The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Episcopal see

A see (from the Latin word sedem, meaning seat) is the throne (cathedra) of a bishop. In the strictest sense, episcopal see (episcopus meaning bishop; an adaptation of the Greek word episkopos) refers to the cathedral of the bishop. The terms diocesan see and archdiocesan see carry the same meaning, but specify the status of the jurisdiction within the hierarchy.

By extension, the word is also used about the town or city where the cathedral stands. For example, in the strictest sense, in the Roman Catholic Church, the see of the Archdiocese of Westminster in England is Westminster Cathedral, but in a wider sense the same see is London, where the cathedral is located. At times the term is even used about the whole of the diocese even if it covers more than one town or city; this is erroneous, as the terms diocese or archdiocese cover this meaning in a more precise way.

A special case is Holy See, which in the Roman Catholic Church refers to the papal office, or to the Vatican in general.

The term is most common in the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican and Episcopalian churches, but is also used by some Lutheran churches. It is also found translated into several languages.

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