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Metropolitan bishop

In hierarchical Christian churches, the rank of metropolitan bishop, whose incumbent is usually called simply a metropolitan, apertains to the bishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of an old Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.

In the Western Church, there is little difference between metropolitans and archbishops; however, archbishops that are not metropolitans are styled Archbishop ad personam. Metropolitans have authority over the other bishops in their provinces, called suffragan bishops.

In the Anglican Communion the metropolitan is generally the head of a national wing of the church.

In the Eastern Church the title is used variously. In the Hellenic Churches metropolitans are ranked below archbishops in precedence, and primates of local Churches below Patriarchal rank are generally designated archbishops. The reverse is true for the Slavic Churches, where metropolitans rank above archbishops and the title can be used for Primatial sees as well as important cities. In neither case do metropolitans have any special authority over other ruling bishops within their provinces. However, metropolitans (archbishops in the Greek Orthodox Church) are the chairmen of their respective synods of bishops.

See also

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