Ecclesiastical Province

Ecclesiastical Province

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An ecclesiastical province (or churchly province) is a large jurisdiction of religious government, so named by analogy with a secular 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...

, existing in certain hierarchical Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 churches
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"...

, especially in the Catholic Church (both Latin and Eastern Catholic) and Orthodox Churches and 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...

. In the early church, and in some modern churches, its chief city and seat is called a metropolis and its bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated 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, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 is called a 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...

.

Early history


Ecclesiastical provinces first assumed a fixed form in the Eastern Roman Empire. The more important centres (e.g. 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...

 for Syria
Christianity in Syria
Christians in Syria make up about 10% of the population, the largest Christian denomination is the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, closely followed by the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and then the Syriac Orthodox Church; there are also a minority of Protestants...

, Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

 for the Province of Asia, Alexandria for Egypt
Coptic Christianity
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the official name for the largest Christian church in Egypt and the Middle East. The Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches, which has been a distinct church body since the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, when it took a different...

, Rome for Italy), whence Christian missionaries issued to preach the Gospel, were regarded as the mother-churches (hence the Greek term metropolitan) of the newly-founded Christian communities. From the second half of the second century, the bishops of the territories within the same natural geographical boundaries were accustomed to assemble on important occasions for common counsel in 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...

s. From the end of that century the summons to attend these increasingly important synods was usually issued by the bishop of the capital of the state province (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...

), who also presided over the assembly, especially in the East. Important communications were also forwarded to the bishop of the provincial capital to be brought to the notice of the other bishops. Thus in the East during the third century the bishop of the provincial metropolis came gradually to occupy a certain superior position, and received the name of metropolitan.

At 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) this position of the metropolitan was taken for granted, and was made the basis for conceding to him definite rights over the other bishops and dioceses of the state province. In Eastern canon law since the fourth century (cf. also the Synod of Antioch of 341, can. ix), it was a principle that every civil province was likewise a church province under the supreme direction of the metropolitan, i.e. of the bishop of the provincial capital.

This division into ecclesiastical provinces did not develop so early in the Western Empire. In North Africa the first metropolitan appears during the fourth century, the Bishop of Carthage being recognized as primate of the dioceses of Northern Africa; metropolitans of the separate provinces gradually appear, although the boundaries of these provinces did not coincide with the divisions of the empire. A similar development was witnessed in Spain, Gaul, and Italy. The migration of the nations, however, prevented an equally stable formation of ecclesiastical provinces in the Christian West as in the East. It was only after the fifth century that such gradually developed, mostly in accordance with the ancient divisions of the Roman Empire. In Italy alone, on account of the central ecclesiastical position of Rome, this development was slower. However, at the end of Antiquity the existence of church provinces as the basis of ecclesiastical administration was fairly universal in the West. In the Carolingian period they were reorganized, and have retained their place ever since.

Eastern Christian churches


After the East-West schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

 the early Christian communities and structures remained. In Eastern Orthodoxy all parishes belong to an 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...

, the equivalent of a diocese, which is governed by a bishop. Eparchies normally follow civil boundaries, but there are exceptions. Eparchies are part of an autonomous church, headed by an archbishop, metropolitan or 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...

 depending on the status of the particular autonomous church. Autonomous churches normally follow civil or national boundaries.

In general


In the Catholic Church, a province consists of a metropolitan archdiocese and one or more of other particular church
Particular Church
In Catholic canon law, a Particular Church is an ecclesial community headed by a bishop or someone recognised as the equivalent of a bishop.There are two kinds of particular Churches:# Local particular Churches ...

es, usually 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...

s. The 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...

 of the metropolitan see is the Metropolitan of the province. The delimitation of church provinces in the Latin Church
Latin Church
The Latin Church is the largest particular church within the Catholic Church. It is a particular church not on the level of the local particular churches known as dioceses or eparchies, but on the level of autonomous ritual churches, of which there are 23, the remaining 22 of which are Eastern...

 is reserved 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...

.

However, there have always been individual dioceses which do not belong to any province, but are directly subject to the Holy See. There are also some archdioceses that are not metropolitan sees and some that are suffragan to another archdiocese; their 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...

s do not receive the pallium
Pallium
The pallium is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context it has always remained unambiguously...

.

The authority of the metropolitan over the sees within his province is very limited. During a vacancy
Sede vacante
Sede vacante is an expression, used in the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, that refers to the vacancy of the episcopal see of a particular church...

 in a suffragan see
Suffragan Diocese
A suffragan diocese is a diocese in the Catholic Church that is overseen not only by its own diocesan bishop but also by a metropolitan bishop. The metropolitan is always an archbishop who governs his own archdiocese...

, the metropolitan can name a temporary diocesan administrator
Vicar capitular
A diocesan administrator is a provisional ordinary of a Roman Catholic particular church. The college of consultors elects an administrator within eight days after the see is known to be vacant. The college must elect as administrator a priest or bishop at least 35 years old...

 if the College of Consultor
Consultor
A consultor is one who gives counsel, i.e. a counselor.In the Catholic Church, it is a specific title for various advisory positions:*in the Roman Curia, a consultor is a specially appointed expert who may be called upon for advice desired by a department...

s of the diocese fails to elect one within the prescribed period. A metropolitan generally presides at the installation and consecration of new bishops in the province, and serves as the first court of appeal regarding canonical matters of provincial diocesan tribunals. The metropolitan's insignia is the pallium.

In the Eastern Catholic Churches, the term metropolitan is used in a similar way to the Eastern Orthodox churches. In some of the sui iuris Eastern Churches, the head of the Church is a metropolitan. These 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...

metropolitan churches are generally less populous than patriarchal or major archiepiscopal churches, and are subject to greater oversight by the pope and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
Congregation for the Oriental Churches
The Congregation for the Oriental Churches is the dicastery of the Roman Curia responsible for contact with the Eastern Catholic Churches for the sake of assisting their development, protecting their rights and also maintaining whole and entire in the one Catholic Church, alongside the liturgical,...

.

The authority exercised by the metropolitan over his suffragan dioceses is as limited today as it ever has been in history. Emphasis is placed on each bishop having a direct relationship with the pope and not dependent on the metropolitan. The metropolitan is supposed to hold a provincial council every three year. Because of restrictions, he probably cannot officially visit dioceses other than his own, that are technically within his jurisdiction. He can nominate candidates for vacancies to the bishopric within his province.

Provincial boundary lines


The borders of provinces have often been inspired, or even determined, by historical and/or present political border
Border
Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and...

s; the same is often true of diocesan borders within a province. The following are some examples:
  • In France, where the boundaries partly reflected later Roman provinces, most have been rearranged (2002) to fit new administrative regions.
  • A comparable process to that of France occurred earlier in Spain.
  • In southern Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    , the diocesan boundaries follow the political boundaries that existed between 1815 and 1870.
  • In Ireland, the four ecclesiastical provinces fixed by the Synod of Kells in 1152 reflected the contemporary boundaries of the secular provinces
    Provinces of Ireland
    Ireland has historically been divided into four provinces: Leinster, Ulster, Munster and Connacht. The Irish word for this territorial division, cúige, literally meaning "fifth part", indicates that there were once five; the fifth province, Meath, was incorporated into Leinster, with parts going to...

    , which continued to shift till the seventeenth century. Since the Partition of Ireland
    Partition of Ireland
    The partition of Ireland was the division of the island of Ireland into two distinct territories, now Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . Partition occurred when the British Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1920...

     in 1920–2 there have been six dioceses in the province of Armagh which straddle the international border between the Republic of Ireland
    Republic of Ireland
    Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

     and Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

    , which is part of the United Kingdom.
  • In 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...

    , the dioceses, and subsequently the 2 provinces, follow both civil and geographical boundaries such as rivers.
  • In geographically large nations with a sizeable Catholic population, such as the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    , ecclesiastical provinces typically follow state
    U.S. state
    A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

     lines
    Border
    Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and...

    , with less populous states being grouped into provinces. In the United States, there are five exceptions:
    • California has two metropolitan archdioceses and provinces: Los Angeles
      Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles
      The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is an archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. state of California. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the archdiocese comprises the California counties of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura. The diocesan cathedral is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the...

       and San Francisco
      Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
      The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in the northern California region of the United States. It covers the City and County of San Francisco and the Counties of Marin and San Mateo...

      .
    • Texas has two metropolitan archdioceses and provinces: Galveston-Houston
      Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
      The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston encompasses of ten counties in the southeastern area of Texas: Galveston; Harris; Austin; Brazoria; Fort Bend; Grimes; Montgomery; San Jacinto; Walker; and Waller.The chancery of the diocese is located in Downtown Houston. The Archdiocese's...

       and San Antonio
      Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio
      The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio encompasses in Texas.The archdiocese includes the city of San Antonio and the following counties: Val Verde, Edwards, Kerr, Gillespie, Kendall, Comal, Guadalupe, Gonzales, Uvalde, Kinney, Medina, Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, Frio, Atascosa, and McMullen.On...

      .
    • Maryland is unusual in that fourteen of its 23 counties belong to dioceses whose see cities are outside Maryland: (1) the nine counties of Maryland's Eastern Shore
      Eastern Shore of Maryland
      The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a territorial part of the U.S. state of Maryland that lies predominately on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay and consists of nine counties. The origin of term Eastern Shore was derived to distinguish a territorial part of the State of Maryland from the Western...

       (Delmarva Peninsula
      Delmarva Peninsula
      The Delmarva Peninsula is a large peninsula on the East Coast of the United States, occupied by most of Delaware and portions of Maryland and Virginia...

      ) are part of the Diocese of Wilmington
      Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington
      -External links:**...

      , Delaware and (2) the five counties adjacent to the District of Columbia and in southern Maryland are part of the Archdiocese of Washington
      Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington
      The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is a particular church of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. It comprises the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's and Saint Mary's counties in the state of Maryland....

      , which is a different province. Only the remaining nine counties and the City of Baltimore are part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore
      Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore
      The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Baltimore is a particular church of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The archdiocese comprises the City of Baltimore as well as Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, and Washington Counties in Maryland...

      .
    • Fishers Island
      Fishers Island
      Fishers Island, approximately 9 miles long and 1 mile wide, is located at the eastern end of Long Island Sound, 2 miles off the southeastern coast of Connecticut across Fishers Island Sound...

      , a part of Suffolk County, New York, and north of Long Island
      Long Island
      Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

      , is part of the Diocese of Norwich
      Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
      The Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory or diocese in Connecticut in the northeastern United States. It was erected on August 6, 1953 by Pope Pius XII....

      , Connecticut, which is in a different province.
    • Those parts of Idaho and Montana that are within Yellowstone National Park
      Yellowstone National Park
      Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...

       are part of the Diocese of Cheyenne
      Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne
      The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne is a Roman Catholic diocese covering the state of Wyoming. It was founded on August 2, 1887 by Pope Leo XIII...

      , Wyoming, which is in a different province.
    • In addition, the Diocese of Gallup
      Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup
      The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the southwestern region of the United States, encompassing counties in the states of Arizona and New Mexico and and parts of Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Bernalillo, and Valencia Counties west...

       (New Mexico) contains two Arizona counties
      County (United States)
      In the United States, a county is a geographic subdivision of a state , usually assigned some governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states; Louisiana is divided into parishes and Alaska into boroughs. Parishes and boroughs are called "county-equivalents" by the U.S...

       — Apache County and Navajo County — and part of a third county, i.e., those parts of the Navajo
      Navajo Nation
      The Navajo Nation is a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory covering , occupying all of northeastern Arizona, the southeastern portion of Utah, and northwestern New Mexico...

       and Hopi
      Hopi Reservation
      The Hopi Reservation, or simply Hopi, is a Native American reservation for the Hopi and Arizona Tewa people, surrounded entirely by the Navajo Nation, in Navajo and Coconino counties of Arizona, USA. The site in north-eastern Arizona has a land area of 2,531.773 sq mi and as of the 2000 census had...

       reservations
      Indian reservation
      An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

       that are in Coconino County
      Coconino County, Arizona
      -2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*61.7% White*1.2% Black*27.3% Native American*1.4% Asian*0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.1% Two or more races*5.2% Other races*13.5% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

       (Arizona). New Mexico and Arizona, however, together form one province.
  • Most countries contain more than one province, except those with a small population or few Catholics.

Anglican Communion


Member churches 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...

 are often referred to as provinces. Some provinces are coterminous with the boundaries of political states, some include multiple nations while others include only parts of a nation. Some, such as the Church of the Province of West Africa
Church of the Province of West Africa
The Church of the Province of West Africa is a province of the Anglican Communion, covering 15 sees in West Africa, specifically in Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone. The current primate of the province is Archbishop Justice Akrofi.-History:...

, have the word "province" in their names. A list of all member churches of the Anglican Communion is available at the main Anglican Communion article. These member churches are known as "provinces of the Anglican Communion," and are headed by a 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 ....

, who may also be referred to as a primus (for example, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Primus, styled The Most Reverend the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is the presiding bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The current Primus is the Most Revd David Chillingworth who became Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church on 13 June 2009...

), 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 moderator
Moderator of the General Assembly
The Moderator of the General Assembly is the chairperson of a General Assembly, the highest court of a presbyterian or reformed church. Kirk Sessions and Presbyteries may also style the chairperson as moderator....

.

The word "province" is also used to refer to groupings of 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...

s within a member church. 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...

 is divided into two provinces: Canterbury
Province of Canterbury
The Province of Canterbury, also called the Southern Province, is one of two ecclesiastical provinces making up the Church of England...

 and York
Province of York
The Province of York is one of two ecclesiastical provinces making up the Church of England, and consists of 14 dioceses which cover the northern third of England and the Isle of Man. York was elevated to an Archbishopric in 735 AD: Ecgbert of York was the first archbishop...

. The Anglican Church of Australia
Anglican Church of Australia
The Anglican Church of Australia is a member church of the Anglican Communion. It was previously officially known as the Church of England in Australia and Tasmania...

 has five provinces: New South Wales
Province of New South Wales
The Province of New South Wales is an ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Church of Australia, the boundaries of which are nearly all of state of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. The province consists of seven dioceses: Armidale, Bathurst, Canberra and Goulburn, Grafton,...

, Queensland
Province of Queensland
The Province of Queensland is an ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Church of Australia, the area of which covers that of the Northern Territory and the state of Queensland. The province consists of four dioceses: Brisbane, North Queensland, The Northern Territory and Rockhampton. The...

, South Australia
Province of South Australia
The Province of South Australia is an ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Church of Australia, the boundaries of which are those of the state of South Australia. The province consists of three dioceses: Adelaide, The Murray and Willochra. The metropolitan of the province is the Most Revd...

, Victoria
Province of Victoria
The Province of Victoria is an ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Church of Australia, the boundaries of which are those of the State of Victoria and some New South Wales parishes in the Diocese of Wangaratta. The province consists of five dioceses: Ballarat, Bendigo, Gippsland, Melbourne and...

 and Western Australia
Province of Western Australia
The Province of Western Australia is an ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Church of Australia, the boundaries of are those of the state of Western Australia. The province consists of three dioceses: Bunbury, North West Australia and Perth...

, and an extraprovincial diocese. 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...

 has four: British Columbia and the Yukon
Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and the Yukon
The Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and the Yukon is one of four ecclesiastical provinces in the Anglican Church of Canada. It was founded in 1914 as the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia, but changed its name in 1943 when the Diocese of Yukon was incorporated from the...

, Canada
Ecclesiastical Province of Canada
The Ecclesiastical Province of Canada was founded in 1860 and is one of four ecclesiastical provinces in the Anglican Church of Canada. Despite its name, the province covers only the former territory of Lower Canada , the Maritimes, and Newfoundland and Labrador...

, Ontario
Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario
The Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario is one of the Anglican Church of Canada's four ecclesiastical provinces. It was established in 1912 out of six dioceses of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada located in the civil Province of Ontario, and the Diocese of Moosonee from the Ecclesiastical...

, and Rupert's Land
Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land
The Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land was founded in 1875 and is one of four ecclesiastical provinces in the Anglican Church of Canada. The territory covered by the province is roughly coterminous with the western portion of the former Hudson's Bay Company concession of Rupert's Land, as...

. The Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 has two: Armagh and Dublin. The Episcopal Church in the United States of America numbers, rather than names, its nine provinces.

Regular equivalent


The term province, or occasionally religious province, also refers to a geographical and administrative subdivision in a number of religious order
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

s or congregations. This is true of most, though not all, religious communities founded after the year AD 1000 (as well as the Augustinians, who date from much earlier).

A province of a religious community is typically headed by a provincial superior
Provincial superior
A Provincial Superior is a major superior of a religious order acting under the order's Superior General and exercising a general supervision over all the members of that order in a territorial division of the order called a province--similar to but not to be confused with an ecclesiastical...

. The title differs by each congregational tradition (provincial minister for Franciscans; provincial prior for Dominicans; provincial for the Augustinians, simply "provincial" or "provincial father" for the Jesuits and many others, for instance). The borders of such juridsdictions are determined independently of the diocesan structure, and so often differ from the abovementioned 'secular' ecclesiastical provinces, usually far larger in most parts of the word, sometimes even smaller in a congregation's heartland, while many are absent from large parts of the world.

Most monastic orders do not use provincial distinctions. In general, they organise their administration through autonomous houses, in some cases grouped in larger families. By way of example, each Benedictine abbey is an independent foundation, but abbeys often choose to group themselves into congregations based on historical connections.

See also