The title archbishop ( arch- from ancient Greek αρχή arché 'beginning', 'leadership', in the derived meaning 'superior', and bishop from επίσκοπος epískopos 'overseer') is borne by bishops with a special position in office. Which bishop may bear the title is regulated differently from church to church. The following cases can be distinguished in the Roman Catholic Church:
- Official title of a metropolitan who heads an ecclesiastical province
- Bishop who presides over an archdiocese , but not an ecclesiastical province
- Bishop to whom the title of honor was bestowed by the Pope
In the third and fourth centuries, associations of dioceses gradually formed, the head of which was usually referred to as a metropolitan because he was usually the bishop of the capital ( metropolis ) of a Roman province (an exception to this form existed, for example, in the province of Africa ). The First Council of Nicaea mentions that these associations, too , were again grouped into corresponding jurisdictions , namely Alexandria , Antioch , Constantinople and Rome . Together with Jerusalem , these major churches were called patriarchates in the 5th century . The name Archbishop (ἀρχιεπίσκοπος) was first handed down for the Bishop of Alexandria in the 4th century . Archbishop is therefore a title, not an official title - that would be metropolitan . Over time, the title was borne by more and more bishops, while the episcopal heads of the aforementioned ecclesiastical areas were called patriarchs . In the churches with a Byzantine tradition there are still archbishops who are heads of autocephalous - that is, more independent, independent - churches.
The prerogative of the metropolitans or archbishops was always the right to convene provincial synods - that is, bishops' assemblies in his district - as well as the confirmation and sometimes also the appointment of his suffragan bishops . At no time did the metropolitans have the right to rule over the dioceses belonging to their association.
The understanding of the title and its legal form developed differently in the east and west. Since Carolingian times, particularly respected bishops who were not metropolitan were appointed archbishops in the West, partly because of the importance of their diocese, partly because they held a special office, such as that of legate or nuncio .
Archbishops who are metropolitans wear the pallium in the Roman Catholic Church as a sign of participation in the pastoral power of the Pope . In the Eastern Churches, the liturgical garment corresponding to the pallium ( omophorion ) is worn by all bishops.
Archbishops in the Catholic Church
Bear the title of Archbishop in the Roman Catholic Church
Archbishop without a metropolitan seat
The resident bishop of an archdiocese that is not a metropolitan seat. For historical reasons, there can be ecclesiastical provinces with several archdioceses (e.g. the ecclesiastical province of Pesaro with the archdioceses of Pesaro and Urbino). The bishops residing there each bear the title of archbishop, but only one of them is also metropolitan. There are also archdioceses such as Luxembourg , Strasbourg or Vaduz , which do not belong to any ecclesiastical province but are directly subordinate to the Apostolic See ( immediate dioceses). Their bishops also have the title of archbishop, but they are not metropolitans.
Archbishop ad personam
Occasionally, bishops are given the personal ( Latin ad personam ) title archbishop , for example deserving retired diocesan bishops. Titular archbishops who become bishops of a normal diocese also retain the personal title of archbishop, the diocese continues to remain a bishopric without archbishopric dignity. Johannes Dyba, for example, was titular archbishop as papal diplomat and retained the personal title of archbishop after his appointment as Bishop of Fulda .
Titular bishops are not given a personal archbishop title, but are usually transferred to a titular archbishopric or, in exceptional cases, the titular bishopric is pro hac vice raised to an archbishopric.
Old Catholic Church
In the Old Catholic Church , the Archbishop of Utrecht is Metropolitan of the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands and, at the same time, President of the International Bishops' Conference of the Union of Utrecht .