The word DIOCESE (/ˈdaɪ.ə.sɪs/ ) is derived from the Greek term _διοίκησις_ meaning "administration". When now used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to a territorial unit of administration. In the Western Church, the district is under the supervision of a bishop (who may have assistant bishops to help him or her) and is divided into parishes under the care of priests; but in the Eastern Church, the word denotes the area under the jurisdiction of a patriarch and the bishops under his jurisdiction administer parishes. This structure of church governance is known as episcopal polity .
The word DIOCESAN means relating or pertaining to a diocese. It can also be used as a noun meaning the bishop who has the principal supervision of a diocese. A diocese also may be referred to as a _BISHOPRIC_ or _episcopal see _, though strictly the term _episcopal see_ refers to the domain of ecclesiastical authority officially held by the bishop, and the term _bishopric_ to the post of being bishop.
An ARCHDIOCESE (or ARCHIEPISCOPAL SEE or ARCHBISHOPRIC) is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or have had importance due to size or historical significance. The archbishop may have metropolitan authority over any other suffragan bishops and their dioceses within his ecclesiastical province .
In the Latter Day Saint movement , the term "bishopric" is used to describe the bishop himself, together with his two counselors, not the ward or congregation of which a bishop has charge.
Especially in the Middle Ages, some bishops (e.g. prince-bishops )
held political as well as religious authority within their dioceses,
which in practice were thus independent or semi-independent states.
Two vestiges of this remain: the Catholic
* 5 Lutheranism
* 5.1 Germany and Nordic countries * 5.2 Lutheranism in the USA
* 7 Churches that have bishops, but not dioceses
* 7.1 Methodism
* 8 Churches that have neither bishops nor dioceses
* 8.1 Presbyterians
* 8.2 Congregationals
* 8.2.1 Churches of Christ
* 8.3 Baptists * 8.4 Continental Reformed churches
* 9 See also * 10 Notes * 11 Sources and external links
See also: Bishops and civil government
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Dioceses of the Roman Empire, 400 AD
In the later organization of the
With the adoption of Christianity as the Empire's official religion in the 4th century , the clergy assumed official positions of authority alongside the civil governors. A formal church hierarchy was set up, parallel to the civil administration, whose areas of responsibility often coincided.
With the collapse of the Western Empire in the 5th century , the
bishops in Western Europe assumed a large part of the role of the
former Roman governors. A similar, though less pronounced, development
occurred in the East, where the Roman administrative apparatus was
largely retained by the
Modern usage of 'diocese' tends to refer to the sphere of a bishop's jurisdiction. This became commonplace during the self-conscious "classicizing" structural evolution of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, but this usage had itself been evolving from the much earlier _parochia_ ("parish "), dating from the increasingly formalised Christian authority structure in the 4th century.
As of January 2015 , in the
In the Eastern rites in communion with the
EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH
Further information: List of Eastern Orthodox bishops and archbishops
Eastern Orthodoxy calls dioceses METROPOLEIS in the Greek tradition or EPARCHIES in the Slavic tradition.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND ANGLICAN COMMUNION
After the Reformation , the
Church of England retained the existing
diocesan structure which remains throughout the
Anglican Communion .
The one change is that the areas administered under the
Further information: List of Lutheran dioceses and archdioceses
GERMANY AND NORDIC COUNTRIES
LUTHERANISM IN THE USA
CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST
The Church of God in Christ (_COGIC_) has dioceses throughout the United States. In the COGIC, each state is divided up into at least three dioceses that are all led by a bishop, but some states as many as seven dioceses. These dioceses are called "_Jurisdictions._"
CHURCHES THAT HAVE BISHOPS, BUT NOT DIOCESES
See also: Methodist Circuit and Episcopal area (United Methodist Church)
United Methodist Church
In the British Methodist Church and Irish Methodist Church , the closest equivalent to a diocese is the \'circuit\' . Each local church belongs to a circuit, and the circuit is overseen by a superintendent minister who has pastoral charge of all the circuit churches (though in practice he or she delegates such charge to other presbyters who each care for a section of the circuit and chair the local church meetings as deputies of the superintendent). This echoes the practice of the early church where the bishop was supported by a bench of presbyters