« Arcani Disciplina Archbishop Archdall, Mervyn »


ARCHBISHOP: A bishop in the Roman Catholic and some parts of the Anglican Church, who has not only the charge of his own diocese like any other bishop, but also certain rights of oversight and precedence over several other bishops whose dioceses are included in his province. In the third century, by analogy with the political divisions of the Empire (see Eparchy), there grew up an organization of several bishoprics under the leadership of a metropolitan, the bishop of the provincial capital; it was his place to conduct episcopal elections, to confirm the choice and to consecrate the one chosen, and to convoke the bishops of his province in an annual synod. In concert with them, he regulated the affairs of the province, and the synod formed a court of appeal from the decisions of individual bishops, as well as one of first instance for charges brought against them. In the following centuries the metropolitan system was adopted by the Christian countries of the West as well. In the Merovingian period, however, the joint power claimed by the princes in filling episcopal sees and the importance attained by national councils robbed the position of the metropolitans of much of its independence; nor were they able to recover it in the Carolingian era, between the domination assumed by Charlemagne and the papal claims to an immediate decision in weighty matters, for which the pseudo-Isidorian decretals had furnished a basis. The rights of a metropolitan were accordingly limited in the thirteenth century legal compilations of the Corpus Juria Canonici to the following particulars: (1) The confirmation of episcopal elections and consecration of bishops in his province; (2) calling and presiding over provincial councils; (3) general oversight of his suffragans, visitation of their dioceses, and imposition of censures and penalties on them, though not of deposition; (4) hearing, of appeals from episcopal courts; and (5) the so-called Jus devolutionis. The first of these he lost in the fifteenth century, when confirmation and consecration of bishops were reserved to the pope. The Council of Trent confirmed the second, but limited the third by requiring the assent of the provincial council. At the same time, however, he was charged with the erection, maintenance, and direction of seminaries in the dioceses of his suffragans, and with the enforcement of their obligation of residence. An archbishop has the title of “Most Reverend,” and ranks immediately after patriarchs. He wears the pallium as a special symbol of his jurisdiction, and a particular kind of cross (crux erecta or gestatoria) is carried before him within his own province. The title ἀρχιεπίσκοπος is frequently applied in the fourth century to the metropolitan of Alexandria, but after the development of the great patriarchates it came to denote other bishops of large cities who were undistinguishable in rank from metropolitans; and the titles have been practically synonymous in the West—though there are a few Roman Catholic archbishops (such as those of Amalfi, Lucca, and Udine) who are not metropolitans, and in the case of titular archbishops (see Bishop, Titular) it follows from the nature of their office that there is no metropolitan jurisdiction. In the Anglican communion, the title of archbishop was for a long time confined to the metropolitans of England and Ireland, owing 260 to legal difficulties in the way of its use in the colonial church; but of late years there has been an increasing tendency to its use, and the proposal has even been made to establish archbishops with metropolitan jurisdiction in the Episcopal Church of the United States. In the evangelical churches of Germany the dignity of an archbishop has been conferred only in individual instances on general superintendents, as by Frederick William III. on Borowski at Königsberg in 1829 (see Borowski, Ludwig Ernest von).

(P. Hinschius†.)

Bibliography: Bingham, Origines, books i., iv., xvii.; C. W. Augusti, Denkwürdigkeiten aus der christlichen Archäologie, Leipsic 1820; A. J. Binterim, Denkwürdigkeiten der christkatholischen Kirche, V. i. 465 sqq., Mainz, 1829; A. Nicolovius, Die bischöfliche Würde in Preussens evangelischer Kirche, Königsberg, 1834; E. Löning, Geschichte deutschen Kirchenrechts, i. 362, ii. 197, Strasburg, 1878; J. Mast, Abhandlungen über die rechtliche Stellung der Erzbischöfe in der katholischen Kirche, Freiburg, 1878; Hauck, KD, iii. 16 sqq.

« Arcani Disciplina Archbishop Archdall, Mervyn »
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