The Info List - Ecclesiastical Province

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An ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE is a general term for one of the basic forms of jurisdiction in Christian
Churches with traditional hierarchical structure, including Western Christianity
and Eastern Christianity
. In general, ecclesiastical province is consisted of several dioceses (or eparchies ), one of them being the archdiocese (or archeparchy ), headed by metropolitan bishop or archbishop who has ecclesiastical jurisdiction over all other bishops of the province.

In the Greco-Roman world, _ecclesia_ (Greek ἐκκλησίᾱ, _ekklēsiā_ ( Latin
ecclesia) meaning "congregation, church") was used to refer to a lawful assembly, or a called legislative body. As early as Pythagoras
, the word took on the additional meaning of a community with shared beliefs. This is the meaning taken in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures
Hebrew Scriptures
(the Septuagint ), and later adopted by the Christian
community to refer to the assembly of believers.

In the history of Western world (sometimes more precisely as Greco-Roman world ) adopted by the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and the Byzantine Empire , Christian
ecclesiastical provinces were named by analogy with the secular Roman province
Roman province
as well as certain extraterritorial formations of western world in early medieval times (see Early Middle Ages ). The administrative seat of each province is an episcopal see . In hierarchical Christian
churches that have dioceses , a province is a collection of those dioceses (as a basic unit of administration).

Over the years certain provinces adopted the status of metropolis and have a certain degree of self-rule. A bishop of such province is called the metropolitan bishop or metropolitan. The Roman Catholic Church (both Latin
and Eastern Catholic), the Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
all have provinces. These provinces are led by a metropolitan archbishop .


* 1 Provincial church organisation

* 1.1 Early history * 1.2 Eastern Orthodox Church

* 1.3 Catholic Church
Catholic Church

* 1.3.1 In general * 1.3.2 Provincial boundary lines

* 1.4 Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
* 1.5 Evangelical State Church in Prussia

* 2 Religious institutes * 3 See also * 4 References * 5 Sources



Ecclesiastical provinces first corresponded to the civil provinces of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
. From the second half of the second century, the bishops of these provinces were accustomed to assemble on important occasions for common counsel in synods . From the end of that century the summons to attend these increasingly important synods was usually issued by the bishop of the capital or metropolis of the province, 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 (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.


Historical development of ecclesiastical provinces in the Eastern Orthodox Church was influenced by strong tendencies of internal administrative centralization. Since the First Ecumenical Council (325), Archbishop
of Alexandria was given supreme jurisdiction over all provinces of Egypt. Similar authority was also granted to Archbishop
of Antioch regarding jurisdiction over provinces of Orient. Since the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451), Patriarch
of Constantinople was given right to consecrate metropolitan bishops in all regions that were placed under his supreme jurisdiction. In time, previous administrative autonomy of original ecclesiastical provinces was gradually and systematically reduced in favor of patriarchal centralization. Ancient practice of annual councils of provincial bishops, headed by their local metropolitans, was also abandoned in favor of centralized councils, headed by patriarchs and attended by metropolitan bishops.

Creation of new autonomous and autocephalous jurisdictions was also marked by tendencies of internal centralization. The newly created Archbishopric of Ohrid (1018) was structured as a single ecclesiastical province, headed by archbishop who had jurisdiction over all of his suffragan bishops. In 1219, autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church was also organized as one ecclesiastical province, headed by archbishop with direct jurisdiction over all Serbian bishops. By the end of Middle Ages
Middle Ages
, each autocephalous and autonomous church in Eastern Orthodoxy
was functioning as a single, internally integrated ecclesiastical province, headed by local patriarch or archbishop.

Only in modern times, some Eastern Orthodox Churches have revived the ancient practice by creating internal ecclesiastical provinces on the middle (regional) level of church administration. In Romanian Orthodox Church there are six regional metropolitanates, headed by local metropolitans who are presiding over regional synods of local bishops, and have special duties and privileges. For example, Metropolitan of Oltenia has regional jurisdiction over four local dioceses. On the other hand, majority of Eastern Orthodox Churches remain to function as highly centralized church bodies, each of them functioning as a single ecclesiastical province.


Further information: List of Catholic dioceses

In General

In the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
, a province consists of a metropolitan archdiocese and one or more other dioceses headed by diocesan bishops. The archbishop of the metropolitan see is the metropolitan of the province. The delimitation of church provinces in the Latin
Church is reserved to the Holy See
Holy See

However, there have always been individual dioceses which do not belong to any province but are directly subject to the Holy See, such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese
of Strasbourg . There are also some archdioceses that are not metropolitan sees and some that are suffragan to another archdiocese; their archbishops do not receive the pallium .

The authority of a Latin-Church metropolitan over the other sees within his province is now very limited. During a vacancy in a suffragan see , the metropolitan is to name a temporary diocesan administrator if the College of Consultors 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 the tribunal of the metropolitan see generally serves as the first court of appeal regarding canonical matters of provincial diocesan tribunals. The metropolitan's insignia is the pallium. The article in the _ Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
_ of 1911 on "metropolitan" shows that the metropolitan then had scarcely any power more than now.

In the Eastern Catholic Churches , the patriarchal or major archiepiscopal Churches may also be divided into ecclesial provinces, each headed by a metropolitan. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Catholic Church
has several , two of them in the United States
United States
and Canada. Some other Eastern Catholic Churches of a lower category and generally less populous, are known as metropolitanates . They are headed by a single metropolitan, the hierarch of a fixed episcopal see , . As head of an autonomous Church, his name is mentioned in the liturgy of that Church immediately after that of the Pope and, in suffragan eparchies, ahead of that of the local hierarch.

Provincial Boundary Lines

The borders of provinces have often been inspired, or even determined, by historical and/or present political borders ; 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
, the diocesan boundaries follow the political boundaries that existed between 1815 and 1945. * In Ireland, the four ecclesiastical provinces fixed by the Synod of Kells in 1152 reflected the contemporary boundaries of the secular provinces , but the ecclesiastical provinces and dioceses do not coincide with the present civil province and county borders. Since the Partition of Ireland in 1920–2 six dioceses in the province of Armagh straddle the international border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
, which is part of the United Kingdom. * In Scotland
, 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
, ecclesiastical provinces typically follow state lines , 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 and San Francisco . * Texas has two metropolitan archdioceses and provinces: Galveston-Houston and San Antonio . * 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 ( Delmarva Peninsula ) are part of the Diocese
of Wilmington , Delaware, and (2) the five counties adjacent to the District of Columbia and in southern Maryland are part of the Archdiocese
of Washington , which is a different province. Only the remaining nine counties and the City of Baltimore are part of the Archdiocese
of Baltimore . * Fishers Island , a part of Suffolk County, New York, and north of Long Island
Long Island
, is part of the Diocese
of Norwich , Connecticut, which is in a different province. * Those parts of Idaho and Montana that are within Yellowstone National Park are part of the Diocese
of Cheyenne , Wyoming, which is in a different province.

In addition, the Diocese
of Gallup (New Mexico) contains two Arizona counties – Apache County and Navajo County – and part of a third county, i.e., those parts of the Navajo and Hopi reservations that are in Coconino County (Arizona). New Mexico and Arizona, however, together form one province.

* Many countries contain more than one province, except those with a small population or few Catholics. * In at least one case, a province contains dioceses that are in more than one nation, e.g., the Province of Samoa-Apia, of which the metropolitan see (the Archdiocese
of Samoa-Apia ) is in the Independent State of Samoa, and its only suffragan see (the Diocese
of Samoa-Pago Pago ) is in American Samoa (an unincorporated territory of the United States).


Further information: Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
§ Provinces

Member churches of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
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 , have the word "province" in their names. These member churches are known as "provinces of the Anglican Communion," and are headed by a primate , who may also be referred to as a primus (for example, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church ), presiding bishop , or moderator .

The word "province" is also used to refer to groupings of dioceses within a member church. The Church of England
Church of England
is divided into two provinces: Canterbury and York . The Anglican Church of Australia
Anglican Church of Australia
has five provinces: New South Wales , Queensland , South Australia , Victoria and Western Australia , and an extraprovincial diocese. The Anglican Church of Canada has four: British Columbia and Yukon , Canada , Ontario , and Rupert\'s Land . The Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
has two: Armagh and Dublin . The Episcopal Church in the United States
United States
of America numbers, rather than names, its nine provinces .


The _Evangelical State Church in Prussia_, formed in 1821 (renamed: _Evangelical State Church in Prussia's older Provinces_ in 1875, Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union in 1922), had ecclesiastical provinces (Kirchenprovinz) as administrative subsections mostly following the boundaries of those political Provinces of Prussia which formed part of the state before 1866, with some border changes after 1920 following WWI territorial cessions.


ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF BRANDENBURG (1821–1926) German: _Kirchenprovinz Brandenburg_ ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF THE MARCH OF BRANDENBURG (1926–1948) German: _Kirchenprovinz Mark Brandenburg_ Province of Brandenburg and Berlin
(politically separate since 1881) Berlin, Züllichau (1944–1945) provincial synod (Provinzialsynode), consistory , 1829–1933: general superintendents for (1) Berlin
inner city, (2) Berlin
suburbia (1911–1933), (3) Kurmark
and (4) Lusatia
and New March 1933–1935: provincial bishops of Berlin
and of Brandenburg, provosts of Kurmark
and of New March-Lower Lusatia
1821–1948 Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg

REGIONAL SYNODAL FEDERATION OF THE FREE CITY OF DANZIG German: _Landessynodalverband der Freien Stadt Danzig_ Free City of Danzig Danzig regional synod (Landessynode), consistory, 1922-1933: general supintendent 1933–1940: provincial bishop of Danzig 1922–1940 Ecclesiastical Region of Danzig-West Prussia

ECCLESIASTICAL REGION OF DANZIG-WEST PRUSSIA German: _Kirchengebiet Danzig-Westpreußen_ Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia Danzig no synod, consistory, bishop of Danzig 1940–1945 de facto dissolved by flight, murder and expulsion of parishioners

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF EAST PRUSSIA (DE ) German: _Kirchenprovinz Ostpreußen_ Province of East Prussia plus West Prussia governorate in 1922 minus Memel Territory in 1925 plus Memel Territory March 1939 minus West Prussia governorate in 1940 Königsberg
in Prussia provincial synod, consistory, 1886–1933: general superintendent, 1933–1945: provincial bishop and general superintendent for Memel (1939–1944) 1886–1945 de facto dissolved by flight, murder and expulsion of parishioners

REGIONAL SYNODAL FEDERATION OF THE MEMEL TERRITORY German: _Landessynodalverband Memelgebiet_ Klaipėda Region Memel regional synod, consistory (est. 1927), general superintendent (as of 1926) 1925–1939 Ecclesiastical Province of East Prussia

UNITED EVANGELICAL CHURCH IN POLISH UPPER SILESIA (PL ) German: _Unierte Evangelische Kirche in Polnisch Oberschlesien_ Polish : _Ewangelicki Kościół Unijny na polskim Górnym Śląsku_ East Upper Silesia Katowice
regional synod, regional ecclesiastical council (Landeskirchenrat), church president 1923–1937 church body continued without status as ecclesiastical province till 1939, then merged in the Ecclesiastical Province of Silesia

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF POMERANIA German: _Kirchenprovinz Pommern_ Province of Pomerania Stettin (till 1945), Greifswald (since 1945) provincial synod, consistory, 1883–1933: general superintendents (east and west region), 1933–1945: provincial bishop 1821–1950 Pomeranian Evangelical Church

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF POSEN German: _Kirchenprovinz Posen_ Province of Posen Posen provincial synod, consistory, general superintendent 1821–1920 Ecclesiastical Province of Posen-West Prussia (west), United Evangelical Church in Poland (pl) (centre; German: _Unierte Evangelische Kirche in Polen_, Polish : _Ewangelicki Kościół Unijny w Polsce_)

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF POSEN-WEST PRUSSIA German: _Kirchenprovinz Posen-Westpreußen_ Province of the Frontier March of Posen-West Prussia Schneidemühl provincial synod, consistory, 1923–1933: general superintendent, 1933–1939: provost 1921–1939 Ecclesiastical Province of Pomerania

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF PRUSSIA German: _Kirchenprovinz Preußen_ Province of Prussia Königsberg
in Prussia provincial synod, consistory, general superintendent 1821–1886 Ecclesiastical Province of East Prussia (east), Ecclesiastical Province of West Prussia (west)

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF THE RHINELAND German: _Kirchenprovinz Rheinland_ Rhine Province , western parts of the Saar Protectorate (1920–1935), Hohenzollern Province (since 1899) Coblence (till 1934), Düsseldorf (since) provincial synod, consistory, general superintendents 1821–1947 Evangelical Church in the Rhineland

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF SAXONY German: _Kirchenprovinz Sachsen_ Province of Saxony Magdeburg
provincial synod, 4 consistories in Magdeburg
(1815–2008), Roßla (1719–1947), Stolberg at the Harz (1553–2005) and Wernigerode (1658–1930; the latter three with regional competences), 1815–1933: 3 general superintendents, 1933–1950: provincial bishops 1821–1950 Evangelical Church of the Ecclesiastical Province of Saxony

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF SILESIA German: _Kirchenprovinz Schlesien_ Province of Silesia (1821–1919, 1938–1941) Province of Lower Silesia and Province of Upper Silesia (1919—1938, and 1941—1945) Breslau (till end of 1946), Görlitz (1947–2003) provincial synod, consistory, 1829–1933: 2 general superintendents, 1933–2003: (provincial) bishop 1821–1947 Evangelical Church of Silesia

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF WESTPHALIA German: _Kirchenprovinz Westfalen_ Province of Westphalia Münster
in Westphalia provincial synod, consistory, general superintendent 1821–1945 Evangelical Church of Westphalia

ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF WEST PRUSSIA German: _Kirchenprovinz Westpreußen_ Province of West Prussia Danzig provincial synod, consistory, 1883–1920: general superintendent 1886–1921 Regional Synodal Federation of the Free City of Danzig (north), Ecclesiastical Province of East Prussia (east), Ecclesiastical Province of Posen-West Prussia (southwest), United Evangelical Church in Poland (pl) (centre)


The term _province_, or occasionally RELIGIOUS PROVINCE, also refers to a geographical and administrative subdivision in a number of orders and 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 earlier.

A province of a religious institute is typically headed by a provincial superior . The title differs by each institute's 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 a religious institute's provinces are determined independently of any diocesan structure, and so the borders often differ from the 'secular', or diocesan, ecclesiastical provinces. The orders' provinces are usually far larger than a diocese, a secular province, or even a country, though sometimes they are smaller in an institute's heartland.

Most monastic orders are not organized by provinces. In general, they organise their administration through autonomous houses, in some cases grouped in larger families. For example, each Benedictine
abbey is an independent foundation, but will often choose to group themselves into congregations based on historical connections.


* List of Roman Catholic archdioceses
List of Roman Catholic archdioceses
(by country and continent) * List of Roman Catholic dioceses (alphabetical) (including archdioceses) * List of Roman Catholic dioceses (structured view) (including archdioceses) * Global organisation of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
* Catholic Church
Catholic Church
by country


* ^ Diogenes Laertius, 8.41 (available online, retrieved 22 May 2008). * ^ F. Bauer, W. Danker, _A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian
Literature,_ third ed., (Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 2000), ἐκκλησία. * ^ Meyendorff 1989 . * ^ Ćirković 2004 , p. 40-46. * ^ Kiminas 2009 . * ^ Code of Canon Law: Canon 421 * ^ "Metropolitan". _Catholic Encyclopedia_. Retrieved 9 July 2017.

* ^ Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 155 §1 * ^ John D. Faris, _The Eastern Catholic Churches: Constitution and Governance_ (Saint Maron Publications, New York 1992), p. 376 * ^ Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 161


* Meyendorff, John (1989). _Imperial unity and Christian
divisions: The Church 450-680 A.D._ The Church in history. 2. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. * Ćirković, Sima (2004). _The Serbs_. Malden: Blackwell Publishing. * Kiminas, Demetrius (2009). _The Ecumenical Patriarchate: A History of Its Metropolitanates with Annotated Hierarch Catalogs_. Wildside Press LLC. * _ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ecclesiastical Province". Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
_. New York: Robert Appleton Company. * List of Metropolitan Archdioceses, including all Catholic ecclesiastical provinces GCatholic.org

_ This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ecclesiastical Province". Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
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