Primate (religion)

From Academic Kids

For the use of the word "primate" in biology, see primate.

A primate in the Western Church is an archbishop or bishop who has authority not just over the bishops of his own province, as a Metropolitan does, but over a number of provinces, such as a national church. Here, it corresponds to the title of Exarch of the Eastern Church.

Missing image
Primate (non cardinal) coat of arms

In the Orthodox churches themselves, Primate is often used in the general sense of the head of an autocephalous or autonomous church. Thus, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, the Archbishop of Athens, the Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, and the Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland are all primates of their respective churches, regardless of their individual titles.

The title is often encountered in the churches of the Anglican Communion, which is divided into provinces each of which usually has a metropolitan. The senior metropolitan in the national church is called the primate, though this title was only in recent years added by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

In England, however, the metropolitans of the two provinces of Canterbury and York, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, are Primate of All England and Primate of England respectively. It reflects the compromise struck between the Archbishops of York (who wanted to emphasise the equality of the archbishops) and the Archbishops of Canterbury (who wanted to emphasise the seniority of Canterbury). In Ireland, both the Anglican Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church style their respective Archbishops of Armagh and Archbishops of Dublin Primate of All Ireland and Primate of Ireland respectively.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the term is generally found in the older Catholic countries, and is now purely honorific. The title is typically vested in one of the oldest Archdioceses in a country, if it exists. The see city may no longer have the prominence it had when the diocese was created. In the United States the Archbishop of Baltimore is called "honorary primate" since he was granted ceremonial precedence before all American archbishops, as Baltimore was the first diocese in the nation.

A selection of countries and their Roman Catholic primates:

es:Primado pl:Prymas


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