A church province ( Latin : provincia ecclesiastica ) or metropolis is an association of several neighboring dioceses and in some church hierarchies forms an intermediate level between the local church and the general church. There are provinces in the Roman Catholic Church , the Orthodox Churches , the Churches of the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Church . Only names are identical with the earlier church provinces of the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union .
Metropolitan and Suffragan
The head of an ecclesiastical province bears the title metropolitan and is himself diocesan bishop of a diocese of the ecclesiastical province (metropolitan bishopric). The other dioceses of the ecclesiastical province are called suffragan dioceses , and their bishops are also called suffragan bishops . In relation to these, the metropolitan has a management and supervisory function without rights of intervention. Linked to this is his duty to report to the Apostolic See. He watches over the observance of the faith and the ecclesiastical discipline in his suffragan dioceses and is responsible for the appointment of a diocesan administrator in the event of a vacancy . A provincial council can also be convened with the consent of its suffragan bishops .
The diocese of the metropolitan has the rank of archdiocese , the metropolitan that of archbishop . However, an archdiocese does not have a special legal status, but in most cases this rank is associated with the seat of a metropolitan area. In rare cases, however, an archdiocese can also be the suffragan of another ecclesiastical province. For example, the Archdiocese of Aix belongs to the ecclesiastical province of Marseille and is subordinate to the Archbishop of Marseille as a metropolitan; the Archbishopric of Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi-Conza-Nusco-Bisaccia is subordinate to the Archbishop of Benevento .
Roman Catholic Church
- Can. 431: § 1. In order to promote a common pastoral approach of the various neighboring dioceses according to the personal and local circumstances and to better cultivate the relations of the diocesan bishops with one another, neighboring particular churches are to be connected to ecclesiastical provinces with precisely defined areas. § 2. Exempt dioceses are generally not allowed to exist in the future; therefore the individual dioceses and other particular churches that lie in the territory of an ecclesiastical province must be assigned to this ecclesiastical province. § 3. It is the sole responsibility of the highest ecclesiastical authority, after hearing the bishops concerned, to establish, abolish or change church provinces.
- Can. 432: § 1. In the ecclesiastical province, the provincial council and the metropolitan have power of attorney in accordance with the law . § 2. The ecclesiastical province has legal personality by law.
However, there are also dioceses that do not belong to any ecclesiastical province and are directly subordinate to the Apostolic See . Such dioceses are called exemt or immediately . Examples of immediate dioceses are:
- the dioceses in Switzerland ,
- the Archdiocese of Vaduz ,
- the Archdiocese of Luxembourg and
- the Archdiocese of Strasbourg .
There have been seven church provinces in Germany since 1994. These are Bamberg , Berlin , Freiburg (also Upper Rhine Church Province), Hamburg (also North German Church Province), Cologne (also Rhenish Church Province), Munich-Freising and Paderborn (also Central German Church Province). Former church provinces wholly or partially in the area of today's Germany are Basel (until 1801), Bremen (until 1648, called Hamburg-Bremen until 1072), Gnesen (for Lebus until 1424), Breslau (also East German church province), Lund (1104-1536 ; for Roskilde in Northern Pomerania and Schleswig ), Magdeburg (until 1648), Mainz (until 1801), East German Church Province (1930–1972), Salzburg (until 1821) and Trier (until 1801).
In Austria there are two ecclesiastical provinces, the ecclesiastical province of Salzburg with the archdiocese of Salzburg as the metropolitan diocese and the suffragan dioceses Gurk , Graz-Seckau , Innsbruck and Feldkirch , as well as the ecclesiastical province of Vienna with the archdiocese of Vienna as the metropolitan diocese and the suffragan dioceses of Linz , St. Pölten and Eisenstadt .
The Church of England is divided into two provinces, Canterbury and York , each headed by an archbishop. The Anglican Church of Australia has five provinces: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, as well as an extra-provincial diocese. The Anglican Church of Canada has four: British Columbia and the Yukon, Canada, Ontario, and Rupert's Land. The Church of Ireland has two: Armagh and Dublin. The Episcopal Church of the United States of America gives numbers instead of names to its nine provinces.