Title given originally (4th c.) to patriarchs and bps. of important dioceses. Its first use was probably by Athanasius,* who applied it to his predecessor Alexander (see Alexander [ca. 250/273ca. 326/328]) as a mark of respect. Later the term designated a metropolitan* presiding over an ecclesiastical province. In Lutheranism the chief bps. of Swed., Fin., Estonia, and Latvia bear the title. See also Roman Catholic Church, C 3; Titular Bishop.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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