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(Gk. dioikesis, “housekeeping; administration”). Territory administered by a bishop* normally assisted by lesser clergy; usually divided into parishes.

The word “diocese” was originally used in the Roman empire for an administrative subdivision. In the reorganization of Diocletian* and Constantine* I the empire was divided into 12 (later 14) “dioceses” of which provinces were subdivisions.

The ecclesiastical use of “diocese” was derived from the civil, beginning in the 3d-4th c. Originally ecclesiastical dioceses tended to correspond to civil units also beyond the territory of the empire. But once established, the area of dioceses tended to remain fixed despite civil change. The word became prominent for the territory of a bp. in the 9th c. and was used interchangeably with paroecia or parochia (Lat. for Gk. paroikia, “parish”) until the 13th c. Thereafter “diocese” is the territory of a bp. and “parish” is a subdivision thereof.

See also Cathedral; Curia, 2 f; 3; Eparchy.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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