic Gaul meet in the Council of Agde.

1328   Antipope Nicholas V, a claimant to the papacy, is consecrated in Rome by the Bishop of Venice.

1539   Council of Trent: Paul III sends out letters to his bishops, delaying the Council due to war and the difficulty bishops had traveling to Venice.

1792   During what became known as the September Massacres of the French Revolution, rampaging mobs slaughter three Roman Catholic Church bishops, more than two hundred priests, and prisoners believed to be royalist sympathizers.

1871   Bishop John Coleridge Patteson is martyred on the island of Nukapu, a Polynesian outlier island now in the Temotu Province of the Solomon Islands. He is the first bishop of Melanesia.

1886   The Anglo-Chinese School, Singapore is founded by Bishop William Oldham.

 
Encyclopedia
A bishop is an ordained
Ordination
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

 or consecrated
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

 member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

, in the Independent Catholic Churches
Independent Catholic Churches
Independent Catholic churches are Catholic congregations that are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church or any other churches whose sacraments are recognized by the Roman Catholic Church...

, and in the Anglican churches, bishops claim apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

, a direct historical lineage dating back to the original Twelve Apostles. Within these churches, bishops can ordain clergy including other bishops. Some Protestant churches including the Lutheran and Methodist churches have bishops serving similar functions as well, though not always understood to be within apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

 in the same way.

The office of bishop was already quite distinct from that of priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

 in the writings of Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

 (died c. 108), and by the middle of the 2nd century
Christianity in the 2nd century
The 2nd century of Christianity was largely the time of the Apostolic Fathers who were the students of the apostles of Jesus, though there is some overlap as John the Apostle may have survived into the 2nd century and the early Apostolic Father Clement of Rome is said to have died at the end of the...

 all the chief centres of Christianity
Early centers of Christianity
Early Christianity spread from Western Asia, throughout the Roman Empire, and beyond into East Africa and South Asia, reaching as far as India. At first, this development was closely connected to centers of Hebrew faith, in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora...

 were headed by bishops, a form of organization that remained universal until the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

.

History


The earliest organization of the Church
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

 in Jerusalem
Jerusalem in Christianity
For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic Age gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.-Jerusalem in the New Testament and early Christianity:...

 was similar to that of Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

s, which were governed by a council of elders ( presbyteroi). In Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 11:30 and , we see this collegiate system of government in Jerusalem, and, in , the Apostle Paul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 ordains elders
Elder (Christianity)
An elder in Christianity is a person valued for his wisdom who accordingly holds a particular position of responsibility in a Christian group. In some Christian traditions an elder is a clergy person who usually serves a local church or churches and who has been ordained to a ministry of Word,...

 in the churches he founded.

Presbyters were apparently identical to overseers (ἐπίσκοποι episkopoi, i.e., bishops), as in , Titus
Epistle to Titus
The Epistle of Paul to Titus, usually referred to simply as Titus, is one of the three Pastoral Epistles , traditionally attributed to Saint Paul, and is part of the New Testament...

 1:5,7 and 1 Peter 5:1. The earliest writings of the Apostolic Fathers
Apostolic Fathers
The Apostolic Fathers are a small number of Early Christian authors who lived and wrote in the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. They are acknowledged as leaders in the early church, although their writings were not included in the New Testament...

, the Didache
Didache
The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the late first or early 2nd century...

 and the First Epistle of Clement
First Epistle of Clement
The First Epistle of Clement, is a letter addressed to the Christians in the city of Corinth. The letter dates from the late 1st or early 2nd century, and ranks with Didache as one of the earliest — if not the earliest — of extant Christian documents outside the canonical New Testament...

 for example, show the church recognized two local church offices—elders (interchangeable term with overseer) and deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

.


The beginnings of a single ruling bishop can perhaps be traced to the offices occupied by Timothy and Titus in the New Testament. We are told that Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 to oversee the local church ( and ). Paul commands them to ordain presbyters/bishops and to exercise general oversight, telling Titus to "rebuke with all authority" .

Various Christian communities would have had a group of presbyter-bishops functioning as leaders of the local church. Eventually this evolved into a monarchical episcopacy
Episcopal polity
Episcopal polity is a form of church governance that is hierarchical in structure with the chief authority over a local Christian church resting in a bishop...

in certain cities. The monarchical episcopacy probably developed in other churches in Christianity before it took shape in Rome. For example, it has been conjectured that Antioch may have been one of the first Christian communities to have adopted such a structure. The emergence of a single bishop in Rome probably did not arise until the middle of the 2nd century. Linus
Pope Linus
Pope Saint Linus was, according to several early sources, Bishop of the diocese of Rome after Saint Peter. This makes Linus the second Pope. According to other early sources Pope Clement I was the Pope after Peter...

, Cletus
Pope Anacletus
Pope Saint Anacletus , also called Pope Cletus, was the third Roman Pope Pope Saint Anacletus (very rarely written as Anencletus), also called Pope Cletus, was the third Roman Pope Pope Saint Anacletus (very rarely written as Anencletus), also called Pope Cletus, was the third Roman Pope (after St....

 and Clement
Pope Clement I
Starting in the 3rd and 4th century, tradition has identified him as the Clement that Paul mentioned in Philippians as a fellow laborer in Christ.While in the mid-19th century it was customary to identify him as a freedman of Titus Flavius Clemens, who was consul with his cousin, the Emperor...

 were probably prominent presbyter-bishops but not necessarily monarchical bishops. Eventually, Rome followed the example of other Christian communities and structured itself after the model of the empire with one presbyter bishop in charge. The organizational structure subsequently evolved into the present form of one bishop supported by a college of presbyters.

It is certain that the office of bishop and presbyter were clearly distinguished by the 2nd century
Christianity in the 2nd century
The 2nd century of Christianity was largely the time of the Apostolic Fathers who were the students of the apostles of Jesus, though there is some overlap as John the Apostle may have survived into the 2nd century and the early Apostolic Father Clement of Rome is said to have died at the end of the...

, as the church was facing the dual pressures of persecution and internal schism, resulting in three distinct local offices: bishop, elder (presbyter) and deacon. This is best seen in the 2nd century writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

.

The bishop was understood mainly as the president of the council of presbyters, and so the bishop came to be distinguished both in honor and in prerogative from the presbyters, who were seen as deriving their authority by means of delegation from the bishop. Each Episcopal see
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

 had its own bishop and his presence was necessary to consecrate any gathering of the church.

Eventually, as Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

 grew, individual congregations were no longer directly served by a bishop. The bishop in a large city (the Metropolitan bishop
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

) would appoint a presbyter to pastor the flock in each congregation, acting as his delegate.

Apostolic Fathers


Around the end of the 1st century
Christianity in the 1st century
The earliest followers of Jesus composed an apocalyptic, Jewish sect, which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity. The Apostles and others following the Great Commission's decree to spread the teachings of Jesus to "all nations," had great success spreading the religion to gentiles. Peter,...

, the church's organization becomes clearer in historical documents. In the works of the Apostolic Fathers
Apostolic Fathers
The Apostolic Fathers are a small number of Early Christian authors who lived and wrote in the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. They are acknowledged as leaders in the early church, although their writings were not included in the New Testament...

, and Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

 in particular, the role of the episkopos, or bishop, became more important or, rather, already was very important and being clearly defined.

"Plainly therefore we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 6:1.

"your godly bishop" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 2:1.

"the bishop presiding after the likeness of God and the presbyters after the likeness of the council of the Apostles, with the deacons also who are most dear to me, having been entrusted with the diaconate of Jesus Christ" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 6:1.

"Therefore as the Lord did nothing without the Father, [being united with Him], either by Himself or by the Apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and the presbyters." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 7:1.

"Be obedient to the bishop and to one another, as Jesus Christ was to the Father [according to the flesh], and as the Apostles were to Christ and to the Father, that there may be union both of flesh and of spirit." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 13:2.

"In like manner let all men respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, even as they should respect the bishop as being a type of the Father and the presbyters as the council of God and as the college of Apostles. Apart from these there is not even the name of a church." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallesians 3:1.

"follow your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God's commandment" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnans 8:1.

"He that honoureth the bishop is honoured of God; he that doeth aught without the knowledge of the bishop rendereth service to the devil" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnans 9:1.



It is clear that, by this period, a single bishop was expected to lead the church in each centre of Christian mission, supported by a council of presbyter
Presbyter
Presbyter in the New Testament refers to a leader in local Christian congregations, then a synonym of episkopos...

s (a distinct and subordinate position at least by this time) with a pool of deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

s. As the Church continued to expand, new churches in important cities gained their own bishop. Churches in the regions outside an important city were served by Chorbishop
Chorbishop
A chorbishop is a rank of Christian clergy below bishop. The name chorepiscope or chorepiscopus is taken from the Greek and means rural bishop.-History:Chorepiscopi are first mentioned by Eusebius in the second century...

, an official rank of bishops. However, soon, presbyters and deacons were sent from bishop of a city church. Graudually priests replaced the chorbishops. Thus, in time, the bishop changed from being the leader of a single church confined to an urban area to being the leader of the churches of a given geographical area.

Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

 (end of the 2nd century) writes about the ordination of a certain Zachæus as bishop by the imposition of Simon Peter Bar-Jonah's
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 hands. The words bishop and ordination are used in their technical meaning by the same Clement of Alexandria. The bishops in the 2nd century are defined also as the only clergy to whom the ordination to priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

hood (presbyterate) and diaconate is entrusted: "a priest (presbyter) lays on hands
Laying on of hands
The laying on of hands is a religious ritual that accompanies certain religious practices, which are found throughout the world in varying forms....

, but does not ordain." (cheirothetei ou cheirotonei)

At the beginning of the 3rd century, Hippolytus of Rome describes another feature of the ministry of a bishop, which is that of the "Spiritum primatus sacerdotii habere potestatem dimittere peccata": the primate of sacrificial priesthood and the power to forgive sins.

Bishops and civil government


The efficient organization of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 became the template for the organisation of the church in the 4th century
Christianity in the 4th century
Christianity in the 4th century was dominated by Constantine the Great, and the First Council of Nicea of 325, which was the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils and the attempt to reach an orthodox consensus and to establish a unified Christendom as the State church of...

, particularly after Constantine's
Constantine I and Christianity
During the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine, also known as Constantine I, had a significant religious experience following his victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312...

 Edict of Milan
Edict of Milan
The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by emperors Constantine I and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire...

. As the church moved from the shadows of privacy into the public forum it acquired land for churches, burials and clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

. In 391, Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 decreed that any land that had been confiscated from the church by Roman authorities be returned.

The most usual term for the geographic area of a bishop's authority and ministry, the diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

, began as part of the structure of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 under Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

. As Roman authority began to fail in the western portion of the empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

, the church took over much of the civil administration. This can be clearly seen in the ministry of two pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

s: Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I was pope from September 29, 440 to his death.He was an Italian aristocrat, and is the first pope of the Catholic Church to have been called "the Great". He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452, persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy...

 in the 5th century
Christianity in the 5th century
The 5th century would see further fracturing of the State church of the Roman Empire. Emperor Theodosius II called two synods in Ephesus, one in 431 and one in 449 AD, that addressed the teachings of then-Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius and similar teachings...

, and Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

 in the 6th century
Christianity in the 6th century
In 533 Roman Emperor Justinian in Constantinople launched a military campaign to reclaim the western provinces from the Arian Germans, starting with North Africa and proceeding to Italy. Though he was temporarily successful in recapturing much of the western Mediterranean he destroyed the urban...

. Both of these men were statesmen and public administrators in addition to their role as Christian pastors, teachers and leaders. In the Eastern churches, latifundia
Latifundia
Latifundia are pieces of property covering very large land areas. The latifundia of Roman history were great landed estates, specializing in agriculture destined for export: grain, olive oil, or wine...

 entailed to a bishop's see
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

 were much less common, the state power did not collapse the way it did in the West, and thus the tendency of bishops acquiring secular power was much weaker than in the West. However, the role of Western bishops as civil authorities, often called prince bishops
Prince-Bishop
A Prince-Bishop is a bishop who is a territorial Prince of the Church on account of one or more secular principalities, usually pre-existent titles of nobility held concurrently with their inherent clerical office...

, continued throughout much of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

.

Bishops holding political office


As well as being arch chancellors of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, bishops generally served as chancellor
Chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

s to medieval monarchs, acting as head of the justiciary and chief chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

. The Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 was almost always a bishop up until the dismissal of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey by Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. Likewise, the position of Kanclerz
Kanclerz
Kanclerz was one of the highest officials in the historic Poland. This office functioned from the early Polish kingdom of the 12th century until the end of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795. A respective office also existed in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since the 16th...

 in the Polish kingdom
Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569)
The Kingdom of Poland of the Jagiellons was the Polish state created by the accession of Jogaila , Grand Duke of Lithuania, to the Polish throne in 1386. The Union of Krewo or Krėva Act, united Poland and Lithuania under the rule of a single monarch...

 was always a bishop until the 16th century
Christianity in the 16th century
- Age of Discovery :During the Age of Discovery, the Roman Catholic Church established a number of Missions in the Americas and other colonies in order to spread Christianity in the New World and to convert the indigenous peoples...

.

In France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 before the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, representatives of the clergy — in practice, bishops and abbot
Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

s of the largest monasteries
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 — comprised the First Estate of the Estates-General
French States-General
In France under the Old Regime, the States-General or Estates-General , was a legislative assembly of the different classes of French subjects. It had a separate assembly for each of the three estates, which were called and dismissed by the king...

, until their role was abolished during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

.

The more senior bishops of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 continue to sit in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

, as representatives of the established church, and are known as Lords Spiritual
Lords Spiritual
The Lords Spiritual of the United Kingdom, also called Spiritual Peers, are the 26 bishops of the established Church of England who serve in the House of Lords along with the Lords Temporal. The Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian, is not represented by spiritual peers...

. The Bishop of Sodor and Man
Bishop of Sodor and Man
The Bishop of Sodor and Man is the Ordinary of the Diocese of Sodor and Man in the Province of York in the Church of England. The diocese covers the Isle of Man. The see is in the town of Peel where the bishop's seat is located at the Cathedral Church of St German, elevated to cathedral status on 1...

, whose diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 lies outside of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, is an ex officio member of the Legislative Council
Legislative Council of the Isle of Man
The Legislative Council is the upper chamber of Tynwald, the legislature of the Isle of Man.It consists of eleven Members —*eight elected members, known as Members of the Legislative Council or MLCs*three ex officio members:...

 of the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...

. In the past, the Bishop of Durham, known as a prince bishop
Prince-Bishop
A Prince-Bishop is a bishop who is a territorial Prince of the Church on account of one or more secular principalities, usually pre-existent titles of nobility held concurrently with their inherent clerical office...

, had extensive viceregal powers within his northern diocese — the power to mint money, collect taxes and raise an army to defend against the Scots
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

.

Eastern Orthodox bishops, along with all other members of the clergy, are canonically
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

 forbidden to hold political office. Occasional exceptions to this rule are tolerated when the alternative is political chaos. In the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, the Patriarch of Constantinople
Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome – ranking as primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox communion, which is seen by followers as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church....

, for example, had de facto administrative, fiscal, cultural and legal jurisdiction, as well as spiritual, over all the Christians of the empire. A recent prominent example of this was Archbishop Makarios III
Makarios III
Makarios III , born Andreas Christodolou Mouskos , was the archbishop and primate of the autocephalous Cypriot Orthodox Church and the first President of the Republic of Cyprus ....

 of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, who served as President of the Republic of Cyprus from 1960 to 1977.

In 2001, Peter Hollingworth
Peter Hollingworth
Peter John Hollingworth AC, OBE is an Australian Anglican bishop. He served as the Archbishop of Brisbane for 11 years before becoming the 23rd Governor-General of Australia from 2001 until 2003....

, AC, OBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 – then the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane
Anglican Diocese of Brisbane
The Anglican Diocese of Brisbane is based in Brisbane, Australia. The diocesan bishop's seat is St John's Cathedral, Brisbane. The current Archbishop of Brisbane is the Most Reverend Phillip Aspinall, who is also the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia.The diocese stretches from the inner...

 – was controversially appointed Governor-General of Australia
Governor-General of Australia
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative in Australia at federal/national level of the Australian monarch . He or she exercises the supreme executive power of the Commonwealth...

. Though Hollingworth gave up his episcopal position to accept the appointment, it still attracted considerable opposition in a country which maintains a formal separation between Church and State
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

.

Episcopacy during the English Civil War



During the period of the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

, the role of bishops as wielders of political power and as upholders of the established church became a matter of heated political controversy. John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 formulated a doctrine of Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

, which held that in the New Testament the offices of presbyter and episkopos were identical; he rejected the doctrine of apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

. Calvin's follower John Knox
John Knox
John Knox was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536...

 brought Presbyterianism to Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 when the Scottish church was reformed in 1560. In practice, Presbyterianism meant that committees of lay elders had a substantial voice in church government, as opposed to merely being subjects to a ruling hierarchy
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

.

This vision of at least partial democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 in ecclesiology
Ecclesiology
Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

 paralleled the struggles between Parliament
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

 and the King. A body within the Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

 movement in the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 sought to abolish the office of bishop and remake the Church of England along Presbyterian lines. The Martin Marprelate
Martin Marprelate
Martin Marprelate was the name used by the anonymous author or authors of the seven Marprelate tracts which circulated illegally in England in the years 1588 and 1589...

 tracts, applying the pejorative
Pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

 name of prelacy
Prelate
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 prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means "carry before", "be set above or over" or "prefer"; hence, a prelate is one set over others.-Related...

to the church hierarchy, attacked the office of bishop with satire that deeply offended Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 and her Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

 John Whitgift
John Whitgift
John Whitgift was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1583 to his death. Noted for his hospitality, he was somewhat ostentatious in his habits, sometimes visiting Canterbury and other towns attended by a retinue of 800 horsemen...

. The vestments controversy
Vestments controversy
The vestments controversy arose in the English Reformation, ostensibly concerning vestments, but more fundamentally concerned with English Protestant identity, doctrine, and various church practices...

 also related to this movement, seeking further reductions in church ceremony, and labelling the use of elaborate vestments as "unedifying" and even idolatrous.

King James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

, reacting against the perceived contumacy of his Presbyterian Scottish subjects, adopted "No Bishop, no King" as a slogan; he tied the hierarchical authority of the bishop to the absolute authority he sought as king, and viewed attacks on the authority of the bishops as attacks on his own authority. Matters came to a head when King Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 appointed William Laud
William Laud
William Laud was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 to 1645. One of the High Church Caroline divines, he opposed radical forms of Puritanism...

 as the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

; Laud aggressively attacked the Presbyterian movement and sought to impose the full Anglican liturgy
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

. The controversy eventually led to Laud's impeachment
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 for treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 by a bill of attainder
Bill of attainder
A bill of attainder is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without benefit of a judicial trial.-English law:...

 in 1645, and subsequent execution. Charles also attempted to impose episcopacy on Scotland; the Scots' violent rejection of bishops and liturgical worship sparked the Bishops' Wars
Bishops' Wars
The Bishops' Wars , were conflicts, both political and military, which occurred in 1639 and 1640 centred around the nature of the governance of the Church of Scotland, and the rights and powers of the Crown...

 in 1639–1640.

During the height of Puritan power in the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of England
The Commonwealth of England was the republic which ruled first England, and then Ireland and Scotland from 1649 to 1660. Between 1653–1659 it was known as the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland...

 and the Protectorate
The Protectorate
In British history, the Protectorate was the period 1653–1659 during which the Commonwealth of England was governed by a Lord Protector.-Background:...

, episcopacy was formally abolished in the Church of England on 9 October 1646. The Church of England remained Presbyterian until the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 of the monarchy with Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 in 1660.

Catholic Church, Orthodox churches and Anglican churches




Bishops form the leadership in the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

, the Lutheran Church, the Independent Catholic Churches
Independent Catholic Churches
Independent Catholic churches are Catholic congregations that are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church or any other churches whose sacraments are recognized by the Roman Catholic Church...

, the Independent Anglican Churches
Continuing Anglican Movement
The term Continuing Anglican movement refers to a number of churches in various countries that have been formed outside of the Anglican Communion. These churches generally believe that "traditional" forms of Anglican faith and worship have been unacceptably revised or abandoned within some...

, and certain other, smaller, denominations.

The traditional role of a bishop is as pastor of a diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 (also called a bishopric, synod
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

, eparchy
Eparchy
Eparchy is an anglicized Greek word , authentically Latinized as eparchia and loosely translating as 'rule over something,' like province, prefecture, or territory, to have the jurisdiction over, it has specific meanings both in politics, history and in the hierarchy of the Eastern Christian...

 or see
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

), and so to serve as a "diocesan bishop," or "eparch" as it is called in many Eastern Christian churches. Dioceses vary considerably in size, geographically and population-wise. Some dioceses around the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 which were Christianised early are rather compact, whereas dioceses in areas of rapid modern growth in Christian commitment—as in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

, South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 and the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

—are much larger and more populous.

As well as traditional diocesan bishops, many churches have a well-developed structure of church leadership that involves a number of layers of authority and responsibility.

Patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

:Patriarchs are the bishops who head certain ancient autocephalous or sui iuris
Sui iuris
Sui iuris, commonly also spelled sui juris, is a Latin phrase that literally means “of one’s own laws”.-Secular law:In civil law the phrase sui juris indicates legal competence, the capacity to manage one’s own affairs...

 churches, which are a collection of metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

 see
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

s or province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s. After the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea, the church structure was patterned after the administrative divisions of the Roman Empire wherein a metropolitan or bishop of a metropolis came to be the ecclesiastical head of a civil capital of a province or a metropolis. Whereas, the bishop of the larger administrative district, diocese, came to be called an exarch. In a few cases, a bishop came to preside over a number of dioceses, i.e., Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria. At the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in 451, Constantinople was given jurisdiction over three dioceses for the reason that the city was "the residence of the emperor and senate". Additionally, Jerusalem was recognized at the Council of Chalcedon as one of the major sees. In 692, the Quinisext Council formally recognized and ranked the sees of the Pentarchy in order of preeminence, at that time Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. In the Catholic Church, Patriarchs sometimes call their leaders Catholicos; the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Egypt, is called Pope, meaning 'Father'. While most patriarchs in the Eastern Catholic Churches have jurisdiction over a "ritual church" (a group or diocese of a particular Eastern tradition), all Latin Rite patriarchs, except for the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, have only honorary titles. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

 gave up the title of Patriarch of the West. The first recorded use of the title by a Roman Pope was by Theodore I
Pope Theodore I
Pope Theodore I , who was pope from November 24, 642, to May 14, 649, is considered a Greek, but was born in Jerusalem. He was made a cardinal deacon, and a full cardinal by Pope John IV....

 in 620. However, early church documents, such as those of the First Council of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

 (325) had always listed the Pope of Rome first among the Ancient Patriarchs (first four, and later five: Rome
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, Constantinople, Alexandria
Patriarch of Alexandria
The Patriarch of Alexandria is the Archbishop of Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt. Historically, this office has included the designation of Pope , and did so earlier than that of the Bishop of Rome...

, Antioch
Patriarch of Antioch
Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the Bishop of Antioch. As the traditional "overseer" of the first gentile Christian community, the position has been of prime importance in the church from its earliest period...

 and Jerusalem
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem is the head bishop of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, ranking fourth of nine Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 2005, the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has been Theophilos III...

—collectively referred to as the Pentarchy). Later, the heads of various national churches became Patriarchs, but they are ranked below the Pentarchy.

Catholicos
Catholicos
Catholicos, plural Catholicoi, is a title used for the head of certain churches in some Eastern Christian traditions. The title implies autocephaly and in some cases is borne by the designated head of an autonomous church, in which case the holder might have other titles such as Patriarch...

:Catholicoi are the heads of some of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Rite Catholic sui iuris
Sui iuris
Sui iuris, commonly also spelled sui juris, is a Latin phrase that literally means “of one’s own laws”.-Secular law:In civil law the phrase sui juris indicates legal competence, the capacity to manage one’s own affairs...

 churches (notably the Armenian), roughly similar to a Patriarch (see above).
Primate
Primate (religion)
Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

:A primate is usually the bishop of the oldest church of a nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

. Sometimes this carries jurisdiction over metropolitan bishops, but usually it is purely honorific. The primate of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Christian church in Scotland, consisting of seven dioceses. Since the 17th century, it has had an identity distinct from the presbyterian Church of Scotland....

 is chosen from among the diocesan bishops, and, while retaining diocesan responsibility, is called Primus.
Presiding Bishop
Presiding Bishop
The Presiding Bishop is an ecclesiastical position in some denominations of Christianity.- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America :The Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the chief ecumenical officer of the church, and the leader and caretaker for the bishops of the...

 or President Bishop: These titles are often used for the head of a national Anglican church, but the title is not usually associated with a particular episcopal see
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

 like the title of a primate.
Major archbishop
Major Archbishop
right|200 px|thumb|Archbishop [[Sviatoslav Shevchuk]], Major Archbishop of Kyiv-HalychIn the Eastern Catholic Churches, major archbishop is a title for an hierarch to whose archiepiscopal see is granted the same jurisdiction in his autonomous particular Church that an Eastern patriarch has in...

:Major archbishops are the heads of some of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Their authority within their sui juris church is equal to that of a patriarch, but they receive fewer ceremonial honors.
Metropolitan bishop
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

:A metropolitan bishop
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

 is an archbishop in charge of an ecclesiastical province
Ecclesiastical Province
An ecclesiastical province is a large jurisdiction of religious government, so named by analogy with a secular province, existing in certain hierarchical Christian churches, especially in the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches and in the Anglican Communion...

, or group of dioceses, and in addition to having immediate jurisdiction over his own archdiocese, also exercises some oversight over the other dioceses within that province. Sometimes a metropolitan may also be the head of an autocephalous, sui iuris
Sui iuris
Sui iuris, commonly also spelled sui juris, is a Latin phrase that literally means “of one’s own laws”.-Secular law:In civil law the phrase sui juris indicates legal competence, the capacity to manage one’s own affairs...

, or autonomous
Autonomous area
An autonomous area or autonomous entity is an area of a country that has a degree of autonomy, or freedom from an external authority. Typically it is either geographically distinct from the rest of the country or populated by a national minority. Countries that include autonomous areas are often...

 church when the number of adherents of that tradition are small. In the Latin Rite, metropolitans are always archbishops; in many Eastern churches, the title is "metropolitan," with some of these churches using "archbishop" as a separate office.
Archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

:An archbishop is the bishop of an archdiocese. This is usually a prestigious diocese with an important place in local church history. In the Roman Catholic Church, the title is purely honorific and carries no extra jurisdiction, though most archbishops are also metropolitan bishop
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

s, as above. In most provinces of the Anglican Communion, however, an archbishop has metropolitical and primatial power.

Suffragan bishop
Suffragan bishop
A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop. He or she may be assigned to an area which does not have a cathedral of its own.-Anglican Communion:...

: A suffragan bishop
Suffragan bishop
A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop. He or she may be assigned to an area which does not have a cathedral of its own.-Anglican Communion:...

 is a bishop subordinate to a Metropolitan. In the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 this term is applied to all non-metropolitan bishops (that is, diocesan bishops of dioceses within a metropolitan's province, and auxiliary bishop
Auxiliary bishop
An auxiliary bishop, in the Roman Catholic Church, is an additional bishop assigned to a diocese because the diocesan bishop is unable to perform his functions, the diocese is so extensive that it requires more than one bishop to administer, or the diocese is attached to a royal or imperial office...

s). In the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

, the term applies to a bishop who is a full-time assistant to a diocesan bishop: the Bishop of Warwick
Bishop of Warwick
The Bishop of Warwick is an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Coventry, in the Province of Canterbury, England. The title takes its name after Warwick, the county town of Warwickshire....

 is suffragan to the Bishop of Coventry
Bishop of Coventry
The Bishop of Coventry is the Ordinary of the England Diocese of Coventry in the Province of Canterbury. In the Middle Ages, the Bishop of Coventry was a title used by the bishops known today as the Bishop of Lichfield....

 (the diocesan), though both live in Coventry
Coventry
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, although...

. Some Anglican suffragans are given the responsibility for a geographical area within the diocese (for example, the Bishop of Stepney
Stepney
Stepney is a district of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in London's East End that grew out of a medieval village around St Dunstan's church and the 15th century ribbon development of Mile End Road...

 is an area bishop within the Diocese of London
Diocese of London
The Anglican Diocese of London forms part of the Province of Canterbury in England.Historically the diocese covered a large area north of the Thames and bordered the dioceses of Norwich and Lincoln to the north and west. The present diocese covers and 17 London boroughs, covering most of Greater...

).
Titular bishop
Titular bishop
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 Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place...

:A titular bishop
Titular bishop
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 Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place...

 is a bishop without a diocese. Rather, the bishop is head of a titular see
Titular see
A titular see in various churches is an episcopal see of a former diocese that no longer functions, sometimes called a "dead diocese". The ordinary or hierarch of such a see may be styled a "titular bishop", "titular metropolitan", or "titular archbishop"....

, which is usually an ancient city that used to have a bishop, but, for some reason or other, does not have one now. Titular bishops often serve as auxiliary bishop
Auxiliary bishop
An auxiliary bishop, in the Roman Catholic Church, is an additional bishop assigned to a diocese because the diocesan bishop is unable to perform his functions, the diocese is so extensive that it requires more than one bishop to administer, or the diocese is attached to a royal or imperial office...

s. In the Ecumenical Patriarchate, bishops of modern dioceses are often given a titular see alongside their modern one (for example, the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain).
Auxiliary bishop
Auxiliary bishop
An auxiliary bishop, in the Roman Catholic Church, is an additional bishop assigned to a diocese because the diocesan bishop is unable to perform his functions, the diocese is so extensive that it requires more than one bishop to administer, or the diocese is attached to a royal or imperial office...

:An auxiliary bishop
Auxiliary bishop
An auxiliary bishop, in the Roman Catholic Church, is an additional bishop assigned to a diocese because the diocesan bishop is unable to perform his functions, the diocese is so extensive that it requires more than one bishop to administer, or the diocese is attached to a royal or imperial office...

 is a full-time assistant to a diocesan bishop (the Orthodox and Catholic equivalent of an Anglican suffragan bishop
Suffragan bishop
A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop. He or she may be assigned to an area which does not have a cathedral of its own.-Anglican Communion:...

). An auxiliary bishop is a titular bishop
Titular bishop
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 Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place...

, and he is to be appointed as a vicar general
Vicar general
A vicar general is the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority. 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...

 or at least as an episcopal vicar of the diocese in which he serves.
Coadjutor bishop
Coadjutor bishop
A coadjutor bishop is a bishop in the Roman Catholic or Anglican churches who is designated to assist the diocesan bishop in the administration of the diocese, almost as co-bishop of the diocese...

:A coadjutor bishop
Coadjutor bishop
A coadjutor bishop is a bishop in the Roman Catholic or Anglican churches who is designated to assist the diocesan bishop in the administration of the diocese, almost as co-bishop of the diocese...

 is an auxiliary bishop who is given almost equal authority in a diocese with the diocesan bishop, and the automatic right to succeed the incumbent diocesan bishop. The appointment of coadjutors is often seen as a means of providing for continuity of church leadership.
Honorary Assistant bishop, Assisting Bishop, or Bishop Emeritus: These titles are usually applied to retired bishops who are given a general licence to minister as episcopal pastors under a diocesan's oversight. The titles, in this meaning, are not used by the Roman Catholic Church.
Chorbishop
Chorbishop
A chorbishop is a rank of Christian clergy below bishop. The name chorepiscope or chorepiscopus is taken from the Greek and means rural bishop.-History:Chorepiscopi are first mentioned by Eusebius in the second century...

:A chorbishop is an official of a diocese in some Eastern Christian churches. Chorbishops are not generally ordained bishops – they are not given the sacrament of Holy Orders in that degree – but function as assistants to the diocesan bishop with certain honorary privileges.
Cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

:In Roman Catholicism, a cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 is a member of the clergy appointed by the pope to serve in the College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals
The College of Cardinals is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church.A function of the college is to advise the pope about church matters when he summons them to an ordinary consistory. It also convenes on the death or abdication of a pope as a papal conclave to elect a successor...

, the body empowered to elect the pope; however, on turning 80 a cardinal loses this right of election. Cardinals also serve as advisors to the pope and hold positions of authority within the structure of the Catholic Church. Under modern canon law, a man who is appointed a cardinal must accept ordination as a bishop, unless he already is one, or seek special permission from the pope to decline such ordination. Most cardinals are already bishops at the time of their appointment, the majority being archbishops of important archdioceses or patriarchs, and a substantial portion of the rest already titular archbishops serving in the Vatican. Recent popes have appointed a few priests, most of them influential theologians, to the College of Cardinals without requiring them to be ordained as bishops; invariably, these men are over the age of 80, which means they are not permitted to take part in a conclave. The purpose of these appointments is to recognise their tremendous contribution to the life of the Church.

Duties


In Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

, Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, and Anglicanism
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

, only a bishop can ordain other bishops, priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

s, and deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

s.

In the Eastern liturgical tradition, a priest can celebrate the Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 only with the blessing of a bishop. In Byzantine usage, an antimension signed by the bishop is kept on the altar partly as a reminder of whose altar it is and under whose omophorion
Omophorion
In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic liturgical tradition, the omophor is the distinguishing vestment of a bishop and the symbol of his spiritual and ecclesiastical authority...

 the priest at a local parish is serving. In Syriac Church usage, a consecrated wooden block called a thabilitho
Thabilitho
In the Syrian Orthodox Church a thabilitho is a wooden slab placed at the center of the altar and is covered with cloth. During Holy Qurbana the paten and chalice are placed over it. It is consecrated with chrism by a bishop during the consecration of a church...

 is kept for the same reasons.

The pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, in addition to being the Bishop of Rome
Diocese of Rome
The Diocese of Rome is a diocese of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy. The bishop of Rome is the Pope, who is the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church...

 and spiritual head of the Catholic Church, is also the Patriarch of the Latin Rite. Each bishop within the Latin Rite is answerable directly to the Pope and not any other bishop except to metropolitans in certain oversight instances. The pope previously used the title Patriarch of the West, but this title was dropped from use in 2006 a move which caused some concern within the Orthodox Communion as, to them, it implied wider papal jurisdiction.

In Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Anglican cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s there is a special chair set aside for the exclusive use of the bishop. This is the bishop's cathedra
Cathedra
A cathedra or bishop's throne is the chair or throne of a bishop. It is a symbol of the bishop's teaching authority in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, and has in some sense remained such in the Anglican Communion and in Lutheran churches...

and is often called the throne
Throne
A throne is the official chair or seat upon which a monarch is seated on state or ceremonial occasions. "Throne" in an abstract sense can also refer to the monarchy or the Crown itself, an instance of metonymy, and is also used in many expressions such as "the power behind the...

. In some Christian denominations, for example, the Anglican Communion, parish churches may maintain a chair for the use of the bishop when he visits; this is to signify the parish's union with the bishop.

The bishop is the ordinary minister of the sacrament
Sacraments of the Catholic Church
The Sacraments of the Catholic Church are, the Roman Catholic Church teaches, "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper...

 of confirmation in the Latin Rite Catholic Church, and in the Anglican and Old Catholic communion only a bishop may administer this sacrament. However, in the Byzantine
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

 and other Eastern rites, whether Eastern or Oriental Orthodox or Eastern Catholic, chrismation
Chrismation
Chrismation is the name given in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, Anglican, and in Lutheran initiation rites, to the Sacrament or Sacred Mystery more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian...

 is done immediately after baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

, and thus the priest is the one who confirms, using chrism blessed by a bishop.

Ordination of Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican bishops


Bishops in all of these communions are ordained
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

 by other bishops through the laying on of hands
Laying on of hands
The laying on of hands is a religious ritual that accompanies certain religious practices, which are found throughout the world in varying forms....

. While traditional teaching maintains that any bishop with apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

 can validly perform the ordination of another bishop, some churches require two or three bishops participate, either to ensure sacramental validity or to conform with church law. Roman Catholic doctrine holds that one bishop can validly ordain another male (priest) as a bishop. Though a minimum of three bishops participating is desirable (there are usually several more) in order to demonstrate collegiality, canonically only one bishop is necessary. The practice of only one bishop ordaining was normal in countries where the Church was persecuted under Communist rule.

Apart from the ordination, which is always done by other bishops, there are different methods as to the actual selection of a candidate for ordination as bishop. In the Catholic Church the Congregation for Bishops
Congregation for Bishops
The Congregation for Bishops is the congregation of the Roman Curia which oversees the selection of new bishops that are not in mission territories or those areas that come under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches who deal with the Eastern Catholics, pending papal...

 oversees the selection of new bishops with the approval of the pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

. The papal nuncio usually solicits names from the bishops of a country, and then selects three to be forwarded to the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. Most Eastern Orthodox churches allow varying amounts of formalised laity and/or lower clergy influence on the choice of bishops. This also applies in those Eastern churches which are in union with the pope, though he is required to give assent.

Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Old Catholic and some Lutheran bishops (for example, Sweden) claim to be part of the continuous sequence of ordained bishops since the days of the apostles referred to as apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

. Since Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII , born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903...

 issued the bull Apostolicae Curae
Apostolicae Curae
Apostolicae Curae is the title of a papal bull, issued in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII, declaring all Anglican ordinations to be "absolutely null and utterly void"...

in 1896, the Catholic Church has insisted that Anglican orders are invalid because of changes in the Anglican ordination rites of the 16th century and divergence in understanding of the theology of priesthood, episcopacy and Eucharist. However, since the 1930s, Utrecht Old Catholic bishops (recognised by the Holy See as validily ordained) have sometimes taken part in the ordination of Anglican bishops. According to the writer Timothy Dufort, by 1969, all Church of England bishops had acquired Old Catholic lines of apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

 recognised by the Holy See. This development has muddied the waters somewhat as it could be argued that the strain of apostolic succession has been re-introduced into Anglicanism, at least within the Church of England.

The Catholic Church does recognise as valid (though illicit) ordinations done by breakaway Catholic, Old Catholic or Oriental bishops, and groups descended from them; it also regards as both valid and licit those ordinations done by bishops of the Eastern churches, so long as those receiving the ordination conform to other canonical requirements (for example, is an adult male) and an orthodox rite of episcopal ordination, expressing the proper functions and sacramental status of a bishop, is used; this has given rise to the phenomenon of episcopi vagantes
Episcopi vagantes
Episcopi vagantes are persons who have been consecrated as Christian bishops outside the structures and canon law of the established churches, and who are not in communion with any generally recognized diocese...

(for example, clergy of the Independent Catholic groups which claim apostolic succession, though this claim is rejected by both Orthodoxy and Catholicism).

The Orthodox Churches would not accept the validity of any ordinations performed by the Independent Catholic groups, as Orthodoxy considers to be spurious any consecration outside of the Church as a whole. Orthodoxy considers apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

 to exist only within the Universal Church, and not through any authority held by individual bishops; thus, if a bishop ordains someone to serve outside of the (Orthodox) Church, the ceremony is ineffectual, and no ordination has taken place regardless of the ritual used or the ordaining prelate's position within the Orthodox Churches.

The position of Roman Catholicism is slightly different. Whilst it does recognise the validity of the orders of certain groups which separated from communion with Holy See. The Holy See accepts as valid the ordinations of the Old Catholics in communion with Utrecht, as well as the Polish National Catholic Church
Polish National Catholic Church
The Polish National Catholic Church is a Christian church founded and based in the United States by Polish-Americans who were Roman Catholic. The PNCC is a breakaway Catholic Church in dialogue with the Catholic Church; it seeks full communion with the Holy See although it differs theologically...

 (which received its orders directly from Utrecht, and was—until recently—part of that communion); but Roman Catholicism does not recognise the orders of any group whose teaching is at variance with core tenets of Christianity for example, The Liberal Catholic Church
Liberal Catholic Church
The Liberal Catholic Church is a form of Christianity open to theosophical ideas and even reincarnation. It is not connected to the Roman Catholic Church, which considers it heretical and schismatic...

 which has a strong theosophist tendency and permits belief in reincarnation; this is the case even though the clergy of the Independent Catholic groups may use the proper ordination ritual. There are other reasons why the Holy See does not recognise the validity of the orders of the Independent clergy:
  • The continuing practice among many Independent clergy of one person receiving multiple ordinations in order to secure apostolic succession, betrays an incorrect and mechanistic theology of ordination as far as the Holy See is concerned.
  • The practice within Independent groups of ordaining women demonstrates an understanding of Priesthood which is totally unacceptable to the Catholic and Orthodox churches as they believe that the Universal Church does not possess such authority; thus, any ceremonies performed by these women are considered to be sacramentally invalid.
  • The theology of male clergy within the Independent movement is also suspect according to the Roman Catholics as they presumably approve of the ordination of females, and may have even undergone an (invalid) ordination ceremony conducted by a woman.

Whilst members of the Independent Catholic movement take seriously the issue of valid orders, it is highly significant that the relevant Vatican Congregations tend not to respond to petitions from Independent Catholic bishops and clergy who seek to be received into communion with the Holy See, hoping to continue in some sacramental role. In those instances where the pope does grant reconciliation, those deemed to be clerics within the Independent Old Catholic movement are invariably admitted as laity and not priests or bishops.

There is a mutual recognition of the validity of orders amongst Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Old Catholic, Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian Nestorian
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

 churches.

Some provinces
Ecclesiastical Province
An ecclesiastical province is a large jurisdiction of religious government, so named by analogy with a secular province, existing in certain hierarchical Christian churches, especially in the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches and in the Anglican Communion...

 of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 have begun ordaining women
Ordination of women
Ordination in general religious usage is the process by which a person is consecrated . The ordination of women is a regular practice among some major religious groups, as it was of several religions of antiquity...

 as bishops in recent decades for example, the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Cuba. The first woman bishop within Anglicanism was Barbara Clementine Harris
Barbara Clementine Harris
Barbara Clementine Harris was the first woman ordained a bishop in the Anglican Communion.-Education:...

, who was ordained in the United States in 1989. In 2006, Katharine Jefferts Schori
Katharine Jefferts Schori
Katharine Jefferts Schori is the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States. Previously elected as the 9th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, she is the first woman elected as a primate of the Anglican Communion...

, the Episcopal Bishop of Nevada
Episcopal Diocese of Nevada
The Episcopal Diocese of Nevada is the diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America comprising the entire State of Nevada. The fourth and current bishop of the Diocese is Dan Thomas Edwards, ordained bishop on 5 January 2008....

, became the first woman to become the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Lutheranism


In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

 (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination, with 152,788 baptized members in 624 congregations, with the second largest, the Lutheran Church–Canada, having 72,116 baptized members...

 (ELCIC), the largest Lutheran Church bodies in the United States and Canada respectively and roughly based on the Nordic
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

 Lutheran state churches (similar to that of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

), bishops are elected by Synod Assemblies, consisting of both lay members and clergy, for a term of 6 years, which can be renewed, depending upon the local synod's "constitution" (which is mirrored on either the ELCA or ELCIC's national constitution). Since the implementation of concordats between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church of the United States and the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Church of Canada
The Anglican Church of Canada is the Province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French name is l'Église Anglicane du Canada. The ACC is the third largest church in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada, consisting of 800,000 registered members...

, all bishops, including the Presiding Bishop (ELCA) or the National Bishop (ELCIC), have been consecrated using the historic succession, with at least one Anglican bishop serving as co-consecrator.

Since going into ecumenical communion with their respective Anglican body, bishops in the ELCA or the ELCIC not only approve the "rostering" of all ordained pastors, diaconal ministers, and associates in ministry, but they serve as the principal celebrant of all pastoral ordination and installation ceremonies, diaconal consecration ceremonies, as well as serving as the "chief pastor" of the local synod, upholding the teachings of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 as well as the documentations of the Ninety-Five Theses and the Augsburg Confession
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

. Unlike their counterparts in the United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

, ELCA and ELCIC synod bishops do not appoint pastors to local congregations (pastors, like their counterparts in the Episcopal Church, are called by local congregations). The Presiding Bishop of the ELCA and the National Bishop of the ELCIC, the national bishops of their respective bodies, is elected for a single 6-year term and may be elected to an additional term.

Although ELCA agreed with the Episcopal Church to limit ordination to the bishop "ordinarily", ELCA pastor-ordinators are given permission to perform the rites in "extraordinary" circumstance. In practice, "extraordinary" circumstance have included disagreeing with Episcopalian views of the episcopate, and as a result, ELCA pastors ordained by other pastors are not permitted to be deployed to Episcopal Churches (they can, however, serve in Presbyterian Church USA, United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

, Reformed Church in America
Reformed Church in America
The Reformed Church in America is a mainline Reformed Protestant denomination in Canada and the United States. It has about 170,000 members, with the total declining in recent decades. From its beginning in 1628 until 1819, it was the North American branch of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1819, it...

, and Moravian Church congregations, as the ELCA is in full communion with these denominations). The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is a North American Confessional Lutheran denomination of Christianity. Characterized as theologically conservative, it was founded in 1850 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As of 2008, it had a baptized membership of over 389,364 in more than 1,290 congregations,...

 (WELS), the second and third largest Lutheran bodies in the United States and the two largest Confessional Lutheran
Confessional Lutheran
Confessional Lutheran is a name used by certain Lutheran Christians to designate themselves as those who accept the doctrines taught in the Book of Concord of 1580 in their entirety, because they believe them to be completely faithful to the teachings of the Bible...

 bodies in North America, do not have a bishop as the head of the church or middle jurisdiction, practicing a form of congregationalism similar to the United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC...

. It should also be noted that the second largest of the three predecessor bodies of the ELCA, the American Lutheran Church
American Lutheran Church
The American Lutheran Church was a Christian Protestant denomination in the United States that existed from 1960 to 1987. Its headquarters was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Upon its formation in 1960, the ALC designated Augsburg Publishing House , also located in Minneapolis, as the church publisher...

, was a congregationalist body, with national and synod presidents before they were re-titled as bishops (borrowing from the Lutheran churches in Germany) in the 1980s.

United Methodist Church



In the United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

 (the largest branch of Methodism in the United States) bishops serve as administrative and pastoral superintendents of the church. They are elected for life from among the ordained elders
Elder (Methodism)
An Elder in the Methodist Church — sometimes called a Presbyter or Minister — is someone who has been ordained by a Bishop to the ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service...

 (presbyters) by vote of the delegates in regional (called jurisdictional) conferences, and are consecrated by the other bishops present at the conference through the laying on of hands. In the United Methodist Church bishops remain members of the "Order of Elders
Elder (Methodism)
An Elder in the Methodist Church — sometimes called a Presbyter or Minister — is someone who has been ordained by a Bishop to the ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service...

" while being consecrated to the "Office of the Episcopacy
Episcopal polity
Episcopal polity is a form of church governance that is hierarchical in structure with the chief authority over a local Christian church resting in a bishop...

". Within the United Methodist Church only bishops are empowered to consecrate bishops and ordain clergy. Among their most critical duties is the ordination and appointment of clergy to serve local churches as pastor, presiding at sessions of the Annual, Jurisdictional, and General Conferences, providing pastoral ministry for the clergy under their charge, and safeguarding the doctrine and discipline of the Church. Furthermore, individual bishops, or the Council of Bishops as a whole, often serve a prophetic role, making statements on important social issues and setting forth a vision for the denomination, though they have no legislative authority of their own. In all of these areas, bishops of the United Methodist Church function very much in the historic meaning of the term. According to the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, a bishop's responsibilities are

In each Annual Conference, United Methodist bishops serve for four year terms, and may serve up to three terms before either retirement or appointment to a new Conference. United Methodist bishops may be male or female, with the Rev. Marjorie Matthews
Marjorie Matthews
Marjorie Swank Matthews was an American Bishop of the United Methodist Church. She was born 11 July 1916 in Onaway, Michigan....

 being the first woman to be consecrated a bishop in 1980.

The collegial expression of episcopal leadership in the United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

 is known as the Council of Bishops
United Methodist Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Council of Bishops is the organization of which all active and retired Bishops in the United Methodist Connection are members...

. The Council of Bishops speaks to the Church and through the Church into the world and gives leadership in the quest for Christian unity and interreligious relationships. The Conference of Methodist Bishops includes the United Methodist Council of Bishops plus bishops from affiliated autonomous Methodist or United
United and uniting churches
United and uniting churches are churches formed from the merger or other form of union of two or more different Protestant denominations.Perhaps the oldest example of a united church is found in Germany, where the Evangelical Church in Germany is a federation of Lutheran, United and Reformed...

 Churches.


John Wesley
John Wesley
John Wesley was a Church of England cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield...

 consecrated Thomas Coke
Thomas Coke (bishop)
Thomas Coke was the first Methodist Bishop and is known as the Father of Methodist Missions.Born in Brecon, south Wales, his father was a well-to-do apothecary...

 a "General Superintendent," and directed that Francis Asbury
Francis Asbury
Bishop Francis Asbury was one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, now The United Methodist Church in the United States...

 also be consecrated for the United States of America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 1784, where the Methodist Episcopal Church
Methodist Episcopal Church
The Methodist Episcopal Church, sometimes referred to as the M.E. Church, was a development of the first expression of Methodism in the United States. It officially began at the Baltimore Christmas Conference in 1784, with Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke as the first bishops. Through a series of...

 first became a separate denomination
Religious denomination
A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

 apart from the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. Coke soon returned to England, but Asbury was the primary builder of the new church. At first he did not call himself bishop, but eventually submitted to the usage by the denomination.

Notable bishops in United Methodist history include Coke
Thomas Coke (bishop)
Thomas Coke was the first Methodist Bishop and is known as the Father of Methodist Missions.Born in Brecon, south Wales, his father was a well-to-do apothecary...

, Asbury
Francis Asbury
Bishop Francis Asbury was one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, now The United Methodist Church in the United States...

, Richard Whatcoat
Richard Whatcoat
Richard Whatcoat , was the third Bishop of the American Methodist Episcopal Church.-History:Whatcoat was born in Gloucestershire, England and, although reared in the Church of England, became a Methodist at age 22...

, Philip William Otterbein
Philip William Otterbein
Philip William Otterbein was a U.S. clergyman. He was the founder of the United Brethren in Christ, a group that is a forerunner of today's United Methodist Church.-Biography:...

, Martin Boehm
Martin Boehm
Martin Boehm was an American clergyman and pastor. He was the son of Jacob Boehm and Barbara Kendig who settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania...

, Jacob Albright
Jacob Albright
Jacob Albright was an American Christian leader, founder of Albright's People which was officially named the Evangelical Association in 1816...

, John Seybert
John Seybert
John Seybert was an American bishop of the Evangelical Association. He was only the second Bishop of this denomination, a predecessor to the Evangelical United Brethren Church...

, Matthew Simpson
Matthew Simpson
Matthew Simpson , was an American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1852.-Early life and family:...

, John S. Stamm
John S. Stamm
John Samuel Stamm was an American bishop of the Evangelical Church, elected in 1926.Stamm was born on a Sunday morning , 23 March 1878, a son of Hanz and Mary Stamm...

, William Ragsdale Cannon
William Ragsdale Cannon
William Ragsdale Cannon was an American Bishop of the United Methodist Church, elected in 1968.-Birth and Family:...

, Marjorie Matthews
Marjorie Matthews
Marjorie Swank Matthews was an American Bishop of the United Methodist Church. She was born 11 July 1916 in Onaway, Michigan....

, Leontine T. Kelly
Leontine T. Kelly
Leontine Turpeau Current Kelly is a retired American Bishop of the United Methodist Church. She was born 5 March 1920 in Washington, D.C., one of eight children. Her father, David D. Turpeau, Sr., was a prominent Methodist minister, who later served four terms in the Ohio House of Representatives...

, William B. Oden
William B. Oden
William Bryant Oden is a retired American Bishop of the United Methodist Church, elected in 1988. He was born 3 August 1935 in McAllen, Texas. He is married to Marilyn Brown Oden, the author of over eight books. They have four children and four grandchildren....

, Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda, Joseph Sprague, William Henry Willimon, and Thomas Bickerton
Thomas Bickerton
Thomas J. Bickerton is a US Methodist bishop.Born July 2, 1958, Bishop Tom Bickerton was reared in West Virginia and graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology/Psychology. Subsequently, he entered seminary at Duke University Divinity School and...

.

British Methodism


Methodists in Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 acquired their own bishops early in the 19th century, after the Methodist movement in Britain formally parted company with the Church of England. The position no longer exists in British Methodism
Methodist Church of Great Britain
The Methodist Church of Great Britain is the largest Wesleyan Methodist body in the United Kingdom, with congregations across Great Britain . It is the United Kingdom's fourth largest Christian denomination, with around 300,000 members and 6,000 churches...

. A system of polity known as Connexionalism
Connexionalism
The term Connexionalism is today most commonly used to describe the theological understanding and foundation of Methodist polity, as practised in the British Methodist Church and the American United Methodist Church...

is now used, where superintendents carry out the equivalent role of bishops.

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church


In the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is a historically black denomination within the broader context of Methodism. The group was organized in 1870 when several black ministers, with the full support of their white counterparts in the former Methodist Episcopal Church, South, met to form an...

 in the United States, bishops are administrative superintendents of the church; they are elected by "delegate" votes for as many years deemed until the age of 74, then he/she must retire. Among their duties, are responsibility for appointing clergy to serve local churches as pastor, for performing ordinations, and for safeguarding the doctrine and discipline of the Church. The General Conference, a meeting every four years, has an equal number of clergy and lay delegates. In each Annual Conference, CME bishops serve for four year terms. CME Church bishops may be male or female.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Bishop is the leader of a local congregation, called a ward. As with most Mormon priesthood, the bishop is a part-time lay minister and earns a living through other employment; in all cases, he is a married man. As such, it is his duty to preside at services, call local leaders, and judge the worthiness of members for service. The bishop does not deliver sermons at every service (generally asking members to do so), but is expected to be a spiritual guide for his congregation. It is therefore believed that he has both the right and ability to receive divine inspiration (through the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

) for the ward under his direction. Because it is a part-time position, all able members are expected to assist in the management of the ward by holding delegated lay positions (for example, women's and youth leaders, teachers) referred to as 'callings.' Although members are asked to confess serious sins to him, unlike the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, he is not the instrument of divine forgiveness, merely a guide through the repentance process (and a judge in case transgressions warrant excommunication or other official discipline). The bishop is also responsible for the physical welfare of the ward, and thus collects tithing
Tithe
A tithe is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to government. Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in cash, cheques, or stocks, whereas historically tithes were required and paid in kind, such as agricultural products...

 and fast offering
Fast offering
Fast offering is the term used in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to denote money or usable commodities donated to that church, which are then available to provide financial help to those in need...

s and distributes financial assistance where needed.

A bishop is the president of the Aaronic priesthood in his ward (and is thus a form of Mormon Kohen
Kohen
A Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the Biblical Aaron....

; in fact, the church's Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is a part of the open scriptural canon of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement...

 states that any "descendant of Aaron" who converts to Mormonism has no need to be ordained to the office of bishop as they descend from that lineage directly).. A bishop is also a High priest in the Melchizedek priesthood
Melchizedek priesthood
The Melchizedek priesthood is the greater of the two orders of priesthood recognized in Mormonism. The others are the Aaronic priesthood and the rarely recognized Patriarchal priesthood...

. Each bishop is selected from resident members of the ward by the stake presidency with approval of the First Presidency
First Presidency
In the Latter Day Saint movement, the First Presidency was the highest governing body in the Latter Day Saint church established by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1832, and is the highest governing body of several modern Latter Day Saint denominations...

, and chooses two counselors to form a bishopric. In special circumstances (such as a ward consisting entirely of young university students), a bishop may be chosen from outside the ward. A bishop is typically released after about five years and a new bishop is called to the position. Although the former bishop is released from his duties, he continues to hold the Aaronic priesthood office of Bishop. Church members frequently refer to a former bishop as "Bishop" as a sign of respect and love.

Latter Day Saint bishops do not wear any special clothing or insignia the way clergy in many other churches do, but are expected to dress and groom themselves neatly and conservatively per their local culture, especially when performing official duties. Bishops (as well as other members of the priesthood) can trace their line of authority back to Joseph Smith, Jr., who, according to church doctrine, was ordained to lead the Church in modern times by the ancient apostles Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

, James, and John
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

, who were ordained to lead the Church by Jesus Christ.

The Presiding Bishop
Presiding Bishop (LDS Church)
The Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a priesthood calling with church-wide authority. The Presiding Bishop is the highest leadership position within the church's Aaronic priesthood.-Presiding Bishopric:...

 oversees the temporal affairs (buildings, properties, commercial corporations, and so on) of the worldwide Church, including the Church's massive global humanitarian aid and social welfare programs. The Presiding Bishop has two counselors; the three together form the Presiding Bishopric.

New Apostolic Church


The New Apostolic Church
New Apostolic Church
The New Apostolic Church is a chiliastic church, converted to Protestantism as a free church from the Catholic Apostolic Church. The church has existed since 1879 in Germany and since 1897 in the Netherlands...

 (NAC) knows three classes of ministries: Deacons, Priests and Apostles. The Apostles, who are all included in the apostolate with the Chief Apostle
Chief Apostle
The Chief Apostle is the highest minister in the New Apostolic Church, and has existed since 1896.-History:The term "Chief Apostle" was first used officially to describe Jesus Christ in the New Covenant Scriptures, Book of Hebrews, Chapter 3, verse 1, where he is also called the High Priest...

 as head, are the highest ministries.

Of the several kinds of priest....ministries, the bishop is the highest. Nearly all bishops are set in line directly from the chief apostle. They support and help their superior apostle.

Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)


In the polity of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)
Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)
The Church of God, with headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee, is a Pentecostal Christian denomination. With over seven million members in over 170 countries, it is one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the world...

, the international leader is the Presiding Bishop, and the members of the Executive Committee are Executive Bishops. Collectively, they supervise and appoint national and state leaders across the world. Leaders of individual states and regions are Administrative Bishops, who have jurisdiction over local churches in their respective states and are vested with appointment authority for local pastorates. All ministers are credentialed at one of three levels of licensure, the most senior of which is the rank of Ordained Bishop. To be eligible to serve in state, national, or international positions of authority, a minister must hold the rank of Ordained Bishop.

Pentecostal Church of God


In 2002, the general convention of the Pentecostal Church of God
Pentecostal Church of God
The Pentecostal Church of God is a trinitarian Pentecostal Christian denomination headquartered in Joplin, Missouri, United States. As of 2006, there were 117,000 members and 2,870 clergy in 1,170 churches in the United States. Sixty churches and missions exist among the Native Americans...

 came to a consensus to change the title of their overseer from General Superintendent to Bishop. The change was brought on because internationally, the term Bishop is more commonly related to religious leaders than the previous title.

The title Bishop is used for both the General (International leader) and the district (state) leaders. The title is sometimes used in conjunction with the previous thus becoming General (District) Superintendent/Bishop.

Others


Some Baptists have begun taking on the title of Bishop.http://atheism.about.com/b/2003/10/04/baptist-bishops-bucking-tradition.htm

In some smaller Protestant denominations and independent churches the term bishop is used in the same way as pastor, to refer to the leader of the local congregation, and may be male or female. This usage is especially common in African American churches in the USA. In the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

, which has a Presbyterian church structure, the word "bishop" refers to an ordained person, usually a normal parish minister, who has temporary oversight of a trainee minister. In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Presbyterian Church , or PC, is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. Part of the Reformed tradition, it is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S...

, the term bishop is an expressive name for a Minister of Word and Sacrament who serves a congregation and exercises "the oversight of the flock of Christ." The term is traceable to the 1789 Form of Government of the PC(U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian understanding of the pastoral office.

While not considered orthodox Christian, the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica , or the Gnostic Catholic Church, is the ecclesiastical arm of Ordo Templi Orientis , an international fraternal initiatory organization devoted to promulgating the Law of Thelema. Thelema is a philosophical, mystical and religious system elaborated by Aleister Crowley,...

 uses roles and titles derived from Christianity for its clerical hierarchy, including bishops who have much the same authority and responsibilities as in Roman Catholicism.

The Salvation Army does not have bishops but have appointed leaders of geographical areas known as Divisional Commanders. Larger geographical areas, called Territories, are led by a Territorial Commander, who is the highest ranking officer in that Territory.

Dress and insignia



Traditionally, a number of items are associated with the office of a bishop, most notably the mitre
Mitre
The mitre , also spelled miter, is a type of headwear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Orthodox...

, crosier
Crosier
A crosier is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran and Pentecostal prelates...

, and ecclesiastical ring
Ecclesiastical ring
An ecclesiastical ring is a finger ring worn by a clergyman, such as a Bishop's ring.-Historical antecedents:St. Clement of Alexandria says that a man might lawfully wear a ring on his little finger, and that it should bear some religious emblem—a dove for the Holy Spirit, a fish for Christ or an...

. Other vestments and insignia vary between Eastern and Western Christianity.

In the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the choir dress
Choir dress
Choir dress is the vesture of the clerics, seminarians and religious of traditional churches worn for public prayer, either apart from the eucharist or by those attending the eucharist as the clergy part of the congregation rather than as the celebrants...

 of a bishop includes the purple cassock
Cassock
The cassock, an item of clerical clothing, is an ankle-length robe worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church and some ministers and ordained officers of Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Ankle-length garment is the meaning of the...

 with amaranth trim, rochet
Rochet
A rochet is a white vestment generally worn by a Roman Catholic or Anglican Bishop in choir dress. It is unknown in the Eastern Churches. The rochet is similar to a surplice, except that the sleeves are narrower...

, purple zucchetto
Zucchetto
The zucchetto , a/k/a pileolus in Latin and calotte/calotta in France, Italy and Hispanic nations, is a small skullcap worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in Anglicanism....

 (skull cap), purple biretta
Biretta
The biretta is a square cap with three or four peaks or horns, sometimes surmounted by a tuft. Traditionally the three peaked biretta is worn by Roman Catholic clergy and some Anglican and Lutheran clergy. The four peaked biretta is worn as academic dress by those holding a doctoral degree from a...

, and pectoral cross
Pectoral cross
A pectoral cross or pectorale is a cross, usually relatively large, suspended from the neck by a cord or chain that reaches well down the chest. It is worn by the clergy as an indication of their position, and is different from the small crosses worn on necklaces by many Christians, which have no...

. The cappa magna may be worn, but only within the bishop's own diocese and on especially solemn occasions. The mitre
Mitre
The mitre , also spelled miter, is a type of headwear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Orthodox...

, zuchetto, and stole are generally worn by bishops when presiding over liturgical functions. For liturgical functions other than the Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 the bishop typically wears the cope
Cope
The cope is a liturgical vestment, a very long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp. It may be of any liturgical colour....

. Within his own diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 and when celebrating solemnly elsewhere with the consent of the local ordinary
Ordinary
In those hierarchically organised churches of Western Christianity which have an ecclesiastical law system, an ordinary is an officer of the church who by reason of office has ordinary power to execute the church's laws...

, he also uses the crosier
Crosier
A crosier is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran and Pentecostal prelates...

. When celebrating Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

, a bishop, like a priest, wears the chasuble
Chasuble
The chasuble is the outermost liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist in Western-tradition Christian Churches that use full vestments, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches, as well as in some parts of the United Methodist Church...

. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum recommends, but does not impose, that in solemn celebrations a bishop should also wear a dalmatic
Dalmatic
The dalmatic is a long wide-sleeved tunic, which serves as a liturgical vestment in the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, and United Methodist Churches, which is sometimes worn by a deacon at the Mass or other services. Although infrequent, it may also be worn by bishops above the alb and below...

, which can always be white, beneath the chasuble, especially when administering the sacrament of holy orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

, blessing an abbot or abbess, and dedicating a church or an altar. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum no longer makes mention of episcopal gloves
Episcopal Gloves
The Episcopal gloves or Pontifical gloves are a Roman Catholic pontifical vestment worn a by bishop when celebrating Solemn Pontifical Mass. The Episcopal gloves are worn from the beginning of the Mass until the offertory, when they are removed...

, episcopal sandals
Episcopal sandals
The episcopal sandals, also known as the pontifical sandals, are a Roman Catholic pontifical vestment worn by bishops when celebrating liturgical functions according to the pre-Vatican II rubrics, for example a Tridentine Solemn Pontifical Mass....

, liturgical stockings (also known as buskins), or the accoutrements that it once prescribed for the bishop's horse. The coat of arms of a Latin Rite Catholic bishop usually displays a galero
Galero
A galero in the Catholic Church is a large, broad-brimmed tasseled hat worn by clergy. Over the centuries the galero was eventually limited in use to individual cardinals as a crown symbolizing the title of Prince of the Church...

 with a cross and crosier behind the escutcheon; the specifics differ by location and ecclesiastical rank (see Ecclesiastical heraldry
Ecclesiastical heraldry
Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Initially used to mark documents, ecclesiastical heraldry evolved as a system for identifying people and dioceses. It is most formalized within the Catholic Church, where most bishops, including the Pope, have a...

).

Anglican bishops generally make use of the mitre
Mitre
The mitre , also spelled miter, is a type of headwear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Orthodox...

, crosier
Crosier
A crosier is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran and Pentecostal prelates...

, ecclesiastical ring
Ecclesiastical ring
An ecclesiastical ring is a finger ring worn by a clergyman, such as a Bishop's ring.-Historical antecedents:St. Clement of Alexandria says that a man might lawfully wear a ring on his little finger, and that it should bear some religious emblem—a dove for the Holy Spirit, a fish for Christ or an...

, purple cassock
Cassock
The cassock, an item of clerical clothing, is an ankle-length robe worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church and some ministers and ordained officers of Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Ankle-length garment is the meaning of the...

, purple zucchetto
Zucchetto
The zucchetto , a/k/a pileolus in Latin and calotte/calotta in France, Italy and Hispanic nations, is a small skullcap worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in Anglicanism....

, and pectoral cross
Pectoral cross
A pectoral cross or pectorale is a cross, usually relatively large, suspended from the neck by a cord or chain that reaches well down the chest. It is worn by the clergy as an indication of their position, and is different from the small crosses worn on necklaces by many Christians, which have no...

. However, the traditional choir dress
Choir dress
Choir dress is the vesture of the clerics, seminarians and religious of traditional churches worn for public prayer, either apart from the eucharist or by those attending the eucharist as the clergy part of the congregation rather than as the celebrants...

 of Anglican bishops is quite different from that of their Catholic counterparts; it consists of a long rochet
Rochet
A rochet is a white vestment generally worn by a Roman Catholic or Anglican Bishop in choir dress. It is unknown in the Eastern Churches. The rochet is similar to a surplice, except that the sleeves are narrower...

 which is worn with a chimere
Chimere
A chimere is a garment that was formally worn as part of academic dress, or by Anglican bishops in choir dress.A descendant of a riding cloak, the chimere resembles an academic gown but without sleeves, and is usually made of scarlet or black cloth. In modern English use the garment is worn as part...

.

In the Eastern Churches (Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic) a bishop will wear the mandyas, panagia
Panagia
Panagia , also transliterated Panayia or Panaghia, is one of the titles of Mary, the mother of Jesus, used especially in Orthodox Christianity....

 (and perhaps an enkolpion), sakkos
Sakkos
The Sakkos is a vestment worn by Orthodox and Greek Catholic bishops instead of the priest's phelonion. The garment is a tunic with wide sleeves, and a distinctive pattern of trim. It reaches below the knees and is fastened up the sides with buttons or tied with ribbons...

, omophorion
Omophorion
In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic liturgical tradition, the omophor is the distinguishing vestment of a bishop and the symbol of his spiritual and ecclesiastical authority...

 and an Eastern-style mitre
Mitre
The mitre , also spelled miter, is a type of headwear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Orthodox...

. Eastern bishops do not normally wear an episcopal ring; the faithful kiss the bishop's hand. To seal official documents, he will usually use an inked stamp. An Eastern bishop's coat of arms will normally display an Eastern-style mitre, cross, eastern style crosier and a red and white (or red and gold) mantle. The arms of Oriental Orthodox bishops will display the episcopal insignia (mitre or turban) specific to their own liturgical traditions. Variations occur based upon jurisdiction and national customs.

See also



  • List of types of spiritual teachers
  • Bishops in the Church of Scotland
    Bishops in the Church of Scotland
    There have not been bishops in the Church of Scotland since the 17th century, although there have occasionally been attempts to reintroduce episcopalianism....

  • Church of England
    Church of England
    The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

  • Ecclesiastical polity
    Ecclesiastical polity
    Ecclesiastical polity is the operational and governance structure of a church or Christian denomination. It also denotes the ministerial structure of the church and the authority relationships between churches...

     (church governance)
    • Congregationalist polity
      Congregationalist polity
      Congregationalist polity, often known as congregationalism, is a system of church governance in which every local church congregation is independent, ecclesiastically sovereign, or "autonomous"...

    • Episcopal polity
      Episcopal polity
      Episcopal polity is a form of church governance that is hierarchical in structure with the chief authority over a local Christian church resting in a bishop...

    • Presbyterian polity
      Presbyterian polity
      Presbyterian polity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply...


  • Gay bishops
    Gay bishops
    The existence of homosexual bishops in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other traditions is a matter of historical record, though never, until recently, considered licit by any of the main Christian denominations. Homosexual activity was engaged in secretly. When it was made public, official...

  • Lord Bishop
    Lord Bishop
    "Lord Bishop" is a traditional form of address used for bishops since the Middle Ages, an era when bishops occupied the feudal rank of 'lord' by virtue of their office...

  • Prince-Bishop
    Prince-Bishop
    A Prince-Bishop is a bishop who is a territorial Prince of the Church on account of one or more secular principalities, usually pre-existent titles of nobility held concurrently with their inherent clerical office...

  • Shepherd in religion
  • Lists of patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops
  • List of Metropolitans and Patriarchs of Moscow


External links