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III. Ecclesiastical provinces with metropolitan center. From the 4th c. a coordination appeared, which gave rise to a more complex and hierarchical structure: the ecclesiastical province evparci,a. The fact is explained along the lines of missionary practice that, spreading from the capital to other centers of the province, generated communities which were filiations of the central episcopal or mother church. The bishop of the mother church mhtro,polij was, from the 4th c., called the metropolitan evpi,skopoj mhtropoli,thj, later avrciepi,skopoj, and had jurisdiction over the other bishops evparciwtai, who from the 8th c. were also called suffragans.Pittsburgh Subway Map Another factor in the formation and cohesion of ecclesiastical provinces, from the end of the 2nd c., was the synods, set up with the aim of bringing together the bishops, not just of one political province, but also of a wider territory Euseb., HE 5,23,25, to debate important ecclesiastical affairs going beyond the local sphere of the churches.

The provincial council was called and presided over by the metropolitan Council of Antioch 341, cans. 14, 16, 20. It had competence over all questions of the province Council of Constantinople I 381, can. 2. The ecclesiastical provinces, increasing in number, continued to conform to the boundaries of the political provinces, which were multiplied by Diocletian and his successors until, Pittsburgh Subway Mapat the start of the 5th c., there were 120 of them. All of the bishops of a province, with the metropolitan’s confirmation, could install a bishop in their own diocese Council of Nicaea 325, can. 4.

The frequent imprecision of the territorial boundaries was at the root of jurisdictional problems, later regulated by conciliar canons. But bishops’ interventions outside their own territory were more properly the consequence of a universal ecclesial sense that the bishops of previous centuries had exercised. The most typical example of this universal interest is provided by the correspondence the bishops held with many other sees for the purpose of resolving questions and difficulties J-R. Palanque, in Fliche-Martin III, 2, Turin 3 1977, 640.

But in the West a more complex type of grouping later arose: the episcopal sees of Roman N Africa came under Carthage and those of S-central Italy under Rome, whose prestige and power went beyond the metropolitan sphere. There was a similar configuration in the East: for Antioch, with respect to Syria and the eastern provinces of Asia Minor regarding participation in the synods of Antioch Euseb., HE 6,46,3; 7,5,1-2, and with respect to Cilicia and Osroene regarding missionary activity HE 6,12,2; and for the see of Alexandria, on which all the sees of Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis depended Council of Nicaea, can. 6. The sees of Antioch and Alexandria appeared as supermetropolises: the path to the patriarchates was already in evidence.

The ecclesiastical province had its own metropolitan center in the civil capital of the province, where the metropolitan resided, i.e., close to the civil governor and more able to help his colleagues in their relations with him. Synods 4th- 5th c. established his power: besides the presidency of the provincial synod, he had a certain role watching over the religious-ecclesiastical life of the province and over the bishops themselves. Pittsburgh Subway Map The bishop, though autonomous in his own territory, had to obtain approval from the metropolitan and the other bishops for extraterritorial undertakings. The metropolitan institution prevailed first in the Greek East, except for Egypt and its dependants Libya and Pentapolis, where the bishops depended on the bishop of Alexandria. In the Latin West there was marked heterogeneity. The bishops of suburbicarian Italy depended directly on the bishop of Rome. The bishop of Milan, residence of the emperor and the vicarius annonarius, one of the few large cities of N Italy, was the main metropolitan of an ecclesiastical territory comprising several provinces. From ca. 425, the see of Aquileia was metropolis of the provinces of Venice, Istria, Rhaetia and Noricum, as was Sirmium of Pannonia.

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