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In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan (alternative obsolete form: metropolite[1]), pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis.

Originally, the term referred to the bishop of the chief city of a historical Roman province, whose authority in relation to the other bishops of the province was recognized by the First Council of Nicaea (AD 325).[2] The bishop of the provincial capital, the metropolitan, enjoyed certain rights over other bishops in the province, later called "suffragan bishops".[3]

The term "metropolitan" may refer in a similar sense to the bishop of the chief episcopal see (the "metropolitan see") of an ecclesiastical province. The head of such a metropolitan see has the rank of archbishop and is therefore called the metropolitan archbishop of the ecclesiastical province. Metropolitan (arch)bishops preside over synods of the bishops of their ecclesiastical province, and canon law and tradition grant them special privileges.

In some churches, such as the Church of Greece, a metropolis is a rank granted to all episcopal sees. Their bishops are all called metropolitans, the title of archbishop being reserved for the primate.

Catholic Church